October 2015 Archives




Have an a-MAZE-ing Time

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Have an a-MAZE-ing Time in Coshocton this Season,  Home of Historic Roscoe Village, Numerous Wineries, The Horse-Drawn Canal Boat Ride, McPeek’s Mighty Maze, and More –  By Jan Myers

Fall is such a beautiful and busy time in Coshocton with plenty to do including the Coshocton County Fair, a brand new giant corn maze, Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival, Fall Foliage and Farm Tour, Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, Winery event, Crow Homecoming, Bluegrass Music, and seasonal getaway packages.

An exciting addition to Coshocton’s Autumn offerings is a brand new huge 4-acre corn maze experience – McPeek’s Mighty Maze, open Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays now through November 7. The maze is dinosaur-themed and offers family fun games, hayride, pumpkins, campfires, flashlight nights, food, and more.

There’s plenty of other outdoor fall fun for families with numerous hiking and biking trails at Lake Park, walking paths at Clary Gardens, and the Coshocton Crow Geotrail. Coshocton is also blessed to have thousands of acres of public hunting and fishing land making it a popular hiking, fishing, and hunting destination year-round.

For the past several years in the fall, thousands of Canadian Crows have decided to make Coshocton their winter roost from November through early March and they are quite the phenomenon. So in order to make the best of the situation, the crows are celebrated each November with ‘crow-themed’ festivities such as the Crow-shocton Crush winery event, the Coshocton Crow GeoTrail, and the Crow Homecoming.

Coshocton is in such a unique location surrounded by 17 wineries within a 45 mile radius. The Crow-shocton Crush winery event is a fun way to visit five of these wineries on November 7 from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. A pre-purchased ticket offers guests a special gift and tastings at each of these wineries: Raven’s Glenn Winery, Heritage Vineyard Winery, Rainbow Hills Winery, Indian Bear Winery, and Baltic Mill Winery.

Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s town, is also located in Coshocton. This historic village was was once a bustling port along the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is now home to tours of the historic buildings, restaurants, and the Famous Shops of Historic Roscoe Village featuring Ohio-made products, hand-made leather goods, old-fashioned candies,Vera Bradley, locally-made US flags, fine jewelry and more.

Nearby is the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat where travelers on the 45-minute ride are entertained by the Captain as he explains 1800s life on the canal. The canal boat is seasonal and will finish out this year’s season on October 10 & 11 and October 17 & 18.

Also in Historic Roscoe Village is the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum featuring a special traveling exhibit of original works by Chinese artists running now through January 3, 2016. This nationally-accredited museum showcases permanent exhibits of Historic Ohio, Euro–American decorative arts, American Indian, Asian arts and the legendary Newark Holy Stones.

There are many other festivals and events coming up this season including The Coshocton County Fair October 2-8, featuring Aaron Tippin, bull riding, truck and tractor pulls, demolition derby and more; The Fall Harvest Big Band Dance on October 3; The Apple Butter Stirrin’ festival in Historic Roscoe Village October 16-18; the Fall Foliage & Farm Tour October 17-18; live bluegrass music events October 24 and November 28; and the Crow Homecoming November 7.

Several overnight getaway packages available this season take advantage of all the events going on including a Fall Foliage package, Raven’s Glenn Wine Tasting package, Girlfriends Getaway package, the Old-fashioned Christmas in Historic Roscoe Village package, and several others.

This autumn, getaway to Historic Roscoe Village and Coshocton, Ohio ~ outdoor family fun, romantic getaway, small-town friendliness, relaxation, and, of course, the crows. For additional information, call for a free visitor packet at 800-338-4724 or go to www.VisitCoshocton.com and then visit Coshocton in person.

Wicker to Fruitcake

horse and buggy art

From Wicker to Fruitcake, this
ONE-STOP AMISH SHOP
is just a Fall or Holiday Adventure Away

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From wicker to fruitcake this one-stop Amish shop is just a fall or holiday adventure away.

Over southern Ohio’s Appalachian hills and through the woods to Keim Family Market shoppers go. Nestled in the heart of rural Adams County, it’s a day tripper’s paradise where you can lounge under the enormous shade trees at picnic tables overseeing enormous playsets inviting children to romp to their heart’s delight.

Whether you just want to breathe that crisp autumn country air or get a jump on your Christmas shopping list, this historically renown Amish shop has it all – indoor and outdoor furniture, bakery, deli, bulk food store, playsets, sheds, you-name-it.

Forty years ago, Roy Keim parked his horse and buggy along the scenic roadway to sell his wife’s pies. Word spread through the trucking community that these pies were to die for! So out of that humble beginning grew an authentic Amish merchant selling everything from furniture to fruitcakes.

Dan Miller is now the owner of Keim Family Market. He and his employees are from the surrounding Amish community. Together, they provide friendly service, conversation and quality goods just like Keim’s has been doing for decades. Their reputation over the years has grown, and so has their product line. But you can still smell the aroma of their fresh baked pies coming out of the ovens early each morning. And although the bustling business started as a bakery, it has expanded to offering a full service deli, indoor and outdoor furniture, children’s play sets, a bulk food store and much more.

Truly, you can get it while it’s hot! Whether you crave doughnuts, pies, cinnamon rolls or fresh-baked breads, the aroma floating in the air says it all. The peanut butter pretzels will make your mouth water.

If you want to do some cooking at home, fill a grocery basket with bulk food selections including spices and baking ingredients. The store also sells an enormous selection of canned Amish foods, sugar-free foods and old-fashioned candies.

The other half of the main building is loaded with dining room tables, hutches, bedroom sets, gliders, chairs and even computer tables with keyboard returns. All of which are hand crafted by Amish craftsmen. Wicker baskets, candles and quilts are also plentiful.

Outside are a bargain barn, art barn, and barns and pole buildings for sale. Take a stroll over the footbridges, also for sale, and find sturdy Amish-made gazebos, lawn furniture and much more. But take time out for a leisure walk to appreciate the colorful array of flowers and plants for the garden.

Whether you are lost in the rhythmic spin of a buggy wheel, find harmony in watching a handcrafted armoire getting fine-tuned or fall head-over-heels in the breeze that just delivered the smell of an apple pie cooling, you’ll find as thousands before you that Keim Family Market is a special place. So whatever you can’t cram into the vehicle to bring home, no worries, shipping is available.

Keim Family Market is located at 2621 Burnt Cabin Road off SR 32 in Seaman, Ohio. They are open Monday – Friday 8am – 6 pm and Saturday 8am – 5pm but closed on Sunday. Their phone number is 937-386-9995. More information is available at www.KeimFamilyMarket.com.

Mohican Ablaze in Color

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Mohican in the fall is on fire, with color of course. The leaves are transforming the hills of Mohican into a brand new landscape full of reds, yellows and oranges. Local farmers markets have pumpkins, mums and more out and ready to sell. Visitors are amazed at the view of the Clearfork Gorge Overlook as it changes to sea of color each day. It truly is a sight to behold.

As the Camp & Canoe Capital of Ohio, canoeing is not over. What a treat to float down the Mohican State Scenic River under an arbor of color. Some of the canoe liveries are open through October. It is a perfect time to grab a camera with family and friends and enjoy the serenity of the river.

Fall is full with activities that will keep everyone having fun while enjoying all there is to offer. Whether staying for a week or weekend, discover why Mohican rocks any time of year. Stay in a castle, resort, inn, historic bed and breakfast, or a choice of one of many private cabins. Several of the private cabins or cottages have hot tubs, spectacular views; all the amenities of home and some are even pet-friendly.

Sporting events are still going strong with mountain biking and a 5k. Whether a first timer or a more experienced rider, the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Race will start at noon on October 3rd. This race is perfect and open to anyone, even if the participant has never raced on the circuit before. New this year is a Novice Loop. Cash prizes and more to those who qualify.

Fitness with a cause is a good excuse to get into shape for October 18th, to run or walk in the Mohican 5k. The 8th Annual Mohican 5K Run & Walk benefits the Loudonville-Mohican bike path with proceeds helping to complete and maintain the area’s bike path. The race will begin on Wally Road, just south of its intersection with West Main Street in Loudonville and adjacent to the bike path. Racers will head south on Wally Road to Route 3 where they will then run on the bike path south to the halfway point, and then return, heading north but staying on the bike path to the finish point near the Wally Road ball fields along the river.

There are plenty of events happening this fall. October 6th – 10th is the 127th Loudonville Street Fair. Family fun and affordable, with free admission and free entertainment will have everyone feeling like a kid again. This year’s theme is “Make It, Grow It, Show It.” Loudonville hosts a big fair that is truly an old-fashioned, family-oriented event. The fair offers five days of free admission, free entertainment, free exhibits, free livestock shows and auctions, free power pulls, rides, food and more.

October 9th-11th in Mohican is the Fall Foliage Drive-It-Yourself Tour. Take a leisurely drive through the Mohican State Park and the Mohican-Memorial State Forest during the peak of the season. Hike or bike the trails and enjoy nature as the trees and wildlife get ready for winter. Then enjoy time at the restaurants and independent stores. Special offers are available for a limited time. Visit DiscoverMohican.com for a map and more information.

On October 10th, join in on the Lyons Falls Geology Hike. Spanning more than 5,000 acres, Mohican State Park and Forest is known for its fascinating geologic history. Geologists will be on hand to discuss how Ice Age glacial activity helped shape the gorge, where huge sandstone rock features stand among mature trees that tower above the beautiful Clearfork River. Saturday’s hike will focus on the geology of Lyons Falls, Clearfork Gorge and the greater Mohican area, fall tree color analysis, and a glimpse into the history of the park and forest.  Dress for the weather.

The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum will host “Whiskey, Prohibition and Distillation Education: A Walk Though the History of High Proof Spirits and the Path Ahead” by Ryan Lang, Middle West Spirits. Free and open to the public, this discussion will take place Monday, October 19th, at 7pm.

October also brings in ghost enthusiasts at Landoll’s Mohican Castle. Throughout the year, they offer public Ghost Walks. These walks will take one through the history of the property and also allow the opportunity to communicate with the “other side” by using ‘tools of the trade.’ If wanting to go more in-depth ask about the possibility of a Ghost Hunt. This will take several hours and permits the visitor to conduct a paranormal investigation. On October 24th, Landoll’s Mohican Castle will host its popular murder mystery dinner. “The Monster Mash Costume Ball” will include a four course buffet meal. Come in costume and solve a murder for Halloween.

During November and December, make sure to plan an individualized adventure in Mohican. Fishing, outdoor sports and more occur all year long. This is also a perfect time to visit the Mohican State Park Lodge & Conference Center. Throughout the week, every week, enjoy free programs hosted by the Mohican State Park Naturalist. Learn about the nature and wildlife specific to the Mohican area. Live demonstrations and more will keep everyone entertained. Then warm up in the lobby by the open fireplace. Take a tour through the local museum. One might be amazed at the wealth of history that changed the world.

All of this and more await – Discover Why Mohican Rocks!

Free Wright Bros Factory Tours

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The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) has scheduled free monthly tours of the Wright Company factory buildings through the end of 2015.

Tours of the two historic buildings will take place on the third Thursday of each month from October through December. Each tour will begin at 10 a.m. except on Dec. 17, when it will begin at 2 p.m. A tour typically takes about an hour.

The Wright Company factory is the birthplace of America’s aerospace industry—the first American factory built for the purpose of manufacturing airplanes. The two structures are the oldest airplane manufacturing buildings still standing in the world and the only buildings still in Dayton where the Wright brothers worked on airplanes.

Wilbur and Orville Wright formed the Wright Company in 1909 and built their first factory building in 1910. They added a second one in 1911. The buildings later became part of the Delphi Home Avenue auto parts manufacturing plant. The plant closed in 2008 and is now owned by a redevelopment company.

In 2009, Congress authorized the National Park Service to restore the factory as a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, but it hasn’t provided funding to acquire or restore it.

NAHA’s vision is for the Wright factory to be restored as a national park unit and for other parts of the site to be redeveloped as an aerospace education, research and manufacturing hub.

With the cooperation of the property owner, Home Avenue Redevelopment LLC, NAHA is conducting the public tours to raise awareness of the factory and build community support for its restoration. This site is not restored, so visitors will be asked to sign a hold-harmless agreement. Closed-toed shoes are required, and no restroom facilities are available.

The factory entrance is off West Third Street just east of Abbey Avenue. The gate has no specific address, but GPS users will find it by navigating to 2900 W. Third St.

Visit www.aviationheritagearea.org to learn more about NAHA.

Labyrinth Provides Quiet Reflection

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New Labyrinth Provides A Path For Quiet Reflection

The paths to success at Ohio Wesleyan University now include 86 majors, 57 minors, and one stone labyrinth.

Thanks to generous donors, the university completed the installation of a 47-foot-diameter labyrinth inspired by one of the world’s oldest walkable labyrinths – an 800-year-old path at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France. Both labyrinths feature rosette-style centers, resembling the intricate rose windows found in the gothic cathedrals of Northern France.

Ohio Wesleyan’s labyrinth includes 17,600 stone pavers, with about 30 percent of the stones being cut by hand. The labyrinth, located in a grove of trees between the newly renovated Merrick Hall and the Delaware Run, is open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours.

OWU’s labyrinth was designed by well-known labyrinth architect Robert Ferré and installed by Debi and Marty Kermeen of Illinois-based Labyrinths in Stone. The labyrinth is slightly larger than its inspiration and is unique in that its pavers rest on a concrete base rather than being set directly into the ground.

Ohio Wesleyan’s labyrinth will be dedicated in October 2015, with the celebration including a lecture by Lauren Artress, founder of Veriditas, the World-Wide Labyrinth Project.

Artress, whose books include “The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform,” will speak at 4 p.m. Oct. 5 in Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Artress holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from The Ohio State University, a master’s in education from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in pastoral psychotherapy from Andover Newton School of Theology.

The goal of her California-based nonprofit organization is to “pepper the planet with labyrinths,” including a new initiative to create a series of interconnected “Veriditas Legacy Labyrinths.” Ohio Wesleyan’s labyrinth will be only the third such legacy labyrinth in world. The others are located in La Falda, Argentina, and Jacksonville Beach, Florida – and each contains a piece from the other two in support of an interconnected global community and peace.

Following the October 5, 2015 lecture, everyone will be invited to walk outside to the labyrinth for an asperging, or blessing with water. During the ceremony, guests will be able to dip tree branches in water and sprinkle the stone pavers.

The labyrinth is a gift to the university from the family of OWU Life Trustee Kathleen “Kathe” Law Rhinesmith, Class of 1964.

“I’d like to believe it’s a place where each person who comes here will find something,” Rhinesmith said, “whether that be a casual and peaceful walk or a deeper moment of self-discovery and self-reflection. … My wish is everyone who comes here will come away with some quiet new perspective on their life or the world around them.”

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. It is located in Delaware, Ohio. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

New Mural at City of Murals

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After 18 years, The City of Murals has a new mural…and one that has national as well as local significance.

Long known as a steel and coal city, Steubenville, Ohio began a transition to a community that encouraged art and history in 1986. Over the years since, 25 larger than life depictions of significant people and places in the community were painted on buildings throughout the downtown. The last two murals – one of Steubenville native son, Dean Martin with his Rat Pack buddies and another of a frontier pioneer – were painted in 1997 at a nearby shopping complex.

“The murals drew many visitors,” explained Judy Bratten, Director of the Historic Fort Steuben Visitor Center. “But due to budgetary constraints, the murals and some of the buildings they were on were not maintained. We have lost three and another will soon be gone as its host building is being demolished. That’s why we have worked to renew the project with this Civil War mural.”

The new mural, located on the west side of N. 3rd Street in downtown Steubenville, is a 35 foot tall by 70 foot wide portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in the telegraph office of the War Department in Washington, DC. With him are two men who had called Steubenville home: Edwin McMasters Stanton, Secretary of War and David Homer Bates, telegrapher. The painting captures the strain of office as the men were in communication with troops at various battles, directing their movements and sending supplies. Artist Ruston Baker of Millersburg, Ohio became engrossed with the project, reading and studying and seeking information to make it as accurate as possible while making it accessible to the general public. Even as he was painting, people who worked in the area came by to talk, make suggestions and ask questions.

“Local residents will probably get used to this mural over time. But visitors to Steubenville will see it and take in the history of this small town,” noted Baker.

Bratten noted that a number of current murals are being “refreshed” and there are plans to have more new ones as soon as other accessible sites are chosen.

“The murals are just one of the projects in the city that enhance the quality of life and draw tourists to area. The other endeavor that began almost 30 years ago was the reconstruction of Historic Fort Steuben on its original site overlooking the Ohio River,” Bratten explained. “The Fort is now fully rebuilt with exhibits and artifacts in every building. In addition there is now a beautiful Visitor Center, Fort Steuben Park and the Berkman Amphitheater offering live music throughout the summer.”

A free map of the murals is available in the Visitor Center but additional booklets are for sale as well giving detailed information about the murals. A step-on guide provides entertaining stories of the murals and the city for group bus tours. For more information contact the Visitor Center at 740-283-1787 or www.oldfortsteuben.com.

Funny Sexy at Cincinnati Playhouse

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Laura Eason’s sexy, funny grown-up fling Sex With Strangers heats up the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s 2015-16 season. The provocative new play runs through October 25, 2015 on the Playhouse’s intimate Thompson Shelterhouse stage.

SWS is an enticing exploration of identity and intimacy in the digital age. Little-known novelist Olivia and hyper-famous blogger Ethan could not be on farther ends of the literary spectrum. Ethan’s scandalous blog-turned-book, titled SWS, has graced The New York Times bestseller list for three years and has a high-profile movie adaptation in the works. The blog — based on a dare to pick up women in bars in order to have one-time encounters — has created a persona for Ethan that he would now prefer to leave behind. In spite of his early success (he is only 27), Ethan aspires to write with the literary merit of novelists like Olivia. Her first novel, praised by her peers, never received the public attention it deserved. Now a teacher and self-proclaimed “hobbyist” author at 39, she meets Ethan when they become snowbound at a cozy bed-and-breakfast in Michigan, and their mutual passion for words sparks a heated passion for each other. As they become entwined in each other’s careers, their literary and generational differences begin to clash, and complications emerge that test their relationship.

“Ethan is cocky and confident, yet able to be vulnerable and allow himself to get hurt,” says Playhouse Associate Artist and SWS director KJ Sanchez (Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, Venus in Fur, Seven Spots on the Sun). “Olivia loves books and, although she is more reserved than Ethan, she is not prudish. She is as confident as he is, just choosing to live her life in a very different way.

“They are fully realized, multi-dimensional characters that are always surprising us. Just when we think we know who’s in control and who has the power, Laura Eason reveals other aspects to these people that surprise us all.”

Eason, who garnered acclaim writing for Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning drama House of Cards, is no stranger to writing strong characters. “The spark of the play actually came from an interest in exploring the exchange that takes place in any intimate relationship,” she told The Brooklyn Rail last year. “I heightened the situation by having both of them be writers of ambition who each want something from the other, personally and professionally.”

The SWS cast features Nancy Lemenager (Broadway’s Chicago, Movin’ Out, Never Gonna Dance, Kiss Me Kate, Dream, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Guys and Dolls), making her Playhouse debut as Olivia, and Nicholas Carrière, who appeared in the Playhouse’s world premiere of Abigail/1702, as Ethan. The creative team, in addition to Sanchez, includes set and costume designer Misha Kachman, lighting designer Brian J. Lilienthal and sound designer Matthew M. Nielson. Andrea L. Shell is the stage manager. SWS is sponsored by Schueler Group.

Ticket prices for SWS start at $35. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. The show is appropriate for adult and older teenage audiences.

The official opening night is Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays.

Free Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with the cast and others associated with the production will be held after the following performances: 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14; and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.

Tickets to SWS are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

German Heritage Celebrated

die_musik_kneesGerman Heritage Celebrated at Oktoberfest in Minster, Ohio

We can thank them for introducing us to beer, sausage, sauerkraut and the Christmas tree. German immigrants have made great contributions to this country. Have you ever wondered why so many Germans came to America? Crop failures, inheritance laws, high rents, high prices, and the effects of the industrial revolution led to widespread poverty and suffering in Germany. Relatives and friends who had already immigrated to America wrote back, encouraging others to follow. These circumstances led to “chain migrations” and group settlements, like those in west Ohio’s Auglaize County. The immigrants included well-to-do farmers who saw a bleak future, poor ones with no future and paupers whom the authorities often paid to leave the country.

German immigrants began arriving in west central Ohio in 1832 and found an untamed wilderness. Within a generation, they had turned it into successful farming communities. In 1848 the completion of the Miami & Erie Canal between Cincinnati and Toledo connected the region with the world.    Since the arrival of the first German immigrants in the 1830s, Auglaize County has grown and prospered. The legacy of those German pioneers- strong faith, hard work, and a dedication to excellence- continues today.

The Auglaize County Village of Minster celebrates this heritage by hosting an annual Oktoberfest. As the region’s largest German heritage festival, the Oktoberfest attracts more than 60,000 people each year for an enjoyable weekend of wonderful German food, music, and dancing. It is rated as one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the nation. However, for the people of Minster, the festival is just not an event; it’s a feeling, a spirit, a happy mood that conveys the warmth and friendliness of the community.

This year’s 40th annual Minster Oktoberfest takes place October 2-4. From singing and dancing to the taste of hearty German foods, this event provides a fun filled time for all. Topping the list of free entertainment this year includes popular bands such as Sorgenbrecher, The Klaberheads, Autobahn and Cincinnati Schnapps.

Mark your calendar, come out to the festival and watch the spectacular gala parade featuring colorful floats and marching bands. Take part in the beer tray relay, the 10K run, and a number of other games and contests. Whether or not you share the German heritage, we’re sure you’ll find yourself doing the Chicken Dance before the evening is over. For more information, check out the Minster Oktoberfest website for a complete schedule of events.   We’re sure you’ll agree: When it comes to having a great time the Minster Oktoberfest ist wunderbar!

Top-10 Ohio Eateries

top eateries in ohio ohiotraveler.com
TOP-10 PECULIAR EATERIES IN OHIO
(We picked 5 / Fans picked 5)

  1. Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville, Ohio
  2. Lava Rock Grille at Unusual Junction in Coshocton, Ohio
  3. Ye Olde Mill at Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, Ohio
  4. Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill in Vermilion, Ohio
  5. Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor in Ashtabula, Ohio
  6. Trusty Woods Restaurant in Ft. Recovery (fan selected)
  7. Door 142 in Fredericktown (fan selected)
  8. Tony Packo’s in Toledo (fan selected)
  9. Nutcracker Family Restaurant in Pataskala (fan selected)
  10. Tie with too many to name – click here to see others
  11. If you want more unique eateries across Ohio, click here

OhioTraveler.com’s
WEEKLY TOP-10
(We pick 5 / you pick 5)
Simply look for an active Top-10 list
click here
and
post yours as a comment, then
i
f it gets enough “likes” it’ll be
added to OhioTraveler.com (get it free)

Top-10s are in no particular order.
If you disagree with our list, no worries,
you’ll get your say when we re-vote.
Look for the prompt here

And remember, OhioTraveler.com is your
tour guide to fun!

Rainbow Hills Vineyards a Standout

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Rainbow Hills Vineyards: So many things standout at this winery. It is everything a winery should be. It takes you on a journey into a woodland paradise and down a winding non-paved road into a rolling meadow on one side and grape vines on the other. The winery dog gives a friendly hello. The setting is tranquil, with panoramic views a plenty. Inside, it is rustic with private nooks, warm wood and lovely rough-stone walls and fireplace. Subtle touches make you feel like you aren’t going anywhere for a while. Back outside is a soothing fountain in a pool-like pond with plenty of sheltered seating cascading down the hillside. From star gazing to sun splashed days, it is a true getaway surrounded by wildlife and complete with meals and inn. Oh, and the wines have won international awards. Their name says it all. Click here for more information.

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

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NELSONVILLE’S HIDDEN GEM: The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

hvsr-trainOutside the hustle and bustle of today’s commerce centers is a town redefining itself through art, history and tourism. Historic Nelsonville, once the brick and coal center of Ohio, offers families and couples great opportunities to get away from it all without being all that far away. This quaint, quiet town is located about an hour southeast of Columbus (and less than a half hour above Ohio University’s home town of Athens). And the famous Hocking Hills are just a short drive away as well. So what to do in Nelsonville?

Among the many shops along the Public Square, which includes the busy, entertaining and original Stuart’s Opera House, and the famous Rocky brand boot outlet store, Nelsonville also has been the home to one of Ohio’s top tourist railroads for over forty years. The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway has been operated as a non-profit 501c3, all-volunteer organization since 1972, and has been a family-favorite along the way. In fact, it has become a destination in itself. “It has gone from being just a place for train enthusiasts to something much more,” says Chris Burchett, himself among the volunteers for over fifteen years, ten of those as a locomotive engineer. “Families have come to love the railroad as a great place to reconnect and enjoy the history of the area from a unique perspective. The railroad itself operates on a line dating back to the 1860s, the original railroad having a major in building Nelsonville and indeed the nation.”

So, what about this train and the area? Why should one make the trip to Nelsonville and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway? Quite simply, it’s something far different than the norm you’re likely accustomed. During the summer months, the railroad operates regular round trip weekend train rides, along with one of its most popular events, Ohio’s Friendliest Train Robbery. Now an annual event, the railroad typically operates two of these per year. But as the temperatures begin to cool and the leaves turn from a lush green to a brilliant display of reds, oranges and yellows, the Hocking Valley Scenic offers Fall Foliage tours via an expanded schedule throughout October. “Hands down our most popular trains overall, October is a beautiful time to see the hills and experience the history of the area,” Burchett said.

October brings one of the busiest times of the year to Nelsonville and Southeast Ohio. And the railroad steps up by offering trains not just on the weekends at Noon and 2:30 p.m. in October, but also on Thursdays and Fridays at 1:00 p.m. between October 2nd and October 24th. These trips feature full narration on-board, describing the area history, sites along the way, and the history of the train itself. You also have many options available to you as far as seating, but be warned! Since this is a popular time of the year, you’ll want to get there early, no matter what train you choose, as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating options include one air-conditioned coach, two open-air cars, and enclosed (but not air conditioned) coaches. Toward the end of the train ride, there is a stop at a quaint recreated town called Robbins Crossing. This village is a recreation of a typical 1840s-era Ohio pioneer village, which showcases candle-making, a working blacksmith shop, a general store, a one-room school, and a lot more in original log cabins. And the great part is how affordable the entire trip is for about an average two-hour train ride! Tickets—available by phone, online, or at the train depot—range between $10 and $17. Not a bad deal for authentic equipment and real history. Try that at any theme park!

But not to be outdone, the volunteers take most of November off to get the train and depot ready for the arrival of Santa Claus. These are just about as equal in popularity to the October trains, so be prepared for a crowd if you plan to make the trip to “North Pole Nelsonville.” While Santa’s reindeer are stabled elsewhere, Santa gets aboard the train and walks through from end to end, visiting with each and every child along the way! Depending on if one of the elves made the trip from the North Pole with St. Nick or Mrs. Claus herself (sometimes she too makes the trip), one or the other will be passing out a special candy cane treat after Santa’s visit. Of course, the coaches are heated throughout–one of them with an old coal stove–and the festive mood of Christmas is evident enough, as the coaches are decorated for the season. And old musical favorites of the holiday season, from Bing Crosby to the Chipmunks, are playing during the whole ride over the train’s PA system. There’s no historical narration with these trains and no stop at Robbins Crossing. It’s just a great ride with Santa Claus and the kids or grandkids that takes about two hours to complete. And if you’re wondering, it is indeed round trip. They won’t leave you behind in the cold, middle of nowhere. They recommend buying tickets in advance since these trains can sell out easily. And it’s no wonder! These rides with Santa have been around almost as long as the scenic railroad itself. “We have had the kids that grew up in the 1970s return later with their own kids, some only to return later already with the grandkids! It has truly become a regular tradition for many families,” remarked Burchett. These Santa Trains operate weekends in December at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., plus some evening versions.

If that isn’t enough, there is also a special train that operates on New Year’s Eve, departing the Nelsonville depot at 10:30 p.m. for an approximately two-hour train ride. At midnight, fireworks are set off to help ring in the new year, and during the ride–depending on your seating selection–you are served with pizza and soda pop or wine and cheese. Adults 21 and older are only permitted in the Wine & Cheese section, so bear that in mind if you want to make this a family event. Alcohol is not served in the Pizza & Pop section and the kids must be with the parents, so plan accordingly! Tickets for this event are more than most of the trains, but still considerably affordable for such a unique event. This one is a reservation-only train and you must make your reservation.

This is a destination you do not want to miss this year! And who doesn’t remember watching the trains and wishing you could take a ride? Now’s your chance and it’s such a great way to spend the day together. Plus the area features not only Nelsonville and its rich history, but the Hocking Hills parks are just up the road, outside of nearby Logan.

To get your tickets or look up more information, which we highly recommend you do before making the trip, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway maintains an informative Web site at www.hockingvalleytrain.org. And the friendly staff for their toll-free number is very helpful as well. Also bear in mind that the coaches are not handicap accessible, as it is vintage equipment, but there is a wheelchair lift available at the Nelsonville depot. If you’re taking one of the trains that include a Robbins Crossing visit, there is no lift available there at this time. The only restrooms available are located inside the depot. There are no facilities on the train and if Robbins Crossing is part of the ride, there are porta-potties located there. Food and drinks are not offered by the railroad, but they encourage you to bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks aboard. If you’re traveling with pets, they advise that pets are not permitted on the train unless it is a certified assistance animal. Parking is free in any of the three lots around the depot, which is located next to the famous Rocky Boots Outdoor Gear Store along Business Route 33 (Canal Street).

Check out the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway at www.hockingvalleytrain.org , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ hvsry, Twitter at @hvscenicrailway, or give them a call toll-free at 800-967-7834.

Where?
33 W. Canal Street, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764 (Business U.S. Route 33)–about one hour southeast of Columbus!

When?
Weekends through October. Santa Trains operate weekends from Thanksgiving through December 21.

Contact Info?
1-800-967-7834
www.hockingvalleytrain.org
www.facebook.com/hvsry
Twitter: @hvscenicrailway

It’s All In Medina

castle-noel-medina-cvbNestled in Northeast Ohio’s Western Reserve region, Medina County offers natural and manmade features to fit everyone’s interest.  With close proximity to Cleveland and Akron, the area provides a unique pairing of “small town atmosphere with big city flavor”.  There are small towns with unique architecture, town centers with gazebos, wonderful retail, outlets and great dining.  Drive by wide-open spaces including farmland, woods, rolling hills, lakes, streams, ledges, even the continental divide runs through Medina County.

The rural countryside offers beautiful scenic drives all year long but especially in the fall to see the changing colors.  While traveling in Medina County, you may pass by small and large alpaca, horse, dairy, grain, berry and/or tree farms.  Past orchards, mills, garden centers, parks, farm markets, a winery and petting farms.  Come out for an exciting Sunday drive, especially in the fall for the beautiful colors and the drive-it-yourself Fall Foliage Tour.

Unique to Medina County is the Buckin’ Ohio Pro Bull Riding Rodeos, Stone Carvings in the ledges, America’s largest Christmas entertainment attraction, and colorful history such as the Seville Giants and Victorian architecture.

If shopping is something that is a pleasure, Medina County offers unique retail stops, outlets, farmers markets, antiques, second hand and consignment shoppes, food, art, furnishings and gifts, just to name a few.  Check out a very specialized shop, the Log Cabin Shop, for Early American merchandise and re-enactment supplies.  The city of Medina is home to Root Candles at West Liberty.

A one-of-a-kind attraction in Medina County is Castle Noel, a Christmas entertainment complex featuring “I Had That” Toyland Experience, Blizzard Vortex, Santa’s Chimney Squeeze, stroll past the New York City department store windows from Sax, Bloomingdales and other, the Christmas Movieland prop and costume collection and Santa Klaus Mountain.

Local history is accented with museums:  Medina Toy & Train Museum, Little Wiz Fire Museum, Medina Town Hall and Engine House Museum and the Northern Ohio Railway Museum.  Historical societies in Medina County offer unique sites, an 1850’s farm in Brunswick, a one-room school house in York Township, a Victorian home in Medina and Worden Ledges stone carvings in Hinckley (Cleveland Metroparks).

Medina County is blessed with many wonderful parks that offer swimming, hiking, fishing, pavilions, sports fields, an environmental center for education and many wonderful programs for all ages to enjoy.  It even has the Cleveland Metroparks jewel – the Hinckley Reservation.

Medina County also has many festivals and events that take place throughout the year offering fun entertainment for the whole family.  The Medina Ice Festival (February), Wadsworth Herb & Craft Festival (May), Seville’s Largest Yard Sale and Wadsworth Blue Tip Festival (June), Lodi Sweet Corn Festival and Brunswick Summer Celebration (July), Valley City Frog Jump Festival, Medina International Fest and, of course, the Medina County Fair (August), Johnny Appleseed Festival and Walk with the Spirits of the Past (September), Medina County Fall Foliage Tour (October), Candlelight Walk and Christmas in the Colonies (November)

Also featured in Medina County are a number of wonderful art programs: Art-in-the-Park, Arts Week in July, free concerts by community bands, Jazz under the Stars, Concerts over the Valley, Rally in the Alley are throughout the summer and there are a multitude of theatre productions, Shakespeare community and school productions.

Learn more about Medina County and all of these attractions at VisitMedinaCounty.com. Here’s a short video highlighting several things to do.

There’s SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT in Coshocton

coshocton-cvb-crowFor decades, Coshocton has been known as ‘Crow Town’.  No one seems to recall when or why that nickname began, but in recent years thousands of Canadian Crows have decided to make Coshocton their winter roost from November through early March. So in order to make the best of the situation, the crows are now celebrated each November with ‘crow-themed’ festivities such as the Crow-shocton Crush winery event and the Crow Homecoming.

Getaway to Coshocton this fall just like the crows do!  There’s plenty going on this season including the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival, Fall Foliage Tour, Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, Winery event, Crow Homecoming, and seasonal getaway packages.

Coshocton is known for Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s town that was once a bustling port along the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is now home to restaurants, tours of the historic buildings, and the Famous Shops of Historic Roscoe Village. Special seasonal tours are also available during the fall and holidays including the ‘Spirit of Roscoe’ Tour and ‘A Roscoe Christmas’ in November and December.

The Shops and Restaurants in Historic Roscoe Village certainly keep things exciting in this historic village, making this the perfect place for holiday shopping.  Find gifts such as handmade leather goods, fine jewelry, gourmet foods, coffee, locally-made flags, Vera Bradley, unique gifts, flowers & plants, homemade fudge, Ohio-Made items, old-fashioned candy, and hand-woven rugs.

Nearby is the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat where travelers on the 45-minute ride are entertained by the Captain as he explains 1800s life on the canal with tall tales and a lot of history, creating the feeling of actually gliding right into the 1830s.  The canal boat operates on Saturdays and Sundays until mid-October.

Also in Historic Roscoe Village is the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum showcasing permanent exhibits of Historic Ohio, Euro–American decorative arts, American Indian, and Asian arts. Other special exhibits are featured throughout the year. The museum is also home to the legendary Newark Holy Stones unearthed in the 1860s in the Newark Ohio Earthworks.

Coshocton also boasts the Three Rivers Wine Trail, including Raven’s Glenn Winery, Heritage Vineyard Winery, Rainbow Hills Winery and Yellow Butterfly Winery.

Another popular stop for travelers in the area is Unusual Junction – housed in a restored railroad depot filled with Ohio’s largest selection of hot sauces and mustards, spices, Amish and other locally-made cheeses, deli meats, trail bologna, candies, and the Lava Rock Grill Restaurant. The restaurant is home of the original ‘Price Is Right’ sign that was used during the Bob Barker days, signed by Barker himself. Unusual Junction is also the site of Universe Bridal and Prom Superstore, one of the largest stores of its kind in the Midwest.

Coshocton is perfect for the outdoor lover with numerous hiking and biking trails at Lake Park; walking paths at Clary Gardens; plus the area is blessed to have thousands of acres of public hunting and fishing land making it a popular hiking, fishing, and hunting destination year-round.

There are many festivals and events coming up this season including The Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, The Apple Butter Stirrin’ in Historic Roscoe Village, the Fall Foliage & Farm Tour, live bluegrass music events, Crow Homecoming, the Coshocton Community Choir Christmas Festival Concert, and the Christmas Candlelightings in Roscoe Village.

Several overnight getaway packages available this season take advantage of all the events going on including a Fall Foliage package, Girlfriends Holiday Shopping Getaway package, the Old-fashioned Christmas in Historic Roscoe Village package, and several others.

Leave the hectic pace of the modern world behind and get away to Historic Roscoe Village and Coshocton, Ohio ~small-town friendliness, a slower pace, relaxation, and, of course, the crows.  For additional information, call for a free visitor packet at 800-338-4724 or go towww.VisitCoshocton.com and then visit Coshocton in person.

Backroads Of Wayne County FILL YOUR PICNIC HAMPER TOUR

wayne-cvb-fallThe Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, invites you to grab your picnic basket and cooler before setting out to enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather on a Backroads of Wayne County, Fill Your Picnic Hamper Tour.

Your first stop should be at their office at 428 W. Liberty Street in Downtown Wooster. They will be happy to furnish you with maps and information on the area. The office is open Monday through Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm. If you’d rather, visit them online atwww.wccvb.com.

While in Downtown Wooster, stop by Local Roots Market and Café, a year-round indoor local food co-op featuring baked goods, meats, eggs, produce, arts and crafts and seasonal ready-to-go salads and soups.

New to Downtown Wooster is the JAFB Brewery, featuring freshly made hand-crafted beer.  JABF invites you to enjoy your picnic lunch in their tap room as they make just one thing…beer, and they do it right.

Another great place to enjoy the outdoors is the beautiful Secrest Arboretum & Gardens on The Ohio State University’s Agricultural College campus in Wooster. Open daily from dusk to dawn offering scenic walking and biking paths and the oppurtunity to explore the diverse landscape theme gardens.

Wayne County boasts two award-winning wineries, Troutman Vineyards and Winery in Wooster and Silver Run Vineyard and Winery in Doylestown.  Both establishments offer tasting rooms with scenic views of the rural countryside.

Take a short drive north on scenic route 94 to the village of Marshallville and the Marshallville Packing Company.  This is where you’ll be glad you packed the cooler…as they offer a complete line of old-world sausages, smoked meats and cheeses.

The self driving tour, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, highlights some of the less traveled backroads of Wayne county.  Enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather as this tour features stops at local farmers markets, bakeries, meat markets, wineries and breweries.

Bring your picnic hamper to the following locations and pack it with delicious, fresh from the farm, homemade and homegrown treats…the very best of backroads county cusine!

Local Roots Market and Café
140 S. Walnut St.
Wooster, OH 44691

www.localrootswooster.com

330-263-5336

A year-round, indoor, local food co-op featuring baked goods, meats, eggs, produce, arts and crafts.  All from Ohio producers. Fresh seasonal dishes.

JAFB Wooster Brewery
120 Beall Ave.
Wooster, OH 44691
330-601-1TAP

www.JAFBBeer.com

Fresh American handcrafted beer made in historic Downtown Wooster. They invite you to bring your picnic to their tap room as they only do beer. Growlers available to go.

Secrest Arboretum & Gardens
OARDC
2122 William Rd.
Wooster, OH 44691
330-464-2148

www.secrest.osu.edu

The perfect spot to enjoy a picnic. Open daily dawn to dusk. Enjoy the beautiful gardens and arboretum. Part of The Ohio State University’s Agricultural College.

Troutman Vineyards and Winery
4243 Columbus Ave.
Wooster, OH 44691
330-263-4345

www.troutmanvineyards.com

Bring a picnic lunch and sample home-grown wine in the shade of their backyard.  Feed the goats and take a stroll through the vineyard.  Learn about the wine making process.

Silver Run Vineyard and Winery
376 Eastern Rd.
Doylestown, OH 44230
330-671-1115

www.silverrunwinery.com

Boutique winery featuring hand-crafted wines in a country setting.  Relax by the coxy fireplace or on the covered back porch.

Marshallville Packing Co.
50 E. Market St.
Marshallville, OH 44645
330-855-2871

www.marshallville-meats.com

A complete line of old-world sausages, smoked meats, and cheeses.