June Archives




The Great Race Stops in Ohio!

The Great Race, the world’s premiere old car rally, will stop at two Ohio towns as it crosses more than a dozen states. It will feature 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles.

Lancaster, Ohio, will host a lunch stop on Sunday, June 23, with the first car rolling onto South Broad Street starting around 12:30 pm. Marietta, Ohio, will host an overnight stay that night, with cars arriving around 4pm. The event will begin in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 22 and finish in Gardiner, Maine, on June 30.

The 9-day, 2,300-mile adventure will travel to 19 cities in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.

Teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Germany, Canada, and every corner of the United States will converge at the start, with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1912. “There are more than 500 people just in our entourage from all around the world,” race director Jeff Stumb said.

The Great Race began 41 years ago and is not a speed race but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret checkpoints along the way and are penalized one second for each second, either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.

If all goes according to plan, cars will start—and hopefully finish—one minute apart. Organizers say the most significant part of the challenge, other than staying on time and following instructions, is getting an old car to the finish line each day. Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public, and spectators can visit with the participants and look at the cars for several hours.

Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible, with most entries having been manufactured before World War II. A 1916 Hudson Hillclimber won last year’s Great Race from St. Augustine, Florida, to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 2024 winners will again receive $50,000 of the $160,000 total purse.

The oldest cars scheduled to compete in the 2024 Great Race are a 1912 Haynes, a 1913 Chevrolet, and a 1916 Hudson.

Over the decades, the Great Race has stopped in hundreds of cities, big and small, from tiny Austin, Nevada, to New York City.

“When the Great Race pulls into a city, it becomes an instant festival,” Stumb said. “Last year, we had several overnight stops with more than 10,000 spectators on our way to having 250,000 people see the Great Race during the event.”

The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae. It takes its name from the 1965 movie The Great Race, which starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood, and Peter Falk. The movie is a comedy based on the real-life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. In 2004, Tony Curtis was the guest of The Great Race and rode in his car from the movie Leslie Special.

The Great Race gained a considerable following from late-night showings on ESPN when the network was just starting out in the early 1980s. The first entrant, Curtis Graf of Irving, Texas, is still a participant today.

The event’s main sponsors are Hemmings Motor News, Coker Tire, McCollister’s Auto Transport, Rogo Fasteners, Southern Star Distillery, Sam Smith Old Brewery, and Hagerty Driver’s Club.

Learn more about The Great Race at https://www.greatrace.com/.

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Four Corners of Ohio Family Fun

We’re cornering Ohio family fun. Enjoy these four street corner destinations for your day trip entertainment.

At the corner of Jackson Street and W. Washington Street in Sandusky, Ohio, is the Merry-Go-Round Museum. Grab your popcorn, cotton candy, and wooden token — and take a ride through carousel history.

At the corner of Main and Broadway in Sugarcreek, Ohio, is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in the center of what is known as the “Little Switzerland of Ohio.”

At the corner of Memphis Avenue and Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn, Ohio, is Memphis Kiddie Park. The iconic children’s amusement park has been putting smiles on faces since 1952!

At the corner of Fourth Street and Main Street in Mansfield, Ohio, is the Richland Carrousel Park. It offers a giant Merry-Go-Round for old-fashioned fun in a modern setting.

For more “Cornering Ohio,” visit https://www.ohiotraveler.com/cornering-ohio/.

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Video of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Play Video

Take a minute to see
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens in Akron, Ohio

Enjoy the fabulous gardenscapes and incredible architecture and decor at Akron, Ohio’s Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, which is open for tours and hosts a variety of special events. It’s a walk through the history of the Rubber City’s rich and famous Yesteryear.

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Wild About Wine Spirits Trail

Wine and craft beer enthusiasts have a new reason to discover Southeast Ohio’s Appalachian hills. Three neighboring counties – Guernsey, Coshocton, and Muskingum – recently launched a new spirits trail called “Wild About Wine” that highlights the region’s most prestigious wineries and breweries.

The trail allows visitors to be “trailblazers” – much like the early pioneers were. Fourteen wineries and breweries may be visited in any order. Participating locations within the three counties are Baltic Mill Winery, Georgetown Vineyard, Guernsey Brewhouse, Headley Inn Winery and Vineyard, Killing Tree Winery, Rainbow Hills Winery, Brewery & Pizzeria, Raven’s Glenn Winery, Stone Crest Vineyard, Weasel Boy Brewing Company, White Eyes Creek Winery, Wooly Pig Farm Brewery, Y-Bridge Brewing Company, Yellow Butterfly Winery and YOLO Winery.

“We’re just a quick trip from Columbus, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, yet an entire world away from the big cities,” Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors & Convention Bureau Executive Director Debbie Robinson said.

While the region is wild about its wines and craft brews, travelers are encouraged to get off the trail and experience all there is to see and do. One attraction in particular – The Wilds – spans over 10,000 acres in southeast Ohio and is one of the largest conservation centers in the world. Threatened and endangered species roam open pastures with endless vistas and provide an ideal setting to study ecological recovery and restoration. Visitors may discover The Wilds through a variety of unforgettable tours, including open-air safaris, zipline tours, horseback tours, and many more. Amenities include a frontline Café, indoor and outdoor seating, a gift shop, handicap accessible, as well as organic and environmentally focused tour packages.

Robinson noted that each county has numerous unique must-see, do, and eat experiences. A full list of Guernsey County locations may be found at VisitGuernseyCounty.com.

“We invite folks to relax on our porches and sip our spirits. When traveling through our area, you’ll get swept away by our unique opportunities and experiences that will drift into a day, an overnight, or a weekend and will leave you wanting to visit us over and over again,” said Robinson.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway for two or a fun-filled weekend with your friends, be sure to check out the hotel/lodging packages offered (available to overnight guests only). Each package includes the official Wild About Wine Brochure, a $10 discount on an Open-Air Safari tour (valid until 10/31/24), a Wild About Wine stemless wine glass, and a Wild About Wine Bracelet. Participants will present their bracelets as they visit all the participating wineries and breweries to receive special discounts and gifts. Click here for details on how to plan a “Wild About Wine” trail trip.

For more information on area attractions, events, and overnight packages, contact the Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors & Convention Bureau office at 627 Wheeling Avenue, Suite 200 in downtown Cambridge, call 740-432-2022, email destination@VisitGuernseyCounty.com, or log onto VisitGuernseyCounty.com.

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Helping People Live “The Simple Life”

Lehman’s is the iconic old-time general store in Kidron, about an hour south of Cleveland. It helps customers around the world take the next step on their journey to a simpler life. For five years in a row, Lehman’s has been voted the Best Destination in Ohio’s Amish Country and has been honored with a Traveler’s Choice Award by Trip Advisor.

Founded in 1955 by Jay Lehman to serve the local Amish with practical, non-electric tools and appliances, Lehman’s ships products all over the country via the website Lehmans.com and print catalog. The retail store, which draws an estimated 300,000 people per year, is located in the world’s largest Amish population.

With over 35,000 square feet of shopping and a museum-quality display of antiques, most lovingly restored by company founder Jay Lehman, it’s worth the drive to Kidron. Lehman’s is like ten stores in one with everything from locally produced food and toys to home décor to baking and cooking essentials – check out the newly remodeled houseware section! Lehman’s even has whole sections devoted to hand tools from past generations. If you think it isn’t made anymore, check with Lehman’s before you give up the search.

You can get a history lesson – there are four pre-Civil War era buildings inside the store – and learn from the experts on old-time skills like food preservation, heating, and cooking with wood and non-electric lighting. When touring the store, please go through it twice, once looking up at the antiques, and the second time looking at the products. Take time to visit the Buggy Barn and marvel at the intricate three-dimensional carvings by Amish artist Paul Wever. Step outside to tour the Tiny House on a Tiny Homestead – it won’t take long!  Check out Lehmans.com/events for family-friendly festivals, classes, and workshops.

Lehman’s has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The LA Times, Martha Stewart Living Real Simple magazines, and many other national media outlets. Why? Because there is nowhere else like Lehman’s!

Lehman’s products have also been featured in major Hollywood productions like Cold Mountain, Interview with a Vampire, and Pirates of the Caribbean. They have brand-new but historically accurate products that directors seek for authentic sets, and the folks at Lehman’s can show how to use them.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming 2024 Lehman’s events:

Mid-Ohio Corvette Club Show on June 1 from 10am – 1pm: The event will be open to all, so bring your corvettes and register at the door. $20 registration per car. The winners will be announced, and trophies will be given out at 1pm. Don’t forget to shop the store. It will be fun for the whole family as the event is free to spectators.

Christmas in July is on July 13: Deck your summer with Holly and Jolly at Lehman’s! Join the fun holiday traditions with a summer twist. Meet Mrs. Claus from 11am to 3pm as she makes her yearly summer trip to Lehman’s to stock up on supplies for her garden at the North Pole.  Flower the Clown twists up some fun with his amazing balloon art.  Brush on over to our wonderfully talented face painter for free face painting. This and much more family fun may be expected at the annual Christmas in July!

Meet the Wood Carver on the fourth Saturday of every month: Have you been to Lehman’s to see the unbelievable carvings done by Paul Weaver? They are truly worth the trip itself. Every fourth Saturday of the month, from 9:30am to 2pm, Paul will be at the store to answer questions and give some background on these amazing works of art. Pictures just do not do them justice, you need to see them in person!

Classic Car Show on August 24: Awesome cars, swingin’ music, and lots of prizes are just some highlights from 9am to 1pm. For just a $10 registration fee (at the door) and free to spectators, enter your car(s), win door prizes and awards.  There will be a free dash plaque for the first 100. A 50/50 raffle will be donated to the Kidron Volunteer Fire Department.

Fall Festival on October 12: Kick off fall with the best of family fun at Lehman’s from 10am to 3pm. Enjoy digging in a corn box, pumpkin decorating, and outdoor games. Don’t miss Flower the Clown twisting up some fun with his amazing balloon art. Take a break for lunch with a fall favorite special in the cafe.

Black Friday in the Country on November 29: Lehman’s has the recipe for relaxing Black Friday shopping. Forget the rush of the big box stores and join a festive day, finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.

Old-Fashioned Christmas on December 7 from 10am to 3pm: Get in the holly, jolly spirit at Lehman’s during the annual Old-Fashioned Christmas. Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in their old-fashioned Sleigh and get your picture taken! Enjoy family-fun activities like holiday crafts, face painting, and calligraphy on personalized ornaments. Don’t miss Flower the Clown twisting up some fun with his amazing balloon art.

Visit with Santa on November 9, 16, 23, and 29 from 11am to 2pm: Bring the little ones to meet Santa at Lehman’s. Take photos with Santa that will last a lifetime. While visiting the store, take the kids through the toy barn so they can make their Christmas list full of unplugged fun.

Click here to see what Lehman’s customers have to say about the store. For more information about Lehman’s, visit Lehmans.com.

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The Artistic Side of Ohio

in Portsmouth & Scioto County 

Discover a world of creativity and expression throughout Scioto County, where arts and cultural organizations flourish. From contemporary art galleries to historical museums, this county’s rich tapestry of artistic endeavors offers an immersive experience that captivates the senses and enriches the soul. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply curious about different cultures, Scioto County is a haven for exploration and inspiration.

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a repeat visitor, the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals is one of the top artistic attractions in Portsmouth. Painted by famed artist Robert Dafford, the Floodwall Murals tell the complex story of Portsmouth-Scioto County through a series of painted scenes on the historic floodwall. Folks can experience the massive piece of artwork via a walk or drive down the wall. If you want to take a deeper look into the artwork while also learning about Portsmouth’s past, visitors can download the free Portsmouth Murals, Inc. app that includes a narrator and additional pictures. But the murals are just the tip of the iceberg of artistic expression in the community.

A local arts organization called the Trillium Project is working to create spaces where local artists, storytellers, musicians, poets, historians, and culture bearers are involved and employed in projects that enliven and inspire the community. Projects like the Second Chance and the Portsmouth Street Art Project work to create spaces for these local artists to work. From creating sidewalk and asphalt art to transforming empty window spaces into artistic displays to painted murals throughout the city of Portsmouth and Scioto County. The Portsmouth Street Art Project works to provide a legal public space for graffiti and street art. The best part about this project? It’s open to the public, residents, and visitors alike to express themselves!

If you are interested in performing arts, Portsmouth offers plenty of options! Whether you want to attend a nationally or internationally touring act or are looking to experience the local performance arts community, Portsmouth has it all. Catch one of the many national and international shows that come through town at Shawnee State University’s Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. Shows like The Cher Show, Uptown, and Madagascar: The Musical are just a few of the acts that have graced the stage at the Vern Riffe Center. Portsmouth also has a few local theatre companies that provide fun and interactive performances throughout the year. The Portsmouth Little Theatre performs all kinds of drama works and is showcased in a historic theatre in downtown Portsmouth. Cirque d’ Art Theatre is a local circus theatre that teaches and engages children of all ages in circus theatrics. Various themed performances occur at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts all year round, including the holiday favorite, the Nutcracker every holiday season.

Are you interested in having an interactive artistic experience? Craft your own piece of pottery, plate, or statue at The Happy Pot. The Happy Pot allows you to paint unique creations you can take and display at your home! Places like the Southern Ohio Museum allow you to explore the world of art through various rotating temporary and permanent exhibitions. Explore and connect yourself to modern art through rotating exhibitions displayed throughout the year. Look back through past cultures as you study over 10,000 Native American artifacts through the Art of the Ancients: Wertz Collection, most of which are part of the Hopewell culture that was once called Scioto County home over 2,000 years ago. Get really interactive with a trip to the VaultOhio, an Esports facility complete with PCs and gaming consoles, and Virtual Reality units to get into the competitive spirit. No matter the type of interactive experience, Portsmouth has it all!

As you can see, the arts and cultural innovations bleed around every corner of Portsmouth-Scioto County. Experience the full display of the arts for yourself when you take a visit to Portsmouth. Visit the Portsmouth-Scioto County Visitors Bureau for more information about visiting Scioto County.

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Marion Is A Haven for Summer Fun

Looking for the perfect location for your next getaway weekend or a simple one-day road trip? Marion, Ohio, offers a variety of activities that make it the ideal destination for a day trip or a multi-day stay. Situated in a convenient location in the heart of Ohio, Marion sits along State Route 23, just a short drive north of Columbus, offering multiple overnight accommodations options.

Looking for a quiet getaway? The Red Barn Loft (Bed and Breakfast) is nestled among farm country and a nearby local vineyard. It bids you to come enjoy a glass of wine, listen to music, and take in the view of a beautiful, country sunset.

Maybe it’s a family weekend for you. Marion offers both putt-putt and disc golf courses. Cooper’s Bowl and Bluefusion Entertainment are the perfect hangouts to bowl a few games and enjoy some arcade fun. Let the little ones burn off some extra energy at the Lincoln Park Aquatic Center, Marion Tallgrass Trails, and the newly constructed Marion Rotary Club Centennial Playground. You’re bound to work up an appetite, so grab an old-fashioned root beer float or visit one of Marion’s many ice cream specialty shops for treats.

Rich in history, Marion is the perfect destination for the history buff. This community offers the opportunity to stand in the spot a president made famous when you visit Harding’s renovated home and newly opened Presidential Museum.  Grab a map of the Cultural Corridor to visit historic locations like Heritage Hall, home to the Marion Historical Society and Wyandot Popcorn Museum; Union Station, a unique experience for train enthusiasts; and the 1928 Eberson-built Marion Palace Theatre where you can enjoy live entertainment in a unique atmospheric theatre.

Marion’s reimagined Downtown is the perfect spot for a road trip.  Its local dining options are a welcoming setting for sharing laughs with friends while enjoying local favorites. Enjoy a taste of Marion all along the Eaterarian Trail; hop between breweries and specialty bars to enjoy an adult beverage; shop in unique retail stores like Charleston Place, Hope Crossing, and Paisley Peacock; or enjoy a hands-on art activity at Sweada Mae Art Café or Stitch and Skein.

While in downtown Marion, stroll the streets to experience Marion’s newly installed public art display, The Cardinal Project. Celebrate Ohio as the seventeenth state to join the Union at the 17 statues throughout the downtown area. Each features a State Bird uniquely designed and hand-painted with a story to tell.

If you enjoy the outdoors, you’ll be delighted as you make your way along the many walking/biking trails. Enjoy the sights and sounds as Mother Nature comes to life. Find enjoyment in a round of golf with beautiful views, including the picturesque King’s Mill Covered Bridge.

Experience the celebration of the all-American apple at Lawrence Orchard’s Applefest and Harvest Weekends.  Don’t miss the Blues & BBQ Festival in August.  Be sure to bring your appetite and pack your lawn chair for a full day of fun. Visit in September to experience the Popcorn Festival, a street fair celebrating Marion’s history as the popcorn capital of the world.

It’s all waiting in Marion, Ohio, an excellent destination for your next memory-making moment! For more information on these exciting opportunities, visit the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website at https://www.visitmarionohio.com/.

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So, You Like Live Music?

As the days and evenings heat up, so does the live music scene in Sidney and Shelby County. Located on I75, just 30 miles north of Dayton, this area is known for presenting some of the best in live musical entertainment. This upcoming outdoor concert season is no exception.

Country music fans will note two big dates on this year’s June and July concert calendar. On Saturday, June 15th, Tyler Hubbard rolls into Sidney as the headliner for the Boots in the Street show. Boots in the Street launched only last year and was a huge success. This year’s lineup features Hubbard at 10pm. preceded by The Cadillac Three at 7:45pm and opening act Dylan Marlowe at 6:30pm. Most know Tyler Hubbard from his days with Florida Georgia Line. His first, self-titled debut solo album features popular singles 5 Foot 9 and Dancin’ In The Country featuring Keith Urban. Subsequent chart-topping singles include Back Then Right Now, A Lot With A Little, and Strong.

In July, one of the top three-day music festivals in the US kicks off in Fort Loramie, Ohio. Now in its 43rd year, Country Concert is a perennial fan favorite for those who love country music. Taking their place on the main stage this year are Hardy, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson, Riley Green, Dustin Lynch, Bailey Zimmerman, Warren Zeiders, Big & Rich, Trace Adkins, and many more. On-site camping is available, and guests can bring their coolers to the show. Choose from single-day and multi-day ticket options. Day one of this year’s three-day bonanza is July 11th.

Looking ahead, another highlight of this year’s local events calendar is September 21st and 22nd, when the Shelby County Historical Society presents a Civil War Living History Weekend and Reenactment. Here, guests will immerse themselves in Union and Confederate battle reenactments, spontaneous skirmishes, military and civilian encampments, and more. Cannon and rifle fire add to the realism of these experiences, accompanied by a series of living history educational programs that will provide first-person accounts of life in the Civil War era. Tawawa Park in Sidney offers the perfect location for this unique outdoor drama.

While visiting the area, downtown Sidney’s locally owned restaurants and bistros are perfect for a bite to eat and a cold drink. Options include the famous Spot Restaurant, where guests have enjoyed mouthwatering meals for more than 117 years. The fresh, homemade pies are out of this world. Other downtown dining choices include Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen and Amelio’s Italian Pizza Shop. Murphy’s features locally sourced ingredients on their varied menu of tasty dishes along with 48 taps of your favorite beers. Amelio’s is best known for their signature brick-oven pizza, fresh salads, and pasta.

Another local favorite is The Bridge Restaurant. The Bridge offers steaks, chops, and fresh seafood selections in a lovely setting. Guests can dine in or “Al Fresco” on their beautiful outdoor covered patio. For lighter fares and a unique menu of healthy choices, Greenhaus Coffee is the place to go. Not only is their coffee out of this world, but their offering of fresh, tasty breakfast and lunch items will have you planning your next visit before you leave the table.

Just a short drive beyond the downtown shopping and dining district opens up a variety of additional options. Gallery 2:10, Re:Vive Home Décor & More, and Sidney Flower Shop are ideal stops to pick up something special for yourself or a friend. Fun, locally-owned dining options include Los Toros Cocina & Cantina, Fuji Sushi & Steakhouse, High Grounds Café, and Cazadores.

To learn more about the area’s attractions, local events, outdoor adventures, and urban delights, log onto VisitSidneyShelby.com. Sidney, Ohio—a spirit shared.

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ABSOLUTE Grand Festival FUN

Two Amazing small-town Historic festivals are happening this June in West Central Ohio. Don’t miss offering Family FUN for the entire family with Great FREE Live music and fun and unusual entertainment. Both are located in beautiful and charming small-town settings.

First up, the Annual Fort Recovery Harvest Jubilee will be held from June 12 to 16, 2024, at Ambassador Park in Fort Recovery, adjacent to the historic Fort Site Park.

Bring the entire family; admission, parking, and entertainment are all FREE! The fun begins Wednesday evening, uptown at 5:30pm with the Taste of Fort Recovery. This is your chance to sample a variety of interesting and delicious foods from various local Fort Recovery restaurants, all while listening to some Caribbean steel drum sounds from the party band the Sunburners!

Throughout the rest of the weekend, enjoy even more terrific FREE Live music, rides & amusement, Fort Recovery Food Stands, and an antique tractor display. Thursday night at 6:00 kicks off the jubilee with kid games, circus rides, a diaper derby, and Lil’ Miss & Mister Jubilee contests. Join us Friday at 5:00 for the kiddie stands, Red Cross go-kart races, big wheel races, bingo, adult haystack hunt, and music by Toby Leach and Green Sands.

Saturday, starting at 10am with the volleyball tourney and softball tourney. Bring the kids later in the day for a Jungle Island petting zoo and backyard games. Later in the night will be the antique garden tractor pull, quarter auction, 50/50, and live music from Natalie & Hannah and 127 North. Finish your weekend on Sunday with the Jubilee Parade, Romer’s BBQ Chicken pickup, and Challenger Baseball.

Other featured events include a BIG Wheel Race, Kiddie Tractor Pull, a talent show, the famous Fort Recovery Racing Ducks, and the Jubilee Quarter Auction! The Fireman’s Parade begins at 2pm on Sunday afternoon and is followed by a Chicken BBQ dinner.  The weekend includes rides, games, and tons of tasty festival foods!

So, make your way to the banks of the Wabash and enjoy the Fort Recovery Harvest Jubilee! While at the Fort, be sure to check out the historic Memorial Park, the fabulous murals, the Fort Recovery State Museum & log cabins. For your complete Fort Recovery Harvest Jubilee schedule, visit www.facebook.com/FortRecoveryJubilee/.

Next up is the Maria Stein County Fest, which takes place on the beautiful and peaceful grounds of the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics on June 21-23rd!

FREE parking, admission & entertainment beginning with the featured performances of Bruno Blaszak’s Royal Bengal Tigers! Also, back by popular demand is the nationally known Country Fest Tractor Square Dancers! Additional special features at this AMAZING festival include a Craft Show, Lift-A-Thon, Bingo, Raffles, Games, a Petting Zoo, Rides & much more family fun!

Friendly competitions at Country Fest include a Diaper Derby, Punt-Pass-Kick, Mini-Indy Race, and a 5K Run/Walk: volleyball, Dodgeball, Corn Hole, and 3-on-3 Basketball. Also, enjoy GREAT Live music for ALL ages throughout the entire weekend, and definitely come hungry because Country Fest has plenty of delightful food to satisfy everyone’s palate! For your complete guide to the Maria Stein Country Fest please visit www.mscountryfest.com.

For FANTASTIC festivals, events & TONS of summer FUN, visit SeeMore.org!

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Road Trips in Amish Country

In beautiful Holmes County, Ohio, a road trip has many meanings. It could be a family trip, a gal pals’ getaway, a weekend for the boys, a romantic escape, or a touch with nature. There is a theme, a trail, or an adventure for every interest!

Family adventures include something for children of all ages. A day on the farm can include riding a hay wagon and hand-feeding domestic animals, cuddling farm babies, or encountering giraffes and other exotic creatures. Animal lovers can get their fill of furry encounters! A narrated back-roads tour with a local guide, including stops at Amish homes to shop, visit, or have a pre-planned meal, is always popular.  A visit to BEHALT—the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center opens the world of the Amish to visitors who want to learn about their faith, culture, daily lives, education, and history. Wrap that all up with a round of mini golf or family-friendly theater at the Amish Country Theater or Ohio Star Theater. Finish the day with a good night’s rest in a wide variety of lodging options, from traditional hotels to tree houses and everything in between.

For the ladies, shopping in the many area boutiques such as Sheiyah Market, Carlisle Gifts, b.fearless, or any number of other clothing and accessory stores makes for a solid multi-day bachelorette adventure, shopping tour or a reunion with friends. Add the breathtaking views from multiple wineries, including the area’s newest -Winetagous, located at the Walnut Creek Marketplace, or riding horseback through lush, rolling hills, and you have a recipe for a trip to remember!

The area is becoming quite the destination for gents who are ready for an adventure! A round of clay-shooting at Airport Ridge Shooting Clays, a tour of the Age of Steam Railroad Museum to see a working steam-engine shop and the world’s largest private collection of historic steam engines, a trip down memory lane at the Coleman Lantern Museum topped off with a visit to the award-winning Millersburg Brewing Company or The Cider Press, featuring seasonal meals with hard cider flights, is just what the doctor ordered!

No matter the size of the group or the reason for the visit, Ohio Amish Country offers the attractions, lodging, shopping, and experiences to make any trip memorable! Exploring the area by vehicle, E-bike, or tour bus are all options, and food is always a major part of the itinerary. Holmes County is just under two hours from Cleveland and Columbus, and the beautiful Ohio Amish Country Scenic Byway connects the many communities that comprise the region. A true backroads adventure includes stops at Amish homes and farms that place signs at the end of drives describing the goods available onsite. It is very important to have cash on hand to make purchases.

Several trails have been developed to help travelers plan their visit around their specific interests. Currently, an Antique and Thrifting trail features vintage treasures available at affordable prices for collectors of many interests. Home goods and fashion are featured on another trail for those who wish to design their personal style, upgrade their home’s décor, or redefine their lifestyle. For the Do-It-Yourselfers, a trail featuring unique hardware, home goods, wood crafting, and hobby stores was designed to create a new adventure. For those with a green thumb, the gardens and greenhouses trail are a must for planning a buying trip for bulbs, fresh-cut flowers, produce and more! New trails are coming this summer, including quilting and fabrics, retail furniture, wine & beer, and outdoor adventures.

Holmes County is home to one of the most varied inventories of lodging options in the state. The list of types of lodging rentals includes modern hotels, old-fashioned family-owned motels, boutique-style inns, tree houses, guest rooms onsite at local attractions, retreats, and top-of-the-line camping!

Evening entertainment includes theater, mini golf, live entertainment at local wineries and attractions, unique meals, and, on the weekends, signature Amish country events.

Visit www.visitamishcountry.com or call 330-674-3975 for more information, or download the current Ohio Amish Country Visitors Guide HERE.

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Peanut Clusters in Amish Country

This Amish Country staple is one of the tastiest stops you’ll find. I stumbled upon Coblentz Chocolate Company on a rainy travel day last week. Oh, I’ve heard rave reviews about it, so I popped in. And what a treat it was!

There was a viewing window to see the hand-made sweet concoctions on their way to my goodie bag. Known for fresh ingredients and premium chocolate, I tried to decide between Almond Bark, Cherry Cordials, Chocolate Caramels, and Peanut Clusters. Since the Peanut Clusters have reached legendary status over the 30+ years since Coblentz opened, I chose those … and MORE!

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

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Mother Mohawk Sandwich

Taste the Legendary Mother Mohawk Sandwich at the
Old Mohawk Restaurant in German Village
 

Yah-yah, the true staple of the Old Mohawk Restaurant, is its famous Mohawk Turtle Soup, a tradition for more than 70 years, but it was the legendary Mother Mohawk Sandwich that I look forward to tasting again.

Heck, it was so good, I think it knew it because the sauce flashed me a smile! See the pic if you don’t believe me!

Anyway, this tasty bite is grilled roast beef and homemade chicken salad topped with Swiss cheese on marble rye bread served with a side of caraway horseradish sauce.

Old Mohawk’s historic building dates back to Prohibition when it, as legend has it, served as a Speakeasy. It’s even rumored that the original owner raised the turtles for the popular turtle soup in the basement of the building.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

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Quench Your Thirst for Adventure

3-Day Swiss-Amish-Appalachia Adventure

Quench your thirst for adventure with this itinerary for fun in Tuscarawas County, located in the heart of Appalachia and Ohio’s Amish Country!

The weekend is calling and asking for a new adventure to start the summer that includes sunrise over the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in beautiful Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Afterward, plan to enjoy a hike on one of many trails and then the serenity of a drive-through Swiss and Amish cultural areas before delving into all the area offers. It sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? This three-day itinerary highlights a wide range of experiences from historic landmarks, dining, theatre, and hiking. It’s time to pack your suitcase and dive into the weekend!

Day 1: Trains, a BIG clock, scenic sights, and wine and brew tastings!

Start your day at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum to experience the world’s largest privately-owned collection of steam engines housed in the first working roundhouse constructed in many generations. Located in Amish country, enjoy the sights and watch out for buggies!

Downtown Sugarcreek is home to the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock and the first to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records! Be certain to time (ha-ha) your visit to be there for the top or bottom of the hour to watch the Hilltoppers performance just for you! Enjoy visiting some of the local shops while you are here and see the Brick Wall Sculpture!

Visit the Ernest Warther Museum and Gardens next to experience the phenomenal talents of carver Mooney Warther whose passion for steam engines drove him to create exact replicas of these mighty trains.

Just a short drive southeast is the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, a National Historic Landmark. Located in an original train depot, it has a storied history as volunteers fed 1.3 million troops on trains during WWII while its engine was refilled with water.

Slow down at one of the county’s nine wineries or three breweries; each offers a distinctive flavor and flair.

With many lodging options to choose from, you will be certain to find the perfect clean, comfortable pillow in one of the numerous hotels!

Day 2:  Ohio history, a millionaire, dinner, and an outdoor theatre production!

Begin with a tour of Schoenbrunn Village where you will step inside the reconstructed first church and school buildings on the 1770’s Ohio frontier and learn about life in the village at that time. 

Historic Zoar Village is a National Landmark District and your next stop. Founded in 1817 by German Separatists seeking religious freedom, you will appreciate learning about their successful communal society spanning 80 years which gave suffrage to women first- decades before the rest of the nation as you walk upon brick sidewalks, tour original buildings, and stroll through the large mediation garden.

J E Reeves is known as the first Tuscarawas County millionaire earning his fortune in metal manufacturing. His home, the J. E. Reeves Victorian Home and Carriage House Museum, showcases original furnishing and local history.

Ready for dinner? Local restaurants tempt the palate with offerings from smoked meats, authentic Thai, Italian, Chinese, Amish style, and farm-to-table American cuisine, you will love eating at one of these favorite restaurant tables!

Cap off the day with a performance of “Trumpet in the Land” Ohio’s first and finest outdoor theatre production which brings to life the tragic yet inspiring story of David Zeisberger and his Christian Indian followers as they struggled to preserve their peaceful settlement despite the growing violence of the Revolutionary War. The production is set in the very hills once traveled by those portrayed in the show. Watch the warm summer nights come alive with beautiful horses, brilliant fire dances, authentic-looking costumes, fiery battle pyrotechnics, and a lush natural setting. 

Day 3: Coffee, canals, and lunch

Start your day like a local and visit one of the many local coffee shops or cafes for your favorite jolt of caffeine. Choose from local donuts, classic dinners, Amish-style or traditional – you will enjoy your time spent savoring your relaxing morning!

Enjoy the great outdoors with a hike on the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath. Begin your hike at the Fort Laurens trailhead in Bolivar where you will find plenty of parking and restrooms. Hike south to explore the remains of several hand-constructed locks- remnants from the days 200 years ago when boats traversed the canal.

Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the area restaurants Sublime Smoke, Canal Street Diner, or Donnie’s Tavern- each featuring local food and quality service for you!

Your drive home after lunch will be filled with the chatter of your favorite sights and discoveries here in Tuscarawas County and filled with happy memories!

For more information, please contact the Tuscarawas County Welcome Center at 800-527-3387 or www.traveltusc.com. 

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A Lake Erie Island Story

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Let the OhioTraveler tell you a Lake Erie island story.
You may want to travel right now but can’t.
So sit back and listen to your Tour Guide to Fun.
And we’ll have an adventure, together.

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Memory Makers Abound in Marion

Imagine sitting on one of America’s most famous front porches. Or enjoying a performance in a historic theatre. Or soaking in the atmosphere of a historic downtown. All that and more waits for you in Marion, Ohio.

Home to the nation’s 29th President, Warren G. Harding, Marion welcomes you to visit the newly restored home of Harding and his wife Florence to discover what life was like in the 1920s. Stand on the famous front porch where Warren spoke to thousands during his campaign. Behind the home, you can learn even more about this time in history at the newly opened Warren G. Harding Presidential Museum. Enjoy exhibits on politics and social issues of the time. Discover how the nation went forward in the aftermath of World War I. And learn more about the President and the First Lady.

Marion’s historic Palace Theatre has been reveling audiences since the 1920s and that tradition continues today. Each season is filled with concerts from national touring artists and grand local theatrical productions. A visit to the theatre itself is worth a trip – The lobby prepares guests for transport to another place and another time. Entrance into the auditorium reveals the makings of a Spanish courtyard complete with muted stucco walls, crawling vines, and a midnight blue sky with birds in flight, twinkling stars, and clouds float overhead. Statues adorn the Palace walls and crests outline the grand proscenium stage.

Still need more for your nostalgia fix? The Wyandot Popcorn Museum inside the Marion County Historical Society’s Heritage Hall contains the world’s largest and only museum with a collection of antique popcorn carts, wagons, trucks, and other machinery – all restored to their original beauty. Heritage Hall is also the home of the Marion County Historical Society and its exhibits on pioneer life, the industrial age, and more.

You can fill in your time between these great attractions strolling through Marion’s Cultural Corridor. This two-mile strip in the historic downtown boasts an abundance of local eateries, retail shops, microbreweries, and more. Satisfy your tastebuds with Southern creole, Memphis barbeque, wood-fired pizza, seafood, and comfort food served diner style. Shops include ladies boutiques, one of the state’s largest gaming stores, an art gallery, a Christian bookstore, and more.

Outdoor lovers will find peace in nature at the 12-mile Marion Tallgrass Trail where you can observe wildlife such as deer, eagles, and possibly beavers in the nearby lake. Or visit Lawrence Orchards, a one-hundred-year-old fruit farm featuring 28 varieties of apples and a market full of tasty treats. For the wine lover, Shamrock Winery hosts wine tastings summer days and by appointment or enjoy one of their twilight dinners by reservation.

For the foodies in your group, head out on Marion’s Eterarian Trail.  What is an Eaterarian. Someone who likes to find those out-of-the-way eateries with great food, an unassuming atmosphere, and where having a laugh with friends isn’t considered inappropriate. Eaterarians usually find these places by accident. Stumble upon them while on the road and think, “That place looks interesting. Let’s stop there.” These are the places with those ‘best-ever’ breakfasts, works-of-art burgers, authentic throwbacks, and just plain, comfortable food.

Whether you are looking for nightlife, great performances, history adventures, memorable dining, or relaxing in a small-town atmosphere, Marion is the place to make memories this year. Plan your visit at https://www.visitmarionohio.com/.

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Safari Into Ohio’s THE WILDS

The Wilds offer a variety of excursions that are certain to create lasting memories for the whole family. Whether it’s a first-time visitor or returning guest, there are lots to see and do at this safari park and conservation center.

Cutting-edge conservation science and education programs provide hands-on experiences. Established in 1984, The Wilds resides on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed surface mining land. Today, it is home to more than 30 rare and endangered species from around the globe. The animals are provided wide, open pastures to roam, coexist, and amaze the guests. Over the past several months, The Wilds has welcomed five Sichuan takin kids, three white rhinoceros calves, nine Père David’s deer fawns, and three scimitar-horned oryx calves. These offspring are as exciting for conservationists as they are adorable for all animal lovers.

Visitors can choose to ride in a pick-up truck to feed giraffes or meet a rhino on a Wildside Tour or feel the breeze on an Open-Air Safari tour while snapping breathtaking photos.

Some of The Wilds’ newest and exciting experiences include the Secrets of the Zoo Wildside Tour and WildNights at the Outpost experience. During the Secrets of the Zoo Wildside Tour, guests will enjoy a special variation of a Wildside Tour led by one of The Wilds’ Animal Management team members, who appear on the hit Nat Geo WILD TV series, Secrets of the Zoo. Guests who opt for a WildNights at the Outpost experience will spend the night in the middle of The Wilds’ pastures with rhinos and other rare and incredible species nearby. From lounging around the fire pit, relaxing on covered decks, and exploring vast, breathtaking views, this once-in-a-lifetime experience includes a pre-packaged cooler complete with camping groceries.

Adventure-seeking guests can also opt to soar over animal pastures on a Zipline Safari tour, enjoy a relaxing Fishing Safari tour on one of nearly 100 lakes at The Wilds, or saddle up on a Horseback Safari tour through the quiet prairies.

To round out a perfect day, from June until September, The Wilds will offer additional tours at sunset:

  • The Sunset Safari Tour is a magical tour with picturesque views. The tour includes an Open-Air Safari tour for viewing the animals when the pastures are bathing in the late evening sun.
  • For guests looking to get closer to the action, the Sunset Wildside tour is a great option. This awe-inspiring tour takes guests off the beaten path and out into the pastures, and also includes a lovely dinner.
  • The Sunset Horseback Safari begins with dinner followed by approximately two hours of riding through grasslands and hillsides, as well as our butterfly habitat.
  • For thrill-seeking guests, booking a Sunset Zipline Safari tour is the way to go. Guests will gear up when the sun goes down on this breathtaking view of The Wilds above the animal pastures.

Guests are encouraged to sign-up for a membership to The Wilds to enjoy the wonderful perks that come with it. Membership includes free Open-Air Safari tours from May through October, discounts on premium safari experiences, free parking, member benefits for Nomad Ridge, The Lodge, and The Wilds’ Cabins at Straker Lake, a subscription to The Wilds’ digital member magazine, discounts at The Wilds’ Gift Market and Overlook Café and more. Members of The Wilds also receive a 50% discount on regular-priced Columbus Zoo and Aquarium tickets.

A trip to The Wilds can also be extended by booking a getaway and staying at one of the park’s overnight accommodations. Nomad Ridge is an adults-only getaway that includes a furnished private yurt overlooking animal pastures. For groups of up to 12 people, The Lodge is the perfect “home away from home,” as guests will stay in a private luxury cabin tucked away next to one of The Wilds’ most scenic lakes. Looking for a great place to stay for the whole family? The Wilds’ Cabins at Straker Lake offers accommodations for up to six guests with comfortable living areas and kitchens. These overnight accommodations are perfect for vacations, corporate retreats, and honeymoons, too.

From May–October, The Wilds is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The last tour departs at 4 p.m.) Pricing varies depending on the tour and advanced reservations are required.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please visit TheWilds.org.

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A Summer for the Great Outdoors

Are you ready to get outside? As the Mohican-Loudonville area businesses, shopping, restaurants, wineries, breweries, recreation, campgrounds and lodging owners are preparing and opening their facilities, they are doing so, following all guidelines to keep visitors and staff safe. So when you are ready to practice your social distancing in the great outdoors, Mohican-Loudonville is ready to welcome you back!

So what is there to do in the Camp & Canoe Capital of Ohio? Take a canoe or kayak down the Mohican State Scenic River, try the zip line or aerial adventure park.  Go-karts, mini-golf, and more.  Summertime is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and festivals.

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, electronics, antiques, crafts, gadgets that solve all sorts of issues, 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.

Mohican is also the gateway to Amish Country, just a short drive to Millersburg or Berlin with shopping galore!

DiscoverMohican.com has plenty of options to keep the traveler(s) on budget without compromising any wants on the trip. From campgrounds to cabins, a castle to a state park lodge, inns to bed & breakfast there is something for everyone.

Some places have savings all year long. For example, if looking for a cabin along the Mohican State Scenic River, check out Blackfork Cabins. The longer the stay, the more there is to save.  Put your child’s report card to work!  Mohican State Park Lodge offers a “Stays for A’s” program that awards $10.00 off for every A on your child’s report card, up to a $50.00 savings.  They also offer a special rate for the “Savvy Seniors”.  Guests over the age of 65 can enjoy the lodge’s special discounted rates.

So much to do, so little time. Whether here for a week or the weekend, there is something for everyone. Isn’t it time to Discover Mohican?

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See How Far One Tank Can Take You!

Steubenville and Jefferson County are ready to welcome you to explore history as you take a break from staying safe at home and begin your summer adventures. For those who don’t want to stray too far, a visit to Steubenville, one of the oldest cities in Ohio, offers the opportunity to step back in time and experience life in early America.

Begin at Historic Fort Steuben, a completely reconstructed 18th-century military fort on its original site overlooking the Ohio River. The eight wooden buildings, guardhouse, and palisade – laid out according to maps and letters preserved at the Clemens Library at the University of Michigan – present a glimpse of the skills, creativity, and hardships of the 150 men who inhabited the Fort in 1786-1787. Self-guided tours allow visitors to explore at their own pace, or visitors can arrange in advance to have a knowledgeable tour guide present the stories of the soldiers and surveyors for whom the Fort was a temporary home. An active archaeological dig is a reminder that the area had been occupied by Native American people over 500 years ago and still unearths artifacts from the past two centuries. The Fort Steuben Visitor Center houses an Exhibit Hall with seasonal displays and programs as well as a Museum Shop with books, toys, maps, and souvenirs. Visitors can find travel and tourism information there as well. As with other historic and tourism sites, the Fort and Visitor Center follow strict sanitary protocols to guarantee a safe and pleasant visit.

Adjacent to the Fort is the original log structure, the First Federal Land Office of the Northwest Territory, established in 1800. This historic building has a tale of its own to tell as it was hidden and then uncovered and then moved at least five times! It is now open and displayed as a 19th century home office where the registrar sold and documented deeds to the new land in Ohio open to settlement.

Located on the beautiful Ohio River, the city of Steubenville quickly grew around the site of the original fort and became an industrial giant in the 20th century. The history of the city and its citizens are portrayed in larger-than-life murals displayed on buildings throughout the downtown and central shopping districts. From the earliest days of horse-pulled fire engines to the celebration of modern heroes such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the City of Murals allows viewers to enjoy art while easily social-distancing. Brochures and information on the murals can be obtained at the Fort Steuben Visitor Center.

Historic North Fourth Street showcases the stately homes of those early industrialists as well as unique shops and eateries that can be found on a stroll along the avenue. The downtown area is home to more than a dozen historic churches that boast rich stained-glass windows and stunning architecture.

More history can be found driving through Jefferson County and visiting Historic Mount Pleasant, a major hub for the Underground Railroad and home of important abolitionists of the 19th century. The Historical Society of Mount Pleasant owns six historic buildings, each one a museum in itself. Additionally, the Ohio Yearly Meeting House – an amazing Quaker structure –  is included in their tours. At this time, tours and buildings are open by appointment only, however, there is a complimentary walking tour available on Trover.com.

After taking a walk through history, try a walk on one of the trails in Jefferson County. Check out the Birding Trail at Friendship Park or the Beatty Park Trail in Steubenville.

As Ohio recovers from Covid19, there will be many other sites and events where travelers can be educated, refreshed, and entertained all within a few hours’ drive. Check the website www.visitsteubenville.com or the Facebook page to find up-to-date information. In the meantime, the folks here in Jefferson County wish you to stay safe and enjoy the summer!

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Mother Nature at Her Finest

Sidney’s Tawawa Park 

Located on I-75 just 30 miles north of Dayton, Ohio you will find a wonderful variety of outdoor recreation sure to satisfy every travel preference. Among the best is Sidney’s Tawawa Park. The park itself consists of 220 wooded acres, two picturesque lakes, and a meandering creek. Tawawa Park was deeded to the City of Sidney in 1956, but its origins trace back much, much further.

After the “Big Four” Railroad was relocated in the early 1920s the abandoned railroad bed became a popular hiking trail, especially to the lake to fish and to visit Big Rock. Walking along the canal towpath was a favorite pastime in the spring and fall of the year. Today, Tawawa Park continues as a tranquil respite and features amenities found only in the country’s premier civic parklands.

Bicycling and hiking enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the miles of trails stretching through densely wooden areas, along streams, and scenic overlooks. Old-growth trees and wildflowers adorn the landscape. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget your camera. You’re sure to find an abundance of photo ops while on your Tawawa adventure.

For those who enjoy fishing, Tawawa Park features two lakes and a stream.  The lakes are freshly stocked annually and host a variety of species that are always fun to catch. Fishing licenses are required and all fishing in the lakes and streams is from the bank.

Have you heard of Big Rock? Arguably Tawawa’s most iconic natural feature, Big Rock is twelve feet high at its tallest point and weighs 103 tons. According to geologists, the granite boulder came to what would become Sidney about 15,000 years ago. It was carried by glacial ice from its native land estimated to be 700 miles to the northeast. Big Rock is a must-see and a great place to rest for a bit before your exploration continues.

The Ross Bridge is yet another not-to-be-missed photo stop at Tawawa Park. The bridge closely resembles several covered bridges constructed in Central Ohio by pioneer bridge designer and builder, Rueben L. Partridge (1823 to 1900).

For the kids, you will find ample playground equipment, soccer and baseball fields, and shallow creeks to wade when the water levels are safe to do so. Constructed just last year, the all-inclusive play area is an ideal spot to spend some time while the kids take turns on the toys there.

A number of attractive shelter houses with tables are also on the property for picnics, family reunions, and friendly get-togethers. For those wanting to plan ahead, these ideal gathering sites can be reserved in advance at no charge.

Throughout the year special events are organized at the park that includes a popular Cruise-In car show in June and Civil War Reenactment in September.  Those interested in learning more about these and the other organized events at Tawawa Park are encouraged to view the Sidney Visitors Bureau events calendar for specific dates and times.

Downtown Sidney is an easy bike ride or a short walk from the park and offers a nice variety of restaurants, bistros, and charming shops. Craft beer aplenty paired with everything from juicy burgers to delicious entrees, the eateries in downtown Sidney are sure to satisfy and will have you excitedly planning your next visit while enjoying your meal.

Tawawa Park is good for the soul.  Travelers from near and far rate Tawawa Park at nearly five stars on Trip Advisor. Says one guest, “Tawawa is, hands down, one of the most amazing city parks I’ve been to. A true hidden gem is little old Sidney, Ohio. Love to run, bike, and hike here. There’s even a small (but obscure) mountain bike trail! Lots of playgrounds for kids, the hiking trails transport you to what feels like another state, lots of places to picnic or have a kid’s birthday party or family reunion. If you come, be sure to explore! You’ll be amazed!”

Stretch your legs. Get back to nature. Take in the fresh air. Tawawa Park’s natural beauty and tranquility will rejuvenate your spirit.

For every recreation interest, the possibilities are many in Sidney. Visitors can select from 8 carefully prepared travel itineraries or build their own from a long list of things to see and do. Additional information about the many fine attractions in west-central Ohio can be found on the website of the Sidney Visitors Bureau at www.VisitSidneyShelby.com.

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Find Your Place at Your Pace

Come visit Marion, Ohio

An old-fashioned root beer stand with carhops, a multi-generation apple orchard, the home of a president, a cozy café in an historic downtown. These are the things that make memories.

Come visit us in Marion and find out why we say you will “Find Your Place at Your Pace.” Enjoy some nightlife at one of our local gastro pubs or live entertainment on the historic stage at the Palace Theatre. Tour the newly restored home of our 29th President. Then take in the sights and smells of the past at the country’s largest popcorn museum.

Still hungry? Pick up a copy of our Eaterarian Trail guide to discover our famous and not-so-famous unique eateries. Or perhaps you would like to hit the links for a round of golf with friends, or maybe do some shopping downtown to pick up a unique gift crafted by our local artisans.

The outdoors more your style? The Marion Tallgrass Trail is waiting with 12 miles of paved enjoyment through prairie, woods, and fields, or you can get your nature on at Big Island Wildlife Area to watch some birds, as well as its other residents.

Throw in some great events like the Blues & BBQ Festival, Marion Popcorn Festival, and the Wings & Wheels vintage plane/auto show and you just might have to come back for a second weekend.

Whatever your idea of a perfect weekend getaway, you’ll find it in Marion where the people are friendly, the traffic is nonexistent, and the pace is comfortable and relaxing.

Find your place, at your pace, in Marion! VisitMarionOhio.com.

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Your Tour Guide to Fun!

OhioTraveler.com‘s
TOUR GUIDE TO FUN

Enjoy the fun-photos and shenanigans
of the Tour Guide to Fun’s past trips
by clicking these stops:

Oberlin Heritage Center

Greene County Ohio Historical Society

Steubenville Visitor Center

Medina County Visitors Bureau 

Pike County Visitors Bureau

Memphis Kiddie Park 

Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

Logan County Visitors Bureau

Wayne County Visitors Bureau

Historic Roscoe Village

Cleveland History Center

Big Rock Cabins

Riverside Artists Gallery

A new adventure is posted every month.

Dive in for a good time!
Get Social with your “Tour Guide to Fun!”

Follow your “Tour Guide to Fun” by clicking “subscribe” at the top of this page or following OhioTraveler.com at

   

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Coshocton Crow Geotrail

Try Geocaching along the Scarr Loop Trail, a moderate, 2-mile hiking trail. But please practice your social distancing to be courteous to others on the trail.  

Geocaching is defined as “a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location,” according to the official website (www.geocaching.com).

To take part in this treasure hunt, users just need a GPS-enabled device (like any SmartPhone)! There is a specific app to download called, you guessed it, Geocaching® (Anything you need to know about Geocaching is at www.geocaching.com). From there, users create a free account and start caching. There are millions of geocaches all over the world! Geocachers simply enter in their zip code to begin finding caches near them. Anyone can make one and publish it to the app for others to find! Each location is associated with longitude and latitude coordinates to enter into the app and follow along. At each cache site, there will be a container with some small treasure, placed there by the creator in a (preferably) waterproof container. Other geocachers may take it and replace it with something of their own! Sometimes there is a bad apple that will take the cache without leaving something. Don’t be that guy.

With that said, the Geocaching community is one to be a part of! When a new trail launches, geocachers are notified and a reception is held near the trail site. Geocachers come from all over the world to find new caches. Once a trail is complete, collectible geocoins can be earned! This is beneficial for the cachers, the communities, and tourism in general! Generally, Geocachers don’t congregate; it is very much an individual/small group activity – ideal for this time of social distancing.

The Coshocton Crow Geotrail caches are updated and managed frequently. Explore Coshocton County when you escape to the outdoors. Geotrails are a fun activity and good exercise.

Click here to download/print the Coshocton Crow Geotrail Passport (it lists all of the coordinates users will need!).

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Secret Ohio Waterfall

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Well, it’s not a secret to the locals in the Hillsboro, Ohio area. Several miles north of town at 10211 Careytown Road in New Vienna, Ohio is a simple wood board that reads, “Waterfall.” Pull off the road into a small gravel parking lot. A winding path stretches about a mile or so into the Fallsville Wildlife Area. First, you’ll hear the waterfall. Then, you’ll see an access trail to the top of the falls. But the best vantage point is down a hillside (it’s somewhat steep but well-traveled), leading to the base of the falls where people stand and take in the beauty of its cascade.

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

Photo by Frank Rocco Satullo

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Vine & Bine Trail

In celebration of the variety of wineries and breweries that have sprung up throughout Delaware County in recent years, Destination Delaware County Ohio has unveiled their new Vine & Bine Trail. The trail, a collaboration of 10 local wine and ale makers, takes visitors on a trip across the county and allows them to sample some of the best locally-produced wine and beer in the region.

“Delaware County has some of the finest wines and craft beers in Ohio, and the Vine & Bine Trail is a terrific way to recognize and celebrate the county’s booming wineries and breweries,” said Joan Ayscue, communications assistant for Destination Delaware County Ohio. “Spanning from downtown Delaware to Powell, this trail is an easy way to sample these innovative wines and ales, while also exploring the region.”

The trail, cleverly named after the stems that grow a wine’s grapes and a beer’s hops, brings awareness to the robust wine and beer scene the county has developed. It also recognizes the local ingredients used to make several of the region’s award-winning beverages.

“Many of the wineries and breweries use local ingredients in their winemaking and brewing processes,” Ayscue added. “The impact of these businesses goes beyond the patrons who frequent these establishments. It truly is a county-wide collaborative effort between the vintners/brewers and the farmers.”

Delaware County has four wineries and six breweries in the region that boast award-winning wine and craft ales. Wines on the trail range from full-bodied reds, to fruity whites, to dessert wines and more. Some of the different beers featured on the trail include names like: Pandora’s Juice Box; Powell! Right in the Kisser; Whetstone Lager; Beta Flash New England IPA; Wildcat Sally (Saison Farmhouse Ale); and Smelly Pirate (Rum Raisin Belgian Quad).

“When people think of craft wine and beer, they may not initially think of Delaware County,” Ayscue said. “However, we have some of the best wineries and breweries in the Midwest here. This trail is a fantastic way to position Delaware County as a leader in the craft beverage scene, and attract wine and beer enthusiasts to the area.”

To learn more about the Vine & Bine Trail or view a detailed map of the trail, visit https://www.visitdelohio.com/. Visitors of the trail also are encouraged to share their experiences on social media and use the hashtags #visitdelohio and #vineandbinedelco.

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8 New Island & Shore Attractions

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

We know, nobody NEEDS a new reason to enjoy the amazing activities and summer fun at Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands! But whether you’re a regular visitor or a newbie just learning the ropes of all the fun there is to be had, everyone enjoys learning about the exciting, new things available.

Here are just a few of the new attractions offered this year:

Monster Jam® Thunder Alley roars into Cedar Point this summer, ONLY through June 30! Get up close, sit in, and even ride in some of your favorite Monster Jam trucks at this all-new, limitedime experience. Monster Jam Thunder Alley includes four adrenaline-charged experiences included with park admission. Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island also makes its debut at the park. The new attraction is described as an interactive experience, where you are challenged both mentally and physically to solve the mystery surrounding the Forbidden Frontier. It is said every experience has a different ending, determined by the player and the secrets unlocked.

Skydive Put-in-Bay offers a unique new way to experience island thrills. Tandem jumps are available with island-based air service, Island Air Taxi, in conjunction with instructor JR Piosek, with over 20 years of experience and more than 19,000 jumps. Jumps include hand cam video to document your one-of-a-kind adventure.

The Lake Erie Shores & Islands Cheers Trail is a fun way to explore area wineries, breweries, and distilleries. With 18 locations to discover, this new trail offers a reward to those who visit five locations. Pick up a brochure at one of the Lake Erie Shores & Islands welcome centers, get stickers when you make a qualifying purchase at participating locations, and return your trail map with five stickers to receive a free gift. Complete the entire trail, and you can be entered to win a future getaway!

The Marketplace at the Cooke is a new indoor retail and restaurant space in downtown Sandusky, part of a $6 million renovation of the iconic Cooke Building at the corner of Columbus Ave. and Market St. Businesses within the marketplace include a Sandusky Children’s Museum, Noble Axes axe-throwing, Fancy Me Boutique, Bake Erie specialty sweets, Doughin’ Crazy edible cookie dough and ice cream, Derrick Jr’s barbecue and soul food, and Sandusky Bell and Deli. The marketplace will also host pop-up-shops from various local artisans.

Port Clinton offers a brand new, four-story Fairfield Inn and Suites, which recently opened at a beautiful waterfront location. The new 85-room hotel features lakeside views and large suites along with Marriott Hotel amenities such as fast Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, fitness center, and indoor pool.

New this year at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions are two escape room attractions for families. Families will love these new “Out of This World” escape rooms. The adventures are perfect for all experience levels. Check out this two-part mission and book the Desert of Time where you’ll be transported into space, then finish out your journey as you Escape from Planet Obscura on a quest back to planet Earth.

Lakeside Chautauqua dedicated to nurturing mind, body, and spirit. Lago Coastal Café The brand-new Pickleball Center opens this summer and the Lakeside Chautauqua organization recently introduced a new app which offers program and schedule information on mobile devices. The Lakeside Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of new music director and conductor Daniel Meyer, will add a Pops concert and two new matinee youth concerts to its schedule.

Erie Shore Wave Runners is now open at Captain’s Corner Marina in Vermilion. In addition to wave runner rentals, the business offers guided tours through the Vermilion Lagoons, Vermilion River, and the nearby coastline via personal watercraft.

These are just a few of the new and notable attractions coming online this summer. Discover more at https://www.shoresandislands.com/. What will you add to your summer Shores & Islands bucket list?

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New Boutique Hotel “The Casa”

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

At Gervasi Vineyard

The Casa at Gervasi Vineyard (“casa” translates to the word “house” in Italian) is a single-story 18,000 sq. ft. hotel that houses 24 luxury individual suites. The new hotel is located behind the destination’s new distillery, The Still House, on the southwest quadrant of the 55-acre estate adjacent to the south vineyard.

The structure complements the Tuscan paradise with the same mission décor including off-white stucco with a dark roof, wood accents and wrought iron. Wall niches and Italian tile inlays adorn both the interior and exterior of the guest rooms. Italian tile floors include wood accents; rustic beams and wood ceiling details crown the Tuscan-inspired look. The hotel features a grand entrance lobby with spectacular details offering a shared social space for guests. In addition, beautifully decorated side-lobbies and niches are offered as a cozy hideaway.

“We are proud to have grown the Gervasi brand and continue to build Gervasi Village from our Italian heritage”, said Ted Swaldo, Proprietor, GV Destinations. “The Tuscan-mission style structure of the new boutique hotel wraps around a beautiful European-landscaped courtyard to complement the Italian landscape design of Gervasi Vineyard, but is unique in its own way.”

Each guest suite features a beautiful covered veranda with a view and access to a private courtyard and pond featuring lush gardens. Inside, the lavish suites offer a tastefully styled 375 sq. ft. space featuring high-end amenities including a luxury king-sized bed, fireplace, two club chairs, a walk-up bar with glassware for both wine and spirits, heated tile floors, spacious bathroom with walk-in shower and heated towel bars, in-room refrigerator offering select beverages, Keurig brewing system with Gervasi Caffé K-cups, robe and slippers, as well as other deluxe amenities.

Overnight guests are offered a selection of five Italian-style gourmet continental breakfasts delivered to their rooms each morning. Deluxe in-room spa services are available for overnight guests including manicures, pedicures, facials, individual and couples massages, and in-room yoga with advance request. Gervasi wines, spirits, specialty foods, and flowers may also be ordered for delivery to guest suites.

“Our exciting nine year journey of the expansion culminates with the opening of our high end boutique hotel. This spectacular addition to Gervasi Vineyard really solidifies us a unique and upscale destination resort, and is the capstone to our 55-acre estate. We couldn’t be more proud and excited to share it with our community and the region,” said Scott Swaldo, General Manager, GV Destinations.

The hotel features an exercise room and laundry facilities for all guests that stay overnight on the property. The destination resort now offers a total of 48 luxury suites between The Casa and The Villas at Gervasi Vineyard. In addition, The Farmhouse (the original residence on the property, circa 1820) also offers accommodations for up to eight guests in four bedrooms, complete with a modern kitchen, large dining room and quaint wrap-around porch facing the spring-fed lake. 

Gervasi Vineyard is a unique Tuscan-inspired, upscale destination winery resort featuring award-winning wines, distilled spirits, craft beer, and fabulous cuisine. The 55-acre estate offers breathtaking views of a spring-fed lake, vineyards and picturesque landscaping. Gervasi offers an exceptional wine portfolio featuring over 30 varietals with a focus on classical European varieties and includes three premier estate-grown North American hybrids.

Dine in three distinct restaurants, featuring exceptional house made cuisine made with only the freshest ingredients. The Italian Bistro, located in an historic barn, features rustic upscale dining. The Crush House Wine Bar & Eatery offers a casual setting featuring a contemporary flair. The seasonal outdoor venue, The Piazza patio, features traditional, yet casual menu for dining al fresco by the lake. The new distillery, The Still House features craft cocktails in a lounge-like setting, and serves as a coffeehouse by day.

Boutique shopping is offered in the Marketplace Gift Shop and features Gervasi Wines, Gervasi Spirits, imported Italian oils, specialty items, jewelry and collectibles. Luxury accommodations featuring 48 suites in The Villas and the new Casa boutique hotel offer high end amenities.

Special events include complimentary winery and distillery tours, wine and food pairings, seasonal vineyard tours, Cucina cooking classes, live music, educational classes, festivals and more.

Gervasi Vineyard is Gervasi Vineyard is rated by AAA as a Four-Diamond property for accommodations. It’s located at 1700 55th Street NE in Canton, Ohio. For more information about Gervasi Vineyard and GV Destinations, visit www.gervasivineyard.com.

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Historic Downtown Delaware


A Trendy Entertainment District 

One of the most charming downtown shopping and dining destinations, Historic Downtown Delaware attracts visitors from many states and countries beyond Ohio. Visitors signing the guest book in Destination Delaware County Ohio’s welcome center came from Ohio and 16 other states. The center also welcomed visitors from Argentina, Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, India, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Uganda. “Love it here, friendly, full of charm, and so wonderful,” are words most used to describe their Delaware experience.

The numerous non-chain restaurants make Downtown Delaware a fun eating adventure. A popular and diverse dining destination, food options include American, Italian, Mexican, Asian, Cajun, BBQ, and Greek. Fine dining, giant juicy burgers, small plates, chicken and waffles, hand-dipped milkshakes, made-from-scratch pizza and craft brews and wines are just a sample of what visitors like most about eating downtown. Coffee shops, outdoor cafes, mouth-watering chocolates, frozen custard, delicious baked goods, fresh made gelato and ice cream, gourmet cheeses, and olive oils and vinegars on tap are also part of the downtown Delaware foodie experience.

Collectors enjoy browsing for antiques and collectibles along Sandusky Street. Vintage items are also abundant in the shops and bring back bygone days for many as they browse for antique and nostalgic toys and treasures. Other popular boutiques offer children’s books, chalk-painted furniture and home décor, vinyl records, pottery painting, consignment clothing, and unique gift items.

Although Downtown Delaware is a family-friendly environment, it is also a place to enjoy award-winning brews. Two Micro Breweries and other establishments offering a variety of craft brews on tap enhance the experience. And, a beautiful new winery featuring hand-crafted wines is also a draw.

Located just north of Columbus, Ohio’s capital city, those who visit Delaware do not have to fight big city traffic to be inspired by the arts. Delaware is home to the highly-esteemed Central Ohio Symphony. The Symphony offers season tickets and performs at least five outstanding concerts each year, including a free Independence Day concert on the lawn at Ohio Wesleyan University, which is followed by fireworks.

One of the premier liberal arts colleges in the country, Ohio Wesleyan offers live music, theater and dance performances. The University’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum, Delaware Cultural Arts Center (AKA the Arts Castle), and Gallery 22 are all unique places to enjoy visual art exhibits. And, the weekend following Mother’s Day, over 150 venders fill the downtown streets for the annual Delaware Arts Festival.

Fun events in Historic Downtown Delaware also include Main Street Delaware’s Frist Fridays. The first Friday of each month draws big crowds downtown to shop, dine, participate in themed activities, and go to the movies at the Historic 1916 Strand Theatre. Appreciating local farm-to-table opportunities, downtown farmers’ markets take place Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, May through October.

The Internationally renowned Little Brown Jug Grand Circuit harness race takes place each September during the Delaware County Fair. A week prior to the Fair, the All-Horse Parade, one of the largest non-motorized parades east of the Mississippi, clip clops through Historic Downtown Delaware. And, it would be remiss not to mention the annual classic car show that completely fills four downtown blocks each summer.

Delaware also offers a variety of places to golf, hike, bike, explore, and play in the water. During travel season, many people coming to Delaware also come to play outdoors.

Check out the Destination Delaware County Ohio website when planning an adventure in Delaware.

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Take an Oberlin Odyssey

History, Art, Music, Cuisine and More – Only Steps Away

Located just 35 miles southwest of Cleveland and 11 miles from Lake Erie, Oberlin is the perfect place for day-trippers and travelers who like to explore and enjoy interesting sights, tastes, and sounds. With a lively downtown, captivating history, and picturesque landscape it is no surprise that this small community of 8,000 was named a Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Whether you are seeking a refreshing weekend away, visiting friends and family, or checking out Oberlin College and Conservatory, Oberlin has something for you.

History lovers will enjoy learning about Oberlin’s nationally-significant history by touring three beautifully preserved buildings at the Oberlin Heritage Center or signing up for a themed history walk through downtown neighborhoods. Hear stories about the first women in the nation to attend college and the assumptions they had to prove false. Ponder whether you could follow the same rules as the earliest settlers. (No tea or coffee?!) Listen to powerful stories about Oberlin’s national impact on the anti-slavery movement and people who traveled through Oberlin on their journey to freedom. Guests can also explore at their own pace through a variety of self-guided tours and by visiting dozens of historic monuments and markers located throughout the city, honoring scientists, Tuskegee Airmen, freedom seekers, historic trail blazers, and more.

Stretch your legs and spend time wandering Oberlin’s downtown and the Oberlin College campus to see architectural gems by notable designers like Cass Gilbert, Minoru Yamasaki, and Wallace Harrison. Immerse yourself among ancient artifacts and world-class art by masters such as Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Oldenburg, and Calder in the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College’s free art museum. The art museum also maintains and offers tours of the Weltzheimer/Johnson House, a Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and located just over a mile from downtown.

Those ready for rest and a recharge can choose from a variety of coffee houses, bakeries, sandwich shops, ice cream parlors, cafés, and restaurants, several of which serve locally sourced foods. Stop in at unique shops to browse through antiques, beads, jewelry, art supplies, books, gifts, art, hardware, vintage clothing, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. If it gets too hot outside, step into the cool air conditioning of the historic Apollo Theatre and watch a new release on the big screen (at little expense). Beyond the town center are reservoirs and parks to traverse, a rail-trail bike path, historic Westwood Cemetery, Splash Zone Metro Park, and canopy tours at Common Ground retreat and renewal center.

Those who crave a more festive atmosphere should watch community and college calendars for events like the annual Juneteenth Celebration (June 16), Chalk Walk (June 23; pictured above), Family Fun Fair and Car Show (August 4), outdoor summer concert series, Oberlin Summer Theater Festival, and more world-class musical and theatrical performances year-round. When it’s time to retire for the night, Oberlin offers a variety of accommodations, including the downtown Hotel at Oberlin and numerous Bed and Breakfast hosts.

The Oberlin Heritage Center is a great place to start your visit to Oberlin, learn more about the history of this spirited community, and pick up maps, information, and calendars. The parking lot of the Heritage Center is located at 20 West Vine Street and OHC is open year-round, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 to 3:00 with extended hours during special event weekends.

For more information, visit www.oberlinheritagecenter.org or call 440-774-1700

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Spirit of America in a Bottle

Indian Creek Distillery

It’s not easy putting history in a bottle, but Joe and Missy Duer have resumed a very old family tradition that allows them to do just that with their Artisan Farm Distillery, Indian Creek Distillery, located in southern Miami County.

“Making whiskey the old-fashioned way, not the industrialized way, is an art and flows out of passion and intuition, which makes for a very artistic process,” Missy said.

Missy Duer comes from a long line of millwrights and distillers by trade. Her forefathers moved from Pennsylvania and settled in Ohio before it was recognized as a state. Missy’s great great great grandfather Elias and his two brothers built a grist mill along Indian Creek, which was completed in 1818. Elias purchased the farm in 1820 and built a brick distillery to utilize the excess grain from the large grist mill. The demand for whiskey was a great bonus for the ambitious Staley family.  Staley Rye Whiskey became known for its quality and customers traveled for miles to have their jugs filled. The business flourished for 100 years involving three generations of Staleys, until Prohibition put a halt on whiskey production in 1920.

“From 1933 until about 15 years ago, you could not build a distillery in the state of Ohio, but recent law changes have allowed my husband Joe and I to bring my family’s distilling legacy back to life,” Missy said. “Most important was that my great-grandfather, George Washington Staley, saved the stills, mash tubs, fermenters and assorted distilling equipment from the revenuers during Prohibition. We also have the original Rye Whiskey recipe!”

The Duers have a modernized facility on their beautifully preserved family farm where the distilling takes place, but they operate with an “old school, old rules” mentality crafting whiskey like the Staley forefathers, including the use of the original copper pot stills.  The stills are the oldest working stills in America today.  They follow an old, open-top mashing and fermentation process where the weather plays an important role in the process.

“There are limitations with open-top fermentation and mashing. You run into weather considerations because changes in the weather give you different yields. The reason is that mashing — which is the conversion of starch to sugar with the mixture of grain and hot water that takes three or four hours — if there is a drop in the barometric pressure, sugar yield is reduced,” Joe said. “In fermentation, which is the conversion of sugar to alcohol, there can be situations where there is electricity in the air from thunderstorms that will stop the action of the yeast being used. Once the storm is passed, the yeast can be reactivated, but that can delay fermentation and the production of alcohol. All of these limitations and problems could be solved by not doing the open-top fermentation, but that’s not the way the old boys did it, so we aren’t doing it that way either.”

There were numerous challenges in figuring out how to make Pre-Prohibition whiskey; Joe did most of the distilling when they first re-opened in 2012, and he had a tremendous challenge learning what the Staleys used to know.

“It was a steep learning curve because we were recreating history, and all the old timers are gone; who I could ask,” Joe said. “We had to interpret old letters and recipes where the initial guidelines were to ‘heat your water and cool your water.’ That’s very interesting to me because I didn’t know what that meant until I found that heating the water consisted of being able to hold your hand in the water for one minute and cooling the water meant bringing it down to the temperature of fresh milk from a cow, which proposed an issue because I didn’t have a cow.”

Indian Creek Distillery’s whiskeys are available at the distillery and in over 150 state agencies in Ohio.  The Duers also offers delicious locally sourced maple syrup (StillHouse Maple Syrup) that is aged in their used rye whiskey barrels.

“The distillery is open seven days a week and attracts three types of people: historians, whiskey lovers, and whiskey historians,” Joe said. “I have applied everything I have learned in my life to this career because being self-employed can bring surprises. We knew coming into this we needed two things to make this work. First, you need a good product, and secondly and most importantly, you need a story, and we have that here in spades.”

“Our national history is a very personal one, at least it is for me,” Missy said. “Staley Mill Farm & Indian Creek Distillery tells the story of our country and of my family, one generation at a time. This beautifully preserved pioneer complex is a remarkably intact view of a vanishing landscape. My husband Joe and I share the past, the present and the future of our true heritage, timeless history and the spirit of liberty. We are preservationists by choice, pioneers by birth, dreamers of things to come and we are proud to produce America’s spirit… a true sip of history.”

Click here to plan a visit to Indian Creek Distillery.

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SoundSurfer Redefines Waterslides

Zoombezi-Bay-waterslide

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Zoombezi Bay became the first water park in America to feature an outdoor slide with built-in light shows and a personalized sound system when it revealed the SoundSurfer.

Dubbed “The King of Beats,” the SoundSurfer is a modified version of Zoombezi Bay’s longest slide, formerly known as the Tahitian Twister. Now, thrill-seekers can enjoy 512 feet of acceleration drops and vortex loops while soaked in a kaleidoscope of colors and while jamming out to Beyoncé, Skrillex, Florida Georgia Line, Ellie Goulding, Johnny Cash and other popular artists. Riders have an opportunity to select their preferred musical genres from a push button panel.

“Being the first slide in the country to deliver a personalized light show and jam session, the SoundSurfer takes the water park experience to a whole new level,” said John Gannon, senior vice president of guest services and business strategy. “People aren’t just going along for the ride anymore, they are truly becoming sound surfers.”

The slide accommodates two to five people per ride, and offers eight musical options of the riders’ choosing. The genres include:

  • Rockin Rafts: Featuring AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Kid Rock, Motley Crue and Metallica
  • PopParadise: Featuring Taylor Swift, DNCE, Ellie Goulding, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga
  • New Wave Country: Featuring Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney
  • Rave Rider: Featuring Skrillex, LMFAO, Martin Garrix, Galantis, DJ Snake/LilJohn
  • Hip Hop Drop: Featuring House of Pain, Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, Beastie Boys, Will Smith/DJ Jazzy Jeff, Beyoncé
  • Beach Party: Featuring The Surfaris, The Beach Boys, The Trashmen, Jimmy Buffet
  • Random Beats: Featuring Republica, Rage Against the Machine, Tag Team, Johnny Cash, Ozzy Osbourne
  • Tahitian Twister: Featuring storm, wind and wave sound effects

Riders must be 48 inches tall to ride, or 42 inches tall if accompanied by an adult. The SoundSurfer is included in admittance into the water park. Gold Memberships and Season Passes are available for purchase online, and include free parking and entry for the 2016 season. All tickets to Zoombezi Bay include free entry into the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Zoombezi Bay is a 22.7 acre water park that features a new multi-level play structure, 17 state of the art water slides, a wave pool, an action river, a lazy river, private cabanas, a kiddie play pool and more.

For more information about Zoombezi Bay, please visit www.zoombezibay.com.

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Road Trip Reunion

Ash-Cave-in-1930s

When was the last time you got the whole gang together?  Whether family or friends there’s a good chance everyone is spread across the map.  This will be a great year for a road trip reunion.

Ever since John Belushi shouted those famous words “Road Trip!” in “Animal House” the very idea congers up images of escape, adventure and maybe a little mischief.  Southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills is the perfect destination for the quintessential reunion road trip.

Located within a day’s drive of more than sixty percent of the U.S. population, the Hocking Hills region is internationally recognized as the best “Under-the-Radar” destination in all of North America by Buzzfeed.com stating that, “Hocking Hills State Park is a must for nature lovers, filled with cliffs, gorges, and waterfalls.”

The region is best known for world-class hiking and cozy cabins.  The Hocking Hills is also the Canopy Tour Capital of the Midwest with more than fifty ziplines.  This is the place to bring your bucket list.  Get a bird’s eye view from the tree canopy.  Fly like Buck Rogers with Jet Pack Water Adventures.  Anglers are in for a whole new experience with Ohio Belly Boat Fishing.

Whether your bucket list wish is to say so-long to your schedule, disconnect from all the electronic gadgets or an adrenaline filled, high-flying weekend with your alma mater pals, the Hocking Hills is just the ticket.  Outdoor recreation, family friendly festivals, museums, performing arts, tours and much more will keep everyone entertained.

After an activity filled day it’s time to relax and what could be more relaxing than your own private resort.  Luxurious lodges are designed to provide privacy, plenty of room for everyone and all the comforts of home.  Go for a swim in your private pool.  Chill out in a hot tub while gazing at the star-filled sky.  Toast marshmallows over an open fire while stories of the day and laughter lingers in the evening air.

Plan your road rip reunion around one of the region’s signature festivals.  The Washboard Music Festival brings bluegrass, zydeco, rock, country, folk and gospel music together for a celebration of the washboard’s melodic tones in historic downtown Logan (June).  Lilyfest is the “un-festival”.  There are no deep fried foods, Ferris wheels or fireworks, just flowers, art and music wafting on a breeze throughout the Bishop Educational Gardens (July).

The Laurelville Fireman’s Old Time Festival in July is just what you would expect.  The nightly fish fry is legendary.  The Midway delights kids of all ages.  When was the last time you took a spin on a Tilt-a-Whirl?  The highlight of the festival is Ohio’s most expensive cake auction.

Everyone loves a parade so, naturally, everyone loves Nelsonville’s Parade of the Hills featuring three parades beginning with the Main Street Welcome Home Parade on Wednesday followed by the Bicycle Parade on Thursday and the pièce de résistance, the Grande Parade on Saturday.  Add Queen contests, the Ohio State Fiddling Contest, Pie Contest & Auction and a 5k Run For The Hills (just in case you eat too much pie)and you’ve got one great festival.  Evening musical entertainment includes Hard Days Night (Beatles Tribute Band) on Wednesday, Ohio’s own McGuffey Lane on Thursday, Mr. Speed (KISS Tribute Band) on Friday and Stadium 11 in August.

So fire off those emails, tweets, posts, shares.  This is the summer for a road trip reunion and your destination is the Hocking Hills.

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Roscoe Village is a Standout

roscoe-village-canal-boat

Historic Roscoe Village is a Standout in Ohio Tourism

Historic Roscoe Village: This historic Ohio canal town is a standout in a variety of experiences. The canal boat ride, living history tours, unique shopping, dining and special events make this a favorite destination for tens of thousands year round. Get lost in the architecture and the tales from costumed guides and you’ll feel what it’s like to be living in the 1800s. The general store, blacksmith, schoolhouse, doctor’s office and so much more add to the authenticity of this time capsule. Throughout the year, amazing seasonal events add to the bustling village and its history, creating family memories for all. Discover all that Historic Roscoe Village has to offer at http://www.roscoevillage.com/.

This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.

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The Capital of Ohio Tourism

chillicotheExcerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Ross County and Chillicothe, Ohio offers visitors not only the opportunity to explore Ohio’s heritage but also provides a beautiful setting for outdoor recreation. Located in southern Ohio, Ross County is part of Ohio’s Appalachian Country that consists of many of the counties throughout eastern and southern Ohio.

Chillicothe was the first capital of Ohio and contains lots of historical sites that allow each visitor to learn more about the heritage of the area and life in different eras. Learn facts about Ross County from the prehistoric, Hopewell Culture to the view from Thomas Worthington’s estate that became the background to the Great Seal of Ohio.

Step back in time at Adena Mansion & Gardens with a tour of the home and grounds of Thomas Worthington, who was known as the “Father of Statehood.” The guided tours take you on a journey through the mansion to learn about life in that era. Relive the life of Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre, home of “Tecumseh” Outdoor Drama. Visitors will witness the epic life story of Tecumseh as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s. Guided tours of the Ross County Heritage Center provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the history of Chillicothe and Ohio, knowledge about Native Americans in the area, the military training center known as Camp Sherman, and much more!

Travel even farther back in time to 200 BC at Ross County’s National Park. Discover the Hopewell Culture and learn about the ceremonial earthworks that these natives had created. At Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, you can get a ranger led tour through the earthworks to uncover more facts about this culture. This location is currently nominated as a World Heritage Inscription site for the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks.

Another treasure for Chillicothe is the 160 year old continuously operating, Majestic Theatre. This theater is not only a historical site but continues to offer entertainment to the area. It hosts over 100 events each year that feature a variety of musical performances, plays, and workshops.

If you enjoy being outdoors, Ross County is definitely where to be! Ross County is fortunate to be able to offer visitors five State Parks with beautiful scenery and many trails for walking or biking. Many of the State Parks also offer a variety of activities which include beach areas for swimming, boating, and fishing. If you enjoy biking, Ross County is part of the Tri-County Triangle Trail that contains over 32 miles of paved trails. If you prefer to be on the water, visitors can relax and enjoy nature by traveling down Paint Creek by canoe or kayak at one of the canoe liveries.

For visitors who enjoy festivals, Ross County hosts several annual festivals throughout the year. Each festival offers its own unique touch to complement the community and its heritage from the Native American heritage to the beautiful autumn colors of Southern Ohio. Some of the most notable festivals include the Feast of the Flowering Moon, International Sunflower Festival, Salt Creek Valley Festival, Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival and the Fall Festival of Leaves.

Don’t miss out on some of Chillicothe’s best local flavors! Visit restaurants in downtown Chillicothe for a variety of great food and fun atmosphere. You can also spend the afternoon browsing through the unique shops that make up the downtown area and then spend some time in Yoctangee Park.

Whether visitors are looking for a weekend getaway or a longer stay, Chillicothe and Ross County can provide them with something fun to do while learning about its heritage. With many more historical sites and special events, there is never a shortage of activities. You can find more information about the area by visiting the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website at www.VisitChillicotheOhio.com.

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