Peanut Clusters in Amish Country

This Amish Country staple is one of the tastiest stops you’ll find. I stumbled upon Coblentz Chocolate Company on a rainy travel day last week. Oh, I’ve heard rave reviews about it, so I popped in. And what a treat it was!

There was a viewing window to see the hand-made sweet concoctions on their way to my goodie bag. Known for fresh ingredients and premium chocolate, I tried to decide between Almond Bark, Cherry Cordials, Chocolate Caramels, and Peanut Clusters. Since the Peanut Clusters have reached legendary status over the 30+ years since Coblentz opened, I chose those … and MORE!

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Mother Mohawk Sandwich

Taste the Legendary Mother Mohawk Sandwich at the
Old Mohawk Restaurant in German Village

Yah-yah, the true staple of the Old Mohawk Restaurant, is its famous Mohawk Turtle Soup, a tradition for more than 70 years, but it was the legendary Mother Mohawk Sandwich that I look forward to tasting again.

Heck, it was so good, I think it knew it because the sauce flashed me a smile! See the pic if you don’t believe me!

Anyway, this tasty bite is grilled roast beef and homemade chicken salad topped with Swiss cheese on marble rye bread served with a side of caraway horseradish sauce.

Old Mohawk’s historic building dates back to Prohibition when it, as legend has it, served as a Speakeasy. It’s even rumored that the original owner raised the turtles for the popular turtle soup in the basement of the building.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

World’s Largest Bobblehead

The World’s Largest Bobblehead is on a hill behind the Buckeye Express Diner at 810 State Route 97 in W. Bellville, Ohio. Watch closely; the head will bobble when the wind blows. The restored 35-foot-tall statue is named Chef Jacques. He spent half a century headless, toppled, and neglected after he first served at a location in nearby Mansfield. He has a close cousin, Handless Jacques, in Marblehead, Ohio. What’s with the severing of body parts for these cousins’ Jacques? 😉 Visit for more fun.

A Toast to Ohio

I know I’ve been doing the OhioTraveler thing for a long time when I start seeing Ohio in my toast.

The Ruins at Ariel-Foundation Park

Ariel-Foundation Park is a fascinating 250-acre park in Mount Vernon, Ohio, that blends industrial ruins with reflecting ponds and landscaped terraces. It makes for a wondrous walk through an eclectic scene of beauty and art mixed with a working town’s history and its ruins dating back to the industrial revolution.

This was formerly the site of the Pittsburg Plate Glass (PPG) manufacturing plant. The complex was one of the largest of its kind in the world. Now, it’s a wonder of Ohio, and it’s free to roam daily from April to November.

The Ruins include the 1900 Coxey Building, an adjoining clay storage building, the 1945 carpenter shop, the 1951 smokestack, an event center, three stair/elevator towers, and the clock house. The PPG ruins spread across a vast grassland of rolling hills so visitors may appreciate the large-scale glassworks operation of Yesteryear. Its preservation and enhancements together pay homage to the town’s industrial legacy.

These ruins are an Americana complex of preserved and modified structures. Among them are the vestiges of the late 19th century Coxey Building pylons. A plaque, plenty describes the sites, and claims that historians report that the structural steel that sat atop the brick pylons was salvaged from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. That repurposed steel found re-use once again over 125 years later. This time, it was used to create sculptures within Ariel-Foundation Park.

There are stunning landforms that surround visitors at Ariel-Foundation Park. They are reminiscent of the ancient burial mound-building traditions of the Adena and Hopewell cultures, who once populated the ancient Central Ohio landscape. That said, the purpose of these terraced mounds is to create sweeping vistas that invite visitors to enjoy an assent to their summits.

Another plaque on-site explains that the contemporary inspiration for The Terraces in the park comes from the work of American landscape architect Charles Jencks. His works are located principally in the British Isles and are monumental in scale, measuring 1,200 feet wide by 100 feet tall with miles of walkways. Ridge trusses salvaged in 1893 from the World’s Columbian Exhibition and in 2013 from the Coxey Building stand guard in a canyon formed by the terraces. Climb to the summit of the park’s highest terrace to experience a dramatic view of the reflecting pools, ruins, terraces, and sculptures crafted of steel salvaged from the historic PPG Glassworks.

No doubt, the most interesting and captivating feature of the park is its surviving 280 feet high chimney. It served PPG from 1951 to the time of the plant’s shuttering in 1976. It was constructed of reinforced concrete by the slip form method. To preserve it as part of The Ruins, it was transformed into an observation tower. The tower is free to climb its 224 steps to the observation deck at 140 feet high. But the tower stands 280 feet high. It’s all open grate, so every step is like climbing the sky. At the top, the view is breathtaking…in more ways than one. This historic chimney is the highest structure in Knox County, Ohio.

Meander every nook and cranny of the park’s ruins and beyond. There are so many angles of view that create “wow” after “wow.” After venturing through the labyrinth of ruins and climbing the vantage points at each end for vast views, cut through the tree line and find hiking trails, lakes, and even a little island to wander, paddle, and picnic. The park also offers pavilions for groups and plenty of grassy areas for Frisbee tossing and kite flying.

Learn more about this fascinating newer Ohio park at

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Centerburg: The Center of Ohio


Welcome to Centerburg,
the geographical center of Ohio 

In case you were wondering, the geographical center of Ohio is in the town…. wait for it …Centerburg!

And if you ever wondered what happened to the old Ohio slogan, “The Heart of it All,” it was relocated to this small town in Knox County. Well, technically, their slogan is “The Heart of Ohio.”

One day, I was going from point A to point B and happened to pass these signs. Of course, I had to pull over and take some pics to share this unexpected roadside discovery.

Futuro Ohio UFO House

Ohio’s Futuro House is also known as the UFO House, The Flying Saucer House, The Mating Flying Saucers House, and even the Martian House. This Ohio roadside gem is at the corner of Highway 123 and Chamberlain Road in Carlisle, Ohio. Click here to map your directions.  This style of house is a prefabricated home design dating to the late 1960s by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. Now, I’m curious, do the homeowners also prefer Dippin Dots – The Ice Cream of the Future? By the way, the “ice cream of the future” was first tasted back in 1988. Who knows, with a Flux Capacitor, this spacecraft turned home just might travel “Back to the Future” when space dot ice cream was out of this world. For more information about Futuro Houses, click here.

Ohio’s Sand Dunes

Ohio’s Sand Dunes at Oak Openings Preserve and Metroparks Toledo

Travelers to the Outer Banks or Great Sand Dunes National Park temper your expectations. Ohio’s sand dunes are not that. But it is unique because these dunes, much lesser as they may be, are tucked into prairie woodland trees and brush tangled with the leftovers of an ancient shoreline.

When pioneers traveled Northwest Ohio, they suffered many setbacks in the Black Swamp area. When they reached drier land, it seemed like an endless woodland of oak trees. But the oaks were spaced so wide apart that they earned the name Oak Openings. Horses and wagons navigated them with relative ease, at least until those wagon wheels sunk in the sand.

The Sand Dunes Trail may seem like a mirage at first. It’s at a slightly higher elevation, so when splotches of the light brown hue come in and out of view through the woods, one may wonder just how much, or little sand awaits. It’s not a grand view to take an all-in-one panoramic scan of the eyes. It’s a winding adventure revealing surprises around every foliage-filled corner, revealing a new vista dotted with ferns, flowers, and trees. Look before stepping, and it’s likely plenty of animal tracks will be stamped onto the surface, especially after a rain. Plenty of benches are perched along a ridge for more of a bird’s eye view of nature’s collage. The trailhead is picked up at the Mallard Lake pavilion and playground parking area next to the Buehner Center. It’s marked as the Red Trail.

Today, Oak Openings Preserve at Metroparks Toledo spans 5,000 acres and has 70 miles of hiking, biking, and bridle trails. The park’s ecosystem combines wetlands with oak savanna and dunes. The combination makes it a popular respite for migrating birds.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Color Me Orello

In its heyday, Packard was a household name even though most households couldn’t afford one.

The American Packard Museum in Dayton, Ohio, features a 1934 Super Eight Sport Phaeton, made special for the New York Auto Show that year. Its color, Orello, was a unique blend of orange and yellow, although this color wasn’t in the Packard catalog. Its price tag was more than $3,000 when the average new automobile only cost $700. The cost was double the average annual salary and half that of a new house. The story behind this particular car on display is that wealthy parents gifted it to their sweet 16-year-old daughter. She hated the color.

The museum is in a former Packard dealership that opened in 1917. The Orello gift car is featured on the historic showroom floor.

The Giants of Seville

Formerly Ohio’s Biggest Entertainment Couple

She stood just one inch shy of eight feet tall! He was two inches shorter. But he outweighed her 470 pounds to 413. They met on the circus circuit traveling Europe in the early 1870s. The “Giantess Girl from Nova Scotia” was Anna Haining Swan. The “Kentucky Giant” was Captain Martin Van Buren Bates. After they married, P.T. Barnum billed them as “The Tallest Married Couple on Earth.” Years later, the history books would recall them as “Barnum’s Famous Circus Giants.”

They later moved to Seville, Ohio, and built a house for giants. The doors were eight feet tall, and the ceilings were 14 feet high. Soon, their giant house and 130-acre farm ran up bills so they joined up with The W.W. Coles Circus to make ends meet.

They had a second child after their first died at birth. This one only lived 11 hours but his birth length of 30 inches long and weight of 23 ¾ pounds earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. On a side note, when Anna was born, her mom only stood 5 feet 2 inches!

All three giants are buried in Seville at the Mound Hill Cemetery.

A replica of “The Tallest Married Couple on Earth” is in the living room at the Seville Historical Society surrounded by memorabilia from their famed days wowing onlookers at shows across the globe.

Click here to learn about other “Discoveries at the Museum”. “Discoveries at the Museum” highlights exhibits that museum visitors may brush past without knowing the profound story they tell. Here, we want to call attention to the museum pieces around Ohio that may be overlooked but shouldn’t. Although, the Giants of Seville can hardly be overlooked!

Spring Break in Death Valley

Around the spring equinox, Death Valley comes alive. But don’t expect to find huge crowds at the popular jaunts. Set out to explore the Racetrack Playa and its mysterious sailing stones, and paths may cross with one or two other souls, but that’s it.

Early spring heats up enough to feel that Death Valley vibe; otherwise, what’s the point? Granted, it’s far from its recorded record as the hottest place on the planet. It’s only about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, so day-trippers come and go. The popular stops along a scenic byway will have their share of vehicles, yet it’s no problem finding a parking space, unlike most national parks and monuments. Traffic between the hot spots is sparse.

An ideal itinerary is spread over a three-night stay. That enables daylong treks to further out places few brave to go. The park covers 3.4 million acres and is the largest in the continental states. Warnings galore scare most people enough not to consider venturing far from Furnace Creek, the closest thing to civilization. Rough non-paved terrain frequently ruins plans when tires are slashed open by sharp-edged lava rocks. And if it’s a rental car, guess what? Most don’t even have a spare tire anymore, not even a donut! Death in Death Valley is something to consider! …Click here for the rest of the story and many more photos…


for the rest of the story
and more photos

Northeast Ohio Cheese

Northeast Ohio is the heart of the cheese wheel! Great cheese shops and houses with delicious varieties abound. But know this; nothing is more untrue than the saying, “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Be sure to visit Guggisberg, Heini’s, Middlefield, Shisler’s, and others. Each one is a treat!

Formerly a Northeastern Ohioan, I’ve been playing house in Southwest Ohio for over 20 years now. Holidays and special occasions mean trekking up I-71 from Cincinnati to Cleveland to see the rest of the family. My daughter was in from Washington, D.C., and shared that her friends are amazed that she’s never been to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. I had to admit that I had never been either. She laughed and said something to the effect of, “Some OhioTraveler you are.”

Well, I couldn’t let that stand. I saw the billboard and counted the miles. Exiting, my daughter perked up, noticing this was no ordinary pitstop. As we rolled into the parking lot, we rattled my son’s cocoon to tell him to get ready to get out. It was cold, snowy, and quite crowded. It was a novel place, quaint and grand at the same time, attracting locals and travelers alike.

We spent much longer browsing and shopping than we ever thought we would. Even the college-age son was impressed, and that doesn’t happen often. Our basket turned into baskets. In them went Amish country jams, local honey, and home-smoked meats.

Oh, my goodness, homemade chocolates and fudge, too!

It’s a good thing this was the holiday season, so we didn’t have to barter with a weight-weary conscience. Anything goes until the New Year!

My daughter started blurting out strange words like “Charcuterie” and pairing the cheese varieties we selected. My eyes glazed over until my attention turned to the history of this cheese establishment dating back to 1978.

It’s the tale of two grandpas. Grandpa Yarman came on the scene a little over a hundred years ago. After selling his prized portable RCA radio for his first wheel of Ohio Swiss cheese, he fell in love and opened his own cheese house in West Salem, Ohio. But Grandpa’s Cheesebarn in Ashland, Ohio, was started by Yarman’s daughter Vera and her husband, known as Grandpa Baum, along with their daughter and son-in-law. The generational handing of the baton created the family tradition of seeking the best cheese makers around. And today, two additional locations are in Norton and the Summit Mall in Fairlawn.

Grandpa’s Cheesebarn’s collection of 120 kinds of cheese features varieties produced by small local Amish farms and nearby Holmes County cheese makers. They also import from Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Holland, and elsewhere.

Just as we were ringing up the grocery list that we didn’t know we had, my daughter exclaimed, “Now let’s go over to the other building where there’s a café and CHOCOLATE.

Plan a trip to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties Chocolates at And as the sign says, “Savor the Experience.” We did!

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun 

Mt Adams Bar & Grill

Mt Adams Bar & Grill in Cincinnati
was the first drinking establishment in Ohio
to obtain a liquor license post Prohibition

Let me tell you about the historic Mt Adams Bar & Grill in photos, the back of the menu, a couple of selections from the menu, and a plaque on the brick wall outside.

The Back of the Menu 

“The Mt Adams Bar & Grill backbar reputedly came out of a speakeasy owned by the infamous Cincinnati bootlegger, George Remus. Speakeasys were illegal bars operated during the Prohibition of alcohol decreed in 1919 by the 18th Amendment to our Constitution. Remus, a Chicago criminal attorney, moved to Cincinnati and bought a distillery to produce legally bonded whiskey for medicinal purposes by prescription only. Not surprisingly, a great of Remus’ whiskey found its way into speakeasys. At the height of his success, he employed 3,000 people and $20,000,000 in bribes to local police and officials. His success brought him $45,000,000 in profits and the unwelcome attention of federal agents. Scheduled for trial, he gave his diamond collection to his wife. For unknown reasons, she promptly filed for divorce, but in a diabolical twist, just two hours before the trial was scheduled to begin, Remus tracked her down in Eden Park and killed her. He pled guilty due to insanity, spent three months in a state mental hospital, afterwhich he was found sane and released.

Prohibition was repealed in 1933 with the passage of the 21st Amendment and the Bar & Grill in it’s present location was the first drinking establishment in Ohio to obtain a liquor license.” 

A Plaque on the Brick Wall Outside

“When Prohibition ended, Mt. Adams Bar served the second drink in Cincinnati at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 6, 1933 to the Mayor of the Queen City, Russell Wilson.”

A Couple of Selections from the Menu

OMG, try this appetizer: Fried Jalapeno Ravioli. It’s to die for!

“It’s a ravioli filled with chopped jalapeno peppers and ricotta cheese. Fried to a golden brown and served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.”

And for a sandwich, try the Southwestern Chicken. “It’s fresh chicken breast marinated in their special sauce and grilled to perfection. Topped with sour cream, green taco sauce, pepper jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, and served on a grilled buttercrust bread.” 

A trip here will also whet your appetite for culture and history. Mt. Adams is a legendary Cincinnati neighborhood built on a steep hillside. Much of it was once part of the Nicholas Longworth Vineyard, which developed the Catawba grape from which America’s first champagne was produced. Also rooted in Mt. Adams’ story are the world-renown Rookwood Pottery and the first public observatory in the western hemisphere—Cincinnati Observatory.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Ohio’s Mystery Rocks

Forgive me, but I must start by sharing a song I couldn’t stop singing to my wife’s embarrassment as we hiked, searching for spherical geological wonders. It goes like this…

“I believe in sphericals
Where you from,
You sexy thing.”


As in the song, You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate

The optimism from the funky ‘70s song must have put good mojo into the universe because we went from disappointment to a garden of perfectly rounded stones.

Anyway, these miracle/spherical rocks look like they could be dinosaur eggs. Some mistake them for cannonballs or meteorites. Others imagine stone-chiseled Death Stars crashing into Earth.

But these mystery rocks are over 300 million years in the making.

What caused these geologic irregularities to take on such spherical forms, often in perfect balls (“Where you from, you sexy thing”)?

Like an egg, the peculiar rocks had an organic nucleus. Nobody is certain, but the prevailing theory is this. When sea creatures (preceding dinosaurs, by the way) from the Devonian Period died, they had sunk to the seafloor. At the time, Ohio was covered by the sea. Minerals cemented to it layer after layer filling in the porous surface. The forming rock may have slowly rolled from time to time along the ocean floor, smoothing it as it grew, becoming what is now termed – concretion.

When Ohio shale beds erode, concretions protrude from cliffsides and creek beds. These phenomena are in scenic clusters at Highbanks Metro Park just north of Columbus. Imagine the layers of shale as pages of a book. Then imagine placing a rock in the middle of the book and compressing it. The pages warp around the rock. This is how the eroding shale beds look when a concretion surfaces again. The contrast is astounding. Such geological time capsules may or may not have a fossil at the center. Usually, anything organic at the core likely dissolved, leaving a void.

Explore Dripping Rock Trail from the nature center at 9466 Columbus Pike in Lewis Center, Ohio. The hike ascends high cliffs. Follow the woodpecker trail markers for a time. When the trail comes to a “T,” go left over a footbridge. A map there shows a dotted hiking trail to pick up on the other side of the bridge. The hiking trail isn’t marked, so trust where you may see evidence of a dirt trailhead that’ll snake back to hug the creek bed. Follow the creek until concretions make themselves known. If the water is high, many of them may remain hidden.

Enjoy the hunt for Ohio’s mystery stones. Or enjoy this song by Hot Chocolate.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun!

First Black Sports Superstar

Anyone can remember the first time that they rode a bicycle independently, and with that memory, the freedom they felt running through their hair.

Black Americans felt the liberating feeling on a bike like no other in the late 1890s – the golden age of bicycles.

But nobody rode a bicycle like Marshall Taylor. Over 120 years later, Taylor is still recognized as the earliest and most extraordinary pioneering black athlete in American sports history.

Taylor was so fast on a bicycle that his nicknames included “The Ebony Wonder,” “Whirlwind,” and “Black Cyclone.” And a time when black Americans felt liberated riding them.

Bicycle advancements made racing them the thing to do.

Taylor rode like the wind, making him the target of bigoted competition. Flimsy excuses were used to ban him from races. But he never let racism or death threats stop him. His first professional race was at Madison Square Garden, where his motivation outpaced all others to the point that he lapped the entire field.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cycling was the most popular sport in the world. And with that, Taylor proceeded to become a world champion and the first black sports superstar in American history.

Several years later, today’s pinnacle of bicycle racing – the Tour de France – began in 1904.

Taylor’s story and others are preserved at The Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio.

Airstream Treehouse

Spend a night
in a Luxury Treehouse that
houses an Airstream 25 feet in the air!

The Mohicans Treehouse Resort and Wedding Venue features the popular Airstream Treehouse with a new Airstream cabin on the way. In addition, updates are being made to the world-famous Little Red Treehouse over the next year. A new project is the glamping tent treehouse. In addition, they offer ground cabins and country homes.

The Silver Bullet Treehouse is a treetop cabin made from a 31-ft classic 1978 Airstream trailer perched 25 feet off the ground. Equipped with black walnut flooring, some barn siding walls, indoor and outdoor showers, skylights, and a sauna, it mixes the old with the new by blending vintage barn materials with the aluminum details of this iconic aerodynamic trailer.

The Mohicans Treehouse Resort is owned and operated by husband & wife team Kevin and Laura Mooney. It is one of the nation’s largest treehouse villages offering stunning rustic-chic cabins and treehouses – three of which were designed by the guys from Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters, including The Little Red Treehouse, which was featured on the show and was originally built by Nelson’s team as a brewery and tasting center before it was converted into a treehouse.

The Mohicans sits on 75 private acres of uninterrupted natural landscape overlooking the Mohican River Valley. Today, you will find seven finished treehouses and four ground-level cabins named after rivers from the local area (The Mohican, The Killbuck, The Walhonding, and The Kokosing). The three newest treehouses include El Castillo (a 2-level honeymoon suite), The View (floor-to-ceiling windows), and The Silver Bullet. The resort opened its doors in 2011 with a few cabins and Mooney’s long-term goal to become one of the nation’s most exclusive eco-resorts with up to 20 treehouses.

Sustainable design concepts are incorporated into the properties of The Mohicans Treehouse Resort, including passive solar design, radiant heat, on-demand hot water, reused and repurposed materials (100-year-old barn siding, hand-hewn barn beams, windows, doors, ladders, sliding barn doors, and cabinets).

Click here to plan your stay.

The Plier Tree at the Warther Museum

Photo by Ernest Warther Museum

When Ernest “Mooney” Warther, the world’s master carver, was just a boy, a stranger whittled him a pair of working wooden pliers by making just ten cuts in a single block of wood. Mooney was fascinated and he would take this concept to staggering extremes, which culminated in The Plier Tree. The Plier Tree consists of 511 pairs of pliers all cut from a single block of wood. It took Mooney just around 8 weeks to complete, making 31,000 flawless cuts. The work was so intense, he only could work on it two hours a day. Mooney took his Plier Tree to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 where he met Robert Ripley who just could not believe the tree would fold back up! The two men sat down and for two hours, closed each pair of pliers until Mr. Ripley saw that it came from one single block of wood (and it took them two more hours to open it back up—which is why it stays open permanently at the museum). The tree is a mathematical highlight and it represents (and has been featured in textbooks) exponential function. ​

Click here to plan a visit to
Ernest Warther Museum & Gardens

Bridge to Nowhere at Hillandale Park

Admission to the bridge to nowhere (Hillandale Bridge) in Euclid, Ohio, is Free.

  • Open: Daily from dawn to dusk
  • Location: (Map It) 27598 Tremaine Drive at Hillandale Park in Euclid, Ohio

The Bridge to Nowhere is open daily from dawn to dusk at 27598 Tremaine Drive at Hillandale Park in Euclid, Ohio.

It’s over 90 years old.

No expense was spared when constructing this bridge. It even has an elaborate “S” curve. No streets are leading to either side of the bridge, so no cars have ever crossed it that anyone knows of.

It was meant to be a part of a subdivision planned during the 1920s. But the completion of the project failed when the market crash of 1929 began the Great Depression.

Today, it sits in the middle of the woods as part of the trails in Hillandale Park. Use caution when crossing it. After nearly a century of decay, there are holes through its surface to the valley floor. There is also a guard rail missing.

It’s definitely a peculiar site.

It’s Tom & Jerry Time!

It is a yummy, warm Wapakoneta holiday tradition that dates back about 130 years. Welcome to the Alpha Café, where the Tom and Jerry cocktail is served in a coffee mug. It’s warm, contains alcohol, and is also sweet, frothy, and has just the right touch of holiday spice. Click here to plan a visit to this historic establishment.

Best Ohio Christmas Destinations

Ohio’s top Christmas Destinations and Holiday Attractions include but are not limited to:

America’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction at Castle Noel.

A Christmas Story House where you get to walk through a movie set location for the popular holiday classic “A Christmas Story,” which has been restored just as it was when it was filmed.

Holiday Parades like the legendary Lebanon Horse-drawn Carriage Parade.

Historic Homes like Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, where you may walk through affluent Christmas past.

Magnificent Ohio light displays like the Journey Borealis at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.

Christmas Towns like Cambridge and Steubenville: Stroll old-world England in Dickens Victorian Village or among a hundred life-size nutcrackers in the Nutcracker Village.

An immersive Christmas experience at Kringle’s Inventionasium Experience.

Special Events like the Christmas Candlelighting in Historic Roscoe Village.

Christmas on stage with a variety of performing arts across the state.

And, of course, Christmas Trains from the Polar Express to Santa Junction.

That rounds out our TOP-1O ideas to enjoy Ohio’s Christmas and holiday season.

It’s Tom & Jerry Time at the Alpha

   It is a yummy, warming, 129-year-old Wapakoneta tradition
you just won’t want to miss!

The secret recipe for the Tom and Jerry cocktails served at the Alpha Café during the holidays dates back to 1893. Alpha owner Tony Steinke, who purchased the business in 2004 from his grandfather, says every Tom and Jerry cocktail is made to order.

Generations of locals have made this special holiday treat an annual tradition. Taste one and you’ll know why. Served in a coffee mug, Tom & Jerrys are warm, contain alcohol and are also sweet, frothy and have just the right touch of holiday spice.

The Alpha Café has been operating in downtown Wapakoneta for nearly 130 years. The Alpha itself is a beloved institution; from the friendly service to the daily lunch specials, its longevity is steeped in rich tradition. Steinke’s family has owned the Alpha Café for more than 80 of its 130 years.

Architecturally it is a fascinating blend of antique and mid-century modern. The back bar was built in 1893 by Brunswick Balke Collender Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. It is 24-foot-long and is made of hand-carved white oak. The wall on the opposite side of the bar is lined with a matching 8-foot tall wainscoting with arched mirrors and the same intricate carvings. A column supporting a leaded glass partition sits at the end of the bar. It is simply stunning!

Past the bar area, you’ll find the lunch counter. Added in 1962, this diner-style counter with stationary round swivel stools sits in front of the grill and serving counter. You can watch as your food comes hot off the grill. The side wall of the lunch counter area is also lined with booths for that real ’60s diner feel.

Stop by the Alpha Café at 7 E. Auglaize Street, Wapakoneta, Ohio and enjoy the food, appreciate the history, admire the architecture and savor the tastiest 129-year-old tradition you’ll ever try. But don’t wait too long; this holiday treat will be gone before the new year arrives!   You can check out more Grand Lake Region holiday traditions at

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Cornering Carousel History

On the corner of Jackson Street and W. Washington Street in Sandusky, Ohio is the Merry-Go-Round Museum. Grab your popcorn, cotton candy, and wooden token — and take a ride through carousel history. The museum is housed in an old post office building which is, fittingly, rounded. Inside there are displays with hand-carved carousel horses and other animals. Visitors can ride the carousel. And at times, there are carvers at work on new carousel pieces.

to Ride the Pictorial!

Mt. Adams Steps

The Pilgrimages to the “Church of the Steps”
at Holy Cross Immaculata Church
of Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams Neighborhood

The famous steps of Mt. Adams have a powerful lure for locals and internationally. What started as a Catholic tradition now includes the faithful the world over. Praying the steps for Easter is now a year-round practice for many. Take a step, put a new bead of the Rosary between your finger and thumb, and repeat. Or say your own set of prayers, adding a new one for each new step. Some just come to meditate on each step as they take an inward journey of their own. Eighty-five prayers later is the summit of the steep climb and the base of the Roman Catholic Immaculata Church, its steeple stretching skyward. Turn around, and a sprawling heavenly view reveals the skyline and majestic river of the “Queen City” – Cincinnati – in an eye-popping panoramic scene from high above.

A lady from Seattle was in town taking care of a friend’s dog while they traveled. She stopped to chat and offered insight into some of her favorite overlooks and other breathtaking views that Mt. Adams provides. She beamed a smile as if she were the city’s unofficial ambassador, even if for a short time.

Mt. Adams Steps at Holy Cross Immaculata Church have been a celebrated place of worship for more than 160 years. Since 1860, it has been the site of the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage, where the devout say prayers on each step to the summit. The “Church of the Steps” was built in 1859. The church and steps are near the corner of Pavilion Street and Guido Street. Click here to map your way to 30 Guido St. in Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams.

At the top of the steps, against the church, a plaque reveals the history: The “Church of the Steps” (Immaculata), built in 1859, was constructed from stone quarried from the slopes of Mt. Adams. Early it was known as the “Archbishop’s Church” in honor of Archbishop Purcell (1800 – 1883), who donated the land and supervised construction. It was conceived as a votive offering for his safety at sea during one of his many journeys to Europe. Since 1860, it has been the site of the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage, where the devout say prayers on each step to the summit. Originally the parish served the German-speaking Catholics of Mt. Adams. In 1970 it was consolidated with nearby Holy Cross Parish and is now known as Holy Cross Immaculata Church.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Ready. Aim. Coshocton.

Hunters across the United States recognize Coshocton County, Ohio, as the place for game. It’s often ranked as the top county in Ohio for deer kills and is consistently ranked in the top three. But it’s really open season year-round for a variety of prey.

Hunting animals is what put man atop the food chain. It was essential to his evolution. Meat-eating supercharged human brain activity by giving it the calories needed to advance. Man’s brain uses far more energy than any other muscle in the body. Once this incredible energy source was introduced to his diet, man surged ahead of all living creatures on Earth. Today, man still has an incentive to hunt that dates back over two million years – food.

“In my family, we don’t kill it unless we are going to eat it,” said Scott Hosier, an avid hunter, and fisherman.  …Click Here Read More…

Click here to read the rest of the story

Cornering Ohio’s Coziest Theatre

Ohio’s coziest theatre sits at the corner of Broadway and Jackson Street in Grove City.

This little gem of a theatre seats a whopping 92 people! Cozy, personable, quaint, adorable, historic, intimate, and other words have been used to describe the Little Theatre Off Broadway in the heart of Grove City — a jewel of small town Americana just south of Columbus. Oh, and the productions by all accounts are simply fantastic. Every seat is up-close and personal. Get tickets while they last. After all, space is limited. 😉

Hamilton – The City of Sculpture

Walk “The City of Sculpture” – Hamilton, Ohio!

There are over 40 sculptures, many in candid settings such as a couple reading under a tree, a father teaching his daughter to ride a bike, and a boy walking down a sidewalk playing the harmonica with his loyal dog in tow. Along the way, enjoy a few tasty cafes and novelty shops.

Click here for a map for the sculptures walking tour. There’s also a nearby sculpture park with 60 more sculptures nestled in nature and gardens at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.

Explore the wonderful shopping opportunities downtown and across the river in a revitalized boutique shopping district. Throughout, there are great eateries dotting the sidewalks. Some favorites are True West Coffee (great sandwiches) in a two-story coffee shop on the west side of the river at 313 Main Street. Look for the sculpture of a man and umbrella being rained on. Across the street is delicious ice cream at The Village Parlor. In the heart of downtown are two popular eateries. Alexander’s Market & Deli is where the locals flock for lunch. And just down the sidewalk, you can eat and shop for interesting items at High Street Café.

To learn a fascinating story, venture to the southeast quadrant of 3rd Street and Sycamore. For geo-explorers, coordinates are N: 39° 23.711 and W: 084° 33.699. There lies the Father of Hollow Earth Theory on a most peculiar gravesite.

Hamilton, the City of Sculptures (and murals, too), is a great place to walk, shop, and eat a day away.

Ohio’s 200-Year-Old Lighthouse

Climb the 77 steps to the top

The oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes has been shining its light for 200 years to guide sailors past the rocky shores of Ohio’s Marblehead Peninsula.

Although folks may climb to the top of the Marblehead Lighthouse (and visit the museum) from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it is still a treat to see during the off-season. Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is a perfect setting for a lakeshore picnic, lounging in the grass, or walking the grounds. Come, read a book, skip some stones, and take wonderful photos at this Lake Erie gem.

The Marblehead Lighthouse is located at 110 Lighthouse Drive in Marblehead, Ohio (Map It). The grounds are open daily. Click here for more information.

Trails By Kathy

Avon Lake’s Best-kept Secret

A retired lady named Kathy traveled from Avon Lake, Ohio halfway across the country to save a dog from Texas that was scheduled to be destroyed. When she met up with an activist in a rest area somewhere in between, what she saw was the utmost neglect. The grown dog was depressed, riddled with fleas, mites, you name it. She called her veterinarian after hours en route home. This wasn’t the first such cross-country rescue for Kathy. So, the vet said she’ll meet her. It took two days to clean the pooch, and Kathy’s car, for the dog’s short trip to his forever home – Kathy’s place.

She named him, not knowing there was a Pink Floyd connection.

Side note: Kathy, before retirement, had her reservation messed up at a hotel in Cleveland during a real estate conference. The hotel had an entire floor off limits with a private key for the legendary band Pink Floyd. The band and hotel allowed Kathy to stay in a room on that floor. She would later say that she never met this man named Pink Floyd, but she enjoyed her morning chats with “a really nice fella named David.”

Kathy had many stories from her trailblazing past: kicked out of Catholic school for pranks in the 1950s, apron-to-punch card mother in the 1970s, a victim of sexism in the workplace, and then all-star realtor and manager. She was also a popular catechism teacher for high school students, but her teaching style to connect with them made the head nun have to talk to her from time to time. But through all her trailblazing, she was about to embark on the real thing.

When she drove her new dog to a nearby park in Avon Lake, she was excited to walk the dog trail someone had told her about. When the spry Kathy in her late 70s completed the walk, neither she nor her dog was satisfied, so they walked it again.

Kathy thought to herself, this will not do.

She later returned with her dog and yard tools. And went to work. She began clearing a new trail. But it ran into a middle-aged man’s secret binge drinking post. When Kathy completed her trail extension and marked it with a wooden homemade sign that read, “Trail by Kathy,” and an orange paw print to mark the way, a bit of a war broke out between her and the beer can litterer. He would leave his empties piled up at her marker and break the sign into pieces.

He didn’t know whom he was dealing with.

Kathy rebuilt what was destroyed and added to her quest to make more trails. More wood signs marked each trail: Pooch Path, Canine Crossing, Bow Wow Bend, Doggy Detour, etc. So, this cycle of trails by Kathy being met with piles of beer cans and some unmentionable protest by the beer guy went on for over a year. But in that time, Kathy would hear firsthand from many dog walkers that they loved whoever this “Kathy” was for making trails they loved to walk with their best friends. Within the next year, Kathy went from being anonymous to being known and loved as she was found adding a new loop trail here or a connection there.

One day, she looked across a ravine and thought, we need a bridge here. So, she had the lumber company deliver a load of precut wood to her measurements at the park’s parking lot. At 76 years old and with osteoporosis, she hauled 16-foot timbers to the ravine which is no short jaunt. And after watching a YouTube video, she built a bridge to start a new trail on the other side. She tumbled into the ravine once, knocking herself unconscious. Her dog guarded her until she opened her eyes. She called her grown kids in her fun, uplifting humor to say she almost died. After that, her daughter added a tracker to her phone as a precaution since she was so outgoing and often threw caution to the wind.

Side note: She started a senior biking club a couple of years earlier. At one time or another, each of the seven members ended up in the hospital after taking spills on the pavement.

One of her appreciative dog-walking friends – she has made dozens of them by now – said he was walking Kathy’s outer trail when something shocking caught his attention, and his head snapped up with jaw wide open. He blurted out, “She built a #$&%! BRIDGE!”

When Kathy took her dog Koda-Maria for a walk to the trailhead she had started on the other side of the bridge, she came upon the head city park engineer, a park worker, and another dog walker.

As she neared, she overheard the dog-walker exclaim, “Oh Kathy won’t like this. She won’t like this at all.”

When Kathy joined the conversation, the park people discovered that she was THE Kathy. But to Kathy’s surprise, they said they were very impressed with her sturdy well-constructed bridge. But they are going to bring a backhoe in to create a land bridge wide enough for a dog and person to walk side-by-side. And that they’d stack her wood if she wanted it.

Kathy said to the engineer, “This is a good thing because I was thinking in just a few years, I’ll be over 80 years old, and I may not be able to redo the bridge once it starts to decay.”

When Kathy came back another day to check on the progress, she noticed that her new trail work on the far side was blocked by a pile of dirt. She asked the engineer if it could be cleared. And when she returned the next day, she was amazed at the nice job they did to make her trailhead even nicer.

But what really caught the trailblazing Kathy off guard was an official street sign that marked the spot, “Kathy’s Bridge.”

This tribute melted her heart. She and the engineer and other park workers have become very friendly. She is charmed that they ask her opinion about things when they catch each other out on the trails.

Today, word of the “Trails by Kathy” is spreading. Delighted dog walkers have made it a local thing to post photos of them and their pooch at the sign, “Kathy’s Bridge.”

I wanted to publish this story much earlier but waited for other media to do it first. You see, Kathy is my beloved mom. And she lives to quietly make the world a better place, even if she creates a bit of “good trouble” along the way.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Alms Park

Sometimes you just need to stop the world and take a break.

Whether it’s for an amazing view to sort your thoughts, a quiet place to read a book, or the perfect park bench to chat with a friend, Alms Park in Cincinnati is that kind of soul-searching place.

Perch yourself high atop a hill at an overlook with a clear view of a large bend in the Ohio River, surrounded by foliage, and lose track of time. Watch airplanes from a nearby airport rise to the clouds. Take a stroll through the gorgeous architecture of the pavilion.

There are hiking trails (leashed dogs are permitted), paved walkways, benches, restrooms, vast natural areas, and a playground. Hours are dusk to dawn at 710 Tusculum Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Handless Jacques Got New Hands

At the corner of Ohio State Route 163 and Harbor Cove, look closely at the nearly 30-foot Maître d’ of Marblehead, formerly known as Handless Jacques, but he recently received new large hands. He was initially located in Marion, Ohio, where he used to stand in front of a sandwich shop. Stop by 6020 E Harbor Rd. in Marblehead, Ohio, to shake his new hands. His cousin, Chef Jacques, is in Bellville, Ohio, and is said to be the World’s Largest Bobblehead.

Painted Ladies of Cincinnati

The Painted Ladies of Cincinnati are Ohio’s version of San Francisco’s Painted Ladies.

These Queen City historic Victorian homes are located at the corner of Tusculum Avenue and Sachem Avenue in Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhood of Columbia Tusculum, which dates to the 1700s.

For more “Cornering Ohio” sharing the best street corners in Ohio Tourism, click here.

Myth Makers at Dawes Arboretum

The Largest Art Exhibition In Dawes Arboretum’s History
Six Monumental Bamboo Structures Of Avian Avatars

The Dawes Arboretum now features six monumental sculptures from artists, The Myth Makers. The giant bamboo birds— some standing more than 20 feet tall—are the tallest art pieces ever shown at The Dawes Arboretum.

Built with bamboo and mixed media, the sculptures, coined “Avian Avatars” by The Myth Makers artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein are located throughout The Arboretum and will remain until the spring of 2023. Made from natural materials, the sculptures are site-specific and are meant to slowly disappear into nature over the course of their life.

“The Myth Makers are inspiring artists, and we could not be more thrilled to welcome their work to The Arboretum,” said Luke Messinger, Executive Director for The Dawes Arboretum. “These sculptures are the first of their kind on our grounds, and we are excited for guests to see them among our beautiful landscapes.”

The Myth Makers’ inspiration comes from a mutual love of nature. For Dodson, that’s specifically the mysterious nature of birds, and for Moerlein it’s events that leave visual marks in nature. Each sculpture represents an iconic local bird, and each has its own historical backstory: “Love Long Last” is a pair of Northern Cardinals representing The Arboretum’s founders; “Bertie’s Peacock” is a peacock representing Bertie Dawes’ passion for the magnificent bird; “The Gentleman” is an Eastern Bluebird in honor of Beman’s Great-Grandfather, Manasseh Cutler and his love of trees; “Towering” is a Sandhill Crane representing the iconic Columbus artist Ann Hamilton; and “The Great Owl” is a Great Horned Owl that acknowledges the original inhabitants of this landscape and the significance of the panoramic views surrounding the Arboretum. Dodson and Moerlein have completed more than 50 projects together internationally and have received multiple national awards and recognitions.

“The Avian Avatars we prepared for The Dawes Arboretum are for The Arboretum,” Dodson said. “Andy and I look at the entire community when we are gathering inspiration. Anyone who sees our work at The Dawes Arboretum will recognize each bird from its own story. They will know these sculptures aren’t just a passing installation—they will know they are meant to be there.”

For more information about The Myth Makers, including images of their work, visit For more information about the exhibition coming to The Dawes Arboretum, visit

The Dawes Arboretum was founded in 1929 by Beman and Bertie Dawes. This living museum celebrates the history and beauty of trees and nature. Located in Newark, Ohio (30 miles east of Columbus), it offers paths, trails, and boardwalks to explore along with historical and art exhibitions and educational programming. The Dawes Arboretum is recognized by the National Registry of Historic Places and is open daily. Admission is free to members and $10/adults, $5/children ages 5-15 and free/children under 5 years of age. Additional information on visiting, programming, history and membership is available at

Connecting Flights

When Flight of Fancy Meets Coach

Do you remember that first time you took notice of the white lines being drawn against the blue sky?

“Look mummy; there’s an aeroplane up in the sky.”

—Harry Waters (son of Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters), at the start of the song “Goodbye Blue Sky,” recorded for The Wall album (released in 1979), when he was two years old.

I was a kid on a car hood with my grandfather parked under the inbound flights at Cleveland Hopkins Airport when I first took note of the ‘metal birds.’ Although their wings eclipsed the sky, they were so low that it was the overpowering sound that stuck with me.

My grandpa told me stories about when his father took him to see The National Air Races, which were held in Cleveland from 1929 to 1949. He saw Aviators Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart fly there.

Humaned flight is ingrained in Ohio schoolchildren, considering the state’s long list of history-changing pioneers of the Heavens above. And it’s not just names like Armstrong, Glenn, and the Wrights, but Eddie Rickenbacker, Zachariah Lansdowne, Jerrie Mock, Jean Hixson, Judy Resnik, and Sunita Williams.

Imagine my excitement on a field trip to the airport to board a flying machine. It was the most luxurious plane I had ever seen. There were tables with lounge chairs and so much space to walk about. I couldn’t wait until the day I flew in such a fantasy.

But it would forever remain a pipedream.

Soon after that, I boarded a plane bound for Disney World with my parents and sister. I remember thinking, this doesn’t seem right. I craned my neck past the slow stepping torsos of the undead to see down the single-file aisle hoping for the lavish opening to come into view. Instead, we wedged into our bus seats fighting for the window.

“Take some gum,” Dad said, handing each of us a piece.

It was his trick to help swallow and “pop your ears” when the cabin pressure became too much during take-off.

“I’ll be right back,” Mom said as she disappeared to an empty seat behind ours. It was the dividing line between the smoking and non-smoking sections of the plane. But the smoke did not honor it.

When it came time for me to fly as a newly minted adult, I was joined by a bunch of northeast Ohio Army recruits at the Cleveland airport headed for Fort Jackson, South Carolina. In those days, anyone could come to the gate with you to see you board—the setting for so many saved relationships in romantic movies. Our gate was packed with crying mothers and shirtless teenage boys. The only security was a quick walk through a metal detector. I made my mom promise not to embarrass me by crying. She kept it … in vocals, at least.

On the flip side, I had a chance to come home on leave before jetting to Europe to finish my enlistment there. Our standard issue duffle bags didn’t seem big enough for what I was packing. I bought a super-sized duffle bag at the post exchange (PX). At 5’6”, I looked like a caricature hoisting that like-sized thing on one shoulder. That’s when I learned about size limits for luggage at the airport. I had no choice but to leave a good portion of my belongings in a trash can.

On the flight, I saw an old friend. It was quite a reunion. We managed to sit next to each other and order drinks like we wanted to fly forever and talk about old times (which were just a couple of years in the rear view mirror). The drinking age was younger back then. When we deplaned, we were holding each other up drunk. Our slack-jawed moms were at the end of the ramp to greet us. It was still the old days when you could hug someone coming straight off the plane.

When I departed West Germany a few years later (and just shy of the fall of the Iron Curtain), I was on edge. Weeks before take-off, our base was alerted to a terrorist threat to bomb an American flight out of Frankfort within the next month. I signed the cross after taking my seat on The Fourth of July! It was probably halfway across the Atlantic before I relaxed my sphincter.

After college, and after planning a national sales conference, I got in a Chicago cab, exhausted. There were several of us sharing it, so I sat next to the cabbie.

“Have a mint; they’re ‘curiously strong,” he winked at his clever reference to the tagline for Altoids.

My mom should have been in the back of my head saying don’t take candy from strangers, but it sounded like it would be refreshing. So, I snuck an extra when I dug into the tin between us. I’ll never know if I was slap-happy-to-the-max or if this dude had laced mints, but my co-workers were convinced of the latter. I boarded that plane as such a chatty Kathy, I was told—between laughter—to cool it, or they will throw me off the plane. Fortunately, we were in the sky when the flight attendant tried out her singing voice over the microphone to her captive audience (captive as in trapped, not captivating, to be clear). The Altoids finally wore off when the seatbelt sign came on before being tossed around like we were tied to a mechanical bull. All the clasped hands in prayer must have saved us.

Like father like son, but his poison was sugar. It was our first big family vacation to … wait for it … Disney World. Our last leg of the flight was on a puddle hopper with a column of single seats. Behind me was my rambunctious boy and behind him was his new friend, and behind him was that boy’s father.

“Oh my god, we’re gonna crash!”

“Pull up—pull up!”

“Whew, that was close.”

“Ahhh, look, an alligator is on the wing!”

It didn’t matter how much the other father or I shooshed at them, locked in our seats, squeezing our faces between seat and window. These two kids were having the time of their lives.

In a post-Nine-Eleven world, airports changed. My wife and I knew to get to the airport early. But now, living in Cincinnati, the Cincy Airport was a good trek into Kentucky. Go figure. This meant crossing a bridge dubbed the second worst bottleneck in the country. So, we left super early to beat the morning rush hour. When we arrived, it seemed like a comedy sketch. None of the gate checks were open. No human being was there. Indeed, we were the only souls. Us and the old man on a riding carpet sweeper. He went in mesmerizing circles as if he were riding a Zamboni. I believe he slowed time itself.

We watched the luggage turnstile circle endlessly when we arrived at our destination. Our bags were nowhere in sight. Many bags turned to none, and none turned to many again but from a different flight. We had nothing except boarding passes for a weeklong cruise. I waved my credit card. We better get to a store for some clothes and luggage quickly! But my wife asked for direction, and we were pointed to a door and small room on the far wall nearly out of sight. Our suitcases were on the wall outside of it in a well-trafficked corridor for anyone to snatch.

Soon after this trip, we were on another when I became aware of the swell change exiting an airport. A sea of Uber or Lyft drivers pulled up and away with riders in a frantic efficiency. Three cabbies waited patiently at the end of the line before cussing something, getting in their empty company cars, and speeding off to join the 21st Century.

Like father like daughter. Our college girl was headed to Chicago to see a roommate she had at The Ohio State University. It was her first time flying solo. Silly me thought we could walk her through everything to teach the ropes right up to the boarding gate.

“No ticket, no entry!”


It wasn’t happening. So, I sounded like I was calling a play in a hurry-up offense with time about to expire, explaining to my daughter what to do from there on out.

“Sir, keep it moving.”


And off she went.

A news crew grabbed us and asked about our experience on what they claimed was the busiest flying day ever because of the way the Fourth of July fell with just a day between it and the weekend, allowing many to take a four-day trip. Well, it was only half of the story. Our girl’s return flight was canceled, and she was stuck in the Chicago airport. She reticketed for the morning. I told her by phone I was willing to drive there, but it would be several hours, or she could find some chairs or floor to sleep on.

Our spring break flight from a Death Valley trip was for the birds in a mostly post-mask but germaphobe world! It started okay even though our departure was set further and further back. It didn’t matter, six of one or a half dozen of another, because we had a very long layover, so it just made it that much shorter. We grabbed food and chairs and nibbled our way through the hours, waiting. I chuckled at some wall art, appreciating the sly humor. Two headshots were framed next to each other. One was Marilyn Monroe and the other Jacqueline Kennedy.

Before boarding the first leg of the flight, I had to go for a walk because my stomach was not agreeing with my airport food. It was announced that the plane’s carry-on luggage capacity had been exceeded, so they tagged luggage to be checked upon boarding. My wife and I couldn’t sit next to each other to boot. And to add insult to injury, I had a middle seat between a younger and older lady. We were in the air when pressure began to build …within.

At first, I thought I might be alright. Then, the pressure looked for alternative escapes. I wondered if the ladies touching my elbows could hear the noise of essentially farting inward rather than outward; we were so close. The pressure upped its game. I knew I was in trouble. I imagined what a sneak release might be like. I knew it would be anything but stealth. The older lady in the aisle seat was asleep. I nervously looked around. It was go-time.

“I’m so sorry, but I need to get up.”

I hurried to the plane’s rear and hung out for a while. Then I returned to my seat. About three nerve-racking minutes later, I had no choice but to roust my aisle lady again. This trip to the back saved me. When I returned to my seat, both seatmates went from strangers to chatting companions. I wondered what they knew. I wondered what was said between them in my absence. In any case, they seemed friendly. I was relieved.

Now for the rest of the story …or connecting flight.

I was reunited with my wife. She won the window seat. I was directly across from a rather unhealthy-looking woman. She even had a hospital bracelet wrapped around her wrist. Once we were in the air, it began. A cavernous cough from deep within whooped with no discretion. And it kept whooping …and whooping …and whooping. I figured whatever she had; we’re all getting. Thirty minutes later—no exaggeration—she stopped to eat and drink. Then, it kicked in again for another 30 minutes without a minute to catch her breath. I thought for sure I would be on my death bed within the week.

My mind drifted to that old pipedream. If only this airplane had the space to walk about like the luxurious plane, I boarded for that childhood field trip.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals

The Portsmouth, Ohio Flood Wall Murals Project is one of the largest in the world stretching about 20 feet high and 2,000 feet long between Front Street and the Ohio River. Renowned mural painter Robert Dafford. His works, including the Portsmouth murals, create a 3-D illusion. The painting of the floodwalls lasted a decade, reaching completion in 2002. It has ever since been a great Ohio tourist attraction. The murals are a walk thru the Portsmouth area’s history from the time of Native Americans living on the banks of The Ohio River to the modern era. The floodwalls were erected after the Ohio River invaded the town in 1937, wreaking havoc. The gorgeous murals were painted soon after to replace what was a beautiful river view from the Historic Boneyfiddle District. The murals number more than 50! It’s a great walking tour or drive-by. Work up an appetite for the delicious eateries a stone’s throw away. Click here for more area attractions.

Ohio’s Legendary Zeppelin Crash

The Wreck of the USS Shenandoah

Commander Zachariah Lansdowne was a cornerstone in Ohio’s reputation as first in flight. But his name is perhaps not remembered as much as Armstrong, Glenn, and the Wright Brothers.

Unfortunately, this national hero was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in September 1925 just weeks after a fiery crash in Ava, Ohio killed him and 13 other crewmen aboard the zeppelin airship USS Shenandoah on September 3, 1925. It was 12 years before the Hindenburg disaster.

The Shenandoah was the first large airship built in the U.S.  It was the first to be inflated with helium instead of explosive hydrogen. And it was the first rigid airship to serve as a commissioned vessel in the U.S. Navy. It launched on August 20, 1923. It was fabricated at the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia, PA, and assembled in Lakehurst, NJ. The Shenandoah measured 680 feet long and 93 feet high.

Zachary Lansdowne was a Greenville, Ohio native. Under his command, that fateful last flight of the Shenandoah was met with a severe thunderstorm sending it violently to the ground near Ava, Ohio. There’s a memorial monument there today complete with a miniature replica of the airship. Zachary Lansdowne was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia.

There are several sites in Greenville, Ohio that memorialize Lansdowne and the Shenandoah. A display telling their story is at the Garst Museum. A mural is on a brick wall facing Annie Oakley Park at the end of S. Broadway Ave. The commander’s birthplace home is still in town at 338 E. 3rd St. It’s a standout in the neighborhood and has several signs and plaques on the house and in the yard that read The Lansdowne House. And at the Greenville Episcopal Church, the Lansdowne family pew is marked with a plaque.

So is the short story of Ohio’s forgotten cornerstone of its illustrious history in flight. But in the words of that Time Magazine cover story, “Hereafter the name of Lansdowne will be the rhythm for a proud measure in the epic of the skies.”

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Chasing Pavements

Chasing …Pavement
Short stories of unexpected happenings

The evening was ripe with life and laughter strolling the pavements of an outdoor marketplace. Evening diners with spirits and appetizers chattered. Beyond their reach, a twenty-dollar bill appeared. A college kid with his girl was stunned by the sight. He pointed for her attention just before swooping down to seize the unexpected bounty. Just as he did so, the wind moved it just beyond his grasp. He quickly adjusted and went for it again. Damn wind. It skirted the cement top just out of reach again. By now every patio patron and passerby has taken intermission to their lives course to watch this peculiarity unfolding. The young man, used to being a spectacle in a positive sense, has drawn unwanted attention. He went into athlete mode so as to not be defeated. Coming up empty-handed was no longer an option. This trophy would be his for all to see. And just as he attacked the bill his girl tugged at his shirt a bit too late as she caught on. The bill moved and the man moved with it. Both scampered the pavement to the howling laughter of, well, everyone but him. His girl giggled, too. The bill kept moving until it climbed into the lap of an old-timer reeling it in on an invisible string. The young man met eyes with the old man and realized he was had. They both shared in the laughter that infected the scene. The younger guy shook a naughty finger at the old guy. The old guy returned with a wink. And as the young couple walked off, the crowd applauded, and his girl kissed his cheek and nestled her head into the crook of his neck. Life was good.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Olympic Torch in Ohio

Vintage Ohio Photo Circa 1984

crossing the United States to the Los Angeles summer games, where Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton would become household names. The photo was taken on Lake Road in Avon Lake, Ohio (the houses in the background have since been replaced by mega-mansions along the shore). The photographer was the OhioTraveler at 15-years-old (he still had a ways to go). 😉

Vintage Ohio Postcards

I was in #Greenville, #Ohio yesterday to visit a friend who shared his postcard collection of the town and Darke County with me at The Coffee Pot …Now I’m sharing some with you because, well, just because…
And yes, they used to race ostriches at The Great Darke County Fair.
And yes, there used to be a streetcar service from Greenville to #Dayton, so I’m told.
The other two #postcards are a play on the word Dark(e) as in #DarkeCounty.

Meatballs with Lingonberries

Munching on some IKEA meatballs in their cafeteria (having nostalgic thoughts of the K-mart cafeteria growing up – lol), looking to help furnish one of the kids’ new places. Hey, these meatballs with lingonberries are pretty tasty.

Ohio has two IKEA stores (Columbus and Cincinnati areas). The Swedish home furnishing brand known for assemble-yourself affordability and comfort the world over put out its first catalog in 1951. The world’s first IKEA store opened in Sweden in 1958. A year later, self-assembly furniture was produced to reduce shipping costs by keeping the packaging more compact. In 1974, a supplier turned a plastic bucket into a chair (pictured), illustrating the concept of innovation at low cost.

Bring your walking shoes. There’s a lot of walking to browse this store. Maps are everywhere, so you don’t get (too) lost.

Plan your visit at

Ohio Memorial Weekend Destinations

Here are 16 Ohio Memorial Weekend destinations that truly symbolize the holiday and our remembrance of those who died in active military service.

Champaign Aviation Museum

Fallen Timbers Battlefield

Fort Jefferson

Fort Meigs

Fort Recovery

Fort Steuben

Mansfield Soldiers & Sailors Memorial

MAPS Air Museum

McCook House Civil War Museum

Motts Military Museum

Ohio Veterans Museum & Hall of Fame

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

National Veterans Memorial & Museum

Spirit of ’76 Museum

USS Cod Submarine Tour

WACO Museum

These are just 16 Ohio Memorial Weekend places to go or things to do out of many others, with military collections at various historical museums, events, and sites. Visit to see these sections of the website for more ideas of where to go on Memorial Day in Ohio or discover other places for long weekend getaways.

VW Bug Tower

Volkswagen Bug Tower In Defiance, Ohio
is at the corner of Hwys 18 & 281

The VW Bug Tower is a fun little stop in Defiance, Ohio. Five colorfully painted vintage Volkswagen Beetles rise to the telephone wires.  There’s a large parking lot at the corner to park and walk around the tower to check out the artwork and subtle touches. I gasped looking through my camera lens in the high wind and rain when I saw a man climbing out of the windshield of the fourth car up. My wife’s laugh said, “I told you about the mannequin when we first pulled in. See, you don’t listen to me.”

Giant Trolls at Aullwood

Three giant trolls made from recycled materials now live among the natural habitats at Aullwood Audubon in Dayton, Ohio, in an exhibit called “The Troll That Hatched an Egg.”

Two of these towering pieces of art are placed subtly in the woodlands. They blend in so well; visitors may be stunned when they come into view. Out on the prairie is one you can see from across the open field at quite a distance. It, too, is a stunning sight. Together, these majestic creatures named Bo, Bodil, and Bibbi tell a story about birds, flight, and why preserving habitats is essential.

The giant trolls are the creation of internationally renowned artist Thomas Dambo. There are only nine other exhibitions of this kind in the country. But this one tells explicitly a story that combines the area’s environment and history of flight.

Dambo is from Copenhagen, Denmark, and is recognized around the globe as a master recycle artist. His giant trolls have been popping up around the world for the past decade. Aullwood’s trio of trolls was created from locally sourced materials. It’s why they blend so well with their surrounding ecosystem. Dead branches in the area made the troll’s nest.

People of all ages are enjoying the opportunity to get out and see such a wonderous imagination come to life among the natural jewel that is Aullwood Audubon. Plan a trip to see “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” at

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun! 

The Sky is Now Her Limit

Pieces of Ohio … In Maine

“The Sky is Now Her Limit” by E.A. Bushnell published in Sandusky Star-Herald August 23, 1920.

The top rung reads, “Presidency.”

Click the photo to enlarge and read each rung of the ladder.

Note: The placard under the piece errantly cites “Elmer Busnell” misspelling the last name of Elmer Andrews (E.A.) Bushnell.

Bushnell was a cartoonist who worked at newspapers in Ohio and New York. This piece was created upon the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to represent the opportunities now open to enfranchised women. Source: Google Arts & Culture

Traveling around the country, we often run into “Pieces of Ohio,” so we decided to collect them and bring them home to

This piece of Ohio was found at the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Mount Desert Island, Maine, by Acadia National Park on what is called “The Quiet Side.” It was a traveling exhibition illustrating the struggle to win women’s right to vote.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Out of Ohio – Into Lava Beds

and the “Hotel California”

The old lodge looked like it was hanging on from the 1930s, or so it seemed. I walked a dim-lit hallway calling out to see if anyone was there. Tucked in a backroom was the office.

“I didn’t think you were going to make it,” said the live-in manager in such a way that I questioned if I’d hear the same statement in the morning …if I happened to be lucky enough to see it.

“Let me escort you to your room,” she said.

On the way out, she grabbed an old metal square floor fan. “This is your air conditioning.”

And by “out,” I mean out of the lodge and down a walkway to a cinder block with what looked to be patched bullet holes in the door. …click here for the rest of the story


3-D Wood Carving By Hand

Paul Weaver, a local Amish man, spent 20 years honing his skill at three-dimensional wood carving. Each piece usually takes three months to complete, using only hand tools.

Most of the carvings are from a solid block of butternut wood, sometimes with leaves still growing out of it. No adhesives are used.

His collection is on display, daily, at the historic Lehman’s Hardware Store in Kidron, Ohio. Every fourth Saturday of the month, Paul Weaver is there to answer questions and explain his process. It’s free but donations are appreciated.

52 Hand-carved Carrousel Figures

On the corner of Fourth Street and Main Street in Mansfield is old-fashioned fun in a modern setting. Here, the Richland Carrousel Park has merry activities year-round.

When it opened in 1991, it was the first new, hand-carved carrousel to be built and operated in the United States since the 1930s.  Each of the 52 figures was carved by Carousel Works in Mansfield in the style of G.A. Dentzel, a famous carver of the 20th Century.

Take a ride for just a buck on any of the 52 hand-carved carrousel figures. Enjoy cotton candy, popcorn, slushes, and more. Look for special events around holidays throughout the year plus semi-annual Wine-d Down Wednesday Ladies Nights. Plan a birthday party or anniversary here for a very memorable experience.

The Richland Carrousel Park is located at 75 N. Main St. in Mansfield, Ohio (Map It). It is open daily from 11am – 5pm. For more information, call 419-522-4223 or visit 


Sometimes a wrong turn can lead to fun discoveries. Thank you, GPS. Missing a turn, my GPS rerouted me down Barrhaven (Rd, St, Ave?) which loops to/from Main Street in Hayesville, Ohio in Ashland County. Off to the side of the backroad was an old VW Bug jutting up from the ground, half-buried. I guess it’s Ohio’s version of Cadillac Ranch off Route 66 in Texas. LOL.


For A Classic Roadside Diner – It’s the Real Deal!

When I first walked into this Toledo roadside diner 25 years ago, it felt like my kind of place. Back from my Army stay in Europe, now in college treating my girlfriend (soon to be wife) to a great bite I could afford, the road leads here. It was 1992. The waitress said it still looked the same as it did when it opened in 1948.

Recently, my wife and I traveled several hours to see one of our kids and our niece attending school in the area. Their school wasn’t in the immediate area, but it was close enough for a road trip to the dear ole diner still frying up memories after all these years.

When we drove around the place hoping to find a parking spot, I asked the ‘kids’, “Whattaya think?”

A deep voice in the backseat said, “As long as it has burgers, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

So it goes.

We snapped a photo to commemorate the old roadside diner with its nondescript faded yellow brick, glass block windows, and neon sign. It still felt right, even after romanticizing it in our minds from back in the day. And, ooh, that smell: a concoction in the air that wafted somewhere between fresh-hand-peeled potatoes and thoughts of grandma’s pie cooling on a windowsill.

It’s funny how a mere scent can trigger a memory. The most memorable thing about Schmucker’s Restaurant, bar none, is the pie! To quote an old saying, the pie “is to-die-for.”

[To-die-for is popular American hyperbole from the 20th Century and means that something is so amazing that it is worth dying for. For example: “Get the pie! The pie is to die for!” – Idiom Origins]

When we went inside, we crammed the doorway with another cluster of folks waiting for a table to be emptied and bused. I hoped it wasn’t the one within arm’s reach because then someone else was sure to be loitering in my space while I ate. So, ya, Schmucker’s Restaurant is …cozy.

But that’s the charm of it. That, and the fact nothing changes inside these walls unlike the ever-changing world outside. The owner’s name is still Schmucker, albeit the grandchild of the founders Harvey and Nola. Heck, even the chrome stools at the wrap-around lunch counter are originals. Once we nestled into our seats, yes, by the door as feared, we became a quaint world unto our own. All was well.

“What’s that ringing?” my niece asked. “It sounds like an old movie.”

In the back corner of the restaurant, a worn, wooden telephone booth has been there since day one. After we heard it several times, we tried to record it but couldn’t quite get it right. So, my niece called the restaurant. We heard and recorded the old-fashioned ringing telephone a couple of times over until our waiter reached inside it and answered, “Schmucker’s…”

My niece panicked and hung up. We later confessed our sin, thinking we’ll make up for it in the tip.

Our waiter was a young fellow with a bright smile. He was everything you’d expect from a family-diner straight out of Yesteryear. He was friendly, helpful, patient, and attentive. But more than that, he was a conversationalist. And that’s the thing about a diner like this. You learn about not just the place itself, but the community it serves.

“Hold that thought,” he said to us as he backed away to seat some newcomers. Several minutes later he returned to pick up the conversation almost in the mid-sentence he pardoned himself from.

“Whattaya have?”

My son ordered up the Wimpy Burger Platter. I asked if he knew who Wimpy was. Of course, he didn’t. I don’t even know if he knows Popeye (outside of the chicken chain).

I couldn’t resist. I blurted out the catchphrase from the early-era television cartoon, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Blank faces. Crickets. … “Is this a dad joke or something?”

[“A dad joke is a short joke, typically a pun, presented as a one-liner or a question and answer, but not a narrative. Generally inoffensive, dad jokes are stereotypically told with sincere humorous intent, or to intentionally provoke a negative reaction to its overly simplistic humor. Many dad jokes may be considered anti-jokes, deriving humor from an intentionally unfunny punchline.” – Wikipedia]

Perusing the menu, it was hard to make a decision between meals that had side notes like, “Just the way Mom makes it on Sundays.” Or, “Grandma Schmucker’s secret recipe since 1948.”

“Hot Roast Beef” seemed like such a staple comfort food for an old-time roadside diner experience. But then again “Fresh Perch” considering our proximity to a Great Lake was alluring, too. The menu had everything you may imagine for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast! I was usually the quick and decisive one to order but I seemed to be channeling my wife … “Uh, I’m sorry, can you come back to me?”

So, with a homestyle dinner, fresh garden salad, homemade soup of the day (Nola’s recipe), and an old-fashioned strawberry soda (they also had chocolate and cherry), I wondered if I’d be able to save room for pie.

Then I laughed and laughed and laughed.

I had to decide on one of Nola’s 54 pie recipes:

  1. Almond Joy
  2. ANDE’s Mint Delight
  3. Apple (daily)
  4. Apple-Raisin-Walnut
  5. Banana (daily)
  6. Blackberry
  7. Banana Split
  8. Black Bottom
  9. Black Forest
  10. Blueberry (daily)
  11. Blueberry Crumb
  12. Burst O’ Berry
  13. Butterfinger
  14. Candy Apple
  15. Caramel-Apple-Walnut (daily)
  16. Cherry (daily)
  17. Cherry Berry
  18. Cherry Crumb (daily)
  19. Chocolate Chip Pecan
  20. Chocolate Cream (daily)
  21. Chocolate Peanut Butter (daily) Our waiter said this is the most popular. It was my choice. And it’s my recommendation. It was … to die for!
  22. Chocolate Raspberry Cream
  23. Coconut Cream (daily)
  24. Coconut Custard
  25. Custard (daily)
  26. Dutch Apple (daily)
  27. Fresh Strawberry (seasonal)
  28. Fresh Strawberry Banana (seasonal)
  29. Keylime (seasonal)
  30. Lemon Chiffon
  31. Lemon Crunch
  32. Lemon Meringue
  33. Mince (seasonal)
  34. Mounds
  35. Nestlé Crunch®
  36. OH-IO Buckeye Pie
  37. Oreo Cookie
  38. Peach (daily)
  39. Pecan (daily)
  40. Pineapple Cream
  41. Pumpkin (seasonal)
  42. Pumpkin Apple Streusel
  43. Raisin (daily)
  44. Raspberry Cream
  45. Red Raspberry
  46. Rhubarb (daily)
  47. Snickers
  48. Scutterbotch (daily)
  49. Scutterbotch Mousse
  50. Strawberry Rhubarb (seasonal)
  51. Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel
  52. Sweet Potato Streusel (seasonal)
  53. Triple Chocolate Indulgence
  54. Vanilla Peanut Butter (daily)

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Field of Giant Concrete Corn Cobs in Dublin Ohio

Being Corny in Dublin, Ohio

Field of Corn (with Osage Orange Trees) is the name of this curious roadside attraction in Dublin, Ohio’s Franz Park, at 4995 Rings Road.

There are 109 ears of corn made from concrete, each standing over 6 feet tall in this creative artwork; you may walk through year-round from dawn to dusk.

It’s a favorite stop for Ohio travelers passing anywhere near the Greater Columbus area. Stop for the awe, history, or pure novelty of it. Have a picnic, take some fun photos, and have a few laughs. A cell tour is available at 614-368-6999.

Click here for further details about this unique artwork, why it was built, and how it represents the agricultural history of the area.

Pieces of Ohio – In Cooperstown

Pieces of Ohio – In Cooperstown

Photo by Dominic Satullo

A “Piece of Ohio” was found at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. This 1893 board game depicts the early use of a baseball player’s endorsement. Here, the Cleveland Spiders catcher Charles “Chief” Zimmer lends his persona to this unusual mechanical baseball parlor game.

“Chief” Zimmer, despite modern-day folklore, was not of Native American descent. He was nicknamed “Chief.” According to Wikipedia, the genesis for the nickname is as follows: “Since we were fleet of foot, we were called the Indians. As I was the head man of the Indians, somebody began to call me ‘Chief.’ It stuck,” said Charles Zimmer.

There are pieces of Ohio across the continent and beyond. Find them and bring them home to Take a pic and write a short description of what you found in a museum or on a plaque, etc., and how it connects back to Ohio along with who to credit for the photo. Make sure it is tourism-related.

Click to pick up more

Cornering the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock

Play Video

The world’s largest cuckoo clock as declared by the Guinness Book of World Records (1977 cover) is at the corner of Main and Broadway in Sugarcreek, Ohio – also known as “Little Switzerland of Ohio.” This giant cuckoo clock is operational from 9am – 9pm April through November. It measures 23 feet tall by 24 feet wide. On the half-hour, its cuckoo bird pops out, the band appears, and couples dance away to Swiss polka music. Click here to go to Ohio’s little Switzerland.

Meet the Hafners!

Travel back to the 1800s and meet Mr. & Mrs. Hafner at Ye Olde Trail Tavern in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

The Hafner is a mouth-watering combination of grilled corned beef, sauerkraut, and Swiss drizzled with thousand island on toasted pumpernickel rye or Udi’s gluten-free bun.

The Mrs. Hafner combines grilled turkey breast, sauerkraut, Swiss and Thousand Island dressing on Pumpernickel Rye or Udi’s gluten-free bun.

Either way, it’ll be a scrumptious choice set in the ambiance of a historic tavern.

Plan your foodie adventure at and meet the Hafners.

Pilgrimage to Miracle Meals

Make a pilgrimage to Do Good.

If anything, the journey to rural Ohio is worth it just to have a Miracle Mocha, Prodigal Burger, Trinity Grilled Cheese, or Little Fishers served in a Noah’s Ark with animal crackers.

Welcome to Do Good Restaurant in Osgood, Ohio. Blink and you might drive right through the tiny town without knowing it.

The servers are volunteers and tips go to a worthy cause. Ask your server whom you are helping today. Remember, “Brothers and sisters, while we are here let us do good.”

Plan your pilgrimage for a divine breakfast, lunch, or dinner by clicking here.

Saturdate at Sunwatch …with Tina the Turkey

It had been 20 years since we had last visited Sunwatch Indian Village & Archaeological Park in Dayton.

The layout is wonderful in that upon the approach you cannot see the 800-year-old Village before you walk out of the back of the interpretive center. Then, from an elevated view, you begin to see into the ancient culture of the Fort Ancient people. Marvel at the recreated structural designs that reveal apparent astronomical alignments from a complex of strategically placed posts. Closely examine inside and outside the five lath and daub structures with grass thatch roofs, and portions of a stockade.

Although insightful eye-opening tours are provided, we ventured into the wide-open space on our own. Along the way, a wild turkey named Tina befriended my wife and walked alongside her. When the nesting (atop a grass roof) geese (the male) flew a warning overhead, Tina sought her adopted human mother to shelter her from the bully of the Village. LOL. When we circled the grounds we had to make an impromptu detour as the Canada Goose swooped from the rooftop to cut us off at the pass and chase us into adrenaline-filled laughter and retreat.

It was a wonderful visit, just as we had remembered. There are so many interesting learning opportunities at this national historic landmark. The 3-acre village site produced an abundance of artifacts, including turkey eggshell fragments (maybe Tina was visiting her ancestors too ;). The interpretive center features many of these well-preserved relics that had been recovered from the site.

If you go, say hi to Tina. She’s a friendly unofficial tour guide.

To plan a visit, click here.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

Shadowing The Great Seal of Ohio

Summit of Mount Logan at Ohio’s Great Seal State Park

Casting a shadow on The Great Seal of Ohio as we stand atop Mount Logan near Chillicothe, Ohio is the culmination of a great winter-spring hike. With no leaves on the trees, the view is panoramic. It is a pretty steep ascent and descent on par with Appalachian hiking. Mount Logan is famously shown in the official seal of Ohio, The Great Seal of The State of Ohio, and is located at Great Seal State Park near Chillicothe (the first capital of Ohio). Plan your visit at 

Autumn Bursts on The Hargus Lake Trail

Hargus Lake Trail

Hug a lake during a 4.4-mile autumn trek on the Hargus Lake Trail at A.W. Marion State Park near Circleville, Ohio. Hiking its woodland hills and taking in the gorgeous lakeside views are a great way to spend an afternoon, especially when the setting sun bounces off of the colorful leaves and mirrors them in the water below. It’s a loop trail that permits leashed dogs. Oh, and there’s an island in the middle perfect for a kayaker picnic. The grounds and parking are free. Hargus Lake provides 145 acres of water, boat launching ramps, and public docks. Rentals are available from the concession on the northwest side of the lake. Electric motors only are permitted. Click here to plan your visit.


Abracadabra (1992) by Alexander Liberman
Photo courtesy of Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum

Abracadabra (1992) by Alexander Liberman is one of the largest works that Liberman ever constructed. It’s made out of a mix of sheet and cylinder steel, painted a vibrant red. Liberman was primarily known for working with cylinders, but later in his career, he started to work with more sheet steel. Abracadabra is influenced by the several trips Liberman took to Greece in the mid-1960s to study the remnants of Greek and Roman architecture. In the case of Abracadabra, Liberman built this piece full scale, meaning there was no model or moquette. He would draw on sheets of the steel; the fabricator would then cut them out and use cranes, sometimes multiple cranes, to put them in temporary positions as the piece was built.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum features over 80 outdoor sculptures on 300+ acres of land. Enjoy nature and art by walking, driving the park, or renting an art cart to explore! The park also has hiking trails so one can really immerse themselves in nature. Take a break from the outdoors and visit their Ancient Sculpture Museum featuring Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian, and Egyptian antiquities dating to 1550 B.C.

Plan your trip at

The Gulla Dog

Gulla Dog at Gulla’s Lunch
photo is courtesy of Belmont County Tourism

This “FoodtEase” serves up…THE “GULLA DOG” at Gulla’s Lunch in Bellaire, Ohio.

Gulla’s Lunch is home to the famous “Gulla Dog”. Paul Gulla is the fourth generation to serve up the sauce on Belmont Street. A tradition that started more than 4,000 miles away in Sicily. The recipe is Paul’s great-grandmother’s. His great-grandfather ended up in Bellaire, opening the first version of Gulla’s Lunch, just down the street from their current location. It was called the Columbia. In 1984 they moved two doors down to their current location, where the menu expanded and so did the clientele, as generations passed on the tradition that is grabbing lunch a Gulla’s. The fish, the chili, the vegetable soup, all of our soups are homemade. The staple lunch is a Gulla dog, fish and fries and gravy, Even though they sit on a small street in a small town, Gulla’s can go nationwide. If you bring in your own mason jar, they can jar you up some sauce to ship to someone as far away as Texas.

Top 50 Attractions in Ohio

Standouts in Ohio Tourism

Over the years, we have recognized 50 of the top attractions or destinations in Ohio travel and tourism. In the coming years, we’ll continue our journey until we discover the TOP-100 attractions in Ohio. See 51-100 as they are added over time by clicking here.

Here are our top 50 out of 100 Standouts in Ohio Tourism in no particular order:

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

Clifton Mill 

Contemporary Arts Center

The American Sign Museum

Great Mohican Pow-Wow

Duck Tape Festival


Bear’s Mill

Historic Sauder Village

African Safari Wildlife Park:

The Toledo Museum of Art

Castle Noel

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

Rainbow Hills Vineyards

Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival

All American Soap Box Derby

Historic Roscoe Village

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center

Cedar Point

Freedom Center

Hocking Ice

A Christmas Story House

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Circleville Pumpkin Show

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Wake Nation

Original Bob Evans Farm

Hartman Rock Garden

Allen County Museum

Warther Museum

Ye Olde Mill

Shadowbox Live

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

Buckin’ Ohio


Topiary Park

KD Guest Ranch

The Wilds

National Museum of The U.S. Air Force

The RainForest

Ohio State Reformatory

Jungle Jim’s International Market


West Side Market

EnterTRAINment Junction

Ohio Caverns

The Unusual Junction

Memphis Kiddie Park

For a guide to all Ohio travel and tourism destinations listed on, CLICK HERE.

Attention Ohio Foodie Lovers

Eli’s BBQ in Cincinnati is located in a place that’s not well marked but everyone knows where to go for great-tasting barbeque and atmosphere. It’s in an old river neighborhood a stone’s skip from the Ohio River. When you walk into the weathered building, you first notice the worn wooden floor. On one wall there’s a collection of rock’s finest vinyl records. On another wall, there’s an old stereo system with a turntable spinning records from the collection.

You’ll walk to the counter in the back and order your food. Then, find a seat in the front dining room with the most peculiar art for sale, hanging on the walls. Or you may sit outside or in an adjacent tented eating area. They’ll bring the food to you when it’s ready. The pulled pork, ribs and creamy southern coleslaw are to die for! But there are plenty of other great options to feast on. If you enjoy Jalapeño, try the cheddar grits and cornbread.

Eli’s BBQ has been listed in national top-10 lists for best barbeque and is also available at some Cincinnati area Kroger stores. They also have a stand at the historic Findlay Market for take-out in downtown Cincinnati. Elis is open daily from 11am – 9pm. You’ll find it at (Map It) 3313 Riverside Drive in Cincinnati, Ohio. You may call 513-533-1957 or visit

For more of Ohio’s unique eateries, vsit If you want to suggest a place for our taste buds to determine if it gets added to the list, email

By Rocco Satullo, your Tour Guide to Fun

The Last Road Trip

“The Last Road Trip” is a
Farewell to Another Generation’s
Traditional Family Vacations

The all-American family vacation harkens images of the Griswold’s out on the open road trekking cross-country in a station wagon to the sound, Holiday Road. And it repeats with each generation. It’s a rite of passage that comes and goes in about a 12-year period from when the kids are old enough to remember something to old enough to fly the nest. But it goes by in the blink of an eye. Thousands of dollars are spent seeing places like Disney, Yellowstone, and countless other destinations and attractions. Littered along the way are tourist traps and roadside gimmicks to lure the weary family and break up dad’s power-drives to get somewhere special.

In the end, what does everyone remember? The moments between geological wonders and architectural gems. The unexpected.

After a dozen years of summer vacations, we decided to take one more before our daughter headed off to college. Some call this the senior trip. In all likelihood, it marks the end of an era. Never (most-likely) will just the four of us be packed in a car for two weeks, forced to get to know each other better. It wasn’t always rosy times, but even the meltdowns are remembered, fondly. Every trip, I’m good for one, earning the nickname – Travel Dad.

“Uh-oh, Travel Dad just got behind the wheel,” could be uttered from the backseat when I grumble out loud about a traffic situation.

Alas, it really is about the journey and not the destination. Here are some of the more memorable experiences our family had together over this blip in time. I’m sure our stories are your stories or at least they’ll get you talking about yours, too.

Our first real vacation had us flying on a small, bumpy flight with one row of single seats on one side of the plane. I sat in front of my six-year-old son and behind him was another six-year-old. The seatbelt sign was on. We descended before our stomachs. That’s when I heard two remarkable imaginations echo through the hollow tube with a play-by-play for everyone to hear. “We’re going to crash!” One boy yelled at the other. “Ah, that was close.” “Holy moly, there’s an alligator on the wing.” The plane bucked in the air and then tilted to turn. “The alligator is gone, but seaweed clogged the engine, and now it’s smoking.” I tried to squeeze my face in between the back of my seat and the metal wall with desperate “SHHH” noises, but these two were on cloud nine all the way down.

On a long driving day, we approached a small town I had read was one of the 100 you had to see before you died. The distance was deceiving, and it came in and out of sight as we rolled over hills and turns for about 10 minutes as we neared it. Coming closer, we “oohed and ahhed” looking for a place to pull off and snap some photos. In town, I had stopped and started at a few signs and lights before a flashing light caught my attention. When I found a place to pull over, it was revealed in short-order that this popping mad policeman was in silent, slow pursuit of us for …miles. After he spits his displeasure and ripe words at me he returned to his cruiser to write my ticket. That’s when my young daughter wondered out loud if I was going to prison. I unconfidently replied, no.

In a desolate part of the country, I was proud to have found a motel close to a remote national monument that Triple-A didn’t even know existed – and for a good reason. Our cinder block accommodations overlooked nothing for as far as the eyes could see. There was a cluster of puddied-over bullet holes head-high in the door. The “inn-keeper” fetched my son his bead (cot) from a shed and when she turned to leave, I asked for the room key. She said there was none. There was a pause between us before she turned away, laughed, threw her arms in the air and said, “Besides, where ya gonna go?”

There’s nothing like hiking to the top of a mini rock mountain searching for Petroglyphs when lighting strikes. What had been a careful ascent due to the multiple “Beware: Rattlesnakes” signs became a mad dash for the car. The winds and rain whipped up, but we managed to get to our four-wheel shelter before the brunt of it nailed us. Winds still churning albeit it not as powerfully, I rolled down my window trying to get a better look at an anomaly headed our way. “Roll up the window!” my wife screamed, but before I could, a wall of sand slammed into our faces and all over the car.

I withdrew some cash before stepping out of our hotel and into the early morning sun …and the chest of a homeless man. He asked for forty-nine cents or some odd number like that. I only had twenty dollar bills. When I said that I couldn’t help now but certainly would later, he yelled and threatened, “You won’t always be together,” waving his finger at my children in a threatening manner. Now I know he probably wasn’t playing with a full deck, but I couldn’t help myself. I stopped, turned around and said, “Did you just threaten my family?” He proceeded to shout at me and called me this and that for an entire block.  He crossed a street, so we walked a bit more before we crossed. But first, I paused to see which way he was going to head on the other side. He turned and scanned my side of the street until he found me. Then he waved me over in sharp motions as if to say, “Bring it on!” I laughed to myself, and we walked away.

After police confiscated all of our water before entering a building (plus snacks, sunscreen, you name it), we walked for miles from one site to another on a record hot day all over a city. But if you ask anyone in our family, what was the best thing you ever ate on all of your trips, the answer is unanimous. Frozen lemonade from a food truck. We scrounged up just enough coin to splurge on one five-dollar frozen lemonade. The four of us lined the curb, each taking a spoonful of heaven and passed it down. We were that desperate and elated.

A cottage stay put us on what amounted to a cul-de-sac street in the woods with every cottage in the cluster having been rented out by college kids, partying like there’s no tomorrow. Every cottage except ours and one other, kitty-corner from us. Ours was remarkably soundproof so as long as we could sleep, I wasn’t complaining. But kitty-corner family had this to say, “In the middle of the night, my worst fear came true,” said kitty-corner dad. “Someone was banging on the back door yelling, ‘let me in.’ I yelled back, ‘You better get out of here, this isn’t your cottage, now go away.’ To which the drunk on the other side pleaded, ‘Come on dude, stop mess’n with my head and just let me in.’ This exchange repeated a few times before the stranger at the door fell silent.” The father of that family couldn’t open the door in the morning because the college kid had passed out against it.

While waiting at a street corner, a strange sight grabbed our attention. A lady was walking backward ever so casually at a pace somewhere between not too fast and not too slow. I quickly reminded the kids (and myself) not to snicker when she neared. We missed our “walk” sign and stood still, gawking, as her back-side passed us and now shown her front side. She kept walking backward, looking at us, us looking at her. She crossed a couple of streets as if she had eyes in the back of her head and finally turned a corner, all the while walking backward. When she finally tuned out of view, we looked at each other and said in unison, “Well, you don’t see that every day.”

The stories go on and on. There’s the time we were trapped on a back road trying to navigate through a herd of wild bison. There’s the coffee cart sermon from a crazed vendor talking about end times as he waited on a long line of snickering, but caffeine-addicted customers. The coffee was to die for by the way. Then there was the white-knuckle Cliffside drive up and down a mountain dirt road. Oh, and who will ever forget those black flies and cockroaches! Falling off a horse charging through the water was a good one. And there are the slap-happy moments where you laugh so damn hard you think you’re going to be asked to leave a restaurant. But the time together always leads to the most memorable times of all – conversation that tighten bonds in ways that only a family vacation can.

My favorite memory was from a generation ago when I was the kid. My mom was reading a plaque inside a museum aloud to my sister and me. We lost interest just like Dad and faded back. Filling the void came interested tourists hanging on my mom’s dramatic reading. Soon, we couldn’t see Mom because a whole horde of folks gathered around her. When she finished, she turned to see the sea of people gathered around her. Without missing a beat, she waved her arm and said, “Now if you follow me over here…”

And so it goes, another generation experiencing the all-American family tradition. Happy travels to you and yours.

By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

Cornering Childhood Memories

Welcome to “Cornering Ohio” where we share the best street corners in Ohio tourism!

If you mention the intersection of Memphis Avenue and Tiedeman Road to most Clevelanders you will probably evoke a big “Huh?” Until, that is, you mention Memphis Kiddie Park. The iconic children’s amusement park has been located where Tiedeman dead ends in Memphis for the past seven decades. Selling its first ticket on May 28, 1952, Memphis Kiddie Park was one of a few kiddielands in the greater Cleveland area. Over time, and for various reasons, all of the others shuttered, except for Memphis Kiddie Park which is still going strong. And thanks to I-480 and a busy cloverleaf at Tiedeman, Memphis Kiddie Park has never been more accessible to all of Northeast Ohio.

Memphis Kiddie Park is truly one-of-a-kind. Its whole point is to appeal to small children without the noise or intimidation of teenagers and adults found at larger theme parks. With 11 mechanized rides from a traditional Merry-Go-Round to North America’s oldest steel track kiddie coaster, the Little Dipper, one may think of Memphis Kiddie Park as the “training wheels for Cedar Point”. Add to that a miniature golf for the whole family and a concession stand featuring the best Hot Dogs and Funnel Cakes in the County. And, because Memphis Kiddie Park caters to small children, access is easy and affordable, parking is free, there is no gate fee for anyone, and rides are just one ticket per ride for each rider. If it’s too hot for your child or there are unexpected rain showers (it is Cleveland after all), no problem. Tickets never expire so you can come back as often as you like without the steep penalty of a gate fee and parking.

Click here to join the fun.

Cornering “Little Miss Sure Shot”

Welcome to “Cornering Ohio” where we share the best street corners in Ohio tourism!

On the corner of N. Broadway and Wilson Drive in Greenville, Ohio is The National Annie Oakley Center at Garst Museum. It houses the largest display of Annie Oakley items in the world. Learn who Annie really was, a petite and fashionable lady, instead of the Hollywood image depicting her as a tomboy in the Wild West. This gem of a museum is tucked away in her hometown. The gift shop has plenty of Oakley memorabilia that may make for great stocking stuffers. Nearby are a statue and gravesite for Annie Oakley.

Click here to plan your trip to see Annie.

Amish Fruitcake to Die For

“An Amish Fruitcake Like No Other”

Yoder’s Bakery & Furniture
(Formerly Keim Family Market)

I’ve heard this about Yoder’s (formerly Keim’s) holiday fruitcakes for the past 13 years I’ve worked with them. The recipe goes back to the 1970s when Roy Keim sold them and his wife’s homemade pies roadside from a horse and buggy. Now, people around the country order them. We think word spread from truckers over the years. This year, I decided to have one mailed to me so I could finally try it. In a word: YUM! There are plenty of fruitcake jokes during the holiday season, but at Yoder’s, fruitcake is no laughing matter. Like many fruitcake lovers across the country, you may order one from this quaint Ohio Amish shop to be shipped to you by calling them at 937-386-9995.

Ohio’s Miniature Circus

The Miniature Circus Features 2,620 hand-carved pieces

Tucked away in the second floor of the Massillon Museum (MassMu), visitors of all ages are delighted to find a 100-square-foot miniature circus containing 2,620 hand-carved components.

The late Dr. Robert Immel relived his fond memories of going to the circus as a child by carving tiny circus figures beginning when he returned from World War II. By the time he donated his imaginative circus lot to MassMu in 1995, it used 36 elephants, 186 horses, 102 assorted animals, 91 wagons, 7 tents, and 2207 people to depict vignettes of the circus parade, an elephant act, a sideshow barker, and three-ring acts in the big top.

Can you find a vet treating a sick zebra, workers repairing a fire-damaged wagon, a crew preparing food for the menagerie, a team sledgehammering a tent stake, a boy running for the bathroom with balloons flying behind him, and a man who’s going to lose his job for drinking behind one of the tents?

Surrounding the diorama is a rotating exhibit of circus artifacts from Dr. Immel’s collection.  Guests may see sequined trapeze artists’ costumes, animal trainers’ overalls, P.T. Barnum’s gold tipped cane, Lavinia and Tom Thumb’s wedding album, clown shoes, colorful posters, or sideshow photographs.

When you visit the Immel Circus, don’t forget to also see the Paul Brown Museum; contemporary art in Studio M, the local history, fine and decorative arts, and photography galleries; and rotating exhibits in the main and lower level galleries. Remember your visit with a local history book or artist-made memento from the unique shop.

The Massillon Museum is located at a 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in the heart of downtown Massillon.  Admission and adjacent street parking are free.  For more information, call 330-833-4961 or visit

A Taste of Tuscany in Ohio

at Gervasi Vineyard

Gervasi Vineyard, an upscale Tuscan-inspired winery, has three distinct restaurants featuring exceptional cuisine. The stunning 55-acre estate featuring the state-of-the-art winery and distillery also has a coffee house and craft cocktail lounge in addition to offering tours, tastings, pairings, culinary classes, and events. And you may spend the night in “Tuscany” in a luxury suite.

The Bistro, housed in a historic barn, features rustic upscale Italian cuisine with homemade ingredients featuring antipasti, salads, brick-fired artisan pizzas, steak, chicken and seafood entrees, and delectable desserts. Offering a full bar including specialty cocktails, craft beers, and award-winning Gervasi Wines. (Reservations recommended.)

The Crush House is a contemporary wine bar and eatery in a more casual setting. Enjoy lunch and dinner in an open-air “loft” style restaurant and winery featuring Venetian-style cuisine with appetizers, sandwiches, salads, wraps, pasta bowls, entrees, and a full bar including specialty cocktails, craft beers, Gervasi wines, featuring weekday Happy Hour 2 – 6 pm and Theme Nights.

New to Gervasi Village is The Still House, a coffee house by day, featuring a wide variety of coffee creations. In the evening, the venue transforms into a swanky cocktail lounge as one of the coolest spots in town. The Still House offers specialty craft cocktails created by mixologists, an extensive bourbons list, craft beers, and Gervasi award-winning wines. Cigar aficionados can enjoy a high-end indoor/outdoor lounge. Live music featuring local artists is offered every evening.

Spend the night in “Tuscany” in a luxury suite. The Villas, and the new boutique hotel, The Casa, offer a total of 48 luxurious suites, offering high-end amenities and are custom designed to feel like you have escaped to Tuscany.

Links to Gervasi’s restaurants for menus, dining, and take out options:

Gervais Vineyard 2Photos courtesy of Gervasi Vineyard

Cornering An Independent Bookstore in Ohio

From the corner of 3rd St. and E. Sycamore St. in Columbus’ Historic German Village you can see The Book Loft. Journey through 32 rooms inside a storybook building. Explore the cozy nooks and crannies inside and out. Wrapped in brick, gardens, and old-world charm, you’re bound to discover a character you love, and bargains galore. Click here to plan your visit.

Topiary Park Or Painting?

Wouldn’t it be really cool to walk into a painting and be a part of it? You could check things out three-dimensionally to see what the other side looks like.

How about a famous painting? Let’s say, for example, Georges Seurat’s 1887 A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte, which is a depiction of people gathering on a Sunday afternoon at the Seine River in Paris. The original is shown at the Art Institute of Chicago. But the version in downtown Columbus, Ohio offers a totally different experience.

Enjoy a walk and picnic at the Columbus Topiary Garden & Park at Old Deaf School Park –


VASE IN PLACE or as some refer to as VASEHENGE in Zanesville, Ohio is a circle of 18 giant painted clay vases to celebrate the town’s heritage as the “Clay City.” Zanesville was once known as the “Clay Capital of the United States” because it was home to some of the most renowned pottery companies on the planet. The display of larger than life vases stand at the foot of another rare sight, a Y-bridge. You’ll find this interesting roadside attraction at Pine Street and Highway 40. Afterward, head downtown to shop the vibrant art scene. Plan your visit at

Hiking Buzzardroost Rock

This SATURdate was where spirits soar

The first thing you want to do when you go hiking is to make sure your source to find the trailhead is current.

We looked at an Ohio hiking book we’ve had for years to find our way to a very enjoyable hike with sweeping clifftop views that we had taken years ago. Following the written directions in the book, we turned onto an unpaved road and drove the distance, looping back, and starting over. We somehow missed seeing the trailhead. In another attempt, we missed it again and turned around on the narrow gravel road along a hillside. When we stopped where we figured the trailhead should be, it wasn’t there. I got out and walked the road looking for clues. I found a weathered board deep in the weeds of an overgrown trailhead that read, “New entrance to Buzzardroost Rock is 7/10 mile east,” or something to that effect.

Down the road (Ohio 125 about 5 miles east of West Union, Ohio) there were two gravel parking lots for the Buzzardroost Rock trail. One was on the south side of the roadway and the other was down a gravel drive north of the roadway. The trailhead is at the information kiosk. Conveniently, there’s also a port-o-pot.

Buzzardroost Rock is at the Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve. It’s about a 4.4 mile out and back hike with a small loop trail near the end. This hike is about a mile longer than the old route.  Either direction you may choose on the loop trail near the end is about the same distance to the observation point.

We’ve learned to bring two pairs of shoes and a plastic bag to put the muddy ones when done. It really came in handy on this hike. Trails under cover of the canopy of mature woodlands often stay muddy long after it rains. This was no exception. However, there was a wood plank networks placed over some of the soupiest parts of the trail. Still, there were other sections that had to be navigated with care as was evident by the number of feet and body skid marks where others slid or fell. The trek is uphill and ranked in our guide book as moderate to difficult. In the heat, we were pleased that we brought plenty of water.

When we got to the small loop trail we chose to leave the woods trail to explore the open prairie. With the sun shining, the blue skies with powder-white clouds popped against the lush green landscape. A couple of old farmstead buildings whispered to us from the overgrowth piquing our curiosity to explore what was behind the weathered boards still managing to stay erect. The wild prairie flowers are just a fragment of the nearly 500 species of plants that have been discovered in the Preserve, which is one of the most biodiverse natural places in the area.

After the trail returned to the woodland ascent, the sky could be seen through the timber on both sides. The peninsula narrowed and led us out to the top of the Peebles dolomite rock outcrop overlooking Ohio Brush Creek and the valley floor some 900 feet below and as far as the eyes could see.

A metal railing framed two long wooden benches and a sign telling about the scene. This is where we unpacked our bagged lunches and enjoyed a much-earned bite to eat while chatting with a few strangers. They shared a tale or two about their hiking and climbing adventures in Ohio and elsewhere in North America citing Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the White Mountains in New Hampshire, and Yosemite in California.

A trip to Buzzardroost Rock [75 miles East of Cincinnati near the Ohio River] must also include a couple of stops to see what is known by locals as Wheat Ridge Amish Country. You’ll feel like you entered another period of time when you come out of the other side of the 1855 Harshaville Covered Bridge. Drive with caution around the bends and rolling hills because Amish buggies, bicycles, and scooters share the country roads. Tucked in this quieter Amish country are two jewels: Keim Family Market, and Miller’s Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Food Stores. Both are Amish-owned and operated and have been for generations. Make sure you have room in your vehicle to take home their legendary baked goods, gorgeous furniture, and plenty of fixin’s from the bulk food stores. And if you happen to stop here before the hike, their deli sandwiches taste best atop of the Rock.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

For more SATURdate ideas to spend with friends, family, or solo, visit

Click to enlarge photos

WACO Open Cockpit Biplane Ride


The friendly skies will be OPEN
Beginning in June

Call the WACO Air Museum in Troy, Ohio
at 937-335-9226 or go to

to plan your unforgettable experience for two.

“Sunny” is ready to come out and play!

Monumental Figurative Sculptures

Watch a famous sculptor at work just about any time. And walk around his spacious two-story studio to see the world’s largest bronze sculpture exhibition by a living sculptor. Alan Cottrill is happy to take a break and tell you stories, beginning with that first time he sunk his hands into clay, and about the process behind creating mega pieces that are shipped and placed around the world. Click here to plan your visit to the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio.

Newark Holy Stones

Add This to Your List Of Things to See When Places Open Again. Until Then, Enjoy This Fascinating Story.

The Newark Holy Stones, on display at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum (JHM) in Coshocton, were discovered in Licking County between 1860 and 1867 by surveyor David Wyrick. One of them was found at the Newark Earthworks and the other one was found at the Jacksontown Stone Mound. The collection is composed of the Keystone, the Decalogue Stone, a two-piece box made to house the Decalogue Stone, and a bowl. Both the Keystone and Decalogue Stone are inscribed in Hebrew. The Decalogue Stone also bears an image of Moses. This controversial find infers that these ancient Indians were the descendants of the “Lost Tribes of Israel,” the ten of which were said to have been deported after Israel’s conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Empire around 722 BCE.

This and most of the museum’s collection were once the private collections of John and David Johnson, who grew up in Coshocton, Ohio. It’s not exactly known how the Johnson brothers came to possess the Newark Holy Stones, but it’s believed that they purchased them directly from David Wyrick.

There was correspondence between the Johnson brothers and different scientists, among others, trying to authenticate the Holy Stones. After a time, the stones were just stored away. In a letter, they asked someone at Tiffany’s Department Store in New York City what they should do with them. The correspondence back from Tiffany’s offered to display them in their storefront. Instead, the brothers held onto them until they showed up in Coshocton by railcar with the rest of the Original Collection which originally comprised the JHM Museum collection.

JHM had the Newark Holy Stones in a drawer, not even on display until a book was authored by Robert W. Alrutz, a professor at Denison University. As a result of this book, belief in the authenticity of the Newark Holy Stones grew.

Countering Alrutz’s book, Bradley T. Lepper and his colleague Jeff Gill researched the stones and published an extensive article The Newark Holy Stones, published in the May/June 2000 edition of TIMELINE, a publication of the Ohio Historical Society. However, despite their effort, the controversial documentary The Lost Civilizations of North America also fueled the validity of the Newark Holy Stones. It largely ignored the archaeological community, and in particular, the Lepper/Gill findings.

“We think these forgeries were created to support a particular idea of the past that was in conflict with the then-popular scientific theory that claimed that the mounds disproved the bible and that it supported slavery, in a convoluted sort of way,” explained Lepper. “So these holy stones, even though they’re fake, have a very fascinating story to tell about this early period in the history of archaeology.”

At the time that the Holy Stones were discovered, the issue of slavery engulfed the nation. One year later, the Civil War had begun. Lepper said the Holy Stones should be on display because of this connection, even though he believes that the stones are forgeries.

“We get lots of people interested in the Newark Holy Stones,” JHM director Jennifer Bush. “I tell people my opinion based on scientific analysis, but some don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that they are real.”

Throughout the museum, there are many attention-grabbers that open a new world of curiosity. Be sure to add to your list of places to explore later this year.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

This is an excerpt from a much larger story, “Collecting A Legacy …And Controversy: Small Town Museum Hails Worldly Artifacts” which was sponsored by Visit Coshocton

Ohio’s Oldest Public Market

Photo courtesy of Findlay Market

Welcome to Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest public market and Cincinnati’s only surviving municipal market house.

It’s home to over 50 full-time merchants and over 50 seasonal farmers, artisans, produce vendors and more! Nestled in the heart of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, this historic structure has been (and remains) home to a plethora of small, multi-generational businesses and is a place where a diverse array of local food entrepreneurs gather to provide the freshest and highest quality food and artisan products.

The Market has remained an integral part of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood (once home to over 40,000 German-American, African-American and Appalachian residents). Findlay Market was the one-stop-shop for folks to get their weekly essentials—farm-fresh produce, high-quality meats, freshly-baked bread, hand-cut flowers, etc. Today, Findlay Market prides itself on staying true to its roots by supporting small business and providing Over-the-Rhine residents and Cincinnati locals with eclectic food and food-related products they will not find anywhere else in the city.

In addition to providing the best food in town, Findlay Market is a communal space, conducting over a dozen events throughout the year. Findlay Market is also home to the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, in which businesses, organizations and school groups gather at the Market and parade through the city to celebrate and cheer on the Cincinnati Reds!

In the warmer months, Findlay Market hosts local artisans, farmers, and prepared food vendors in its Outdoor Market. During this season, shoppers can enjoy a local craft beer (or two) in the Findlay Market Biergarten (pictured) with their family and friends!

Click here to plan your visit to Findlay Market.

Photo courtesy of Findlay Market

Hollow Earth Theory

Did you know that the Earth is hollow, according to a theory laid to rest in Hamilton, Ohio?

Symmes Monument in Hamilton, Ohio commemorates the “Father of Hollow Earth Theory,” John Cleves Symmes Jr. This is the only remnant left of a cemetery-turned park after other remains were transferred to another burial ground. Symmes believed an opening near the poles (later dubbed “Symmes Hole”) led to a hollow and inhabitable interior world. The Theory of Concentric Spheres and Solar Voids was pitched to the U.S. Congress in hopes that funding for an expedition would be funded. After a lecture tour promoting his theory, Symmes died May 29, 1829, and was laid to rest here, just south of downtown Hamilton, Ohio at the southeast quadrant of 3rd Street and Sycamore. For geo-explorers, coordinates are N: 39° 23.711 and W: 084° 33.699.

Touching Up The Earthship

“Wow, THAT’s creative!”

Blue Rock Station just outside of Philo, Ohio has 16 artsy buildings made mostly of reused materials, earthen plaster and rammed-earth tire foundations.

This is a working farm with barns made of straw-bales, reclaimed weathered barn wood and art on the walls.

The art pictured here appears on the walls of two of their tiny sleeping cabins. Interns and students help to design and create the art.

The photos demonstrate how two of the art pieces come together to make interesting artistic buildings.  Each building has a name.

The farm is open occasionally during warmer months and registration is required to take a tour.

For more information or to listen to the Blue Rock Station podcast visit

* * *

Ohio has creative pieces of art in museums, along roadways, in parks, you name it. Help us share pieces that make you pause and say, “Wow, THAT’s creative!”

You may submit a photo of your favorite creative piece of art in Ohio with a description under 300 words for publishing and posting consideration. Be sure to include a byline with photo credit. Send your submission to

See More of Ohio “Wow” at 

Lost And Found Sculpture

“Wow, THAT’s creative!”

“Lost and Found” by American sculptor Alison Saar is on permanent display at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio.

This sculpture is the focal point no matter which direction you enter the vast room where it is displayed. It commands attention and curiosity. It is simply made of wood, tin, and of course, wire. But it projects a profound message that although we may not notice one another at times when everything is stripped away, we mirror each other and are very connected no matter our differences by gender, race, or age.

Alison Saar is a mixed medium sculptor based in Los Angeles, California. She focuses on race and gender and uses found and traditional material. Her work often conveys cultural and social messages, experiences, and identity, especially in areas to express the injustices endured by minorities and women.

Dayton Art Institute is one of the nation’s finest mid-sized art museums. It features an encyclopedic collection of nearly 30,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art history. Highlights include the museum’s outstanding Asian collection, 17th-century Baroque paintings, 18th, and 19th-century American art, and contemporary art collection. In addition to its diverse collection, the museum features world-class special exhibitions, a wide variety of educational programs, and an interactive, family-oriented Experiencenter gallery.

Click here for more information about The Dayton Art Institute.

* * *

Ohio has creative pieces of art in museums, along roadways, in parks, you name it. Help us share pieces that make you pause and say, “Wow, THAT’s creative!”

You may submit a photo of your favorite creative piece of art in Ohio with a description under 300 words for publishing and posting consideration. Be sure to include a byline with photo credit. Send your submission to

See More of Ohio “Wow” at

Cornering Sweeping Changes

At the corner of E. Maple St. and Cavalier Dr. in North Canton, Ohio, learn how a vacuum cleaner company helped win WWII.

A vibrant part of Walsh University, the story of the Hoover legacy unfolds in the Victorian Italianate-style farmhouse at the Hoover Historical Center. It’s a unique walk down memory lane in the boyhood home of William “Boss” Hoover, founder of The Hoover Company. Amid Victorian elegance, visitors view vintage vacuums, advertisements, ladies’ fashions, home décor, and war memorabilia. Interactives are available throughout the tour. Herb gardens enhance the grounds.

Plan your visit at

Spot Burger

The Spot Burger in Sidney, Ohio will definitely hit the spot. It’s no wonder people take road trips to Sidney for one of the tastiest burgers in a setting that is authentic and nostalgic.

The Spot Restaurant started as a chuckwagon more than 100 years ago. Its cheeseburgers have left ear-to-ear grins on happy customer faces generation after generation. Spot Miller wheeled his chuckwagon into town in 1907 but Sidney officials restricted selling meals from the mobile eatery so Spot Miller kicked the wheels off and became a permanent fixture in town for generations to come, cooking up memories for all.

New owners bought the place from Spot Miller and had a grand vision of popping up in many spots across Ohio and beyond. The chain, Spot to Eat, opened in Athens, Urbana, Lima, Piqua, and Bellefontaine. Eventually, they all disappeared and only one SPOT exists today, the original!

Along the way, a more permanent building was built. Fire in the early 1940’s resulted in the exterior design seen today, including the neon sign hanging over the front door with the Spot trademark. Inside, the last renovation was 1976.

Click here to plan your visit to The Spot!

Cornering the Old Piano Factory

“Cornering Ohio”
At the Old Piano Factory

On the corner of Second Street and Locust Street in Ripley, Ohio is the three-story brick building that was built in the 1880s for the Ohio Valley Piano Forte Company. Now, it houses the “Olde Piano Factory Shoppes” and Brown County Magazine and is a part antique mall, and part museum.

Click here for more information about the Olde Piano Factory Shoppes.

* * *

“Got Nothing Against The Big Town,”
but we’re cornering small-town Ohio.

Help us share the best corners in Ohio. You may submit a photo of your favorite corner in Ohio with a description under 300 words for publishing and posting consideration. Be sure to include a byline with photo credit. Send your submission to
“scoops at”.

See More of Ohio “Cornered” at

Cornering Zoar

“Cornering Ohio”
at Zoar Village

On the corner of Main Street and Third Street in Historic Zoar Village is Number One House (Kings Place), built in 1835, which is where you may visit the Zoar Museum.

The museum tells the story of a group of about 200 German Separatists seeking escape from religious persecution in their homeland and settled this community in 1817.

Learn more about the town, its history, and offerings today ranging from shopping, dining, gardens, and history all-around at

* * *

“Got Nothing Against The Big Town,”
but we’re cornering small-town Ohio.

Help us share the best corners in Ohio. You may submit a photo of your favorite corner in Ohio with a description under 300 words for publishing and posting consideration. Be sure to include a byline with photo credit. Send your submission to
“scoops at”.

See More of Ohio “Cornered” at

Cornering A Little Theatre Off Broadway

“Cornering Ohio”
at Little Theatre Off Broadway

On the corner of Grant Ave. and Broadway in Grove City is Little Theatre Off Broadway. It’s so tiny, the actors will meet every audience member before the night is through. You’ll love it!

The experience is so intimate that the last row is closer to the stage than the front row in many other theatres. There’s simply no better way to enjoy a live musical, comedy, or drama. It features six live shows per season, including two musicals, two comedies, and two dramas. It is known for big-time talent and small-town intimacy, where the actors get to know their audience.

Click here to learn more about the Little Theatre Off broadway.

* * *

“Got Nothing Against The Big Town,”
but we’re cornering small-town Ohio.

Help us share the best corners in Ohio. You may submit a photo of your favorite corner in Ohio with a description under 300 words for publishing and posting consideration. Be sure to include a byline with photo credit. Send your submission to
“scoops at”.

See More of Ohio “Cornered” at


SATURdate in Tipp City

This SATURdate was in Old Tippecanoe City …
But Mostly Lost in an Antique Store and Art Gallery

Old Tippecanoe City is an old canal town that is now named Tipp City. The remains of the old Miami and Erie Canal Lock 15 are sandwiched between the historic Tipp Roller Mill and the Great Miami River Recreation Trail. If you’re on a bike ride and need anything, in town is the Tipp Cyclery.

Tipp City is a great walking town with original, locally-owned shops, and dining options that offer a wide array of experiences. A great Mom and Pop to grab a bite is Sam & Ethel’s Restaurant. Pull up to the lunch counter or a table and enjoy comfort food in a comfortable place that has warmed the hearts of generations. I had the pork tenderloin sandwich because the atmosphere in town on this day was festive like being at a fair. And my serving of “fair-food” was far from fair, it was so tasty I’m raving about it here.

After that, somewhere along the streetscapes, we ducked into The Hotel Gallery, and later, Midwest Memories Antiques. Both places seemed to be Pandora’s box of delights, one room and/or floor leading to another, and another, until I felt like I was as lost as a child separated from a parent. Fortunately, today, we have cell phones so I called my wife to locate her. But when she described her surroundings as between somewhere between vintage clothing and outdated cameras, I looked around and knew to try to find her inside was futile. So I dove back into a world of repurposed imagination.

Twice I ventured into a room where people were gathered. I thought I’d interrupted a private gathering only to find out that these strangers were new-found friends. They invited me to take a seat and chat with the growing group. Then, a guy with a cane stood up and asked his companion, “Well, do you think we’ll be able to explore our way out of this maze sometime today or do I need to send up an S.O.S?”

Usually, when I stand co-pilot to a day of shopping, there comes an abrupt about-face in which I turn to my wife and say, “That’s it! I’m done.” It usually comes with no warning.

But in Tipp City, I never reached that tipping point.

Each place in town is its own architectural staple, outside, and expresses its own personality, inside.  From the artists’ nooks to the florist, coffee shops, and tea room to the bakery, and the toy store out of Yesteryear, it makes for an enjoyable day.

On this brisk day, we particularly enjoyed a cup of coffee on a bench in the heart of town where others agreed, it’s a great place to people watch, too. Lots of smiles, hugs, and laughter filled the autumn air. Heck, there was even a kid holding mom with one hand and a red balloon in the other. You’re not going to get any more Rockwellian than that.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

For more SATURdate ideas to spend with friends, family, or solo, visit

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SATURdate in Hamilton Ohio

This SATURdate was in the “City of Sculptures” …
But Mostly in a “Real” Coffee Shop

Hamilton, Ohio features a “real” coffee shop called True West Coffee. There are two; we went to the one on the west side of the river in a quaint boutique shopping district across the street from The Village Ice Cream Parlor, which is great, too.

This coffee shop is a bit of a drive for us but we love it so much, we’ve been there on several different Saturdays to catch up on some work or reading. It’s an old house. The driveway is now a drive-through but because of the well-crafted sandwiches, don’t expect this drive through to be an expedient way of getting served.

Instead, park in the adjacent lot by the gazebo. Be sure to stop for a photo opp by the statue of the guy holding up an umbrella with fountain rain dripping from it. After all, you are in the City of Sculptures. Now, walk up the porch. It has a couple of tables to sit. Inside is a lovely-rickety room where tables are pushed and pulled to accommodate different groups or the introverts who staked out each corner. The upstairs is a great hideaway if you can stake a space. A hole in the ceiling shares the air between the two retreats.

This coffee shop doesn’t pull in one demographic over another. It’s a well-balanced cross-section of backgrounds as well as ages. The counter dividing the active kitchen from the former living room with a fireplace is where you order. A colorfully chalked up blackboard details the offerings. We’ve tried several artisan sandwiches but keep coming back to the George Bailey! It’s no coincidence that it’s named after a character in the timeless movie, It’s A Wonderful Life.

When the weather is warm or even a bit brisk, the patio that stretches up the back hill has tables to lounge, too. It’s where we usually go because there’s a tranquility to it. Tranquility with a vibe to it.

Then, a leisurely after-lunch stroll along the urban section of the Great Miami River Rec Trail lured us deeper and deeper to where we had no idea. We followed temptation further up around the bend, on repeat, until we walked out of the city and into the countryside. It’s a strange feeling to be on the border of urban and rural. It reminded me of a book in which Founding Father Ben Franklin described a walk to clear his head. It took him through Philadelphia’s streets until he was on a country trail looking back at where progress ended along with his problems.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

For more SATURdate ideas to spend with friends, family, or solo, visit

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SATURdate East Of Cincinnati

This SATURdate spent east of Cincinnati in Clermont County.

East of Cincinnati is a cluster of eclectic attractions in Clermont County. We stopped at four: the world’s only cardboard boat racing museum, a dreamy river town, a vineyard ripe with atmosphere, and the world’s most interesting grocery store. Not a bad way to spend a day.

The Cardboard Boat Museum is an unusual place along the bank of the Ohio River. It’s not a big place, but it’s interesting. Call ahead to make sure they are open because volunteers run everything so hours may vary. Housed in an old service garage, it acts the part.

Big bay doors are often opened wide to create a breezy feel as air travels through from the door leading to the back deck. From the looks of the bar inside, the bar out on the deck, and the garden around the corner, you get the feeling this is clubhouse. And in a sense, it is. A lot happens here.  After all, this is where some of the best sea-worthy vessels made mostly of cardboard, duct tape, and paint are made for competition racing.

Look around at the designs and you’re likely to ooh and ahh. If you start asking questions, pull up a stool because the folks running this joint are enthusiastic and pleased to share everything you ever wanted to know about racing these crazy watercrafts, and more. We had such a wonderful time that we began dreaming about the boat we’d build and race at their next annual regatta. Like I said earlier, the museum is true to its service garage roots. The folks there are eager to provide the material and coaching to float your boat.

Since it was time for lunch and we were already in New Richmond, Ohio, we decided to just cruise the main drag along the river and through downtown to see if any place stood out. Front Street Café did just that. With its pink brick, green awning and purple umbrella sidewalk tables, we knew this was what we were hoping to stumble upon.

There was nothing but a break wall and hill on the other side of the street which allowed a panoramic view of the river. The colorful and spacious interior of the café lent itself nicely to the wall hanging art which was for sale. Each of the dozen or so paintings cost a thousand or more dollars, which was unexpected considering the laid back feel in the place.

After a lunch that hit the spot, we took a walk. A corner shop by the name of Mr. Grim’s Nostalgic Nook lured us inside with some oddities that caught our attention as we passed by the front window. The door was already open to a little world of Yesteryear so we took a walk down memory lane. Across the street, we explored a community park that seemed more like an otherworldly scene in one of those thousand dollar paintings back at the café.

I scratched my head. Maybe it was. A couple sat on a park bench shifting down to their “park gear” without any hint of wanting to move from their perch for quite some time. The painted white gazebo, lush green landscaping, and cool to the glance river view made us consider scrapping our afternoon plans to do the same. But then an Underground Railroad marker caught our attention. And just beyond it, we skipped down the wall of stone steps to skip stones into the Ohio River. The small town’s down home charm and riverscape made it hard to leave, but we still had a winery to see.

Harmony Hill Vineyards is a rural retreat nestled on 72 acres on a nationally certified wildlife refuge farm. The winding and slow drive across the property unveiled a scenic view of wooded and rolling countryside.

As soon as we walked into the winery, Bill and Patti Skvarla engaged us in conversation. Somewhere along the line, Bill and I were laughing and talked about our Italian, no, Sicilian heritage. He was Sicilian on his mother’s side of the family and Slovakian on his dad’s side. I smiled because I was Sicilian on my dad’s side and Slovakian on my mom’s. So, yeah, we hit it off. Later Bill pulled up a chair and talked to us at our table on the covered patio overlooking the vineyard. When he mentioned his love for dogs, his boxer, Tyson, (get it?) appeared on queue.

Bill encouraged us to stroll the grounds along the walking trails so we did. We followed the woodland paths all around the vineyard listening to nothing but the country air and the birds drifting thought it. When we returned, we took a peek at the underground wine cave, which is one of only eight such structures in the country. Back at our seats, where a light breeze and live music picked up, we opened our picnic cooler like so many others to pair our bread, cheese, and other foods with our wine of choice.

We could have stayed at the winery until the stars filled the sky but it was already late. On the road back, we came across Jungle Jim’s International Market.

Although their flagship original store is in Fairfield, Ohio, this major undertaking wasn’t playing second fiddle. It was every bit as impressive. And although it’s themed very much the same, at the same time, it has an identity of its own. There’s six acres of food under one roof! This foody-haven offers thousands of imported and national brand groceries. There’s a full acre of produce (including organic and international), 12,000 wines, 1,200 beers, 1,600 cheeses, and 1,000 kinds of hot sauce.

If it’s edible, you’ll find it here!  So we did some unexpected grocery shopping – good thing we had the cooler because we still had a bit of a drive to get home.

Of course, these are just four stops that we found east of Cincinnati in Clermont County. There are plenty more options for attractions, recreation, shopping, and dining at

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

For more SATURdate ideas to spend with friends, family, or solo, visit

Secret Ohio Waterfall

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Well, it’s not a secret to the locals in the Hillsboro, Ohio area. Several miles north of town at 10211 Careytown Road in New Vienna, Ohio is a simple wood board that reads, “Waterfall.” Pull off the road into a small gravel parking lot. A winding path stretches about a mile or so into the Fallsville Wildlife Area. First, you’ll hear the waterfall. Then, you’ll see an access trail to the top of the falls. But the best vantage point is down a hillside (it’s somewhat steep but well-traveled), leading to the base of the falls where people stand and take in the beauty of its cascade.

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Pelee The Island of Laughter

By Frank Rocco Satullo,
Your Tour Guide to Fun

Our first trip to a lesser traveled Great Lakes’ island started with horror and then built into a wonderful week of fun and adventure for everyone. The memories and storytelling of our visit to Lake Erie’s largest island are why we’ve made it a repeat trip. It’s kind of ironic considering nothing happens fast on Pelee Island. But it allows our extended family quality time together, which is what this kind of vacation is supposed to do.

Before I share the entertaining tale of the attack of the bloodthirsty black flies, let’s start at the beginning of this island adventure.  ….Read More….

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe

Welcome to the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville.

  • Location: (Map It) 125 N Broadway St. in Greenville, Ohio
  • Phone: 937-548-9340 
  • Web: Click here

The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville:  One of the most unique eateries around, the Maid-Rite lures hungry visitors from hundreds of miles away just to taste the legendary sandwich made just right in a modest shop located in the little rural Southwest Ohio town of Greenville.

If any place can reflect a city’s heart and soul, it is this minuscule eatery with a big attraction. From the looks of the outside, nobody in their right mind would want to eat there. This is because the deco of the exterior red brick is adorned with chewed bubble gum of a wide assortment of colors stuck to the walls in such density it is difficult to find a new spot to add to the “Wall of Gum,” as locals fondly refer to it. Consider it a tradition and try a Maid-Rite sandwich anyway. There’s nothing like it.

A Maid-Rite sandwich can be compared to a very dry yet flavorful sloppy joe with a touch of onion, mustard, and pickles.

Chatham General Store 1854

For decades, I’ve been cruising State Route 83 in a hurry to visit my hometown. Every time, I slow down at the rural corner of Chatham Road and Avon Lake Road in Medina, Ohio (Chatham Township) to see the cool-looking old building with painted lettering across the weathered white wood façade: CHATHAM GENERAL STORE EST. 1854, followed by GOOSE & GANDER ICE CREAM PARLOR.

This time, I had time to spare so I pulled into the oversized gravel parking lot. ‘Oh, what story does this place have to tell,’ I wondered as I reached for my camera. As I took in the postcard view of Yesteryear, a couple of signs on the porch came into focus: “Bait” and “Maple Syrup.” Yep, it’s an authentic general store.

The building dates to 1834. And ever since 1854, it’s been a general store. Its neighbors used to be a blacksmith shop, tin shop, harness shop, millinery shop, tailor, and shoe repair store. But that was nearly 200 years ago just after the Chatham Oil Boom. My, how times have changed, but not this store.

I stepped inside and onto the worn wood floor I would soon learn is original and asked the lady at the counter, “Is this place yours?”

She smiled a welcome to my place kinda smile and said, “My husband Bill and I bought it a year ago at auction. My name is Beverly Scandlon.”

Bill used to frequent the store when he was a kid in the 1980s. He’d ride his bike up to get ice cream and play Pac-Man in the back of the place.

A vintage cash register caught my eye. It had a fancy design stamped into the brass that looked like it weighed over 100 pounds. Beverly said it was the first piece she and Bill purchased to begin the restoration of the original store. The cash register is one of the original National Cash Registers. They bought it from a great-great-granddaughter of a neighboring shoe keeper who used it back in 1869.

The Scandlons have since brought back an updated inventory, restoring the haberdashery with hats, wallets, coin purses, and handkerchiefs.  The local goods room features honey from a nearby farm, soaps, kettle popcorn, and wheat and buckwheat pancake mix from a local mill. It also displays local artist works such as forged items candles, crafts, vintage signs, and Beverly’s own watercolor creations.

As the old sign out front promotes, the Scandlons also reopened the ice cream parlor. It serves Hershey’s Ice Cream in hand-dipped cones, sundaes, shakes, malts, and root beer or orange floats. Between the front counter and the old-time candy bins are metal stools standing high at a metal and wood-topped table for two.

Opposite the grocery aisle is a popular stop in the store that seems to offer anything and everything. Just follow the smell of fresh coffee, baked goods, and deli sandwiches (soup and chili, too). Whether it’s a bakery muffin with coffee, chicken salad on crescent, sub sandwiches on a deli roll, a “Hillbilly Hotdog,” or cupcakes to cream pie for dessert, Chatham General Store won’t disappoint. Hey, it’s where the locals go!

And being a place that offers a soup-to-nuts selection so-to-speak, a loop around the store will pass old cotton club wood crates, John Wayne and Bugs Bunny pictures, and other old Americana decor. There’s also a propane exchange, ice chest, lottery tickets, and ATM machine.

Beverly said in remembrance of her dad, she and Bill are expanding a section of the store called Grandpa’s Cabin. It’s a throwback offering fishing, hunting, and camping supplies.

“My Dad would have loved this store,” said Beverly, “It would remind him of the stores in West Virginia where he grew up.”

After I said my goodbye, Beverly shared that after a year of being the shopkeep of The Chatham General Store, she still enjoys hearing the creak of the original wood floors and the slam of the screen door on a summer day.

As the Scandlon’s forge into the future of their general store, they invite everyone to “Step into the past…”

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler. Your Tour Guide to Fun