March 2014 Edition ©
HERE COMES SPRING
Don’t Wait… Now is the time to begin planning your Springtime Weekend Adventure!
Ok… for most of us living in the continental US the previous three months has ill afforded many opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Coming out of one of the coldest winters on record has given us all an unmistakable case of cabin fever.
What to Do? What to Do?
Located in west central Ohio on Interstate 75 is Sidney. Here and in the surrounding area you’ll find a region rich with unique experiences sure to satisfy the most serotonin craved among us.
For those looking for a shot of adrenalin, you’ll find all you want at Vandemark Farm. High speed zip lines and a ride on their giant swing await and are sure to elevate your heart rate. As an alternative, how about 18 holes of mini golf to relax a bit as you hone your putting skills? A petting zoo and full size golf practice range are also offered. After it all, maybe an ice cream, snow cone, or something cold to drink will catch your eye at their concession stand.
If zip lines aren’t your thing, how about we step it back a little and go cycling on one or more of Sidney’s picturesque bike paths. Ride the paved and rolling terrain of Tawawa Park. Cycle a path running adjacent to the Great Miami River. Stop for a picnic or simply to enjoy one of the many scenic overlooks. All ages are sure to enjoy their time in the saddle touring the spring beauty of Sidney’s city parks.
As for lunch options, there are many and all are easy to get to by motorized vehicle or peddle power. Burgers, chicken, pizza, salads, wings and several ethnic options can be found in Sidney. Indoor and outdoor dining choices are available at many locations. Whatever your taste, you’re sure to find a satisfying location to curb those hunger pains and recharge your battery for an afternoon activity.
Nearby Jackson Center is home to the Airstream Company where each weekday at 2 p.m. they offer a factory tour that is free of charge and ranked by FoxNews.com as one of the best factory tours in the US. A second afternoon option may find you to nearby Lake Loramie for a boat ride, fishing, or maybe even some additional hiking and biking. Lake Loramie is a beautiful Ohio State Park located just outside Sidney and offers overnight camping options in tents, cabins, or campers.
So, no need to wait! Now is the time to get off the couch and begin planning your springtime visit to Sidney. Everything you need to know can be found at www.VisitSidneyShelby.com. Sidney, Ohio… they’re waiting for you.
Yes, a potpourri of Appalachian artists will amass on March 22nd from 9am to 6pm in southwest Ohio.
What is potpourri of artists you might ask? Webster Dictionary describes potpourri as a mixture of dried flower petals, leaves and spices that is used to make a room smell pleasant. Or the dictionary simply defines it as a miscellaneous collection. Either definition describes the mixture of some of Southern Ohio's best artists combined under one big roof to present a most pleasant collection of Appalachian crafts.
It’s a great way to end the winter chills and blahs. Enjoy a ladies day out or family outing to rural Appalachia. Bring your gift list for home, family and friends as well as your "gifts for ME" list and shop the potpourri of artists’ booths.
Appalachian artists have a theory of making use of something old and making it beautiful. So the motto "recycle, reuse and repurpose" is widely used amongst the artists.
Cincinnati native, Cindy Collins – better known as the Wool lady – has created a unique business of recycling rugs, scarves, shoulder wraps, blankets and garlands from used clothing made of 100% wool. Cindy's business, Little Lamb n Ewe Woolens, has gone from a much needed home item into a thriving business that keeps her going to festivals and shows during the cool months of the year. Cindy states that her items do not sell well in the summer months,for obvious reasons , but also humidity and rain can be hard on her wool items. To pinpoint Cindy's booth location at the March show, just look for the abundance of customers waiting to purchase one of Cindy's vibrant colored creations.
Renown potter, Ray Storer of Grandpa’s Pottery will be there. He is a retired pastor and school principal from the greater Cincinnati area. Ray taught art and pottery-making for 49 years and is well known in southwest Ohio and the tri-state area. Since retiring, Ray developed Grandpa’s Pottery, along with wife Betty, son Brooke, and daughter-in-law Amy, also accomplished potters. Ray markets his work through art shows, fairs, and wholesale outlets, as well as at their retail base in Wilmington, Ohio. Very passionate about his work, Ray states that if you love your work, one never has to work another day in their life. Grandpa’s Pottery offers intricate and delicate pottery of a great variety and color.
Husband and wife, R.D. and Juanita Morgan of Hillsboro, are by far the most unique entrepreneurs. In the early 1940's R.D. helped his father make walking canes and hiking sticks. R.D. is keeping the family tradition and business thriving by going to festivals, fairs and indoor events. He and Juanita also have a 70 year collection of walking sticks from all over the US, Mexico and Japan. The couple spent some time over the winter months in Texas and collected material along the banks of the Brazos River to make 20 new sticks and canes for this March event. Besides recreating a family tradition, R.D. and Juanita are a fun loving team and quickly make lifetime friends at all their shows. It turns out R.D. is quite the jokester and comedic story teller, but with a spiritual meaning. You can also locate their booth easily by the laughter and the rows of handsomely designed walking sticks and canes.
Vivian Pfankuch has become one dynamic entrepreneur by focusing on one specific color and plant ...purple lavender! Vivian owns her own lavender farm in rural Highland county, known as Jaybird Farms. Everything she does involves the color purple. Vivian is a self-taught maker of the finest Lavender Jam Conserve, blackberry jelly, lavender herbal soaps, lavender infused oils and potpourri, lavender scented small pillows that is said to help one sleep. Vivian along with her husband Jay also plant rows of sunflowers and produce that Vivian sells at farmers markets everywhere in the Cincinnati area. She has also raised pheasant from baby chicks to maturity and sells them to restaurants in downtown Cincinnati. Every weekend in June, Jaybird Farm hosts garden clubs and invites individuals to tour the lavender field as Vivian describes each variety. Look for the lady dressed in purple with purple quilt topped tables and every smelly good and delicious item in purple, of course.
Come with an appetite for soups, chicken salad croissants, chips and plate sized soft pretzels. Quench your thirst with sweet Appalachian tea and lemonade and fresh brewed coffee.
No one can leave without a sweet treat from Alecia Sowards', Buckeye Confections. Alecia whips up homemade sweets of buckeyes white and chocolate, chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries, gigantic cookies of all varieties, cakes, candies and so much more. Most folks visit her booth on the way in and on the way out to take her goodies home.
So make plans for a day trip out to rural Appalachia in southwest Ohio’s Amish country on March 22 from 9am – 6pm. The location is Hilltop Designs at 9764 Tri-county Road in Winchester, Ohio. Watch for the red signs. Visit http://www.hilltopdesigns.org/.
STRIKING NEW COVERED BRIDGE
Photo by Jim Marquardt
Geauga Park District's new 70-foot-long Pratt Truss-style covered bridge is the winner of the 2013 Governor's Award for Parks and Recreation, presented by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) at its annual conference.
With installation in the summer of 2013, and public access expected along the future south portion of The Maple Highlands Trail in 2014, the east branch of the Cuyahoga River covered bridge promises to connect communities and four Geauga parks, enhance Geauga tourism, and improve safety conditions for Amish commuters.
"It's tough to imagine a project which includes so many important elements," said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. "This bridge teaches history, enhances safety, connects parks and communities, attracts tourists and gets people outdoors. We are proud to present the award to Geauga Park District."
Designed by Dennis Bowman and Kurt Gowins of Smolen Engineering and built by Geauga Park District's construction crew - Steve George, construction supervisor; Tom Salo, project foreman; and Isaiah Shipman, construction technician - the pedestrian covered bridge features one-of-a-kind architectural details which were challenging to construct.
"Of the 200-plus bridges we've designed throughout Ohio, this one may be the most striking in appearance," said John Smolen P.E. "People say the bridge makes them instantly smile, and nothing is better than that."
"It is very gratifying to be recognized among your peers, for the skill set is takes in the trades to accomplish a project of that magnitude," said Interim Deputy Director John Oros, who supervised the project. "We're being recognized right alongside Cleveland Metroparks, Lake Metroparks and all the recreation departments in the state. What an honor."
This bridge will help extend The Maple Highlands Trail a total of 20 miles, allowing users to travel from Colburn Road at the north end of the county all the way to Reeves Road in Parkman Township in the south.
Geauga County Juvenile/Probate Court Judge Timothy Grendell offered a hearty congratulations to all Geauga Park District staff who contributed to the project, and specifically said, "Special thanks go out to Geauga Park District's construction crew."
In addition to a crystal trophy, Geauga Park District was presented with a proclamation from Ohio Governor John Kasich and a $500 check to the Geauga Park District Foundation. The award winner was announced, and award was presented, at the OPRA Annual Awards Dinner on February 4 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky.
Construction on Geauga's new covered bridge began in April 2012 and concluded in August 2013. It is the county's second covered bridge to be registered with the Ohio Historic Bridge Association; the first, the Howe Truss-style Tare Creek Bridge erected in 2004, is also along this soon-to-be-open stretch of The Maple Highlands Trail.
The Governor's Award was established in 2010 to recognize the one park and recreation program or project that has had the most significant impact on quality of life in the preceding year.
All 16 OPRA program and project winners qualified to win the 2013 "best in show" Governor's Award. "Placing first among 16 winning projects, as well as first in the Facility (Up to $2,500,000) category among six other entries there, really adds weight to the Governor's Award," Oros added.
Officials from six statewide organizations formed the voting panel, including the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Homebuilders Association, the Ohio Municipal League, the Ohio State Parks and the Ohio Township Association.
For three Saturdays in March “ice wine groupies” will swarm to five area wineries in Northeastern Ohio, in the heart of the Grand River Valley Wine Region, to taste the next vintage of ice wine. Lovers of this golden nectar wine will come from all over the state of Ohio and neighboring states as well. It’s a celebration of a labor of love and a unique wine that can only be made in certain parts of the world.
The festival consists of five area wineries all within a 10-minute drive of each other. Patrons begin at the winery of their choice for this fun, progressive Ice Wine tasting throughout the Grand River Valley wine region. Participating wineries include Debonné Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, Laurello Vineyards, and St. Joseph Vineyards. Making this event a progressive tasting is one of the reasons the event is such a draw. Patrons will have a unique experience at every winery and will be able to see different sights around the area. Many wineries have added “extras” for people to enjoy. Some of the extras include special wine dinners featuring local meats, cheeses and vegetables, ice carving, dog sledding, food demonstrations and several artisans. Most of these “extras” are free but some will cost the patron a small additional charge. In addition, many of the winemakers will be on hand for people to talk to and other wines will be available for people to taste.
“I love having the consumer down in my cellar so they can taste these wines”, says Cindy Lindberg, event coordinator and president of Grand River Cellars Winery. “Being down there among the tanks and barrels gives you a true understanding of a working wine cellar. Many other wineries have patrons in the cellars tasting wine as well as roasting ice wine marshmallows, or relaxing and looking at juried crafts while sipping on their ice wine. It's an opportunity to get out and embrace the cold weather and have a great time doing it."
The wines featured at the Ice Wine Festival are ‘true’ ice wines. The grapes are left on the vines at the end of the traditional harvest season and await Mother Nature to shift seasons from fall to winter. Once the grapes are truly frozen, and the temperature reaches 17 degrees or less, the grapes are picked and pressed immediately before they have a chance to thaw. This year's harvest was December 12th during the very early morning hours. The harvest was one of the biggest in history as the grapes were still well formed and hearty.
Out of town guests will be sure to want to check the local visitor’s bureau websites for places to stay the night. Since the Ice Wine Festival is in March, many of our hotels and restaurants are able to give top-notch service because it is a slower time of year and are able to offer wonderful amenities and are much less crowded.
Participants will need to determine a starting point at one of the participating wineries in the Grand River Valley. Each winery will provide a sample of their wines, an ice wine glass, and a complimentary appetizer. The event begins at noon and ends at 5 p.m. The cost is $6 per person at each winery. In an effort to help the local food banks, the wineries are encouraging everyone to bring in canned food items for which they will receive $1 off at each location. For more information about the Ice Wine Festival call 440-466-3485 or visit www.debonne.com for a list of details.
A flawed life is a life worth remembering.
BM and the BMV
I think we all have a horror story to tell about a visit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The horror for mine started with opening mail upon returning home from a 4,000 mile driving trip across much of the country and back. The letter informed me that I was driving without a license. It had expired unbeknownst to me. The expiration date is printed right on it but I never paid any mind to that. Another letter said to take my vehicle in to the car dealership because of a recall. They would give me a loaner (rental) car due to the warranty.
The plan was to drop the car at the dealer, get the “rental” car and renew my license. Oh, and my six and eight year olds would have to tag along since my wife had to go to work and I was still off.
The day started out fine. It was all smiles at the car dealership. After we said bye to our vehicle, a gentleman whisked us down the street to the car rental place they did business with. That’s where I’d get the complimentary loaner wheels before rolling over to the BMV.
At the counter, I was met with more smiles. I handed my paperwork over to get the car.
“Sir, your license expired.”
“I know. Here’s all the stuff for that. I’m headed straight to the BMV from here.”
The dude’s smile turned upside down.
“Sir, I’m sorry but you’ll have to come back after you do that. We can’t sign a car over to you until you have a valid license.”
I tried to plea that I had merely been late in renewing it and that doing so was merely a formality. But he made it clear that he couldn’t budge on the matter and I understood. The problem was that the nearest BMV was not near enough to walk. I was stranded with two young kids. Then, once my predicament sunk in behind the counter, another smile stretched across a kind man’s face.
“I can give you a lift.”
Whew! I thanked him up and down.
When we arrived at the BMV, he said he was going to grab a bite to eat nearby and that he’d be back before I was done to take me back to the car rental place.
I stood in line and when I was the next person to be the next person…
“!%^$#@)(*&!!!!,” echoed from both sides of the counter.
Translation… The computers crashed.
What does that mean? How long before they’re back up? These were the questions murmured out loud throughout the crowd. Quickly, the place cleared out as most of the people grew impatient and realized another BMV was up and running. They streamed out of the door leaving behind me – because I was stuck there – and two other ladies who thought the downed computers would rebound and they’d finish more quickly here than cutting bait and running to the next BMV.
Silence and time grew thick until one of the two remaining ladies’ patience burst.
She did her best to slam the glass door but the hydraulics of the door refused to give her that satisfaction.
No sooner did the hotheaded woman leave, did my ride return. When I explained the situation, he quickly resembled a deer caught in the headlights. He had to get back to the rental place so we agreed I’d hang out and just call him once things were back online and I could get my license renewed.
Time ticked away and my kids grew restless.
“Folks, we don’t anticipate this getting fixed before we close, you’ll have to come back.”
Wow. Really? I had no idea what to do from there. As I grunted out my predicament, under my breath but not really, the lady ahead of me in line stopped at the door.
“What?” She asked turning her attention on me.
I repeated myself and she took pity on me and my kids.
“Come on, I’ll give you a lift.”
I couldn’t believe it. In today’s day and age, I did not expect that!
Without hesitation, the kids jumped in her backseat and I sat shotgun. She thought we could get to the next BMV in time. I hoped so because I was thirty minutes from home during a workday so there would be no rescue by anyone I knew, not for several hours.
We small talked, asking what do you do and that sort of thing.
When I told her I ran OhioTraveler.com she took her eyes off the road and whipped a look right at me and asked loudly, “Are you Frank Satullo!”
I was shocked.
She smiled and said her name and that I had been purchasing freelance articles from her.
We laughed at what a small world it was and then there was silence as to where the conversation should turn from there now that strangers weren’t such strangers after all.
As our mouths hung open waiting for the words to come, they suddenly zipped tight and an awkward silence followed. A repugnant odor hit our senses snapping our heads as if we hit a wall.
I wondered if she snuck one out – silent but deadly. And knowing I didn’t do it, I knew that if it wasn’t her, she would definitely be wondering if I dealt it. I wondered if maybe it could have been from one of the kids in the backseat but DAMN! It was strong. And if it was this lady, I couldn’t embarrass her by cracking the window. So we all rode quietly for a few minutes, breathing as little as we could.
When we arrived at the other BMV, windows rolled down as if to get a better view (wink).
The line was 30 deep outside the door with 10 minutes until closing. Long story short, we bailed and she drove us 30 minutes out of her way so we could at least get home.
When she left, I asked my kids if they “tooted” in the car.
My son giggled and said, “I didn’t think it would be that bad!”
Indeed, everything was breaking bad!
By Frank Rocco Satullo, author of "HERE I THOUGHT I WAS NORMAL: Micro Memoirs of Mischief and editor of OhioTraveler.com
eMail Frank Rocco Satullo at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ohio STANDOUT Award
Original Bob Evans Farm: There are restaurants and then there are iconic eateries that are standout names like Bob Evans. Incredibly, folks can visit the original restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. Not only that, but Bob’s original farmhouse is just out back. Talk about “down on the farm”! The old homestead is full of entrees. The vast rural landscape is nestled in Southern Ohio’s rolling hills along the Ohio River and Appalachian country. The old farmhouse is now a museum that shares the family and restaurant’s history. And every fall, the Bob Evans Festival attracts thousands with its entertainment and activities. The festival is also an Ohio standout in tourism! Visit their web site by clicking here. Play Video.
This award recognizes Ohio's truest standouts in tourism. More details about the award and its recipients are at www.ohiotraveler.com/standouts.htm.
|The Art of Flight|
|Plan Springtime Adventures Now|
|Appalachian Potpourri of Artists|
|The Twisted Olive|
|Now Playing: The Wilds!|
|Magical History Tour|
|Ohio Standout Award|
|Free 4 All!|
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Ohio travel and tourism guide to Ohio tourist attractions and Ohio vacation destinations in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and all Ohio featuring Ohio travel information on festivals and events, tours, museums, arts, restaurants, lodging, wineries, parks, historic sites, outdoor activities, recreation and leisure activities and entertainment coupons, discounts and other travel deals along Ohio's roads less traveled.
THE TWISTED OLIVE
The Twisted Olive provides a modern, vibrant dining experience in the City of Green. Nestled in a beautiful park setting with plentiful indoor and outdoor seating, this modern restaurant estate overlooks beautiful landscapes and water features. The casual menu includes classic Italian American fare perfect for family and business luncheons and dinners.
Projected to open in late 2014, The Twisted Olive Italian American Kitchen is a large restaurant property with multiple casual dining spaces that organically flow from a vibrant open kitchen concept to various family, social and private dining spaces. The modern décor is an eclectic blend of vintage and new world design with pops of color and contemporary accents featured on a simple, natural, warm color palette. Surrounded by the beautiful Southgate Park, this 16,000 square foot property promises gorgeous romantic views and abundant family enjoyment. The menu is perfect for families, business lunches and dinners and features a unique array of pizzas, steaks, sandwiches, pastas, and salads along with a kids menu. The lower-level, walk-out pub features a variety of wine, beer and spirits to accompany appetizers and the lunch and dinner menus.
Owned and operated by Gervasi Vineyard (owned by the Swaldo Family), The Twisted Olive will be different and uniquely its own while achieving the high standards the community has come to expect from a Gervasi experience. The Twisted Olive will also feature Gervasi’s award winning wines along with a full complement of beers and spirits. Serving the neighborhoods of Jackson, Green, and the surrounding communities, the Swaldo family is excited to soon launch a dining experience that is family and business focused for the immediate local area to enjoy.
Stay tuned for more updates at the Twisted Olive Facebook page. The Twisted Olive Italian American Kitchen will be located at 5430 Massillon Rd, Green, Ohio 44720.
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Thank you for visiting OhioTraveler.com, your tour guide to fun, featuring free and affordable attractions on the roads less traveled. This Ohio travel and tourism guide presents monthly articles and videos highlighting different Ohio tourist attractions and vacation destinations in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and all over Ohio. It includes travel information about festivals and events, museums, arts, restaurants, lodging, wineries, parks, historic sites, outdoors, as well as other recreation and leisure activities. Occasionally, there are entertainment coupons, discounts and other travel deals.
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Disclaimer: As a precaution, please call ahead to the venues you plan to visit to ensure that the hours, admittance and other information in this Web site have not changed. We assume no responsibility for omissions, inaccuracies or errors within the contents of this Web site. However, we will take into consideration, any comments that would better represent the venues within, and possibly add them to our Web site.
All rights reserved. No part of this Web site may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the written permission from Frank R. Satullo, owner of ZoneFree Publishing and OhioTraveler.com. Frank Rocco Satullo is the author of Here I Thought I was Normal.
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