Ohio Winter Fests and Events
Plus, Ohio winter things to do
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The little town of New Bremen, Ohio, boasts a big story – bicycles!
That’s where The Bicycle Museum of America rotates hundreds of historic bicycles on display. The stories revealed from the invention, innovations, and designs of today’s most common mode of transportation are a journey through cultures, minds, and entertainment.
The first genuine bicycle is credited to Karl von Drais. The German baron patented his two-wheel “walking machine” in 1818, which was human-steered and powered. However, the pedal was not part of the innovation in this early design. As such, the rider had to push the ground with their feet. Thus, the name “walking machine.” Eventually, this popular invention was banned because it caused many accidents.
History passed by the next evolution of the bicycle. In 1839 Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan conceived the Treadle Bicycle. Its foot treadles propelled it with the use of driving rods and cranks. Unfortunately, it was largely ignored. Pedals were connected to the wheels in 1863 when Frenchman Pierre Lallement developed the Velocipede. A few years later, it was patented as the “fast foot” in America. However, its infamous nickname, “boneshaker” was better known as the 100-pound instrument thundered along on ironclad wooden rims.
Less than a decade later, the iconic Highwheeler rolled into public consciousness. This lopsided bicycle design by Englishman James Starley featured an oversized front tire and an undersized back tire. But it was a smooth ride on India rubber tires as long as a sudden stop didn’t send the rider flying over the handlebars. The reason for the large front tire design was that the pedal connected directly to it, and by doing so, one pedal turn matched one wheel turn, so the larger the wheel, the longer the distance it traveled with one rotation of the pedal.
By 1885, Starley’s nephew John Kemp Starly brought the two-wheel machine back to balance. He also added a chain drive. The Chain Drive Safety or “Safeties” became all the rage at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Even Susan B. Anthony was a fan saying it gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. These “wheel women” became competitors and soon had monikers like “The daring women of the racetrack.” Even Annie Oakley got into the act and began captivating Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show audiences with her rifle-shooting tricks … while riding no-handed on a bicycle!
This Golden Age of Bicycles in the 1890s was also liberating to black Americans. Further bicycle advancements made racing them the thing to do. Marshall Taylor was so fast on a bike that his nicknames included “The Ebony Wonder,” “Whirlwind,” and “Black Cyclone.” But it also made him the target of bigoted competition. Flimsy excuses were used to ban him from races. His first professional race was at Madison Square Garden, where his motivation outpaced all others to the point that he lapped the entire field. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cycling was the most popular sport in the world. And with that, Taylor proceeded to become a world champion and the first black sports superstar in American history. In fact, the pinnacle of bicycle racing today – the Tour de France – began in 1904.
Everyone embraced the bicycling craze. And so, it became a tool of social interaction. As such, the 1890s also introduced the tandem bicycle, where two seats were positioned in front-back alignment, not to be confused with the Sociable, where the riders sat side by side. These multi-rider bikes were used on the battlefield as early as the late 1800s. The soldier riders became known as Buffalo Soldiers. Machine guns were even mounted into bicycle designs.
If you weren’t sociable, there was the Monocycle. Frenchman Rosseau of Marseilles invented this contraption in 1869. The rider sits inside a large wheel. The single wheel has an outer and inner part. The inner holds the rider steady. The outer moves the weird contraption. Steering is controlled by shifting weight; accordingly, and to stop, there’s a hand lever.
As the decades progressed and the normalized bicycle had variations like gears that differentiated it from the 1-speed or 3-speeds, it wasn’t until the 1970s and 1880s that a generational shift happened seemingly overnight. Although trick riding atop a bicycle dated a hundred years earlier, it became an art form when BMX bikes were suddenly everywhere. Its insurgency paved the way for the X-games of today. BMX bikes were designed to maneuver in ways previously not dreamed of. And they could traverse the most difficult of terrain. But the Ice Bicycle of the early 1900s first attempted to break the biggest obstacles of all – snow and ice. The concept replaced the front wheel with a sled runner. It is still around, although colder climates provide the best chance to get a glimpse. In warmer climates, the Water Bicycle was invented in 1917. It was a semi-submersible pedal-powered propeller and a handlebar-controlled rudder.
Bicycles, through the Twentieth Century, continued to diversify. The Cycle Rickshaw, or Pedicab, became popular in Singapore and other Asian countries in the 1960s. Circus acts developed specialized trick bikes like the 1959 Schwinn Circus Tycoon. This largely immobile bicycle had deep-grooved wheels to keep it upright during high wire acts. Around the mid-Twentieth Century, bicycle culture was told in stories on the Big Screen. The 1948 Italian movie Bicycle Thieves is considered a classic. But the mid-1980s featured a cluster of well-known bicycle movies. Titles included American Flyers, RAD, Quick Silver, and the most iconic of them all – Pee-wee’s Big Adventure! In it, Pee-wee Herman embarks on a cross-country search for his stolen 1953 Schwinn DX. Today, that famous bicycle – actually, there were several used during filming, but this is one of the few remaining from the set that wasn’t lost or stolen – is on display at the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio. It’s a fantastic ride through history.
By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun!
Standing out front of the iconic Golden Lamb Restaurant & Hotel in Lebanon, Ohio, it is easy to imagine horse-drawn carriages and stagecoaches pulling in front for travelers, including 12 U.S. Presidents and several famous authors, to check-in for the night on their way to or from Cincinnati. Everything around the hotel has changed, yet it looks much like it has since it was built some 20 years after the Revolutionary War, albeit its name changed several times since then. Oh, and the old stables were turned into a parking lot. …
The 1890 Arcade in downtown Cleveland was the first indoor shopping center in the country. It featured a 300-foot, five-story, dome skylight of 1,600 glass panels framed in iron connecting two nine-story towers. Its architecture mimicked the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy. Financed by John D. Rockefeller, it was dubbed Cleveland’s Crystal Palace.
The Arcade is located at 401 Euclid Avenue, wherein its heyday an unprecedented amount of wealth resided there due to the universe around Rockefeller’s oil empire. “The Avenue” as it was known, exceeded the valuations of New York’s Fifth Avenue in the late 1800s, earning another nickname: The Showplace of America. And The Arcade was the cherry on top so-to-speak.
The Mohicans Treehouse Resort and Wedding Venue features the popular Airstream Treehouse with a new Airstream cabin on the way. In addition, updates are being made to the world-famous Little Red Treehouse over the next year. A new project is the glamping tent treehouse. In addition, they offer ground cabins and country homes.
The Silver Bullet Treehouse is a treetop cabin made from a 31-ft classic 1978 Airstream trailer perched 25 feet off the ground. Equipped with black walnut flooring, some barn siding walls, indoor and outdoor showers, skylights, and a sauna, it mixes the old with the new by blending vintage barn materials with the aluminum details of this iconic aerodynamic trailer.
The Mohicans Treehouse Resort is owned and operated by husband & wife team Kevin and Laura Mooney. It is one of the nation’s largest treehouse villages offering stunning rustic-chic cabins and treehouses – three of which were designed by the guys from Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters, including The Little Red Treehouse, which was featured on the show and was originally built by Nelson’s team as a brewery and tasting center before it was converted into a treehouse.
The Mohicans sits on 75 private acres of uninterrupted natural landscape overlooking the Mohican River Valley. Today, you will find seven finished treehouses and four ground-level cabins named after rivers from the local area (The Mohican, The Killbuck, The Walhonding, and The Kokosing). The three newest treehouses include El Castillo (a 2-level honeymoon suite), The View (floor-to-ceiling windows), and The Silver Bullet. The resort opened its doors in 2011 with a few cabins and Mooney’s long-term goal to become one of the nation’s most exclusive eco-resorts with up to 20 treehouses.
Sustainable design concepts are incorporated into the properties of The Mohicans Treehouse Resort, including passive solar design, radiant heat, on-demand hot water, reused and repurposed materials (100-year-old barn siding, hand-hewn barn beams, windows, doors, ladders, sliding barn doors, and cabinets).
Click here to plan your stay.
When Ernest “Mooney” Warther, the world’s master carver, was just a boy, a stranger whittled him a pair of working wooden pliers by making just ten cuts in a single block of wood. Mooney was fascinated and he would take this concept to staggering extremes, which culminated in The Plier Tree. The Plier Tree consists of 511 pairs of pliers all cut from a single block of wood. It took Mooney just around 8 weeks to complete, making 31,000 flawless cuts. The work was so intense, he only could work on it two hours a day. Mooney took his Plier Tree to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933 where he met Robert Ripley who just could not believe the tree would fold back up! The two men sat down and for two hours, closed each pair of pliers until Mr. Ripley saw that it came from one single block of wood (and it took them two more hours to open it back up—which is why it stays open permanently at the museum). The tree is a mathematical highlight and it represents (and has been featured in textbooks) exponential function.
Took Root to Medina, Ohio
By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!
American ingenuity is alive and well in Medina, Ohio where the worker bees at Root Candles exhibit the same honesty, integrity and craftsmanship that their founder instilled nearly 150 years ago.
This company is now in its fifth generation, with the founder’s great-great-grandson as the current president. However, it’s not just family values and work ethic that made Root Candles a household name; it’s also the fabric of the community that surrounds it.
A visit here is met with a blend of ground-breaking advancements, past and present. On the one hand, it’s like rubbing elbows with the 19th and 20th centuries, but on the other hand, it’s like a glimpse into the modern marketplace and state-of-the-art innovations that continue to keep Root Candles on the cutting edge. …READ MORE…
Tobogganing in Ohio at Cleveland Metroparks at Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville, Ohio
Ohio’s tallest and fastest toboggan chutes are at the Chalet in Cleveland Metropark’s Mill Stream Run Reservation in Strongsville, Ohio.
Adventure-goers can experience the icy thrill of tobogganing. The twin toboggan chutes plunge down a 70-foot vertical drop and travel along 700 feet of ice while reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The refrigerated ice chutes can operate with or without snow in temperatures below 50 degrees.
The chutes are fun for all ages as the toboggans are transported effortlessly by the Chalet’s lift system. Gloves are required to ride the chutes; all riders must be 42″ or taller. Guests can warm up by one of the Chalet fireplaces in between toboggan runs while enjoying a snack bar’s hot chocolate. The Chalet also features a loft with a view of the chutes.
Tobogganing is available annually through late March on Fridays from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The Toboggan Chutes are located in Cleveland Metroparks Chalet Recreation Area, 16200 Valley Parkway, in Mill Stream Run Reservation, between routes 42 and 82 in Strongsville. In case of warm or inclement weather, guests can call the Chalet at 440-572-9990, option #6, for operations updates. Click here for more information on holiday hours, admission, and season passes.
Offering season-long, family-friendly experiences for skaters of all ages, the MetroParks Ice Rink has beautiful views of the scenic Great Miami River in downtown Dayton and is the region’s largest outdoor ice-skating rink. Admission to the MetroParks Ice Rink — located under the pavilion at RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave. — is $7 daily, and visitors can rent ice skates for $3.
Open through the end of February, visit metroparks.org/icerink for a complete schedule.
Season passes are available: passes include season-long admission and skate rentals for up to five people, and individual passes cover the same costs for one person. Season pass holders may also receive discounts at the RiverScape Café.
Visitors can stay warm while purchasing admission under the MSD Warming Zone. The Kettering Health Network Comfort Tent, presented by Butler Heating and Air Conditioning, is adjacent to the rink and provides skaters and observers a warm place to take a break from the winter weather. Additionally, warm snacks and beverages will be available at the RiverScape Café.
Recreation activities at the rink include curling and broomball. To learn more about these programs, visit metroparks.org/icerink.
Skating lessons for children, teens, and adults are held at the rink throughout the season and cover basic skills that will have participants moving comfortably on the ice. Access to Nature Scholarships are available to qualifying families who wish to participate in skating programs. Provided by the Five Rivers MetroParks Foundation, these scholarships are for those of all ages and pay for part of the cost of fee-based programs. Visit metroparks.org/scholarships to learn more and apply. To register or view a list of available lessons, visit metroparks.org/skating.
Admission to the bridge to nowhere (Hillandale Bridge) in Euclid, Ohio, is Free.
The Bridge to Nowhere is open daily from dawn to dusk at 27598 Tremaine Drive at Hillandale Park in Euclid, Ohio.
It’s over 90 years old.
No expense was spared when constructing this bridge. It even has an elaborate “S” curve. No streets are leading to either side of the bridge, so no cars have ever crossed it that anyone knows of.
It was meant to be a part of a subdivision planned during the 1920s. But the completion of the project failed when the market crash of 1929 began the Great Depression.
Today, it sits in the middle of the woods as part of the trails in Hillandale Park. Use caution when crossing it. After nearly a century of decay, there are holes through its surface to the valley floor. There is also a guard rail missing.
It’s definitely a peculiar site.
These free, self-guided outings are a way to improve mental health
To recognize mental health awareness and make it easier to de-stress outdoors, Five Rivers MetroParks has established four Mindfulness Walks. Visitors will find signage along these short, easy walks inviting them to stop and engage in a variety of simple breathing and meditation activities. The mindfulness activities can be done not only in the designated MetroParks but in any outdoor space.
“Spending time outdoors is a great way to stay active and improve your physical health, but time in nature improves mental wellbeing, too,” said Amy Dingle, MetroParks’ director of outdoor connections. “Connecting to your five senses, practicing mindful breathing and listing the things that bring you gratitude are tools that help build resiliency and wellbeing. The new Mindfulness Walks are a self-guided opportunity to help people learn how to use these tools and spend time in nature to reduce stress.”
Research shows that just 20 minutes a day immersed in nature significantly lowers stress hormone levels. Indeed, the mental health benefits of spending time in nature have been well documented and include better sleep; enhanced mood and feelings of relaxation; lower depression and anxiety; enhanced cognitive abilities, such as memory, creativity and problem solving; improved self-esteem and relationships; and strengthened immunity and a reduction in chronic illnesses, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
“Mindfulness means putting all of your attention on one thing. It means taking the time to really notice what you are doing in that moment. You are focused in a very relaxed way,” said John Duby, a physician with Dayton Children’s and professor and chair of Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine department of pediatrics. “Spending time in nature gives us a great chance to be mindful of all our senses, to focus on our surroundings, and respond to what we see, hear, touch and smell. Practicing mindfulness can help us learn to pay better attention in all of our daily lives. For me, Dogwood Pond at Hills & Dales MetroPark is a great place to relax.”
The following are several new Mindfulness Walks to consider.
Eastwood MetroPark at 1385 Harshman Rd. (park entrance) or 4349 Springfield St: Walk on the natural surface trail along the perimeter of the lagoon. Near the Springfield Street entrance, take the stone bridges to the islands in the lagoon. While you’re at the park, you can also walk the brown trail through the prairie and the blue trail along the Mad River — which is a portion of the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail — as well as the paved Mad River Trail.
Huffman MetroPark at 4439 Lower Valley Pike: Park near the overlook shelter and take the short natural surface trail toward Huffman Dam. Continue across the dam for scenic views and a connection with the paved Mad River Trail. If Huffman Lake isn’t flooded, you can hike natural surface trails along the lake and Mad River.
Possum Creek MetroPark at 4790 Frytown Rd: Park in the Argonne Forest lot, the first right-hand turn after you enter Possum Creek. Hike the 1.5-mile pink trail and/or the 1-mile blue trail, both of which can be accessed from the parking lot. Possum Creek is home to a robust network of natural surface trails, fishing ponds, horseback riding trails, a small farm and other amenities that allow you to explore the outdoors. Note: The blue trail Mindfulness Walk is also available as an outing in MetroParks’ mobile app, powered by OuterSpatial. Visit metroparks.org/mobile for more.
Sunrise MetroPark at 50 N. Edwin C. Moses Blvd: This linear park, located along the west bank of the Great Miami River, offers great views of the downtown skyline. Look for the Mindfulness Walk signage near the park benches and along the steps leading down to the river. Continue your walk along the paved Great Miami River and Wolf Creek trails.
Five Rivers MetroParks is a nationally renowned park system composed of natural area parks, gardens, high-quality river corridors, urban parks and a network of recreation trails. Five Rivers MetroParks protects the region’s natural heritage and provides outdoor experiences that inspire a personal connection with nature.
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
Natural surface trail provides first-time access to Chippewa Creek Gorge
Cleveland Metroparks recently opened a new natural surface trail in Brecksville Reservation that provides guests with first-time access down into the scenic Chippewa Creek Gorge. The new Gorge Loop trail and an upcoming nature play area will expand recreational opportunities in Cleveland Metroparks largest reservation.
The new Gorge Loop trail provides access into the Chippewa Creek Gorge that was previously inaccessible to the public due to its steep terrain. Two large rock staircases lead guests down nearly 100 feet in elevation into the deep gorge that was created by glaciers that once covered the area. The trail winds through Brecksville Reservation’s oak-hickory forest along the ridge top before it climbs down into the gorge and reveals the sights and sounds of Chippewa Creek.
“The Gorge Loop offers a first-time route down into the scenic Chippewa Creek Gorge where explorers can take-in the spectacular sights and sounds of Chippewa Creek,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. “The addition of the new trail and upcoming Andrews Nature Play Area offer more opportunities to Find Your Path and get outdoors in nature this fall.”
The half-mile Gorge Loop can be accessed via the all-purpose trail along Chippewa Creek Drive near the Harriet Keeler Picnic Area. The trail was designed and constructed by Cleveland Metroparks trails division using natural and locally sourced stone and materials. Several overlooks and stone staircases were carefully hand constructed using traditional building techniques inspired by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration (WPA). A generous gift from the Brown and Kunze Foundation and contributions from private individuals provided support for the Gorge Loop.
Cleveland Metroparks also announced that a new half-acre nature play area in Brecksville Reservation is expected to open later this fall. Andrews Nature Play Area will feature nature-based play structures including a hillside slide, wood bridge, climbing structures and swings. The play area was funded through the support of a generous donation.
Cleveland Metroparks continues to improve access and connections through its expansive trail network across the Emerald Necklace, including the recent completion of the Red Line Greenway, Whiskey Island Trail, Wendy Park Bridge and more. Guests can download the free Cleveland Metroparks mobile app to explore new trails across the Emerald Necklace.
For an extraordinary adventure, explore the snowy trails at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park to discover a herd of bison roaming freely within two enclosed pastures that span 18-acres of the 7,000-acre park. The terrain includes rolling prairies, woodlands, and wetlands.
Herds of wild bison were last seen in Ohio more than 200 years ago. Bison are well insulated for the winter cold as their hide is very dense and the fur around their heads is so thick that they can face a blizzard. During a snowstorm, bison sometimes look like they are buried in snow because it does not melt on their backs.
“If they did not shake off the snow, you could build a snowman on their back,” said Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center Senior Naturalist Debbie Ruppersburg.
Since the trails around the bison pastures can range from easy to more difficult, visitors may want to stop at the nature center to locate the herd first. There are mounted binoculars on the elevated terrace that can be used to scan the horizon.
But to expedite a wintry trek to get closer to these massive animals, a tower camera may be accessed to project its view onto a large touch-screen. There’s a control to pan side-to-side or to zoom in or out to locate the herd. Still, there’s no guarantee that the herd will stand in one place long enough for the expedition party to arrive. People who choose not to hike can still help by staying at the indoor controls and relaying by phone the herd’s movement. It’s a unique experience that everyone can partake in.
A sunset bison walk is magical.
Hopefully you find something that hits the spot this winter
Ohio has some very cool getaways any time of year featuring unique, interesting and unusual lodging from bed and breakfasts to inns and cabins. And the same is true for dining experiences. Ohio has restaurants and eateries to please any foodie looking for something new, different or just plain off the wall.
Click the following to find something that hits the spot for you!
If you have a suggestion to add to our out-of-the-norm lodging and dining guides, please contact us.
Let The OhioTraveler be your Tour Guide to Fun!
Cornering Ohio: Welcome to “Cornering Ohio” where we share the best street corners in Ohio tourism!
Wow, THAT’s Creative!: Ohio has creative pieces of art in museums, along roadways, in parks, you name it. So far, we’ve said, “Wow, THAT’s creative!” in reaction to these pieces…
Discoveries at the Museum: Many museum visitors brush past exhibits without knowing the profound story they tell. Here, we want to call attention to the museum pieces around Ohio that may be overlooked but shouldn’t.
FoodtEase: Ohio has original taste! Through the generations, some of its eateries have obtained storied status. Here, we want to tease foodies with cravings and provide ease in making the trip to satisfy those mouth-watering taste buds. So far, here’s what’s on the OhioTraveler “FoodtEase” menu…
SATURdate: Whether you want a getaway with family, friends, a partner, or just a solo trip, explore the roads already taken by The OhioTraveler as he explores Ohio one Saturday at a time.
Trekking Ohio’s Wild: Here, you’ll discover nature trails, waterfalls, and other natural destinations on Ohio’s wild side.
The OhioTraveler Lists: Themed Ohio attractions in a list such as Memorial Day destinations or Best of Ohio.
Pieces of Ohio: There are pieces of Ohio across the continent and beyond. Here, we bring them home to OhioTraveler.com.
Your Tour Guide to Fun: Enjoy the fun photos and shenanigans of the Tour Guide to Fun’s past trips by clicking these stops…
Photos of the Month: As The OhioTraveler travels around the state seeking stories to share, he sometimes stops spontaneously to snap a pretty nice shot of something unexpected. These are some of those shots.
The Sunday Drive: Traveling isn’t just a geographic journey. It’s also a voyage for the mind. Over the years, The OhioTraveler pulled off the roads of Ohio, and nationwide, to jot a thought down in a moment of inspiration. Then, it was tossed in the glove box, and eventually a drawer. These are some of my mindful moments and photos from “The Thought Drawer.”
Visit Before You Go Videos: These OhioTraveler videos are chock-full of fun in 60 seconds or less.
Out of Ohio: As the OhioTraveler, Frank Rocco Satullo is not only exploring Ohio destinations. He also ventures out of Ohio as your Tour Guide to Fun… but with an Ohio or Midwest perspective. The following stories are written or filmed from first-hand experience and are intended to be entertaining in addition to informative. You may find his stories are your stories.
The Full Scoop: These are long-form, multimedia stories that take a deep dive into a particular place to tell its story in an entertaining and thorough way. Each is photo-rich and may also share short video clips. All of which are placed in the flow of the story. These stories are timeless, so take your time reading them.
Let The OhioTraveler be your Tour Guide to Fun!
Just a fun January story
“The Agony of Defeat”
Mike was “Mr. Ski Club.” We stood atop a hill at Brandywine ready for the first run of the day for him and my first run ever.
He was checking down with all that I needed to know and I just ya-ya’d him, impatient and ready to go.
Finally, I said, “Got it!” And shot downhill like a bullet.
I heard, “But …” and nothing else as my friend’s voice faded.
I sailed so fast over the snow, straight down the hill, that I freaked out. I could not turn, stop or even slow down!
As I bore down on a man skiing up ahead, I cringed. He crisscrossed effortlessly, kicking up powdery white stuff. I was sure he was going to be knocked from here to eternity when I collided with him in about two seconds flat.
Why didn’t I stick around to listen to Mike explain how to turn, or better yet, how to stop?
As others described later, it looked like I was shot out of canon and about to kill somebody. They watched from above in horror, waiting for my impact with this unsuspecting stranger. Precisely at the very last moment, everyone closed their eyes or took a deep breath, and I woosh-wooshed around the man. In two quick movements with my feet, I skirted disaster – barely. My friends said the guy stood straight up, shocked by the brush back but was otherwise uninterrupted.
When I got near the bottom, I managed to wipe myself out to stop along a flat straightaway.
Mike came down the hill like a pro. This was baby stuff to him. Near the bottom, he hit a raised area to get fancy in the air. When he came down, he injured his ankle. Go figure.
Later in the day, the guys either thought I was ready for the meanest slope at the resort or were willing to see me die for laughs. As the saying goes, with friends like these, who needs enemies?
The ski lift got to the top but I was snagged and couldn’t shift myself to get off. The chair turned and rose higher off the ground, circling the control shack at the top. I mentally foreshadowed the humiliation of returning to the bottom of the slope, alone on a chair lift.
I flung my body in a pathetic but successful last attempt to free myself. The problem was that I was not as close to the ground anymore but I landed on my feet, and then fell to my butt with quite a thud.
The lift stopped and a guy popped his operating shack door open yelling, “You alright?”
Laughing uncomfortably, I said, “Ya.”
He laughed, said “crazy,” shook his head, shut the door and started the lift again.
Looking downhill, it was clear that this course was not for beginners. In fact, it looked wickedly dangerous for someone like me. My depth perception was off. The slope was laden in terrain characterized by a large number of different bumps, or moguls. Not only that, but this slope was the steepest by far. Much like the beginning of the day, I became a human, heat-seeking missile.
Unlike earlier in the day, these moguls posed a different experience altogether. Quickly, my knees vibrated violently up and down at high speed. I should have wiped out, but instead I found myself lying straight on my back but upright on the skis. I could see the lift chairs overhead, off to the side, even though my head bounced violently off the never-ending moguls.
From my friends’ perspective, when my skis finally turned in on each other and I wiped out, it was like a scene from “The Agony of Defeat,” which was an infamous ski jumping sports clip gone oh-so-wrong. When I tumbled, it was bad. My body looked like a rag doll plummeting down the slope amidst an avalanche of snow and debris. By everyone’s account, they thought I broke every bone in my body. I lost both skis, poles, one boot and the other had every buckle burst open.
Mike was the first to get to me. “He’s conscious!”
The others gathered my stuff strewn all over the slope.
It was all we could talk about the rest of the evening as everyone recalled, in vivid detail, my spectacular flight down the slope. The laughter roared like the fire we perched in front of with hot cocoa.
I never skied again.
Excerpt from the memoir book, Here I Thought I Was Normal,
by Frank Rocco Satullo
By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler – Your Tour Guide to Fun!
There’s an enchanting little town ripe with winter adventure central to all Ohioans – Grove City!
It promises endeavors featuring cool winter discoveries and some rare experiences mixed in the snow and ice. Oh, and there are plenty of toasty retreats to warm-up in between.
“Winter in the parks is one of the best times to enjoy the outdoors,” said Grove City Director of Parks and Recreation Kim Conrad. “Do something good for your body and soul, get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature.”
Best of all, Grove City’s 21 parks are free! So for the recommended 30 minutes of daily activity, walk through the woods or sled down a hill.
For an extraordinary adventure… Click here to read more.
Dayton History announced the iconic swimming pool light tower from Old River Park—a recreational area built in 1939 by National Cash Register (NCR)—has been successfully moved and restored at Carillon Historical Park.
Along with the tower, numerous Old River features made their way to Carillon Historical Park in an effort to bring together, preserve, and interpret this regional story. A collection of original picnic shelters, swings, game pieces, and a slide made the voyage with the pool tower across Patterson Boulevard.
“Old River has a special place in the hearts and minds of so many Daytonians,” says Dayton History President & CEO Brady Kress. “At the time, Old River’s swimming pool was one of the largest in the nation, and its unique central tower made it one of a kind.”
Designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the famed landscape architectural firm responsible for New York’s Central Park, Old River was the vision of Carillon Historical Park Founder Edward A. Deeds. As Chairman of the Board at NCR, Deeds created Old River Park as a recreational area for NCR employees and their families.
“We were delighted to assist Carillon Park in the careful removal of some of Old River’s most memorable assets for preservation at the museum,” says University of Dayton President Eric Spina. “As the original Old River Park is finding a new purpose in education and research, it’s appropriate that its legacy and importance to generations of Dayton families will be remembered.”
The University purchased Old River Park in 2009 as part of a larger acquisition that included the former NCR World Headquarters. The park area is now a living lab for research and education, where environmental biology students and faculty are studying ecological phenomena.
“For well over half a century, the Old River Pool Tower was a recognized landmark tied to NCR.,” says Kress. “Edward Deeds opened Old River Park and within a year started building the carillon; with areas of Old River now being repurposed by the university, and because Dayton History owns the NCR Archive, it seems fitting to have some of the original relics preserved at the same historical organization Deeds founded nearly 80 years ago.”
Carillon Historical Park is part of Dayton History, a private non-profit organization established to preserve, share, and celebrate our region’s history. The Park’s 65-acre campus is home to over 30 historic structures and cares for over three million artifacts. In addition to Carillon Historical Park, the following sites rest under Dayton History’s care: Carillon Brewing Co., Hawthorn Hill, the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, Patterson Homestead, the Old Court House, Memorial Hall, and the Archive Center.
This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com
North Market in Columbus, Ohio is excited to announce the addition of new merchant Steam, led by local Chef Marcus Meacham, to the Market family. Steam will be located in the space between Lan Viet Market and Sarefino’s Pizzeria.
Steam is an original, chef-driven concept offering unique-to-Columbus mantou bun (Chinese steamed buns) sandwiches. Chef Meacham plans on a customary menu along with a rotating menu that will be used to showcase other North Market merchants by including their best in class ingredients. Chef Meacham hopes this feature will generate additional interest in Market merchants and showcase their items in a way that patrons may not have previously considered. Reflecting the spirit of North Market, Steam will continually seek out what’s new while maintaining customary, crafted, and consistent meals.
“I can’t imagine a better next step for Steam,” says Meacham. “This opportunity will expose Steam to a larger audience and allow for more collaborations among vendors at Columbus’ only remaining true public market.”
In addition to sandwiches, Steam will carry snacks to include a veggie of the day, cold noodle salad and chips. The other salad on the menu, 36 Mix, features Asian pear, fried chicken thigh, goat cheese and chow mein noodles on a bed of leafy greens.
North Market officials are thrilled to be able to showcase a top talent in the chef world and to welcome Steam into the fold. “We are so pleased to have one of Columbus’ most celebrated chefs joining the NoMa family with such a compelling concept! In keeping with our mission of incubating local entrepreneurs ‘chef driven’ Steam is the perfect fit,” adds North Market Executive Director Rick Harrison Wolfe.
Steam has been running out of a small location inside of Little Rock Bar in Italian Village since earlier this year and is where this concept got its start. From the beginning Chef Meacham’s concept has gotten rave reviews having been featured in 614 Magazine as well as Columbus Alive.
North Market has been in operation since 1876 and is Columbus’ last remaining true public market. It has more than 30 merchants offering a wide variety of fresh produce, meat, poultry, seafood, flowers and other specialty food items. The Market also provides an international selection of freshly prepared foods, distinctive gifts and personable service from owner/operators and is home to the oldest Farmers’ Market in Central Ohio. The North Market is open daily. For more information, visit http://www.northmarket.com/.
This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com
Chef Michael Schoen worked and trained at some of the best restaurants in Chicago. But the millennial knew that one day his goal was to bring home what he learned and open a restaurant near his roots.
Enter David Bartulovic, owner of The Players Club bar and restaurant, and partner in the Lost Nation Sports Park. A native east-sider as well, Bartulovic sought to offer an uptown experience in Downtown Willoughby.
Once introduced, they instantly recognized the opportunity to create something special. Their partnership has resulted in Sol, a Spanish-inspired scratch kitchen which infuses a variety of influences from many regions. Since its inception, the restaurant has delivered bold flavors through an elevated menu of tapas, entrees and salads, all of which are created from locally-sourced ingredients.
“From the time you walk in the door, Sol is a not a traditional dining experience. Chef Michael brings a diverse background to Downtown Willoughby with his flavors, creativity and versatility – a new experience at every meal.”
Sol just celebrated its one-year anniversary with the launch of a brand new menu. Chef Michael has preserved customer favorites including the marinated flank steak and double bone-in pork chop along with other “BIG plates” and “BIG greens”.
The new menu will offer additional variety as well as a new section Chef dubbed “between the bread”. These easy-to-share handheld sandwiches and burgers maintain the Spanish-inspired influences, and play on the establishment’s relaxed atmosphere.
Dining out is supposed to be fun, whether you’re by yourself or with a group. Eating to me is the most natural conversation piece and we should practice that. So the menu is designed to satisfy the needs of those seeking a big meal or those that just want to graze and socialize with friends.
Sol is located at 38257 Glenn Avenue in historic downtown Willoughby, Ohio. Hours are Tuesday – Thursday: 11am-12am, Friday – Sat: 11am – 2am and Sunday: 10am – 8pm. Learn more at http://solwilloughby.com/.
This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com
The International Soap Box Derby (ISBD) is entering new territory with the launch of a curriculum as part of its STEM-based education program. The curriculum is directed at children in grades fifth through eighth.
The curriculum features five modules that contain activities that engage learners with project based lessons, team building, inquiry based learning, creative problem solving and FUN!
“We’re extremely excited and proud of the new curriculum,” said Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur. “The Derby has come a long way over the last several years and this is another piece of the puzzle that adds to the continuing growth of the Derby’s education program. We piloted and tested the modules last year and received positive feedback from educators and students. We made some changes over the last year and feel that we have a great product that can be used inside or outside the classroom using the Soap Box Derby and gravity racing as a tool to give students a fun, STEM-based learning opportunity.”
The Akron, Ohio based nonprofit organization, best known for sanctioning and operating Soap Box Derby races around the world, including the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby, began its education initiative in 2010 with the creation of the Gravity Racing Challenge STEM Team Competition. Two Soap Box Derby cars were placed in the National Inventors Hall of Fame School as a test to see if children in a classroom setting would benefit from constructing, fine-tuning and racing Derby cars. The GRC STEM Team competition is now held in seven different locations and has grown to include more than 300 teams. The teams come from traditional classroom settings, after school programs and youth programs such as Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs. In 2011 Soap Box Derby Mini Cars and workbooks were introduced as part of the education program. The cars are 1/13th scale replica cars of the Derby’s three divisions: Stock, Super Stock and Masters. Mini Cars are now being used in classrooms and after school settings around the country to introduce students to STEM through gravity racing.
“The curriculum idea really came from educators who were already involved with our GRC and Mini Car programs,” said Derby Vice President Bobby Dinkins. “They told us that Soap Box Derby was a great hands-on learning tool for their students and they wanted more.”
The modules focus on developing STEM competencies such as prototyping, research, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration and teamwork.
The five modules can be purchased together or separately. One module is not dependent on the other and most of the necessary supplies are packaged with each module.
For more information please go to: /education-program/curriculum.aspx.
Do you have what it takes to go across the
Ohio-Indiana stateline to explore deep darkness?
Would be adventurers can now descend, climb, crawl and kayak deep underground in Indiana’s longest cave system. Indiana Caverns, near Corydon Indiana recently opened a new, guided high adventure cave exploring trip.
Descending a 93 foot shaft into a remote section of passage discovered in 2010, explorers then descend a steep mountain of breakdown using a hand line before reaching the underground river, 200 feet underground. Splashing and wading downstream, eventually the party of no more than 10 has to take to kayaks to continue exploring the deepening water. The underground stream features a large population of blind cave fish as well as blind cave crayfish and other spelean species.
The section of cave that is visited is just a tiny portion of the vast Binkley Cave system south of Corydon Indiana. The first serious exploration and mapping was done by the Bloomington Indiana Grotto of the National Speleological Society. Since 1967, all research and exploration has been done by the Indiana Spelological Survey, with exploration quickening since 2009. The length of the system has grown for 22 miles in 2009 to 42.5 miles and growing, making it the 7th longest cave in the United States.
More information can be found at indianacaverns.com/cave-exploring.
If you are venturing up or down the east coast of the United States, get a preview and inside look at what’s ahead by clicking on the links below. Each month, a new story is added.
Plymouth & Cape Cod
Charlestown Navy Yard
Stories by Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
Geauga Park District’s 70-foot-long Pratt Truss-style covered bridge is a past winner of the Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation, presented by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) at its annual conference.
This east branch of the Cuyahoga River covered bridge promises to connect communities and four Geauga parks, enhance Geauga tourism, and improve safety conditions for Amish commuters.
“It’s tough to imagine a project which includes so many important elements,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This bridge teaches history, enhances safety, connects parks and communities, attracts tourists and gets people outdoors. We are proud to present the award to Geauga Park District.”
Designed by Dennis Bowman and Kurt Gowins of Smolen Engineering and built by Geauga Park District’s construction crew – Steve George, construction supervisor; Tom Salo, project foreman; and Isaiah Shipman, construction technician – the pedestrian covered bridge features one-of-a-kind architectural details which were challenging to construct.
“Of the 200-plus bridges we’ve designed throughout Ohio, this one may be the most striking in appearance,” said John Smolen P.E. “People say the bridge makes them instantly smile, and nothing is better than that.”
“It is very gratifying to be recognized among your peers, for the skill set is takes in the trades to accomplish a project of that magnitude,” said Interim Deputy Director John Oros, who supervised the project. “We’re being recognized right alongside Cleveland Metroparks, Lake Metroparks and all the recreation departments in the state. What an honor.”
This bridge will help extend The Maple Highlands Trail a total of 20 miles, allowing users to travel from Colburn Road at the north end of the county all the way to Reeves Road in Parkman Township in the south.
Geauga County Juvenile/Probate Court Judge Timothy Grendell offered a hearty congratulations to all Geauga Park District staff who contributed to the project, and specifically said, “Special thanks go out to Geauga Park District’s construction crew.”
In addition to a crystal trophy, Geauga Park District was presented with a proclamation from Ohio Governor John Kasich and a $500 check to the Geauga Park District Foundation. The award winner was announced, and award was presented, at the OPRA Annual Awards Dinner on February 4 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky.
It is the county’s second covered bridge to be registered with the Ohio Historic Bridge Association; the first, the Howe Truss-style Tare Creek Bridge erected in 2004, is also along this soon-to-be-open stretch of The Maple Highlands Trail.
The Governor’s Award was established to recognize the one park and recreation program or project that has had the most significant impact on quality of life in the preceding year.
Officials from six statewide organizations formed the voting panel, including the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Homebuilders Association, the Ohio Municipal League, the Ohio State Parks and the Ohio Township Association.
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
Nature’s Trading Post in the Museum of Natural History & Science has had thousands of young explorers and naturalists share their curiosity and knowledge with Cincinnati Museum Center‘s science experts. Last month, Nature’s Trading Post welcomed its 40,000th trader.
Finn, a 4 year-old junior scientist, and his mother decided to explore Cincinnati Museum Center. After walking through the Museum of Natural History & Science to fill out his Scavenger Hunt, he was drawn into Nature’s Trading Post by the giant T. Rex skull. Finn was only hoping to log the points from his Scavenger Hunt into the database, but got a gift bag of science tools and natural artifacts instead. Finn was Nature’s Trading Post’s 40,000th trader!
Nature’s Trading Post helps kids learn about science by inspiring them to explore their own backyards. They can bring in what they’ve found and speak with science experts to earn points. Nature’s Trading Post accepts a variety of items for trade, such as objects from plants, including seeds, leaves or wood, and objects from animals like shells, cocoons, teeth, antlers, snakeskin, turtle shells and exoskeletons of insects. It also accepts non-living natural objects like rocks, fossils and minerals for points.
“Cincinnati Museum Center is all about sharing knowledge and inspiration with others,” said Regina Hall, director of the Museum of Natural History & Science. “Through Nature’s Trading Post children have been able to take items they’ve found while digging in their backyard, trade them for something another child has done the same thing with and the cycle of discovery continues. So, Nature’s Trading Post is not just about connecting the community with experts, but also about connecting people across the community.”
In addition to completing Scavenger Hunts, another key to earning points is by bringing in an object from nature and telling staff about it: What is it? Where did you find it? If you’ve brought in the remnants of an animal, what kind of animal is it, what did it eat and what is its habitat? You can then trade those points in for fossils, minerals, rocks, animal bones, snakeskins, magnifying glasses and many other items to help you explore and learn more about the natural world around you.
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution as well as national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, Museum Center was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. Union Terminal has been voted the nation’s 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within Cincinnati Museum Center include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. Recognized in Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, Cincinnati Museum Center welcomes one million plus visitors annually. Cincinnati Museum Center gratefully acknowledges operating and capital support from the taxpayers of Hamilton County and the State of Ohio. For more information, visitwww.cincymuseum.org.
A LOST STORY FROM THE WRIGHT FACTORY
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
An effort to gather the stories of Wright Company factory workers has uncovered information about one of the first women in the world to work in the aircraft industry.
Ida Holdgreve, born in Delphos, Ohio in 1881, worked as a seamstress for the Wright Company in Dayton from 1910 to about 1915, according to information provided by a distant cousin. She sewed the surfaces for the company’s wood-and-fabric airplanes.
The job made Holdgreve a pioneer aircraft manufacturing worker in the first American factory built for the purpose of producing airplanes. She and her co-workers were the first Americans hired and trained for specialized aircraft manufacturing jobs.
Wright State University’s online collection of Wright Company images includes a photo of Holdgreve sewing at a large table in a corner of the factory. It’s a popular image in books and blogs about the Wright brothers. But information about her was lost for decades.
Project reveals forgotten life
Holdgreve’s story has resurfaced with the help of Theodore (Ted) Clark of Beavercreek, Ohio. He was the first respondent to the Wright Factory Families project, a joint effort by the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) and Wright State Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives to find descendants of Wright Company workers and preserve their stories.
NAHA is working with the National Park Service and others to acquire and restore the original Wright Company factory as a unit of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
Clark, 78, said Holdgreve was one of his mother’s cousins. His family also lived in Delphos, but Holdgreve moved to Dayton early in her life while Clark’s family remained. Holdgreve’s work for the Wright brothers was known in the family, “but nobody made a big deal about it,” he said.
Clark brought a folder of old news clippings about Holdgreve to Dawne Dewey, head of Special Collections and Archives at Wright State. Articles about Holdgreve appeared in Delphos and Dayton-area newspapers from 1969 through 1975. She died in 1977 at age 95. Never married, she left no direct descendants.
Details add “human side” of Wright factory story
Dewey said information about Wright Company workers like Holdgreve “adds to the human side of the story” about the company. “It makes these people come alive, and that’s what this hunt for family members of the Wright Company workers is all about,” she said.
Holdgreve answered a Wright Company newspaper ad for a seamstress in 1910, according to the articles. Wilbur and Orville formed the company in November 1909.
An article in the Nov. 20, 1969 Dayton Daily News quoted her as saying she first worked for Wilbur and Orville “in a little room in Edgemont.” The Wright Company initially occupied an unused part of the Speedwell Motor Car Company plant in Dayton’s Edgemont neighborhood while its own plant was under construction.
The company moved into the first building of its own factory in late 1910. “I sewed cloth for the wings, stabilizers, rudders, fins and I don’t know what all,” Holdgreve said in the Nov. 21, 1969 Dayton Journal Herald.
Orville sold the Wright Company in 1915, but news reports indicate Holdgreve continued sewing for airplanes. A 1975 Delphos Herald article indicates that during World War I, she supervised women sewing fabric for military planes at the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company in Moraine.
Holdgreve was a momentary celebrity in November 1969 when she took her first airplane ride at age 88. Local news media covered the flight, and newspapers around the country picked it up from wire services. Much of what is known about her now comes from those news reports.
Gerald (Jerry) Jacobson, a friend of Ted Clark, told him about the Wright Factory Families project after learning about it at a book signing for The Dayton Flight Factory, a new book about the Wright brothers by Timothy R. Gaffney. Gaffney, NAHA’s communications director, wrote the book as an independent project but is working with NAHA and Wright State to find Wright Company workers’ descendants. Holdgreve’s photo appears in the book.
Anyone with information about Wright Company factory workers should contact Wright State Special Collections and Archives at (937) 775-2092 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation designated by Congress as the management entity of the National Aviation Heritage Area. NAHA’s vision is for the Heritage Area to be the recognized center of aviation heritage tourism and aerospace innovation, sustaining the legacy of the Wright Brothers. The National Aviation Heritage Area is one of 49 National Heritage Areas in a program administered by the National Park Service. It encompasses eight Ohio counties—Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Warren, Champaign, Shelby, and Auglaize.
This article appeared in a past edition of OhioTraveler.com.
Recently the U.S. Travel Association reported that 40% of American workers will not take their vacation this year. That creates missed opportunities, no memories of a time away from home and work, and one stressed out worker. Embrace and take that well-deserved vacation to Mohican!
Vacation is defined as a time away from home, school or work with the goal to relax or travel. Vacations help everyone to unwind, gain new insights, create new family memories, new experiences and time away from the routine of everyday life.
One easy vacation that incorporates the outdoors and adventure is located in the area of Loudonville, Ohio. Mohican, as it is more commonly known, has everything that a family, couple or group could want.
Open all year, Mohican-Loudonville is conveniently located near two state parks and a state forest that provides the perfect outdoor adventure any time of year. There several miles of hiking trails, 25 miles in mountain biking trails and 88 miles in bridle trails. By participating in the outdoors, in all seasons, the traveler can experience a new adventure every time one step is taken in front of the other.
Start the New Year with a celebration at the Mohican State Park Lodge & Conference Center or at Landoll’s Mohican Castle. In April, make plans to “Face Your Wildest Fears,” during the Mohican Wildlife Weekend. Learn all about plants and animals from the experts. There is so much going on, it’s hard to list it all!
Discover the story and history of what made Mohican it is today. Once inhabited by many Native American tribes the Mohican River became a pivotal part of life for the Native Americans and the pioneers. As time and technology became more advanced, so did the town and its story. Famous as the birthplace of Charles F. Kettering and of Hugo Young’s Flxible Sidecar Company, there are many famous people and events to discover in Mohican-Loudonville.
And what would a vacation be without shopping? The Mohican-Loudonville area has a quaint downtown with independent shop owners that will introduce the visitor to an array of art, clothing, jewelry, gadgets that solve all sorts of issues, electronics, antiques and more. Creative Outlet Indian Store has the largest selection of Authentic Native American jewelry and artwork in northern Ohio. Four Seasons has two full floors of gifts, boutique, collectibles and flowers to explore.
Let the culinary senses take the taste buds away on a local day dream. From casual fine dining, the unique diner experience, to the down home comfort cooking of days gone by – the tastes are sure to be delightful. Located off of State Route 603 is the The Cabin Tavern Grille, known for its casual, yet sophisticated seasonal menus. If pizza or burgers are the desire, then make sure to visit Trails End Restaurant. Their pizza dough is a secret house recipe and the burgers are delicious!
Camping is available year round as are the hotels, cabins and a castle. The Blackfork Inn Bed & Breakfast was built in 1856 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ask about the Murder Mystery evenings. Private cabins will keep the lights of the city out and allows visitors to revel in the pristine hillsides of Mohican-Loudonville. Kandelight Kabins offer seclusion and hot tubs. These cabins are perfect for any get-a-way!
Don’t put vacation on hold, enjoy it! Create the adventure and discover Mohican-Loudonville. Visit DiscoverMohican.com or on Facebook – Discover Mohican. Request the Mohican Getaway Planner today!
Hocking Ice : The pure natural beauty of ice formations at Hocking Hills State Parks is a standout in Ohio tourism, bar none! Waterfalls freeze creating an ice cone extending upward like a mini mountain and also downward from the top of the falls, sometimes connecting to create a solid column. A panoramic view if icicles in areas like Old Man’s Cave toward the Upper Falls catches sunlight to offer photo ops that’ll make even a novice photographer look like they work for National Geographic Magazine. This winter wonderland is amazing when there is a deep freeze and well worth the trek to see it. There’s an annual winter hike event that draws over 5,000 hikers to the Hills every January. Plus many toasty indoor winter opportunities make for a great weekend getaway.
This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.
Special Announcement: This museum is currently not open. It expected to re-open at a new location at some point in time.
LOSE YOUR MARBLES IN AKRON
Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler
by Robert Carpenter
Cleveland pays tribute to Rock and Roll, and Canton has enshrined the game of football, but it’s Akron that holds all the marbles—though hardly bullies of the playground. They’re eager to share everything there is to know about the little spheres—the simplest of toys—that engender more wistfulness than any plaything in memory.
The history is chronicled at The American Toy Marble Museum which is inside the Akron History Museum at Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron. It’s on the original site of the defunct company bearing the same name, started in 1891 by Sam and A.L. Dyke. The Dyke philosophy was to put a handful of marbles in the possession of every kid who had a penny. Certainly they had the capacity. At it’s peak the company produced an incredible million marbles per day. Considering their longevity there must be an enormous cache of marbles consigned to attic and basement storage boxes, because today there are relatively few rolling free.
The game is rarely played on school campuses anymore. It requires a skill long since relegated to antiquity in favor of electronic gimmickry displaying images on Cathode-ray tubes.
At its height of popularity during WWII, the game played down in the dirt of every schoolyard was preferred over all others. It was traditional, but economically prompted as well. At a time when many items were either rationed or unavailable, marbles were still cheap and plentiful.
The best recollection of grade school is a scene of grassless level areas inscribed with circles of various diameters to accommodate all ranks of players. Liberation from the classroom would spawn a dozen or more games at once creating an atmosphere of excitement that rivaled that of any latter-day sport.
It was a time when every boy who valued his worth arrived at school equipped for the game, and hoped to depart with the spoils of victory.
Marbles conferred status. Some were fortunate enough to buy their initial supply, and others were thankful for prizes from breakfast cereal boxes to seed their entry into the competition. From there on it was a zero-sum game. If you won, someone else lost, and the larger your collection, the greater your image. Your accumulation was in constant flux, and carried in a sack—the size being indisputable evidence of your skill. Up to about the fourth grade, the worship bestowed upon the school marbles champ was commensurate to that of a football hero. Knee patches and dirt ground into sometimes-calloused knuckles were badges of honor.
A few girls had their troves as well, but they were rarely interested in playing, instead displaying their collection for aesthetic value.
Most arrived well versed in the game but a few were unfamiliar. There were loose interpretations of some rules, and the more arbitrary were often settled in a scuffle. Others were adhered to strictly, and ignorance didn’t excuse enforcement. Those undiscouraged found the competition spirited and initiation unavoidably quick. Some rules like “no hunching,” were never bent. That meant your first shot couldn’t be from inside the circle. If you didn’t yell “dubs” when scattering more than one marble out of the ring, you couldn’t keep them all. “Knuckle down bony tight” was an admonishment often shouted. No one quite understood the “bony tight” part of the rebuke, but that didn’t prevent liberal use in every game. And then, of course there was “snatty grabs.” Everyone quickly learned the meaning of that decree. It was the point at which the game became a contact sport. When the school bell rang before the game ended, someone yelled the command making it legal to dive into the pot, elbows flying and heads butting, to grab as many of the remaining marbles as you could get away with.
Some marbles were especially attractive, and collections were envied as much for quality as quantity. There were glass marbles, those made of clay, china, porcelain, and rare ones carved from stone. “Cats eyes,” were desirable as were the rich-looking colors and designs that were called “beauties.” The larger sizes were referred to as “boulders,” and the small ones “peawees.” The most valuable were the heavier than normal marbles deemed “shooters.” Their weight imparted a force that could thrust others from the ring with authority. Only the most inept left their shooters inside the ring as fair game for the next player.
Although initiated in the 1920’s, national marbles tournaments didn’t flourish until immediately after WWII. The Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsored the tournaments, culminating with the national championship in Atlantic City.
Like most things appealing to youth, the wartime generation eventually put away early pursuits in support of more adult adventures. But, it was assumed the marbles game would retain its momentum through endless cycles. However, in the 1970’s interest on a large scale ceased—corresponding with the ushering in of the age of electronics. Sixty years ago no one suspected technology would nearly obliterate a respected pastime of centuries.
In retrospect one thing is clear. Marbles were the most economical and indestructible toys ever invented. The game was character building. It taught fair play and competitiveness at a formative age. It’s questionable whether any game of the electronic age can claim the same. One might ask too, if any of the techno-wizards have a clue as to where expressions such as “taking all the marbles,” or “losing your marbles” came from. It’s doubtful.
By Robert Carpenter
Robert Carpenter was born and raised in the New Philadelphia, Ohio area. He’s a freelance writer presently living in Florida.