October Archives

Ohio’s FIRST World Heritage Site

Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks has officially become a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural (UNESCO) World Heritage Site! This is the first designation within Ohio and features eight sites in central and southern Ohio.

Five of the eight sites are in Chillicothe (Ross County) and managed by Hopewell Culture National Historical Park. National Park sites include Mound City Group, which offers a Ranger staffed visitor center, Hopeton Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, and Seip Earthworks. The fifth location, High Bank Works, is not open to the public as it is used for archaeological research. Ohio History Connection operates the other three sites. Two are in Licking County, the Great Circle Earthworks in Heath and the nearby Octagon Earthworks in Newark. The Great Circle Earthworks offers a visitor center, and the park is open to explore; however, the Great Circle Earthworks is not currently publicly accessible. There is an observation deck that will provide a bird’s eye view of the earthworks. The final site, located in Oregonia (Warren County), is called Fort Ancient. This site is unique as it is the largest and best-preserved hilltop enclosure.

Upon arrival at the sites, you may feel a sense of calm and peace settle over you as you stand before these prehistoric earthworks. Constructed more than 2,000 years ago, these earthworks reflect the intelligence of these early Native Americans and how advanced their skills were for their time. Take a moment to think about how these ancestors constructed these monumental structures. They used pointed sticks, clam shell hoes, and shoulder blades of deer and elk to create hoes for digging into the earth. They carried soil one basketful at a time to move the earth to create these magnificent earthworks. These individuals were expert engineers as they created precise geometrical shapes such as squares, circles, and octagons to enclose their sacred spaces and replicated these designs throughout the southern and central Ohio region to construct numerous complexes.

If that alone isn’t impressive, their exceptional knowledge of astronomy to build lunar and solar alignments into their construction is astounding. Many sites have special alignments throughout the year, with some locations aligning with the summer solstice, others with the winter solstice, and at least one site that aligns with the complex 18.6-year lunar cycle. Using modern technology to map and precisely integrate these alignments into a construction would be an astonishing feat. However, these ancestors created these points by utilizing only the tools of their time and their understanding of astronomical events.

Take a moment to reflect on your journey to each of the eight sites as you travel by vehicle. These early Native Americans traveled similar distances without using motorized vehicles, the modern-day highway system, and GPS navigation. It will give you a sense of the distances that these ancestors traveled to attend ceremonial gatherings. Much like today, they gathered for celebrations as we do today when traveling for weddings, funerals, and other life occurrences.

The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthwork is truly an exemplary site that upholds the values of a World Heritage site with its universal value to humanity and its cultural significance. UNESCO made the inscription official for the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthwork on September 19, 2023. They are part of the prestigious list that includes iconic global sites such as the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, Stonehenge in England, and the Grand Canyon, to name a few. This inscription marks the twenty-fifth World Heritage site in the United States of America and the first in Ohio.

Learn more about this designation and these sites by visiting the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau at VisitChillicotheOhio.com.

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Gore Orphanage

This is the latest story from the blog,
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

We moved a temporary “bridge out” sign so we could drive our car across. Clearly, the bridge was not out, but we were—for a good time.

We had driven well across rural Lorain County in pursuit of a late October fright night like generations of Northern Ohio teens before us. It was a rite of passage to try and brave the dark valley and legend of Gore Orphanage.

Matt and Dusty wanted candy. We pulled off at a rickety old roadside store, and they went inside.

“Look, is that someone leaning out of the window above the store?” asked one of the girls in the backseat.

I rolled the window down.

“Do-o-o-on’t go-o,” the stranger lobbed down to us, face flickering in neon against the dark.

We looked at each other inside the car, silently mouthing, “What the …!”

When we looked back up, the stranger in the window was gone.

“What the heck was that?” asked one of the girls aloud.

Surely, it was just some guy having fun with us.

Matt and Dusty jumped back in the car. They didn’t believe a word out of our mouths about the stranger in the window.

Eventually, we arrived at a desolate country road that led down a steep, narrow hill. We noticed but ignored the “no trespassing” signs riddled with bullet holes. Near the bottom of the hill, a turn-off to the left veered so sharply it was difficult to see. This offshoot was even steeper and narrower and led to blackness. Our other option was to continue the main route and ascend the other side of the valley.

We chose blackness.

With windows rolled down on a crisp fall night, we listened as we puttered to “Crybaby Bridge.”

“Kill the engine!”

We listened. Then, we got out and leaned against the metal bridge.

“I heard it.”

“Me too.”

“I don’t hear a thing!”

The legend was that long ago, there was an orphanage that burned to the ground, taking with it dozens of kids. If you listened closely, you could hear their faint cries echoing through the valley. Oh, and if you turned your car off on Crybaby Bridge, it wouldn’t restart until you pushed it across to the other side. So, we intentionally left it out of gear to spook the girls. They even gave it a try before we pushed it to the other side. Wouldn’t you know it, it started right up. You could probably catch us winking and smirking at each other on the sly if you were looking in the rear-view mirror.

We continued down the all-but-forgotten road, winding around a bend one way and then back another before pulling over to park along the edge of the road.

“They say the foundation of the orphanage is that way,” Matt said, pointing a flashlight toward the trailhead, where woods met an open field.

Before going there, we ventured up the road ahead on foot. A lonely house was at the end of a long, wooded driveway.

“No way! Someone lives down here!” Dusty whisper-yelled.

Pushing uphill, around a bend, the road was barricaded. We went back to the car.

“Oh no, cops!” I said.

“Those aren’t cops,” Matt noticed as they neared.

They were a friendly group and led us straight to the foundation. But not before passing a lone pillar with graffiti warning, “You are now entering Hell.”

We sat on the remaining foundation blocks and befriended the new carload of strangers. They decided to leave before us, but we weren’t far behind.

As they drove away, I went for some kicks. I threw my flashlight as hard as possible, end over end, high over their windshield, freaking them out. They sped off. Pleased with my shenanigans, I ran, laughing, to pick up my flashlight. Within minutes, it died. Worse, unbeknownst to me, my car keys bounced out of my unzipped jacket pocket.

We knew we were up a creek without a paddle after our failed attempts to search for the lost keys. The other flashlight went dead. So, Matt and I left Dusty with the girls and went to the old house to ask for batteries or a flashlight. It was pretty late at night.

A freak rain shower drove down, forcing us to return to the car. Anxiety and tempers flared.

“Shut up!” Matt yelled.

“What the …”

We were all staring out the back window at a clunker of a pickup truck pulling off the road near our car.

“Get down.”

Our car was a clunker, so it probably looked abandoned.

Peeking over the back seat, we all witnessed a man jump from the truck. He was carrying something long. He let three dogs out the passenger door, and they all ran into the field together and out of sight.

“What do we do?”


“What the hell was that?” the girls cried.

“Was that a gunshot?” I asked aloud.

“Here he comes!” Dusty warned.

The man emerged with two dogs, hopped in his truck, and slowly motored away.

When we finally peeled ourselves from the floor mats, the rain had stopped. It was past midnight. We were stranded …far from home…in an era before the public was armed with cell phones and GPS.

Amazingly, another vehicle eventually appeared. No, it was two cars carrying more teenagers. They were locals. One agreed to drive me back to his parent’s house so I could call my mom. She would have to come out with a spare key.

“Now, listen carefully, Mom. At that point, you’ll have to get out and move a sign that says bridge out, but don’t worry; you can cross. Ignore the no-trespassing signs. Go down the road that looks like a car should not go down. It gets steep and narrow…” continued my directions to my mom. As I heard myself explain, I knew I wouldn’t see the light of day for quite some time.

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

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“Wrong Turns Write Life”

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Coshocton is ‘a-maze-ing’

October is an ‘a-maze-ing’ time to Visit Coshocton, Ohio! Just a short drive from Columbus, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, Coshocton is perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway.

Fall is a beautiful and busy time in Coshocton with plenty to do, including the Coshocton County Fair, McPeek’s Mighty Maze, Harvest Days at Schumaker Farms, Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival, Fall Foliage and Farm Tour, wine trail events, and more!

McPeek’s Mighty Maze is open October 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2023. The bee-themed maze offers family fun games, hayrides, pumpkins, campfires, flashlight nights, food, live music, and more. Learn more at www.McPeeksMightyMaze.com.

Harvest Days at Schumaker Farms begins September 30 – October 29, Saturdays & Sundays only. Activities include hayrides to the pumpkin patch, straw maze, corn maze, petting zoo, family fun games, and more. Learn more at www.SchumakerFarms.com.

Historic Roscoe Village’s Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival is October 20 – 22, 2023! This fall favorite festival hosts a wide variety of artisans and food vendors, with the sights, sounds and scents of autumn. Smell fresh apple butter simmering over an open fire and stroll to the sound of bluegrass music from days gone by. Visit historic buildings and interact with the village smithy, doctor, teacher and weaver. Events throughout the weekend include children’s activities, eerie Spirit of Roscoe tours, Monticello III horse-drawn canal boat rides, canal-era crafts and children’s activities.

Coshocton County Fall Foliage & Farm Tour is October 21 & 22, 2023. There are more than 1,000 farms in Coshocton County, and this tour allows special access to a few of them. This annual event is free and family-friendly, taking participants on a self-driven tour to learn about agriculture while enjoying the fall colors. Maps are distributed at the River View Community Park in Warsaw on Saturday, October 21 & Sunday, October 22. Past tours have included visits to century, livestock, horse and dairy farms, fish hatcheries, cheese houses, timber and furniture makers, vineyards and historic sites. A lunch stand is also part of the day. The local OSU Extension Office, Coshocton Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Farm Service Agency sponsor this annual event.

Enjoy a drive through the beautiful Appalachian foothills covered with autumn leaves and savor sweet, distinct tastes on the Three Rivers Wine Trail, which includes eight wineries and a brewery, all within a scenic drive of one another. The Sip and Stay Thursday Package is a great way to experience local wine and beer in Coshocton County safely. Available only on Thursdays throughout October, 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, Baltic Mill Winery, and YOLO Winery. Reserve your package, call Coshocton Village Inn & Suites at (740) 622 – 9455. Availability is limited. Details may be found at VisitCoshocton.com.

Three Rivers Wine Trail includes seven wineries and a brewery, all within a scenic drive of one another. Get a friend to be your DD on this self-driven trail, or hire Cork & Tap Excursions to drive while you enjoy the Wine Trail! Be sure to pick up a free passport and have it signed at each location to earn your FREE exclusive Three Rivers Wine Trail T-shirt! Each location is individually owned, so that hours will vary. Follow the Three Rivers Wine Trail Ohio Facebook & Instagram to catch the Wine Trail Weekend Lineup that is posted every Thursday; all the live music, food trucks, and special events, such as Wooly Pig Farm Brewery’s Oktoberfest, will be listed there.

Coshocton County has plenty of activities to enjoy, including geocaching, disc golf, hunting, fishing, and a 105-mile motorcycle route.

For those looking ahead to the holidays, save these dates for upcoming events in Coshocton County:

  • Christmas Open Houses: November 4
  • Miracle on Main Christmas Parade: November 17
  • Roscoe Christmas & Candlelighting Ceremony: December 2 & 9
  • Roscoe Village Christmas Craft Show: December 9

VisitCoshocton.com has all the details about events, attractions, shopping, and dining. Call today to request your free information package at 800-338-4724.

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Mohican Time!

“Autumn leaves don’t fall; they fly. They take their time and wonder on this, their only chance to soar.” -Delia Owens.

Now is your time to take in these vibrant colors, breathe in that crisp fall air, and relax in the beauty of Mohican Country. Local farmers’ markets have pumpkins, mums, and more out and ready to sell. As the Camp & Canoe Capital of Ohio, canoeing is not over. Floating down the Mohican State Scenic River under an arbor of color is a treat. Some of the canoe liveries are open through October. It is a perfect time to grab a camera with family and friends and enjoy the serenity of the river.

Stay in a treehouse, castle, resort, inn, or historic bed and breakfast, or choose one of many private cabins. Several of the private cabins or cottages have hot tubs, spectacular views, and all the amenities of home, and some are even pet-friendly.

Fall is full of activities that will keep everyone having fun while enjoying all there is to offer. Embrace the view at the Gorge overlook, climb the fire tower, or stroll across one of two covered bridges. The brand-new Spellacy Bridge on Wally Road is now open for your enjoyment! Begin your October with Ghost Hikes at Malabar Farm State Park. Or spend your day playing games, riding rides, or checking out the vendors and displays at the Loudonville Street Fair. Sharpen your investigative skills at the Big Foot Basecamp October 5th-8th at Pleasant Hill Lake Park with the famous Matt Moneymaker. Magnificent fall colors will be ablaze for a drive-it-yourself fall foliage tour in late fall. Come November, lace up your racing shoes for the Mohican 5K or the Fuzzy Fandango. Finish the year with a Candlelight tour of the Malabar Farm Big House. Spend your evening viewing the Kingdom of Lights at Landoll’s Mohican Castle or wake up to breakfast with Santa at Landoll’s Mohican Castle or the Mohican Lodge.

Events and adventures are in no shortage at Mohican throughout the rest of the year! Check out DiscoverMohican.com for a complete list of events!

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A Trip to the Heart of Ohio

Let your trip to the heart of Ohio include visiting Marion County, where you’ll find the perfect location for a weekend getaway or a multi-day stay. Marion is conveniently situated just off State Route 23 and is a short drive north of Columbus. Marion offers excellent accommodations, engaging attractions, seasonal activities, and delicious dining opportunities if you’re looking for a location to meet up with family and friends this holiday season.

Select comfortable accommodations at one of Marion’s hotels near State Route 23 or enjoy your stay in a newly listed Downtown short-term rental option.

Discover history with Marion roots and encounter its impact on Ohio and this nation. Tour three Harding Presidential sites – the historic home, museum, and memorial. Stroll the Marion County Historical Society, home to the Buckeye Telephone Museum collection, international children’s author Shary Williamson’s book display, and US Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow’s career memorabilia. Experience unique popcorn carts under the big tent at the Wyandot Popcorn Museum and enjoy a complimentary box of popcorn. Explore the County, discover the locations of Marion’s seventeen Ohio Historical Markers, and stop by Marion Union Station, a unique experience for train enthusiasts.

While you’re here, experience the beauty of nature. The Marion County Park District Naturalist offers guided winter hikes at the Marion Tallgrass Trail, or explore the trail at your own pace. To warm up after your hike, shift gear for indoor activities like axe throwing, bowling, or arcade games.

Holiday shopping awaits you in a reimagined downtown landscape with unique locally owned retail spaces, a hands-on art studio, clothing boutiques, an art gallery, and a yarn shop. Experience delightful dishes served up along the Eaterarian Trail – Memphis-style BBQ, southern soul food, tasty seafood, Italian cuisine, woodfired pizza, ice cream, and more! Sip a cup of tea or coffee at locally owned shops or experience an English tea service at Marion’s tearoom.

Celebrate the holiday spirit with a drive through Christmas by Candlelight at the Marion County Fairgrounds or take in an evening of live, local theatre with Christmas at the Palace at Marion’s 1928 Eberson-built atmospheric theatre. Come for the annual Lighted Truck Parade and stay for the tree lighting and pictures with Santa in Founders Park.

When traveling this winter, encounter, experience, and explore Marion County, Ohio!

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The Other Side of Amish Country

Welcome Home to Tuscarawas County!
Adventures on the Other Side of Amish Country

The Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau likes to share with folks that the county is filled with small towns that tell big stories. A case in point is the beautiful village of Sugarcreek, where you can dance along with the Oompah-pah band of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock, which performs at the top and bottom of each hour. Afterward, discover the roots of the community at the Alpine Hills Museum and marvel at the artistry of the Brick Wall Sculpture, which illustrates the tales of life in this scenic Swiss heritage village. When you are ready to eat, enjoy local flavors at Park Street Pizza, Dutch Valley Restaurant, or Amish Country Donuts, to name just a few local Sugarcreek favorites.

Bolivar stories go back to the construction of Fort Laurens- Ohio’s only Revolutionary War Fort. Learn the drastic measures the brave soldiers took to serve on the Ohio frontier at this volatile time. After taking in the history, enjoy browsing the antique shops in downtown Bolivar and feed your appetite at Canal Street Diner or Sublime Smoke. If you are ready for a cold brew, stop by Lockport Brewery and enjoy a handcrafted beer.

National Historic Landmark District, Historic Zoar Village, has a big story to share! Known as America’s most successful Communal Society, residents began to call Zoar home in 1817 as residents arrived seeking religious freedom. Enjoy the architecture of the original brick and timber structures, the museums, the bakery, and the large garden. With special events throughout the year, you may even want to visit during one of their special event ghost tours to hear from one of the original residents!

Dover has a downtown filled with friendly merchants and locally owned diners- not to mention a hand-crafted candy store, a cupcake shop, and several that provide offerings for your home! When you are ready to explore, stop by Riverfront Park to ride the artistically created swing or try your arm on their disc golf course! The museum offerings include an original Victorian Home, J. E. Reeves Victorian Home, and Carriage House Museum; a museum sharing the life story of a master carver, the Ernest Warther Museum and Gardens; a museum mentioned in Ripley’s Believe It or Not that tells of stories of those who have passed at the Famous Endings Museums. Do not leave without a sweet treat from Eiler’s candy shop or enjoy a meal at Pangrazio’s, Mindy’s Diner, or El Pueblito Mexican Bistro. Dover has more than enough to do for a day or more!

Travelers looking to add to their wardrobe will enjoy the shops in downtown New Philadelphia, whose merchants offer styles for the whole family. With cafes, restaurants, bookstores, and art galleries, you will enjoy this city and its many boldly colored murals. Enjoy a live performance at the Performing Art Center on the Kent State University campus at Tuscarawas. Their show season is filled with favorites, headline acts, and even those lesser known. Historic Schoenbrunn Village is located on the east end of the city and tells the stories of David Zeisberger and his efforts to share Christianity with Delaware Indians. Downtown New Philadelphia is a food paradise with numerous local dining stops set to please every craving- you will not be leaving hungry! From fine dining, cafes, and casual spots with outdoor seating, you will savor and long remember the delicious meals you enjoyed in downtown New Philadelphia!

The village of Gnadenhutten has a tragic story tied to Schoenbrunn Village. After you visit the museum, walk over to the local café, Tents of Grace, and browse the home accessory shop just down the block, too.

Have you traveled to Dreamsville lately? Discover Dennison and tour the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum to learn about this famous song’s tie to this Tuscarawas County community and the importance of this iconic American railroad depot. Families will want to celebrate the magic of the “Polar Express” train ride held annually on multiple early December dates. For more information and tickets, visit www.dennisondepot.org. Dennison will be opening a new ice-skating rink this holiday season, too! When ready to eat, enjoy a meal at Lucielle’s Lunch Stand, the Dennison Yard, Pangrazio’s, and a local brew at Holy Moly Brewing Company.

Visit Uhrichsville and learn the tales preserved in the Uhrichsville Clay Museum, which shares pieces of folk art and stories from American industrialization. When it is warm outside, does an afternoon at a water park sound like a cool idea? Do not miss the Uhrichsville Water Park for an enjoyable time with the whole family!

Newcomerstown is proud to share the stories of former residents Cy Young and Woody Hayes! Visit the Olde Main Street Museum while taking a step back in time to see the collections these favorite sons have on display. Summer season, take in their Second Saturday celebrations that fill the downtown with vendors, food, family fun, and live music!

Within the scenic Appalachian rolling hills of the county are grand arts adventures complete with theatres, murals, sculptures, and even quilts on barns! There are local growers, farm markets, trails, rock climbing, dog parks, ten wineries and four breweries, and plenty of homemade ice cream shops. Tuscarawas County is in the heart of Appalachian Ohio and is on the other side of Ohio’s Amish Country. You will be greeted with warm welcomes everywhere you go throughout your visit, and finally, exhausted from your adventures here, you will sleep comfortably in one of our many clean, comfortable lodging options!

Visit www.TravelTUSC.com, call 800-527-3387, or stop by the Welcome Center at 124 East High Ave, New Philadelphia, to learn more.

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Autumn In West Central Ohio


The Autumn season in Shelby County, Ohio, is good for the soul. With an enviable variety of “naturescapes” to enjoy, a weekend getaway to Sidney is just what’s needed to rejuvenate your spirit.

Bicycling and hiking enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the fall colors of Lake Loramie State Park in Fort Loramie and Tawawa Civic Park in Sidney. Lake Loramie State Park features a 1600-acre lake with 30 miles of shoreline for outdoor adventurers looking to combine both on and off-the-water excursions. Here, visitors can pitch their camp on one of 167 sites offering both primitive and RV camping with all the amenities. Those who enjoy the experience of a cabin will find several from which to choose, situated just steps away from the picturesque Lake Loramie shoreline.

Anglers are sure to love the sport fishing at Lake Loramie. Crappie, blue gill, and bass are popular species in the lake. Lake Loramie is perfect for kayak fishing as well. Those needing extra assistance getting onto the water will find the adaptive boat launch incredibly easy to use and so convenient. In addition, Lake Loramie has rental kayaks available for those not traveling with one of their own.

Oh, and don’t forget your camera. Lake Loramie State Park is home to an incredible variety of birds and wildlife, including bald eagles, woodpeckers, ducks, blue herons, and hawks. While hiking, you’ll also likely cross paths with deer, fox, mink, raccoon, and squirrel.

Tawawa Civic Park is an incredible natural resource as well. With its 220 acres, Tawawa Park is a wooded reserve perfect for hiking, biking, and fishing, and is a wonderful outdoor location for family get-togethers, picnics, and cookouts.

Well beyond the allure of Lake Loramie and Tawawa parks, Sidney and Shelby County have an incredible lineup of fall activities not to be missed. Now through October 29th, guests to Crossway Farms will love their Fall on the Farm days. U-pick pumpkins, a sunflower field, and the Crossway Corral Play Zone are awesome family fun. The Crossway Farm Store is perfect for autumn shoppers, offering pumpkins, mums, fresh fruit and veggies, seasonal gourds, jams, jellies, donuts, and coffee cakes. And don’t forget the Apple Cider Explosion. This incredible, edible, drinkable creation you gotta try!

On October 5th, Sidney celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Big Four Bridge. This engineering marvel has dominated the landscape south of Sidney since the 1920s, and its importance to the area’s economic development cannot be underestimated. Beginning at 5pm. The celebration will kick off with complimentary cake and ice cream and top off with an incredible fireworks display at 8 p.m.

Other seasonal attractions of note include the Lost Land Corn Maze at Vandemark Farm, offering great family fun in the cooler Autumn weather. Here, you can zip line, explore the corn maze, pal around with farm animals at the petting zoo, challenge your group to a round of mini golf, take a hayride, defy gravity on the giant swing, and work on your game at the golfers driving range.

Attention Harry Potter fans. On October 6th, step into the enchanting world of wizards and witches at The Historic Sidney Theatre for an unforgettable evening of wizardry and wonder. “Potions and Plates” is your ticket to a fully immersive Harry Potter experience that will transport you straight to the hallowed halls of Hogwarts. Prepare to be spellbound on this enchanting night filled with captivating activities and delights. Whether a die-hard Potterhead or just looking for a night of enchantment and fun, “Potions and Plates” promises an immersive experience like no other, so grab your wands and cloaks and get ready to step into a world of magic and mystery.

The Shelby County Historical Society’s annual Ghost Walk is also a lot of fun (and educational, too). Here, past Sidney and Shelby County residents share their stories with the living. The Ghost Walk is on October 11th and 12th in downtown Sidney.

For those who crave a bump in the night, another popular attraction is the Haunted Theatre in downtown Sidney, where you’ll venture out on a spine-tingling journey through the darkest corners of the Historic Sidney Theatre. Are you ready to face your deepest fears? The ghosts of yesteryear are stirring, and can’t wait to meet you. This tour, offered October 27th-29th, offers a unique and unforgettable Halloween experience this season.

Of course, with the Christmas holiday season quickly approaching, now is the ideal time to make your travel plans to Sidney. This online events calendar is perfect for planning your new holiday travel traditions.

Come see why Sidney is a spirit you won’t find anywhere else. For your next getaway, rejuvenate your spirit in Sidney. They’re waiting for you.

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Trail Mix

Southeast Ohio Offers Variety of Autumn Hiking Options

Autumn doesn’t just signal the much-awaited return of football. It’s also a sort of unofficial preseason for Ohio’s unbeatable fall hiking. Before the temperatures drop and the leaf peepers come out to play in the fall foliage, here is some “trail mix” to enjoy that illustrates why Guernsey County, Ohio, is the perfect place to take a hike.

As Ohio’s largest state park, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of activities and amenities within Salt Fork’s more than 17,000 breathtaking acres to delight the whole family: fishing, swimming, golfing, horseback riding, and more. And, of course, there’s hiking – miles and miles of gorgeous Eastern Ohio flora and fauna. The park offers 15 official trails, ranging from easy trails and cave routes less than half a mile long to a 6.86-mile section of the Buckeye Trail (part of an ambling 1440-mile loop around the state). A new family-friendly Storybook Trail was added late last year near the campground, creating a unique opportunity to improve childhood literacy and develop an early love of the outdoors. The new trail, beloved by the young and young at heart, features the picture book “Wonder Walkers” by Micha Archer and follows two young explorers who venture outdoors.

The next stop on your outdoor adventure should be Seneca Lake Park. Seneca Lake Park offers several miles of natural surface hiking and biking trails throughout the woods surrounding the park’s large and beautiful lake. Seneca Lake Park’s website advises hikers, “Most trails are very challenging with unpredictable trail conditions, so please use caution and be prepared with proper footwear.” Popular routes include the Beech Tree Ridge Trail, Schoolhouse Trail, Cemetery Trail, and last but not least, the aptly named Lakeside Trail.

The Buckeye Trail also crosses Seneca Lake property and can be accessed from the Cemetery or Beech Tree Ridge Trails.

If you want a unique hike, visit The Butterfly Habitat at The Wilds. This walking trail winds through a 10-acre area of prairie, wetland, and woodland planted with flowering plants selected especially to encourage butterflies to flourish.

Located just across from The Wilds’ main parking lot along International Rd., the Butterfly Habitat is a great addition to your experience at The Wilds, either before or after your safari tour. The Butterfly Habitat is available to visitors during regular hours at no additional charge (a $7/vehicle parking fee still applies).

Finally, you can’t stop in Guernsey County without enjoying the Great Guernsey Trail. The trail offers a 14-mile round-trip biking, running, or walking trail along a paved, low-grade path. Coal Ridge Park and Trails, a new addition to the Great Guernsey Trail, consists of several walking trails that cross woods and open areas and include a lake that allows non-motorized boating, camping, and fishing.

There are two trailheads. One is at 35000 Corduroy Road in Cambridge, and the other is at 204 Main Street in Lore City. Both entrances offer restrooms and dog parks. Designated as a National Recreation Trail (NRT) in 2020, the Great Guernsey Trail is now part of the national database of NRT trails and is one of only 24 trails in Ohio with this distinction.

Make sure your next trail leads you to Guernsey County, Ohio. For local and seasonal happenings and highlights to round out your next hike, see VisitGuernseyCounty.com .

For more information, contact the Cambridge/Guernsey County VCB office at 627 Wheeling Avenue, Suite 200 in downtown Cambridge, call 740-432-2022, email info@visitguernseycounty.com, or visit VisitGuernseyCounty.com.

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Autumn on the Family Farm

at Niederman Family Farm

It’s more than corn maze and pumpkin patch season. It’s the Niederman Family Farm harvest of fall fun!

Yeah, they have all the autumn fixings for fun, like a massive corn maze and pumpkin patch, but they’ve been in the family memory-making business for decades, and it shows. The 210 acres are like a fall amusement park filled with treats!

One of the hottest treats is the Niederman family’s fresh, hot, homemade cinnamon sugar donuts. But first, fill those tummies with all kinds of yummies at the Niederman picnic pavilion, which provides great sandwiches, drinks, and all your fall staples. Sip hot cider and enjoy fresh kettle corn, funnel cakes, caramel apples, apple butter, pumpkin butter, hot roasted nuts, and more.

Other Niederman signature offerings feature jams, jellies, honey, and a variety of coffees in the marketplace barn. On the weekends, many of these foods are also available at food tents and stands throughout the farm. Be sure to reserve a private bonfire area under the stars to pass around the marshmallows and S’mores.

Let the kids get tangled in fun racing around the Low Ropes Course to challenge. Navigate carefully along small floppy blue disc platforms suspended on hanging ropes. Dive into the side-by-side rope tunnels and try to crawl without falling through. Now, try walking a tightrope with no sides to help keep balance. Maneuver a rope net wall. These are just some obstacles to navigate along the way through laughter and a little competition.

The Niedermans have added all kinds of creative touches throughout the years. Bounce your way to side-splitting laughter under a barn on stilts sheltering a giant bouncy pillow. There’s also a spacious observation deck measuring 24 by 70 feet. Old-fashioned water pumps send racing rubber ducks back and forth. Families square off for tug-o-war contests. Race someone on adult-sized tricycles or bouncy balls. At every turn, there are activities and excitement for all ages.

Everyone enjoys the farm animal viewing areas featuring goats, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, and other livestock. This farm has it all: human foosball, climbing web, lil’ sprout route, climbing hill, ball zones, tetherball, pipe swings, and kids’ tractor play area and tiny houses. And sanitizing stations are plentiful.

No doubt daytime is only half the fun. Stick around because when the sun goes down, even more fall fun rises under the moonlight. Grab your flashlight and navigate the corn maze. Take a leisurely, starlit hayride. Gaze at the night sky and breathe the crisp autumn air. Again, reserve your bonfire pit and enjoy good old-fashioned storytelling with a weenie roast.

Niederman Family Farm is fall done right.

Of course, the corn maze and pumpkin patch are featured activities day and night, but plenty of other activities are also found throughout the farm, providing hours of bonding time between family and friends.

Niederman Family Farm is at 5110 LeSourdsville-West Chester Road in Liberty Township, Ohio, between Cincinnati and Dayton. Call 513-779-6184 or visit NiedermanFamilyFarm.com.

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

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Ready for Baking Season?

The holiday season is just around the corner. From Halloween to the New Year, a lot of celebrating comes with these last three months of the year. And with it comes a lot of cooking and baking.

The secret to wowing your holiday guests with mouth-watering taste is definitely in the ingredients.

It’s no secret that many Amish recipes at Amish are scrumptious. But buyer beware; there are plenty of faux Amish labels that may be the difference between party success and party mess. Authenticity means a willingness to journey to a place where, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

Welcome to the modest, rustic Amish shop renowned the country over for having superb ingredients to create wonders in your kitchen. Welcome to Yoders Bakery and Furniture, tucked off Ohio State Route 32 in Seaman at the edge of Appalachia.

The authentic Amish-owned and operated marketplace features a full bakery, deli, and grocery. Aside from their full line of ingredients for cooking and baking in the bulk foods section of the store, the bakery has a wide variety of freshness coming from the ovens to the shelves and gone by day’s end. Whether you crave pies, cinnamon rolls, or fresh-baked bread, the aroma floating in the air says it all.

Peanut butter pretzels will be lucky if they make it to the parking lot without being devoured. Next to the bakery is the full-line deli where you can pack a cooler with a wide variety of cheese and meat selections to bring back home or go out to the shade trees and have yourself an autumn picnic while the kids play on Amish-made playground sets.

Fill a grocery basket with bulk food selections for baking or cooking at home, including hard-to-find ingredients. The store also sells an enormous selection of canned foods, sugar-free foods, and old-fashioned candies.

That’s just the appetizer.

If you need to dress up your meal or dessert presentation, Yoder’s also specializes in Amish-made baskets, candles, quilts, and even dining tables, plus much more. This is not a quick trip to a big box store. This is a leisurely day spent tantalizing the senses.

Lots of jokes surround fruitcake gifts around the holiday season – but at Yoders, it’s serious business!

Yoder fruitcakes have created a legend of their own – in deliciousness. That’s why the modest Amish shop gets orders nationwide. That’s why it is best to order early in the fall season.

This is not a quick trip to a big box store. This is a place for leisure shopping to find that one-of-a-kind Christmas gift for even the most finicky person to shop for.

If, in the holiday hustle and bustle, you don’t find an afternoon to escape the stresses of “convenience” shopping, there’s always mail-order – albeit, it comes without the pleasantries of visiting an out-of-the-way Amish landmark.

Yoder’s Bakery and Furniture is at 2621 Burnt Cabin Road off SR 32 in Seaman, Ohio. They are open Monday – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Closed on Sunday). Call 937-386-9995 or visit https://www.yodersbakeryandfurniture.com/.

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America’s Most Colorful Caverns

Are in West Central Ohio!

Long hailed as America’s Most Colorful Caverns, Ohio Caverns is colorful both above and below ground in fall.

Take a self-guided tour of the color pallet of trees and a guided tour of the color pallet of the caverns. It’s quite a vista either way. Enjoy a great old-fashioned picnic setting in the pavilion or under a tree between tours. It’s also a great time to sift the old miners’ sluice for precious gemstones. Get a bag of rough for the sluice inside the gift shop, which is one of the largest rock shops around and has a wide array of colors, too!

Nature carved a fairyland beneath the rolling, wooded hills of rural West Liberty, Ohio. Until its discovery in 1897, nobody knew a subterranean wonderland spanning over three miles was growing the most colorful caverns in America one drip at a time, undisturbed for ages.

During the year-round cave tours, visitors are treated to views of one-of-a-kind discoveries and rare finds. The “Crystal King” is the largest and most perfectly formed pure white crystal stalactite in any cave. According to current dating techniques, it is nearly five feet long after 200,000 years of growth. It is found apart from other formations, adding to its dramatic appearance in stark contrast to its surroundings. It is truly a king of stalactites.

Other rare stalactites found at Ohio Caverns are called helictites or “soda straws.” These resemble curly straws hanging from the ceiling. Somehow, they grow longer in a way that seems to defy gravity, twisting in weird directions up, down, sideways, and all around.

One of the more intriguing formations is the “Old Town Pump,” which looks just like it sounds down to the dripping water. It must have been fun coming up with such names. It’s reminiscent of lying on your back, staring at puffy white cloud formations, and with a little imagination poof, there’s an old town pump!

These are the only known caverns in the country where dual formations are found. This oddity consists of iron oxide tipped off with milky white calcium carbonate. It is a mystery why the two minerals remain distinctly separate, refusing to blend colors. But it creates a picturesque contrast.

The main reason people love to visit here time and again is the wide array of colors. In addition to black and white, the plentiful stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and other formations come in various colors, including yellow, orange, red, blue, and purple hues. The colorful climax is best seen in the “Palace of the Gods,” where there is an array of translucent crystals.

Over the years, various publications have dubbed Ohio Caverns as one of the best caves overall in the US.  Current tour times, rates, and other information to plan a visit are at OhioCaverns.com/.

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Ohio Scenic Drive for Fall Foliage

Fall is always a great time to visit the Hocking Hills.  As summer days transition into the colorful warm days and cool nights of fall, mother nature puts on her best show of the year. The Hills vibrate with all the jewel tones of autumn.  Ohio’s Hocking Hills just made CNN Travel’s “7 scenic drives across the United States for your fall foliage fix”.

This fall is even more exciting with the new Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center opening.  This new resort is in the heart of Ohio’s most visited state park.  The scenery is spectacular, but the experience goes far beyond the colorful trees.

In December of 2016, a devastating fire destroyed the Hocking Hills State Park Dining Lodge, a favorite restaurant of locals and visitors.  It was a great loss to the community as the facility had also been the site of many weddings, family reunions, and meetings.

Now, rising from the ashes comes the brand new Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center.  Governor DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz will cut the ribbon on the new lodge on Saturday, October 8, at 1:30 pm.  Everyone is invited to the grand opening festivities.

The new Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center features eighty-one guest rooms, many with balconies overlooking the dense forest and hills behind the lodge.  Guests will enjoy the fitness center and pools, both indoor and outdoor.  There are even all-season hot tubs.

Fans of the former dining lodge restaurant will be happy to know Chef Matt Rapposelli is back.  Chef Matt will be serving up his delicious creations at the Rock House Restaurant and Pub.  The restaurant and pub are located in the opposite wing of the property from the guest rooms.  The conference facilities, gift shop, and Grab-and-go Café are also located in this wing.

Just as the Hocking Hills are the natural crown jewels of Ohio, the new Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center is sure to be the crown jewel of park lodges.  For more information and reservations, visit hockinghillsparklodge.com or call 800-282-7275.

October is one of the busiest months of the year in the Hocking Hills, and for good reason.  In addition to the delightful display of fall foliage, it’s also the last chance of the year to play outside in great weather.  The Hills are best known for hiking, but there is so much more to do while enjoying autumn’s awesome weather.

Get a bird’s eye view and a thrill as you fly through the tree canopy on ziplines.  Take a colorful float down the Hocking River or drop a line in Lake Logan.  Travel to a haunted tunnel on horseback.  Get up close and personal with baby critters.  Meet the park naturalist’s wild-winged friends.  The days may be getting shorter, but there’s nothing short about the list of extraordinary experiences in the Hocking Hills.

Begin your adventure at ExploreHockingHills.com.

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Steam Engine Rides

Ride Ohio’s oldest restored steam engine
at Hocking Valley Scenic Railway on select dates.
The beloved Engine #3
is over 100 years old and running.

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A nostalgic steam engine returned to Hocking Valley Scenic Railway tracks in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Its curdling smoke through its stack to the delight of train enthusiasts.

Several years ago, a team of volunteers – “The Steam Boys” – led by Rob Baughman finished a grand restoration project that had many setbacks. But together, they ultimately succeeded in bringing back to life the 1920 Baldwin-built (former Ohio Power Company) 0-6-0 steam locomotive No. 3 for the first time in 60 years.

It has been used periodically for special runs posted at   www.hvsry.org and on Facebook. On those occasions, coal is shoveled into the boiler for folks to see railway nostalgia in action as the steamer chugs through the scenic Hocking Hills countryside to ride the rails of Yesteryear!

No. 3, as it is often referred to by the “Steam Boys,” was donated to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in 1982, although serious restoration didn’t begin until 2004. It has since been a long-standing dream of many railroad men and women to restore it to its operational glory. Their dream is now a reality after years of volunteer hours in the making and at a cost of over $150,000.

The steamer isn’t the only unique offering at this old-time whistle-stop.

Tucked back in the rolling hills of Southeast Ohio Appalachia, there’s more than just nature’s beauty in the midst of this leisurely scenic railway. Nearby the Nelsonville depot, there’s an eatery where train enthusiasts like to grab a bite before boarding time. Sometimes the air is filled with lively railroading stories. Go ahead, interrupt, and ask your questions; they don’t mind. It’s all part of that Hocking Valley charm.

Before crossing the tracks to the nostalgic depot to purchase your boarding pass, take advantage of the photo ops that abound. Stroll among railroad history and see lines of coaches, cabooses, and engines depicting the eras of railroads past. But before time slips away or the train sells out, get your ticket. Sellouts are commonplace due to the demand.

Inside the old depot is a mini museum displaying railroad artifacts. In addition to specialty trains offered throughout the year, two diesel train excursions are offered regularly from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Roundtrip to Haydenville spans 1 ½ hour, departing at Noon. Roundtrip to Logan spans two hours, departing at 2:30 pm. There are also pre-season and post-season weekend train ride opportunities aboard enclosed coaches with heat and open-air cars for unobstructed views.

The narrator will tell you when to look left or right for the points of interest while sharing the history of the railroad and the area. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the leisure ride through the woods, rolling hills, and lakes. You even get to go over rivers and streams on a couple of train bridges. Near the halfway point, the train will stop; it isn’t being robbed by bandits, but that treat is saved for the specialty robbery trains. Instead, it is to treat everyone to a sight not often seen. The train is about to reverse direction, but instead of traveling backward, the engine is detached, slowly riding alongside everyone on the adjacent track before it is reconnected at the other end.

Now about those specialty trains. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway has rare opportunities for themed train rides throughout the year. These are all family-oriented and include Ohio’s Friendliest Train Robbery, All Caboose Train, Easter Bunny Train, Santa Train, New Year’s Eve Train & Fireworks, and Memorial and Labor Day excursions.

While you’re in town, you may want to also make time to see the Historic Dew Hotel, where President Roosevelt, President Taft, President McKinley, and President Harding all made campaign stops. Guess how they got there? There’s also Stuart’s Opera House, built in 1879, and the restored picturesque Nelsonville Public Square. Next to the depot is The Rocky® Outdoor Gear Store. And, of course, there’s plenty of lodging throughout the Hocking Hills Area State Parks – the hot-tub capital of the Midwest!

If you plan to ride the rails, CLICK HERE for the latest fares, specials, operating times, how to charter a private train, and other details, along with directions. Make your next whistle-stop, Nelsonville, Ohio, to board the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway!

By Frank Rocco Satullo, your Tour Guide to Fun! 

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Ready. Aim. Coshocton.

Hunters across the United States recognize Coshocton County, Ohio, as the place for game. It’s often ranked as the top county in Ohio for deer kills and is consistently ranked in the top three. But it’s really open season year-round for a variety of prey.

Hunting animals is what put man atop the food chain. It was essential to his evolution. Meat-eating supercharged human brain activity by giving it the calories needed to advance. Man’s brain uses far more energy than any other muscle in the body. Once this incredible energy source was introduced to his diet, man surged ahead of all living creatures on Earth. Today, man still has an incentive to hunt that dates back over two million years – food.

“In my family, we don’t kill it unless we are going to eat it,” said Scott Hosier, an avid hunter, and fisherman.  …Click Here Read More…

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Peculiar Exhibits at This Ohio Museum

This isn’t your ordinary county museum. It has rare birds riding a Ferris wheel, a full-body iron lung, a display showcasing the things locals choked on over the years, and the infamous gangster Dillinger behind bars. All that and more are at the Allen County Museum.

In the taxidermy gone wild exhibit, there are several mechanical dioramas that play out scenes starring preserved dead animals. They are fascinating pieces with an entertainment quality that has stood the test of time. The myriad of moving gears and other mechanical pieces bring imagination to life if nothing else. In one, a bunch of birds rides a Ferris Wheel. In another, the animals ride Noah’s Ark. The Ark is over a hundred years old. A local shoe store owner used to turn it on to amaze kids after they purchased a pair of new shoes. It’s fun to watch when it’s running, but it’s not turned on that often anymore.

One of the more bizarre collections may take your breath away. It displays objects removed from the esophagus, bronchial tree (lungs), and larynx of patients of doctors Estey C. Yingling and Walter E. Yingling. Yes, they collected these from their practice during the 1930s to the 1960s. Each item is marked with the date, the age of the patient, and the patient’s name. Looking at many of the items may make it difficult to swallow.

The “Iron Lung” or “Drinker Respirator” was invented in 1929 by Phillip Drinker.  The display says this was the first widely used mechanical device capable of artificial respiration. It was used to treat victims of respiratory paralysis, often caused by Polio. The patient’s body, excluding the head, was placed in the tank. A rubber collar was fitted tightly around the neck to avoid pressure on the windpipe and larynx and to prevent air leakage. As the pressure in the tank decreased the patient’s chest expanded, moving air into the lungs. When tank pressure returned to normal, the lungs released the air.

Lima had the distinction of holding captive the outlaw John Dillinger in 1933. He was jailed for robbing a bank in Bluffton, Ohio. But before he could be tried for his crime, Dillinger’s gang members busted him out of the Allen County Jail. In the process, they shot and killed Sheriff Jess Sarber. They even locked the sheriff’s wife and deputy in the jail cell. The scene is replicated in the museum with Sarber sitting at his desk and Dillinger peering through the cell block bars at him.

Oddities aside, The Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio is serious about history. The museum itself has a 100+ year history.

While turning the street corner upon approach to the museum, a stunning two-story glass wall showcases an 1893 Shay Geared Locomotive engine. Inside, visitors may explore the exhibit up-close.

The main museum features 42,000 square feet of fascinating exhibits. It took an entire room to display the model built by a local couple depicting George Washington’s plantation – Mount Vernon.  The exhibition galleries feature the area’s history of geology, Native Americans, canals, Civil War, locomotives, and Lima’s oil fields, once the largest known in the world.

Many of the exhibits have that “cool factor” that prompts the inevitable, “Wow! Check this out.”

The museum is kid-friendly and features plenty of hands-on experiences in the Children’s Discovery Center and a Children’s Garden. Little visitors can sit around the fire (not a real fire) in the Indian mud huts. They may stare in wonder over the huge model train display illustrating and demonstrating railroad town culture. Stop in the one-room school for a quick lesson. If anyone “acts up,” there’s a tall, pointed Dunce Cap on a stool in the corner.

The Allen County Museum grounds have much more to explore than the many treasures inside the main complex. The MacDonell House is a Victorian mansion open for tours depicting the high life on what used to be known as Lima’s “Golden Block.” The nearby Log House interprets pioneer living in 1848.

Although this museum is in a historic small Ohio town, it is widely recognized to offer more than many of its “big-city” counterparts. Its diverse and extensive collection has more than 250,000 archival and material items putting it in the league of some of the finest museums around.

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

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Welcome to Hotel Versailles

A destination for guests seeking a truly unique experience, whether passing through the area, visiting a local business or celebrating one of life’s memorable moments.

Hotel Versailles is rich in tradition and history while generously making room for innovation, inspiration and invention. This hotel was designed and developed to ensure all visitors to Versailles feel its hospitality. With Silas, the hotel’s spirited restaurant and lounge, and its event space, the 1819 Room, Hotel Versailles creates a modern, world-class experience perfect for any occasion.

The boutique hotel offers 30 rooms, including six suites, enhanced amenities, a fitness room as well as a courtyard and patio. Throughout the space, you will find locally sourced products, showcasing the wonderful artisans and purveyors the region has to offer. This even includes the pillows, sheets and towels in the guest rooms. Not only are they some of the finest quality, but they also come from Cincinnati-based Standard Textile Company, Inc.

“There are additional surprises from our region in our private bar program, extra amenities and retail offerings. Providing basic amenities and a comfortable night’s sleep is guest service but creating a true sense of place and a memorable experience—that’s true hospitality. Our guests will notice items they had no idea were from right here in our region, even if they’ve spent their entire lives here.” – Jack Olshan, Managing Director of Hotel Versailles.

Throughout your visit, make sure to gather in the hotel’s restaurant and lounge, named Silas Creative Kitchen + Cocktails, aptly named for the eclectic mix of cuisines, wines and cocktails inspired from across the world using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The Silas culinary team prides themselves on delivering the freshest dishes in unexpected ways—continuously updating the menu to reflect the latest local harvest. Featuring an array of indoor, outdoor, lounge and private dining, as well as a consistent rotation of live entertainment, each visit will be different than the last.

“Silas utilizes and sources the highest quality, sustainable produce and proteins from the surrounding area. By partnering with our local vendors, like Winner’s Quality Meats, King’s Poultry Farm, Weaver Eggs, local Ohio farms and our own farm at Sycamore Bridge, Silas creates a unique and memorable culinary experience unlike anything in Ohio.” – Aaron Allen, Executive Chef

Are you looking for an event space for a corporate meeting, family gathering or wedding? The 1819 Room at Hotel Versailles is served by Silas and is designed to host group sizes up to 200 with its own courtyard overlooking the historic town square. The space is equipped with its own bar, audio-visual technologies, private bathrooms, a coat room and an infant care room, making it ideal for any occasion.

During your stay at Hotel Versailles, experience the variety of shops and attractions Versailles and the surrounding communities have to offer. Book a round of golf at Stillwater Valley Golf Club, taste the local wine selection at the Winery at Versailles, order a craft brew at Endless Pint Brewing or peruse the countless boutique shops. There is something for everyone.

At Hotel Versailles, you will enjoy an experience that is both sophisticated and surprising. Friendly and fancy. Modern and memorable. You’ll find nooks and crannies for community and conversation. Warm and inviting like the people who live and work and love there.

To learn more about the hospitality and culinary experience, follow Hotel Versailles and Silas on Facebook and Instagram @hotelversaillesohio and @silascreativekitchen. Visit hotelversaillesohio.com to reserve your next experience.

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Dayton’s Trailside Camping

Dayton-area visitors now have a new option for spending a night beneath the stars: trailside camping.

These sites join MetroParks’ 23 existing camping options, which include front-country campsites, accessible by motor vehicles, and backcountry campsites, accessible on foot. The trailside campsites support travelers without a motor vehicle who are passing through the region and need a place to stop before continuing their journey.

“Trailside camping fills a niche to support hikers, cyclists, and paddlers who are traveling through Montgomery County on the paved trail network, water trails, and long-distance hiking and bicycle touring routes,” said Brent Anslinger, MetroParks’ outdoor recreation program manager. “These travelers may be out for a few days or on a multi-month adventure that covers thousands of miles. Trailside camping is one more critical amenity that welcomes adventure seekers to the area.”

The new trailside campsites are located along seven long-distance touring routes that run through Montgomery County:

The sites also support Dayton’s designation as a Trail Town of two long-distance trails, the Buckeye Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail, and build the region’s growing reputation as The Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest. Trailside camping also supports MetroParks’ 10-year comprehensive master plan and park master plans.

“Dayton is The Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest in part because of all the regional and national trails and routes that pass through the area, including Ohio’s only National Scenic Trail and only National Water Trail, among others,” Anslinger said. “It’s exciting to invite people traveling these routes — as well as anyone seeking multi-day experiences on Miami Valley Trails, the nation’s largest paved trail network with more than 350 miles to explore — to experience Montgomery County and the Great Miami Riverway in a new way.”

Trailside campsites are open year-round. Each can accommodate two small tents and up to six people, with a two-night maximum at the same site. Camping is by permit only but can be booked in advance or on the spot by visiting metroparks.org/reservations.

These primitive trailside camping sites are located in shaded areas with a restroom nearby in three MetroParks:

  • Island MetroPark, 101 E. Helena St. — located near the Great Miami River Trail and along the Great Miami River Water Trail on the northern edge of the park near a new prairie.
  • Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Rd. — located between the Mad River Trail and Buckeye Trail
  • Taylorsville MetroPark, 2000 U.S. 40 — located on the south side of the dam along the Great Miami River Trail

To develop its trailside camping options, Five Rivers MetroParks worked with local, regional, and national partners that share the strategic goal of enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities that allow people to connect with nature. Partners include Bike Miami Valley, the Great Miami RiverwayBuckeye Trail AssociationNorth Country Trail AssociationNational Park ServiceRails-to-Trails Conservancy, and Adventure Cycling Association. Sources from these organizations can be provided upon request.

Celebrating nearly 60 years of preserving green space and natural areas, Five Rivers MetroParks is a nationally renowned park system accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. Five Rivers MetroParks protects the region’s natural heritage and provides outdoor experiences that inspire a personal connection with nature. Educational programs and recreational opportunities are offered year-round for all ages. To learn more about Five Rivers MetroParks, log onto www.metroparks.org or call 937-275-PARK (7275).

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German Village in Columbus

A Culture Preserved in Brick 

Don’t all urban brick roads echo the clippety-clop of horse and cart merchants? When we come across one today, it’s like glimpsing a rip in time. In Columbus, Ohio’s German Village, an old world collides with the new. It’s where the Letgo or Nextdoor App meets the rag-and-bone man who called out, “rag n’ bone!” And people would run outside to throw second-hand goods into his cart.

There’s something poetic about a stroll in German Village of Columbus. From one block to the next, the environment can go from bustling to a standstill, chitter-chatter to silence, car tires to bicycle pedals. In the shadows of downtown Columbus’ skyscrapers, buildings in the village are roofed at three stories, tops. The brick roads blend as easily with the brick walls as the storefronts do with the residential porches. And the old-world density of it forces parallel parking to get out and do what modern man has primarily forgotten to do – walk. Do it for a few blocks and try not to smile along the breezy sidewalks comingling with oak roots. And for those who are up for a type of scavenger hunt, follow The Brickline. It’s a trail from plaque to plaque throughout the village, each with its own story to tell.

German Village offers various staples for any interest, from coffee houses to neighborhood pubs, bakeries to restaurants, and mom-and-pop shops that have operated under the same family shingle for generations. But there’s an old stable, independent bookstore, sausage haus, and ice cream stand that need to be a part of any itinerary.

There’s a term, discovery shopping experience. The place for it is The Red Stable. Here, over one hundred artists’ creations are waiting to be a one-of-a-kind purchase.

Before it was a gift shop, this little red building (made of wood, not brick) was a horse livery. Then it became a wagon repair shop (not the Radio Flyer type). It even spent time as an ice house. Then came the dark ages when a combination of anti-German sentiment after the world wars and the highway system all but killed the pulse of the village. Fortunately, the German Village Society was formed to help revitalize the historic neighborhood. During this phase, The Red Stable seeded what is flourishing today. Local artist Phil Keintz opened an art studio and gift shop there and featured Ohio artists.

Today, The Red Stable, German Village Souvenirs & Gifts, features Cuckoo Clocks, candles, cards, stationery, bath and body products, plants, jewelry, clothing, gifts, and pieces of art.

A brick skips away in a former brick livery stable is five generations of German hospitality served at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant.

The Schmidt family name is well-known in the food industry. Their label is in the aisles of many grocery stores. Although their meatpacking house had been open for decades, their first nibble into the concession and restaurant business began with a stand at the 1914 Ohio State Fair. And it is now the second-oldest food booth at the state fair. It wasn’t until 1967 that Schmidt’s Sausage Haus opened its restaurant doors in the heart of German Village. It has been the talk of the Central Ohio food scene ever since. Be sure to try their Jumbo Cream Puffs, Alpine Chicken Spatzel, or Weiner Schnitzel und Gravy. The atmosphere, hospitality, and menu hit the trifecta in German authenticity.

To walk off a hearty meal, head over to one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, The Book Loft.

Inside this place alone, the walk spans a city block after eight different expansions. Even for the non-reader—Willkommen! Enjoy the adventure of wandering a labyrinth of books through 32 connected rooms, each with its theme, spanning two stories. That’s after navigating the flowers, fountains, and park bench scene outside. The place is so big and windy; there are maps at the counters. Large as it is, its red awnings, red brick walls, and red brick sidewalks and patios create an ambiance of coziness. Curl up in the courtyard or a nook or cranny inside and open the pages to another world. The central courtyard displays “hurt” books at steep discounts for a bargain among the bargains.

Next door, fittingly, is Stauf’s Coffee Roasters. Take a seat and begin reading over a cup of Columbus Underground Roast.

Perhaps it’s the simple side of German Village that walks off the stress of the outside world. Walk long enough, and fantasies of moving to the neighborhood fill the mind. After all of the walking, a sweet tooth will lead to an ice cream stand along the sidewalk. It’s not just any ice cream; it’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

This seasonal walk-up “Mini Jeni’s” is inside an old neighborhood barbershop near the historic Schiller Park. For those who have trouble deciding what to get, you may be pleased to find just four choices on the menu. Place an order at the window in the brick wall and have a seat at a patio table and chair lining the wall along the sidewalk under the giant shade trees, and people watch as pedestrians gather or walk by.

Look around at the brick and ironwork forged to stand the test of time. Its architecture is out of this world, and its culture is from a bygone era.

But you can visit it anytime.

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

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Enjoy Fall in Youngstown

Plan a fall road trip to Youngstown & Mahoning County and enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage, top-quality golf courses, award-winning wineries, world-renowned art museum, and family fun events.

Fall Color in Mill Creek MetroParks
Enjoy the beautiful fall color in Mill Creek MetroParks. With forty-five miles of scenic trails to explore, boardwalks, paved walkways, and unpaved trails take visitors through the diverse lands and scenery of this breathtaking park. At Lanterman’s Mill & Covered Bridge, one of Mahoning County’s most historic landmarks, enjoy the scenic overlook of Lanterman’s Falls, the covered bridge, and hiking trails. Stroll through Fellows Riverside Gardens and enjoy seasonal displays and scenic vistas.

An Outdoor Recreation Guide gives more information about trails and other outdoor activities to help you plan your adventure in Youngstown.

Play a Round!
Fall is the perfect time for golf in Youngstown and Mahoning County. The Youngstown area has been ranked #4 in the country for top-quality, affordable public courses. Whether you want to tackle a Donald Ross-designed course or a links-style course, there are plenty of challenges awaiting you.

New golf simulators will be open this fall in the Waypoint 4180 Center, adjacent to Kennsington Golf Club in Canfield, and will allow you the virtual experience of playing courses from around the world.

Stay-and-Play Packages are available at area hotels, so grab your clubs and get ready to tee-off. The  Youngstown Golf Guide includes information on all 12 local courses.

Enjoy Award-Winning Wineries
The Youngstown area is home to five beautiful wineries, each with their own unique ambiance. Enjoy scenic outdoor patios, glistening lake views, stunning fall sunsets, and sprawling vineyards. Food options range from snacks and flatbreads to full-menu restaurants. Learn more about the local wineries in the Wineries & Breweries Guide.

Visit The Butler Institute of American Art
The world-renowned Butler Institute of American Art is a must-see on any visit to Youngstown. Known as “America’s Museum”, The Butler is the country’s first museum dedicated to works created solely by American artists. Its ever-expanding collection now exceeds 22,000 pieces in all media types, dating back to 1710.

On display until November 22 is America’s Everglades: Through the Lens of Clyde Butcher. This traveling exhibition showcases a body of work that represents a quarter of a century of Clyde Butcher’s photographic expeditions into the American Everglades. Through the breathtaking images, the viewer is beckoned into the image and becomes part of this mysterious and primeval place rarely seen by humans.

Admission is free, and the museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-4pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm.

Fall Family Fun
White House Fruit Farm welcomes guests throughout the fall season to enjoy their orchard-fresh apples, seasonal produce, homemade donuts, and apple cider. The Budgie Bird Barn is open Friday-Sunday for an up-close experience of feeding multiple parakeet (budgie) birds right out of your hand. Their Fall Gift Barn & Pumpkin Pavilion are open through October 31. Find fall décor and mums, and a variety of pumpkins and gourds. Hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Visit throughout the week and enjoy fall on the farm.

Get lost in over 21 acres of corn at Maze Craze in New Springfield. The best corn maze in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Maze Craze was featured as one of the top ten corn mazes in the country in 2018 in the USA Today poll. This year’s design is A Christmas Carol, and it has four separate mazes that will fascinate and entertain all ages. Open weekends through November 1.

Plan Your Fall Road Trip!
Download the Travel Guide and other information at youngstownlive.com.

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Giant Mural in Ohio

Road Trip Worthy
Giant Roadside Mural in West Central Ohio

It’s meant to surprise, delight, and spark conversation, and the new Giant Roadside Mural: Tribute to Apollo 11, in west-central Ohio, certainly does all that and MORE!

Each year famous roadside muralist, artist John Cerney chooses a topic or theme and donates one of his works of art to a community or organization. Last year’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing got him thinking about that feat and the man who took those first steps onto the moon.  Cerney of Salinas, California, contacted the Wapakoneta Chamber of Commerce early in 2020 and offered to donate one of his murals if the right location could be found.  The local group, First on the Moon, took on the project and the rest, as they say, is history.

Cerney painted the various components in his studio in California and then traveled cross-country to deliver and construct it on site.  The mural is located about three miles east of Wapakoneta on US 33.  It is viewable from the westbound lane.  Creney’s giant works of art can be found in 28 states and Canada, this is Ohio’s first Cerney mural and it is a great excuse for a fun road trip.

After checking out the giant roadside mural, you will want to continue into Wapakoneta and visit the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.  Fall and winter hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 4pm.  They abide by strict cleaning protocols and offer a safe museum experience.  While there, be sure to take a selfie with the two bronze statues of Neil Armstrong.   One depicts him as a youth dreaming of someday becoming a pilot and the other as an adult in flight gear, having accomplished that long-held dream.

Complete your road trip with a visit to historic downtown Wapakoneta.  It is filled with wonderful, unique shops and great places to grab a snack or a meal. If your sweet tooth needs a fix, stop by Winan’s Chocolate + Coffee for their decadent candies or Cloud 9 Café for their scrumptious homemade fudge.  There is a third bronze statue of Neil Armstrong, downtown. This one depicts him waving to the crowds as he did during a huge Homecoming Parade following his trip to the moon.

For more information on these and other fun things to see and do in west-central Ohio check out Seemore.org.

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Pinball Garage Hits All The Buttons

Eat, drink, and play pinball. The Pinball Garage has the vibe of a sports bar— offering food and a full bar— with the addition of 30 pinball machines that are among the 50 top-rated pinball games of all time… including Medieval Madness, the #1 rated machine. A successful journey that started on the popular show Shark Tank led the owner Brad Baker to Hamilton, Ohio to open his new business.

Before his Shark Tank tale, Brad and his company VPCabs helped pioneer the technology behind digital pinball machines. Virtual Pinball allows people to play any pinball game ever made, all on one machine.. Brad applied to be on Shark Tank twice and he was accepted the second time; he appeared on Episode 28 of Season Seven. He ended up making a deal with Daymond John.

As a native of the Hamilton and Fairfield area, Brad began manufacturing his virtual pinball machines in Fairfield four years ago and then realized his growing company was in need of a larger space. When he decided to move his warehouse to Hamilton, the building he bought had a large storefront to the warehouse. Brad’s friends and the City of Hamilton urged him to consider opening a pinball arcade, bar, or restaurant in the front of the building. Brad combined all three ideas to open Pinball Garage.

The Pinball Garage features all mechanical pinball machines; some of which were newly made by VPCabs, while others date back to the 90s. Among the 30 different games offered, they are all rated in the Top 50 in the world. Each machine is different, offering popular titles from Batman, Iron Maiden, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Simpsons, Star Wars, Stranger Things, and many more.

The Pinball Garage also features rarities like the Rick and Morty Pinball Machine, which is one of about 50 such machines in the world and only 3 are available for the public to play, as well as the Legends of Valhalla Pinball Machine, which only has six prototypes throughout the world and the other five are privately-owned.

Each machine requires anywhere from 2-4 tokens to play, so Pinball Garage offers a few different token packages for customers to purchase. They also sell a custom, retro fanny pack that comes with $60 worth of tokens for $50.

Of course, a great game of pinball wouldn’t be complete without perfectly themed drinks. Brad’s daughter-in-law, a former mixologist at The Roosevelt Room, helped to create a full menu of creative craft cocktails. Pinball Garage is also partnered up with the owners at All8Up Pizza & Hoagies to deliver food to customers while they play. Along with food and a full bar, they also offer 24 draft beers, one of which is a non-alcoholic draft root beer.

“It’s great for families and I say it’s for kids, but adults drink it like crazy,” Brad says. “It’s really similar to the old-school, handmade root beer from Jolly’s.”

There are big plans for the future as well, as Brad has Phase 2 of Pinball Garage in the works. This will include additional seating, expanding the bar, installing more big-screen TVs, and offering a larger variety of both new and old pinball machines.

“We want to attract the hardcore gamers, as well as just regular people who want to come in and have a great time,” Brad says.

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Day Trip East of Cincinnati

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

East of Cincinnati is a cluster of eclectic attractions in Clermont County. We stopped at four: the world’s only cardboard boat racing museum, a dreamy river town, a vineyard ripe with atmosphere, and the world’s most interesting grocery store. Not a bad way to spend a day. …Read More…

Click Here for the Rest of The Story

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The American Farm Reinvented

The Niederman family planted hybrid crops of
tradition and tourism to save their rural culture

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

Ever expanding suburbs have been squeezing farmland out for generations. Mostly gone are the amber waves of grain that used to grow in vast seas just outside of major population centers. Where seeds once soaked up the sun and rain are now streets named for what they paved over: Strawberry Fields Avenue, Hunting Meadows Road, Vineyard Circle, and so on. Since this transformation of America’s heartland, there’s now a generation of children who can’t think past their local grocer when it comes to where food originates.

Much like mom’s apple pie, the American farm is fast becoming more fable than reality. But the Niederman family is trying to change that! …READ MORE…

Click here for the rest of the story

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Fall On The Farm In Delaware County

Come for a Pumpkin—Play the Whole Weekend 

Is a trip to the Pumpkin Patch on your to do list this fall?  If so, there are lots of good reasons to visit Delaware County.  Multiple farms feature pumpkin patches, foods, festivals, farm animals, and lots of fun activities and experiences.

Take a ride to the pumpkin patch, roam your way through a corn maze, ride a pony, make a scarecrow, hunt for arrowheads, or play barnyard golf. Other activities including giant Legos, barrel rides, farm bounce house, petting barn, mini zip line, straw barn, pumpkin jump, pedal cars, and slides are also part of the fun.

Be sure to come with an appetite, too. Kettle corn, hot dogs, chili, apples, baked goods, cider, and fresh dipped caramel apples are sure to please the taste buds.

Find which farms feature the activities that are most interesting to you, plus dates, hours, and any associated costs before your visit. Check out the websites listed below for all the details: Freeman’s Farm Fall Festival, Hidden Creek Farms Fall Festival, Leeds Farm, Lehner’s Pumpkin Farm, Miller’s Country Gardens.

More Fall Fun!

Alum Creek State Park has lots of fun activities planned for their Fall Fest, including a scavenger hunt, wagon rides, a disc golf tournament, and more!

Stratford Ecological Center will host a Fall Family Campfire (advanced registration is required).  Visit farm animals, explore prairie paths and enjoy storytelling, singing and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.

Historic farm equipment and demonstrations focused on horse and steam power will be featured at the Ottawa Bota Farm. The Ohio Hand Corn Huskers Association will present their annual Husking Competition. 

Pre-register the family for a scarecrow building contest, and trick or treat trail at Gallant Woods Preservation Park (registration required). Then enjoy Fall on the Farm (free for all ages).

Hike, bike, canoe, kayak, golf, fish, or take a country drive and just enjoy the fall colors in Delaware County!  Make it a weekend: visitdelohio.com.

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One-of-a-kind Dinosaur

Torvosaurus joins group of extremely rare dinosaurs
in a new permanent exhibit at Cincinnati Museum Center

Cincinnati Museum Center’s Dinosaur Hall is at the Museum of Natural History & Science. It features a dinosaur that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world: a 30-foot-long Torvosaurus.

The Torvosaurus was a giant carnivorous dinosaur that stalked the Late Jurassic, 153 to 148 million years ago. It bears some resemblance to its much younger cousin Tyrannosaurus, though it predates it by over 80 million years. Both were bipedal predators but the Torvosaurus has more robust arms with three large claws and a longer, narrower skull. And though it’s smaller, the Torvosaurus boasted teeth nearly nine inches long. It was the apex predator of the Late Jurassic, sitting atop the food chain, stalking its massive herbivore neighbors.

CMC’s Torvosaurus is the only one of its kind in the world. Previous specimens were only known through isolated bones but CMC’s is what paleontologists call fully associated, meaning it was found largely intact. It’s 55% complete and contains bones never found before, many bones joined together in their natural position. That rarity makes it especially important to paleontologists and researches hoping to better understand the dinosaur’s anatomy and evolutionary history.

“This skeleton has the ability to tell us a lot about the anatomy of the dinosaur and to understand the evolution of this unique group of dinosaurs,” says Glenn Storrs, PhD, associate vice president of science and research and Withrow Farny Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at Cincinnati Museum Center. “To put a Torvosaurus in our museum is very exciting to me, to dinosaur enthusiasts and to scientists from around the world.”

For those amateur and professional paleontologists who share Dr. Storrs’s excitement, they’ll have to travel to Cincinnati to conduct their research.

“Fossils tell the story of our planet’s history, a history that is relevant to us all as part of our natural heritage,” says P. David Polly, PhD, president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. “In the new exhibits, guests will be able to enjoy the same fossils that scientists study, from the huge Torvosaurusskeleton to small animals and plants that lived alongside it.”

That such a rare dinosaur is in Cincinnati is a case of luck and remembering one’s roots.

Jason Cooper, a fossil enthusiast who has spent years digging for fossils out west, discovered the Torvosaurus skeleton in 2013 in Dinosaur, Colorado. Cooper’s family owned the land where the dinosaur was discovered, haphazardly, while digging a road to another dig site. Being a native of Cincinnati, he had a desire to see it at a museum and an institution he grew up with.

“This has always been a dream of me and my family to get something like this back to Cincinnati,” says Cooper. “That’s where we came from and Cincinnati Museum Center has developed into this national dinosaur treasure museum.”

The Torvosaurus joined five other dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Hall: a 25-foot Allosaurus that was previously on display, the 60-foot-long Galeamopus that made its first public appearance at Rhinegeist Brewery and three additional dinosaurs.

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Schoenbrunn Village’s Sleepy Hollow

Based on the Washington Irving’s beloved classic,
the performance comes alive by the glow of the bonfire

This is an excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

Historic Schoenbrunn Village invites visitors to enjoy a lively retelling of the famous Washington Irving short story by the glow of a bonfire on the lower level of Historic Schoenbrunn Village.

Travel to that not so sleepy, Sleepy Hollow and meet Ichabod Crane, Baltus and Katrina Van Tassel, Brom Bones and the rest of the eccentric Townspeople. While Ichabod courts the lovely Katrina, tensions rise between Ichabod and Brom.  Ichabod suddenly disappears and the only thing that still remains is a smashed pumpkin and his hat. The local legend goes that his head was taken by the Headless Horseman one spooky night.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a family-friendly event. Guests begin the night at the Historic Schoenbrunn Village Museum and Gift Shop, and then guides lead the groups by lantern light to the performance area.

Tamara Benson, director, is excited for opening night.  “Three years ago Steve Long entrusted his production of Sleepy Hollow to me and it has been an immense pleasure bringing his vision to life,” she notes. “You’ll see some old and new friends around the fire this year as we tell stories and celebrate fall.”

Tickets are on sale at www.schoenbrunnvillage.eventbrite.com.

Just remember to watch where you are going and don’t lose your head!

Historic Schoenbrunn Village was founded in 1772 as a Moravian mission among the Delaware Indians. With founder and missionary David Zeisberger, Ohio’s first settlement reached one hundred cabins and three hundred inhabitants. Today, sixteen reconstructed cabins are available to tour. Historic Schoenbrunn Village’s last day of its 2018 regular tour season is October 28. Special events include Spring and Autumn Lantern Tours, Children’s Day, Frontier Skills, Simple Songs, Stories & Games, Colonial Trade Faire, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and a traditional Moravian Sunrise Service for Easter and Lovefeast.

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Barn Artist Time-lapse Video

Ohio Native Scott Hagan, known as “The Barn Artist,” recently completed another historical barn mural as part of a state-wide project coordinated by the Ohio History Connection. The barn on State Route 105 just west of Oak Harbor features a larger-than-life image of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his “Dont Give Up the Ship” motto along with a smaller image of the iconic Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial on Put-in-Bay. The barn offers a connection to the past through a graphic representation of an important piece of the area’s history. A time-lapse video showing how it all came together was created for Lake Erie Shores & Islands and the Ottawa County Historical Society by Sandusky’s New Departure Films.

Watch history come to life!

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Take a Ride Down Memory Lane

bicycle museum of america

at the Bicycle Museum of America

There are few things in life that most of us have in common, regardless of our situation, our life style, and even our age.  Bicycles may just be one of those. It is a rite of passage for a child to graduate from a tricycle to a bicycle, and the day you left your training wheels behind was likely one of those celebrated, if not now forgotten, triumphs in your early life.

The Bicycle Museum of America houses a rich source of bicycle history with over 250 examples on display.  The size of the museum and location hide what is truly a national treasure.  Here you will find everything from the very earliest bicycles to the most modern.  Examples of the collection include a bicycle outfitted for the U.S. Army infantry in the 1890s and the famed bicycle from the film Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. You will also see a monocycle on display that was used in the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Check out the Bowden fiberglass bicycles, a collection of wooden bicycles, many high wheel bikes and historic racing bicycles. Sting-rays from the 1960s and balloon-tired bicycles from the 1950s fill the historical interior with nostalgia.

For the most serious bicyclist it is a unique look into the history of a beloved hobby and mode of transportation.  It can afford the individual, regardless of their age, an opportunity to stroll down memory lane in a way that is not otherwise possible.  There are few other places where a grandparent, or even great-grandparent can gain as much from the experience as every other member of the family.  Bicycles and memories long forgotten may come back and serve as a springboard for countless new family stories and adventures which may have remained forgotten.

Additional collections of gemstones, inaugural medals and a Company C flag that accompanied a local contingent during the Civil War are also on display. The museum is always changing and evolving making each visitor experience unique.

Make plans to visit this incredible private museum located at 7 West Monroe Street, in historic Downtown New Bremen, Ohio.  Fall/winter hours are from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm. Summer Hours are from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm (Closed Sundays).   Admission is $3/adult, $2/senior, $1/student.  Guided Group tours are by appointment. For more information, call 419-629-9249 or visit GreaterGrandLakeRegion.com.

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Ohio’s Newest Historic Barn Paintings

ohio barn painting by Scott Hagan

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau sponsored a historic barn mural painting project and the residents of Sandusky County were encouraged to submit their barns for consideration.  After months of review and artwork designing, the painting of the first barn murals were completed last month.

Scott Hagan, also known as “The Barn Artist,” is painting the murals and is best known for the Ohio Bicentennial Barns he painted in all 88 counties in 2003. Scott also completed the Rutherford B. Hayes barn that was a joint project between the Ohio History Connection and the Ohio Turnpike which is located on Fangboner Road, just outside of Fremont.

David Thornbury, a graphic designer and marketing specialist for the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCCVB) wanted the barns to symbolize something historical that each town is known for. With that in mind he designed a 9/11 tribute as well as a commemoration for the Battle of Fort Stephenson and “Old Betsy.”

The 9/11 barn with elements of the Public Safety Service Memorial in Gibsonburg was dedicated on the 15th anniversary of the  terrorist attacks. One interesting spin on the Gibsonburg barn’s location is the strange connection it has with 9/11/2001.  When members of the SCCVB reviewed the submitted applications from all around Sandusky County they spotted a beautiful white Centennial Barn located at the corner of SR 600 and CR 32. It was not a barn that was submitted for review but they knew immediately this was the right location.

They walked up and knocked on the door and proposed the idea to Mary and Wayne Groweg, the owners of the barn and they were interested immediately.  When they told Mary about the proposed 9/11 theme she immediately said if you make the barn a 9/11 theme, you have to put a tribute to Teresa Martin-Miller, of Woodville on there. She was killed on 9/11 when the plane struck the Pentagon and it just so happened, her brother was delivering wood sheeting for a roofing project that was underway on our barn on 9/11 and he was sitting on a forklift when he got the news Teresa was missing.

The SCCVB was able to meet Mary’s request with a tribute to Teresa Martin-Miller and also found out that a second Woodville Native was on Flight 93 and was killed in the plane that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11 so both Sandusky County natives were incorporated into this historic barn mural that had now turned into a memorial barn.

Additional Barns are being planned. The second barn is located on Christy Road in Fremont. It also features a mural designed by David Thornbury at the SCCVB. It commemorates the Battle of Fort Stephenson and “Old Betsy”, the cannon that Major George Croghan used to fend off the British and the Indians in the War of 1812.

Additional Barns will begin again next spring with locations in Woodville, Clyde and Bellevue planned.

The SCCVB is seeking corporate sponsorships for the barn paintings. The Battle of Fort Stephenson Barn was sponsored by Fremont Federal Credit Union.

To learn more about the historic barn paintings, contact the Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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Clifton Mill is a Standout!

Clifton Mill  and its 200+ years of finely aged beauty stands the test of time and enchants its visitors on a number of levels. Tour all five floors of the historic mill. Relax to the gentle sounds of the old mill wheel and the soft rhythm of the water gently cascading over the falls. Gaze at the covered bridge. Hike the scenic Clifton Gorge. Inside, treat yourself to some great home-style cooking at The Millrace Restaurant. The atmosphere is unmatched and the view is simply hypnotizing. The menu and gift shop include fresh delights made fresh right there at the mill. You won’t want to leave without a keepsake from a bygone era. Complete information is available at http://www.cliftonmill.com/.


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

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The Last Standing Bookstore


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Becomes The New Home of Cincinnati’s
Last Free Standing African American Bookstore

The National Underground Railroad announced that they are the new home of Cincinnati’s last free standing, black-owned African American bookstore—Smith & Hannon, formerly located in Bond Hill. Museum admission is not required to visit the bookstore. This will enable the Smith & Hannon Bookstore to continue to connect the public to African American authors & literature.

Located on the first floor of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Smith & Hannon is Cincinnati’s destination for African American literature—ranging in a large selection of non-fiction and fiction titles in a wide range of genres including: biographies, autobiographies, history, children and young adult, poetry, religion and spirituality and much more. In addition to new titles, Smith & Hannon also features a selection of first edition titles available for purchase.

“We are elated to be the new home of Smith & Hannon Bookstore,” says Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “It is important that we continue the tradition that Mrs. Smith began in 2001, by providing the community with access to such an invaluable resource. People of all walks of life will be exposed to the great works of many African American authors, as well as connect with up and coming authors.”

Smith & Hannon Bookstore was founded in 2001 in Bond Hill by former Cincinnati educator, Joyce Smith. After teaching and administrating for 30 years in both public and parochial schools, Smith understood the importance of literacy and education in the African American community and, upon retirement, sought out to create a community space where readers of every age could meet to read, connect and gain exposure and access to African American literature and authors.

“Smith & Hannon Bookstore will continue to be an accessible resource to the local community at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,” says Joyce Smith, Smith & Hannon founder. “Now its reach will extend to readers of every age and background, extending the joy of reading and learning to a new generation of readers and future authors.”

Smith & Hannon Bookstore is now open at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Bookstore hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11: 00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Admission to the museum is not required to visit the bookstore. For more information visit freedomcenter.org.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since its opening, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. Recently, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.

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Labyrinth Provides Quiet Reflection


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Labyrinth Provides A Path For Quiet Reflection

The paths to success at Ohio Wesleyan University now include 86 majors, 57 minors, and one stone labyrinth.

Thanks to generous donors, the university completed the installation of a 47-foot-diameter labyrinth inspired by one of the world’s oldest walkable labyrinths – an 800-year-old path at Chartres Cathedral near Paris, France. Both labyrinths feature rosette-style centers, resembling the intricate rose windows found in the gothic cathedrals of Northern France.

Ohio Wesleyan’s labyrinth includes 17,600 stone pavers, with about 30 percent of the stones being cut by hand. The labyrinth, located in a grove of trees between the newly renovated Merrick Hall and the Delaware Run, is open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours.

OWU’s labyrinth was designed by well-known labyrinth architect Robert Ferré and installed by Debi and Marty Kermeen of Illinois-based Labyrinths in Stone. The labyrinth is slightly larger than its inspiration and is unique in that its pavers rest on a concrete base rather than being set directly into the ground.

The goal of her California-based nonprofit organization is to “pepper the planet with labyrinths,” including a new initiative to create a series of interconnected “Veriditas Legacy Labyrinths.” Ohio Wesleyan’s labyrinth will be only the third such legacy labyrinth in world. The others are located in La Falda, Argentina, and Jacksonville Beach, Florida – and each contains a piece from the other two in support of an interconnected global community and peace.

The labyrinth is a gift to the university from the family of OWU Life Trustee Kathleen “Kathe” Law Rhinesmith, Class of 1964.

“I’d like to believe it’s a place where each person who comes here will find something,” Rhinesmith said, “whether that be a casual and peaceful walk or a deeper moment of self-discovery and self-reflection. … My wish is everyone who comes here will come away with some quiet new perspective on their life or the world around them.”

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. It is located in Delaware, Ohio. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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Steubenbille is a City of Murals


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The City of Murals has a new mural…and one with national and local significance.

Long known as a steel and coal city, Steubenville, Ohio began transitioning into a community that encouraged art and history in 1986. Over the years since, 25 larger-than-life depictions of significant people and places in the community were painted on buildings throughout the downtown. The last two murals – one of Steubenville native son, Dean Martin with his Rat Pack buddies and another of a frontier pioneer – were painted in 1997 at a nearby shopping complex.

“The murals drew many visitors,” explained Judy Bratten, Director of the Historic Fort Steuben Visitor Center. “But due to budgetary constraints, the murals and some of the buildings they were on were not maintained. We have lost three, and another will soon be gone as its host building is being demolished. That’s why we have worked to renew the project with this Civil War mural.”

The newest mural as of 2015, located on the west side of N. 3rd Street in downtown Steubenville, is a 35-foot tall by the 70-foot wide portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in the telegraph office of the War Department in Washington, DC. With him are two men who had called Steubenville home: Edwin McMasters Stanton, Secretary of War, and David Homer Bates, telegrapher. The painting captures the strain of office as the men communicated with troops at various battles, directing their movements and sending supplies. Artist Ruston Baker of Millersburg, Ohio became engrossed with the project, reading and studying, and seeking information to make it as accurate as possible while making it accessible to the general public. Even as he was painting, people who worked in the area came by to talk, make suggestions and ask questions.

“Local residents will probably get used to this mural over time. But visitors to Steubenville will see it and take in the history of this small town,” noted Baker.

Bratten noted that several current murals are being “refreshed” and there are plans to have more new ones as soon as other accessible sites are chosen.

“The murals are just one of the projects in the city that enhance the quality of life and draw tourists to the area. The other endeavor that began almost 30 years ago was the reconstruction of Historic Fort Steuben on its original site overlooking the Ohio River,” Bratten explained. “The Fort is now fully rebuilt with exhibits and artifacts in every building. In addition, there is now a beautiful Visitor Center, Fort Steuben Park, and the Berkman Amphitheater offering live music throughout the summer.”

A free map of the murals is available in the Visitor Center, but additional booklets are for sale and give detailed information about the murals. A step-on guide provides entertaining stories of the murals and the city for group bus tours. For more information contact the Visitor Center at 740-283-1787 or www.oldfortsteuben.com.

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German Heritage Celebrated

die_musik_kneesGerman Heritage Celebrated at Oktoberfest in Minster, Ohio

We can thank them for introducing us to beer, sausage, sauerkraut and the Christmas tree. German immigrants have made great contributions to this country. Have you ever wondered why so many Germans came to America? Crop failures, inheritance laws, high rents, high prices, and the effects of the industrial revolution led to widespread poverty and suffering in Germany. Relatives and friends who had already immigrated to America wrote back, encouraging others to follow. These circumstances led to “chain migrations” and group settlements, like those in west Ohio’s Auglaize County. The immigrants included well-to-do farmers who saw a bleak future, poor ones with no future and paupers whom the authorities often paid to leave the country.

German immigrants began arriving in west central Ohio in 1832 and found an untamed wilderness. Within a generation, they had turned it into successful farming communities. In 1848 the completion of the Miami & Erie Canal between Cincinnati and Toledo connected the region with the world.    Since the arrival of the first German immigrants in the 1830s, Auglaize County has grown and prospered. The legacy of those German pioneers- strong faith, hard work, and a dedication to excellence- continues today.

The Auglaize County Village of Minster celebrates this heritage by hosting an annual Oktoberfest. As the region’s largest German heritage festival, the Oktoberfest attracts more than 60,000 people each year for an enjoyable weekend of wonderful German food, music, and dancing. It is rated as one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the nation. However, for the people of Minster, the festival is just not an event; it’s a feeling, a spirit, a happy mood that conveys the warmth and friendliness of the community.

The annual Minster Oktoberfest takes place in early October. From singing and dancing to the taste of hearty German foods, this event provides a fun filled time for all. Topping the list of free entertainment this year includes popular bands such as Sorgenbrecher, The Klaberheads, Autobahn and Cincinnati Schnapps.

Mark your calendar, come out to the festival and watch the spectacular gala parade featuring colorful floats and marching bands. Take part in the beer tray relay, the 10K run, and a number of other games and contests. Whether or not you share the German heritage, we’re sure you’ll find yourself doing the Chicken Dance before the evening is over. For more information, check out the Minster Oktoberfest website for a complete schedule of events.   We’re sure you’ll agree: When it comes to having a great time the Minster Oktoberfest ist wunderbar!

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Top-10 Ohio Eateries

top eateries in ohio ohiotraveler.com
(We picked 5 / Fans picked 5)

  1. Maid Rite Sandwich Shoppe in Greenville, Ohio
  2. Lava Rock Grille at Unusual Junction in Coshocton, Ohio
  3. Ye Olde Mill at Velvet Ice Cream in Utica, Ohio
  4. Big Ed’s Main Street Soda Grill in Vermilion, Ohio
  5. Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor in Ashtabula, Ohio
  6. Trusty Woods Restaurant in Ft. Recovery (fan selected)
  7. Door 142 in Fredericktown (fan selected)
  8. Tony Packo’s in Toledo (fan selected)
  9. Nutcracker Family Restaurant in Pataskala (fan selected)
  10. Tie with too many to name – click here to see others
  11. If you want more unique eateries across Ohio, click here

(We pick 5 / you pick 5)
Simply look for an active Top-10 list
click here
post yours as a comment, then
f it gets enough “likes” it’ll be
added to OhioTraveler.com (get it free)

Top-10s are in no particular order.
If you disagree with our list, no worries,
you’ll get your say when we re-vote.
Look for the prompt here

And remember, OhioTraveler.com is your
tour guide to fun!

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Rainbow Hills Vineyards a Standout


Rainbow Hills Vineyards: So many things standout at this winery. It is everything a winery should be. It takes you on a journey into a woodland paradise and down a winding non-paved road into a rolling meadow on one side and grape vines on the other. The winery dog gives a friendly hello. The setting is tranquil, with panoramic views a plenty. Inside, it is rustic with private nooks, warm wood and lovely rough-stone walls and fireplace. Subtle touches make you feel like you aren’t going anywhere for a while. Back outside is a soothing fountain in a pool-like pond with plenty of sheltered seating cascading down the hillside. From star gazing to sun splashed days, it is a true getaway surrounded by wildlife and complete with meals and inn. Oh, and the wines have won international awards. Their name says it all. Click here for more information.

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

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