May Archives

D&D in a Castle

This Dungeons & Dragons First U.S. Event will be at Landoll’s Mohican Castle

Tabletop Vacation’s D&D in a Castle, renowned for its immersive Dungeons & Dragons experiences in historic castles, under license by leading toy and game company Hasbro, proudly announced that its first event in the United States sold out in record time. The event was fully booked within 33 minutes of ticket release, underscoring the extraordinary demand for this unique experience.

No fear. Additional event dates have been added for August. Plan a quest to the gorgeously designed Landoll’s Mohican Castle on the border of the beautiful Mohican Forest.

Founded by siblings Cameron and Tara Rout, D&D in a Castle uniquely combines Cameron’s D&D expertise with Tara’s knowledge of castles and history to create unparalleled gaming retreats. Their collective passion has captivated D&D enthusiasts globally, offering a perfect blend of fantasy gaming in picturesque settings. The sell-out event bodes well for the company’s expansion and popularity in the U.S.

“We started with a dream to integrate the immersive experience of round-the-clock D&D with the fantastical setting of castles,” said Tara Rout, Co-Founder & CEO of D&D in a Castle. “Launching in the U.S. at Landoll’s Mohican Castle, a location steeped in architectural beauty and history, is a realization of that dream and a milestone for us.”

Although the July event is booked, there is a waiting list. Given the high demand, D&D in a Castle is delighted to announce two additional U.S. events at Landoll’s Mohican Castle, set for August 11-15 and 18-22, 2024. Like the July event, these will feature intensive D&D sessions, themed meals, and opportunities to engage with prominent figures in the Dungeons & Dragons community. For more information on the events and to purchase tickets, please visit:

“D&D in a Castle is about creating extraordinary experiences,” said Justin Kautz, Event Coordinator of D&D in a Castle. “The sell-out of our first U.S. event and the addition of a second one is a dream come true. We look forward to bringing more such magical events to our community.”

Dungeons & Dragons has enchanted fans for nearly 50 years with innovative gameplay, allowing friends and family to adventure in fantasy worlds together. The world’s greatest roleplaying game boasts more than 50 million fans to date who have enjoyed the franchise through video games, novels, comics, roleplaying games, and accessories.

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Candyland Video

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The Candyland Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, Ohio, has multiple floors designed for kids to discover and learn through exploration and play. Learn engineering at the water table, wind tube, race track, and ball track. Costumes and props open the imagination of what’s possible. Use a variety of materials to express self through art. A farm-to-table experience features a barn, farmers market, food truck, and ice cream truck. Burn some energy on a two-story climbing structure and ninja warrior course, and strengthen gross motor skills by climbing, running, and jumping! There’s even a two-story cityscape with buildings, costumes, and toys for different professions.

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World Heritage Meets Hometown Charm

In Chillicothe, Ohio

Nestled in the rolling Appalachian foothills in southern Ohio, Chillicothe invites travelers to embark on an extraordinary journey. Beyond its charming streets and welcoming community lies a treasure trove of ancient wonders, intriguing historical sites, and modern-day culture.

Long before history was recorded, over 2,000 years ago, the landscape was much different in central and southern Ohio when early Native American ancestors once lived and gathered on these lands. They constructed this area’s largest concentration of magnificent earthworks that served as sacred gathering sites. These sites are now globally recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, Ohio’s first and only World Heritage Site. Five of the eight sites are in Chillicothe, where they are protected by Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, with Ohio History Connection managing the other three sites in Newark and Oregonia.

These awe-inspiring earthen complexes showcase the ancient ancestors’ advanced knowledge of engineering, geometry, and astronomy. They intricately designed complexes in the shapes of squares, octagons, and circles, and most have solar and lunar alignments woven into these ancient structures, highlighting the ancestral understanding of the cosmos.

Far from mere relics of the past, these earthworks stand as enduring monuments to the generations that came before us. Unlike towering cathedrals, these complexes’ spacious enclosures and mounds served as venues for ceremonial gatherings, fostering connections between communities and honoring significant rites of passage. The earthworks invite contemplation on the shared human experience and the legacy of the early Native American ancestors. The UNESCO designation underscores the outstanding universal value of these sites and emphasizes the importance of preserving and sharing their cultural heritage with the world.

Beyond the ancient earthworks, Chillicothe radiates a captivating blend of historical allure and modern vitality. Travelers can explore the beautifully restored 19th-century mansion at Adena Mansion & Gardens, once the home of Thomas Worthington, a pivotal figure in Ohio’s statehood journey. The gardens feature three terraces of flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees as they functioned during the 1800s. The north lawn provides a spectacular view of the Mt. Logan Range, which inspired the design of the Great Seal of the State of Ohio.

The Ross County Historical Society offers engaging exhibits that span different eras, shedding light on the history of the Northwest Territory and the founding of the state of Ohio, the prehistoric cultures of the Scioto River Valley, the area’s involvement in the Civil War, Camp Sherman, and World War I, and historical vehicles and transportation. Additionally, you can tour a log house with artifacts depicting what life was like in the community’s early days.

As dusk descends upon Chillicothe, the evening is just coming to life on Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater for “Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama. The production unfolds under the star-studded sky. The life story of the legendary Shawnee leader comes alive on the stage as he defends his sacred homelands during the late 1700s. This action-packed annual summer production immerses audiences with galloping horses, a live military cannon, and breathtaking battle sequences.

Downtown Chillicothe pulses with the vibrant energy of a city that knows its history and embraces its future. Strolling along the charming streets, visitors will be greeted with the timeless architecture that blends seamlessly with the modern buzz of local restaurants, quaint cafes, and unique boutique shops. Downtown comes alive with melodic strains of live music drifting from cozy pubs and from the historic Majestic Theatre. Jump on the Chillicothe Trolley for a nostalgic journey along the downtown streets or explore the city on an immersive tour with the First Capital Brews Cruze, a fifteen-passenger party bike.

A trip to Chillicothe is a timeless voyage where ancient civilizations harmonize with the lively modern culture. It’s an opportunity to witness the legacy of Native American craftsmanship while embracing the warmth of southern Ohio hospitality.

Let the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau assist you with planning your epic adventure. Learn more about the area by visiting, downloading the official Visit Chillicothe Ohio mobile app, or calling 740-702-7677.

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Plan A Summer Adventure

In Grove City

Whether you’re 8 or 80, life needs adventure. Big or small, physical or spiritual, inside or outside, art or athletics, heart pounding or heartwarming…adventure makes us feel new again.

Of course, adventure comes in as many shapes and sizes as adventurers.  For some, adventure lies in the quest for adrenaline-inducing activity. For others, adventure is learning or sharing or the simple quest for moments of stillness surrounded by nature, which is part of what makes Grove City, Ohio, so special.  Just a short drive from Columbus, this unexpected nature paradise caters to everyone from thrill seekers to wine sippers (and all those in between).

The first thing visitors notice is the abundance of parks. Grove City is like one never-ending glorious playground. Every green space offers a remarkable range of outdoor activities, from freshwater kayaking and tree-canopied cycling to cross-country skiing and the thrill of fishing and hunting for wild game at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Serious players and amateurs can tee it up with friends at the award-winning Pinnacle Golf Course or aim for LVL UP Sports Paintball Adventure Park. Adventure innovators won’t want to miss Kickmaster Footgolf, the first dedicated footgolf course in the country. If that’s not enough activity, you can always catch some air at the skatepark or backpack down the one-of-a-kind REI River Trail from dawn to dusk, ending the day by sleeping under the stars. This is a place to get your heart rate up and let your spirits soar.

If you like your adventure a little softer, Grove City is also an ideal spot for bliss seekers to refresh both mind and soul naturally. Leisurely canoe paddling down a State and National Scenic River offers time for self-reflection and, if lucky, a glimpse of wildlife enjoying their sanctuary. Family camping trips mean stories around the campfire and a chance to count constellations. You can feed your curious mind in the historic Grove City Town Center and your hungry appetite in a variety of local eateries. If adventure is sweeter with man’s best friend by your side, join your dog on a walk (or run) at one of many pet-friendly parks. And Mother Nature’s handiwork is on display everywhere you look, especially in parks and gardens. Bottom line, you may not like your adventure heart pounding, but Grove City’s natural beauty means it will always be breathtaking.

Adventures in learning include outdoor summer festivals and events, like Arts in the Alley and EcoFest, exploring everything from arts to sustainability. You can always find your favorite libations at Plum Run Winery or popular craft beer pubs. Celebrate the finer things in life at the Grove City Wine and Arts Festival, a two-day outdoor festival showcasing Ohio’s wine industry and local creatives.

From heart-pounding exhilaration to heartwarming family time, Grove City is up for fun and down to earth. It is invigorating and relaxing. Close to the city but far from its temperament, it’s a natural escape to work out or rest up. Best of all, there is no rush hour in Grove City; your journey is perfectly paced for you—and anyone else you bring along for the ride.

To start planning your adventure, go to or call 800-539-0405.

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A Kaleidoscope Of Experiences

It’s time to start planning your getaway to Coshocton County! Coshocton beckons travelers with a kaleidoscope of experiences. Immerse yourself in rich history, explore the beauty of nature, or simply unwind and reconnect with loved ones. With something for every interest, Coshocton promises an unforgettable getaway.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are a variety of options for adventure and relaxation. Exploring the county’s scenic water trails by canoe or kayak is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air and may even offer a glimpse of the many Bald Eagles and Osprey that use the rivers to hunt for fish. Explore the Eagle Ridge Disc Golf Course! This course has 18 holes that will challenge players of all levels. The course is free and open year-round. It features beautiful scenery and more than 11 miles of pathways for walking.

Immerse yourself in the past at Historic Roscoe Village! Take a self-guided Living History tour and learn through the captivating digital kiosks the history of 19th-century tradespeople like printing press operators, broom squires, weavers, doctors, and teachers. This tour features 7 historic buildings and is available daily from 10AM to 4PM. Purchase tickets and start your tour at the Roscoe Village Visitors Center! Be sure to include a visit to the nationally accredited Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. This museum features East Asian Art, Ohio history, Prehistoric Art, and special exhibits. The Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat Ride opens Saturday, May 25, and runs throughout the summer on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.

Escape to Clary Gardens, a free botanical paradise open year-round! Explore 20 scenic acres bursting with vibrant rose gardens, tranquil ponds, a captivating outdoor amphitheater, and a storybook trail. Unwind on a romantic stroll or family picnic amidst the beauty of nature. Children will be delighted by the whimsical play area, while the open-air pavilion offers a unique venue for special events. Don’t miss the Birds of Prey Falconry demonstration on June 4th, the Moth / Light Exhibit on June 27th, or make your wedding unforgettable in Ohio’s top outdoor venue!

Enjoy a delicious and safe exploration of Coshocton County’s craft beverage scene with the Sip and Stay Thursday Package! Available Thursdays through October 31st, this affordable package treats you to a standard room and complimentary breakfast for two at Coshocton Village Inn & Suites. You’ll also receive vouchers to four local wineries or breweries, with transportation provided by Cork & Tap Excursions. Discover new favorites as the featured locations refresh every three months! Book your getaway by calling Coshocton Village Inn & Suites at 740-622-9455 or visit for details.

The fascinating world of flintknapping comes to Coshocton during the Coshocton Flint Festival & Knap-In! Held May 24th through 26th, 2024, at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds, this popular event attracts talented artisans from across the country. Witness craftsmen demonstrate how to make arrowheads, spears, stone tools, bows, and more from hide and bone. Browse unique vendors selling flint and related tools, and discover the history and techniques behind this remarkable art form. The Coshocton Flint Festival & Knap-In, hosted by the Flint Ridge Knap-In Flint Ridge Lithic Society, is a perfect opportunity to connect with others who share your passion for archaeology, history, and primitive skills.

Coshocton heats up this summer with a sizzling lineup of events! Take to the skies for breathtaking views at the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival (June 6th-8th). The Corvette Cruise-In on June 9th is a must-attend for classic car enthusiasts. Mingle with the community at the lively Summer Kick-Off Block Party on June 15th. End your summer evenings on a high note with free concerts under the stars during Our Town Coshocton’s Summer Concert Series (June 22nd, July 20th, August 3rd, and September 8th).  Plan your summer adventure and discover all the details at

Coshocton’s abundance of outdoor adventures makes it a paradise for nature lovers! With so much to explore, you can easily fill several days with unforgettable experiences.  Request a free visitor packet today at and start planning your escape!

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How It’s Made in Shelby County

For decades, Shelby County has enjoyed the distinction of having the highest percentage of manufacturing jobs per capita in the State of Ohio. Today and throughout its history, Shelby County is known as a place that builds things. With a visit, you’ll quickly see why this region is a hotbed for manufacturing and how that came to be.

Your day begins with a tour of the Airstream manufacturing facility, affectionately known as “the Mothership.” You’ve seen these iconic travel trailers on the highway; now, with a guided factory tour, you can witness first-hand how they’re built. From the first stages of assembly through final checks for quality assurance, these world-class travel trailers are manufactured exclusively in Jackson Center, Ohio.

After the tour, a visit to the Airstream Heritage Center is a must. Paying tribute to nearly 100 years of business success, the Heritage Center displays an incredible collection of vintage Airstream trailer trailers, interactive exhibits, and Airstream collectibles of every imaginable variety. The Airstream Starbucks and Airstream Supply Company are popular on-site stops as well for a cup of coffee and souvenir from your visit. An Airstream Touring Coach plant tour is also available for those craving more.

Nearby downtown Sidney is home to Austeria Wine Boutique, where guests treat themselves to curated wine tastings at this newly opened bottle shop featuring more than 900 bottles of wine. Wine prices begin at $10-$15 per bottle and include local, national, and international varieties for patrons to discover, sample, and purchase.

Day 2 begins with stretching your legs on a walking tour of downtown Sidney. Here, you can visit the F & M State Bank, built in 1917 by famed architect Louis Sullivan, who served as a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright. This exquisite architectural masterpiece, best known for its “jewel box” design, is not to be missed. From there, you’ll stroll across the street for a peek into the Monumental Building, originally constructed in 1877 to honor Shelby County’s fallen Civil War soldiers. Where Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley once performed, the beautifully renovated Opera House on the upper level is now home to Sidney’s Municipal Court.

Downtown dining 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 options include Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen and Amelio’s Italian Pizza Shop. Murphy’s features locally sourced ingredients in their varied menu of tasty dishes and 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 health 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.

After lunch, tour the Wallace Family Learning & Innovation Center, where you’ll learn the compelling story of how Shelby County emerged from a primitive wilderness 200 years ago to the innovative and vibrant community it is today. A total of six galleries featuring interactive displays & exhibits are exceptionally well presented and very informative.

On Day 3, It’s time to get crafty. After a couple of days of seeing how it’s made in Shelby County, it’s now time to make something yourself at Hammer & Stain. This curated, do-it-yourself studio offers guests the opportunity to transform unfinished wood into beautiful and personalized home décor. Guidance with crafting charcuterie, wovens, & more are also offered. With your finished souvenir in hand, the balance of the day can be enjoyed by visiting local downtown specialty shops and boutiques or simply relaxing on the beautiful Shelby County court square, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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

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Discover Your Adventure in Mohican

Everyone is preparing their summer plans, and Mohican is ready to help. The Mohican Area will once again be buzzing with visitors from all over. There’s a little something for everyone, whether for kids, couples, friends, sports enthusiasts, animal lovers, or nature admirers.

Mohican State Park and Forest are home to many recreational trails, including Ohio’s only IMBA EPIC mountain biking trail.  Whether hiking, biking or by horseback, the Mohican trails are full of scenic views and year-round beauty.  Nearby Malabar Farm is one of Ohio’s most unique and interesting State Parks equipped with a brand new Educational Visitor Center.  Home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, screenwriter, and conservationist Louis Bromfield, Malabar Farm State Park is a true working farm. The area is proud to be home to the Mohican, a state scenic river that runs along the Wally Road Scenic Byway.  Known to be “Ohio’s Largest Recreational Complex,” the Wally is the heart of the famous camping and canoeing industry, with another addition of the brand new Spellacy Covered Bridge.

Visit downtown historic Loudonville and stop in the unique specialty shops, or take a day trip to Amish Country, where you can tour an Amish home and farm.  Walk the shopped-lined main streets, and be sure to stop and enjoy some baked goods! Visit the area museums or take in a movie or a play in Loudonville’s historic Ohio Theatre. Listen to live entertainment at one of many local wineries.

Whether you stay a week or a weekend, Mohican Country is home to many family-owned and award-winning accommodations. From rustic to royal, cabins, cottages, treehouses, a state park lodge, and even a castle are ready to welcome you.

It doesn’t matter if you are exploring the outdoors at one of the State Parks, sipping local wines, or enjoying the day on the river—each day is another chance to find yourself in a really great place and make memories that last a lifetime!

Join some fun events:

  • May 25th– Mohican Arts and Crafts Festival | Downtown Loudonville
  • June 8th – Wine At The Mill Fundraiser | Wolf Creek Grist Mill
  • June 29 – Family Fun on the Farm | Malabar Farm State Park
  • July 4th – Fireworks | Downtown Loudonville
  • July 5th – Antique Festival | Downtown Loudonville
  • July 6th to 22nd – Annual Classic Car Show | Downtown Loudonville

Plan to stay for the week or weekend. With over 5,000 campsites, private cabins, a castle, a state park lodge, historic bed and breakfasts, and more, there is a place that will welcome overnight visitors to make it their home away from home. Take a stroll through downtown Loudonville for shopping and dining. There is plenty of room to discover the best of Mohican. Visit for more information, or find them on Facebook—Discover Mohican.

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Medina Combo Tour

In Medina County, the putting greens are lush, the microbrews are cold, and accommodations are close by and welcoming. That can only mean one thing: time to get the old gang together for a golfing road trip! Here are three golf and brewery tour options to kickstart your weekend planning.

Northern Medina County

Kick off your tour of Northern Medina County golf courses with Coppertop Golf Club, Valley City, Ohio, which features an 18-hole course. The onsite Golfer’s Pub offers refreshments and delicious food. Once off the links, sample the unique bites and refreshments at Jilbert Winery & Brewery, Valley City, Ohio. Choose from a variety of wines, beers, and appetizers. Ready to accommodate nearly any size group of travelers. After a few drinks, relax and regroup at Comfort Suites. Brunswick, Ohio, is an easy 10-minute drive from Valley City.

On day two, head to Bunker Hill Golf Course in Medina, Ohio, a gorgeous 18-hole course that will test your mettle but not so much that beginners can’t have an enjoyable outing—looking for a substantial feast? Stop by Lager Heads BBQ Smokehouse, Medina, Ohio, where the name says it all about the fare at this establishment. Satisfy your hunger and thirst with a selection of BBQ, beer, and cocktails! Looking for even more craft beers? Check out the selection at Hoppy Dude Brews, Hinckley, Ohio; you’ll find everything from stouts to pilsners to IPAs.

Central Medina County

Start your Central Medina County adventure at the Pleasant Valley Country Club, Medina, Ohio, an 18-hole public golf course on 165 acres of beautiful Ohio landscape. After a long day on the course, your group has probably worked up a thirst, so quench it at the Wrecking Crew Brewworks, Medina, Ohio, where the beers on display are as unique as their names. Finally, put up your feet for a well-earned rest at The Huffman House, Medina, Ohio, a historic, family-owned rental property offering four bedrooms, three baths, and 3,000 square feet of comfort.

Well rested and ready for day two, book your tee times at Shale Creek Golf Club, Medina, Ohio. Visit the Granite Grille for a quick bite or look into booking your next event at this gorgeous venue. Just a quick 5-minute drive away, head to Planted Flag Brewing, Medina, Ohio, to check out the tasty brews and delicious food.

Southern Medina County

Begin your weekend tour of Southern Medina County golf courses at Ridge Top Golf Course, an 18-hole public golf course in Medina, Ohio. With an amazing patio, delicious menu, and selection of more than 16 local draft beers, Blue Heron Brewery and Event Center, Medina, is the perfect stop after a round of golf. After that excitement, relax and recharge at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Wadsworth.

Ready to hit the links on day two? Take a cruise to Rawiga Golf Club, located in Seville, Ohio, a championship public course with a club that hosts special events like weddings, banquets, charity events, leagues, and more. Cap your weekend at yet another exciting local brewery, Wadsworth Brewing Company, located in downtown Wadsworth, featuring a selection of craft beers with flavors as unique as their names!

Click here for your Medina County Golf Courses and Breweries Itinerary.

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Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield

Ohio had key battlefields in the War of 1812. One was Fort Meigs overlooking the Maumee River from a bluff in Perrysburg, south of Toledo.  Today, it’s one of the largest reconstructed, wooden-walled forts in the United States.

The museum & visitors’ center is en route to the fort, so a full view doesn’t offer itself until guests walk out of the back door of the museum. There, eyes are met with a great wall of timber between blockhouses made of the same wood. At one corner, a massive weeping willow tree cascades a feeling of peace and serenity, gazing across the grassland, woods, and wide river below. But, as the fort’s inner soul is revealed, there was a time when the grounds were soaked in blood.

Leading to this war, the young American nation was being pushed around by the British, disrespecting its sovereignty as a nation. Faced with trade limitations in Europe and the Impressment (kidnapping/forcing) of US citizens at sea to take up arms in Britain’s Royal Navy in its war with Napoleon Bonaparte and the French forced America’s war hand if it was to survive as a country.

The United States, led by President James Madison, declared war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, which continued until February 18, 1815, according to the Library of Congress.

Fort Meigs was built in February 1813 at the order of General William Henry Harrison, who later became the ninth President of the United States. Original defensive earthworks remain to this day, although time and erosion have lowered them a bit from their original height of 14 feet. Inside the reconstructed 10-acre fort, these long and high manmade hills create a maze-like interior. The Siege of Fort Meigs in April-May of 1813 was a defining battle in the War of 1812.

The war ended as a draw by most historical accounts, albeit the 1814 Treaty of Ghent. It took a while before the news of the Treaty crossed the Atlantic. In the meantime, the historic Battle of New Orleans was fought in January 2015. The treaty enabled the US to push westward without regard to Native American lands or resistance from the British, all in the name of Manifest Destiny.

“To your posts then, fellow soldiers, and remember that the eyes of your Country are upon you.”  ̶  General William Henry Harrison

Several of the fort’s seven blockhouses share parts of the story behind the fort’s construction and defense against sieges. Historical interpreters, dressed in 1812-era clothing, present demonstrations of camp life, weapons, and other activities throughout the summer. Reenactments and special events further highlight America’s rich military history of the time.

The visitors’ center houses a museum. Look at it from afar and see it is designed like a blockhouse. The exhibits and recovered artifacts share what historians and archaeologists have deciphered to have happened at the fort, and the battles waged there. Included are weapons, accouterments, uniforms, and soldiers’ items.

The entire park complex spans 65 acres. It’s a great place to learn about history and relax for a picnic or walk. Click here to view hours, admission, location, and more.

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

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Ohio Mountain Bike Trail

Waggoner’s Run Mountain Bike Trail 

Welcome to the Waggoner’s Run Mountain Bike Trail, a newer mountain bike trail in Gibsonburg, Ohio (Sandusky County).

This is a moderate ride mainly due to the last mile, which gets more technical with its hilly, root-exposed, and rocky terrain. The natural features with lots of twists and turns around trees are paired with manmade obstacles, bridges, skinnies, tabletops, and rock gardens. The trail’s newest feature is a challenging teeter-totter placed right before one of the biggest drops on the trail. On average, the nearly 6-mile one-way course takes an hour and forty minutes to complete.

Waggoner’s Run Mountain Bike Trail was a collaborative project between the Flatlanders Bicycle Club and the Sandusky County Park District in 2019 and is located within SCPD’s “White Star Park.” The Flatlanders completed the trail and dedicated it in October 2020. It was named “Waggoner’s Run” to honor local cycling enthusiast and bicycle shop owner Dan Waggoner.

The trail is also open for hiking. No horseback riding, pets, or motorized vehicles are permitted. It is recommended that hikers hike the trail in reverse and stay alert for oncoming bike traffic. The one-way mountain bike trail starts at the parking lot next to the railroad tracks on County Road 65.

The latest trail conditions and timely information is reported on the Waggoner Run Mountain Bike Trail Facebook Page. Leave no trace and practice low-impact hiking and cycling.  Riding on a muddy trail damages the trail.  It leaves ruts, contributes to erosion & creates an unrideable, hard-to-fix trail surface.  If you leave a visible rut, the trail is too muddy to ride. Come prepared.  Keep your equipment in good condition and carry the necessary supplies.  Helmets are highly recommended for bicyclists using this trail.

The Gibsonburg area offers a small rural northern Ohio farm town in Sandusky County. Outdoor enthusiasts know it well for “White Star Park,” which offers hiking trails, an inland quarry lake for SCUBA diving, and mountain bike trails.  Gibsonburg is only two hours from Columbus, Cleveland, and Detroit, so getting there is not part of the challenge! Gibsonburg is also known for “Ideal Bakery,” home to its amazing donuts, pastries, and cinnamon rolls.

While visiting the area, 15 minutes up the road is Fremont and Ghoul Runnings Kayak Adventures. This kayak livery offers guided and self-guided tours along the scenic Sandusky River and the beautiful Fremont Reservoir from May to Fall. The owners, Beth Turner and her husband Bob, have been running it for 33 years.  They offer a variety of 2- and 4-hour trips, and specialty adventures include a history tour, singles kayaking group, bird and nature, sunset, moonlight, and more.

Sandusky County has so much to see and do, from kayaking in the Sandusky River to festivals and farmer’s markets. There is always something fun to see and do in the area.  For more information about its events and attractions, visit

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Brews-N-Vines Trail

Check Out the Grand Lake Brews-N-Vines Trail Experience

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler

It’s patio season, and that is the perfect time to check out the new, enhanced Grand Lake Brews-N-Vines Trail.  If there is anything better than hand-crafted coffee creations, locally made wines, and specially brewed craft beers, it may be enjoying those beverages in the fresh air with lots of sunshine…or moonlight.

Download your free passport at  and (while supplies last) pick up a free starter kit. Visit the venues along the trail and earn points you can redeem for a Brews-N-Vine t-shirt and/or a Brews-N-Vines ball cap. With 11 months to finish the trail, this can become a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family. You will find that each venue has its particular charm and hospitality.  These locally owned small businesses take pride in their products and are genuinely happy to have you stop by for a sip or two.

The trail includes breweries: Moeller Brew Barn, Tailspin Brewery, Lake Rat Brewing, Gongoozlers Brewery, and Second Crossing Brew Co.  You will also enjoy the wineries: 5 Vines Winery, The Winery at Versailles, The Vineyard at Evergreen Farm and GR8 Vines Winery. Finally, all you coffee lovers, you’re covered.  The coffeehouses on the trail are Winans Chocolates + Coffee (Wapakoneta and Maria Stein), New Bremen Coffee Company, Hazelnut Coffee, Rooster Joe Coffee & Co., Brew Nation, and Cozy Cabin Café.

Enjoy the Brews-N-Vines Trail quest through the Grand Lake Region, and if you’d like to know more about the area and the other fun and interesting things to see or do, you can check it out at

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Bring Out The Best In Your Backyard

With A Visit To Ohio’s Amish Country

The days are getting warmer, and that means more time spent outdoors relaxing and enjoying family and friends. In Amish Country, they know a thing or two about slowing down and savoring those moments together. They also know how important a beautiful outdoor space can be to making summer memories.

The good news is that the region has an array of options to help you create your backyard oasis.

Let’s start with construction plans. Want to expand your patio, add a firepit or design a grilling station? Keim Home Center has everything you need to bring your Pinterest-inspired landscape to life. From building materials to home décor and everything in between, Keim is a home improvement paradise. Before you check out, be sure to go upstairs to the Carpenters Café for a sandwich and a birds-eye view of the impressive retail space.

If you need a safe place for your pets to play, Swiss Valley Fence has you covered. They’ll help you select the right fence and railing and simplify the process with professional installation services. Learn how to customize your fence with a wide range of colors and design features.

Next, look for the perfect outdoor fireplace. A visit to Erb’s Stove Center is a must. The store offers many styles of fireplaces, pits, and grills. Their team guides you and ensures you know how to properly care for and maintain your purchase. While there, you’ll also be able to explore pergolas and sheds that can be customized for your yard. The Amish countryside provides a beautiful backdrop and will have you envisioning new potential for your property.

Perhaps you’ll need more seating to create a place for conversations, lounging, and sharing a meal. Amish Country has many locations for you to find eye-catching outdoor furniture – from rustic porch rockers to Poly furniture in contemporary styles. The furniture builders in the region are known for crafting durable and lasting pieces and want you to love them as much as they do. Kauffman Lawn FurnitureLuxcraftThe Cabin Store, and Homestead Furniture are among the places we recommend visiting. The variety of colors, styles, and fabrics will surely inspire you.

For your project’s finishing touches, head over to the Sheyiah Market campus. The Gardens, an indoor/outdoor garden center, has an endless selection of plants, pots, baskets, decor, and accents that will excite you about the possibilities in your backyard. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you learn about all the ways you can transform your landscape.

To add a whimsical element to your property, visit nearby Sol’s in Berlin for lighthouses, wishing wells, and yard terrariums.

No outdoor party is complete without something delicious to eat. Where is it better than in Ohio Amish Country to find bulk meats, cheeses, and sides? Stop by one of the many area markets for local flavors and the freshest options. Walnut Creek CheeseTroyer MarketHeini’s Cheese ChaletThe AsheryGuggisberg Cheese, and Winesburg Meats are just a few local favorites.

As you prep for your next outdoor project, visit the traditional hardware stores and modern home centers on your DIY Day Trip when you Visit Amish Country.

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Retail Therapy at Diverse Shops 

Visit Medina County to Enjoy some
Retail Therapy at Diverse Shops

Whether you’re shopping for a specific event or just enjoying the hunt – you are sure to find truly unique treasures while shopping in Medina County. Strolling the streets of the towns heightens the experience, too – with plenty of places to refuel before continuing to the next shop. From handcrafted home furnishings to novelty gifts, antiques, and so much more – you’ll find items to satisfy any passion.


If you’re a knitter or want to become one, stop by Black Locust Farm at 110 Bank Street in Lodi, Ohio, which stocks every kind of yarn imaginable, along with all the other gear that goes with knitting. And don’t worry if your knitting skills are rusty or nonexistent – the folks at Black Locust Farm will teach you everything you need to know. Like tea and crumpets, good books and great coffee go together, which is the idea behind Second Look Books & Brews, a used bookstore and coffee shop at 119 Wooster Street. Browse the treasured tomes while sipping your favorite caramel macchiato.


Start by painting some pottery at All Fired Up, 233 S. Court Street, then browse the latest jewelry, glass, pottery, and household creations at Bella Moxie at 236 W. Liberty Street. Next, stop by Candyapple & Company, 109 W. Washington Street., a boutique selling – you guessed it – candy apples! In all flavors, from caramel to gourmet chocolate. Or visit the gift shop at Castle Noel, 260 S. Court Street, to catch a little holiday spirit. Looking for something for a particular someone? Stop by ​​​J.K. Gift Shop, 207 S. Court Street, and browse through the many collections of jewelry, gifts, spa essentials, and fashion apparel. Or indulge your flair for interior illumination at ROOT Candles, 623 West Liberty Street. Explore the many styles and fragrances of the candles on display.


Christal Kaple Art, at 29 Center Street, lets you indulge your passion for expertly rendered artwork in acrylic, resin, alcohol ink, and other media. Visit Elements at Funky Junk Boutique, 18 West Main Street, a lifestyle boutique featuring home decor, giftware, furniture, vintage finds, baby items, DIY home decor supplies, and women’s clothing and accessories. Or talk to the folks at Velvet’s W. Main Framing, 9 W. Main Street, for advice on framing your latest artistic masterpiece, or purchase some of the already framed watercolors or gifts on display. Then select a beautiful, handcrafted handbag, shoulder bag, cross-body bag, or wallet at Finns Fickle Goods, 30 Center Street.


Stop by Ruby Moonat, 229 College Street, to examine the refurbished vintage furniture and antique China, or visit Opal Dragonfly Boutique,110 High Street, for the latest fashions, bath and beauty supplies, gifts, and holiday values. And if you need some strings for your Stratocaster or reeds for your saxophone, stop by Wadsworth Music, 133 College Street.

Your retail therapy at diverse shops awaits in Medina County.

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Relax with History & Nature

It’s time to start planning your getaway to Coshocton County! Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just relaxing with family and friends, there’s something for everyone in beautiful Coshocton, Ohio.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are a variety of options for adventure and relaxation. Exploring the county’s scenic water trails by canoe or kayak is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air and may even offer a glimpse of the many Bald Eagles and Osprey that use the rivers to hunt for fish.

Explore Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s canal town. Stroll down the brick streets while exploring the self-guided Living History Tour exhibits, enjoy the Shops of Roscoe Village, and dine in a local restaurant or pub. The Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat Ride opens in late May and runs throughout the summer on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. Visit the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, which features many exhibits, including Native American artifacts, Chinese decorative arts, and Ohio art and history.

Clary Gardens, an emerging botanical garden, is free and open to the public year-round. Its 20 acres of hillside gardens, ponds, rose garden, outdoor amphitheater, and children’s garden create the perfect place for family fun, a romantic stroll, or a picnic. The new open-air pavilion is available for private functions. Clary Gardens hosts annual events, including a Butterfly House and Family Fall Festival and Ohio’s top outdoor wedding destination.

The all-new Sip and Stay Thursday Package is a great way to experience local wine and beer in Coshocton County safely. Available only on Thursdays throughout June, this affordable package includes a standard room and free hot breakfast for two guests at Coshocton Village Inn & Suites, vouchers to four locations, and transportation provided by Cork & Tap Excursions. Guests will visit Wooly Pig Farm Brewery, Raven’s Glenn Winery & Restaurant, Yellow Butterfly Winery, and Rainbow Hills Winery, Brewery, and Pizzeria. Reserve your package; call Coshocton Village Inn & Suites at (740) 622 – 9455. Availability is limited. Details may be found at

The Flint Ridge Knap-In at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds is in late May. This popular event attracts skilled flintknappers from around the country. During the weekend, attendees can watch flintknapping demonstrations, participate in workshops and classes, and browse vendors selling flint and related supplies. The Flint Ridge Knap-In is a great opportunity to learn more about the ancient art of flintknapping, see skilled artisans at work, and connect with others interested in archaeology, history, and primitive skills. For more information, visit Flint Knappers.

Upcoming events include the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, Corvette Cruise-In, and Our Town Coshocton’s Summer Concert Series. Find all the details at

Ohio offers abundant outdoor opportunities, and Coshocton is fortunate to have so many excellent attractions, so it is easy to spend several days here! Request a free visitor packet today at

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Coshocton’s Corsage: Clary Gardens

Cultivating a Botanical Legacy 

Whether it’s love at first sight or love everlasting, Clary Gardens is nature’s corsage in Coshocton, Ohio. Its beauty grows in the heart of each visitor and wedding party immersed in the splendid 20-acre hillside at the edge of the restored historic canal town, Roscoe Village.

What started as a tribute garden of roses grew to engage the wedding industry. And the pathway between is a storybook affair. …Click here to see the full multimedia story.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the story 

This Multimedia Feature Story
is Sponsored by Visit Coshocton

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Kings Island Turns 50

50 Years Ago, The Hit TV Show The Partridge Family Filmed at Kings Island During the Park’s Inaugural Season

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Kings Island Amusement Park opened on April 29, 1972. That inaugural summer, The Partridge Family filmed on location at Kings Island from August 7-11, 1972. The episode premiered in January 1973 and was titled “I Left My Heart in Cincinnati.” The following summer, The Brady Bunch filmed an episode at the park but didn’t use the park name. The Partridge Family did. The episodes featured the family on rides still operating today.  The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Johnny Bench guest-starred as a waiter in the episode.

The Hannig Family shared their photos behind the scenes of the shoot. …click here to continue

to see the photos and read the rest of the story

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Vintage Ohio Postcards

I was in #Greenville, #Ohio yesterday to visit a friend who shared his postcard collection of the town and Darke County with me at The Coffee Pot …Now I’m sharing some with you because, well, just because…
And yes, they used to race ostriches at The Great Darke County Fair.
And yes, there used to be a streetcar service from Greenville to #Dayton, so I’m told.
The other two #postcards are a play on the word Dark(e) as in #DarkeCounty.
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Toledo’s Buns of Fame

Ninety years ago, Tony Packo served authentic Hungarian food in the “glass city.”  Ever since the legend of this eatery grew with every signature Packo’s chili hot dog sold.

This inventive recipe was dubbed the Hungarian hot dog. Tony cut a Hungarian sausage in half, added spicy chili sauce, and put it on rye. Although it resembled an American hot dog, there was nothing like it.

So, it was a place the locals raved about for years.

Then, in the early 1970s, the hottest star of 70s cinema – Burt Reynolds – stopped in for a bite. Of course, they wouldn’t let him leave without an autograph. Reynolds being the character he was, grabbed a bun and scribbled his name on it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the place displays wall-to-wall (foam replica) buns signed by famous people the world over.

Tony Packo’s reached worldwide fame when a character on the #1 television show, M*A*S*H raved about his hometown eatery in episode after episode.

There are now several Packo’s restaurants in the Greater Toledo area. The original is located at 1902 Front Street. Plan your visit at

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30 Lord of the Rings Caches


And Other Outdoor Adventures in Coshocton

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Coshocton County is filled with outdoor adventures for all. Scenic water trails, historic sites, neighborhoods, public gardens, and trails offer options for adventure seekers and those searching for a place to relax. It’s the perfect place to plan your next outdoor experience.

The Coshocton Visitors Bureau is excited to announce the launch of the all-new Coshocton Ring Trail. The trail is based on JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and will contain more than 30 caches! Geocaching is a great way to introduce navigational tools and wayfinding to kids of all ages. Using the technology within a smartphone, cachers use satellite technology to find hidden clue boxes throughout the county. Once the passport sheet is completed, it can be redeemed for an exclusive coin, available only at the Coshocton Visitors Bureau.

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Chillicothe: Where To Be!

As the rolling Appalachian foothills grow closer, you know you are arriving in the charming town of Chillicothe in southern Ohio. Nestled in these hills are exciting and fun experiences just waiting for your arrival. From action-packed productions to exquisite, scenic views from more than 200 miles of trails, there is plenty of entertainment and activities to keep the whole family engaged.

Summer in Chillicothe offers unique sounds, from the relaxing chirping of birds in the forests to the exciting cannon fire from the annual “Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama. Together these create the perfect soundtrack for your visit. Reconnecting with nature and relaxing in the great outdoors can be found at any of the five State Parks and National Park and numerous city and county parks. As you traverse along the trails, you are rewarded with breathtaking views such as the vertical cliffs of sandstone and shale that descend into the beautiful Paint Creek Gorge at Buzzard’s Roost Nature Preserve. Just stepping out of your car at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park will transport you back 2,000 years ago when Native Americans lived on the land. You will walk along the passages that this ancient culture did when they constructed the massive earthen mounds and walled enclosures. The Hopewell Culture used these sites for gatherings and celebrations, but much remains a mystery about this prehistoric culture as archaeologists continue to discover new findings.

Evenings are supercharged with excitement at Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre for the nightly production of the “Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama. It brings to life the epic story of Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, as he defends his native homelands. As you sit beneath the starry southern Ohio sky, you’ll become surrounded by the story with galloping horses entering along the sides, expertly choreographed action scenes, and a superb storyline that connects and resonates with the audience.

While in town, let your palate participate in your getaway by enjoying the local flavors! You’ll find everything from savory, smoky barbeque to a retro diner experience to sweet treats from neighborhood bakeries. Many of these can be found in the revitalized historic downtown district in Chillicothe. As you stroll along the streets, you can quench your thirst with flavorful coffee from one of the many coffee shops or find your new favorite craft beer. Explore the many other communities throughout the county to find unique flavors, including the local winery, where you can enjoy live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays.

Time your visit with one of the many festivals or events throughout the summer. You can watch as rally cars zip through courses at area forests during the Southern Ohio Forest Rally, sit back and observe how drivers handle obstacle courses at the annual Ohio Jeep Fest, or simply enjoy the small-town charm of the Frankfort Sunflower Festival and become part of the community for the weekend. If you enjoy America’s favorite pastimes, come to the V.A. Memorial Stadium as the Chillicothe Paints take on another top collegiate team from the Prospect League. It makes for a fun and exciting evening.

Whether you want to explore historic sites, relax with outdoor recreation, or have a combined experience, Chillicothe is a perfect getaway. You can start planning your ideal escape by visiting the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website or downloading the official Visit Chillicothe Ohio mobile app. You can create a personalized plan to ensure that you don’t miss any of your must-see sites and activities.

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Nature Calls, Sidney Awaits

Looking to escape to a slower pace? Take a break from the day-to-day and head to Sidney, just 36 miles north of Dayton. Here, in the seat of Shelby County, you’ll find over 400 acres of parkland to explore, along with unique shopping and dining destinations that evoke all the charm of small-town Ohio.

Outdoor Oasis 

Outdoor enthusiasts, rejoice! There’s plenty to discover in the 220 acres of woodlands, waterways, and lakes in Tawawa Civic Park. This natural oasis offers something for adventurers of all ages. The wooded park is a popular outdoor location for family get-togethers, picnics, and cookouts, offering more than 20 shelters and play areas throughout, along with plentiful opportunities for solo activities like fishing and hiking encouraging visitors to unplug and unwind.

Trekking along the park’s seven miles of trails, you’ll encounter Big Rock, a 12-foot-tall glacial boulder left from the Ice Age. The one-mile-long Benjamin Trail follows a millrace. It extends the length of the park. It used to supply water to Sidney’s first water and electric plant located nearby on Brooklyn Avenue. Next, seek out the 1971 Ross Covered Bridge in the middle of the park for postcard-worthy photo opportunities. For those who like to venture off the beaten bath, longer nature trails are located toward the back of the park.

Hit the Links

In addition to its parks, Sidney is also home to a variety of golf clubs, perfect for an afternoon on the green or a weekend getaway. Shelby Oaks Golf Club provides a fun and challenging experience for golfers of all skill levels across its 27 holes. Rob Fridley, who has been the director of operations at Shelby Oaks Golf Club for forty years, notes that the course is home to one of Dayton’s Top 50 Golf Holes, Number 9 South.

Situated on the Sidney Moose Lodge grounds, the Moose Golf Course is open to the public. Originally the Shelby County Country Club, this 9-hole, the 35-par course features tight fairways and smaller greens, much in the tradition of early golf course design.

Established in 1965, Arrowhead Golf Club is just 15 minutes from Sidney and offers an eighteen-hole course layout, practice facility, and full pro shop. In addition, Arrowhead boasts an on-site restaurant, The Bunker, a favorite with visitors and locals alike.

Trail Ways 

Hop over to Sidney’s Canal Feeder Bike-Hike Trail for more outdoor fun. This 3.4-mile paved trail follows the former Sidney Feeder Canal and later runs parallel to the scenic Great Miami River, a popular spot for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Did you know that the Great Miami is #1 in Ohio for smallmouth bass, and the river itself has been designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Water Trail — a distinction that has been given to only 32 other locations in the United States.

The Veteran’s Memorial Walkway is a multi-use ADA-accessible path that provides 4.5 miles of paved trails for walking and cycling. Memorial trees line the walkway commemorating organizations, friends, and family.

Shop Local 

Once you’ve had your fill of nature, venture to downtown Sidney for an authentic taste of small-town living. As you stroll the sidewalks, you’ll find several unique shopping destinations bordering the traditional town square. The Ivy Garland is a gift shop specializing in gift and decorator items for all occasions. Next, head around the corner to Vin & Joy, a fashion boutique offering a variety of fun gifts, on-trend accessories, and the latest in women’s apparel. Moonflower Effect features organic essential oils, custom blends, diffusers, ethically sourced clothing, and more. While you’re there, why not also book an hour-long dry salt therapy session in their new salt room for ultimate relaxation? Greenhaus Coffee offers a unique Coffee Shop | Plant Shop concept in the heart of downtown. The retail side offers indoor plants, home décor items, and locally crafted gifts. In addition, guests will enjoy their café offering a fantastic selection of Purebred Coffees, made-to-order seltzers, natural fruit sodas, teas, toasts, pastries, salads, and more.

If you’re up for a detour, check out Gallery 2:TEN and Re:Vive Home Décor & More, just minutes from downtown, and discover works from more than 40 different artists and craftspeople. Shop original pottery, jewelry, metal sculptures, and hot-blown glass creations along with a wide array of vintage, reclaimed, and artfully repurposed furniture.

Small-Town Bites 

Feeling hungry? Downtown Sidney offers several appealing reasons to stick around for a bite to eat. Partake in a refreshing chilled beverage on one of many outdoor dining patios overlooking the idyllic town square with the majestic Shelby County Courthouse positioned at its center. During its construction in 1883, the limestone, sandstone, and marble were brought in by canal boat. The courthouse’s looming 170-foot center tower features four clocks. The town square is the site of many special local events, such as cruise-ins and the farmers market held from early June through early October.

The Spot, an iconic diner, was first established in 1907 as a lunch wagon operated by Spot Miller. Today, it’s an art deco-style diner loved by locals for its fresh-ground hamburgers, crispy onion rings, thick malts, and homemade pies. It’s a great place to stop by for a dessert, meal, or snack. Dine-in or order carryout and picnic like a pro in the shade of the old-growth oak trees on the Shelby County Courthouse lawn.

Family-owned Italian pizza shop Amelio’s Pizzeria is serving up years of family heritage and Italian culture. Husband and wife Rob and Toni Thorne named the restaurant after Toni’s great-grandfather, Giuseppe Amelio Cecere, who came to America from Italy in 1920 and opened a pizza shop in his garage.

Yet another dinner option is The Bridge Restaurant, serving upscale eats like steak and seafood prepared fresh in-house daily, or Tavolo, offering modern Italian fare. Before calling it a night, be sure to check out what’s on tap at Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen. This trendy bistro boasts 48 taps featuring a wide selection of Ohio brews and craft cocktails.

As their motto goes: Sidney Ohio. A spirit we share.

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Ohio Memorial Weekend Destinations

Here are 16 Ohio Memorial Weekend destinations that truly symbolize the holiday and our remembrance of those who died in active military service.

Champaign Aviation Museum

Fallen Timbers Battlefield

Fort Jefferson

Fort Meigs

Fort Recovery

Fort Steuben

Mansfield Soldiers & Sailors Memorial

MAPS Air Museum

McCook House Civil War Museum

Motts Military Museum

Ohio Veterans Museum & Hall of Fame

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

National Veterans Memorial & Museum

Spirit of ’76 Museum

USS Cod Submarine Tour

WACO Museum

These are just 16 Ohio Memorial Weekend places to go or things to do out of many others, with military collections at various historical museums, events, and sites. Visit to see these sections of the website for more ideas of where to go on Memorial Day in Ohio or discover other places for long weekend getaways.

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(Sp)Ring in Travel Season

with Historic Roscoe Village

The blossoms on the trees are budding with color, a soft warm breeze filled with scents of delightful eats dances down the street, and the soft hum of visitors’ voices fills the air.  Could it be?  Vaccinations are finally here – it’s time to travel and there is no better place to be than Historic Roscoe Village!

While the excitement of speeding back to the norm is deliciously appealing, the argument to not just rest but to restore one’s being is greater than ever.  Restore and return to simpler times on a canal town tour that brings history to life. Leisurely strolls can be enjoyed through historic homes and businesses, as digital and skilled interpreters narrate every step along the way. This hybrid approach enhances the 1800s with a modern-day design by marrying technological advances within authentic historic sites to give a more in-depth view of the past than ever before.

While touring, listen for the ring of the anvil from the village smithy as it cries out letting visitors know that 1800s traditions abound, accented by fresh, new, and creative experiences. Offerings like the hands-on activities in the new Hay Activity Center give guests a feel for trades and skills of the time. With nine different crafts for all kids and kids-at-heart, a step back to the 1800s in the activity center is a memory-maker.

Continue to explore down the brick-paved sidewalks while being fully immersed in the atmosphere of historic homes and shops turned twenty-first-century businesses; the experience is nothing short of nostalgic, mirroring of all the hard work that plowed a way to today.  Hand-crafted creations can be found all around in the vibrant village from the local potter’s clay mugs, custom designs of precious gems and jewels from G.A. Fisher, to one of the most noteworthy of Ohio’s 50 famous foods, Roscoe Village Apple Butter in the Roscoe General Store alongside nick-knacks, home-made fudge, the latest seasonal fashions, and so much more.

Take time to reignite a passion for flavor and grab a bite or a pint at the brand-new Huck’s Tavern located right in the heart of Roscoe Village.  This newly renovated establishment is one for the entire family to enjoy with gourmet hotdogs named for favorite fidos and a welcoming rustic pub atmosphere.  Across the way, legendary onion rings are the thing at the restored Warehouse Steak and Stein – one of the most popular stops along the Ohio and Erie Canal today and when it was in operation during the 1830s as a shipping warehouse.  And round out “the Tour of Roscoe” with a sweet treat of hand-dipped ice cream from McKenna’s Market at Medbery.

No trip is complete without enjoying nearby Lake Park’s horse-drawn canal boat ride. Be transcended to yesteryear as the horses clip-clop down a restored section of the Ohio and Erie Canal while the captain tells the tales of transport from long ago. Rides will be available every Friday-Sunday starting in late May with rides on the hour from 1-4 p.m.

What are you waiting for?  Come, relax, rest, and restore unlike ever before in Historic Roscoe Village. For further information on the village please visit or call 740-622-7644.

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Lavender & Sunflower Harvests

Maize Valley Lavender by Paul Basel Photography

From a past edition of OhioTraveler

Maize Valley Farm, Market, Winery & Craft Brewery near historic downtown Hartville is excited to announce it will be offering multiple ways that guests may experience Lavender Harvest and Sunflower Harvest!

“Lavender harvesting at Maize Valley has steadily been growing over the past three years,” said Co-Owner and family member at Maize Valley Bill Bakan. “We have over 2,500 plants consisting of 10 cultivars covering almost two acres.  These cultivars are suitable for culinary, processing, or ornamental uses.  The third year of production is when most plants begin to reach maturity.  In late November & December, we cover the entire field with fabric to protect the plants from bitter winter wind chills.  The plants were looking very healthy when we tucked them in. We are preparing for a great harvest!”

Lavender Harvest season is targeted to begin mid-June at Maize Valley and lasts about five weeks. Visitors may take a short walk to the field where they will receive all the tools and instruction that they need to cut their bouquet.  They will be offering two different daily U-Cut time slots.  There will be a 12:00pm to 3:00pm time slot and a 5:00pm to 8:00pm available Monday through Saturday (Closed on Sunday).  The winery, craft brewery and restaurant will be open from 10:00am till 8:00pm Monday through Saturday for those wishing some refreshments.  Maize Valley produces 16 on-site Craft Beers on tap and over twenty varieties of wine ranging from sweet to dry at their restaurant. Admission rates, details, and weather updates will be available on the Maize Valley event page and website.

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Aqua Life at Grand Lake St. Marys

at Grand Lake St. Marys
By Frank Rocco Satullo, your Tour Guide to Fun!

Nothing embodies the epic fun and historic oddities at Ohio’s largest inland lake than the record-setting number of Amphicars – known as the cars that swim – dotting the roads and waves between Celina and St. Marys, Ohio.

Grand Lake St. Marys is a place nobody forgets, past or present. From today’s largest gathering of Amphicars to its former, largest roller-coaster in the world, this vacationland has been amazing its visitors for more than a century. …READ MORE…

Click here for the rest of the story.

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Garden Railways

old ohio film videoohio youtube videos
Featured Video of the Month

This month’s featured video showcases
Garden Railroading with G-scale model trains.

Garden trains are great for staycations or gift ideas. Enjoy combining outdoor model railways with landscaping. Stores like Dixie Union Station in Mason, Ohio can equip all your model railroading needs. The footage in this video also features Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville, Ohio.

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Reconnect and Make Memories…

Photo by Joe Murray

A story by Gene Betts and the
Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau

During winter, my wife Amanda and I began discussing ideas for long weekend getaways for the family. Because of our jobs, we knew it would be difficult in the coming summer to plan a full week vacation, so we had decided on smaller getaways throughout the summer for us and the boys.

In January, at a family dinner one Sunday with my parents, Amanda, began telling them of our plans for the summer. She explained to them that we were trying to pick some destinations for a few long weekend getaways. As she tossed out some of our ideas, my father Jim spoke up and shared that one of his favorite trips was the summer he took us to see the “Tecumseh” Outdoor Drama in Chillicothe.

As the youngest of three siblings, I barely remembered that trip, so I asked him why it was so memorable. He spoke of the adventures he had taken us on during that trip, from paddle boating to the moment when we sat in the amphitheater and the “Indians” came on stage. His laugh was infectious when he remembered how we jumped when the first gun went off during the production.

An idea came to me while he shared his memories about the trip from so many years ago. What would it be like to recreate this family getaway with my kids and include my parents? Of course, I’d have to get Amanda’s approval before I mentioned anything about it to my parents or kids. However, the idea of making a lasting memory for my dad, kids and myself seemed like the perfect option. That evening, after the boys were tucked in to bed and Amanda and I was watching some television, I brought up the idea and without any hesitation she agreed.

Come June, we made our journey to Chillicothe with tickets to see the “Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama on Saturday evening. Friday afternoon we pulled in to the hotel’s parking lot and the fun was about to begin. After spending a few hours in the van, we got checked-in at the hotel and needed to get some exercise.

It was a beautiful summer day, so we made the short drive from the hotel to Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. This was the first stop from my father’s memory of our visit twenty-five years ago. Although I saw images of the park online, seeing these expansive earthworks was more than we could have imaged. The park ranger who gave us a guided tour was wonderful, not only did he give us information that we were looking for about the site, but he also interacted with the kids and provided details on their level.

After walking around the park for a few hours, we were off and heading into the historic First Capital District in downtown Chillicothe. It was getting close to dinnertime and we found a wood-fired pizza shop that we figured the boys would enjoy. We sat outside on the patio that gave us a great view of the shops and buildings in downtown. Amanda and my mother had already began planning to visit the shops Saturday morning while me, my boys and father went on an adventure of our own.

Saturday morning dawned, as the ladies planned their shopping and spa day, us guys packed up the van and headed to Bainbridge in western Ross County. During the original visit, Dad had shared that he had taken the family out in a canoe but couldn’t remember where it was, so I did a little research and decided we would make a new memory with the boys and visit Pike Lake State Park where we could rent pedal boats. My youngest son, Matthew went in a pedal boat with me while my dad took Caden with him. My dad and I both did most of the pedaling, but the boys were having so much fun that neither of us could complain. After a little while, we returned the boats and moved on to our next stop, some miniature golf at Paint Creek State Park. It felt really good to “hang out” with my dad and sons, I couldn’t remember the last time we spent such quality time together.

We had decided to meet back up with Mom and Amanda that afternoon for lunch. As we got back into Chillicothe, Amanda text that they had decided on a place for lunch, and we met up with them at the Old Canal Smokehouse. We all enjoyed the smoky flavored BBQ, as the boys raved about their mac and cheese and shared our morning adventures with Grandma and Mom.

We had two more stops planned before returning to the hotel to get ready for the evening’s performance of “Tecumseh”. After lunch we took the boys down the street to see the two cabooses that were parked along the street. The volunteer who was working that day gave us a wonderful tour, and really connected with the boys. They couldn’t stop asking questions and were fascinated by the model train.

My mother had specifically wanted to visit the 19th century mansion known as Adena Mansion & Gardens. We all loaded back in our vehicles, followed our GPSs across town and up a hill to this gorgeous estate. After taking care of the admission, we began exploring the interactive museum they offered. This helped keep the boys engaged during the visit, I was afraid it would have been a “look but don’t touch” experience, and I would spend most of the time trying to keep the boys from touching. After the museum, we met up with our tour guide for a tour of the mansion, which I knew the boys wouldn’t be able to touch anything. She greeted us at the steps of the mansion dressed in period clothing and the warmest smile. She was endearing and interacted with the boys along the entire tour, while providing the adults with the information we were there to discover.

The time had arrived for us to take the boys to see “Tecumseh!” and I think I was just as excited about this part of the trip as they were. This was the part that my father most remembered about the trip twenty-five years earlier. We arrived early so we could enjoy dinner at their terrace buffet. After dinner we made our way to the amphitheater for the show. The boys settled in their seats between Amanda and me, and my parents took the aisle seats on my left. The show began and just like Dad remembered, we all jumped when the first gun fired in the production.

Not only was I watching the boys’ reaction to the production, but I kept an eye on my father who was also watching our reactions. During the final rays of daylight my father and I made eye contact and the smile that grew across his face told me that this trip and experience would be something that would remember for the rest of our lives. I can only hope that I get to share a similar experience with my sons and grandchildren.

Click here to plan your trip to the Chillicothe, Ohio area.

By Gene Betts

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Marion’s Scenic Golf Courses

Sometimes, you just want to play a relaxing round of golf with friends.

Whether it’s a day out or a weekend getaway, discovering a new golf course makes any trip more enjoyable. Golf can be an intimidating game for many, but not in Marion County, Ohio. Local golf course owners cater to the casual golfer, families, and folks just looking to get outside and enjoy themselves. While the courses are well maintained, Marion’s links are a perfect fit for golfers of all ages and skill levels.

A popular family course is Green Acres just south of the city of Marion. Owned and operated by brothers John and Steve Grimes, the par 60 course plays quick, no more than two hours per round. You’ll find many a golfer on the course weekday evenings as it’s the perfect place for an after-work round. Weekday and weekend specials make Green Acres affordable.

Kings Mill Golf Club near Waldo has a long history in Marion County. The course was designed by famed architect Jack Kidwell and has become “our favorite course” for many golfers. Nestled along the Olentangy River, Kings Mill is a mixture of hills, flat terrain and rolling grounds to provide a very scenic and enjoyable round of golf. Owners Linda and Richard Krom took over the 52-year-old course in 2017, ensuring that all of Marion’s golf courses remain locally owned. The rolling terrain of the course makes for a great golf experience and the many vistas from the tees and greens add to a golfer’s enjoyment. The signature #3 hole is a par 3 elevated tee that overlooks a new covered bridge built in 2016.

Opened in 1971, Whetstone Golf Course just east of the city of Marion epitomizes golf in Marion County. Described as a challenging and fair test for golfers, the course ranges from flat to rolling with mature trees, and water on six holes. Whetstone is a rare course that manages to be friendly to newcomers while simultaneously pushing experienced players to improve their skills. There are multiple tee lengths at Whetstone to cater to players of all ages and skill levels.

For more information on Marion County golf course, click here.

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Google 360 Captures Dayton Trails

Google has incorporated 360-degree virtual imagery of hundreds of miles of Dayton-area trails and park destinations into its Google Maps.

Five Rivers MetroParks partnered with Outdoor Adventure Connection and Dayton Hikers, and collaborated with dozens of regional partners, to capture more than 600 miles of hiking, equestrian, mountain bike, water and paved trails. This includes panoramic street view imagery-of regional hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, water and paved trails, providing outdoor recreation enthusiasts with interactive visual resources to plan and inspire adventures. People across the world now have the ability to virtually explore many of the region’s trails and landscapes.

“The information Google Maps provides is valuable to local trail enthusiasts and tourists,” said Amy Dingle, director of outdoor connections for Five Rivers MetroParks. “People can use these images as a tool to plan experiences on our amazing trails and public lands.”

Users can access the images of the Dayton region’s trails and landscapes by visiting Captured areas include:

“This project is the most comprehensive of its kind in Ohio,” Dingle said. “Its success is a true reflection of the outdoor culture here and showcases Dayton, Ohio, as the Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest.”

Professional photographers, travelers, organizations and those who wish to promote areas of cultural, historical or touristic significance may apply to participate in the Google Street View camera loan program. A Street View Trekker backpack or a Street View app-compatible 360 camera is provided to organizations so they may capture comprehensive imagery of a designated area or site.

Similar to the camera unit affixed to vehicles that capture Google’s Street View images along roads, the Street View Trekker backpack has 15 cameras that capture images about every two seconds. Volunteers from Five Rivers MetroParks and Dayton Hikers collected the images last summer.

The Street View Trekker backpack was mounted on a kayak to capture rivers and lakes, and on a utility cart to record images of the nation’s largest paved trail network, with more than 300 miles of connected trails. In addition, volunteers Jim Lewis, Laney Ketring, Dan Murray and Andy Niekamp wore the 50-pound Street View Trekker backpack to capture 80 miles of the area’s hiking trails.

Data collected from the Street View Trekker backpack and detailed information about each “trekking” session was sent to Google upon the project’s completion. Google has been processing the images since then to incorporate them into Google Maps.

Celebrating more than 50 years of preserving green space and natural areas, Five Rivers MetroParks is a nationally renowned park system composed of natural area parks, gardens, high-quality river corridors, urban parks and a network of recreation trails. To learn more about Five Rivers MetroParks, log onto or call 937-275-PARK (7275).

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Balloons, Dulcimers, Corvettes + More


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Escape to nearby Coshocton, Ohio, this summer for a family-fun getaway.  From entertaining events such as the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Corvette Cruise-In, Coshocton Dulcimer Days Festival, and the Indian Mud Run to amazing attractions like the wineries that make up the Three Rivers Wine Trail, Historic Roscoe Village, and the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat Ride, Coshocton is just the place to take a break from life’s hectic pace.

In June, enjoy The Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, sponsored by Frontier Power, featuring balloon launches, live entertainment, fireworks, balloon nightglow, midway rides, an antiques flea market, craft, and food vendors, a Kiddie Tractor Pull, and more.  “This year’s festival features tethered balloon rides on Thursday evening from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m., as well as a Dale Earnhart NASCAR Simulator on Saturday,” said Coshocton Visitors Bureau Interim Director Mindy Brems.  “The live musical entertainment includes The Jason Pendola Band, Blend A Cappella Group, British Invasion, The McVay Brothers, and Chris Higbee.  The best part is that festival admission and parking are free.”  Find a Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival schedule at

“Corvette enthusiasts will enjoy the Corvettes at Roscoe Cruise-In in June,” added Brems. “Guests will also enjoy Frank Allen’s 50’s and 60’s music as they stroll the village.”

Coshocton is also the host of the longest-running heritage music festival in Ohio—The Annual Coshocton Dulcimer Days, held every June in Historic Roscoe Village at the Central Ohio Technical College Coshocton Campus.  The festival features music workshops, private lessons, free concerts, and the Mid-East Regional Dulcimer Championships.  Visitors to the event will enjoy music, vendors, raffles, artists’ booths, traditional Appalachian music, and a headliner concert Saturday evening with special guests Madeline McNeil and National Hammered Dulcimer Champion Joshua Messick.

The Indian Mud Run takes place in June at Coshocton Lake Park. This Park fundraiser is a challenging 5K obstacle race, including approximately 20 obstacles along Lake Park’s beautiful Scarr Loop and Eagle Ridge Trails. Register at  “Past participants have said that this is one of the best mud runs they’ve ever done, so we know the runners this year will have a great time. There is even a kids’ course available so that the whole family can participate,” said Brems.

Coshocton is home to several popular attractions, including Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s canal-era town offering a glimpse into life in the 1800s. This summer, experience the Village’s historic scavenger hunt—Mudlarked in Roscoe where guests visit the historic buildings and collect objects along the way.  Most of the Famous Shops and Restaurants of Roscoe Village are open seven days a week, so visitors can immerse themselves in a quaint, nostalgic street rich with history discovering delightful shops, enjoying delicious dining and unique lodging options.

A visit to Coshocton in the summer is made extra special with a ride on the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat, where the huge draft horses pull the Canal Boat along an original restored portion of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Travelers on the 45-minute canal boat ride are entertained by the Canal Boat Captain as he explains 1800s canal life, sharing tall tales and history.  The canal boat is open Tuesday through Sunday throughout the summer.

For those who love Ohio wines, staying in Coshocton offers easy access to 17 unique wineries within a 55-minute drive, including those on Coshocton’s Three Rivers Wine Trail, which features Raven’s Glenn, Heritage Vineyard, Rainbow Hills, Yellow Butterfly, Indian Bear, and Baltic Mill.

Make it an overnight getaway by spending time at one of Coshocton’s many affordable lodging options.  From luxury cabins, friendly bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, campgrounds, and guest houses, finding the perfect stay for a getaway is easy.  There are overnight packages to choose from that include wine tastings, Roscoe Village tour tickets, or a Girlfriends’ Getaway.

Request a free visitor packet and find more details about getaway packages, attractions, events, and more, at or call (740) 622-4877 or 800-338-4724.

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COSI is a Standout!


COSI – Center of Science & Industry – is a standout in Ohio but is also one of the most respected science centers in the nation. It makes science fun with hands-on discovery and has done so for decades! COSI features more than 300 interactive exhibits throughout ten themed exhibition areas including Ocean, Space, Gadgets, Life, little kidspace®, Progress, Adventure, Innovation Showcase, its outdoor Big Science Park and WOSU@COSI. Beyond the exhibits, you’ll find COSI’s hair-raising Electrostatic Generator Show, a High-Wire Unicycle, the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater, Science 2Go! retail store and the Atomicafe’ restaurant. COSI also hosts world-class traveling exhibitions from other museums throughout the year. For more information, visit


This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at

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The Price Is Right


The Price is Right in Coshocton 

This is an excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The time and price is right to get away to nearby Coshocton in East Central Ohio.  From fun family events such as a 3D archery shoot, live bluegrass music, and the Dogwood Festival for the Arts; to amazing attractions like Unusual Junction (home of the original Price is Right sign), the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat Ride, Historic Roscoe Village, and the Three Rivers Wine Trail, Coshocton is just the place to spend quality getaway time.

Looking for a fun, unusual shopping experience? Then Unusual Junction is the place—offering an Amish cheese outlet, a huge selection of hot sauces and mustards, teas, and unique gifts.  Lava Rock Grill Diner is where the huge original Price is Right sign hangs – signed by Bob Barker.  Plus, find the Universe Prom & Bridal Superstore for the largest selection in the region.

For those who love wineries, Coshocton is conveniently located within 25 miles of ten unique wineries including those on Ohio’s Three Rivers Wine Trail which features Raven’s Glenn, Heritage Vineyard, Rainbow Hills and Yellow Butterfly.

Cheese goes great with wine and Pearl Valley Cheese in Coshocton County does it well.  This four generation, family-owned business, has been making award winning Swiss cheese for over 85 years and the honors are still rolling in.  They were recently awarded a gold medal in the World Championship cheese contest for their Rindless Swiss Cheese.

Coshocton is home to Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s town offering tours of the historic buildings depicting life in this once bustling town along the Ohio and Erie Canal. During the month of May when visitors take the 1:00 p.m. guided tour, they visit an 1800s doctor’s office, see how weavings were done on traditional looms in the craftsman’s house, and may even get to participate in an old-fashioned school lesson, and visit with the rugged village blacksmith who uses old-fashioned tools and fire to demonstrate the forging techniques that were used in the 1800s.

Beginning Memorial Day Weekend, Historic Roscoe Village offers Mudlarked in Roscoe a ‘tour at your leisure’ where visitors get the chance to experience an historic scavenger hunt collecting objects along the way while learning what life was like during the 1800s.  The Village is also filled with delightful shops and restaurants – most of which are open seven days a week.

Kids young and old enjoy meeting Fred & Rock and Willie & Bill, the huge draft horse teams that pull the Monticello III Canal Boat along an original section of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Travelers on the 45-minute canal boat ride are entertained by the Canal Boat Captain as he explains 1800s canal life sharing tall tales and history.  The canal boat is open Memorial Day through Labor Day Tuesdays through Sundays.

Make it an overnight getaway by spending time at one of Coshocton’s many affordable lodging choices.  Find friendly bed and breakfasts, comfortable hotels and motels, campgrounds, guest houses, and luxury cabins.  Several overnight packages are also available for family fun, girlfriend getaways, and romantic weekends for two.

Find more details about getaway packages, attractions, events and more, at or call (740) 622-4877 or (800) 338-4724.  You can also request a Free Visitor Packet to make planning your Coshocton getaway easy.

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Ohio Paintball Country


Painting Memories

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Trigger an outdoor blast at Paintball Country – one of the biggest and best locations for paintball wars.

This 40-acre paintball destination is on the 210-acre Niederman Family Farm between Cincinnati and Dayton. It features five woods fields and six speedball fields, which are lit to bring action well into the night.

Special scenario productions are often offered, attracting several hundred serious paintball competitors from across the country to compete in major themed events.

If you’re not an expert shot, don’t worry, walk-in first-timers can have just as much fun. Just show up and the folks there will provide all the equipment you need.

Paintball had a humble beginning. Foresters used them to mark trees and farmers used them to mark cattle. Then, one day, two foresters turned the guns on one another in a friendly – colorful – firefight. Today, it’s one of the top extreme sports in the world and has many variations, including x ball, hyper ball, ultimate air, woods, speedball and special scenario war games.

“Safety rules and regulations make paintball a safe sport for anyone from 10-years-old to senior citizens,” said Brian Garver. He runs Paintball Country at Niederman Family Farm. “Referees on the field enforce safety with strict game rules.”

Each player is required to wear safety goggles at all times. The rifle is an air gun. Players are eliminated when a paintball splats on them. Being hit by a paintball leaves a bright colored paint mark on the clothes.

“Sometimes, it can sting a little bit,” smiled Bethann Niederman. She runs Niederman Family Farm.

A paintball has a thin outer skin with colored liquid inside it resembling a gelatin-like capsule. The liquid interior is non-toxic, non-caustic, water-soluble and biodegradable. It rinses out of clothing and off skin with mild soap and water.

“We get lots of church groups, scout troops, business groups and family reunions,” said Garver.

It’s no wonder paintball is one of the world’s most popular outdoor participation sports.

“The nice thing about our farm is that it can accommodate groups from 20 to 300 people,” said Bethann Niederman. “We have a restored 1890s barn which is suited with modern amenities and a spacious deck.”

The barn is perfect for corporate outings, weddings, receptions and reunions. The pavilion is perfect for school groups, scouts and clubs. Parties feature a hostess, giant jumping pillow, food, animal visits and the play area, complete with giant ship, tunnels and more to explore.

Paintball Country is open Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. There’s a fully stocked pro-shop and custom website where you can order anything you need. Paintball Country on Niederman Family Farm is located at 5110 LeSourdsville-West Chester Road in Liberty Township, Ohio between Cincinnati and Dayton. Call 513-779-6184 or visit and

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Historic Trains a Family Destination


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Along a twelve-mile section of railroad first constructed in the late 1860s, the the volunteer-operated trains of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway have thrilled kids of all ages since its founding in 1972. These trains, making the quiet journey along the Hocking River Valley, mainly during summer and fall weekends, provide a glimpse into a slower-paced life that was once commonplace long ago. Who needs Doc’s DeLorean and his flashy flux capacitor when you’ve got a real time machine at your disposal to take you through history? 

But there’s still that lingering thought: life at a slow pace. What a novel concept! Imagine an afternoon with the kids aboard an authentic train ride, taking in the history and still-remaining industries of a valley once vital to a growing nation. These trains, usually taking about two hours to make a full trip, depart the former brick-producing capital of Nelsonville, a quaint town with an emerging art district on the original Public Square. The Square is home to unique art galleries and shops, as well as the equally impressive Stuart’s Opera House. Nelsonville’s depot has ample parking around it and is only a short walk from the Square and its famous neighbor: the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store. 

Out of your coach window, you’ll take in Ohio’s Appalachian foothills, including the tranquil Hocking River, a favorite of canoe and kayak enthusiasts. These hills are absolutely spectacular during October when the leaf color change is at its peak! Remnants of the area brick industry, once an economic powerhouse and primary job source, are still visible and pointed out to you by a knowledgable volunteer via the speaker system installed throughout the train. Other sites include Lock No. 19 of the Hocking Canal and Haydenville, Ohio’s last company town. Additionally, other mining activities on-going in the valley include a two gravel mining operations and an impressive lumber mill, indicating untapped natural resources still abound in the area. 

In addition to the weekend trains operating from May through October, the volunteers of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway put in the extra hours to bring special themed trains to life. Can’t-miss events include Ohio’s Friendliest Train Robbery, the traditional Santa Trains, and the New Year’s Eve Train and Fireworks. 

Ohio’s Friendliest Train Robbery features bandits on horseback attempting to stop the train—Old West-style! With guns making noise and the thunderous gallop of the horses bringing the train to a stop, you’ll be a part of the action! And the kids absolutely love it! Partnering with Smoke Rise Ranch, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway’s volunteers put on quite a show! This as an incredibly popular event, so you’ll want to book your tickets as soon as possible. 

Due to high demand, in October, the railroad expands into the week, operating extra trains on Thursdays and Fridays from Nelsonville at 1:00 p.m. between October 1st and 30th. While no different than the October weekend offerings at Noon or 2:30 p.m., these trains simply offer you a great option to take in the area and its impressive history. 

Toward the end of the year, as Thanksgiving bellies are full and little hands set to writing lists to a certain Jolly Old Elf, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway’s Santa Trains take to the rails again for a tradition that is almost as old as the railroad itself! A staple part of the railroad’s schedule, St. Nick himself—and sometimes Mrs. Claus (or an elf if she couldn’t make the long trip from the North Pole)—climbs aboard the train for a Christmas tradition you’ll want to make part of your holiday must-do list! Santa visits with each and every child during the train ride and then hands out a candy cane treat after the visit. A great opportunity to hand-deliver that cherished wish list! And, of course, the train cars are heated and decorated throughout. One of them even is heated by an old-fashioned coal stove! 

The full schedule of events for the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, complete with downloadable brochure, is available at You can purchase your tickets there too or by calling (740) 249-1452. Weekend trains throughout the summer don’t usually sell-out, so you can usually just wait and buy at the depot when you arrive for your train ride. But you’ll definitely want to reserve your seats ahead of time for any other train. If purchased ahead, tickets are held at will call in the Nelsonville depot. Prices vary, but the average ticket price is around $15. And keep in mind that there is a small extra fee to purchase tickets in advance. But this is arguably an easily affordable family trek in a world of ever-rising costs! 

Tips to remember! There are no restrooms on the antique train cars, so you’ll want to make a stop in the depot restrooms before taking off on your journey. Parking is generally plentiful (and free!), with three lots available around the station. No food or drinks are sold on the train or at the depot, but you are welcome and encouraged to bring your own food and (non-alcoholic) drinks aboard. No pets are allowed either, so Fido will have to sit this one out (unless he’s a certified service animal). More details are at You can also get regular updates from them if you have Facebook or Twitter (just search for “Hocking Valley Scenic Railway”). Finally, all trains are currently diesel-powered, but a real 1920s-era steam engine is soon to be in operation! 

All aboooard!

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Hidden Places Secret Spaces


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

This opportunity was offered in the past but may not be currently available.

Hidden Places Secret Spaces offers an inside look at unique locations throughout historic downtown Marietta.

“People don’t realize the wonders these empty buildings hold,” said Lynne Sturtevant of Hidden Marietta. “There is such a rich history to the area and each of these spaces has a unique story waiting to be told.”

Tiber Way (Butler between Front and Second Streets) – Built in 1900 with a curved front so that trains could get around it, Tiber Way has housed various businesses. The tour will cover the section that served as the Marietta Sanitarium.

316 Third Street – The Bosworth House This wonderful downtown mansion was built in 1868. After the last private resident died in 1982, it became offices. Feel free to inspect it from top to bottom. This historic property is for sale.

243 Front Street – The Lock Keeper’s HouseThe Muskingum River locks were hand-cranked by a lock keeper on call 24 hours a day. His house served as his office as well as his residence. Marietta’s lock keeper’s house was the most elaborate and largest on the Muskingum. Come in and take a look around.

276 and 282 Front Street – American Flags and Poles and H. Rietz Company Antiques – featuring three stops in the historic Union Block – The Union Block has housed dozens of businesses and professional offices. Visit the warren of rooms on each business’s third floor and the basement of American Flags and Poles, which was the first floor before the street level was raised.

167 Front Street – The Marietta Brewing Company – Continue the Conversation – Join others and relax from 4 – 6pm in one of Marietta’s most beautifully restored historic buildings. Chat about local history, upcoming programs and downtown revitalization efforts. Cash bar. Drop-in and introduce yourself!

After the tour is completed there will be social time from 4-6 p.m. with a cash bar at the Marietta Brewing Company. During this time participants in the tour will be able to chat about local history, downtown revitalization efforts and upcoming Marietta Main Street or Hidden Marietta programs.

For more information call 740- 885-8194 or visit

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Blossoming Amish Country


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.

The southwest Ohio region of Appalachia Country has a little secret –! This is a new web site that highlights the growing Wheat Ridge Amish community and Miller’s Furniture, Bakery and Bulk Foods stores.

This cluster of authentic Amish-owned and operated stores has been around a few decades but it’s remained the kind of secret people love to share. Driving there puts you on the back roads of rural Adams County, across a covered bridge and sharing the road with Amish buggies, pedestrians, bicycles and foot-propelled scooters. It is as you would imagine true Amish Country in Ohio – quiet and serene.

Welcome to Wheat Ridge Amish Country.

When Wheat Ridge Road bends, you come upon a place where it isn’t uncommon to find an SUV parked side-by-side with a horse and buggy. There are several buildings, each with its own staple of Amish-made offerings. But its humble owners of today started as the kids of Lydia and Harry Miller in their humble farmhouse back in the 1970’s. This is where their baked goods led to a booming business in furniture, bulk foods and of course – fresh baked treats hot out of the oven.

Miller’s offers everything from apple fritters to armoires. Through their generations of growth, Miller’s has maintained their down home feel backed by Amish integrity that has people driving hundreds of miles to experience. What is now a large operation, Miller’s Furniture, Bakery and Bulk Foods is still a family business that provides that mom and pop touch.

Today, the 300-acre farm has 34,000 square feet of furniture under one roof, plus more outside, and a separate building for the bakery and another for the bulk food store. The cash registers are powered by wind-generated energy. Plus the Miller’s use a lot of solar energy and air compressors. In every store, you are bound to bump into a Miller working, whether it is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and now even the 4th generation of the Amish family.

The Amish have excused themselves from modern conveniences, believing that a life of simplicity and hard work brings them closer to God. The Miller family has provided friendly service, lively conversation and quality goods for decades. Nothing’s changed except the size of the family working behind the counters to help their patrons.

Every year, there are special events and sales during Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, a Fall Cookout, End of Year Clearance and from time-to-time, quilt auctions and other special occasions. But they are always closed on the Lord’s day of rest – Sunday.

Miller’s may be one of the last outposts of Ma & Pop shops, but they’re thriving on a business model built the old-fashioned way – they aim to please! And they’ve been doing just that for decades.

To plan a visit to Millers Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Foods and Wheat Ridge Amish Country, call 937-544-8524 or log onto

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