If you take backroads when you travel, you often will end up driving through small-town America. Be sure to pay attention to the historical markers you might see. On a trip we took to New York City, we decided to take backroads through Pennsylvania and Ohio on our way home. On that trip, we learned a lot of history, including information about a soldier from World War II featured in Band of Brothers who was from the area of Pennsylvania we were traveling through. We also learned about a gentleman by the name of A.I. Root — someone we had never heard of but who we soon found out was worth knowing.
When we first saw the signs at the entrance to the town of Medina, Ohio, proclaiming it was the home of A.I Root we joked about who that might be. But we really had no clue. So Jessi dug out her phone and looked him up on Google. We’re so glad she did. It turns out he essentially started the beekeeping industry in the United States. He ended up becoming the foremost expert on the ABCs of beekeeping and started a company in 1869 called Root Candles. That company is now a leading supplier of beeswax candles to churches, as well as many other endeavors.
We also discovered A.I. Root was a friend of the Wright brothers and Helen Keller! In 1904, Root witnessed Orville and Wilbur’s first flight and wrote about it in a beekeeping journal he published. His article is the first report of the Wright brothers’ flight and is displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. When you think about the period he lived in and what he did, it’s pretty remarkable. And we discovered all of this just because we took the time to find out why Medina, Ohio believed he was important enough to include on a historical marker.
We would never have come across Medina or learned about A.I. Root had we not gotten off the interstate and decided to take a more scenic route home by traveling the backroads.
Backroads lead to adventure
That’s why we encourage you to plan some time and take it slow. Get off the interstates and off the beaten path. Get out there to see what you can learn about the history of America from its backroads and small towns. Maybe you’ll discover some cool things like we have.
So, keep on trekin’ and enjoy the things you discover!
Do you have any neat stories about things you stumbled upon while traveling America’s backroads? Leave a note in the comments below; we’re always looking for fun and quirky places we could trek to.