Take a Ride Down Memory Lane

bicycle museum of america

at the Bicycle Museum of America

There are few things in life that most of us have in common, regardless of our situation, our life style, and even our age.  Bicycles may just be one of those. It is a rite of passage for a child to graduate from a tricycle to a bicycle, and the day you left your training wheels behind was likely one of those celebrated, if not now forgotten, triumphs in your early life.

The Bicycle Museum of America houses a rich source of bicycle history with over 250 examples on display.  The size of the museum and location hide what is truly a national treasure.  Here you will find everything from the very earliest bicycles to the most modern.  Examples of the collection include a bicycle outfitted for the U.S. Army infantry in the 1890s and the famed bicycle from the film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. You will also see a monocycle on display that was used in the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Check out the Bowden fiberglass bicycles, a collection of wooden bicycles, many high wheel bikes and historic racing bicycles. Sting-rays from the 1960s and balloon-tired bicycles from the 1950s fill the historical interior with nostalgia.

For the most serious bicyclist it is a unique look into the history of a beloved hobby and mode of transportation.  It can afford the individual, regardless of their age, an opportunity to stroll down memory lane in a way that is not otherwise possible.  There are few other places where a grandparent, or even great-grandparent can gain as much from the experience as every other member of the family.  Bicycles and memories long forgotten may come back and serve as a springboard for countless new family stories and adventures which may have remained forgotten.

Additional collections of gemstones, inaugural medals and a Company C flag that accompanied a local contingent during the Civil War are also on display. The museum is always changing and evolving making each visitor experience unique.

Make plans to visit this incredible private museum located at 7 West Monroe Street, in historic Downtown New Bremen, Ohio.  Fall/winter hours are from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Summer Hours are from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm (Closed Sundays).   Admission is $3/adult, $2/senior, $1/student.  Guided Group tours are by appointment. For more information, call 419-629-9249 or visit GreaterGrandLakeRegion.com.

Zombie Attack at Haunted Mountain


Tecumseh just closed but but things have not been quiet on Sugarloaf Mountain.  Haunted Mountain is preparing its return.  An innovative, interactive and terrifying attraction from the creative team behind Tecumseh, it will be open every Friday and Saturday in October at 8pm.

Now in its second year, Haunted Mountain will be feature more scenes, an expanded loop trail around the stages of the theatre and a maze nearly tripled in size from the previous version.

Raymond Speakman, who is the technical director for Tecumseh!, has been working on plans for the attraction since the premiere season closed last year.  He says hair raising special effects, a vortex tunnel, a fully realized pyramid room and a revamped zombie outbreak will thrill visitors.

“There’s a lot of fun in it too,” said CEO, Brandon Smith.  “We never set out to be the bloodiest, most gruesome haunt in Ohio.”

Some of the scenes are meant to make you laugh as well as be frightened.  The haunt was created to produce old school scares and while there will be a fairly gory and highly theatrical zombie attack, Haunted Mountain is about fun, not gore.  However, it is not recommended kids under 10 years old.

“We’ve also added an escape room this year, which will give us essentially three attractions going on at the same time.  There’s a whole lot of fun to be had this fall,” Smith added.

The walking tour will take visitors on and behind the stages of Tecumseh, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.  After their tour, guests will be invited to try their hand at Laser Tag as well as a new escape room.  Refreshments will be available.

For more information, visit www.hauntedmountain.org.

Ohio’s Newest Historic Barn Paintings

ohio barn painting by Scott Hagan

Last spring the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau sponsored a historic barn mural painting project and the residents of Sandusky County were encouraged to submit their barns for consideration.  After months of review and artwork designing, the painting of the first barn murals were completed last month.

Scott Hagan, also known as “The Barn Artist,” is painting the murals and is best known for the Ohio Bicentennial Barns he painted in all 88 counties in 2003. Scott also completed the Rutherford B. Hayes barn that was a joint project between the Ohio History Connection and the Ohio Turnpike which is located on Fangboner Road, just outside of Fremont.

David Thornbury, a graphic designer and marketing specialist for the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCCVB) wanted the barns to symbolize something historical that each town is known for. With that in mind he designed a 9/11 tribute as well as a commemoration for the Battle of Fort Stephenson and “Old Betsy.”

The 9/11 barn with elements of the Public Safety Service Memorial in Gibsonburg was dedicated on the 15th anniversary of the  terrorist attacks. One interesting spin on the Gibsonburg barn’s location is the strange connection it has with 9/11/2001.  When members of the SCCVB reviewed the submitted applications from all around Sandusky County they spotted a beautiful white Centennial Barn located at the corner of SR 600 and CR 32. It was not a barn that was submitted for review but they knew immediately this was the right location.

They walked up and knocked on the door and proposed the idea to Mary and Wayne Groweg, the owners of the barn and they were interested immediately.  When they told Mary about the proposed 9/11 theme she immediately said if you make the barn a 9/11 theme, you have to put a tribute to Teresa Martin-Miller, of Woodville on there. She was killed on 9/11 when the plane struck the Pentagon and it just so happened, her brother was delivering wood sheeting for a roofing project that was underway on our barn on 9/11 and he was sitting on a forklift when he got the news Teresa was missing.

The SCCVB was able to meet Mary’s request with a tribute to Teresa Martin-Miller and also found out that a second Woodville Native was on Flight 93 and was killed in the plane that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11 so both Sandusky County natives were incorporated into this historic barn mural that had now turned into a memorial barn.

Additional Barns are being planned. The second barn is located on Christy Road in Fremont. It also features a mural designed by David Thornbury at the SCCVB. It commemorates the Battle of Fort Stephenson and “Old Betsy”, the cannon that Major George Croghan used to fend off the British and the Indians in the War of 1812.

Additional Barns will begin again next spring with locations in Woodville, Clyde and Bellevue planned.

The SCCVB is seeking corporate sponsorships for the barn paintings. The Battle of Fort Stephenson Barn was sponsored by Fremont Federal Credit Union.

To learn more about the historic barn paintings, contact the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Don’t Feed The Plants!

 shadownbox little house of horrors live

Shadowbox Live! Presents Little Shop of Horrors

It’s green, it’s mean, and it’s a people eating machine!  The Audrey II invades the stage at Shadowbox Live!

The much beloved horror comedy rock musical has been a cult classic ever since its premier in 1982 and subsequent film in 1986.  And, because of its dark comedic, campy nature, Little Shop of Horrors, has been on the Shadowbox Live short list of musicals for quite a while.

“We knew we wanted to produce it,” says Stev Guyer, Executive Producer for Shadowbox Live.  “It was really just a question of timing.  The over-the-top flavor of the show runs completely up our alley.”

Shadowbox Live has seen enormous success with campy musical productions, from Reefer Madness to The Rocky Horror Show, which so far has had a record breaking four runs for the troupe of metaperformers!

Rocky is still one of our most requested shows,” says Guyer, “so we’re hoping Little Shop of Horrors will appeal to the audience in the same way.  Huge characters, goofy songs, and of course, giant plant puppets.”

As is necessary for any production of this show, Shadowbox Live’s Little Shop of Horrors will feature several life-size puppets of the incorrigible man-eating plant, Audrey II.  And interestingly enough, the brains behind the design and construction is the metaperformer playing Audrey II’s nemesis Seymour, Lukas Tomasacci.

Tomasacci, who had previous puppet building experience with other production companies, assisted with the largest puppet to have ever been on the Shadowbox Live stage, the Blue Lion from 2015’s The Tenshu.

“The Blue Lion was unbelievably daunting,” says Tomasacci, “but I’m glad that it came first.  There are four different Audrey II’s in Little Shop of Horrors, and I think I may have been a lot more scared of the task if I hadn’t already had a huge puppet under my belt!”

Tomasacci even gets to operate one of the Audrey II puppets himself on stage, during the musical number “You Never Know.”

“I don’t want to give away the secrets,” says Tomasacci, “so all I’ll say is it’s ridiculously fun to play Seymour while operating a puppet with such an enormous character, even while it’s still small.”

But, of course, that’s just the beginning.  Shadowbox Live promises a giant, man-eater on their stage, and, if you’re careful, you might just live through it long enough to tell all your friends you saw the sinister Audrey II.

Just don’t feed the plants!  And don’t become plant food yourself.

Shadowbox Live’s  Little Shop of Horrors runs through November 13, 2016. Tickets are $25 / $20 for students, seniors and military.  For more information and reservations, call the Shadowbox Live Box Office at 614-416-7625 or go online at www.shadowboxlive.org.

Clifton Mill is a Standout!


Clifton Mill  and its 200+ years of finely aged beauty stands the test of time and enchants its visitors on a number of levels. Tour all five floors of the historic mill. Relax to the gentle sounds of the old mill wheel and the soft rhythm of the water gently cascading over the falls. Gaze at the covered bridge. Hike the scenic Clifton Gorge. Inside, treat yourself to some great home-style cooking at The Millrace Restaurant. The atmosphere is unmatched and the view is simply hypnotizing. The menu and gift shop include fresh delights made fresh right there at the mill. You won’t want to leave without a keepsake from a bygone era. Complete information is available at http://www.cliftonmill.com/.


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/.

The Last Standing Bookstore


The Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Becomes The New Home of Cincinnati’s
Last Free Standing African American Bookstore

The National Underground Railroad announced that they are the new home of Cincinnati’s last free standing, black-owned African American bookstore—Smith & Hannon, formerly located in Bond Hill. Museum admission is not required to visit the bookstore. This will enable the Smith & Hannon Bookstore to continue to connect the public to African American authors & literature.

Located on the first floor of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Smith & Hannon is Cincinnati’s destination for African American literature—ranging in a large selection of non-fiction and fiction titles in a wide range of genres including: biographies, autobiographies, history, children and young adult, poetry, religion and spirituality and much more. In addition to new titles, Smith & Hannon also features a selection of first edition titles available for purchase.

“We are elated to be the new home of Smith & Hannon Bookstore,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “It is important that we continue the tradition that Mrs. Smith began in 2001, by providing the community with access to such an invaluable resource. People of all walks of life will be exposed to the great works of many African American authors, as well as connect with up and coming authors.”

Smith & Hannon Bookstore was founded in 2001 in Bond Hill by former Cincinnati educator, Joyce Smith. After teaching and administrating for 30 years in both public and parochial schools, Smith understood the importance of literacy and education in the African American community and, upon retirement, sought out to create a community space where readers of every age could meet to read, connect and gain exposure and access to African American literature and authors.

“Smith & Hannon Bookstore will continue to be an accessible resource to the local community at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,” says Joyce Smith, Smith & Hannon founder. “Now its reach will extend to readers of every age and background, extending the joy of reading and learning to a new generation of readers and future authors.”

Smith & Hannon Bookstore is now open at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Bookstore hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11: 00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Admission to the museum is not required to visit the bookstore. For more information visit freedomcenter.org.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since its opening, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. Recently, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.

Stop The Hate in NE Ohio

stop the hate by maltz museum

Northeast Ohio Students Speak Out To Stop The Hate®

6-12th Graders Invited to Compete for $100,000
in Scholarships, Awards & Anti-Bias Grants

“No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior,” wrote Elie Wiesel in 1992. “All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.” The professor, Nobel Laureate, Holocaust survivor and activist passed away in July, but the impact of his work to end hate and discrimination endures. This year the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out (maltzmuseum.org/stop-the-hate) $100,000 essay competition encourages Northeast Ohio students to draw inspiration from Wiesel’s human rights legacy while responding to a prompt inspired by the words of this advocate for tolerance:

In 500 words or less, share an incident when you or someone you know was treated unfairly or you treated someone unfairly based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, etc. Why was this judgment wrong? How did the experience affect you? What have you done and what will you do to help end intolerance and create a more inclusive community?

“The world is filled with inequities and injustices that trouble many of us, but having the courage and motivation to combat those forces is what sets upstanders apart,” says Maltz Museum education director Jeffery Allen. “This competition reinforces the responsibility of the individual to effect positive change and celebrates young leaders who are ready to put their vision into action.” Since it launched eight years ago, Stop the Hate® has empowered more than 20,000 students to stand up for what they believe, awarding $800,000 in programmatic anti-bias grants and academic scholarships.  Past winners have gone on to become public speakers, form nonprofits, launch businesses, conduct medical research, pursue advocacy and help shape public policy.

The Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out contest is open to Northeast Ohio 6-12th graders in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties. Students can attend a public, private, religious, home, online or charter school. Entries are due Fri., Jan. 6, 2017, for grades 6-10 and Fri., Jan. 20, 2017, for grades 11-12. Twenty-five finalists will appear at the final judging and public awards ceremony on Tues., April 25, 2017, 6pm at The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center in University Circle (1855 Ansel Road, Cleveland, OH 44106, affording the public a chance to hear students from different corners of the region take a stand against the injustices they see around them.

“Providing a platform for a diverse cross-section of students to share stories and ideas that could influence each other in positive ways is critical to promoting inclusive communities,” says Maltz Museum executive director Ellen Rudolph because, as last year’s $40,000 Grand Prize Winner Nupur Goel wrote, “Education, love and acceptance are the first steps to breaking down barriers.”

Teachers are invited to implement Stop the Hate® as a classroom project. For deadlines, examples of winning essays, related Museum tours and complete rules, visit maltzmuseum.org/stop-the-hate and follow @stopthehateUS on Twitter. Stop the Hate® Youth Speak Out is generously supported by Dealer Tire and Nordson Corporation Foundation.

Apple Butter Stirrin′ Festival


Autumn in Roscoe Village is a special time of year. The beautiful scenery in central Ohio’s rolling hills, the crisp mornings and warm afternoons, and the smoky-sweet scent of homemade apple butter simmering over a wood fire combine to make the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival in Historic Roscoe Village the perfect fall event. Now in its 47th year, the Apple Butter Stirrin’ has attracted crowds of all ages to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of the season.

The three days of Apple Butter Stirrin’ officially begin on Friday, October 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. Crafters’ and artisans’ booths line the street with an array of unique handmade items including jewelry, home and garden items, paintings, pottery, and other creative discoveries. Of course, no stroll through the festival would be complete without sampling the delicious assortment of foods, which include home-made vegetable soup, apple butter burgers, steak sandwiches, sweet potato fries, cinnamon-roasted nuts, and kettle corn.

As part of their festival admission, guests can go on The People…Our Stories tour to hear the fascinating stories of the costumed historical interpreters. Educational activities offered during the festival are the outdoor living demonstrations, wood working, spoon making, throwing pottery and flintknapping. A nearby canal boat offers a taste of life on the canal with its horse-drawn rides.  On Friday and Saturday evening the eerie candlelight tour, Spirit of Roscoe, will be offered at 7:00pm at a cost of $9.95 for adults and $4.95 for students. On this tour, guests can walk through the historic village while listening to tales of the spirited folk who once resided in this quaint canal town. Reservations are recommended for the candlelight tour.

Throughout the weekend, younger visitors can enjoy the kids’ activity area complete with tin punching, various crafts, and photo opportunities. The weekend’s events are accented by musical entertainment with performances by traditional dulcimer players, bluegrass bands, gospel singers, and country music artists.

The dates of the 47th Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival are October 21 – 23, 2016. The festival runs from 10:00am to 6:00pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday.  Crafters and artisans interested in booth space at the festival may print an application from our Web site at www.roscoevillage.com or contact us at 740-622-7644 ext. 20 or 800-877-1830.

Pelee The Island of Laughter


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 is 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 vacationing is supposed to do.

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

Click here to read the rest of the story.