Rotten Apples, Lustgartens, and German Separatists

Zoar, Ohio

After visiting the barely-left-fort of Fort Laurens, we drove down the road and arrived in the village of Zoar.  I had no idea what to expect except for something “cute.”

Zoar was certainly cute.  Very obviously historical (a deliberate aesthetic) and all that.  Unfortunately, everything was closed, too.







Before we went to Zoar, I’d never heard of it, but after reading the plentiful signs found throughout the dead downtown, I felt pretty well-versed in its history.

I’d summarize everything, but I’m far too lazy, so just check out these signs below for more information:



I probably would have enjoyed Zoar a lot more had not the weather been so gross and had not the town closed down shop for the holidays, but just strolling through the town under a giant umbrella still provided a few nice sights.

And some not-nice sights, like this…inexplicable chain of rotten apples found on the fence outside the Inn.


I mean, this chain was seriously made of rotten fruit.

If I’d touched one of the apples, it probably would have exploded and gushed out fermented cider.

We still didn’t quite get the whole fruit thing.

Was this some kind of German separatist tradition?  Did all 19th-century German separatists feel the need to decorate fences for the holidays with fruit that would quickly rot?

Though far from flowering, the Zoar Garden—cheekily called the “lustgarten”—was pretty cool as well, the title itself bringing about thoughts that are hardly religious in nature.[1]





After walking through the town and puzzling aloud about the rotten fruit chain, we decided to return to the car to head out on our next adventure.



[1] So, this is a shout-out to all fellow English lit majors/anglophiles/bibliophiles/bookworms/big nerds like me.  I know Jane Austen is the Regency author dujour (and rightly so; I love her works), but another female writer to check out from the same period is Fanny Burney.  She wrote the absolutely hysterical book Evelina and influenced Austen’s writing in many ways.

My second piece of advice is to read Evelina.  You will laugh out loud.  Literally.  It is freaking hilarious.

If you read it, pay attention to all of the scenes that take place in the parks and the gardens in London.  Back in Regency-era England, they were known as being places where alcohol flowed freely and dalliances occurred of the flirtatious sort.  Check out for a more scholarly take on the gardens there, and you’ll maybe understand a bit more why I found “lustgarten” so funny.


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