Great Ohio towns and neighborhoods

Great Small Towns of Ohio

Bucyrus – Little town of tours

bucyrus-brat-festBucyrus, Ohio is the

Excerpt from a previous edition of OhioTraveler

Bucyrus, Ohio, known as the Bratwurst capitol of the world, is a sleepy little mid-Ohio town has carved a niche in tourism along the historic Lincoln Highway – the first paved road from Eastern to Western United States. 

The town’s merchants offer free tours of their unique and charming businesses where guests get a first-hand look at the only copper kettle manufacturers left in the country that does it all by hand, and how berries and fruit are processed into jellies and apple butter. And that’s just for starters. The little town of tours comes complete with a rediscovered Speak Easy frequented by Al Capone and Carl’s Gas Station where the 1950s come back to life.

Off the beaten path but conveniently located along State Route 30, Bucyrus, Ohio awaits with its Norman Rockwell charm and Mayberry friendliness and service.

Hop over to Cooper’s Cider Mill and see apples and berries go from the vine to spread.

Cooper’s apple butter and jellies are sold far and wide. But David Cooper isn’t lying when he says, “it’s just like grandma used to make,” because it is. David learned to make apple butter at his grandma’s farm. Later, he bought a stirring pot and began making his own. Demand grew and a business was formed to handle the requests. For years the mixing was done by hand – David’s father-in-law’s hands – out in the yard. On a sad note, the day David went to buy an automatic mixer, his father-in-law died before he returned. Today, the Cooper’s offer a complete behind-the-scenes tour of the entire production process and visitors get to witness the freshness, quality and care that go into every jar. Afterward, David’s wife Miriam has plenty of tasting stations set up for sampling throughout the country store next to the production plant. Inside, a new generation of Cooper’s is introducing another treat – fudge. The Cooper’s son started experimenting with making fudge for the fair and now has his own fudge station inside the family store. Cooper’s Web site is at

One of the lasting impressions at Cooper’s Mill is the 50-gallon copper kettle, which allows slow cooking over a wood-burning hearth. This leads us to Picking Copper Kettles.

The D. Picking & Company is the last of the old copper shops in America that still makes its original products by hand. The tour of the craftsmen at work is fascinating, but the building is a visual treat from nook to cranny as it is more than 130 years old and has character unique unto itself.  The walls, furniture, floors, furnaces and workbenches all show more than a century of service. The place can easily double as a copper kettle museum of historic proportions. Many relics are on display including an antique rocking horse Mr. Picking got before his son was born. Venture into this old-world of American manufacturing and hear the harmony of tapping, pounding and other clamoring noises ringing from room to room. The tour begins the same place as the copper – by the double doors. The copper is worked into kettles, ladles, skillets and other custom forms as it progresses through the shops five rooms. Each craftsman takes his time to hammer out perfection, often striking up conversation as they work. D. Picking & Company, to no surprise, gets orders from around the world resulting in some cases, up to 1,874 patterns. Tours and catalogs are available by calling 419-562-6891.

Picking is still a family-owned business but very unlike the kind of family Al Capone used to preside over as Godfather.

Back in the Roaring Twenties, Al Capone used to stop off in Bucyrus for a night of sin at an underground Speak Easy while traveling to the East Coast from Chicago. Capone was originally a New Yorker. For decades, the Speak Easy in Bucyrus was a forgotten part of a tangled underground network of tunnels. The only company it kept was storage containers, boxes and the like. Recently, it was cleared out revealing thick brick dining booths and walls – made so that the spray of Tommy Gun bullets couldn’t penetrate and hurt the Mob Boss. Today, upon request, a group of Bucyrus’s locals provide a show in the authentic Speak Easy where Capone used to dine and drink away the night. The historical re-enactment showcases singing, dancing and laughter. The show, Roaring Twenties Live, lasts about an hour.

Yes, Bucyrus is a jewel of a city. And many more unique and charming stops are there. These include Carl’s Garage where Carl has reenacted a 1950s ambiance in his service station with such an impressive collection of memorabilia it’s hard to believe it isn’t a museum charging admission. His latest project is a room dedicated to the King of Rock-N-Roll, Elvis Presley. Other unique tours of Bucyrus are the Baja Marine Boat Manufacturing tour where visitors are walked through the entire boat making process; a tour demonstrating the process of recycling; dairy farm operation; and others. For complete tour information, coordination and other attractions, visit the Bucyrus Tourism & Visitors Bureau online at or call 1-866-562-0720.

Oh, and we didn’t even cover the town’s biggest attraction, its annual Bratwurst Festival in August. After all, Bucyrus is known as the Bratwurst capitol of the world. And maybe now as the little town of tours as well.

Cambridge – Little glass houses

Cambridge, Ohio
Li’l Glass Houses for All to See

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

cambridge-glass-figurinesCambridge, Ohio is filled with little towns known to be the capitals of this and that. Bucyrus is the bratwurst capital, in Zanesville its pottery and in Cambridge – elegant glass.

Over the years, sub-cultures and traditions are built along with whatever the factories are spitting out. So it’s no wonder Cambridge has a heart of glass.

We’re not talking Wal-Mart glass. We’re talking three-inch collectibles that fetch up to a thousand dollars on eBay. But to revel at the craftsmanship of a wide variety of signature period pieces, you’d have to visit one of the Cambridge glass museums. Some may argue these glass museums are art museums or historic museums but the truth is they’re all three.

Original glass is still produced in Cambridge. You can witness it up close and personal. And what a treat it is to see molten globs of liquid glass hammered and shaped into delightful pieces that will be displayed with pride by its eventual owner.

Cambridge glass has been the toast of the town for more than 100 years.

Glassmaking dates back thousands of years and is one of America’s earliest industries. Manufacturing glass in the tri-state region of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania became a hotbed for the industry about 100 years ago.

Cambridge Glass Company in Cambridge, Ohio was chartered in 1873 and National Glass Company out of Pennsylvania organized it a few years later providing land and a building. The Cambridge Glass Company grew and thrived, peaking around the 1930’s. It had become one of the most revered glass companies in the world. After WWII, demand for fine handmade glassware waned and foreign machine-made competition grabbed much of the market share. In 1954, the Cambridge plant closed, ending a very prosperous run. In an unsuccessful attempt to reopen and stay open, the company finally melted down in 1958 selling many of its moulds and equipment to Imperial Glass Company in Bellaire, Ohio.

With the heart of the community shattered, National Cambridge Collectors was created in order to preserve the area’s glass heritage. They recovered many of the moulds and equipment previously sold-off.

No sooner did Cambridge Glass Company die, than new life was breathed into four off-shoots that would continue the legacy of Cambridge glass. These four cornerstones of today’s Cambridge are Mosser Glass, Boyd’s Crystal Art Glass, Degenhart Glass Museum and National Museum of Cambridge Glass. All are open for business and tours.

Mosser Glass started as soon as Cambridge Glass Company closed and Thomas Mosser turned his job loss into a start-up business of his own. By 1959 he had scraped enough resources together to open shop …in and abandoned chicken coop! Within two years he flew the coop and moved onward and upward building a successful glass manufacturing business which was eventually named Mosser Glass in 1971 with his production of signature products blending new designs with classics.

When you visit Mosser Glass today, you enter through the front door of a little red farmhouse. But the modesty ends there for as you continue deeper into the building a major manufacturing plant is revealed with gifted and proud glassworkers pounding out a living. Visitors can take a glassmaking tour of the factory Monday – Friday from 8am – 10am and 11:15am – 2:30pm and shop the old farmhouse turned showroom from 8am – 4pm Monday – Friday. Call to confirm. Mosser Glass is located at 9279 Cadiz Road in Cambridge, Ohio. Phone 866-439-1827 or visit for more information.

Boyd’s Crystal Art Glass, Inc. opened in October 1978 by the father and son team of Bernard C. and Bernard F. Boyd. They represent the second and third generation of Boyd glassmakers. Bernard C. Boyd’s father, Zack Boyd began working for Cambridge Glass in 1901 at the age of 13. He honed his skills and style working for 26 different factories. His knowledge has since passed to his son, his son’s son and his son’s – son’s son. In their modest shop you find a man and mould handcrafting collectible glass pieces. In another room, there’s a lady hand painting pieces and in the third room, there’s plenty of glass art to browse or buy.

Boyd’s Crystal Art Glass is made Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. The showroom is open until 4 p.m.  Boyd’s is located at 1203 Morton Avenue inCambridge, Ohio. Phone 740-439-2077 or visit

Degenhart Glass Museum unveils the history of the Crystal Art Glass Company founded by John and Elizabeth Degenhart. John started in the business when he was just nine-years-old. He retired from Cambridge Glass Company in 1947 and started making his signature glass paperweights, window weights, rose weights, personalized plate weights and other novelties like glass slippers. The husband and wife team often hawked their wares at fairs and festivals near and far before it was added to the product lines of dealers and collectors. When John passed in 1964, Elizabeth continued manufacturing glass introducing her own moulds and colors before her passing in 1978.

National Museum of Cambridge Glass is a fairly new museum and probably the crowned-jewel of offerings in Cambridge’s glass heritage. It is owned and operated by the National Cambridge Collectors, Inc. and seeks to encourage and support the collecting and study of Cambridge Glass. Its collection, displays and programs are superior. It features thousands of stunning Cambridge Glass pieces radiantly displayed in towering crystal clear glass cases spanning showcasing the collections’ plethora of colors and designs.

This museum offers much more than the opportunity to see a myriad of the fascinating glass pieces produced for over a century. It has authentic looking recreations of life-size glass workers exhibited. Some are blowing glass, stoking the furnace, or performing a number of important and interesting functions depicting the history of the glass industry in Cambridge. Hands-on learning opportunities are offered in workshops, presentations are delivered in the auditorium and research is conducted in the library. This glass house encompasses it all. It even has rotating exhibits from major private collections displayed and a gift shop offering genuine Cambridge Glass and limited-edition reproductions.

National Museum of Cambridge Glass is open April – October from 9am – 4pm Wednesday – Saturday and 12pm – 4pm on Sunday. It is located at 136 South 9thStreet in Cambridge, Ohio. Call 740-432-4245 or visit for more information.

If the four corners of Cambridge glass leaves your heart yearning for more, there’s a Glass Pass that will continue your journey of elegant artistry and glass history to other places in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. To learn more about the Glass Pass, call 800-933-5480 or visit

Carrollton and Carroll County

atwood-lakeCarrollton and Carroll County Ohio Attractions

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Are you looking for a relaxing, scenic get away that isn’t too far away from home? Then you will want to check out Carroll County, Ohio. The rolling hills in East Central Ohio are a beautiful backdrop for small towns and two lakes that make it easy to Retreat, Relax and Rejuvenate! The area is great for a day trip, weekend or the entire summer, however long you have to get away!

Carrollton, the county seat and the largest village in the county, has a New England style Public Square as its centerpiece of the historic downtown. The County Courthouse and the McCook House Civil War Museum are two of the buildings around the square that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area is also home to; Archer’s Restaurant, Ashton’s 5&10 Cent Store (general merchandise opened during the Great Depression), Betty Kaye Bakery (third generation of bakers), Bud’s Farm Toys, Carroll County Arts Center, Donna’s Deli, Trunks & Treasures Antiques, the Virginia Restaurant & Lounge, and more. The village of Carrollton is also home to the Ashton House Museum and Bluebird Farm Park and other dining and shopping options. Carroll Meadows Golf Course offers eighteen holes of challenging golf and finish the day with a nice dinner at Knickers Restaurant on site.

The county is home to two Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District lakes that were built in the 1930’s for flood control for the Ohio River. Leesville and Atwood Lakes are still being used for their original purpose but also are now know for the recreation opportunities they provide both residents and visitors. Leesville Lake is home to seven youth camps, two marinas, a campground and numerous vacation homes. The 10 horsepower limit for boaters makes it a great place to catch all kinds of fish and is known for the record size “muskies”.

The better known Atwood Lake is home to; two marinas, public boat launch, Atwood Lake Resort (Atwood Lake Resort has re-closed as of April 2016) and Golf Club, several restaurants, a bed and breakfast, and a winery. The 103 guest room Atwood Lake Resort reopened in October of 2012. The “Vistas” full service restaurant showcases fabulous food prepared by Chef Matt Smith. “The View” offers a full lounge with various entertainment on the weekends. Both overlook the beautiful lake. The Chalet with a new patio offers a lighter fare for food and will be the place to start your golf adventure on the completely renovated, lighted nine-hole par 3 course or the new driving range. Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast, a Victorian Home with nine guest room is another choice for visitors when looking for an overnight stay. Atwood Lake Park located on the west end of the lake has a public swimming area and plenty of room for campers and tent camping. Atwood Lake Boats operates both of the marinas on the lake and they offer both boat rental and sales. There is also a restaurant at each location, both of which offer lake view dining. The village of Dellroy at the east end of the lake is home to the Dellroy Drive-In known for their fried fish and ice cream. ALBI Winery also is on the lake in Dellroy with a view of an Osprey nest.

Carroll County is less than a two hour drive from Cleveland, Akron, and the Pittsburgh areas making it a great getaway without a long drive to get there. It can be that great place to stay while you also visit Amish Country or the Canton and New Philadelphia areas which are both less than a half hour drive.

For more information, visit

Dennison, Ohio – Dreamsville

Dennison, Ohio is Dreamsville
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler By Robert Carpenter

As a child I never liked Dennison.  It seemed a dull, grimy uninviting place.  It reminded me of an unwanted cast-off relic left out in the weather to deteriorate of its own accord.  My puerile perception that placed a shroud of gloom over the town was distorted by childish idealism, but not totally imagined.

My home community, only a few miles away was bright, cheery and full of life, but Dennison, by contrast seemed to linger somewhere in the past—unkempt and futureless.  There was a lamination of coal dust and soot on the houses, the streets—even the trees and grass appeared tarnished by the ever-present veil.

Dennison was a railroad town, and not by chance.  It stood at the maximum traveling distance for a steam locomotive, and centered on a major route between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Columbus, Ohio.  After one hundred miles it was necessary to refuel a steam engine with coal and water—both of which Dennison had in abundance.

At its peak in the early part of the 20th century, Dennison boasted a roundhouse and related railroad shops covering forty acres. Originally the Steubenville and Indiana Railroad, it became the Pennsylvania Railroad with Dennison as the terminal and headquarters for their Panhandle Division. There were three thousand men employed to handle more than forty freight and passenger trains, spewing smoke, cinders and spent steam, each day—swapping adulterated habitat for a better future.

However, by the end of the Depression, railroads were in serious decline. The Dennison yards presented a dismal landscape of rusted track appearing randomly laid this way and that with weeds flourishing between the rails. Dennison, no longer a boomtown, was on the edge of economic bust.

It was paradoxical then, that Dennison became one of the truly bright spots in the memories of countless servicemen.  With the beginning of WWII the fading yards were resurrected, providing a crucial link in the Strategic Corridor for National Defense. Troop trains carried men west for training and back east for deployment overseas. The Dennison Depot was a stop on every run.  Beginning in March of 1942 it housed the Salvation Army Servicemen’s Canteen that operated twenty-four hours, every day of the week, for more than four years.

Women from the surrounding eight counties in eastern Ohio volunteered their time, and often provisions as well.  I was seven years old when I accompanied my mother and a group of neighborhood women preparing for their contribution.

Afterwards they talked passionately of the appreciation shown by the uniformed men.  “Soldier boys,” they called them.  Some of the women were motherly while others were reminiscent of girls left behind. They spoke of how the boy’s faces lit up with just a touch, a smile, or a kind word.

I observed soldiers debarking from the first train of the morning.  In my eyes they were men, but in fact they were only boys. I didn’t have the words to describe what I saw in their faces, but doubtless many were homesick, confused, and frightened of what lay ahead.

My mother only gave of her time twice. She had gone when needed, but there were so many volunteers that it was unnecessary for anyone to often repeat.  They didn’t consider serving the boys a duty or an obligation. It was a privilege—one held by nearly four thousand women who converged on the Dennison Depot over the war years.

During that time a million and a half servicemen passed through those yards. Sometimes the stops were so brief that it was necessary for the women to board the trains and hand off the provisions for the boys to distribute, but they saw to it that every last one was served at least coffee and a sandwich.

It is not surprising that some anonymous conscript on his way to the unknown, and uncertain of return, named Dennison “Dreamsville.”  It provided a memorable vision of comfort and optimism, with a futuristic picture of glorious homecomings. For many it was the last pleasant experience to cling to before activation.

Today Dennison is a different place. Steam locomotives and coal furnaces are things of the past.  The smudges of an earlier period have long since been washed away and painted over.  The town never returned to the glory days, but the people of Dennison have gone to great effort to preserve its historical significance.  Tourist trains still operate, and the Depot, now in the National Register of Historic Places, houses a museum, restaurant and gift shop.

Some see it a symbol of a bygone commercial era, but in the eyes of many remaining WWII veterans it speaks of much more. This small town depot and its volunteers provided more than sustenance for the physical being.  They stood as a beacon of hope: A place where people felt pride and offered encouragement at a time when it was direly needed. Some GIs can no longer remember the town’s official name, but the image is still clear.  They recall it only as Dreamsville. A well-deserved and appropriate epithet: Dreamsville, Ohio.


Geneva On The Lake

The stories of Geneva On The Lake, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Robert Carpenter

It’s not surprising that some people look upon their transgressions of youth as a badge of honor—but usually the crowing starts only after reaching respectability and the statutes of limitation are in place.

The closest I can come to errant war stories are summer escapades at Geneva-on-the-Lake—and the statutes would be irrelevant.

My adventures were perhaps a little over the top at times, but mainly just a search for those things central to an unseasoned age—a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and of course, girls.

Frankly, I had never heard of the resort on the lakeshore until I moved to Ashtabula County in 1959.  Although youthful, a responsible job had brought me there—with a rather intolerant employer. Still, Geneva-on-the- Lake soon beckoned with the enticement of a fiery lover that fledglings always long for, rarely experience, and find impossible to resist.

In those days most of the crowd came from the northeastern corner—Cleveland, Warren, Youngstown, and from across the state line. There was one particularly attractive young lady who showed up almost every weekend. Over drinks and very loud music I understood her name to be Sewickley—uncommon, but a cute handle, I thought. Often, complete names in those surroundings were not surrendered, so that’s what I called her on following encounters and she replied with giggles and good-natured grins. Imagine my embarrassment when I finally discovered that she had been trying to tell me she was from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Visitors in recent years have come from a much wider geographic area, supposedly due to Geneva-on-the-Lake becoming more family oriented. The resort took root about 140 years ago with parks and picnicking. One claim to fame is that in the early 1900’s it was a favorite camping area for Henry Ford and friends John D. Rockefeller, and Harvey Firestone. So, from that vaunted beginning the town has billed itself as “Ohio’s First Summer Resort.”

However, one thing should be clear. People coming to Geneva-on-the- Lake have never cared much about the history—the drawing card here is all-out fun.

And Geneva-on-the-Lake should not be confused with parks like Cedar Point or Six Flags.  Geneva-on-the-Lake is a village with a mayor and council charged with all the normal duties and responsibilities of managing a small municipality—it’s just that they understand their purpose better than most.

There are few permanent residents, and Memorial Day and Labor Day are the on/off switches for three months of frenzied activity. Unlike decades ago, there are some nightspots open year-round, but still, during much of the winter you can fire a cannon down the mile-long thoroughfare—the “strip” they call it—without doing much damage.

On an up-to-date visit it was obvious that the natural lakeside ambiance of clean air and sunny beaches had not changed and will always be appealing.  But, after several decades, one would expect transformation of the synthetic elements.

On the strip there were a couple of amusement rides I didn’t remember, and most of the business fronts were unrecognizable, but to my delight, some were not. There was Eddie’s Grill—appearing almost as it had fifty years ago—and the old-style arcades presented fresh faces, but they were still there, lining the street.

Reminiscence flooded in—the concessionaires with whom I’d made friends—the after-hours, behind-the-scenes parties that were dissolved only by sunrise that scattered players like vampires. Those people led a lifestyle that I was unacquainted with.

It also occurred to me that aside from the fun factor, the most alluring element of Geneva-on-the-Lake is the throwback to the lighthearted ‘40s and ‘50s. It’s different. There was a time when it was a Mecca of the Big Band era featuring the likes of Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Duke Ellington. Currently, for the more reserved, the equivalent is free concerts every Tuesday evening throughout the summer at Township Park.

Of course, when I first arrived, rock and roll was blasted out by local groups, and there is still that ingredient of loud music and drink at the epicenter.

That’s the night scene, but there’s an abundance of entertainment to occupy the daylight hours too. The eighteen-hole championship golf course south of the strip is where I first took up the game. The design and topography were more of a challenge than I wanted as a beginner. Today it’s rated in the top 100 courses in the state.

The big change came in the mid-80’s when the State of Ohio got into the act, creating new camping, hiking and bathing facilities west of the strip in the Geneva State Park, a 698-acre facility with a 300-foot sand beach, a marina, outdoor pool, and several picnic areas. Overnight guests can choose from cabins, or campsites.

Currently the marina has 385 slips and a small boat harbor with 6 public boat ramps open to the public. Now, as boaters and jet skiers make their way in and out of the harbor, serious sun worshipers converge on the wide beach, while kids rocket down the waterslide, play miniature golf, or race go-carts.

It’s the state park that brings families to Geneva-on-the-Lake. Most of them have endured air travel to the ultra-expensive theme parks popular since the ‘70s and have opted instead for longer, more economical vacations on Ohio’s north shore.

Another major alteration has been in accommodations necessary for the family influx. Old cottages have been torn down and condos erected.  Modern hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts that were at one time sparse, are close by and plentiful.

And in addition to the casual hot dog and french-fry eateries of my day, there are fine restaurants such as the Crosswinds at Lakehouse Inn Winery that looks out over the water, and the Old Firehouse Winery with house-crafted wines, live music, and a lakeside patio.

Yes, the village is a more sophisticated and hospitable place than it was in my youth, and the State Park is a big plus. Yet, regardless of the family lure, the strip reverberates as the only “real” Geneva-on-the-Lake. It still caters to, and probably always will favor the young singles crowd. You see, to me Geneva-on-the-Lake is a state of mind. That’s my frame of reference, and anyone from my era understands that.

The question now is; how long can a charming and venerable, but archaic community like this be preserved before some progressive decides it all has to be ripped out and replaced with modern chic.

If you haven’t yet been there, you must go and judge for yourself—and if, in your fun seeking, you should happen to run into a senior sweetie from Sewickley…

For more information, go to; call 800-862-9948 or 440-466-8600.

Greenville – Chock full of history

greenville kitchenaid experienceGreenville, Ohio is

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

What has The Wonderful World of Disney and CBS Early Show discovered about Greenville, Ohio that the rest of us should know?

From a dingy looking eatery with the tastiest, and rather peculiar, loose-meat sandwich to the rich history of Annie Oakley, “Mad” Anthony Wayne and Tecumseh, Greenville is a special diversion for those looking for places where good-old-fashioned apple pie Americana still lives and breathes the fresh air of yesteryear.  Several years ago, Disney picked the town as one of the few places in the entire country to host the Disney Hometown Parade. Recently, Hanna Storm and the CBS Early Show’s Tour My Town series did a special segment highlighting the quaint little place Northwest of Dayton.

Greenville’s 21st Century publicity as a discovered gem of a town is actually the second time this place on the map has been toasted for its significance. The first was back in the 19th Century when it was renown for the historic Treaty of Green Ville, which opened the Northwest Territory for settlement and birthing of one of the nations most celebrated female icons – Annie Oakley.

The downtown is a warm and friendly place with shopkeepers that are 5th generation family merchants. It has lovely storefronts, picturesque architecture and historic landmarks, including 80 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Of the many attractions and sightseeing delights, at least three standout as must-sees: Garst Museum, Bear’s Mill, and KitchenAid™ Experience.

Garst Museum & The Annie Oakley Center
Little Miss Sure Shot – Annie Oakley is the legendary sharpshooter that traveled the world in the Buffalo Bill Wild West show. Greenville was her home, the place of her birth and death. Many of her treasured belongings, letters and guns make up the largest known collection of Annie Oakley memorabilia. Annie Oakley Days Festival is celebrated every July.

Although Annie Oakley is a significant person from Greenville and Darke County’s past, there are others. They include Lowell Thomas – the world-famous radio broadcaster and adventurer; Zachary Lansdowne – the infamous pilot of the tragic crash of the zeppelin USS Shenandoah; Fort Green Ville and the Treaty of Green Ville; Tecumseh and General “Mad” Anthony Wayne.

The museum, spanning six buildings, also includes a village of shops from merchants’ businesses of times long but forgotten, a genealogy room and perhaps one of the most underrated exhibits in the museum – the Uniform floor. Here, visitors see an extensive collection of soldiers’ artifacts, weapons and uniforms from the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq.

Garst Museum hours, location and further information are available at

Historic Bear’s Mill
More than 150-years-old, this mill is living history of an era long past as it is one of the last operating water-powered mills around today.

Its storied past includes how the 800 foot millrace was dug by hand by school children for 50 cents/day and how it went idle for years for fear that Confederate soldiers may invade the state and burn it to the ground.

Today, the Mill store offers an eclectic shopping experience making it an attraction that has lured travelers from around the globe. It features fresh ground flours and meals using preservative free grains on original Buhr stones. Handmade pottery lines the walls bringing collectors back regularly. Visitors are free to roam the many floors of the ancient mill and lovely trails along the creek and woods surrounding it.

Bear’s Mill calendar of events, hours, location and further information are available at

KitchenAid™ Experience and KitchenAid™ Factory Tour

Proclaimed to be more than a store, it’s a mixing, blending, slicing, juicing culinary adventure!

Learn new cooking skills by attending the many cooking classes offered that promise to stir up fun in eight interactive areas. Each class allows you to roll up your sleeves and use the KitchenAid™ products, learn various techniques and more.

Downstairs is where the heritage exhibits are displayed. These authentic KitchenAid™ artifacts are used to tell the history of an ever-evolving iconic American company. It explains how products were improved and refined over the years since 1919 when the first stand mixer was introduced. An original Model H KitchenAid™ stand mixer is also exhibited.

Tour the nearby mixing factory and see firsthand how the entire manufacturing process works. The tour enables visitors to see a stand mixer move to the final stage of assembly by peeking over the shoulder of an assembly line worker.

To learn more about the KitchenAid™ Experience, learn about its exciting new products and take a nostalgic look into the past, see

In addition to Garst Museum, Bear’s Mill, and KitchenAid™ Experience, Greenville and the surrounding Darke County highlights also feature Winery at Versailles, Ghyslain Chocolatier, Brumbaugh Fruit Farm, Tecumseh’s Point, prairies and preserves, wetlands, the arts at Memorial Hall, unique eateries, lodging, festivals, special events and more. To plan a trip to Greenville, Ohio and Darke County, log onto

Hinckley – Home of the Buzzard

Hinckley, Ohio

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Robert Carpenter

buzzards-ohioWe have never associated buzzards with anything appealing. They eat dead stuff. Technically a buzzard is a vulture and that word summons an even uglier image.  On top of that, this particular vulture is really a turkey. The bird doesn’t even have a voice box. Instead of a serenade it seems to bully its way through life with grunts and hisses.

So why is it then, that the people of Hinckley, Ohio celebrate being inundated each March with huge flocks of  buzzards?

It could be that the return of the buzzards at the same place and time each year is observed as one of nature’s curious phenomenons, or it could be that they signal that spring is just around the corner, or it might be that the generally misunderstood turkey vulture is rightly a praiseworthy bird.

Buzzards are nature’s sanitizing agents. They come back to the Hinckley area after winter’s decomposition period and clean the place up like nothing, or no one else can possibly do. Not that Hinckley needs cleansing more than other locales, and the buzzards do work other geography, but you can be assured that at least during the summer months there is nothing rotten in Hinckley.

Contrary to popular belief, turkey vultures do not kill. Their beaks and talons are not designed to rip into a fresh carcass. While most birds have sharp vision, buzzards are one of the few with a sense of smell. They locate decomposing remains even if hidden, and then strip it clean. Their most unique feature is a digestive system that kills all virus and bacteria in the diet–and their droppings do not carry disease. So when you see a congregation of featherless red glob-heads bobbing on road kill, remember that as ugly as they may be, they do a handsome job of sterilizing the grounds.

Every March 15, like clockwork, the buzzards return to Hinckley after their winter vacations. It must be instinctive since it’s inconceivable that buzzards can think or make logical deductions—and it started so long ago that none of these birds can remember the initial invitation.

Nearly two centuries ago a large northern Ohio landowner—a judge form Massachusetts named Hinckley, arranged a roundup of predators that were plundering domestic animals and crops. It’s known as “The Great Hinckley Hunt of 1818.” The judge and dozens of his friends (some say hundreds) encircled his acreage and converged toward the center firing their weapons as they went, driving all the wildlife into a confined space, then killing everything. They took what they wanted for food and left remaining carcasses over winter. When the buzzards arrived in the spring the feast apparently was so overwhelming that the event was imprinted on the inherent part of their brains, because they’ve come back every year since.

Moreover, the Hinckley Reservation, which is part of Cleveland’s Metropark is perfect for buzzards. The ninety-acre Hinckley Lake is accentuated with rocky bluffs rising at places, hundreds of feet above the water. Buzzards don’t nest per se, they roost—like chickens, or well, turkeys—so the rocky ledges are an ideal habitat.

It’s odd, in a way, since this has been happening for so long, that the people of Hinckley have been commemorating the event only since 1957. It was brought to light by a reporter from the Cleveland Press, who a month ahead of time announced the mostly unheard of yearly occurrence. When March 15 arrived the people of Hinckley were surprised by the unexpected attention of naturalists, ornithologists, other reporters, and thousands of spectators who would have gleefully chided an inaccurate prediction. But again the buzzards landed right on schedule. That’s when several prominent citizens along with the Chamber of Commerce decided that thereafter the Sunday on or immediately following March 15 would be designated Buzzard Sunday—a “blow out” to observe all the varied implications of their feathered guests. This year the 15th falls on a Sunday, so that is the day of celebration for which thousands of people are expected.

From 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Hinckley Elementary School accompanied by arts and crafts shows. The chief naturalist Robert Hinkle will be the official “Buzzard Spotter” broadcasting the first coming. For those wanting a closer look, there is a driving tour of the roost area through the park.

Once you’re assured they’re not looking for you, the buzzards are delightful to watch. Ungainly on the ground, they are beautiful flyers. With wingspans up to six feet, they soar on the thermals. The ratio of their wing area to body weight is so high they can glide for hours with little effort.

But it’s on the ground where they perform their greatest service. They’ve been around since day one—using their natural antiseptic ability to clean up putrid remains—preventing  the spread of disease, possibly even plagues.

So, driving to or from the Sunday celebration, if you see a buzzard cluster at roadside, give them a break/brake. They’re just doing their job.

Go to for more information.

Historic Roscoe Village

Historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton, Ohio
Popular Port is Pulling Out All The Stops

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

cover-roscoe-2Roscoe Village was a vibrant center of commerce along the legendary Ohio & Erie Canal. Forty years ago, it was brought back to life. Today, visitors can ride the canal just like their traveling counterparts back in the 1830s on their way to the streets of a vibrant canal town and all its dressings.

The famous port town is now known as Historic Roscoe Village. As soon as its guests step foot onto the red brick ways, they are pulled in different directions. Some come just to relax in the many beautiful gardens, some enjoy the living history journey back in time, others thrive on the original shops, and everyone marvels at the dining atmospheres and specialty dishes. Roscoe Village is a fully-functional town that basks in its history, yet entertains the interests of today. Special events fill the calendar, hands-on activities abound, and for those that really want to get lost in relaxation and Yesteryear, there’s a variety of lodging accommodations.

cover-roscoe-1Throughout the town, you see trendy shoppers and costumed canal era interpreters mingling along the streets and in the shops. Bicyclists frequent the streetscapes stopping for ice cream or a shade tree. Tour groups snake in and out of historic buildings for the hands-on experiences. Roscoe Village has always had a charm about it that attracts children, seniors and young women on a girls’ day out. There’s that much to see, do and enjoy.

The journey begins for most at the visitors’ center. It is there that sleeves are rolled up and work begins. All ages are welcome to try their hand at candle dipping, making rope, punching tin and crafting other bygone creations. A guide in period dress provides insight to the forgotten lifestyles of the town during the era long past. They demonstrate their skill at the work stations and provide punchy presentations filled with information, wit and personality.

Through the gardens and down the road past a few historical homes, is a blacksmith’s shop. The rather large, rickety, old, red barn is dark inside but the tools of the blacksmith and his work station are strangely illuminated perfectly by the window light. Let the pounding begin. The black smith on duty will hammer and bend iron into just about anything the mind can imagine.

A few shops down, there’s a building where brooms are made. A demonstration shows the strange old machines and techniques for making one of the most used tools of the 1800s. The tour guide may have a little known tale or two such as coaxing a spectator to jump over the broom stick on the floor followed by a bellowing – “Now we’re married.” Details are explained on site.

Moving on, all aspects of life are explored including the doctor’s office where an exam is given, another stop is made to make a bucket, and a little house with huge looms go into action weaving. One of the more fun, interactive moments comes in the old schoolhouse where kids of all ages get to experience something they know – school. Don’t misbehave or you’ll experience something unknown in today’s classrooms – a ruler on the knuckles!

Around lunchtime, and dinner too, the streets lure the hungry into the historic brick and stone eateries and fine dining houses. One of which is The Warehouse Steak n Stein. This architectural gem is smack in the middle of the village and, in the 1830s, was the Mill Store and main docking point for the village along the canal. Its lower level is P.R. Nyes Lock Twenty-Seven, which is accented by the canal’s original stone walls.

An after dinner glass of wine or cup of coffee can be had at Uncorked Wine & Coffee Bar. With more than 200 different types of wine, it’s a full-service bar and features hot and cold gourmet coffees. Many find a great place to relax is on the patio, in shade, listening to jazz or blues music.

Walking off a bite to eat is an easy thing to do in Roscoe Village. The charming shops are diverse and unique. Visitors often hit them all because it’s so convenient to walk from one to the next marveling at the façade and gazing at the merchandise.

The wares made by the village blacksmith, broomsquire, weaver and woodworker are available at the Village Crafter’s Shop, located in the Visitor Center .

The Roscoe General Store is a throwback to historic community general stores. It offers everything from antiques to collectible bears and pottery to unusual toys for kids. Its candy bouquet temps with lindts truffles, jelly beans, lollipops and gourmet chocolates.

The shopping list goes on. River Ridge Leather tans leather the old-fashioned way and hand stitches leather handbags, belts, harnesses and more. Visitors are invited to see a live demonstration of the old art and see the original tools of the trade dating back to the 1800s.

Over at Garden Gate, visitors find novel gardening gifts, herbs, flowers, fountains and other accessories. The House of G.A. Fisher is known for one-of-a-kind jewels and keepsakes, Lenox, clocks and watches. Liberty House has a fashionable collection of purses, scarves, wraps and whimsical styles of women’s clothing. Wildwood Music is happy to hook you up with a handmade stringed instrument like a dulcimer, mandolin, banjo or guitar. And the Village Soap & Candle Shop has lotions, soaps and powders that are primitive and homespun.

Although walking around town may be like a living history museum outdoors and in, there is an actual museum to boot – The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. This nationally accredited museum has incredible collections in several galleries, including the American Indian Gallery, Historical Ohio Gallery, Decorative Arts Gallery, Oriental Gallery and a Special Exhibits Gallery that features a variety of collections throughout the year.

Roscoe Village is never more alive than during its special events. Annual favorites include the October Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival and December annual Christmas Candlelighting.

When the day winds down, Historic Roscoe Village offers several gardens beautifully landscaped to take a load off and melt into the scene on a park bench. Perhaps the favorite leisure-time activity is a 45-minute canal boat ride tugged by horses walking along the tow path along the canal banks. Instead of packing the plentiful activities into one day, an overnight stay may be better. A variety of lodging options are nearby and include bed and breakfasts, inns, cabins, guest houses, motels, campgrounds and a lodge.

For more information to plan a trip to Historic Roscoe Village and learn about its operating schedule, fees and admissions, different tours, canal boat rides, lodging and special events, visit or call 1-800-877-1830.

Marion – Popcorn anyone?

Marion, Ohio

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

grohe muralMarion has always had a rich history of industry and politics to claim their mark on the centuries. And history is created each day we wake up. Renowned mural artist, Eric Grohe, captured that history by putting paintbrush to wall to create Marion’s own fabulous mural. You can learn more about Eric Grohe and the other murals he has painted in Ohio and across the United States by visiting

While you are in town to see Eric’s work, visit any number of our other attractions. A must see would be to start with the Harding Home located at 380 Mt. Vernon Avenue. Visit the home of the 29th President of the United States, and his wife Florence. This was the site of his famous campaign speeches that launched his quest for presidency in 1920. The Hardings lived here until they moved to Washington D.C. before his inauguration. The original press corps building behind the home is now a museum, housing more Harding memorabilia. The home recently papered with period reproduction wallpaper in the library.  Harding Home hours are Memorial Day thru Labor Day, Thursday through Sunday from Noon to 5:00 pm.

marion hardingmemorialThe Harding Memorial is open till dusk daily. It is located on the corner of Delaware Ave. & Vernon Heights Blvd., Marion. It is the final resting place of President and Mrs. Warren G. Harding and is the largest and most beautiful presidential memorial outside of Washington D.C. Built in 1925, it contains 46 columns of timeless white Georgian marble and was paid for by the donation of pennies and dimes from the nation’s school children. To learn more about the Harding Home and the Memorial, go to

Just a short distance up the street from the Memorial, in the Marion Cemetery, is the largest tribute to WWII veterans outside of Washington D.C. This is a must see if you are visiting Marion on a beautiful summer day where you can sit and feel the depth of the tribute meant for the local fallen.

Just a short distance around the corner and down the street from the downtown mural you can find three museums in one at Heritage Hall. For just $3.00 for an adult, $2.00 a senior or $1.00 a student, you can find memorabilia from Marion’s productive history, Warren G. Harding history, and the Wyandot Popcorn Museum. The trip is well worth the money since the museums hold many treasures. And if you are interested in one-room school house treasures — one’s that have been refurbished to their original look and feel, call Heritage Hall and ask for your family tour.

The Wyandot Popcorn Museum located under a colorful circus tent in the back of Heritage Hall. It is the largest, most impressive collection of popcorn wagons in the United States. These priceless wagons date back as far as the turn of the century and have been restored to their original conditions. If you want to make an appointment for a group to see the three in one museum, call 740-387-HALL (4255).

The Marion Union Station sees more than 100 trains pass by every day. The museum showcases an impressive collection of memorabilia and the AC Tower which was once the main switching facility for the Erie Railroad Marion Division. The unusual nature of the station is the fact that it is located between two diamond cross-overs. Open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday or by making an appointment at 740-383-3768. Admission is $1.

The Edward Huber Machinery Museum is located at the Marion County Fairgrounds at 220 E. Fairground Street. The museum contains examples of machinery built by the Huber Manufacturing Company and the Marion Steam Shovel Company including steam engines, farm and road equipment and a steam shovel. An inventor, industrialist and philanthropist, Huber was largely responsible for Marion’s industrialization and wealth in the mid-1800s. Open 1-4 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment at 740-389-1098.

The biggest event of the year is The Marion Popcorn Festival.  It is always held the first Thursday, Friday and Saturday after Labor Day.  The festival has been on the Food Network and the Travel Channel. Three days of free nationally know entertainers, food, a grand parade and fun. The family event is held in Downtown Marion and is free and open to all who love and eat popcorn. Last year’s event was taped by the Food Network and the Travel Channel and highlighted popcorn favorites. To learn more about this year’s entertainment and up to the minute details on contest, visit

Plan now to visit over the summer with your family. There are many other places to visit and see in Marion, so you can learn more by visiting the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website at to get all the details of the many attractions and things of interest.

Medina – Home to Rodeo, Giants & Fests

Medina & Medina County, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

medina-county-bull-ridingNestled 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.

Medina County is blessed with many wonderful parks that offer swimming, hiking, fishing, shelters, 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.

Unique to Medina County is the Buckin’ Ohio Bull Riding Rodeos, Stone Carvings in the ledges and colorful history such as the Seville Giants and Victorian Architecture.

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.

If shopping is something that you take pleasure in, Medina County offers unique retail stops, outlets, farmers markets, antiques, second hand and consignment shoppes, food, art, furnishing 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.

Local history is accented with museums, the Medina Toy & Train Museum, the Little Wiz Fire Museum, Silchuck Farm 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 also has many festivals and events that take place throughout the year offering fun entertainment for the whole family.

In February, there is the Medina Ice Festival, May is the Medina Chalk Art, Wadsworth Herb & Craft Festival, June is Seville’s Largest Yard Sale, Wadsworth Blue Tip Festival and Brunswick Old Fashioned Days, July has the Lodi Sweet Corn Festival, August is the Valley City Frog Jump, Medina International Fest, and, of course, the Medina County Fair with rides, entertainment, programs, farm animals and agriculture.

September is the Johnny Appleseed Festival at Mapleside Farms and Walk with Spirits of the Past, October the Medina County Fall Foliage Tour takes place and November brings the Candlelight Walk and Christmas in the Colonies.

Also featured in Medina County are a number of wonderful arts 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.

Visit Medina County at

Moonville – It’s A Ghost Town

Moonville, Ohio and the Moonville Tunnel

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Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Robert Carpenter

Unless you’ve lived in the vicinity, you probably don’t know there’s a place in Ohio called Moonville. In all fairness, unless you have a very old map you won’t find it—it’s a ghost town. Doubly apropos, because in addition to only skeletal remains of a once viable settlement, it is also occupied by “real ghosts”—which to some is an oxymoron—but you won’t dissuade many of the people in that area. Even the name of the place has a paranormal ring to it.

According to a recent survey 27 percent of the U.S. population believe in ghosts. Their primary conviction being that they have seen one. The cause is unexplained by ghost hunters, but they claim that there are geographic determinations that allow mystical things to “break through” more frequently in some locations than others. Notably, there is an area in southeast Ohio bordering Hocking and Vinton counties that seems to be such a place.  Perhaps it should be taken into account that it is the least populated and most heavily forested locale in the state.

Zaleski in Vinton County is a good place to start—directions are easy from there. Located between the town of Mineral and Lake Hope State Park, there are no roads that can be driven to Moonville—never were—although a present-day township two-lane gets you within walking distance. The only access residents had was the railroad that could be walked, or a ride hitched on a passing freight.  That alone explains the inordinate number of deaths that occurred, worsened by liberal indulgence in Moonville moonshine.

Built by the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad in mid-nineteenth century to haul rich deposits of coal, clay, and iron ore from the region, the eight-mile stretch of tracks that detoured through Moonville was the most desolate, isolated area between Parkersburg and St. Louis, and hated by work crews for that reason. It was the heavy woods, they thought, that swallowed the sound, allowing trains to come out of nowhere, catching walkers on one of the several trestles or the now infamous Moonville Tunnel, preventing their escape. In addition there were conductors and especially brakemen on those early trains who were vulnerable to accidental death.

Ghosts of both types of victims, it is said, have been appearing for well over a hundred years, usually taking up residence in the Moonville Tunnel.  The tunnel, historically interesting due to being one of the last vestiges of a lost society, has been photographed many times revealing images digitized or burned into film that were not visible to the photographer.   Of those forms detectible to the naked eye the most disturbing have been phantom trainmen waving lanterns used to signal an emergency stop. In 1981 the railroad finally saw fit to install a signal light at the old Moonville site with instructions that it alone was to be obeyed—the result of swinging lanterns in the middle of the track forcing many trains over the years to make emergency halts—only to see the light dissolve into the darkness.

The line was ultimately abandoned and the rails pulled up in 1988, but the tunnel is accessible and the old right of way easily followed, with plans for a “rail trail” in the works. However there are several bridges and miles of roadbed to be refurbished—that is, if there continues to be enough hikers willing to whistle past the graveyard that was within spitting distance of the tracks.

But that’s not the end of the ghost story. Departing in the direction of the Hocking County, SR 278 skirting Lake Hope State Park would appear on the map to be the best means back to civilization. However, the desolate, isolated nature of this road gives a lot of people the willies. The heavy pine forests on both sides of the road, under different circumstances might be considered quite beautiful, but here the woodlands seem to close in on you and take your breath away for a wholly different reason than the observation of southern Ohio splendor. If you have claustrophobic tendencies, keep the tranquilizers handy.

This stretch is so lonely it is hard to believe that it once encompassed a thriving community with a general store, post office, and school. If you dare to explore some of the semi-cleared areas you might discover, by kicking the pine needles aside, some of the old stone foundations. But there is one thing along this otherwise abandoned artery that you will not need an acute sense of observation for. Without warning the remains of a huge stone furnace comes at you from the west berm like a sucker punch. It’s all that’s left of the primitive smelting operation that extracted iron ore and occupied almost everyone in Hope.  It’s interesting in bright daylight, but few people have the courage to tread the grounds at night.

Frequently there is a bright light, said to be the lantern of the night watchman who, on one of his inebriated rounds, fell into the furnace and was incinerated.  The light dances around the chimney and over thin air where buildings once existed and approaches cars that stop to investigate. Most people sum up their inquiry rather quickly and vamoose.

Escaping west on Route 56 into Hocking Country may ease anxieties but it takes you right into Ash Cave State Park. You may feel more comfortable there being accompanied by professional guides, but it is also known for its apparitions.

Ash Cave has long been known for the haunting echoes of waterfalls, winding trails, and the dark depression of it recess cave. Many are convinced that it is more beautiful in winter than summer. Often the cascading waterfall transforms into a shimmering figurine of frozen elegance and the leafless trees reveal formations not discernible in the thick foliage of summer.

Often hikers are mesmerized by the surroundings and the goose bumps rising on the backs of their necks are attributed to the awesome beauty and coolness of the forest. But inevitably when it happens a shadowy figure of a woman in 1920s attire is seen following along on the trail. Unlike the poltergeists of Moonville tunnel, there is no history to indicate who she is. There are also night tours that are not meant to be ghost-hunting expeditions, but then ghosts have never been known to follow the rules. Lights described as greenish-yellow often dart around in the trees—up and down, back and forth they shimmy, sometimes putting on a show for several minutes before disappearing into the forest. Usually park rangers make no attempt at explaining them.

A little farther west you can catch SR 664 that will take you north to Old Man’s Cave in Hocking State Park. The name is derived from the fact that a man in the early 1800’s lived in the cave with his hunting hounds. Described as a hermit—what else could he be? —Richard Roe lived most of his life in the cave located on the north wall of the main gorge. One cold morning he descended the wall to the stream below and found it frozen over. Foolishly—for a mountain man—he used the butt of his muzzleloader to break the ice, accidentally discharging the load into his face.

Mr. Roe is not known to make appearances. Perhaps his face would be too ghastly even for a doppelganger, but on many nights, especially under the full moon, his hunting companions can be heard baying endlessly for the return of their master. It is said the sound sends chills through the most fearless of overnight campers.

This is without question a strange region in our state, and virtually unknown to a great many. Exploring the area will take a day, or maybe two to see everything, and it’s guaranteed to be an unusual experience, whether or not you come across any spooky manifestations. Of course the most important instruction is to bring your camera. You may be surprised at what develops.

For more information, visit

North Coast Harbor – Cleveland

Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

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north-coast-2Cleveland plus its neighboring communities are rich with entertainment. Much of its infrastructure was developed more than 100 years ago when its concentration of wealth on Euclid Avenue was unsurpassed even by New York’s 5th Avenue.

The legacies of business tycoons such as John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil (think richer than Bill Gates), are seen in the arts, parks, museums, architecture and business today. The region boasts the top amusement park in the world, the most loyal sports fans, Rock –N– Roll Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, and #1 heart program by one of the nation’s leading medical facilities – Cleveland Clinic. It also has the second largest performing arts center in the country, the third most visited national park in the U.S., and a top-5 orchestra in the world. Nearby is also the world’s largest concentration of Amish.

Since the 1980s, Cleveland has surged as America’s comeback city. The Flats and Warehouse District are kings of nighttime entertainment, Tower City is a shopping hub, and Gateway draws sports fanatics to see the Cavaliers and Indians play ball. In fact, the Indians have the all-time pro-baseball consecutive games’ sellout record – 455 – which may never be broken. Just a few miles away is University Circle featuring world-renowned cultural attractions visited by more than 2.5 million people annually.  It is no surprise that Euclid Avenue runs through it. After all, this was America’s playground for the rich and famous.

What makes Cleveland plus its neighboring communities and attractions such a pleasant visit is not just the plethora of things to do for nearly every age and interest, but the ease in which the urban landscape is navigated. The highway system is built to handle major traffic centers like Chicago, rather than a mid-size city’s. It has six major highways criss-crossing it plus plenty of  buses, taxis, parking and a light rail system, which is convenient to and from just about anywhere – including straight from the airport to the heart of downtown.

In the mid-1990s, the Rapid Transit light rail system added the Waterfront Line, delivering gobs of people effortlessly to the new heart for family entertainment – North Coast Harbor.

North Coast Harbor is a beautiful place mixing a panoramic urban skyline with trees and green space, and sunrise-to-sunset views of a Great Lake! Lake Erie has had a tremendous renewal of its own, again attracting fishermen, boaters, divers and water-enthusiasts by the millions. But the main attraction is the number of main attractions – all within walking distance from each other.

Once you board the Waterfront Line at Tower City and roll through The Flats and Warehouse District, you’ll arrive minutes later at the North Coast Station. The welcome is more than you’ll expect. The terminal is completely glass enclosed and has several expressions of art. Its style was intended to accent the Rock -N- Roll Hall of Fame. The welcome mat is a 49-foot porcelain tile rug.

Turn left and walk downhill toward the lake and Rock Hall and you’ll come to a crossroads of fun known as the North Coast Harbor. Now you choose where to begin the day, understanding it may take more than one to see it all. There’s the Great Lakes Science Center, International Women’s Air & Space Museum, tours aboard a World-War II Submarine and massive old iron ore ship, Cleveland Browns Stadium, a skate park, trolley tours, day and evening cruise ship, bikeway, and that’s just for starters.

The Great Lakes Science Center is at the water’s edge next to the Rock Hall. The museum has more than 400 interactive exhibits, including computers that talk and space shuttle landing simulator. There’s even a restaurant with outdoor dining overlooking the inner harbor. It also features an OmniMax Theater. Visit for more details.

The International Women’s Air & Space Museum is located inside the lobby at Burke Lakefront Airport just east of the Rock Hall. Admission is free. The exhibits illustrate the contributions women made to aerospace history and include Amelia Earhart’s flight suit and the tail of Ruth Nichol’s Lockheed Akita. For visitor information, visit

The U.S.S. COD (SS 224) is the last fully intact WWII fleet submarine left in existence. It is docked between the Rock Hall and Burke. Tours are offered to the public inviting them to see what life inside a metal box deep under the sea must have been like. It is tight inside so beware if you are claustrophobic. The 312-foot submarine was a key weapon against the Japanese, sinking many ships and itself depth-charged, surviving major torpedo fire. For visitor information, see Click here to play a video.

Cleveland’s great shipping heritage is seen aboard the Steamship William G. Mather. This 618-foot vessel was built in 1925. It now serves as a floating museum and educational facility near the Coast Guard Station between the Rock Hall and Cleveland Browns Stadium behind the Science Center.  On and below deck, the public gets to tour one of the largest ships to sail the Great Lakes much like the infamous Edmond Fitzgerald. See the captains quarters, engine room, galley, and steer the captain’s wheel. To plan a visit, click here.

The Goodtime III is the largest quadruple-deck 1,000 passenger luxury ship on the Great Lakes. It is docked across the harbor from the Mather north of the Rock Hall. Daytime and evening cruises feature river and lake tours, live entertainment, dancing, full bar and meals. They sail rain or shine and allow people to enjoy the entire ship, whether you choose the spacious top sun decks, the large semi-opened second deck or the main glass enclosed lower deck, which is air conditioned or heated.For types of cruises and schedules, sail over to

The Cleveland Browns Stadium offers fans an inside look at the press box, luxury suites, locker room, and other areas fans typically would not see when attending games. For tour information, call 440- 824-3361.

In addition, Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor has a skate park, bike trail and Voinovich Park where you may throw Frisbee, jog, fish, people-watch, feed birds, sunbathe, or attend the many festivals that become available.

Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor development is beginning to shine but it is far from the grand vision that is coming into focus. In the coming years, aquaria, apartments, restaurants, shopping, and hotels are all expected to dot the landscape. If visiting Cleveland for pleasure or business, take a quick trip from the airport, suburbs or downtown on the Rapid Transit and explore North Coast Harbor, Cleveland’s newest family-funapolis. Stay and spread your fun across The Flats and Warehouse Entertainment District, Gateway sports complex, Tower City or the cultural Mecca that is University Circle. Or take in Cleveland plus Cedar Point Amusement Park and Lake Erie Islands, Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame and Amish country and other northern Ohio attractions.

See what’s happening today at

Piqua – Relax in Piqua

Piqua-2Piqua, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

There’s a good reason why Piqua, Ohio is known to be as comfortable as a worn pair of pajamas – it was once known as the Underwear Capital of the World. Today, Piqua entertains its visitors with beautiful recreational trails, unique small town shopping, living canal era history and original events.

Piqua continues to blaze new trails, literally, adding to an already large network that connects park systems.  Significant investments and resources have enabled extensive plans to take shape over recent years. New sections of trail have recently opened and more are coming soon. Eventually, Piqua’s trails will link to a system that extends to Dayton and as far as Cincinnati.

“Word is traveling fast in Ohio’s recreational hiking circles,” said Diana Thompson, Director of the Miami County Visitors & Convention Bureau. “It definitely lends support to the cliché, build it and they will come.”

Currently, the trail system ties into the Canal Run Trail, River’s Edge Trail and Piqua Activities Trail For Health (P.A.T.H.) Rail to Trail, which is a former railroad returned to Mother Nature. Together, the network of trails provides opportunities for walking, running and bicycling. Each trail has its own unique scenery.

Once in Piqua, visitors are drawn to its heart – the Fort Piqua Plaza – where a massive $20 million restoration has just brought the Romanesque structure of the former hotel and its surroundings back to life. Dating back to the 1890’s, the hotel has played host to many famous guests including Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Houdini and the Cincinnati Red Legs. Today, the new Fort Piqua Plaza hosts a library, banquet & conference center, and Winans Coffee and Chocolates. More additions are being added, including a restaurant and other amenities.

“As far as architectural gems go, this is just for starters,” said Lorna Swisher, Director of Mainstreet Piqua. “The entire downtown area has a variety of canal-era to high Victorian style buildings that have been beautifully restored.”

Over several generations, once vibrant small town downtowns have been choked off all over the country due to a global economy, manufacturing leaving and the invasion of big-box stores. But when a success story like Piqua’s breathes new life into a charming town, authenticity blossoms again and unique mom and pop shops start to dot the landscape much like yesteryear.

Piqua’s resurgence has given a new lease on leisure shopping adventures. Quaint storefronts offering clothing, books, glassware, hardware, furniture and jewelry abound. When a break is needed from shopping at the unique merchants, many find themselves at the original family-owned restaurants and cafes. Before the day is through, it’s difficult not to go home with homemade baked goods and fresh cut flowers from the florist.

“Piqua is where the good life is,” said Rebecca Cox, enjoying an ice cream cone on the curb. “I love small towns with character.”

Of course, there’s also a reminder of bygone days evident in the antique stores and specialty shops. But to get a true feel of the good ole days, one must not travel far from downtown. For just down the bicycle trail, or just north on State Route 66, is the Piqua Historical Area State Memorial. The 220 acre site is home to a Historic Indian Museum, Colonel John Johnston Farmhouse and a restored section of the Miami-Erie Canal.

All aboard the General Harrison for a lazy afternoon ride on a replica 70-foot long 19th Century canal boat. Costumed guides direct the mule-drawn boat in an experience of a lifetime.

Over at the Johnston Farm, visitors see the preserved and period furnished two-story Dutch Colonial and Georgian style farmhouse. In addition, there’s a cider house and two-story spring house. Farm tours are led by costumed interpreters and crafters revealing life in an era long past. There’s even a large double-penned log barn dating to 1808. It’s believed to be the oldest and largest of its kind in the state. Another pleasant surprise on the grounds is an Adena Indian mound dating back more than 2,000 years.

A visit to the farm during Labor Day weekend coincides with one of the largest festivals in Ohio – the Piqua Heritage Festival. This event provides an interactive experience with a look at Ohio’s link to the early frontier. Artisans will share their techniques for woodcarving, basket weaving, quilting, rag-rug making and pottery. The festival includes dozens of pre-1800’s encampments and a large selection of home-made foods.

Throughout the year, Piqua has fun-filled activities and events ranging from festivities where there’s dancing in the streets to art walks. Seasonal fun features horse-drawn carriage rides, an old-fashioned holiday parade and Victorian Christmas. Also, famous in the spring is the ever popular, “Taste of the Arts” that features great food and fun for all ages! For complete details to plan a visit to Piqua and the surrounding area any time of year, call the Miami County Visitors Bureau at 1-800-348-8993 or see their web site at

Day Tipping in Tipp City

Tipp-CityTipp City, Ohio

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Day-Tipping! That’s right, without the “R” although you’ll find plenty of R&R in Tipp City.

Ohio is littered with old canal towns selling the past but old Tippecanoe, now Tipp City, is as vibrant as ever. Whereas most canal towns were killed by the railroads, Tippecanoe City kept on rolling. And when railroads succumbed to superhighways, Tipp City found itself at America’s crossroads when concrete was poured a mere six miles away for I-75 and I-70.

Today, downtown Tipp City is bustling with foot traffic around shops of all sorts. A typical hotel sign may read “No Vacancies” but that may well apply to the storefronts stretching from the railroad to the old canal lock. In between tells the story, past and present, from Tippecanoe to Tipp City.

The town’s original name, Tippecanoe, was to honor President William Henry Harrison by using part of his presidential slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too!” The word City was added a few years later albeit unofficially. But in the 1930’s, the post office all too often mixed mail delivery between Tippecanoe City and an unincorporated village in eastern Ohio named Tippecanoe, which had its own zip code and post office as well. Driven by businessmen at the time, the post office shortened Tippecanoe City’s name to simply Tipp City.

Under any name, the town’s founder, John Clark, laid construction plans that would stand the test of time. He required its original buildings be erected in brick, not log, which was the trend for upstarts in 1840. Since its founding in 1841, there are 89 buildings listed on the National Registry of Historic Places today. An exception to the brick rule was the Tipp Roller Mill built in 1839 out of red stained wood but it too survived and remains at the foot of the original Tipp Canal Lock.  The architectural legacy is diligently preserved by restoration and regulation to maintain the integrity of the charming small town where visitors today outnumber its 6,500 residents.

As the community evolved, so too did its architectural styles. The old hotel has a Late Federal influence. The Opera House features Romanesque architecture. Other styles include Jacobean, High Victorian period, Second Empire and Beau Art. The back stories of all the restored facades are detailed at The Tippecanoe Monroe-Bethel Historical Museum. The attention to architectural details around town make it no surprise that Free Masons had a prominent hand in this communities rise.

Every restaurant and shop has a unique setting and artistry that compliments the town’s past but also transcends it.

As any traveler can attest, a town’s health is often determined by the quality and variety of its restaurants. Tipp City is a foodie haven! Whether you seek an old-fashioned mom and pop diner or uptown cuisine, Tipp City is home no matter what your taste buds. You can dine on sidewalks or inside the gigantic vault of an old bank turned restaurant. If you want an after dinner drink or cup of coffee, Tipp City has that covered too. The ambience of old brick buildings, inside and out, coupled with ornate woodwork offer that quaint nook with just the right lighting.

But eating is just what you do between strolling from one charming old building to another for eclectic shopping pursuits. Venture into the old hotel or former opera house buildings and places with names like “Buggy Whip” and find anything from the Tin Peddler to a wood carver or pottery shop. A two-story fabric store, toy store, bookstore and cyclery illustrate the breadth of offerings. But the art and antique shops are top-notch. You walk their floors like you would a museum. And it’s not just what’s on display that captures attention and imagination; the interiors of these buildings are picturesque. Their design accentuates the historic character of worn and polished woodwork, masonry and more.

When you have come to the end of the better part of a day, shopping and dining, you come to the edge of town where recreation begins.

Once you turn the corner of the weathered Tipp Roller Mill, last in the line of bygone buildings, you see the reason this town came to be – the historic Miami and Erie Canal Lock 15. It’s like peering into a lost era of wanderlust. It’s probably at that point you realize you’re either coming back to Tipp City or spending the night. There’s just not enough time to absorb it all at a relaxed pace. Besides, an afternoon can be lost on walking, bicycling or jogging along miles of the paved Great Miami River Recreational Trail. There are even seven golf courses within 10 minutes of downtown.

Dating back to the rough and tumble entertainment of its canal port town roots; Tipp City still knows how to throw a party and entertain with special events. Every summer a free blues concert is hosted at Tipp City Canal Lock Park. But that’s just for starters. Music in the park, dinner theatre and other productions are offered throughout the year by Tipp City Players Community Theatre. September is when the town puts on one of its biggest productions – The Mum Festival. Yes, “Mums” the word for tens of thousands of visitors to kick off every autumn season. Still, that secret got out more than 30 years ago. The event features all your Americana fest favorites from a parade that is often televised to bands, antique car show and 10K Run for the Mums. There’s even a Mum Queen reigning over everything from the entertainment to the games, live entertainment, arts and crafts, refreshments and more.

But the true go-between connecting the historic town’s heritage to its present entertainment comes from the Tippecanoe Canal Jumpers. This vintage baseball team hosts games in Tipp City and also travels to play other teams reflecting everything 19th Century down to the circa 1860 uniforms.

And that brings us home.

If you want to go “Day Tipping,” plan your trip at  or call 1-800-348-8993.

The Four Pearls of Greater Sandusky

marblehead-lighthouse-posteSandusky, Ohio’s hidden attractions

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Lake Erie shores and islands region is known for roller coasters and waterslides but within this oyster of fun are the four pearls of greater Sandusky.

If you want to spend a day away from lines and ruckus at the major attractions, slip away and experience some little treasures. Anyone can feel seven again at The Merry-Go-Round Museum. Get a fix for that sweet tooth with a treat at Tre Sorelle Cioccolato. Go Back to the Wild and learn how injured animals are being rehabilitated. And end the day with something synonymous with this coastal town’s past – Maritime Museum of Sandusky.

The Merry-Go-Round Museum is housed in a building with a round façade that looks like it was made for it. But it’s actually the old post office. Walk inside and there are giant postage stamp replicas on the wall picturing carousel animals. Below them are the identical and original carousel animals depicted in the actual stamps circulated in 1988.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the museum, so to commemorate it is featuring a rare menagerie of scarcely seen carousel animals from several nationally known private collections. The exhibit is – “Wild!” The postage stamp pieces are part of this treasured collection.

At the heart of the museum is a historic carousel still offering guests rides. It is a restored 1939 Allan Herschell carousel originally from North Tonawanda, New York.  Without any of its original pieces, it was populated with figures from the museum’s collection and loaned pieces from private collections.

The real treat at this unusual museum is watching the woodcarvers at work crafting new pieces or breathing new life into antiques. Each piece has a fascinating history which is precisely why this pearl of Sandusky is also known as the Museum of Carousel Art and History.

The Merry-Go-Round Museum is located at 301 Jackson St. in Sandusky. Open year round, admission is $6/adult, $5/senior and $4/child ages 4-14.

Carousels and candy go hand in hand, so once the Merry-Go-Round comes to a complete stop, let your mouth water at a chocolate shop.

Tre Sorelle Cioccolato makes confections to perfection.

It is here that chocolate anything is handmade in a kitchen in the back of an old house and brought out front to the chocolate shop as fresh as fresh can be. That and the fact they don’t use preservatives.

The front parlor is a place you just want to cozy up and stay for a while. Admire the interior design, artwork, quaint atmosphere and friendly personalities. Oh, and browse, taste and buy your heart’s delight of truffles, turtles, dipped cookies, you name it, they have it. Cocoas, coffees, teas and even wine-filled chocolates are displayed out on tables, shelves and under cover of the front glass-covered counter.

You look around and wonder, how’d they do that?

Well, sign up to let these retired teachers take you into their learning kitchen to teach you a secret or two. Classes are designed for any age from children to adult and especially for those looking to make a party or event around chocolate making.

Between the kitchen and parlor room is a room with a gigantic table for preparing gift baskets, party trays and boxes of assortments. This includes filled chocolates, dipped pretzels, dipped potato chips, nutcups and clusters, fruit and nut bark, candy bars and assorted sugar-free goodies. You can even have chocolate business cards, greeting cards and photographs made to order.

Tre Sorelle Cioccolato is located at 634 Columbus Ave. in Sandusky.

Okay, a morning filled with learning about carrousel animals and making chocolate bunnies leads to an afternoon of learning to make real animals better. And there’s no better treat than that.

Time to go Back to The Wild®.

This is not an animal attraction. Rather it is where you go to learn about the great work done by a past recipient of Animal Planet Discovery Channel’s National Hero of The Year award. Her name is Mona Rutger.

What started in a barn is now a world-class mission that has returned more than 24,000 injured or abandoned animals back to the wild. Unfortunately, every animal is not able to go back to the wild, so Mona and her volunteers partner with these creatures to bring awareness, appreciation and respect for our natural world to more than 70,000 people every year. In the past 20 years, they have provided approximately 7,500 educational programs to nearly one million people.

Mona says that the thrill of releasing a wildling back into the wild and being able to play a part in opening a child’s eyes to the wonders of nature, are two of the most rewarding parts of everyday life. But her mission is not easy.

Animals nursed back to health include hawks, eagles, owls, raccoons, squirrels, fox, deer, songbirds, snakes, turtles, frogs, salamanders and a variety of herons just to name a sampling.

Perhaps more amazing than the miracles seen at Back to the Wild is the fact that this impressive undertaking is made possible through funding by donations only. There is no other assistance of any kind.

The expanse of the grounds includes a spacious song bird aviary, several raptor flight cages, mammal rehabilitation enclosures, insulated winter quarters, wetland facility, clinic, barn storage and workshop, indoor viewing room and a whole lot more. Important features that should not be without mention are the handicap-friendly woodland walkways to the wildflowers, amphitheater, wetlands, eagle and songbird exhibits.

Back to the Wild® is located nearby Sandusky in Castalia. To plan a visit, call Mona at 419-684-9539.

From Back to the Wild to back in time – maritime!

Maritime Museum of Sandusky interprets the area’s rich history of boat building, shipping and fishing industries, shipwrecks, recreational watercraft, ice harvesting, and even the boats of Sandusky’s Underground Railroad.

The museum is chock-full-of interactivity featuring video shorts and computer simulations at every turn. Locate and learn about the many shipwrecks in the area, rock a real boat and steer into the waters leading to Cedar Point through the windshield on the screen in front of you, or learn about the world’s largest market for freshwater fish and largest producer of natural ice west of the Hudson River.

The voyage starts with an intriguing 18-minute video inside the museum’s own theater. The main museum allows for more audio-visual as well as hands-on experiences throughout. Artifacts and models featured in exhibits include a ship’s brass telegraph and two-story replica of the Cedar Point Lighthouse.

But there’s more than just the main museum. Boats are actively being refurbished as seen in the indoor restoration area. An outdoor display features a 1967 fireboat and in The Garage features a historic collection of outboard motors.

The museum offers many programs on and off-site. There are opportunities to build model boats and learn to tie a variety of rope knots at two of the museum’s learning stations. With the anniversary of the Civil War, Sandusky’s connection to the Underground Railroad will be examined. Learn about the boats used by abolitionists and how they were used to transport escaped slaves to Canada. Some special events planned in the coming months include Pirates on Lake Erie.

The Maritime Museum of Sandusky is located at 125 Meigs St. in Sandusky. Open year round, admission is $4/adult, $3/senior and $3/child and $8/family.

Visit Lake Erie Shores and Islands Welcome Center at 4424 Milan Road in Sandusky, Ohio to learn about the four pearls of greater Sandusky and more. There, you may also discover discounts, gain free Internet access, gather maps and brochures, watch videos, talk to the tourism professionals, access the lodging locator, use rest rooms and more. This high-tech, interactive welcome center even has snacks available as well as play area for kids to occupy their time and have fun. While they are working the oars on a real rowboat, you can put together your itinerary.

For more information, including current hours of operation for the four pearls of greater Sandusky, call 419-625-2984 or log onto to plan your visit.

Wilmington – Meeting in the middle

clinton-wilm-cvbWilmington, Ohio

Meeting in the Middle is Not a Compromise

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

In a shrinking world filled with gadgets like GPS devices, destinations are found after satellites triangulate the position. So if you are looking for the ideal place to meet in Southwest Ohio, your position may triangulate from Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus resulting in Wilmington.

Not only is it a retreat from the big cities, it is close enough to take advantage of their hot-spots too. Conveniently intersected by I-71 and close to three International airports and its own county airport for small aircraft, Wilmington is a day’s drive from 60 percent of the U.S. population.

You need six things when selecting the perfect meeting site. Location, location, location are the first three followed by quality, variety and quantity of meeting facilities, restaurants and entertainment.

Business or pleasure, it doesn’t matter, Wilmington and the surrounding Clinton County, can host your group or event. Bookings are frequented by conventions, road shows and executive retreats to weddings, reunions and clubs. Special events feature scrapbooking, antiques, fashion, pottery and dog shows to name several.

The bottom line is that you still have access to the big cities but your meetings are more affordable without sacrificing service or quality.

The Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau provides meeting planners with personalized and custom service to ensure every event will be successful. This includes site inspections of hotels and attractions, assistance in securing the accommodations needed, pre-event mailings, welcome packets for guests, and itineraries for group or spousal programs.

It’s no wonder the tag line for Clinton County is “An Open Invitation.”

The Roberts Conference Centre is the region’s largest and most diverse conference facility with 80,000 square feet and 24-foot ceilings. It features large, sweeping exhibition space, a grand ballroom, an executive boardroom, and numerous breakouts perfect for board retreats, strategy meetings, or workshop sessions.

Other choices for locating meetings that need high tech assistance and modern ambience are the state-of-the-art teleconferencing center at Wilmington College and The Hampton Inn. The teleconferencing center is ideal for smaller groups that require a high tech advantage while the Hampton offers a convenient and resourceful meeting room for up to 100 people, as well as a private board room. Laurel Oaks, another high tech choice, is the perfect location for bringing people together regionally or nationally through video conferencing.

Aside from the traditional meeting facilities, Clinton County also offers a wide variety of non-traditional meeting space.

The historic and ornate Murphy Theatre is a 750 seat venue available for meetings when not in use for theatrical productions. Another unique place is The Loft. It provides an intimate setting in a 9,000 square-foot ballroom that has two access doors to an elevated outdoor terrace, plus there are private meeting rooms. It is a favorite in historic downtown Wilmington for wedding ceremonies, receptions and rehearsal dinners, plus private and corporate parties, fundraising events, and more. Across the street is The General Denver Hotel known as the epitome of grace and service. Their private meeting space is perfect for groups who want to be treated extra special. And for history buffs, there’s no place to meet like the conference room at The Clinton County History Center.

Not only is Wilmington and surrounding Clinton County ideal for meeting accommodations, it offers “An Open Invitation” to those desiring a destination that includes fantastic shopping, a relaxing pace, natural beauty, roads less traveled, behind the scene tours, great towns at a great value and one-of-a-kind special events.

But what really sets Clinton County apart is their world-class hospitality. You’ll arrive as a visitor, but leave as a friend.

While the three nearby, large metro areas are often an attractive destination point for travelers based on their ability to offer many attractions in a concentrated geographical area, what is often overlooked is an alternative destination. Clinton County is primarily a rural community slightly off the beaten path that has treasures of its own to offer. The ambiance of rural America is not a myth, it is as real as the people who reside there, who cherish old fashioned values, who are neighborly, and who know what it is to be hospitable.

Those who travel rural America are looking for something special. They want to “experience” something. The sight of a sign advertising merchandise that is homegrown and homemade excites them. They know that heritage shapes a community and that if a community preserves its heritage, it has integrity. They find worth in historic relics, architecture, and art. They prefer not to fight the masses when they tour museums, shop for antiques, or decide to end their day with a quiet dinner.

Clinton County and Wilmington are rich in history of bygone days with deep pride for their Quaker heritage. It’s a place where unique shopping opportunities prevail, and local artisans display their wares. In Clinton County fresh produce can still be found at roadside stands. Nature is a strong force there, and two area state parks provide every opportunity to enjoy nature at its best. Clinton County is also home to the nation’s only Banana Split Festival. Another favorite event is the Wilmington Art & Pottery Festival. Paying tribute to the areas’ deep agricultural roots is the Corn Festival, and for the holiday season, enjoy the thrilling Holidazzle Illuminated Parade & Festival.

To plan your meeting or trip to Clinton County, start at or call 1-877-428-4748 to have a custom travel itinerary designed for your visit. Click here for  video tour.

Wooster – A great American main street

Wooster, Ohio
Shop A Great American Main Street

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Experience shopping is where you can still see, hear, touch, smell and taste the local culture. And in downtown Wooster, Ohio all five senses are filled with delight.

Everywhere there are signs of a vibrant downtown. It is seen in shopkeepers’ faces along the eclectic storefronts. It is seen in the downtown residents looking out their windows from their second story lofts. It is even seen in the faces of construction workers building new lofts to meet the surging demand of people eager to move downtown.

The downtown scene is filled with a diverse selection of stores and services. Many people come for the shopping, exercise, restaurants, and entertainment. There is new construction at the library, historic churches around the corner, nearby College of Wooster and county fairgrounds all adding to the ambiance of Wooster, Ohio, past winner of The Great American Main Street Award.

A day in town may start by meeting up at the gazebo in the square. From there, you can grab a cup-o-joe at Muddy Waters Café, Gathering Grounds, or Tulipan Hungarian Pastry & Coffee Shop.

Although plenty of ATM machines are around town, many mistakenly walk into Gallery in the Vault looking for money and walk out with artwork. The former bank turned art store features the grand old vault and stashes of Ohioan artwork flowing out of it. If handcrafted jewelry is appealing, and I’m sure it is, be sure to visit MacKenzie’s Silver & Gold for something made-to-order. Gifts galore beckon you to The Wooster Gift Corner. But if you are truly seeking to walk away with that one-of-a-kind shopping experience, take a look at Artfind Tile where the artist in residence has rare tile from around the world.  White Jewelers is a 3rd generation, full service jewelry store – a must visit!

Antiquing is considered an art form by many. For those that do, pay a visit to Uptown/Downtown Antique Emporium where there are more than 100 consignment booths to browse or for unique high-end consignments of furniture and more, be sure to see Walnut Street Antiques and Frientique.

Around midday, before or after a meal at a fine local eatery, you may stop in a local spa for some spoil-me time or sit and read at Wooster Book Company or Books In Stock featuring more than 80,000 rare reads.

Now about that meal! Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, the town is filled with more than 20 traditional family-owned and operated restaurants and unique eateries. Here is the menu:

  • A top-20 Northeast Ohio restaurant with two great young chefs making a name for themselves at The Oak Grove Eatery.
  • Outdoor or indoor dining at The City Square Steakhouse.
  • Or maybe you are one that could eat breakfast all day. In that case, or for lunch, go to the local spot to be – The Parlor.
  • Local produce and a great place to lunch – Local Roots!
  • There’s TJ’s serving up three restaurants in one, including CW Burgerstein’s and Melvins.
  • Signature dishes and specialty bread at Broken Rocks Café & Bakery.
  • Smoked brisket, burgers, ribs and more at Omahoma Bob’s BBQ!
  • American, German, Hungarian, and Romanian cuisine at The Henry Station which was once an old gas station.
  • For daily specialty soup and sandwiches, Spoon Market & Deli is a must.
  • Don’t forget to stop at the Butcher Shop in the rear of Spoon Market!

And on that last note, after a tasty dish and day of walking, you may need a room. If so, try Downtown Wooster’s newest boutique hotel, The St. Paul on South Market Street,  The Best Western Wooster Plaza, or the Market Street Inn.

Once your battery recharges, there is more to see and do.

For the traditionalist that remembers yesteryear and the old-town department stores that served as a community’s retail anchor, stop in and say “hi” to the friendly people at the 120-year-old Freelander Department Store. Alterations are provided on the spot. Nearby, furniture like no other and gorgeous home accessories can be had at Roomscapes, Urban Cottage, LuckyPorcupine, and Jerry’s Home Furnishings.  Stop in at Davinci’s Tile & Granite for unique ideas to update your home!

As you can see, Wooster is full-service experience shopping right down to the third-generation downtown Buehler’s Grocery Store, Wooster Natural Foods, Lucky Records and more. Downtown Wooster is also home to 3 women’s clothing boutiques. Visit G&G Boutique, Poppy by PurseSnickety, & Clothes Minded to find the perfect outfit for a night on the town!

But what makes this a true experience shopping destination is at the corner of Market and Liberty Street where they have been organizing America for years at Everything Rubbermaid. The historic four-story building has the traditional product line’s signature items plus Irwin Tools, Little Tikes Toys, and a Sharpie markers of every size and color.

Wooster. It is not just a great place to visit, it is a great place to live. You do not have to ask the locals, their faces will tell you.

When planning your own Wooster shopapalooza, be sure to print a day full of savings and freebies at For more information about Wooster, including directions, visit

German Village – Columbus

german-village-columbus-sauColumbus, Ohio German Village

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Bram Fulk

A literal stone’s throw from the heart of Ohio’s capital, German Village is one of Columbus’s oldest and most beloved historic areas. German or not, both visitors to and residents of the Village are, through its shops, restaurants, and overall period feel, able to relax and enjoy a moment apart from the life outside.

What is now known as German Village was in fact the far southern end of Columbus when the city became the capital in 1812. Settled in the early part of the 19th century by wave after wave of German immigrants, the Village served as a sort of ‘home away from home’ through both the good times of economic prosperity and the not-so-good fears and prejudices that accompanied two World Wars.

German Village as it exists today came about in the 1960s when a man by the name of Frank Fetch spearheaded a movement that established the German Village Society and eventually awarded the Village a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Restored entirely from private funding, German Village was granted by the city the ability to review and approve or deny all aesthetic amendments to the area’s exterior. This allowed the residents of German Village to preserve the traditional look and atmosphere that the area has become known.

The main draw of German Village is its distinctive collection of shops, entertainment, and eateries. All throughout the Village, visitors can find stores like the Golden Hobby Lobby, Franklin Art Glass Studios, and The Red Stable that offer a vast array of skillfully-created arts and crafts unique to the German Village area. A landmark in and of itself, The Book Loft is a 32-room, block-long book store packed so full it would take days to see everything properly.

In the summer, a group of players known as the Actors’ Theatre continuously presents a healthy dose of Shakespeare, free of charge at the outdoor amphitheatre located in beautiful Schiller Park. Local restaurants such as Juergen’s Bakery and Cafe, Katzinger’s Delicatessen, and the Old Mohawk are all known for serving up both time-honored treats and contemporary classics to placate your hunger. But, when it comes to traditional German food, there is really only one place to go.

Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus began as a meat packing plant in 1886. Founded by a German immigrant, the J. Fred Schmidt Packing Company supplied all sorts of beef products and German sausages to customers and grocery stores alike as it was handed down, generation to generation, until the plant’s closing in 1966. In no way willing to give up the family business, the very next year third generation brothers Grover and George F. Schmidt decided to open a traditional German eatery in an old livery stable just off of Kossuth Street where customers could not only still purchase sausage made on premises from the Schmidt family’s classic recipes, but grab a bite to eat while their order was being prepared. The rest, as they say, is German Village history.

Instantly, the restaurant side of the business took off for two simple reasons: the environment and the food. The building itself has a welcome feel of casualness and comfort. The inviting interior is filled with art from both well-known German painters and local talent (including several incredible pieces by the restaurants founder, George) as well as bits and pieces of decoration from the old packing plant and other keepsakes highlighting the history of the family business.

As far as the food goes, for the German staples of bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerkraut, hot potato salad, or a half-pound vanilla cream puff, Schmidt’s really can not be beaten. In fact, fourth generation Schmidt and current operator Geoff takes pride in the fact that there are not a ton of other German restaurants around.

“There’s only one restaurant in Columbus that anybody considers German,” comments Schmidt on the lack of competition. “We’re sort of tickled to death that we’re the only kid on the block, at least in Columbus and central Ohio.”

With both growing out of the area’s revitalization in the 1960’s, it is pretty safe to say that neither Schmidt’s nor German Village would be quite the same without one another. Geoff Schmidt acknowledges this important, almost-symbiotic relationship that they share. “Schmidt’s sort of compliments German Village [and] German Village compliments Schmidt’s,” states Schmidt. “It’s so important that we always try to package the village and Schmidt’s together. It is a full deal. German Village is truly one of the more interesting areas [of Columbus] because of two things: it’s beautiful and it’s done by the individuals. It’s not a government project and I know the people who live here take pride in that.”

Even with the buildings of downtown Columbus just over your shoulder, when your tires (or your sneakers) hit the well-worn, brick-paved streets that mark the edge of the Village, you will realize you have found something special. From the look of the houses and the gardens to the experiences of food and fun, there really is no other place around that is so thoroughly infused with the feel of the Old Country’s culture than German Village.

Athens, Ohio

Athens, Ohio vs. Athens, Greece
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Athens.  That’s Athens, Ohio not Athens, Greece. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

The wealth of scenic splendor and abundance of places to explore is just the beginning of all that this gem has to offer.  Flourishing arts and music scenes, fantastic festivals, a rich history and much more abound – in Athens – Ohio of course!

When settlers first discovered what was to become Athens County, native Adena Indians inhabited the Appalachian foothills. They had built an extensive network of burial and ceremonial mounds. As the population of settlers grew, canals, railroads, mines and the first university in the Northwest Territory were founded. All since have contribute to the area’s rich history.

Athens, Ohio area is a destination for a broad range of interests. It beckons visitors with its Southern Ohio hospitality and beautiful landscape all along the Hocking valley. In fact, very few destinations offer such a diverse mix of leisure activities and entertainment. There’s rock climbing, kayaking, skateboarding for the more adventurous. Then there’re historic sites, a scenic railway, 19 covered bridges, museums and cultural centers, more than 20 state parks and fun-filled festivals.

Athens – it’s a magical place – whether it’s in Ohio or Greece!

The enchanting capital of Greece has always been the birthplace of civilization and is the city with the most glorious history in the world. It is where democracy was born as well as most wise men of ancient times.

The most important civilization of ancient world flourished in Athens, Greece and is relived today through superb architectural masterpieces such as Acropolis of Athens.

Today it is the political, social, cultural, financial and commercial center of Greece. The climate is one of the best in Europe with mild winters and very hot summers, ideal for tourism.

Athens has always attracted peoples’ attention. During the 2004 Olympic Games, it proved that. The return of Olympic Games to its mother land was a great success.

The capital is famous, more than any other European capital, for its nightlife.  The options for entertainment satisfy all tastes. The famous bouzoukia are the leaders in Athenian entertainment. While theaters all around Athens offer a different type of entertainment. Athens is a divine city. Lend yourself to its magic.

To plan a trip to Athens, Greece, visit And if you aren’t quiet ready for the overseas Athens, stick close to home and plan a visit to Athens, Ohio by calling 1-800-878-9767 or 740-592-1819 or logging onto

Berlin, Ohio

Berlin, Ohio vs. Berlin, Germany
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Berlin. That’s Berlin, Ohio not Berlin, Germany. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

Berliners welcome their guests with a Berlinizer button to show they really know all about the city and many can speak a multitude of languages. As you can tell, we’re talking about Berlin, Germany, not Berlin, Ohio.

This historic city is full of contrast. It features historic and modern attractions amidst Prussian monuments and new architecture. The city has attractions throughout but maybe less so in West Berlin. East of Brandengurg Gate, there’s probably the most to see and do. In October, there’s the Festival of Lights from the 18th – 29th when spectacular light installations at Berlin’s most famous landmarks will be presented. The Bode-Museum re-opens on October 17. And WinterMagic Berlin runs from October 28, 2006 to January 6, 2007. This period offers a wide range of top-class cultural events, attractions, more than 50 Christmas markets, festive illuminations, shopping opportunities, and more to lure and enchant you.

Much like the Amish who left Germany, let’s now explore Berlin, Ohio in Holmes County.

Berlin, Ohio is a world apart from Berlin, Germany. The small town best known for its great shopping beckons anyone entering the township limits to slow down and stay a while. And why not? It’s a great place to be, especially in October!

Whether it’s shopping at the Berlin Antique & Craft Mall, seeing how cheese is made, rubbing elbows with the Amish, eating the best home-made food, or spending a quiet night in a quaint bed and breakfast, this corner of the Earth is a hot spot for travelers just the same.

Gugisberg Cheese is the home of the Original Baby Swiss and they have delighted visitors with tours and samples for years.

Schrock’s Amish Farm & Village provides a tour of grandpa’s house, Amish buggy rides, and patronage at the state’s largest year ’round Christmas shop.

Yoder’s Country Store features Amish-made baskets, pottery, dolls, wood crafts, jams and baked goods just in time for the holidays around the corner.

The lodging options in Berlin, Ohio are vast. It features anything from just down-home living to the elegant and romantic stay laden with modern amenities…and hot tubs.

Of course, the main course may be the wonderful delectable restaurants like Troyer’s Country Dining, which is family operated by former Old-Order Amish and home of the famous “Bag Apple Pie.”

To plan a trip to Berlin, Ohio, visit To plan a trip to Berlin, Germany, visit

Coshocton, Ohio + Roscoe Village

Monticello IIICoshocton, Ohio and Roscoe Village

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler 

Life on the Tow Path 

Nostalgia is at its best when a bygone era is brought back to life through the personality and passion of a mom and pop operation. It’s the extra touch like seeing a wheelchair and getting out the ramp so nobody even has to ask. Whether it’s a couple, family on a daytrip or a large group tour, there’s one goal – send everyone home happy and with plenty to talk about.

“We’re in the memory making business,” grinned Tom Roahrig.

Click here for the rest of the story.

historic roscoe villageThe Hub of the 1800s Today

This is a story of resurgence for a bustling canal town that fell into ruin and has since reclaimed its glory days.

The tale begins with a massacre, and a girl who would grow to be known as the “White Woman.” This journey spans two eras of a community separated by a century. Both echoing out with the sounds of molten metal being pounded into form, a helmsmen shouting to a hoggee, a school bell ringing, and merchants asking, “How may I help you?” Both are known as Roscoe Village. Today, they coexist at a crossroads in time ready to serve visitors with authentic goods, services, tours, meals and unforgettable experiences.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Dublin, Ohio

Dublin, Ohio vs. Dublin, Ireland
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Dublin. That’s Dublin, Ohio not Dublin, Ireland. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

Dublin was founded in the early ninth century when Vikings made their largest settlement outside of Scandinavia on the site of the present day city. As you can tell, we’re talking about Ireland, not Ohio. Ever since then, Dublin has suffered many wars and conflicts. In the early 20th century, Dublin established its own identity and is today a modern, cosmopolitan city which is rich in history and proud of its past. While visiting Dublin, you will see that many monuments and museums chronicle Dublin’s rich heritage, make sure to take some time to enjoy the story of Dublin in some of its most magnificent buildings. Dublin is special, a place where tradition and cultural heritage have merged seamlessly over the centuries to create an atmosphere simply unique to Dublin.

Dublin is renowned world wide as a city of writers and literature, home to such literary pens as Joyce, Shaw and many others, celebrated at the Dublin Writers Museum, James Joyce Museum and the Shaw Birthplace. Malahide Castle is a beautifully restored residence with distinctive elegance and charm. The extensive grounds of the Malahide Castle Demense are also home to the delightful Fry Model Railway and the Talbot Botanic Gardens. Malahide Castle is also the home to Tara’s Palace, one of the world’s most significant Dolls Houses. Inspired by Sir Neville Wilkinson’s celebrated Titania’s Palace of 1907, Ron and Doreen McDonnell sought to recapture the spirit and purpose of Sir Neville, when they began the creation of their own masterpiece – Tara’s Palace in 1980.

When you spend your time in Dublin, Ireland you will be assured of a very warm welcome and very special memories. But if you can’t get across the Atlantic this year, then make a visit to Dublin, Ohio and experience Irish culture at its Dublin Irish Festival in August.

Dublin, Ohio is a beautiful, scenic city of about 36,000 residents located just 15 minutes northwest of downtown Columbus. Many recognize Dublin as home to Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Golf Tournament (held each spring) and the annual Dublin Irish Festival—one of the largest events of its kind in the nation. But, it’s so much more!

Dublin has become an exciting “getaway” destination for travelers—offering a great Central Ohio location just off the I-270 Columbus outer belt, a quaint historic district, 14 hotels, “Ohio’s most prestigious golf address,” exciting events, proximity to world-class attractions like the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (just five minutes north of Dublin) and economical vacation packages.

Named as one of Money Magazine’s “Hottest Places to Live”, Dublin offers a strong community that draws families and businesses, alike. Many major corporations (including Wendy’s International, Cardinal Health and Ashland, Inc. have established their headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.

Dublin, Ohio offers many similarities to Dublin, Ireland. In fact, local legend has it that the original village was named by John Shields–an Irish surveyor who remarked that the “beaming of the sun on the hills and dales surrounding [the] beautiful valley” reminded him of his birthplace in Dublin, Ireland.  Like its namesake city “across the pond,” Ohio’s emerald city offers plenty of green space (more than 1,000 acres of parkland); outstanding golf courses (Dublin CVB has long enjoyed a successful Golf/Hotel package program); and a rich historic area with several Irish pubs and businesses.

In fact, the city’s signature event embraces the Irish connection. The annual Dublin Irish Festival is expected to draw nearly 90,000 visitors from across the globe. It’s been named “….one of the biggest and best festivals in the country” by Chicago’s Irish American News and a “Top 100 Event in North America” by the American Bus Association.  Set on 20 rolling acres, the event features more than 60 musical acts from the U.S. and Ireland performing music on eight stages (from Celtic rock to traditional ballads).  Three cultural stages feature storytelling, folklore, music and hands-on workshops. Visitors can discover Ireland’s traditional instruments while learning to play the fiddle or tin whistle …or… be transported back into Irish history when they visit a 10thCentury Irish village—a time when Irish hero Brian Boru chased the Danes out of the Emerald Isle. Irish dancers compete in the Columbus Feis—a competition that attracts 1,300 of the nation’s best Ceili dancers. Visitors can watch sheep herding demonstrations, explore their genealogy, shop the Emerald Isle for imported good, attend a Gaelic mass, learn to make a proper scone or sample an endless variety of Irish food and drink.

For more information about Dublin, Ohio, contact the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-245-8387 or visit To make plans for a trip to Dublin, Ireland, visit

Geneva, Ohio

Geneva, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Robert Carpenter

It’s not surprising that some people look upon their transgressions of youth as a badge of honor—but usually the crowing starts only after reaching respectability and the statutes of limitation are in place.

The closest I can come to errant war stories are summer escapades at Geneva-on-the-Lake—and the statutes would be irrelevant.

My adventures were perhaps a little over the top at times, but mainly just a search for those things central to an unseasoned age—a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and of course, girls.

Frankly, I had never heard of the resort on the lakeshore until I moved to Ashtabula County in 1959.  Although youthful, a responsible job had brought me there—with a rather intolerant employer. Still, Geneva-on-the- Lake soon beckoned with the enticement of a fiery lover that fledglings always long for, rarely experience, and find impossible to resist.

In those days most of the crowd came from the northeastern corner—Cleveland, Warren, Youngstown, and from across the state line. There was one particularly attractive young lady who showed up almost every weekend. Over drinks and very loud music I understood her name to be Sewickley—uncommon, but a cute handle, I thought. Often, complete names in those surroundings were not surrendered, so that’s what I called her on following encounters and she replied with giggles and good-natured grins. Imagine my embarrassment when I finally discovered that she had been trying to tell me she was from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Visitors in recent years have come from a much wider geographic area, supposedly due to Geneva-on-the-Lake becoming more family oriented. The resort took root about 140 years ago with parks and picnicking. One claim to fame is that in the early 1900’s it was a favorite camping area for Henry Ford and friends John D. Rockefeller, and Harvey Firestone. So, from that vaunted beginning the town has billed itself as “Ohio’s First Summer Resort.”

However, one thing should be clear. People coming to Geneva-on-the- Lake have never cared much about the history—the drawing card here is all-out fun.

And Geneva-on-the-Lake should not be confused with parks like Cedar Point or Six Flags.  Geneva-on-the-Lake is a village with a mayor and council charged with all the normal duties and responsibilities of managing a small municipality—it’s just that they understand their purpose better than most.

There are few permanent residents, and Memorial Day and Labor Day are the on/off switches for three months of frenzied activity. Unlike decades ago, there are some nightspots open year-round, but still, during much of the winter you can fire a cannon down the mile-long thoroughfare—the “strip” they call it—without doing much damage.

On an up-to-date visit it was obvious that the natural lakeside ambiance of clean air and sunny beaches had not changed and will always be appealing.  But, after several decades, one would expect transformation of the synthetic elements.

On the strip there were a couple of amusement rides I didn’t remember, and most of the business fronts were unrecognizable, but to my delight, some were not. There was Eddie’s Grill—appearing almost as it had fifty years ago—and the old-style arcades presented fresh faces, but they were still there, lining the street.

Reminiscence flooded in—the concessionaires with whom I’d made friends—the after-hours, behind-the-scenes parties that were dissolved only by sunrise that scattered players like vampires. Those people led a lifestyle that I was unacquainted with.

It also occurred to me that aside from the fun factor, the most alluring element of Geneva-on-the-Lake is the throwback to the lighthearted ‘40s and ‘50s. It’s different. There was a time when it was a Mecca of the Big Band era featuring the likes of Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Duke Ellington. Currently, for the more reserved, the equivalent is free concerts every Tuesday evening throughout the summer at Township Park.

Of course, when I first arrived, rock and roll was blasted out by local groups, and there is still that ingredient of loud music and drink at the epicenter.

That’s the night scene, but there’s an abundance of entertainment to occupy the daylight hours too. The eighteen-hole championship golf course south of the strip is where I first took up the game. The design and topography were more of a challenge than I wanted as a beginner. Today it’s rated in the top 100 courses in the state.

The big change came in the mid-80’s when the State of Ohio got into the act, creating new camping, hiking and bathing facilities west of the strip in the Geneva State Park, a 698-acre facility with a 300-foot sand beach, a marina, outdoor pool, and several picnic areas. Overnight guests can choose from cabins, or campsites.

Currently the marina has 385 slips and a small boat harbor with 6 public boat ramps open to the public. Now, as boaters and jet skiers make their way in and out of the harbor, serious sun worshipers converge on the wide beach, while kids rocket down the waterslide, play miniature golf, or race go-carts.

It’s the state park that brings families to Geneva-on-the-Lake. Most of them have endured air travel to the ultra-expensive theme parks popular since the ‘70s and have opted instead for longer, more economical vacations on Ohio’s north shore.

Another major alteration has been in accommodations necessary for the family influx. Old cottages have been torn down and condos erected.  Modern hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts that were at one time sparse, are close by and plentiful.

And in addition to the casual hot dog and french-fry eateries of my day, there are fine restaurants such as the Crosswinds at Lakehouse Inn Winery that looks out over the water, and the Old Firehouse Winery with house-crafted wines, live music, and a lakeside patio.

Yes, the village is a more sophisticated and hospitable place than it was in my youth, and the State Park is a big plus. Yet, regardless of the family lure, the strip reverberates as the only “real” Geneva-on-the-Lake. It still caters to, and probably always will favor the young singles crowd. You see, to me Geneva-on-the-Lake is a state of mind. That’s my frame of reference, and anyone from my era understands that.

The question now is; how long can a charming and venerable, but archaic community like this be preserved before some progressive decides it all has to be ripped out and replaced with modern chic.

If you haven’t yet been there, you must go and judge for yourself—and if, in your fun seeking, you should happen to run into a senior sweetie from Sewickley…

For more information, go to; call 800-862-9948 or 440-466-8600.

Lebanon, Ohio

lebanon-horse-paradeLebanon, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Lebanon.  That’s Lebanon, Ohio not the Lebanon in the Middle East. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

This place draws 1,800 horse’s hooves this time of year and has the oldest inn in the land – The Golden Lamb. The streets are filled with pedestrians, crafters, magic acts and strolling musicians. Of course, we’re talking about Lebanon….Ohio!

Yes, this small Southwest Ohio town comes alive with the annual Historic Lebanon Christmas Parade in very early December. Thousands of visitors come every year to see majestic Clydesdales, adorable miniature horses, and decked-out equines of all sizes as they herald the beginning of the holiday season. Parade times are 1pm and then again for a lighted parade at 7pm. Even Martha Stewart took notice of this delightful event and featured the parade on her popular television program.

On December weekends, visitors may board Santa’s North Pole Express on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railway. The vintage train ride travels to Santa’s workshop, where each child will receive a special gift from Santa, plus hot chocolate for all passengers. Be sure to  bundle up!

Christmas at Glendower provides an opportunity to experience a Victorian Christmas in all its brilliance at this grand historic residence. Lebanon merchants decorate each room with their own signature touch, providing a unique room-by-room tour of decorative holiday splendor. Live musicians and refreshments are served in classic style.

Christmas Village in Lebanon offers unique Christmas items, toys, and home décor plus a special treat for girls with a princess tea party in a Narnia-setting.

The Golden Lamb Inn & Restaurant offers unique holiday dining opportunities: Frohe Weilhnachten (German meal of venison); Cratchit’s Christmas Dinner (English meal of goose); Christmas at Mt. Vernon (American meal of turkey & ham).

Lebanon, Ohio is also known for its quaint shops and antique stores, great dining and streetscapes, and many special events throughout the year.

Although Lebanon, Ohio is certainly the safer of the two Lebanons to visit this holiday season, many are considering a trip to the Lebanon overseas to reunite with family and friends, do business or help rebuild after war ravaged the land this past summer. It must be noted that the security situation in Lebanon remains hazardous despite the end of military action. Although the Beirut airport is open, damage through the region remains significant. Considering December is a holy time of year for the world’s three major religions, we often hear the phrase may there be peace on Earth.

That said, one day Lebanon will again attract tourists and for good reason.

After all, Beirut, Lebanon is often referred as the Paris of the Middle East. Lebanon packs a lot into its modest borders: ancient cities, ski resorts, impressive architecture and striking landscapes are just the start. Then there’s the great food and nightlife that created the reputation for being the party capital of the Middle East.

If you are planning a visit to Lebanon, Ohio and want to learn more about it, click here. If you are planning a visit to Lebanon in the Middle East, click here.

Lima – Real American Strength

Lima, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

lima-allen-museumThe Crossroads of
Pop Culture and Real American Strength

Whether it’s the gleeful home to America’s most popular high school or to the can-do American industrial spirit symbolized by Rosie the Riveter, Lima blends flair with substance.

The debut of the hit TV show, Glee, put Lima, Ohio on the map as the hometown of a fictional high school. But it’s not the first time Lima was in the national spotlight. The storied town in Northwest Ohio was a major stop on the Vaudeville circuit. One of the most renowned attractions of Lima’s past was The Faurot Opera House. It was regarded as the best theater between New York and Denver.

Lima still hosts a myriad of activities and attractions, remaining a notable stop on the entertainment circuit. Crouse Performance Hall is frequented by Broadway shows and is home of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. This venue has put famous talent on the stage, including Jerry Seinfeld and Larry the Cable Guy. Other performers hosted by Lima and the surrounding Allen County include Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, Uncle Kracker and Brett Michaels. There is also Jazz at the Greenhouse and the Pickles Blues Extravaganza.

But one of the biggest national headlines involving Lima was when the infamous gangster, John Dillinger, broke from the Lima jail when six men raided the place in October 1933. It led to one of the FBI’s biggest manhunts in history. Lima’s Allen County Museum has a great John Dillinger collection detailing this fascinating story.

Another piece of Lima’s past rests outside the entrance of this nationally acclaimed museum. It’s a bell from the second courthouse built in 1842. It used to toll for every birth in the town. The enormous glass wall uniquely designed at the front of the building serves as a literal window to the past, for on the other side is a full-size, historic steam engine signaling the town’s rich railway heritage.

Today, Lima is bustling with entertainment and activity sure to satisfy a wide variety of interests. In fact, it’s become a prominent Ohio retail center since the 1970’s.  Lima and Allen County was number one in Ohio for retail sales and purchases, according to The Lima News, in fall of 1992.

Combining Lima’s present day entertainment draws with its still strong shopping options, downtown is often abuzz with foot traffic. Visitors fill the park-like downtown setting when ArtSpace/Lima’s Rallies in the Square take place. Art shows and competitions bring smiles to the sidewalks, around the fountain and gazebo, relaxing on benches or outside the coffee shop. Grab a bite at the many restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.

Much of Lima’s growth and diversity enjoyed today was built on the back of its booming industrial heritage.

In 1885, oil was discovered in Lima. This helped spark the “Oil Boom of Northwest Ohio.” A year earlier, a nearby town was discovered to have what seemed an endless supply of natural gas. So, Benjamin C. Faurot of Lima, owner of the Lima Paper Mill, decided to drill in Lima but instead of striking gas, he struck black gold. He quickly formed the Trenton Rock Oil Company. This attracted John D. Rockefeller’s attention so Standard Oil of Cleveland decided to build a refinery in Lima. From 1887 to 1905, the Lima Oil Field was a world-class producer, yielding some 300 million barrels of crude.

Lima’s industrial expansion roared through the 1920’s. Lima Locomotive Works built the Lima A-1, becoming the prototype for the modern steam locomotive. By the end of the decade, eight railroad companies operated in Lima. In addition, Superior Coach Company began in Lima, becoming the world’s top producer of school buses and funeral coaches. Lima’s industrial production grew again in the 1950’s during the Korean War. This is when the Lima Tank Depot was called to resume its manufacturing. Today, Ford Motor Company has a Lima plant employing 1,600 people and the state-of-the-art convention center and theatre play host to numerous business functions and conferences throughout the year.

But if the past isn’t something that fuels your tank, there’s plenty to rev your engine in the present. Lima features stock, midget and sprint car races at the local speedway and motor sports park on a regular basis. Sporting events are a big part of Lima. ESPN and a variety of other television coverage have featured motorsports racing, with NASCAR drivers participating during some events. The town even has the facilities to host championships including monster trucks, motorcycle races, equestrian and similar events such as barrel racing, classic car shows.

Other activities feature Dances in the Park, Movies in the Park, the Lima Symphony Orchestra, Mozart by Candlelight programs and Extraordinary Music in Unexpected Spaces. Old Victorian homes, a children’s garden, golf courses and museums abound. Don’t miss the haunted historical tours given every autumn.

All and all, past to present, Lima sends its visitors home feeling one word – Glee!

To map your visit to the crossroads of pop culture and real American strength, call 419-222-6075 or 888-222-6075 or log onto

Marietta, Ohio

Marietta, Ohio
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler by Jackie Sheckler Finch

River Town Preserves Past

Marietta-river-boatThe folks at Marietta had a great idea for preserving the historic home of Gen. Rufus Putnam. They built a museum around it.

“If Rufus Putnam came up out of Mound Cemetery today, he would recognize a lot in this house,” said Andy Verhoff, museum manager.

Among the belongings once used by Putnam are a dining room chair, a settee and a large parlor chair. “General Putnam was very important in the history of our area,” Verhoff said. “He and George Washington were friends. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington told General Putnam about the beauty he had seen in his travels through the Ohio Valley.”

In case people cruising down the river don’t know where they are, Marietta has its name spelled out in large letters on the riverbank. A gazebo, fountain, benches and old-fashioned streetlights make it a pleasant place to sit and watch the water.

“Back in the day of the steamboats, every boat’s whistle had a unique tone,” Verhoff said. “You knew which boat was landing in Marietta just by its whistle.”

Founded in 1788, Marietta is alive with history and culture. Along with Putnam, the area was settled by a group of Revolutionary War veterans.

“It was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory,” Verhoff said. “It was named for Marie Antoinette of France who helped so much in the struggle for American independence.”

In April 1788, Rufus Putnam, who served as a general under George Washington during the Revolution, led 48 men into today’s location of Marietta. They built a walled fortification with four blockhouses to discourage Indian attacks. Putnam coined the name Campus Martius, which means “field of wars.” The Treaty of Greene Ville in 1795, however, virtually ended hostilities in the region.

Along with Putnam family memorabilia, the museum exhibits hundreds of items from Marietta’s early days, including antique musical instruments and surgical equipment from Dr. John Cotton. The doc practiced medicine in Marietta from 1815 to 1847.

Lavish gowns and dresses from the 19th century and weapons also are highlighted at the Campus Martius Museum. The sword used by General Putnam during the Revolutionary War is displayed along with old rifles, muskets, uniforms and dress swords. Putnam later gave his sword to George Washington. A Civil War exhibit includes a Confederate flag captured at the Battle of Chancellorsville, along with uniforms, saddlebags and a drum and fife.

Once a thriving port, Marietta honors its river history at the Ohio River Museum. Just down the street from the Campus Martius, the museum is located on the banks of the Muskingum River. The museum is actually four separate buildings connected with covered outdoor walkways. The origins of the Ohio River, the role of glaciers in its development and the natural history of the region are presented at the museum.

One museum building features dozens of detailed models of stern-wheeled paddleboats along with other riverboat memorabilia. Outside of the museum is one of the last steam-powered stern-wheeled towboats to operate in America. The 175-foot, 342-ton W.P. Snyder Jr. is now permanently docked on the Muskingum River behind the museum. Walk the gangplank to explore the vessel that once plied the rivers from 1918 to 1955.

If all this river memorabilia has you yearning for a cruise, the Valley Gem is happy to oblige. Docked adjacent to the Ohio River Museum, the 300-passenger excursion vessel travels down the Muskingum and Ohio rivers on 50-minute cruises, fall foliage tours and dinner cruises. Every year on the weekend after Labor Day, the landing is the site of the Ohio River Stern Wheel Festival. Stern-wheelers from all parts of the inland waterway system compete in races and show visitors what made them famous.

Downtown Marietta is filled with great shops and boutiques including Mad Hen, Needful Things, Two Peas in a Pod, Turquoise Spirit and Twisted Sisters with its unusual women’s clothing and gifts. A striking sight from the river, the Lafayette Hotel is one of the last riverboat-era hotels. Opened in 1918, the hotel was named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, who visited the city in 1825. With its distinctive triangular shape, the hotel offers guest rooms with views of either the Ohio or Muskingum rivers.

The hotel is said to be haunted, manager Jennifer Auville said. “There is supposed to be a ghost and we’ve heard stories from guests about it,” she said. “One husband and wife who stayed here said that every time the husband got in the Jacuzzi tub, the water would go cold. He would get out and the water would warm up again.”

The hotel dining room has a nice collection of long rifles, including one made by J.J. Henry that accompanied the Benedict Arnold expedition to Quebec in 1775. An 11-foot pilot wheel from the steamboat A.D. Ayres is suspended from the lobby ceiling. The hotel has a Marengo Institute Spa and some interesting guest rooms, including one that resembles a riverboat stateroom.

In the lobby beside the elevator are two benchmarks that show the raging power of the river. The 1936 flood put 4 1/2 feet of water in the dining room. The 1937 flood brought 10 1/2 feet into the lobby of the hotel. A plaque located just below the balcony of the second floor on the outside corner of the Lafayette shows the watermark of the 1913 flood.

Marietta is an excellent town for walking and offers a walking guide for visitors. You’ll really get your exercise trying to enjoy it all – museums, the Ohio Company Land Office (oldest existing building in the five states of the original Northwest Territory), and historical homes and churches galore.

Along with all this, Marietta’s hallmark attraction is the prehistoric Hopewell and Adena Indian mounds. Covering 95 acres, the carefully preserved mounds have been studied since the 1780s. The mounds were the first in Ohio to be accurately surveyed, mapped and described. The Conus Mound was built by the Adena Indians (800 B.C. to 100 A.D.). The square enclosure and other structures were built by the Hopewell Indians (100 B.C. to 500 A.D.)

The mounds have long been considered to be among the most perfect works of the early mound builders, says Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen.

“Thousands of these mounds once covered the Midwest but many of them were destroyed,” he said. “These were protected and preserved which is why we have them today.”

The mounds are among the many reasons to visit Marietta, Mullen said. “We’re one of the friendliest places you’d ever want to see,” he said. “Once people come here, they have such a good time that they want to visit again.”

If you go, more information is available at or by calling the Marietta/Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-288-2577.

Milan, Ohio

Milan, Ohio vs. Milan, Italy
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Milan. That’s Milan, Ohio not Milan, Italy. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

Milan is the unofficial fashion capitol of the world and also has upscale shopping and restaurants that make your mouth water just walking by them. As you can tell, we’re talking about Italy, not Ohio. Milan is also the location of the Italian stock exchange and one of the largest gothic cathedrals on the planet – the Piazza del Duomo. Construction of the Duomo spans 500 years beginning in 1386 and has been influenced by centuries of architects and artisans. Tourists can climb to the rooftop for a stunning panoramic view over Milan.

For one of the most elegant shopping experiences anywhere, stop by The Galleria Vitorrio Emanuele II, which was built in 1878. It is considered one of the most elegant shopping malls anywhere. Nobody should leave Italy without seeing an opera. The opera house in Milan opened in 1778 and is called the Teatro alla Scala. Another must-see is the Pinacoteca di Brera on Via Brera. It houses paintings by Leonardo da Vinci (Last Supper), Raphael, Bellini, Goya and Caravaggio among others.

When you spend your time in Milan, Italy you are assured to make memories for a lifetime. But if you can’t get across the Atlantic this year, then make a visit to Milan, Ohio and experience history as well.

Milan, Ohio is more a village with a mere 1,450 residents. It is located on the shore of Lake Erie in Northwest Ohio. Milan is best known as the birthplace of one of the most famous inventors in world history – Thomas Edison. You can even tour the original Edison home, which now doubles as a museum.

If you are fast-paced, you can’t help but slow down in Milan. It has reflections of its bygone era everywhere it seems. It features a picturesque town square, restored century homes, several antique shop, down-home restaurants and a tranquil park.

Milan, Ohio went from a canal town to rail stop in the 1800s and was even a popular gathering place for wagon trains to form and head out west. It is said that Milan’s wheat export once ranked second only to Odessa, Russia in 1847. Milan also had ship building, producing about 100 schooners.

Today, this quiet little Ohio town burgeoning with rich history has several major events and attractions that draw people from all around to its charm. These include Edison’s birthplace and childhood home, the Milan Historical Museum, Mid Summer Antique Festival in July, Melon Festival held Labor Day weekend, and Settlers Day in October.

To plan your trip to Milan, Ohio, visit To plan your trip to Milan, Italy, click here.

Moscow, Ohio

Moscow, Ohio vs. Moscow, Russia
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Moscow.  That’s Moscow, Ohio not Moscow, Russia. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

The infamous French dictator Napoleon lost the siege on Moscow, Russia and retreated. After he was exiled, his officers fled and hid around the globe. Some turned up in places like Gallipolis and Moscow…Ohio that is. In fact, that’s how the Ohio town got its name, from the officers that served Napoleon, in honor of the place of their last battle together.

Moscow, Ohio used to be a very active route in the Underground Railroad. There are many houses with tunnel systems underneath. The community thrived as a steamboat building hub and was also home to one of the biggest gambling houses in the region. Steamboat robbers (river pirates) considered Moscow their headquarters. Many think there’s gold under the cemetery. Oh, and the Dillinger Gang even robbed a bank there.

Today, historical tours of Moscow, Ohio are given by Richard Crawford, Clermont County Historian. He can be reached at 513-732-2511.

Moscow, Ohio is in Clermont County and is part of the Clermont County Underground Railroad Freedom Trail, which is a self-driving tour. Also in town is The Artisan Center at Maple Creek. In nearby Point Pleasant is former President U.S. Grant’s birthplace. Clermont County features many more attractions too such as Loveland Castle.

Moscow was supposed to build a nuclear power plant but it was converted to coal after the tragedy in Chernobyl, Russia.

Which leads us back to Russia’s capital – Moscow, one of the world’s most historic and recognizable cities, largely due to the Kremlin and Red Square.

For centuries of its existence, the Kremlin has been witness of many famous and tragic events in Moscow. Today, it is one of the biggest museums in the world.

Red Square appeared at the end of 15th century, when Ivan III ordered to eliminate all wooden buildings surrounding the Kremlin to avoid the threat of fire. The empty land was turned into a market. That’s how the first name of the square – Trade Square (“Torgovaya”) – appeared.

Moscow, Russia (and Ohio) certainly have interesting stories to tell and sites to see.

If you are planning a visit to Moscow, Ohio, see If you are headed to Moscow, Russia, you may start planning your trip at

Toledo, Ohio

Mash Up Toledo, Ohio vs. Toledo, Spain
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This month, while traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered Toledo. That’s Toledo, Ohio not Toledo, Spain. But we’ll tell you about both anyway.

“Holy Toledo!” is an exclamation of surprise. It’s origin dates back nearly 1,000 years. As you can tell, we’re talking about Toledo, Spain not Ohio. The reason for the saying is due to the significant impact three religions had on Toledo, Spain. Christian, Hebrew and Islam were all integrated into the culture and eclectic architecture.

This diverse city was once best known for the Swords of Toledo. The hardness of steel and quality of craftsmanship combined to produce the most sought after weapons in the world. There are two world-class sword smith firms dueling for business today. If you find yourself visiting, stop to see them.

Other attractions are the Alcazar of Toledo, which is an astonishing castle that was rebuilt after much destruction in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. For the real heritage of Toledo, shop Zocodover – the main marketplace, and see the cathedral.

Spanish architecture also appears at the Toledo Zoo. Believe it or not, we’re talking about Toledo, Ohio now. The two Toledos have developed sister city relations and the zoo decided to honor that tie. The Toledo Zoo was recently voted one of the top-10 family-friendly zoos in the U.S. by Child Magazine. The Zoo’s upcoming events include Lights Before Christmas on November 17 and an Ice Carving Demonstration on November 30.

Whereas Toledo, Spain was known for steel, Ohio’s Toledo is known for glass.

Toledo, Ohio’s glass heritage dates back to 1887 when a glass plant began production there. A glass inventor from Toledo, Michael Owens, created the first automated bottle-blowing machine forever changing the industry. In 1936, Toledo again posted a breakthrough in glass. An architectural milestone and new style was achieved with the world’s first building completely encased in glass.

In tribute to the Glass City heritage, the Toledo Museum of Art opened the Glass Pavilion in August 2006. It houses the museum’s treasured and internationally acclaimed glass collection and features glass blowing demonstrations.

Sticking with the theme of innovation and invention, make sure to stop at COSI – Toledo. Center of Science and Industry (COSI) is a hands on science center featuring unique exploration into the world of science and fun. Visitors can turn themselves into human yo-yos, ride a high-wire bicycle, and partake in many more hands-on experiments. Now through January 5, 2007, visitors will be immersed into the Japanese culture through the world of animation, traditional scrolls, etc.

When it’s time to grab a bite, head over to Tony Packo’s Café where famous people left their signatures…on buns! This eatery earned fame by M.A.S.H TV Show actor Jamie Farr who played the role of Corporal Klinger. Tony Packo’s other claim to fame is that its hot dog sauce was a delicacy on the space shuttle Columbia in 1997.

There you have it, the tale of two cities Toledo.

If you are planning a visit to Toledo, Ohio and want to learn more about the Glass City, visit If you are headed to Toledo, Spain, start planning your trip by clicking here.

More Things to do This Month in Ohio

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