OHIO TRAVEL & TOURISM GUIDE TO OHIO ATTRACTIONS
July 2016 Edition ©


Life On The Tow Path

Monticello III

Nostalgia is at its best when a bygone era is brought back to life through the personality and passion of a mom and pop operation. It’s the extra touch like seeing a wheelchair and getting out the ramp so nobody even has to ask. Whether it’s a couple, family on a daytrip or a large group tour, there’s one goal – send everyone home happy and with plenty to talk about.

“We’re in the memory making business,” grinned Tom Roahrig. ….Read More….

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Formally A Country Girl

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She sells you dreams. Or at least the one and only dress for a fairy tale evening. And the enchanting setting for a princess’ ball.

“I never imagined that such a beautiful place would be out in the middle of nowhere,” have been the words rolling out of dropped jaws for years by women visiting Hilltop Event Center.

By word of mouth, mostly, Southern Ohio girls whisper about where they got their gown for homecoming, prom, and their wedding. But never too loudly because you know, it’s a secret you only tell your closest friend. ….Read more….

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Top-5 FREE Mohican Activities

Mohican Loudonville Tourism 

There have been published reports about how employees are not taking vacations. Reports on how much people are in debt. The news bombards everyone every day. What if the news was more positive? What if vacation was possible and did not break the bank? That is where the Canoe Capital of Ohio can help. Here is a list of the top-5 free activities for the whole family to enjoy while staying in Mohican.

Parks & Trails – The Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest have free entry. This enables the family to enjoy the hiking trails, mountain bike trails and horse trails. There are over 100 miles of trails available to everyone in Mohican.

Nature Programs – The Mohican State Park Naturalist provides weekly programs and hikes. They are free and open to the public. Learn about the diversity of life that is native to Mohican, while having fun at the same time.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane – The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum offers free admission to explore Mohican area’s unique history and its individuals that help put Mohican on the map. Don Purcell’s Carvings & Artwork is their featured exhibit. Born in 1938, butcher turned full-time artisan, Purcell turned his hobby of drawing into woodworking when challenged to make a rocking horse for his granddaughter. Instead, he created a carrousel horse. From there, birds and animals were created. Check out this exquisite exhibit from now until Mid-October.

Year-Round Events & Festivals – Yes, the majority of the Mohican events have no entry fee. The infamous Flxible Bus Rally returns in July. This is the chance to see motor coaches turned into campers or remodeled to their original state. Make sure to see the parade in downtown Loudonville. Pleasant Hill Lake Park throughout the summer will offer free canoe and kayaking on Pleasant Hill Lake. In fall, return for the Free Loudonville Street Fair, Fall Foliage Drive-It-Yourself Tour and more. Visit DiscoverMohican.com for a listing of the events.

Mohican State Park Lodge – It does not matter if paying for the night or not, the Mohican State Park Lodge is open to the public all year. Several programs are offered at the Mohican Lodge that are free and open to everyone. See the Live Birds of Prey program every Saturday, now through November. See the birds up close and personal while learning about their diets and more. The Mohican State Park Naturalist also holds programs for all, and yes, it’s free. Paved pathways allows the entire family to enjoy a hike throughout the property that overlooks Pleasant Hill Lake.

All of those free activities allows room to choose that perfect place to stay. Whether at a castle, lodge, campground, bed and breakfast, Inn, or private rental there is something for everyone. Spend the rest of vacation canoeing, fishing, zip lining, conquering the aerial adventure park and more.

Find the adventure in Mohican. Discover Why Mohican Rocks! Visit http://discovermohican.com/ for information to plan your trip.

Sidney is Hot-Hot-Hot

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Only a short drive from almost everywhere in Ohio, Sidney and the surrounding area offers an incredible variety of fun close to home. Outdoor concerts, festivals, and recreation of all sorts await you in west central Ohio.

On the evening of July 1, 2016, the historic Shelby County court square comes alive when the Sidney Civic Band takes the stage to present its annual Patriotic Concert and 911 Memorial. Bring your lawn chair and relax under the century old shade trees of the court house lawn while enjoying the uplifting and inspirational music of this talented ensemble.  After the show, why not stop in to one of Sidney’s downtown restaurants and bistros for a sandwich, drink, or iced coffee. Delicious…

Now that you’re in a patriotic frame of mind, how about attending the booming and colorful overhead lightshow of fireworks at the City of Sidney’s annual 4th of July celebration.  The pyrotechnics begin at 10:00 p.m. and can be easily viewed on the either the campus of Sidney Middle School or Sidney High School.  Be sure to bring a blanket, cooler, lawn chairs, and snacks for the kids.  In the event of rain, the fireworks will be held at this same location on July 5th.

July 7, 2016 ushers in the 36th annual Country Concert at Hickory Hill Lakes in nearby Fort Loramie.  Country music fans will not want to miss this year’s three day lineup featuring headliners Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, and Brantley Gilbert.  Other well-known artists scheduled to appear include Big & Rich, Dustin Lynch, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, Kacey Musgraves, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many more.  In total twenty-four performers on two big stages will leave you breathless by the end of this three-day music festival.

Do you like Bar-B-Que?  Who doesn’t right?  July 16, 2016 marks the return of Downtown Sidney’s Annual BBQfest.  Live music all day combined with some of the best award winning BBQ you’ve ever licked off your fingertips will have you grinning ear to ear all weekend long.  Pork ribs, pulled pork, BBQ chicken and all the fixins’ will be on hand to enjoy.  Come out early!  The open-air Great Sidney Farmers Market runs weekly on Saturday’s from 8 a.m. until Noon with the BBQfest on this particular Saturday being offered from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Have you ever played Bocce Ball?  In conjunction with Saturday’s BBQfest, how about getting your team together to compete in the CARSTAR Bocce Grand Prix of Sidney?  This downtown tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on the courthouse lawn and concludes with the first place team taking home $1,500 in prize money.  Second place $750 and third place will be awarded $400 for their Bocce success.  If interested, you’d better hurry.  All team entry forms are due by July 8th.

To round out the Hot-Hot-Hot month of July, the Shelby County Fair kicks off July 24, 2016 and runs through July 30th.  For 155 consecutive years, the Shelby County Fair has excited and entertained guests of all ages.  Rides, games, exhibits, livestock shows, that fantastic fair food and so much more!  Oh yeah, don’t miss the always popular demolition derby, tractor pull, and an incredible line up of live entertainment.

For every leisure and recreation interest, the possibilities are many in Sidney.  Additional information about these all of the incredible attractions in west central Ohio can be found on the newly redesigned web site of the Sidney Visitors Bureau at VisitSidneyShelby.com.  A quick review of the web calendar there is sure to entice you with an eye-popping array of summer fun.

Chuck Wagon Dinner Rides Video

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Visit Before You Go Ohio Travel
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

This month’s video features Chuck Wagon Dinner Rides at Bonnybrook Farm in Clarksville, Ohio. This  unique experience is an afternoon of family leisure time, old chuck wagon ride, delicious food, S’mores and more!

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PLAY VIDEO    

A Chuck Wagon Dinner Ride at Bonnybrook Farms offers a fun evening of great food and camaraderie for families, friends and groups of all sizes. Reservations required.

5:00 pm: Enjoy the outdoors and some ‘Fun on the Farm’ activities, or just relax on the back porch and watch the fun.

6:30 pm: When the dinner bell rings, enjoy a barbecue meal of hickory smoked pulled pork and chicken and farm fresh, locally grown salads and sides. Drinks are included but BYOB if you’d like.

7:30 pm: After dinner, board the wagon for a ride down an abandoned country road to Todd Fork Creek. At the old chuck wagon, choose from fresh baked desserts then gather ’round the campfire. Kids of all ages can roast S’mores.

Watercolor Workshop by Famous Artist

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Internationally known artist/instructor Tony Couch has been invited to conduct a four day watercolor painting workshop in Oxford, Ohio on July 18-21, 2016.  The workshop will be held at the Oxford Community Arts Center.  Tuition for the event is $450.00; reservations are on a first come basis.

The workshop sessions begin each morning at 9 am when couch completes a painting, explaining what he is doing, and why, as he paints.  Students paint in the afternoons, after which Couch critiques all the day’s completed work, including his own.  An optional slide show/lecture on the principles of design – including color and composition – will be presented in the afternoon of the first day.

Couch received a bachelor degree in art from the university of tampa, and did further work at Pratt institute in new york, while an artist for associated press.  Then for years he was a freelance illustrator while studying watercolor painting with Edgar A. Whitney, ANA.

He has written three books on watercolor.  His first, titled “Watercolor: You Can Do It!” Was published by Northlight Publishing, went through five printings and became Northlight’s all-time bestselling book on painting.  It has been the textbook for several college art departments and has been translated into Chinese for markets overseas.  A follow-up book on technique was published by the same publisher.   It went through three printings and was translated into Japanese for that market.  A third book, on design, titled “Tony Couch’s Keys To Successful Painting” was also published by Northlight.

Tony Couch’s watercolor instruction articles have appeared in “Palette Talk”, “American Artist”, “Australian Artist”, “Northlight” “Watercolor Magic” and “The Artist” magazines.  His work is included in twelve art instruction articles and publications by other artists in the United States, Australia and the UK.

He has produced 10 “how to” videos and DVDs, some of which are used in colleges and in various state educational systems.  He conducts workshops throughout the US and abroad.

Couch has been elected to membership in the Academic Artists Assn., Allied Artists of America, \The Hudson Valley Art Assn., Knickerbocker Artists, Aalmagundi Club, Society of Marine Painters, Watercolor West, the Pittsburgh, Georgia and Southern Watercolor Societies, as well as Transparent Watercolor Society of America and the Whiskey Painters of America.

He has won over 70 national awards and his work has been included in three annual exhibitions of the National Academy of Design.

Anyone 18 or older is eligible to enroll in the workshop.  There are no prerequisites and the group will be made up of beginners, students, hobbyists and professional artists.  The Oxford Community Arts Center is located at 10 South College Avenue, in Oxford. For additional information contact the Art Center at caro@oxarts.orgor 513-524-8506, or visit the website www.oxarts.org.

Magical History Tour

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Arlington National Cemetery

If you are venturing up or down the east coast of the United States, get a preview and inside look at what’s ahead by clicking on the links below. Each month, a new story is added.

Begin the Journey

Monticello

Jamestown

Colonial Williamsburg

Mount Vernon

Arlington National Cemetery

Coming Soon:

U.S. Capitol

National Mall & Monuments

Philadelphia Freedom

New York City

Plymouth & Cape Cod

Boston

Charlestown Navy Yard

Cooperstown

Gettysburg

Falling Water

Stories by Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

America’s Most Colorful Caverns

Ohio Caverns

Nature carved a fairyland beneath the rolling, wooded hills of rural West Liberty, Ohio. Nobody knew that over three miles of the most colorful caverns in America lie below, growing one drip at a time, undisturbed for ages.  ….Read More….

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Johnston Farm & Indian Agency

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The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency tells the story of early events that helped shape Ohio. From the establishment of the Pickawillany village in 1747 to Camp Piqua in 1862, visitors walk where the participants walked. Against the backdrop of the home and farm of John Johnston, the Woodland Indian and Canal Museum, and a restored stretch of the Miami and Erie Canal, the past of both Ohio and the Upper Miami Valley is preserved and brought to life.

One feature of the site is the home and farm of Col. John Johnston who served as a Federal Indian Agent in Ft. Wayne and Piqua, Ohio. He also held an appointment as an Ohio Canal Commissioner, in addition to being active in politics at many levels. He was associated with all things new and innovative at his Upper Piqua Farm. Costumed guides give visitors a look at life on the American frontier 200 years ago.

The Woodland Indian and Canal Museum relates the story of the early interaction between the Euro-American traders in the Ohio Country and the various Woodland Indians who called the land home. Additional exhibits trace the construction, use, and eventual decline of Ohio’s nearly 1000 miles of canals built between 1825 and 1845. There is also a museum shop that offers items that relate to the varied facets of the site.

No visit would be complete without a ride on the General Harrison of Piqua, a replica mixed cargo boat that once traveled Ohio’s canals. On board, costumed crew members take visitors back to the time when Ohio moved at four miles an hour as they feel the tug on the towrope as mules carry them along the canal and back to an earlier time.

Events for 2016 include:

  • History Alive at the Johnston Farm on Saturday & Sunday, July 9 &10
  • Evening on the Canal at the Johnston Farm on Saturday, August 15 (Reservation Required)
  • Murder Mystery: Murder in the Museum on Saturday, September 24 (Reservation Required)
  • Fall Celebration at the Johnston Farm on Saturday, October 1
  • Christmas at the Johnston Farm on Saturday, December 3 (Reservation Required)

The Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is open to the public Thursday – Sunday in June, July, and August. For times of tours and canal boat rides, admission fees, as well as information about the various special events visitors can call 937-773-2522 or find us on the World Wide Web at www.johnstonfarmohio.com.

Have an Urban Adventure

 Grove City Ohio Trails

Have an Urban Adventure in Grove City

Summertime means longer days and more time to do the things you love. Spend time outdoors and have an urban adventure this summer in Grove City.

Explore Central Ohio’s newest metro park, Scioto Grove, which is situated along the picturesque Scioto River. Follow the winding river as you hike along miles of trails. Scioto Grove is the first park in the U.S. to be sponsored by outdoor retailer, REI, which helped to fund the creation of a backpacking trail along the river with five campsites. The REI River Trail allows visitors to experience an overnight backpacking trip, while still being close to the city.

Have an interactive learning experience at Grove City’s EcoFest on August 20, 2016 from 10am to 4pm at Henceroth Park. There, you’ll discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about living a sustainable and healthy lifestyle. From test-driving a Tesla to hands-on fitness demonstrations to learning about wildlife up-close and even biking with Grove City’s mayor, there’s so much to see and do at EcoFest.

Get your game on in Grove City at LVL UP Sports and Kickmaster Footgolf. LVL UP Sports is a paintball adventure park featuring unique paintball fields and courses, including wooded courses, themed fields, and x-ball. Kickmaster Footgolf is the first dedicated footgolf course in the U.S. Never heard of footgolf? It’s basically golf, but played with a soccer ball. There will even be glow-in-the-dark footgolf on Friday and Saturday nights.

Awaken your senses at Gantz Park as you walk through the Gardens of Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow, where you can learn about horticulture through time, including how plants were used for fragrance, medicine, dyes, and culinary purposes. Then, venture through the arboretum to learn about different tree species.

Get up-close and personal with nature at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, where you can see a herd of eleven bison roam restored prairie fields. Then, learn about the history of the land at the state-of-the-art Nature Center, which features an interactive living stream. For your next adventure, paddle down the Big Darby Creek River, a National and State Scenic River. Begin your trip at Trapper John’s Canoe Livery, where you can rent a canoe, kayak, or inner tube. Then, enjoy a leisurely ride down the river and see if you can spot any unique animals or plants along the way–it’s a highly preserved riparian ecosystem with tons of biodiversity.

After your urban adventure, quench your thirst at Hop Yard 62, a craft beer taproom boasting twenty one rotating taps. Visit them on a Friday night, when they have live music and a food truck or check out their other unique events during the week. Or head to Plum Run Winery, where their vintages come from the only working vineyard in Franklin County. Have a flight or food and wine pairing while you enjoy beautiful weather on the patio. The winery will soon have a new neighbor–the Grove City Brewing Company, so stay tuned for even more craft beer coming to Grove City!

Whether you’re into backpacking, green living, paintballing, footgolf, bison, or kayaking, Grove City is a place where you are free to roam. Plan your urban adventure trip to Grove City and book your stay now!

2016 Soap Box Derby

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Welcome to the All American Soap Box Derby held annually in Akron, Ohio. The Derby dates back to 1934, when the first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio.

Officials of the Soap Box Derby are inviting any Soap Box Derby racers who competed at Akron’s Derby Downs in August 1936, to be honored guests in pre-race ceremonies at the 79th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby on Saturday, July 16, 2016.

“We hope anyone who raced in the Akron local race or the third All-American Soap Box Derby in 1936, will help us commemorate this milestone,” said Joe Mazur, president and CEO of the Soap Box Derby of the 80th anniversary. “We will recognize any returning 1936 champions on race day during opening ceremonies and invite them to ride in the parade,” Mazur added.

Mazur explained that Derby Downs was built by the Works Progress Administration in the summer of 1936, on a site originally intended to be a ski run operated by the City of Akron.  Derby Downs has been the permanent home of the Soap Box Derby championship finals for 77 of the event’s 79 years. The first race in 1934 was in Dayton, and the 1935 event was on Tallmadge Avenue in Akron. There was a four-year hiatus from Soap Box Derby racing during World War II. Any 1936 racers may contact (330) 733-8723, Extension 34, or email alumni@soapboxderby.org  for more information.

More than 450 boys and girls will be in Akron beginning Sunday, July 10, for a week of activities leading to the championship finals on Saturday, July 16.

Two teenage volunteers of the Soap Box Derby program have been chosen as recipients of the President’s Youth Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes volunteers under the age of 21 who have made a positive impact on the Soap Box Derby through their leadership on the local or national level.

The 2016 award recipients are Veronica Harris of Campbell, Calif., and Laura Hubbell of Pataskala, Ohio.

“These young people chosen for this prestigious award have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to the Soap Box Derby in their home communities,” said Joe Mazur, president and CEO of the Soap Box Derby. “They both are seasoned racers who work to increase awareness in our program and mentor other youth so they get the maximum positive experience from their participation.”

Harris, 19, raced in the Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby and rally competition in Stock, Super Stock and Masters divisions over a seven-year period beginning in 2007. She has represented her area in the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron five times. As a volunteer, she serves her local and statewide California Derby programs as a mentor to younger racers by teaching them driving skills; motivates participants to persevere in difficult times; visits area schools and community events to promote awareness of Derby racing, and has taught a class of middle school students how to build, prepare and race Derby cars as part of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education program. She also is a driver for the SuperKids race for children special needs children and coordinates the run-out area at her local races.

Hubbell, 18, is a volunteer in the Columbus (Ohio) Soap Box Derby and also competes in rallies. She won all three division titles in Columbus and continues to race in Masters division rallies. She has raced in the world championship finals in Akron four times, including in the 2013 Ultimate Speed competition. In Columbus, Hubbell is a member of the junior board of the Derby organization; promotes involvement in Derby racing through events at schools, 4-H activities and booths at the Ohio State Fair; recruits and trains participants in SuperKids racing; has developed a “how to” manual to assist organizations in staging Soap Box Derby events, and mentored other racers on racing procedures.

Nominations for the youth award come from local, regional and national Soap Box Derby officials. The awards will be presented as part of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby race day awards program at E.J. Thomas Hall on Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 7 p.m.

The World Championship finals are comprised of more than 550 qualifiers from states around the U.S. and several foreign countries. The race has more than 10,000 spectators who attend annually and over 1,500 volunteers every year. The race features boy and girl drivers from ages 7-20, who compete in one of three different divisions in these “gravity” races for scholarships and other prizes. Race week at Derby Downs race track is filled with many activities. The race encourages young people to take in the true spirit of teamwork and sportsmanship of the derby’s history.

Plan your visit to see the 2016 FirstEnergy All American Soap Box Derby at http://www.soapboxderby.org/.

Mohican Pow-Wow is a Standout

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Great Mohican Pow-Wow is a national standout in Native American Pow-Wows. It features accomplished musicians, custom dancing and colorful ceremonial dress. Adding to its authenticity, the event is nestled in secluded wooded hills creating the perfect backdrop to this beautiful annual celebration. Entertainment dazzles with fire-starters, tomahawk throwers, storytellers, hoop dancers, colorful ceremonial dress and more. In addition, there are Native American foods to enjoy and original creations by more than 40 traders, artisans and crafters. These wares include pottery, bead working, quill working, fur trading, wood and bone carving, leather work, basket weaving, clothes making and jewelry. Click here to play a video showcasing the Pow-Wow. Complete information is available at mohicanpowwow.com.  

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This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. Click here for more details about the award and all award recipients.

Trial of Adolf Eichmann

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The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is extending Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann through July 24, 2016. “Fascinating, touching and terrifying,” one exhibition-goer shared on Facebook after seeing Operation Finale. “Absolutely a ‘must-see’,” wrote another.

“We’ve presented 27 special exhibitions on everything from biblical treasures to comic book superheroes over the last 10 years,” says Maltz Museum executive director Ellen Rudolph. “The secret history behind the daring, high stakes spy operation that made a key perpetrator of the Holocaust accountable for crimes against humanity has emerged as one of our most popular exhibitions to-date.”  The 4,000-square-foot multimedia exhibition created by the Maltz Museum in partnership with the Mossad — Israeli Secret Intelligence Service, and Beit Hatfutsot — Museum of the Jewish People, was originally slated to close June 12. It will now run through the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

“Operation Finale” was the code name for the effort to capture Eichmann. Responsible for transporting millions to death camps during World War II, the high-ranking Nazi official was hiding in Argentina when he was apprehended by Mossad agents in 1960 and smuggled out of the country. Films, photographs and 60 recently declassified mission-related artifacts encourage visitors to explore the spy story’s twists and turns.  “This is the first time the Mossad has allowed archival materials from a clandestine operation to travel outside of Israel,” says Rudolph. “The printed maps, hand-forged license passports and handwritten case files underscore the complexity of pre-digital espionage.”

An immersive, three-channel video installation that includes the actual bulletproof booth from which a dispassionate Eichmann claimed innocence asks visitors to consider a legacy of one of the most high profile trials of the 20th century—the empowerment of survivors to tell their stories and challenge future generations to address crimes against humanity.

“Every day, everywhere across the globe people are experiencing forms of discrimination, exclusion, persecution and acts of violence based on race, religion, gender, gender identity or politics,” says Rudolph. “Ultimately Operation Finale reminds us that, as Elie Wiesel declared in his 1986 Nobel Prize speech, ‘Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.’”

Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann travels across the country following its Cleveland debut. For more information and future locations, visit maltzmuseum.org.