December Archives




General Store Pies to Die for

end of the commons general store in Mesopotamia Ohio

End of the Commons General Store has been working on perfecting the Amish Fry Pie recipe since 2014. This pursuit has led to the quote — “should be world famous” — because they taste so good. These delicious pies come in apple, red raspberry, blueberry, Bavarian, cherry and many other kinds.

Amish fry pies are a traditional sweet among the Amish community.  Special pastry dough is rolled out in six inch circles to the perfect thickness and filled with your choice of delicious fruit filling. Then, it is folded in half, crimped on the edges and deep fried for several minutes. It is then given some time to cool before being dunked in a bath of sweet glaze.

In June of 2016 bakery equipment was added to help keep up with demand for the homemade Amish fry pies, which has become a favorite among visitors. Today, End of the Commons General Store produces over 1,000 fry pies per week.

End of the Commons General Store is Ohio’s oldest general store located 30 minutes northwest of Warren, Ohio in the scenic Amish community of Mesopotamia, where Geauga, Ashtabula & Trumbull counties meet. End of the Commons General Store has been continuously run as an old-fashioned general store for over 170 years! The store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest operating general stores in the United States. Kenneth & Margaret Schaden purchased the store in 1982 and the Schaden family continues to run the business today.

Stop in today to visit the general store and pick up a fresh Amish fry pie or two to take home. A visit to End of the Commons is reminiscent of days past; one will find a treasure of old-fashioned goods, hard to find kitchen gadgets, country cafe and an antique collection that is certain to bring back fond memories of childhood.

End of the Commons General Store is located at 4366 Kinsman Road in Mesopotamia, Ohio. Phone 440-693-4295 or visit www.endofthecommons.com for more information.

Holiday Tradition in Coshocton County

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Discover a more traditional holiday without all the hustle and bustle this December in Coshocton and Historic Roscoe Village.  Find out what Christmas was like in the 1800s. Enjoy a drive-it-yourself live nativity. Experience an old-fashioned candlelighting ceremony. Rejoice in a choir concert featuring over 200 musicians. And find special gifts in the charming shops of Historic Roscoe Village.

Holiday shopping in Coshocton and Roscoe Village is a joyful experience with unique shops, unusual gifts, no hectic traffic, and free parking.  Find gifts for everyone on the list, including Ohio-made items at Ohio State of Mind; old-fashioned candy at Roscoe Village Sweets & Treats; hand-made wares at the Roscoe Village Visitors Center, unique crafts and gifts at The Gift Depot, Cottage Gate, and Caldersburg Trading Company; locally-made US Flags at the Annin Flagmakers Showroom; outdoor and hunting supplies at Woodbury Outfitters; unique jewelry at the House of GA. Fisher Jewelers and at Dean’s Jewelry; and award-winning cheeses at Pearl Valley Cheese.

Find fine guitars and dulcimers at Wildwood Music; affordable antiques at The Coshocton Antique Mall and at C & M Collectibles; locally-crafted goods at Commonwealth Americana; fascinating gifts at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum Gift Shop; locally-made wines; Vera Bradley items and wine making supplies at Canal Cargo; homemade fudge at the Roscoe General Store; gourmet foods and unusual gifts at Medbery Marketplace and Unusual Junction; handmade leather items at River Ridge Leather; and many more unique options to choose from throughout the community.

The Three Rivers Wine Trail offers visitors unique locations and delicious wines, all within a short drive of each other. Some even have guest house, lodge or bed & breakfast on site, including Rainbow Hills Winery, Heritage Vineyard Winery and Indian Bear Winery. Any of these destinations provide the perfect setting for a cozy winter getaway.

Roscoe Village hosts their annual Christmas Candlelighting Ceremonies on select Saturdays in December. This family-friendly event features traditional music, sparkling tree and a true sense of community and holiday spirit. Following the ceremony, guests will enjoy the Roscoe Christmas Tour, led by guides carrying candle-lit lanterns, sharing stories of long ago.

There are also many festivals and events coming up this season including the Coshocton Community Choir Christmas Festival Concert and the drive-through Live Nativity experience at the Coshocton Christian Tabernacle.

A live theater production of Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol also takes place at the Triple Locks Theater the first three weekends of December. The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, home of the famous Newark Holy Stones, has a special exhibit through December 31, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of World War I.

Leave the hectic pace of the modern world behind and get away to Historic Roscoe Village and Coshocton, Ohio for small-town friendliness, a slower pace, relaxation, and, most importantly, true holiday spirit.

Winter in Mohican

Winter in Mohican

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

“It’s beginning to look a lot like…” Winter in Mohican. One of the most beautiful times of year. All of the trails are still open at Mohican State Park. Guests are enjoying the downtown independent stores and the options of where to stay for the week or weekend. Discover how Mohican can help take some time for some much deserved rest and relaxation.

All throughout the winter, there are plenty of ways to get outside and beat the winter doldrums. Still searching for that perfect gift? The independent stores in Loudonville will be happy to help. Try a gift certificate for canoeing, cabins, zip lining, castle, or lodge.

Have fun while discovering Mohican. Landoll’s Mohican Castle hosts the “The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year.” This murder mystery dinner is performed by the nation’s #1 ranked murder mystery troupe, The Murder Mystery Company. Tickets are on sale now. Contact Landoll’s Mohican Castle for reservations.

Get into the holiday spirit with this live performance of a family favorite. Mohican Community Theatre under Loudonville Theatre and Arts Committee presents “A Charlie Brown Christmas Extravaganza.” This performance will take place at the historic The Ohio Theatre.

Mark those calendars now for the annual Mohican Winter Fest in January. Olympic Award Winning, Aaron Costic and his team from Elegant Creations, return to show the artistic talents with ice carving demonstrations and more. Walk through downtown Loudonville and see multiple ice carving sculptures. Fire Spinning returns for Mohican’s Fire & Ice on Saturday. Do not forget to follow Discover Mohican on Facebook and Twitter for the Social Media Scavenger Hunt. The winner will receive an overnight stay at Landoll’s Mohican Castle. The Model Train Expo returns to make everyone feel like a kid again.

New Year’s Eve would not be the same without celebrating it at Mohican State Park Lodge & Conference Center. Exclusive 2-night package includes welcome gift, buffet dinner for two, admission to dance party with DJ, and buffet breakfast for two. Ring in the New Year while overlooking the breath taking view of Pleasant Hill Lake.

Stay. Play. Discover Why Mohican Rocks!

Ice Skating Fun Returns

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This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

The Dayton region’s largest outdoor ice skating rink is open for season-long, family-friendly fun on the banks of the scenic Great Miami River in downtown Dayton. There is a nominal admission fee to the MetroParks Ice Rink at RiverScape MetroPark (237 E. Monument Ave).

The MetroParks Ice Rink is presented by Mikesell’s and will be open through February, including special holiday hours. The rink also will be open during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, as well as during other holidays throughout the season. Visit metroparks.org/icerink for the complete schedule. Season passes are available.

For those who wish to spend their evening on the ice, the MetroParks Ice Rink hosts Star-Late Skates each Saturday throughout the season from 7 to 10 p.m. Every Friday evening in January will be devoted to a genre of music. All events are held from 7 to 10 p.m.

While at RiverScape MetroPark, visitors can warm up by the fire and grab snacks, hot chocolate and more at the adjacent snack bar which will be open during rink hours.

Skating lessons for adults, children and teens are held at the rink throughout the season and cover basic skills that will have participants moving comfortably on the ice.

Visit metroparks.org/skating to register or to view list of lessons and other events that will be held at the MetroParks Ice Rink.

In addition, registration is now open for the curling and broomball leagues. Visitors also can try these sports at Try Broomball or Casual Curl, held on various dates in November and December.

Families, neighborhoods, clubs and groups can rent the ice rink for private events from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday and Thursday evenings. Available dates are limited, so the public is encouraged to reserve soon using the online reservation system or by calling 937-275-PARK.

“The rink has become a seasonal destination in the Miami Valley, and we are really honored to be a part of that tradition for area families,” said James Carter, RiverScape MetroPark operations coordinator. “As the weather gets cooler, it’s refreshing to be able to experience the outdoors, get some exercise, and have fun with friends and family.”

Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction

 Christmas at Entertrainment Junction

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This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction runs through December.

Just off Main Street inside EnterTRAINment Junction’s large Expo Center, visitors can enjoy three free holiday train displays. Here visitors will find three unique holiday train layouts, including a Lionel train display originally exhibited at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. There is also an HO-scale holiday train display featuring the ever-popular Dept. 56 buildings and villages, plus, a third holiday train display set against a beautiful winter wonderland backdrop and was created by members of the Greater Cincinnati Garden Railway Society.

The free holiday train displays are only a part of the many family-favorite offerings to experience at Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction with 80,000 square feet of holiday fun, all under one roof, all in a climate-controlled environment. While the holiday train displays in the Expo

Center are free to the public, admission to all other EnterTRAINment Junction’s attractions, including the world’s largest indoor G-Scale model train display, can be purchased at a special Do-It-All price.

In the imaginative Journey to the North Pole themed walk-through attraction, visitors are transported to an amazing winter wonderland with snowy landscapes on the way to the North Pole and a visit with Santa. The walk-through features a post office, a sleigh house, a reindeer barn and an elves’ workshop where Santa’s helpers are busy making toys. Visitors meet Mrs. Claus, who offers children a holiday cookie, then, down the hall and into a study, there he is – jolly ol’ Santa himself, awaiting children to listen to what they want for Christmas. (Santa is on vacation beginning Dec. 26.)

Of course, all of the other spectacular EnterTRAINment Junction attractions are part of the holiday-time experience, including the popular, hand-built 1,000 ft. replica of the historic Coney Island Amusement Park, the weird-and-wacky A-Maze-N FunHouse, a giant kids’ interactive play area and the American Railroading Museum.

Visitors entering EnterTRAINment Junction immediately encounter a holiday themed Main Street area, a 1930s’ cityscape trimmed in seasonal lights and decorations. Main Street has a sidewalk café, gift shop, several party rooms for holiday parties and Junction Hobbies & Toys, located just inside EnterTRAINment Junction’s front doors.

The incredible hobby & toy shop has the area’s largest collection of Thomas the Train merchandise, G-Scale, HO and N-Scale trains and accessories, dollhouses, and numerous unique, educational and nostalgia toys. Special sale items span the entire Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction run.

EnterTRAINment Junction is located at 7379 Squire Court, off I-75 at the Tylersville Rd. exit (#22). For more information, call (513) 898-8000, or (877) 898-4656. Website: www.entertrainmentjunction.com.

Ohio’s North Pole Duo

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Welcome to Ohio’s North Pole where Hollywood meets Christmas.

If you enjoy Christmas and you love watching Christmas movies, you need to make a trip to a place known as Believeland! Let this winter deliver a blizzard of fun at two stops. One is Castle Noel – the world’s largest privately held collection of Christmas movie props and costumes. The other is A Christmas Story House and Museum featuring just about everything from the movie, A Christmas Story.

You can see Uncle Eddie’s lemon of an RV from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and see Cindy Lou Who’s entire bedroom set from the movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas. There are even millions of dollars-worth of actual New York City Christmas window displays from years past. And everyone already knows you can explore Ralphie’s actual house and neighborhood from the movie A Christmas Story.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Start your adventure at A Christmas Story House. The movie was filmed in Cleveland but it portrays a fictional town in Indiana. Cleveland happened to have the perfect neighborhood, a house with a wraparound porch, the old downtown department store, old neighborhood school and other things that met the movie’s scouting team’s criteria to a “T”. The old Higbees building agreed to keep its Christmas look months past the end of the holiday for filming.

Brian Jones bought the house on eBay. Previously, he made leg lamps inspired by the movie. Originally, he did it as a gift to his parents. Then friends. The more he made, the more others wanted them. Since the demand for leg lamps was so strong, he felt the house would also draw interest.

The exterior of the house was remodeled back to how it looked for the movie. Since the interior shots were actually filmed on a sound stage that was bigger than the rooms in the real house, there were challenges to replicate it. Today, it’s like walking through Ralphie’s home – close enough anyway.

The initial tour is 15 minutes (starting every 30 minutes). Afterward, you are encouraged to explore on your own. Most folks go straight to the nostalgic photo ops to reenact the movie’s more memorable scenes. One of the most popular pastimes is to hide under the sink like little Randy. You can imagine the grown men trying to pull this off. And of course, whether inside or outside, posing with that leg in the window is a must.

“It is definitely the most touched leg in Cleveland,” laughed Steve Siedlecki, Executive Director of A Christmas Story House.

The house is full of interactive settings.

Across the street from the house is the museum. There, you’ll find the actual costumes, behind-the-scenes photos and memorabilia galore. You’ll even see Randy’s snow suit.

The gift shop has it all – leg lamps (It’s a major award!), decoder pens, pink bunny suits, even the official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model 1938 Air Rifle BB Gun complete with retro box from A Christmas Story.

But be careful, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

Heck there’s even a nearby “official” Chinese restaurant. Bring your ticket stub and get 10 percent off.

One of the many memorable scenes from A Christmas Story is when Ralphie climbs Santa Claus Mountain inside a (Cleveland) department store to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas. But as we all know, Ralphie choked. Just as he began to slide down the giant slide, he stopped, looked up, and spit out his wish. Santa merely said, “You’ll shoot your eye out,” pressed his foot against Ralphie, and “assisted” his descent down Santa Claus Mountain.

Well, slide down to Medina, just south of Cleveland, and recreate that scene on a replica of Santa Claus Mountain inside A Castle Noel.

A Castle Noel is where many famous Hollywood Christmas movie stage sets, costumes and other memorabilia are collected for the public to experience first-hand.

This Christmas wish came true for collector Mark Klaus. And with a name like Klaus, he was destined for the Christmas business along with his wife, Dana.

“My dad was the living image of Clark Griswold’s character in National Lampoon’s A Christmas Vacation and my mom was a Big Band singer who would fill the house with music,” remembers Klaus.

Mark was a sculptor by trade. He sold Christmas Nativities on TV for 20 years.  Somewhere along the line he began collecting Christmas movie props.

Now he claims the world’s largest privately held collection of Christmas movie props and costumes. And he’s sharing it with the public at A Castle Noel. It spans a half a block in the picturesque square of Medina’s downtown. Think visions of It’s A Wonderful Life. Inside is a 40,000 square foot wonderland.

Start your journey at The Blizzard Vortex Tunnel. This giant swirling tube is where you travel back to your childhood.

One of the most impressive visuals at Castle Noel is the Christmas window displays straight from the iconic stores in New York City. Yes, these are the real deal – New York department store Christmas windows of the past – featuring sets of animated window displays that cost up to $2 million to make.

These were formerly decorated storefront windows at places like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor. The Saks displays feature 10 windows from the mid-90s – stunning! It tells stories of The Nutcracker and The Magic Telescope.  Bloomingdales features the 2009 shoe display and glittering colors of shoes as seen the world over by going viral on the Internet Their 2013 window display has the Three Bears reading a book.

There are more than 50 New York City Christmas windows. Each window pane is a progression in a themed story. A backstage tour is part of the normal tour. There, visitors see the restoration workshop.

A crowd favorite is the 1960’s Cleveland Higbees window display (It’s where A Christmas Story’s department scene is set).

Castle Noel is a special place to reminisce. Whether you’re 1 or 101, smiles abound. And for the older “kids” there are thousands of toys to see from a Christmas’ past.

“Hey, I remember when my sister cut all the hair off that doll,” is a common line to hear as people marvel at toys that time forgot.

Christmas movies are a part of our culture. And now the nuts and bolts that built these Christmas classics are here for you to touch and see and smell and hear.

And it’s interactive. The Santa Claus Squeeze is the jolly ole elf’s training facility. Have you ever thought about going down a chimney by yourself. Now you can! And what’s even better is watching grandma keep up with her grandkids grinning ear to ear, laughing all the way.

Heck, Cindy Lou Who’s entire bedroom set from the movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is here! Imagine that.

The following are just some of the precious finds at A Castle Noel:

  • The Grinch’s star from the top of the tree and Jim Carey’s motorcycle and 16 foot Grinch sleigh. There are 400 props and costumes from that movie alone.
  • The actual Buddy the Elf outfit from the movie Elf starring Will Ferrell as well as the special gift that Buddy got for his father. There’s even the purple elf hockey outfit.
  • The house from outer space complete with light show from the movie Deck The Halls starring Danny DeVito. See how the miniature house with 80,000 fiber optic tips is made to look real in the motion picture.
  • The giant snowman for the top of the house from the movie Christmas with the Kranks starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis along with their costumes.
  • The costume for the Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge’s night coat from the movie A Christmas Carol.
  • The elf outfit from the character Patch as well as the remote control sleigh and reindeer and a short film showing how the movie Santa Claus starring Dudley Moore was made.
  • They even have Uncle Eddie’s RV from National Lampoon’s A Christmas Vacation,Arnold Schwarzenegger costumes from Jingle All The Way, and a thirty foot Christmas tree with 11,000 lights.

The magic continues in a Theater that snows inside! There, a short movie plays a bunch of nostalgic clips from everyone’s favorite Christmas movies.

Guided tours last about an hour and a half. Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame visitors gaze at hundreds of vintage Christmas movie photos. There are also several train displays plus a black light 3D mini golf course with a Santa meets aliens theme.

The climax of Castle Noel brings us full circle with A Christmas Story House. You get to ascend Santa Claus Mountain like Ralphie did in A Christmas Story movie to meet Santa for a photo and ask for what you want for Christmas and then slide down the long slide.

You can commemorate your “movie” experience with a visit to the gift shop. It’s loaded with treats to put under your Christmas tree for every Christmas movie lover in the family.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler

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Here I Thought I Was Normal:
Micro Memoirs of Mishcief
is available at Amazon.com

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Now only 99 cents

Funny and wild times make for an enjoyable read one short story at a time (107 total) in this humorous and entertaining memoir book about getting into mischief while growing up and parenting.

These stories are your stories, sort of. And that is why so many people have enjoyed them. The wild, funny and touching tales may trigger memories of your own similar experiences. Others live vicariously through the adventures. Some are appalled at times. The short stories in the collection have curious titles such as Streaking, Gore Orphanage, Wrestling a Bear, Crazy was in the Air, Walk of Shame, Practical Joke Gone Bad and Pleasure Attic just to name several.


Earth Things
is available at Amazon.com

earth-things-cover

Now only 99 cents

They walk among us, hidden in plain sight, protecting knowledge that can change the modern world. Teens unearth a secret culture born out of Native America. In doing so, they become hunted.

Along their journey, childhood disappears along with the woods they are exploring. They are faced with discoveries through puzzle stones that lead them to a shipwreck, rotting old prison and abandoned amusement park. In these curious places, they encounter mysterious elders who enlighten them on how everything connects one piece at a time.

As it all comes into focus, they wonder, are they what they seek?

Castle Noel is a Standout

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Castle Noel: How can America’s largest year-round indoor Christmas entertainment attraction not be a Standout in Ohio! Mark Klaus (yes, Klaus) and his wife, Dana, created a wonderland out of an old church in scenic downtown Medina, Ohio. In it, you’ll find yourself at the crossroads where Hollywood meets Christmas. Where else can you slide down Santa Clause Mountain which is a replica of the two-story slide from the movie, A Christmas Story. Heck, even Uncle Eddy’s infamous RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is parked on site. In addition, it features authentic props from Hollywood Christmas movies, including Elf, Grinch, Christmas Vacation, and many other holiday classics. Other delights are seeing Toy Land which allows people to relive childhood by revisiting favorite toys from Christmas’ past. Speaking of Christmas’ past, there’s $2 million worth of stunning Christmas displays that used to grace famous New York City storefronts.  All this and much more wait your Xmas celebration any time of year. 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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