Miracle in Medina

By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

A magical Christmas kingdom lights up at Castle Noel in the heart of an enchanted Rockwellesque town that turns everyone into a kid again. Welcome to America’s largest indoor year-round Christmas entertainment attraction. Mark Klaus and Medina, Ohio have a wonderful life together bringing joy to the world.  

This Christmas kingdom will take you on a journey of miracles’ past, present and future. Along the way, you’ll explore the historic sets, props and costumes of classic Christmas movies, roam the illuminated streets of New York City to see animated Christmas window displays, gaze at the toys of Yesteryear, and enjoy other creative fun sprinkled all around. This place is like a private tour of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory mixed with Disney magic. And you hold the golden ticket to experience it all at Castle Noel.

But this story began long before Mark Klaus came to town, relocating Christmas from the North Pole to Northern Ohio. The spirit of Christmas has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.  …READ MORE…

Click here to read the rest of the story

Winter Just Got Hot in Mohican!

Yes, it is winter. It is supposed to be cold. That is even more reason to get out and enjoy all life has to offer. A lot of studies have shown that in order to help fight off those winter blues you should be active. Be involved. In other words, get outside and have some fun.  Get the coat on, grab friends and family and head out to the world. It is exciting and it is warm. Actually, it is on fire! Yes, there is fun to be had in winter, and not just sled riding. Make plans now to stay and play in Mohican.

January 12 – 14, 2018 marks the return of the Appalachian Music Festival at Mohican State Park Lodge. Enjoy a weekend of down home fun. The open stage brings talent and old time music. Concerts, crafts, food and more are at the Mohican State Park Lodge. This event is also free and open to the public.

January 13 -14, 2018 is time to kickoff Mohican Winterfest with exciting attractions. Enjoy ice sculpting demonstrations by Aaron Costic of Elegant Ice Creations. His award winning displays will bring imagination to life. Audience participation is encouraged during live demonstrations. Children can enjoy seeing their names written in ice.

Fire & Ice returns to Loudonville’s Central Park, featuring Mohican artists performing Fire Spinning, also known as Fire Poi, in front of the ice sculptures. Stand in awe as fire is whirled in front of your eyes close enough to feel the heat and smell the flames. Get warm and enjoy the fun with fire and ice.

In February, a small town library transforms itself into an interactive and participatory living remembrance to WWI and America. Throughout the month of February, in partnership with The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum and the Loudonville Public Library, audiences will be transported back in time. The Loudonville Library will open its door February 1, 2018 to trenches, posters, speakers, and more to help remember and educate visitors about “the war to end all wars.”

Make sure to visit DiscoverMohican.com and LoudonvilleLibrary.org  for a complete listing of events, period movies, news reels, and more. All of the events are free and open to the public.

Stay. Play. Discover Why Mohican Rocks!

One-of-a-Kind Old-time Christmas Gifts

amish-man-amish-horse-amish-buggy

A Piece of the Past is an Excellent Christmas Present!

PLAY VIDEO

If you truly want to get someone a unique Christmas gift, make a trip to the Amish superstore known as Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, Ohio. It’s in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. But don’t go on Sunday.

Founded by Jay Lehman in 1955 to serve the local hardware store for the Amish in northeast Ohio, Lehman’s stocks a huge selection of non-electric appliances, wood stoves, hand tools, old-fashioned kitchenware, toys and much more in its winding retail store, huge catalog and  e-commerce web site at www.Lehmans.com.

At Lehman’s, everything old is new again.

Lining the shelves are thousands of products, from tin toys to weather vanes to butter churns that you probably thought they quit making years ago. Where else are you going to find butter churns, cream separator and glass milk bottles? Or for that matter, copper kettles, cast iron cookware and a coal shovel?

If you like the attractive, practical appliances of yesteryear, then you’re going to love Lehman’s. This family-owned and operated business specializes in antique-styled appliances and retro home furnishings, non-electric kitchenware, old-time toys, hand tools, oil lamps, collectible cook books and much more.  If you think it isn’t made any more, call Lehman’s before you give up! After all, it’s where Hollywood comes to shop for just the right props for their sets.

Today, the expanded retail store features a buggy barn demonstration room, the Cast Iron Cafe serving soups, salads, sandwiches, drinks and desserts, and four reconstructed pre-Civil War era barns inside the retail space.

Ironically, what started out as a business to serve the local Amish has turned into an international operation, shipping products all over the world. Missionaries, survivalists, environmentalists, homesteaders, vacation home owners and the chronically nostalgic, as well as movie producers wanting to create an authentic scene, have made Lehman’s their low-tech superstore.

No one else is doing what Lehman’s does, on the scale that they do it.

The Kidron retail store is open every day except Sunday and is located four miles south of Rte. 30 between Wooster and Canton in northeast Ohio. Visit www.Lehmans.com for information about the store and its unique product line.

Christmas Train Rides in Ohio

christmas-train 

Are you looking to ride The Polar Express or Santa Trains? Do you want to take a trip to the North Pole? Act fast, they book quickly. Here are several great ideas to enjoy your holiday season in across Ohio.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Santa Claus Express and Polar Express in Penninsula, Ohio:   For availability, reservations and rates, call 800-468-4070.  The trip is full of fun as kids try to spot reindeer in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley while they wait for Santa to stop by and visit. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers the Polar Express as well. However, getting tickets for this wonderful trip is very difficult even when planning months in advance. It is done through a mail-in lottery. Tickets are sometimes found through area newspapers as well. Passengers are encouraged to wear pajamas. Cookies and hot-coco are served.

Dennison Railroad Museum‘s Polar Express in Dennison, Ohio:
For availability, reservations and rates, call 740-922-6776.
This newly restored railroad station encourages parents to take your family on a journey of a lifetime. Just like The Polar Express book and movie, passengers are seen riding the rails in their pajamas sipping hot chocolate and snacking on cookies. As the storyline unfolds, so do the events aboard this train. Once at the North Pole, Santa hops aboard to meet the children and hand out presents.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Santa Trains in Nelsonville, Ohio: For tickets and information, call 740-249-1452. As the train departs, Santa begins his journey through the train of heated coaches and visits with each child, hearing their special requests before the Big Day. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy treat after Santa’s visit. Trains operate each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and a couple of evening departure. The ride lasts approximately two hours. Reserve ahead of time.

LM&M Railroad‘s North Pole Express in Lebanon, Ohio:
For availability, reservations and rates, call 513-933-8022
Take a ride on a vintage train to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Children will receive a small gift from Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and entertainment by Santa’s elves. Bring kids, grandparents or a friend but don’t forget your camera because this event is filled with fun.

Cleveland Starts Here

New multimedia exhibit experience shares 220 years of Northeast Ohio’s stories. It’s a new twist on old CLE. 

Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is thrilled to share Cleveland Starts Here®, a new Cleveland history exhibit experience and digital portal, sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle.

On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, presented by PNC, WRHS is giving the gift of history to the community with Cleveland Starts Here®, an entirely new exhibit experience. First-time visitors of the region and life-long residents will immerse themselves in Cleveland’s stories from the 1790s to today. Using the latest technologies and digital media, rarely seen images, films, art and historical artifacts are now accessible for visitors to experience. From the first Cleveland map and early survey tools, to a lunar descent engine and LeBron James’s championship shoes, Cleveland Starts Here® tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies that define Cleveland. These stories of innovation, immigration, entrepreneurship, and diversity inspire visitors to create their own chapter in this ever evolving story.   Audiences around the world can also access WRHS’s extraordinary collections online via the Cleveland Starts Here® digital portal.

“We are excited to share Cleveland Starts Here® with the world. After three years of development and the incredible support we’ve received from donors and community leaders, we can’t wait for history buffs, sports enthusiasts, parents, grandparents, students, educators and CLE lovers around the world to experience our collective stories. It’s a celebration of the past and the present, and we welcome everyone to come and make connections to their lives,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, WRHS President & CEO.

“Our Foundation is interested in supporting fine, successful institutions like WRHS and its Cleveland History Center,” said Morton L. Mandel, Chairman and CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. “Museums like this one preserve stories that shape our culture. The new Cleveland Starts Here® exhibit at the Cleveland History Center should make it possible for generations to pass along the stories and experiences that help connect the past with our world today.”

About Cleveland Starts Here

WRHS is working with Dennis and Kathy Barrie of Barrie Projects, a local consulting firm specializing in museums, exhibits, and cultural planning projects around the globe.  Gallagher & Associates is subcontracted to the project for content development and exhibit design.  Multimedia elements and the orientation film are produced by Northern Light Productions.  Fabrication, equipment, and gallery preparation are in partnership with ExPlus, Zenith, and AECOM.

WRHS surpassed its $2.5 million fundraising goal for Cleveland Starts Here® with title sponsorship coming from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. Other much-appreciated leadership support came from the Jim and Anne Schoff Family Foundation for the Cleveland Starts Here documentary film, the Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation and The Reinberger Foundation. A complete list of donors is available at www.wrhs.org.

About the Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland History Center

Founded in 1867 as an historic branch of the Cleveland Library Association on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) shares the dynamic stories of Northeast Ohio and beyond – stories of the people, the artifacts and the archives that are the provenance for our region.

Operating six sites throughout Northeast Ohio, WRHS presents exhibitions, programs and experiences that tell the story of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio through art, documents and artifacts from a variety of collections at its headquarters, the Cleveland History Center in University Circle. Through the use of its vast collections of family history, community history, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, the Cleveland History Center provides a much-needed sense of place in today’s mobile society. It is a base for learning about innovation that can be transferred into modern economic expansion.

Admission to the Cleveland History Center includes access to Cleveland Starts Here®, two historic mansions, both on the National Register of Historic Places, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum (with support from The Frederick C. and Kathleen S. Crawford Fund of the Cleveland Foundation), Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, Research Library, Kidzibits Playzone, Community History Galleries, and rides on the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

WRHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate (www.affiliations.si.edu) a national outreach program that develops collaborative partnerships with cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources.  WRHS is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Sponsorships, bequests, grants, admissions, and other funding are used by WRHS to preserve and enrich the region’s artistic and cultural heritage. WRHS earned a top four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s most-used independent evaluator of charities and nonprofits.  Visit us at 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106, at www.wrhs.org or on social media @clestartshere.

Jungle Jim’s Video

PLAY VIDEO

Jungle Jim’s International Market is a Foodie adventure like no other. Six acres of food under one roof! It’s not a supermarket, it’s a zoo-permarket! An international mecca, Jungle Jim’s offers thousands of imported and national brand groceries: 12,000 wines, 1,200 beers, 1,600 cheeses, 1,000 kinds of hot sauce, one full acre of produce (including organic and international). If it’s edible, you’ll find it here! Jungle Jim’s is truly a Food Lover’s Paradise!

Click Here
For More “Lost in Ohio” Videos

Home for the Holidays

med-army-edited

This is a fun little story for anyone trying to make it home for Christmas

It was just several weeks past basic training and my 18th birthday. I walked to the travel office at Fort Gordon, Georgia to book a bus to Cleveland, Ohio for Christmas. It would be my last chance to go home before I shipped off to Europe.

I congratulated myself for thinking months in advance to secure my passage home so that everything was set well ahead of time. No worries. But when the lady behind the window handed me my ticket, she had a peculiar smile. Something was off but by the time I walked back to the barracks and stuffed my ticket away, I had other things on my mind.

One of my best friends from home joined the Army with me. We were stationed on the same base for basic training – Fort Jackson, South Carolina – and now resided here for our advanced skills training to learn our Army jobs. Even though we were so close, we only saw each other twice. Back then, to communicate, we had to mail letters to each other at the post office even though we were just minutes away. He had procrastinated getting his bus ticket but sometime after Thanksgiving, he assured me it was in his hand.

When I showed up in a vast parking lot jammed with damn near the whole base, leaving, I scrambled to find my bus. I had an overstuffed duffle bag hoisted on one shoulder, weaving around buses with signs to Memphis, Denver, Boston, you name it. Then I saw Scott. He was hanging out the window of the bus marked for Cleveland.

I flashed a big smile of relief and pointed to him as if to say, “Save me a spot, I’ll be right there.”

Then, the unimaginable happened. The bus driver said the bus was full. I shoved my ticket into his chest with pleading eyes, unwilling to take no for an answer.

He looked at the ticket and said, “Nope! No good. We’re full.”

He boarded, the doors closed and my buddy cruised by me making hand motions and expressions, saying, “WHAT THE….”

One by one, buses kicked into drive and pulled out.

I desperately grabbed a sergeant and rattled off the horror of my predicament.

“Private, in about three minutes, you’ll be the only person in a ghost town. My suggestion is you land yourself on any bus with room headed north,” asserted the sergeant.

I turned and saw “Pittsburgh” in the window of a bus right in front of me. I stepped on and saw plenty of vacant seats. As a Browns fan, the humor didn’t escape me. I told the driver my story as he glanced at my ticket and waved me on.

Somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, we pulled off for a 15 minute break to get gas and food. I used this opportunity to make a collect call home. Fortunately, my mom picked up the phone.

“Mom, listen carefully, there was a mistake with my bus ticket and now I’m headed for Pittsburgh. You will have to pick me up there,” I spoke clearly but concisely.

“What…” she responded and began to babble.

“Mom, I have to go now. I can’t explain. Just pick me up at the Pittsburgh bus station at about Midnight. I will not have another chance to talk. I’ll see you there.”

She had no choice but to say, okay.

And just like that, I was off the phone and just made it back on the bus before it pulled out of the stop.

My parents got in the car and headed for Pittsburgh. There was no GPS or even an Internet to get directions. Time was of the essence so they just got in the car and drove, looking at a roadmap that had been stuffed in the glove compartment. When they neared the city, as luck would have it, they saw a greyhound bus on the road.

“Follow that bus!” Mom yelled at Dad.

And that’s what he did. They figured if a greyhound was headed for the city, it must be headed for the station. Quickly, they realized that the bus station was in what seemed to be a rundown part of town.

When I got off the bus and waited in the Pittsburgh station, I wandered aimlessly. I saw all walks of life up close. Most of the people wandering at this desolate hour were the kind that triggered a little voice in my head that said, “You need to get the hell out of here or at least keep moving.”

“ROCKY!” cried out my mom.

I wrapped my arms around her and my dad. It had been months since I had seen anyone I loved. And in this lonely, dark and cold terminal, they were a sight for sore eyes.

There I was, a grown man enlisted in the Army about to depart America for nearly three years before I’d see family again, enjoying the fact that my mom and dad traveled through the night to rescue me. It made this the most special trip home for the holidays I had ever had. And although I would never have wanted this to happen the way it did, I wouldn’t change the fact it had, yet I would never want it to happen again.

My dad picked up my duffle bag and said as any Browns fan would, “Pittsburgh sucks. Let’s go home.”

By Frank Rocco Satullo, author of “Here I Thought I Was Normal: Micro Memoirs of Mischief