OHIO TRAVEL & TOURISM GUIDE TO OHIO ATTRACTIONS
August 2015 Edition ©


Covered Bridge Bluegrass Fest

pottersburg-covered-bridge-festival

The annual Covered Bridge & Bluegrass Festival is quickly approaching. Just 30 minutes from downtown Columbus and 90 minutes from Dayton, this is a family-friendly festival you won’t want to miss.

On Friday evening, September 18, 2015 a Sunset Dinner on the Pottersburg Bridge sets the stage for this year’s festival. A chef will prepare a five course meal serving guests on the bridge. Seats are limited and reservations are required for this unique dining experience.

Seven excellent bluegrass and folk bands will perform throughout the festival. Other activities include an ice cream social on the bridge, a church service, arts, crafts, shopping, antiques, and wagon rides plus much more throughout the festive weekend from September 18 – 20, 2015. The event officially kicks off on Saturday, September 19. This fascinating festival and its unique setting have attracted folks throughout Ohio year after year. It is now celebrating its 8th anniversary. Admission to the festival is $5 (kids 12 and under are free) – good for the entire weekend.

The beautiful Pottersburg Covered Bridge hosts The Covered Bridge Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20, 2015. The historic bridge sits at the end of North Lewisburg’s multi-purpose trail. Corn fields and woods surround the bridge creating a serene, rural location for the festival.

Union County Chamber & Tourism Director, Tina Knotts, says the fest is known as a family-friendly event and that it takes a full day to see and do all that is offered.

“From breakfast on the bridge Saturday morning to tours of bridges in the country to the marketplace with crafts and antiques, plus seven bluegrass and folk bands playing throughout the festival, most families will make a day of it at the event.” Knotts said.

While adults enjoy the music and history, children’s activities will include a petting zoo, demonstrations from historical reenactors, horse drawn wagon rides, seeing a flock of sheep and more.

After breakfast on the bridge, families can attend a canvas class taught by a member of the Marysville Art League. In light of the festival’s theme, participants in the class will learn step by step how to paint a covered bridge. Reservations and a fee apply to this class. Visitors can then shop in the merchant area, watch demonstrations in the demo tent, listen to storytelling, or take a covered bridge and scenic byway tour. The guided tours are an excellent way to take in the sights of Union County.

Guests can also listen to an excellent lineup of music artists. Saturday’s music lineup includes One More Time String Band, Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band, and Black Diamond. Be sure to stay for the Saturday night Concert on the Bridge performed by Sugar Creek Bluegrass with Bill Purk. Sugar Creek Bluegrass is an energetic young group of siblings who have been performing together since 2012. Concert tickets are $15 at the bridge or $12 presale.

The festivities continue on Sunday with coffee and a church service on the bridge, an ice cream social, more music by bluegrass artists, and a repeat of Saturday’s activities, shopping, and vendors.

For more information about the festival, sponsorship opportunities, dinner on the bridge reservations, or Saturday concert ticket information, call the Union County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 937-642-6279 or email tknotts@unioncounty.org. The Pottersburg Bridge is located at 17141 Inskeep-Cratty Road in North Lewisburg, Ohio 43060. More information including a detailed festival schedule are at www.coveredbridgefestival.com.

Celina Governors Cup Regatta

Boat Racing Grand Lake Saint Marys

Inboard Hydroplane Racing on Grand Lake St. Marys

The roar of the engines and the rooster tail plumes of water shooting skyward are the exciting sights and sounds you won’t want to miss. Hydroplane Racing comes to Celina, Ohio on Saturday & Sunday, August 22 & 23, 2015. More than 20,000 spectators will line the northwest shore of Grand Lake St. Marys along Lakeshore Drive in Celina, Ohio to witness this breath taking racing action. Admission and parking are FREE for those attending this exhilarating racing event.

There is a long and prestigious history of hydroplane boat racing in Celina, Ohio dating back to 1958. That’s when Inboard Hydroplanes first roared across the waters of Grand Lake St Marys. The Regatta attracts over 60 boats and teams from throughout the Midwest and Canada every year.

The racing action and test laps will begin at 10 am both days. Other fun events with the racing action include Laser Tag, a Car and Motorcycle Cruise-In, a Mobile Arcade, Super Hero Characters and a Motorcycle Scavenger Ride around scenic Grand Lake St. Marys. Don’t miss the Rooster Tail 5K Run on Sunday morning and there will be all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7:30 to 11:30. Plenty of great food and adult beverages will be available during the weekend. Friday night, come to the race site for a free concert by Another Round. Following the racing action on Saturday night enjoy great music from the Phillip Fox Band.

There is no admission charge and parking is free. So mark your calendar now for August 22 & 23, and don’t miss the Governor’s Cup Regatta Inboard Hydroplane races for a weekend of FREE FAMILY FUN!   For more information check out www.celinaevents.com.

Welcome to the Big Pop!

wyandot-popcorn-popper

Ohio is popping with history but in Marion, that history tastes delicious with an added touch of butter – or salt – or caramel – or…

Welcome to the big top, literally. Step right up folks, the world’s largest popcorn museum is inside a circus tent inside a historic building.

Before you see anything, you smell it! MM-mmm-mm! Fresh roasted popcorn. Just before you catch yourself drooling, your eyes will turn as wide as saucers when the giant red, white and blue circus tent comes into view.

The main attraction is the world famous Wyandot Popcorn Museum. It’s the largest on the planet and only one of two in the country. It just so happens that the other one is also in Ohio. Go figure.

The bright and colorful circus tent puts everyone in a festive mood. Then you see these fascinating nickel plated contraptions that look more like priceless pieces of art. But its art that moves. Careful, the intricate interlinking parts of these unique machines will mesmerize you. So will the craftsmanship.

Imagine a steam whistle blowing.

Here you don’t have to imagine it because you’ll hear it – for real. But for safety purposes, the steam whistles on these polished like new relics are now generated by air compressors.

Timeout for a trivia question: What are non-popped kernels called?
Answer: Old Maids.

Okay, back to the story.

This creative and interactive museum features more than 50 popcorn machines – many doubled as peanut roasters (5 or 6 peanut roasting only machines). The collection features a few horse drawn carts, a 1927 Ford Model TT Concession Wagon, 1911 Dunbar Wagon, Cretors 1899 No. 1 Popcorn Cart, 1896 Kingery steam-driven wagon, and 1892 Olson store-type dry popper.

Here’s a side note about that 1911 Dunbar Wagon. The museum founder, George Brown, son of the Wyandot Popcorn Company founder, William “Hoover” Brown, decided to drive over to the Mid-Ohio Raceway one day in the early 1980s.  Native Ohioan and famed Hollywood actor, Paul Newman, was there with his race team. George and Paul struck up a conversation about popcorn of all things. George grew up in the business and Paul wanted to launch a line of popcorn for his Newman’s Own brand. But he needed the right supplier. That day he found one. They shook hands and next, the Brown family found themselves in New York’s Central Park with Newman and his business partner Al Hutchner launching their line of jarred popcorn in 1984. George’s wife, Millie, posed for a photograph with Paul Newman with a perfect vintage 1911 Dunbar Wagon as a backdrop. That wagon is in the Wyandot Popcorn Museum today.

The museum teaches all kinds of interesting things about popcorn history and Wyandot Popcorn Company’s part in that. For example, in 1948 an archaeological dig in “Bat Cave”, New Mexico turned up what many believe to be the oldest ears of popcorn ever found, dating well over a thousand years old. Popcorn was originally prepared by Native Americans using a bowl containing sand and placing the bowl over fire. The sand heated the kernels and when they popped, they popped to the top of the sand.

Now let’s fast forward to modern history and the early movie theaters. Movie theater popcorn started when street vendors began setting up in front of movie houses.  At first, theater owners chased the vendors away. But when they saw how much movie goers loved the popped corn, theater owners saw dollar signs and invited the vendors inside. Then they realized they don’t need the vendors, just the machines. So the movie theater snack bar was born.  In 1948, Popped Right Corn Company became a subsidiary of Wyandot Popcorn Company to supply theater chains with popped popcorn.

But the Wyandot story and how it contributed to the history of popcorn began during The Great Depression. That’s when William “Hoover” Brown decided to plant 100 acres of popcorn to see how things would go. Well, things went well. And that’s how Wyandot Popcorn Company got its start in 1936. Years later, Golden Crisp and Caramel Corn were named by Ava Brown, “Hoover’s” wife, for the Shirk Candy Company which is still open in Marion, Ohio today.

“Hoover” and Ava’s son, George, gained interest in the popcorn industry, naturally, and in the 1970’s, he wanted to write a book about it.

His passion brought him to auctions where he acquired old broken down popcorn machines and peanut roasters. He then found a superb restorer in Bob Pearson of Kansas to transform the vintage machines to their original condition. They looked brand new again. Other restorers over the years included Roy Arrington in Las Vegas, NV and several of Wyandot’s own restoring experts. And although George never wrote his book, he became a treasure trove of information and thus a reliable source for others who wrote books about the popcorn industry.

George’s private collection grew so big, he decided to open a museum in 1982 at the Wyandot Popcorn Company’s headquarters in Marion. The museum grew more and found new homes for the public to come marvel at the colorful history of popcorn and experience it firsthand. Locations included the Southland Mall. After that, the collection was pieced out to multiple locations like the old COSI (Center of Science & Industry) museum building in Columbus, Ohio to feature displays.

Finally, in 1989, The Wyandot Popcorn Museum found a permanent home at Heritage Hall – the old 1910 Marion post office building – along with the Marion County Historical Society Museum. The Wyandot Popcorn Museum is inside what used as a sizeable mail sorting room in the 1930s which is now transformed by the big top circus tent.

Today Wyandot Popcorn Company in Marion, Ohio creates popcorn for a major brand to private label. Who that company is shall remain a secret.

Not only is Marion, Ohio home to the largest popcorn museum in the world, it hosts the largest popcorn festival in the world. The American Bus Association previously named The Marion Popcorn Festival one of the top-100 events in North America. The festival is always held during the weekend after Labor Day and attracts about a quarter million people annually. Details about the fest are at PopcornFestival.com.

Wyandot Popcorn Museum is open from 1pm – 4pm on weekends except in January and February and major holidays. It is located at 169 E. Church Street in Marion, Ohio. Admission is $4/adult, $3/senior, $1.50 for school age kids and free for preschoolers. For more information, call 740-387-4255 or visit WyandotPopcornMus.com.

One more thing – everyone leaves the museum with a FREE box of popcorn! Now, get to Marion, Ohio and see what’s poppin’ for you.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

Driven to Fame

lincoln-highway-marker

Welcome to the Historic Lincoln Highway

Quick! Think of an important historic highway. Most people first think of the National Road… then think of Route 66.

Mike Hocker, Ohio’s Lincoln Highway Historic Byway Director, explains why these thoughts are common. The National Road was the first major government-commissioned road; accomplished by Jefferson in 1803. It spanned the known country then – from Baltimore to the wilderness of southern Illinois. Route 66 was planned by the government in the 1920s and took travelers from Chicago to L.A. A popular television show and a hit song made that highway famous.

But thanks to many advocacy groups and recently organized byway organizations, word is getting out that the “Lincoln” was America’s first coast-to-coast paved highway in America.

The Lincoln Highway was not a government project. Rather it was an idea generated by several industrialists who wanted to promote automobile travel. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway was born and named to honor President Abraham Lincoln. In the 50 years following his death, no major commemoration to this much loved president had been made. Numbered routes had not been standardized anywhere in the nation yet, and it was typical in that time to name a road. Through the primary efforts auto industrialists Frank Sieberling, Carl Fisher and Henry Joy, communities large and small, county governments and tiny townships, donations and sweat equity all worked together to link many existing roads and create “the safest and shortest path” to span America. The road ran from Times Square in New York to the San Francisco bay – an astounding 3,389 miles!

The road joined major cities, yet encouraged feeder roads to be built – an endeavor meant not only to promote the automobile era, but also change the way Americans traveled.

“It brought us from the world of short-haul deliveries to virtually anywhere. Communities that weren’t rail towns could easily get goods and services,” Hocker observed.

The Lincoln Highway also ushered in campsites, roadside rests, and diners that evolved into the fast food restaurants we take for granted today. Soon, motor courts, and later, motels, ended the roadside camping that travelers had contended with in earlier days.

Comprehension of the legacy of transportation and change in America’s culture has not been completely understood nor popular, perhaps to due to the generational disconnect from then until now.

“Now we look back and see that it is very important to us,” Hocker continued. “The roadside holds much history in re-used buildings, ghost signs from the nineteen teens to twenties and tiny lingering small-town shops that create a fun romp for travelers to rediscover. While most people think of the National Road and Route 66, we will continue to let people know about “the Father Road” or “Main Street Across America” – two early nicknames of the Lincoln Highway and the businesses and attractions along the historic drive,” Hocker concluded.

Don’t miss the upcoming Ohio Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Sale August 13 – 15, 2015. The LH follows generally the older alignments of US Rt 30 through the state. From East Liverpool to Convoy, and every Lincoln Highway community in between (there were over 1,000 yard sale events last year), if you are looking for it, chances are you’ll find it…at yard sale prices! Pick up a free Travelers Guide along the way, too.

Little Free Libraries

 little-free-libraries

Little Free Libraries Popping Up In Ohio

Traveling around Ohio, I run into the darndest things sometimes.

On a trip along the North Coast, I cruised old familiar streets and saw something I had never seen before. I pulled to the side of Lakewood Drive at the corner of Overlook Road in Avon Lake, Ohio and walked up to a little wooden box with glass front standing on a post. The sign said, “Little Free Library.” Inside was a collection of books urging anyone to “take a book, return a book.”

Anyone can share a book or checkout a book to read. The concept is to promote literacy, especially in neighborhoods where people cannot easily get to the public library. Let’s face it, in today’s day and age, many people are now reading books digitally. Affluent communities are likely to have digital libraries of their own and shelves of printed books they plan to donate while other communities wish they had better access to more books.

The first Little Free Library was created in 2009 by Todd Bol. He built a miniature schoolhouse for his mom – a former teacher and avid reader – living in Wisconsin. He placed it atop a post in her front yard and packed it with books. It advertised, “Free Books.”

And a movement was born.

Since then, “little free libraries” have taken the world by storm. They are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia and elsewhere. The artwork and craftsmanship that goes into each unique little library is worthy of its own picture book.

This novel idea is opening the world of literacy in hard-to-reach places and therefore opens incredible opportunities for kids that may have not otherwise come to love the stories so many of us cherish. However, as you may imagine, these beautiful boxes sometimes become targets of vandals. Fortunately, the heart behind the construction of each Free Little Library has the love and determination to outlast and perhaps even win over such ill-guided kids.

Nancy and Richard Kamps built and rebuilt the Little Free Library that caught my attention in Avon Lake. After there’s was vandalized the first time, the policeman that came to take the report ended up coming back and donating books to get it going again.

It’s easy to get started if you want to create a Little Free Library legally and safely. Visitwww.LittleFreeLibrary.org to learn how you may open horizons for those who may be less fortunate than you.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

Lincoln’s Funeral Train

Lincoln Funeral Train Car
Reproduction marks the 150th anniversary and reenactment of its stops this September in Troy, Ohio

On April 21, 1865, a train carrying the coffin of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln leaves Washington D.C., on its way to Springfield, Illinois, where he would be buried on May 4. The train carrying Lincoln’s body traveled through 180 cities and seven states on its way to Lincoln’s home state. In 1911, a prairie fire near Minneapolis, Minnesota, destroyed the train car that had so famously carried the 16th President’s body to its final resting place.

On September 10-13, 2015, 150 years after President Lincoln’s final journey, Troy Main Street and The Troy Foundation will showcase The Lincoln Funeral Train exhibit in downtown Troy.

The Funeral Train consists of a full-size reproduction of a 1860s era steam railroad locomotive, Number 63, named LEVIATHAN and tender. It was built about five years ago from plans provided by the National Park Service. It is a faithful reproduction to locomotives of the Civil War era as would have been used on the actual funeral train. Over 24 known locomotives pulled the original train. The funeral car, UNITED STATES, is a full-size reproduction of the original funeral car, built in 1864 for use by the president of the United States. President Lincoln’s only use of the car was to carry his remains from Washington D. C. to Springfield for burial. The reproduction UNITED STATES was completed in April, 2015 and used at Springfield, Illinois on May 2 and 3, 2015, to start the 150th anniversary procession and reenactment of the original Lincoln burial activities including the coffin in the car. The original car was destroyed in a fire in 1911.

This remarkable exhibit will take place over a four day period, Thursday, September 10th through Sunday, September 13th, and will be located on Short Street, alongside “Return Visit”, a 30 ft. sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and Modern Day Man, that has captured the attention of thousands of people as they visit our courthouse square and historic downtown.

The fee to view the inside of the train will be $5.00 per person, young children and kids in grades K through 12 will be admitted free. There will not be a charge to view the exhibit from the outside. School groups are encouraged to tour this extraordinary display on September 10th or 11th from 8:00am to Noon. Exhibit hours for the general public will run from Noon to 8:00pm Thursday and Friday and 10:00am to 8:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

As with any large exhibit, volunteers are needed to help with the planning and implementation. If you or your community group would like to volunteer, please contact Diana Thompson at 937-339-1044.

For further information regarding the history of the Lincoln Funeral Train, contact renowned local author, Scott Trostel at 937- 368-2489 or rrhist@att.net. For assistance with all other questions, contact Troy Main Street Executive Director, Katherine Hayes at 937-339-5455 or Katherine@troymainstreet.org.

Mohican Rocks Year-Round

mohican canoes

Top-10 Reasons Mohican Rocks

Summer is almost over and school is about to begin. While it may seem like time is slipping by, there is always time to spend a weekend or week in Mohican. Keep reading and find out the Top Ten reasons why Mohican rocks all year long.

Festivals & Events: The fun does not stop when school starts. Take a glimpse into the fun and excitement in Mohican. Coming up in September is the 31st Annual Great Mohican Pow-Wow. Watch and participate in the rich heritage and traditions of the Native Americans. Don’t forget to plan for popular Oktoberfest. All proceeds go to help maintaining the Wolf Creek Grist Mill. October brings the hills alive with color and fun. Look for the Loudonville Free Street Fair. The fair is over 120 years old with free admission and live entertainment. The Fall Foliage Drive-It-Yourself Tour showcases the hills of Mohican in a blaze of color. Drive or hike to the Covered Bridge, Lyons Falls and more. Then enjoy the shops and restaurants of downtown Loudonville. Need a little exercise? Then make sure to register for the Mohican 5k. All of the proceeds help to develop and maintain the bike path from downtown Loudonville to the Mohican State Park.

Mohican’s World Renowned Mountain Bike Trails: The Mohican Trails are world renowned. According to SingleTracks.com, the mountain bike paths are consistently ranked as the top in the State of Ohio and in the Top 50 around the world! The Mohican-Malabar Bike Club is a volunteer group that helps maintain the trails. Their hard work and dedication shows, as no matter what time of year, mountain bikers young and old, first time-to-experienced regularly use the trails.

Dedicated Hiking Trails: The hiking trails keep improving. Thanks to the partnership of the Mohican Trails Club and Ohio Department of Natural Resources the trails have never looked better! David Yanchunas, President of the Mohican Trails Club, states, “Mohican’s Trails are vast and beautiful. There is so much to experience here. The Trails Club wants everyone to get out and enjoy the park. That’s our passion-To keep Mohican’s trails open and easy to follow for all to enjoy.” As the trails wind through the forest, one will stand in awe of the native Ohio trees, such as, oak-hickory and beech-maple types. Native white pine and hemlock are also found.

Over 80 Miles of Bridle Trails: Have a horse. Bring your horse. There are over 80 miles of bridle trails in Mohican. These trails connect the Mohican-Memorial State Forest, Mohican State Park, Pleasant Hill Lake Park and Malabar Farm State Park. In essence, take a ride on the trails, have a bite to eat at the Mohican State Park Lodge and keep riding. If trail rides are more in line, then make sure to contact Triple M Riding Rescue Ranch. They are open for trail rides by appointment, all year, weather permitting.

Open 24/7: The trails in Mohican are one of the few across the Nation that never close. That’s right. They are open all year long. Just make sure to dress appropriately. Flip flops while hiking could be painful.

Mohican is the Camp & Canoe Capital of Ohio: There are over 4,000 campsites in Mohican and some are available 365 days a year. Canoeing along the Mohican State Scenic River will continue through approximately mid-October.

The Adventure Is Just Beginning: Zip-lining is available at Tree Frog Canopy Tours. Enjoy the Mohican area by tree top. Make sure to ask about their “Night Zips!”

Mohican’s History Helped to Change Ohio: The Mohican area holds historical importance to the state of Ohio and the Nation. Take a tour of The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum. The “Weapons of WWI” exhibit features a rare, anti-sniper ammunition custom made in the trenches. The ammunition relied on a blunt bullet, rather than conical, to shatter armor plating protecting enemy snipers. The specimens were brought home by a local WWI veteran. Admission into the museum is FREE.

Taking Pride In Local Goods & Services: Local restaurants and stores would rather use and sell locally sourced ingredients and goods. For example, Bromfield’s Restaurant, located at the Mohican Lodge, will change its menu to better utilize the seasonal ingredients and proteins available in the area. Big Fish General Store and Bait, sells beef and fish from a nearby source. They are also pretty good at helping with the fishing rod.

Golfing in Mohican: Like to golf? Then make sure to bring the clubs and head over to Pleasant Hill Golf Course. Family owned & operated for over 20 years, the Pleasant Hill Golf Course overlooks scenic Pleasant Hill Lake. The sculptured 2,536 yard, par three, 18 hole course will challenge and inspire players of every level.

Don’t wait any longer. Make the time to Discover Why Mohican Rocks!

Non-touristy Amish Country

amish-country

Play Video
Its where the simple life is seeded

When “Amish country” becomes overrun with tourists, many Amish seek to start new communities. It is in these smaller communities that the Amish way of life is seen with authenticity, up-close and personal.

It is in such communities that visitors are often greeted with a smile and conversation. When laughter is in the air, everyone slows down to enjoy the moment. One such community is nestled in Southern Ohio’s Appalachian region in West Union. But you have to take a little journey through time – it seems – along the hilly back country to get there. Out on the airy Wheat Ridge Road, farmhouse after farmhouse has a buggy in the driveway, a horse in the barn and clothes out on the line.

Roll down the windows, breathe in the air – this is true Amish Country. Kids are on their scooters pushing pavement with their feet to get to the market at Millers Furniture, Bakery and Bulk Foods. One family runs the shops here. It was originally their farm. When neighbors tasted the Miller’s family home-cooking and baking, word-of-mouth spread and a business was born.

The humble beginning of this family-run business is evident today in the modest members of the Miller family working there. Three generations of Millers are waiting with a smile to help you pick out the right handcrafted piece of furniture, give you a little taste of something special just whipped up in the bakery, or fill your cart in the grocery with all the ingredients to impress your dinner guests back at home.

It’s a little slice of paradise in the middle of nowhere. But the journey is just as rewarding as the destination. They are open daily except Sundays. It was only a generation or so ago that most stores were closed on Sundays for the Lord’s day of rest.

Some special dates at Miller’s are coming up. These include:

  • September 4, 5 and 7 (closed 6th): Labor Day sale offers 10 percent off all items in stock at furniture store only. Excludes all outdoor buildings, gazebos and select bedroom sets. It is recommended to order early for Christmas.
  • September 5, 2015 (Labor Day Weekend): The 18th Annual Amish School Benefit Cookout. The menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, noodles, Chip’s fresh pie, homemade ice cream, coffee and soft drinks.
  • September 26, 2015: Annual Adams County Marathon – Run in Amish Country. Call 606-831-3260.
  • October 3, 2015: The 38th Annual Miller’s Anniversary Customer Appreciation Day – Visitors get a free 2016 Miller’s calendar complete with 2016 sales dates and special event dates. The menu includes BBQ chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, fresh pie, homemade ice cream, coffee and soft drinks.
  • October 9 – 11, 2015: Wheat Ridge Old Thyme Herb Fair & Harvest Celebration at 817 Tater Ridge Rd. in West Union, Ohio. Friday – Sunday from 10am – 6pm. Call 937-544-8252 for more details about this event or visit www.wheatridgeherbfestival.com.
  • November 27 and 28, 2015: Storewide Thanksgiving Sale offering 10 percent off all items in stock (furniture store only). Excludes all outdoor buildings, gazebos and select bedroom sets.
  • December 26, (not the 27th), 28, 29, 30, 31 in 2015 and January 1, 2016 (Closed Sunday): The End of Year Clearance Sale! This includes free coffee and cookies at the bakery and free cheese and candy samples at the Bulk Foods Store. Get 10 percent off all items in stock (furniture store only). Excludes all outdoor buildings, gazebos and select bedroom sets.

Miller’s is the heart of what is known as “Wheat Ridge Amish” country. Everything they offer is found at www.WheatRidgeAmish.com.

Stan Hywet’s 100th Year

Stan-Hywet-gate-tulipsBeginning a 2nd Century in Bloom 

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is celebrating a milestone year marking its 100th anniversary. The season, “2nd Century in Bloom”, features special tours and exhibits highlighting the history of the estate, including the shift of this magnificent house from a private residence to public museum now enjoyed by visitors from around the world. Stan Hywet is located at 714 North Portage Path in Akron, Ohio.

Built between 1912-1915, F.A. Seiberling and his family moved in on Christmas Day, 1915. Designed by architect Charles S. Schneider, the Manor House is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in America. The Seiberlings hired Boston landscape architect Warren H. Manning to design the gardens and grounds.

“We are honored to be the stewards of this magnificent estate. The Seiberlings left us with an enduring legacy which we have the privilege to share, and a rich archive that will be presented throughout the 2015 season. We are dedicated to ensuring the gardens are always in bloom, the Estate is preserved and restored, the stories are shared and every generation in our community helps set the stage for the second century of this national historic landmark,” notes Linda Conrad,  President & Executive Director of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

A highlight of “2nd Century in Bloom” is a new specialty tour, “Blueprints to Bricks: Manor House 100th Anniversary Tour.” Offered twice daily, this tour, both inside the Manor House and outside on the grounds, focuses on how the Estate was planned and constructed, with a new tour route in the Manor House, where guests will see and venture into areas and unique spaces that are usually not accessible.

In the gardens, BLOOM! is on display through September 20, 2015. This larger-than-life installation features the glass artistry of Craig Mitchell Smith. Thirty-two kiln-fired and nature-inspired glass sculptures will be “planted” in the gardens; twelve are inspired by, and designed specifically for the Estate. The sculptures will be up-lit for special “Twilight & Flashlights” evening tours on Thursdays and Fridays from August 20 – September 4, 2015. Also outside is  “Picturing the Past” an exhibit with 15 select over-sized photographs of the property, dating from 1912-1915.  These images will be strategically placed on the grounds at the photographer’s vantage point, giving guests who visit in 2015 a look at then and now.

Stan Hywet hosts its official 100th anniversary celebration at Community Day on Sunday, August 16, 2015. Admission will be free for registered guests (online at stanhywet.org later this spring). The day includes vintage base ball, complimentary tours, antique cars, games, a Goodyear Band concert, geocaching, historic interpretations by the History First Hand acting troupe and more.

Special events that are guest favorites are also returning. “Inspiration in Bloom,” a fresh floral exhibit is on display in the Manor House from October 1 – 4, 2015. Founders’ Day commemorates the 80th anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous at the Gate Lodge, and the Father’s Day Car Show features century cars from 1915 and earlier, live music, and a display of vintage bicycles by the Ohio Wheelmen.

The 49th annual Ohio Mart is October 1 – 4, 2015, with highlights that include a 100th anniversary store and a museum tent celebrating the history of Stan Hywet’s volunteer Auxiliary Board at this annual artisan craft festival. In keeping with the yearlong theme, “Deck The Hall” in November and December focuses on “The Seiberling Family Christmases” with an exhibit of the family’s traditions in the 1920s, and a scale model of the Manor House – made out of gingerbread. More than 800,000 lights will illuminate the Estate, including Dazzle and Gingerbread Land.

More information is available at www.stanhywet.org or by calling 330-836-5533.

Banking on Fun!

old bank vault

Old Bank Vaults Are New Tourism Moneymakers

Traveling around Ohio I see the darndest things. Several years ago, I filmed two videos around the same time. One was in Wooster, Ohio and the other in Tipp City, Ohio. What I discovered, I had never seen before but have since seen sweeping the state.

My Wooster stop included Gallery in the Vault at the main corner downtown. I walked into the art gallery and was instantly enamored not only by the visuals throughout but the enormous bank vault facing the door. It was open and inside was a variety of exhibits that all lent to the transformation of this former bank.

old-bank-vault-wooster-ohioThe big vault dates back over 100 years to when Citizens National Bank installed it. Later the building became a Bank One branch. In 1995, Gallery in the Vault bought the building and opened for business the following year.

“There’s another vault that hasn’t been opened in decades,” said Judy Schmitt, owner of Gallery in the Vault. “Nobody knows what’s inside it if anything at all.”

This vault has a combination lock but nobody knows it. It would probably take Diebold to come break it open to crack the mystery. But don’t go calling Geraldo Rivera for another TV special because it would probably turn out the same as his infamous two hour special – The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults – empty!

The big vault, also Diebold, is filled with safety deposit boxes. When the old bank sold, all of the boxes were opened. If nobody came with a matching key, the lock was drilled out and opened. During the banking years, the main door to the big vault was set to timed release. Only at that time could two people with separate combinations go to the two separate dials simultaneously to open the big vault door. And there were only two people in the whole bank that had the combinations (one each). If something happened to one of those two people, you’d need to call Diebold in Canton, Ohio.

Gallery in the Vault offers an eclectic mix of handmade items from artists across the country. These are one-of-a-kind offerings. It features art glass, stained glass, pottery, wood, jewelry, original paintings and handmade Tiffany reproduction lamps. These incredible stained glass lamps are made by Cliff Lamborn in Massillon, Ohio. In addition, the gallery does custom picture framing and now has a separate room for its collection of antiques for sale. Gallery in the Vault is located at 105 East Liberty Street across from the Wooster Courthouse and iconic Everything Rubbermaid Store.

old-bank-vault-tipp-city

I mentioned a second place I had visited with a repurposed bank vault inside a former bank building. This was  Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City, Ohio. There, you can dine in the vault. Yes, that’s right, sit at the dining tables inside the vault as if you were anywhere else in the restaurant and enjoy the experience. And what a unique experience it is to walk through the huge vault door and be seated with a menu.

This vault was made by The Mosley Company and was originally the property of Citizens National Bank in Tipp City. The building later became a Fifth Third Bank. The original vault is in the basement but Citizens National added a new vault on the first floor. This is the vault that now serves as a dining room.

coldwater cafe bank vault

No fear, the vault door is locked open. Even back in the day, vaults like this and the one in Wooster have a warning system.

bank vault alarm“When the vaults were active, if someone had the unfortunate fate of getting locked inside of it, an emergency handle starts an aerator which brings in fresh air to breathe. It also sounds an alarm and triggers a red flashing warning light,” said Jenny Swiggart, General Manager at Coldwater Cafe and Catering, Inc.

Coldwater Café also has fireplaces adding to the cozy ambience. It opened in 1994 and offers a sophisticated menu with things such as ostrich being served. But it also has normal fare. The restaurant is located at 19 East Main Street in the quaint town of Tipp City, Ohio just a stone’s throw from Dayton.

Since visiting Wooster’s Gallery in the Vault and Tipp City’s Coldwater Café, I have learned of many other places around the state that have acquired old bank buildings and currently use the old vaults within in clever ways.

Maybe one of these are close to you:

  • Lou Holtz/Upper Valley Hall of Fame in East Liverpool, Ohio uses their old bank vault as an exhibit holding the gangster “Pretty Boy” Floyd in jail.
  • The Wine Vault in Vermilion, Ohio is a restaurant with a bank vault open for dining.
  • Selah Restaurant in Struthers, Ohio has vault seating for up to 12 people.
  • Starbucks in Bexley has a vault you can sit inside and sip your coffee
  • Penzey’s Spices in Upper Arlington, Ohio and also Ohio City. Both locations actually use old bank vaults inside old bank buildings.
  • P.J. Marley’s in Medina, Ohio has a bank vault open for dining.
  • J. Gumbo’s Restaurant in Baltimore, Ohio uses their old bank vault as restrooms.
  • PJs Deli in Toledo, Ohio
  • Caribou Coffee in North Olmsted
  • Tellers’ in Hyde Park (Cincinnati), Ohio uses their old vault as part of their dining room.
  • The Vault in downtown Columbus has a bar setup inside the vault.
  • And Cleveland, Ohio has old bank vaults being used at Vault Speak Easy Bar in downtown and Hyde Park Restaurant in downtown.
  • There are also vaults used at Dante Restaurant in Tremont, Crop Restaurant in Ohio City, and Rockefellers Restaurant in Cleveland Heights.

Look for us on Facebook to add more to the list.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

The Best Wurst is a Standout

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Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival: Some call it the best of the wurst but one thing is for sure – it’s a standout in Ohio festivals. This fest packs in more than 27 tons of the finest sausage cooking over open pits. In addition to bratwurst, there are more than 100 more delicious foods made from local family recipes dating back to “the old country,” that celebrate the German heritage of this Ohio small town. Don’t miss the Best “Wurst” Bicycle Ride tour of 12, 32, 65 and 100 miles held on Saturday of the festival weekend, which is held every August in Bucyrus, Ohio.

This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.