October Archives

Road to Freedom Reborn

Ohio Stretch is in its New Glory Days
By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

Point that hood ornament toward America’s first road trip. Take a joyride on the original coast to coast byway – the Lincoln Highway!

This “Main Street Across America” as it was known ushered in the freedom of the road era that helped spawn other legendary treks across the United States. But this seminal road was the very first transcontinental automobile route. It connected Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco along with 3,389 miles of drive-over country. Wanderlust carried Ford’s Model T, the Maxwell, Franklin, Hupmobile and Studebaker to distances never before dared.

Until recently, this historic road was forgotten in a flurry of invention that ignited progress, everyone looking forward. Nobody bothered to look in the rearview mirror. And when they did, much of the original road had been buried or rerouted. But across Wayne County, Ohio, it pretty much is as it was. So as the fascinating story of the Lincoln Highway resurfaced in recent years, this sweet spot has steadily gained momentum and leisure traffic once again. The experiential traveler can see, hear, touch, smell and taste the lure of this nostalgic stretch of pavement that leads to the crossroads of Pastime and modern times. …Read More…

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Hunting Season in Ohio

Coshocton County is in the Crosshairs
By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

Hunters across the United States are recognizing 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.  …Read More…

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Coshocton’s Top-8 Fall To-do’s

Fall is one of the best times of the year in Coshocton County. Colorful leaves fill the streets and the air gets a little bit cooler. Most excitingly though, there is so much to do. Whether you are nestled up in a log cabin sipping wine or trekking through the beautiful back roads on the Farm & Foliage Tour, you will end your day satisfied in Coshocton County. Here are the Top-8 things to do in Coshocton this fall. For more fall activities and events in 2017, please go to www.VisitCoshocton.com!

Coshocton County Fair
September 29 – October 5
Fabulous fair food mixed with entertainment and exciting rides? Count us in! Visit www.coshoctoncountyfair.org.

Drinking Habits, A Production of the Coshocton Footlight Players October 6 &7, 13-15, 20 & 21: With a play full of secrets, mistaken identities, and romances, you are sure to laugh out loud the whole time. Go to www.footlightplayers.com.

“Rallying the Homefront” WWI Posters featured at the Johnson Humrickhouse Museum October 7 – December 31: This special exhibit of American propaganda posters commemorates the 100th anniversary of the United States’s entry into WWI. Visit www.jhmuseum.org.

McPeek’s Mighty Maze: Home of Coshocton’s Giant Corn Maze & Outstanding Family Fun September 15 – November 5: Get lost in the stalks at Coshocton KOA’s Giant Corn Maze! Packed full of fun games for ages. 0 – 99 you are sure to find fall fun at McPeek’s Mighty Maze. Go to www.mcpeeksmightymaze.com.

Fall Harvest Big Band Dance at the Lake Park Dance Pavilion Saturday, October 14: Put on your dancing shoes and dance the night away in our beautifully restored 1930s big band dance hall. Visit www.coshoctonlakepark.com.

48th Annual Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival in Historic Roscoe Village October 20 – 22, 2017: The smell of fresh apple butter will draw you in while all the crafts, music, and activities will keep you all day long at this historic canal festival. Events throughout the weekend include Canal Town Journey Tours, eerie Spirit of Roscoe tours, canal boat rides, and activities for children. Also, the canal boat is running on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00PM, 2:00PM, 3:00PM, & 4:00PM after Labor Day through the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival. The canal boat can be chartered on weekdays. Call 800-877-1830, ext. 20 for group rates/charters or go to www.roscoevillage.com.

Fall Foliage & Farm Tour October 21 & 22: This “Drive-It-Yourself” tour is a favorite as it highlights local agribusinesses and the beautiful fall colors of Coshocton County. Tour stops include Longhorn Beef Cattle Farm, a beautiful inland lighthouse, Heritage Vineyard Winery, Dairy Farm, Killbuck Creek Distillery, and more! Visit https://coshocton.osu.edu/.

Three Rivers Wine Trail in Coshocton County: Baltic Mill Winery, Heritage Vineyard Winery, Indian Bear Winery, Yellow Butterfly Winery, Raven’s Glenn Winery, & Rainbow Hills Winery

Enjoy a drive through the beautiful Appalachian foothills covered with autumn leaves and savor sweet distinct tastes of our six unique wineries on our wine trail. The Coshocton Crush Winery Tour is coming up November 3 & 4, 2017! Advanced tickets required. Learn more here.

Haunted Mountain

Things have not been quiet on Sugarloaf Mountain.  Haunted Mountain is preparing its return.  An innovative, interactive and terrifying attraction from the creative team behind Tecumseh.

Now in its third year, Haunted Mountain will be feature more scenes, an expanded loop trail around the stages of the theatre and a maze nearly tripled in size from the previous version.

But the biggest addition to the trail this year will be the laser tag zombie hunt.  Visitors will be issued laser tag guns before they enter the trail, and be on the hunt for zombies throughout the trail.  Twenty targets both living and undead will be posted throughout the trail.  Each group through the trail will be competing with each other for the most zombie take downs.  The company worked directly with Staradian Laser Technologies in Indiana to create the platform for the game.  Staradian is the world’s leading maker of high quality laser tag equipment.

Raymond Speakman, who is the technical director for Tecumseh has been working on plans for Haunted Mountain since last October.  He says hair raising special effects, a vortex tunnel, a fully realized pyramid room and a revamped zombie outbreak will thrill visitors.

CEO, Brandon Smith said “There’s a lot of fun in it too.  We never set out to be the bloodiest, most gruesome haunt in Ohio.  Some of the scenes are meant to make you laugh as well as be frightened.  The haunt was created to produce old school scares and while there will be a fairly gory and highly theatrical zombie attack, Haunted Mountain is about fun, not gore.  However, we don’t recommend it for kids under 10 years of age.”

“We’ve also added a new escape room this year.  Last year we did our first and it was a huge hit.  So we’ll be bringing that one back as well as adding this new one based on one of Allan W. Eckert’s books….The Scarlet Mansion.”

The walking tour takes approx. 35 minutes and will take visitors on and behind the stages of Tecumseh, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.  After their tour, guests will be invited to try their hand at Laser Tag as well as a new escape room.  Refreshments will be available.

Tickets for the Zombie Hunt are $25 and include the escape room, complimentary refreshments and more.  Those who aren’t interested in doing the laser hunt can purchase the classic haunt for just $13.  Haunted Mountain is sponsored by The Ross Chillicothe Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Circle of Blood at Shadowbox Live

Circle of Blood, described as a “meta-media fusion of live and digital performances” is one of Shadowbox Live’s darkest and most ambition projects to date.  Inspired by New York Times best-selling author David Mack’s graphic novel “Kabuki: Circle of Blood,” Shadowbox Live’s Circle of Blood is set to an original rock score composed by the troupes concept band “Light.”

Set in Neo-Tokyo in 2057, Circle of Blood tells the story of Kabuki, a deadly assassin employed by a shadow government whose goal is to maintain the balance between good and evil.  When this government agency is infiltrated by a dark figure from Kabuki’s past she embarks on a fateful journey of honor and vengeance.

Five large projection screens help to tell the story by illuminating Mack’s artwork from the graphic novel as a backdrop to the live action on stage.

But this is not the first collaboration between Mack and Shadowbox Live.  In 2015, Mack created the marquee artwork and make up design for Shadowbox Live’s The Tenshu.   After attending a performance, Mack agreed to collaborate with Shadowbox Live to bring his book to the stage.

Additional, community engagement events include a lecture series sponsored by JASCO (Japanese American Society of Central Ohio) from 5:30 – 6:15 on October 18 and October 25 in Shadowbox Live’s Backstage Bistro.  Topics of discussion are Japanese Pop Culture and its influence on the language in Circle of Blood and continuation of the exploration of Japanese Pop Culture, this time exploring Japanese art and its influence in the “Kabuki” source material, respectively.  And, on October 22 Shadowbox Live will host a special membership appreciation event for JASCO with sake tastings.

“There is a terrific buzz in the community right now about this show,” said Shadowbox Live’s Executive Director Stacie Boord.  “The events we have planned are really exciting and we are thrilled that this project is being so generously supported.”

In addition to the many Circle of Blood community partners, the show was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a $13,500 grant from Ohio Arts Council.

Further, Artistic Director for Shadowbox Live, Stev Guyer, was awarded a $30,000 Columbus Performing Arts Prize.  The award is designated to celebrate and support the exceptional individuals leading performing arts organizations or projects, and their aspirations for creative growth, and is earmarked for Circle of Blood.

“The size and scale of this show simply couldn’t have happened without assistance that project grant,” continued Boord.  “We are so grateful to have such amazing support from the NEA to help us get to opening night and from our community partners to provide the momentum this show needs for its run.”

Circle of Blood will run on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30, and Sundays at 2:00 and 7:00 until November 5, 2017.  Tickets range from $25 – $40 and student/senior/military pricing is available.  For more information and reservations visit www.shadowboxlive.org.

The Underwater Bubble Show

Transforms the Lincoln Theatre Into an Undersea Wonderland  

Produced with the support of Latvia’s greatest authorities in entertainment and theatre, B – The Underwater Bubble Show is a mesmerizing blend of drama, mime, dance, puppetry, juggling, contortionism, sand art, and magic. After another long day of deadlines and meetings, Mr. B finds himself magically transported to a colorful, happy place called Bubblelandia where his only job is to daydream.

Inspired by childhood standards like Alice in Wonderland, The Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan, B-The Underwater Bubble Show is a modern fairytale with one major twist. “Each classic tale represents a journey of a kid who grows up and learns something,” explains co-creator and director Enrico Pezzoli. “We wanted a story about an adult character who discovers that he can still go back and enjoy life. We don’t always need to grow up. Sometimes we need to step backwards for a bit and restart.”

The show follows Mr. B, a creature of modern habits who “always feels pressed by a thousand things to do in a world that seems to be moving too fast.” The office worker discovers a little aquarium that appears like magic inside his briefcase and gradually becomes enchanted by the wondrous underwater world of Bubblelandia, which is full of seahorses, dragon fish, starfish, mermaids, and other creatures. “Mr. B represents each of us.” Pezzoli notes. “His transformation is a journey which each of us could take. Everyone dreams about the possibilities of taking a break to sit, relax, and simply daydream.”

Taking cues from Cirque du Soleil, the visually spectacular show incorporates the latest in stage technology. Lasers, low ground smoke, and flying foam simulate waves and the underwater atmosphere.

A juggler in a huge plastic ball is the performer that immediately attracts Mr. B and the audience into Bubblelandia‘s wondrous world, while dancers and acrobats serve as small, colorful fish chasing Mr. B and each other inside the aquarium. The main character is played by a skillful actor/mime exaggerating his gradual transformation from stressed-out modernity to blissed-out wonder. However, the biggest attraction of the show is the spectacular use of soap bubbles in multiple artistic ways. Creators Pezzoli and bubble artist/spouse Dace Pecoli have toured the world as a duo act for nearly 20 years, working with the form, including a performance at the Sochi Olympics. “l have directed other big performances in the past, but “B” is our first independent, big production,” Pezzoli explains.

“The biggest challenge was to make everyone understand that the show is for everyone. Many people only relate it to kids, but everyone loves bubbles. After performing in so many countries around the world, we have seen adults enjoying the show as much as kids, sometimes with even bigger reactions.”

“Our main goal was to produce a show that could tour the world without any barriers, especially language,“ Pezzoli explains. “We involved many elements of theater that could work without speech—like mime, puppets, physical comedy, and sand painting—while adding visual special effects. Even in parts of the world where the culture may be different from our own, the result is always the same, with everyone cheering and applauding.”

CAPA (The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts) presents B – The Underwater Bubble Show at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.) on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 3 pm. Tickets are $26.50 and $36.50 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.

Intrude Makes Midwest Debut

at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Intrude, one of the most highly acclaimed major public art installations in the world, will make its Midwest debut this October at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton, Ohio. This imaginative piece was created by Australian artist Amanda Parer in 2014 and has since been seen on four continents, in over 50 cities by over a million people.

Intrude is a spectacle-sized work consisting of five giant illuminated rabbits-the largest over 23 feet tall. Rabbits in Parer’s native Australia are out of control pests, but also represent the fairytale animal from our childhood. Intrude deliberately evokes this image to lure you into the artwork only to reveal the more serious environmental messages behind it. Exciting programs have been developed to attract knowledge and experience seekers alike. The park will have a Hoppy Hour, a Hip Hop Night, a bunny-themed art exhibit by local artists, bunny-themed crafts for children, hat making workshops with a Hollywood costume designer, Mad Hatter themed tea party and more. Two of the bunnies will complete their MidWest appearance at the Blink Festival from October 12-15, 2017. The only way to see the show in its entirety is at Pyramid Hill, October 6-11, 2017.

Jeni Barton, Director of Arts Administration at Pyramid Hill suggests seeing the bunnies at night to experience their glow. “We are thrilled to host this dynamic work of art that will create a magical evening experience for visitors. Guests will be submerged in the glow of the artwork, allowing them to experience sculpture in a completely new way.”

Australian artist Amanda Parer’s edgy and ephemeral artworks explore the natural world, its fragility and our role within it. With startlingly beautiful creatures enlarged and frozen within their chosen habitats. When viewing one of these iconic, mostly feral animals inhabiting a beautifully haunting landscape, the environmental message is enhanced by the artist’s finely crafted technique in any of her chosen mediums such as public installation, painting or sculpture. Parer is an artist originally from Sydney but now resides in Tasmania where her work has been acquired by both public and private collections. Her work has been displayed in major international public art museums such as the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Memphis Museum of Art. Amanda has also attracted major art commissions such as from Starfield Hanam, Seoul Korea and Brookfield International where her works embarked on a major US tour of their keystone properties in New York, Houston, Denver, and Los Angeles during 2016.

Amanda’s major public art installation Intrude was a prominent work in the 2014 Vivid Festival in Sydney and since that time the artwork and its different manifestations, Intrude sm, XL, XXL, and Nibbleshave so far been exhibited in over 40 cities on four continents around the world and continues to capture major media attention where ever it goes.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum brings people to art in nature. The park features over 60 pieces of monumental outdoor sculpture in a natural setting of hills, meadows and forests. The Ancient Sculpture Museum features Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian, and Egyptian sculpture dating to 1550 B.C. General Admission is $8 for adults $3 for children. www.pyramidhill.org. 

Intrude by Amanda Parer will be on display October 6-15, 2017 daily from Noon-10pm. General admission between Noon-7pm is $8 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 – 12, and free for members. General admission after 7pm will be $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 – 12, and $5 for members. Special event and program prices vary. Additional information and tickets are available at www.pyramidhill.org/intrude.

Three Baby Giraffes in Ohio!

Three giraffes were recently born at three separate locations across Ohio. Plan your visits to the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, The Wilds and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to see these long-neck youngsters.

The current giraffe population globally is estimated to be less than 80,000. Their numbers are declining across Africa—the population has decreased by nearly 40% in the last 15 years. The Future for Wildlife Fund helps protect giraffes by addressing poaching and illegal snaring, translocating animals to secure endangered populations, and also conducting studies on population and disease. Giraffes are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as a vulnerable species with declining population due to four main causes: habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting/poaching and ecological changes.

Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are the tallest land mammals, standing 14-18 feet tall as adults. There are nine recognized sub-species of giraffes from all across southern and eastern Africa. Each giraffe has a unique spot pattern, but giraffes from the same geographical area appear similar.

Giraffes typically give birth standing up. The offspring are known as calves and are born front feet and head first. The calf takes a dramatic but not harmful six foot fall (approximately) to the ground, causing it to take in a big deep breath. After about an hour the calf can walk and nurse. It’ll begin eating vegetation at around one week old.

In the wild, until the calf is old enough to join the tower, it is hidden in vegetation to protect it from predators. When the calf finally joins the group, all the females will take turns looking after the offspring while the mother feeds. This not only helps the calf to develop physically standing up but also to socialize it while in the safety of the group. The calf will continue to nurse until six to nine months of age.

The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium welcomed into the world a new female Masai giraffe, born in the late afternoon hours of Thursday, September 21, 2017. The new female, named Binti which means daughter in Swahili, weighs 134 pounds and stands approximately six feet two inches tall. Both mother, Tuli and Binti are doing well and bonding off exhibit. The new family will remain off exhibit until examined and cleared for debut by Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff. Once on exhibit, Binti will join Tuli, Elli, Charlotte, Bahati, Trevor and Kipenzi along with zebras, wildebeests, kudus, warthogs and more in the Africa! exhibit on the North Side of the Zoo.

The Wilds also recently announced the birth of a Masai giraffe calf. The male calf was born during the afternoon of Saturday, August 5, 2017 and was up and nursing within four hours. The Wilds animal care staff noted that the calf is strong, tall and dark in coloration like its father. The Animal Management team at The Wilds has named the calf Fenny in honor of Dr. Julian Fennessy, the co-founder and co-director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, an organization to which The Wilds and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has provided support. Guests on Wildside Tours and Open-Air Safari Tours may see the calf during their visit to The Wilds.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced that their new African Masai giraffe calf was named Zawadi. Zawadi continues to thrive since his birth on August 6, 2017, and has gained more than 50 pounds and grown about a foot. He now weighs more than 210 pounds and stands more than 7 feet tall. He has been enjoying time with his mother, Jhasmin, and the rest of the herd at the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter. The habitat offers guests the opportunity to handfeed giraffes and learn more about giraffe conservation.

And that’s the long and short of it!

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!

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.

Zombie Attack at Haunted Mountain


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Tecumseh just closed but things have not been quiet on Sugarloaf Mountain.  Haunted Mountain is preparing its return.  An innovative, interactive and terrifying attraction from the creative team behind Tecumseh, it will be open every Friday and Saturday in October at 8pm.

Haunted Mountain will be feature more scenes, an expanded loop trail around the stages of the theatre and a maze nearly tripled in size from the previous version.

Raymond Speakman, who is the technical director for Tecumseh!, has been working on plans for the attraction since the premiere season closed last year.  He says hair raising special effects, a vortex tunnel, a fully realized pyramid room and a revamped zombie outbreak will thrill visitors.

“There’s a lot of fun in it too,” said CEO, Brandon Smith.  “We never set out to be the bloodiest, most gruesome haunt in Ohio.”

Some of the scenes are meant to make you laugh as well as be frightened.  The haunt was created to produce old school scares and while there will be a fairly gory and highly theatrical zombie attack, Haunted Mountain is about fun, not gore.  However, it is not recommended kids under 10 years old.

“We’ve also added an escape room this year, which will give us essentially three attractions going on at the same time.  There’s a whole lot of fun to be had this fall,” Smith added.

The walking tour will take visitors on and behind the stages of Tecumseh, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.  After their tour, guests will be invited to try their hand at Laser Tag as well as a new escape room.  Refreshments will be available.

For more information, visit www.hauntedmountain.org.

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.

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/.

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.

Pelee The Island of Laughter


Our first trip to a lesser traveled Great Lakes’ island started with horror and then built into a wonderful week of fun and adventure for everyone. The memories and storytelling of our visit to Lake Erie’s largest island is why we’ve made it a repeat trip. It’s kind of ironic considering nothing happens fast on Pelee Island. But it allows our extended family quality time together, which is what this kind of vacationing is supposed to do.

Before I share the entertaining tale of the attack of the blood thirsty black flies, let’s start at the beginning of this island adventure.  ….Read More….

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Have an a-MAZE-ing Time


From a past edition of OhioTraveler

Have an a-MAZE-ing Time in Coshocton this Season,  Home of Historic Roscoe Village, Numerous Wineries, The Horse-Drawn Canal Boat Ride, McPeek’s Mighty Maze, and More –  By Jan Myers

Fall is such a beautiful and busy time in Coshocton with plenty to do including the Coshocton County Fair, a brand new giant corn maze, Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival, Fall Foliage and Farm Tour, Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, Winery event, Crow Homecoming, Bluegrass Music, and seasonal getaway packages.

An exciting addition to Coshocton’s Autumn offerings is a brand new huge 4-acre corn maze experience – McPeek’s Mighty Maze, open Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays now through November 7. The maze is dinosaur-themed and offers family fun games, hayride, pumpkins, campfires, flashlight nights, food, and more.

There’s plenty of other outdoor fall fun for families with numerous hiking and biking trails at Lake Park, walking paths at Clary Gardens, and the Coshocton Crow Geotrail. Coshocton is also blessed to have thousands of acres of public hunting and fishing land making it a popular hiking, fishing, and hunting destination year-round.

For the past several years in the fall, thousands of Canadian Crows have decided to make Coshocton their winter roost from November through early March and they are quite the phenomenon. So in order to make the best of the situation, the crows are celebrated each November with ‘crow-themed’ festivities such as the Crow-shocton Crush winery event, the Coshocton Crow GeoTrail, and the Crow Homecoming.

Coshocton is in such a unique location surrounded by 17 wineries within a 45 mile radius. The Crow-shocton Crush winery event is a fun way to visit five of these wineries.  A pre-purchased ticket offers guests a special gift and tastings at each of these wineries: Raven’s Glenn Winery, Heritage Vineyard Winery, Rainbow Hills Winery, Indian Bear Winery, and Baltic Mill Winery.

Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s town, is also located in Coshocton. This historic village was was once a bustling port along the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is now home to tours of the historic buildings, restaurants, and the Famous Shops of Historic Roscoe Village featuring Ohio-made products, hand-made leather goods, old-fashioned candies,Vera Bradley, locally-made US flags, fine jewelry and more.

Nearby is the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat where travelers on the 45-minute ride are entertained by the Captain as he explains 1800s life on the canal. The canal boat is seasonal and will finish out this year’s season on select weekends in October.

Also in Historic Roscoe Village is the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum featuring traveling exhibits and permanent displays.  This nationally-accredited museum showcases permanent exhibits of Historic Ohio, Euro–American decorative arts, American Indian, Asian arts and the legendary Newark Holy Stones.

There are many other festivals and events coming up this season including The Coshocton County Fair, The Fall Harvest Big Band Dance,  The Apple Butter Stirrin’ festival in Historic Roscoe Village,  Fall Foliage & Farm Tour, live bluegrass music events, and the Crow Homecoming.

Several overnight getaway packages available this season take advantage of all the events going on including a Fall Foliage package, Raven’s Glenn Wine Tasting package, Girlfriends Getaway package, the Old-fashioned Christmas in Historic Roscoe Village package, and several others.

This autumn, getaway to Historic Roscoe Village and Coshocton, Ohio ~ outdoor family fun, romantic getaway, small-town friendliness, relaxation, and, of course, the crows. For additional information, call for a free visitor packet at 800-338-4724 or go to www.VisitCoshocton.com and then visit Coshocton in person.

Wicker to Fruitcake

horse and buggy art

From Wicker to Fruitcake, this
is just a Fall or Holiday Adventure Away

Play Video

From wicker to fruitcake this one-stop Amish shop is just a fall or holiday adventure away.

Over southern Ohio’s Appalachian hills and through the woods to Keim Family Market shoppers go. Nestled in the heart of rural Adams County, it’s a day tripper’s paradise where you can lounge under the enormous shade trees at picnic tables overseeing enormous playsets inviting children to romp to their heart’s delight.

Whether you just want to breathe that crisp autumn country air or get a jump on your Christmas shopping list, this historically renown Amish shop has it all – indoor and outdoor furniture, bakery, deli, bulk food store, playsets, sheds, you-name-it.

Forty years ago, Roy Keim parked his horse and buggy along the scenic roadway to sell his wife’s pies. Word spread through the trucking community that these pies were to die for! So out of that humble beginning grew an authentic Amish merchant selling everything from furniture to fruitcakes.

Dan Miller is now the owner of Keim Family Market. He and his employees are from the surrounding Amish community. Together, they provide friendly service, conversation and quality goods just like Keim’s has been doing for decades. Their reputation over the years has grown, and so has their product line. But you can still smell the aroma of their fresh baked pies coming out of the ovens early each morning. And although the bustling business started as a bakery, it has expanded to offering a full service deli, indoor and outdoor furniture, children’s play sets, a bulk food store and much more.

Truly, you can get it while it’s hot! Whether you crave doughnuts, pies, cinnamon rolls or fresh-baked breads, the aroma floating in the air says it all. The peanut butter pretzels will make your mouth water.

If you want to do some cooking at home, fill a grocery basket with bulk food selections including spices and baking ingredients. The store also sells an enormous selection of canned Amish foods, sugar-free foods and old-fashioned candies.

The other half of the main building is loaded with dining room tables, hutches, bedroom sets, gliders, chairs and even computer tables with keyboard returns. All of which are hand crafted by Amish craftsmen. Wicker baskets, candles and quilts are also plentiful.

Outside are a bargain barn, art barn, and barns and pole buildings for sale. Take a stroll over the footbridges, also for sale, and find sturdy Amish-made gazebos, lawn furniture and much more. But take time out for a leisure walk to appreciate the colorful array of flowers and plants for the garden.

Whether you are lost in the rhythmic spin of a buggy wheel, find harmony in watching a handcrafted armoire getting fine-tuned or fall head-over-heels in the breeze that just delivered the smell of an apple pie cooling, you’ll find as thousands before you that Keim Family Market is a special place. So whatever you can’t cram into the vehicle to bring home, no worries, shipping is available.

Keim Family Market is located at 2621 Burnt Cabin Road off SR 32 in Seaman, Ohio. They are open Monday – Friday 8am – 6 pm and Saturday 8am – 5pm but closed on Sunday. Their phone number is 937-386-9995. More information is available at www.KeimFamilyMarket.com.

Mohican Ablaze in Color


From a past edition of OhioTraveler

Mohican in the fall is on fire, with color of course. The leaves are transforming the hills of Mohican into a brand new landscape full of reds, yellows and oranges. Local farmers markets have pumpkins, mums and more out and ready to sell. Visitors are amazed at the view of the Clearfork Gorge Overlook as it changes to sea of color each day. It truly is a sight to behold.

As the Camp & Canoe Capital of Ohio, canoeing is not over. What a treat to float down the Mohican State Scenic River under an arbor of color. 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.

Fall is full with activities that will keep everyone having fun while enjoying all there is to offer. Whether staying for a week or weekend, discover why Mohican rocks any time of year. Stay in a castle, resort, inn, historic bed and breakfast, or a choice of one of many private cabins. Several of the private cabins or cottages have hot tubs, spectacular views; all the amenities of home and some are even pet-friendly.

Sporting events are still going strong with mountain biking and a 5k. Whether a first timer or a more experienced rider, the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Race will start at noon on October 3rd. This race is perfect and open to anyone, even if the participant has never raced on the circuit before. New this year is a Novice Loop. Cash prizes and more to those who qualify.

Fitness with a cause is a good excuse to get into shape for October, to run or walk in the Mohican 5k. The Annual Mohican 5K Run & Walk benefits the Loudonville-Mohican bike path with proceeds helping to complete and maintain the area’s bike path. The race will begin on Wally Road, just south of its intersection with West Main Street in Loudonville and adjacent to the bike path. Racers will head south on Wally Road to Route 3 where they will then run on the bike path south to the halfway point, and then return, heading north but staying on the bike path to the finish point near the Wally Road ball fields along the river.

There are plenty of events happening this fall. October features the  Loudonville Street Fair. Family fun and affordable, with free admission and free entertainment will have everyone feeling like a kid again. This year’s theme is “Make It, Grow It, Show It.” Loudonville hosts a big fair that is truly an old-fashioned, family-oriented event. The fair offers five days of free admission, free entertainment, free exhibits, free livestock shows and auctions, free power pulls, rides, food and more.

Mohican also has its Fall Foliage Drive-It-Yourself Tour. Take a leisurely drive through the Mohican State Park and the Mohican-Memorial State Forest during the peak of the season. Hike or bike the trails and enjoy nature as the trees and wildlife get ready for winter. Then enjoy time at the restaurants and independent stores. Special offers are available for a limited time. Visit DiscoverMohican.com for a map and more information.

Join in on the Lyons Falls Geology Hike. Spanning more than 5,000 acres, Mohican State Park and Forest is known for its fascinating geologic history. Geologists will be on hand to discuss how Ice Age glacial activity helped shape the gorge, where huge sandstone rock features stand among mature trees that tower above the beautiful Clearfork River. Saturday’s hike will focus on the geology of Lyons Falls, Clearfork Gorge and the greater Mohican area, fall tree color analysis, and a glimpse into the history of the park and forest.  Dress for the weather.

October also brings in ghost enthusiasts at Landoll’s Mohican Castle. Throughout the year, they offer public Ghost Walks. These walks will take one through the history of the property and also allow the opportunity to communicate with the “other side” by using ‘tools of the trade.’ If wanting to go more in-depth ask about the possibility of a Ghost Hunt. This will take several hours and permits the visitor to conduct a paranormal investigation.  Landoll’s Mohican Castle will host its popular murder mystery dinner. “The Monster Mash Costume Ball” will include a four course buffet meal. Come in costume and solve a murder for Halloween.

During November and December, make sure to plan an individualized adventure in Mohican. Fishing, outdoor sports and more occur all year long. This is also a perfect time to visit the Mohican State Park Lodge & Conference Center. Throughout the week, every week, enjoy free programs hosted by the Mohican State Park Naturalist. Learn about the nature and wildlife specific to the Mohican area. Live demonstrations and more will keep everyone entertained. Then warm up in the lobby by the open fireplace. Take a tour through the local museum. One might be amazed at the wealth of history that changed the world.

All of this and more await – Discover Why Mohican Rocks!

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.

Steubenbille is a City of Murals


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The City of Murals has a new mural…and one that has national as well as local significance.

Long known as a steel and coal city, Steubenville, Ohio began a transition to 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 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 were in communication 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 a number of 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 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 as well giving 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.

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!

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!

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/.


Nelsonville’s Hidden Gem


Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Outside the hustle and bustle of today’s commerce centers is a town redefining itself through art, history and tourism. Historic Nelsonville, once the brick and coal center of Ohio, offers families and couples great opportunities to get away from it all without being all that far away. This quaint, quiet town is located about an hour southeast of Columbus (and less than a half hour above Ohio University’s home town of Athens). And the famous Hocking Hills are just a short drive away as well. So what to do in Nelsonville?

Among the many shops along the Public Square, which includes the busy, entertaining and original Stuart’s Opera House, and the famous Rocky brand boot outlet store, Nelsonville also has been the home to one of Ohio’s top tourist railroads for over forty years. The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway has been operated as a non-profit 501c3, all-volunteer organization since 1972, and has been a family-favorite along the way. In fact, it has become a destination in itself. “It has gone from being just a place for train enthusiasts to something much more,” says Chris Burchett, himself among the volunteers for over fifteen years, ten of those as a locomotive engineer. “Families have come to love the railroad as a great place to reconnect and enjoy the history of the area from a unique perspective. The railroad itself operates on a line dating back to the 1860s, the original railroad having a major in building Nelsonville and indeed the nation.”

So, what about this train and the area? Why should one make the trip to Nelsonville and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway? Quite simply, it’s something far different than the norm you’re likely accustomed. During the summer months, the railroad operates regular round trip weekend train rides, along with one of its most popular events, Ohio’s Friendliest Train Robbery. Now an annual event, the railroad typically operates two of these per year. But as the temperatures begin to cool and the leaves turn from a lush green to a brilliant display of reds, oranges and yellows, the Hocking Valley Scenic offers Fall Foliage tours via an expanded schedule throughout October. “Hands down our most popular trains overall, October is a beautiful time to see the hills and experience the history of the area,” Burchett said.

October brings one of the busiest times of the year to Nelsonville and Southeast Ohio. And the railroad steps up by offering trains not just on the weekends at Noon and 2:30 p.m. in October, but also on Thursdays and Fridays at 1:00 p.m. between October 2nd and October 24th. These trips feature full narration on-board, describing the area history, sites along the way, and the history of the train itself. You also have many options available to you as far as seating, but be warned! Since this is a popular time of the year, you’ll want to get there early, no matter what train you choose, as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating options include one air-conditioned coach, two open-air cars, and enclosed (but not air conditioned) coaches. Toward the end of the train ride, there is a stop at a quaint recreated town called Robbins Crossing. This village is a recreation of a typical 1840s-era Ohio pioneer village, which showcases candle-making, a working blacksmith shop, a general store, a one-room school, and a lot more in original log cabins. And the great part is how affordable the entire trip is for about an average two-hour train ride! Tickets—available by phone, online, or at the train depot—range between $10 and $17. Not a bad deal for authentic equipment and real history. Try that at any theme park!

But not to be outdone, the volunteers take most of November off to get the train and depot ready for the arrival of Santa Claus. These are just about as equal in popularity to the October trains, so be prepared for a crowd if you plan to make the trip to “North Pole Nelsonville.” While Santa’s reindeer are stabled elsewhere, Santa gets aboard the train and walks through from end to end, visiting with each and every child along the way! Depending on if one of the elves made the trip from the North Pole with St. Nick or Mrs. Claus herself (sometimes she too makes the trip), one or the other will be passing out a special candy cane treat after Santa’s visit. Of course, the coaches are heated throughout–one of them with an old coal stove–and the festive mood of Christmas is evident enough, as the coaches are decorated for the season. And old musical favorites of the holiday season, from Bing Crosby to the Chipmunks, are playing during the whole ride over the train’s PA system. There’s no historical narration with these trains and no stop at Robbins Crossing. It’s just a great ride with Santa Claus and the kids or grandkids that takes about two hours to complete. And if you’re wondering, it is indeed round trip. They won’t leave you behind in the cold, middle of nowhere. They recommend buying tickets in advance since these trains can sell out easily. And it’s no wonder! These rides with Santa have been around almost as long as the scenic railroad itself. “We have had the kids that grew up in the 1970s return later with their own kids, some only to return later already with the grandkids! It has truly become a regular tradition for many families,” remarked Burchett. These Santa Trains operate weekends in December at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., plus some evening versions.

If that isn’t enough, there is also a special train that operates on New Year’s Eve, departing the Nelsonville depot at 10:30 p.m. for an approximately two-hour train ride. At midnight, fireworks are set off to help ring in the new year, and during the ride–depending on your seating selection–you are served with pizza and soda pop or wine and cheese. Adults 21 and older are only permitted in the Wine & Cheese section, so bear that in mind if you want to make this a family event. Alcohol is not served in the Pizza & Pop section and the kids must be with the parents, so plan accordingly! Tickets for this event are more than most of the trains, but still considerably affordable for such a unique event. This one is a reservation-only train and you must make your reservation.

This is a destination you do not want to miss this year! And who doesn’t remember watching the trains and wishing you could take a ride? Now’s your chance and it’s such a great way to spend the day together. Plus the area features not only Nelsonville and its rich history, but the Hocking Hills parks are just up the road, outside of nearby Logan.

To get your tickets or look up more information, which we highly recommend you do before making the trip, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway maintains an informative Web site at www.hockingvalleytrain.org. And the friendly staff for their toll-free number is very helpful as well. Also bear in mind that the coaches are not handicap accessible, as it is vintage equipment, but there is a wheelchair lift available at the Nelsonville depot. If you’re taking one of the trains that include a Robbins Crossing visit, there is no lift available there at this time. The only restrooms available are located inside the depot. There are no facilities on the train and if Robbins Crossing is part of the ride, there are porta-potties located there. Food and drinks are not offered by the railroad, but they encourage you to bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks aboard. If you’re traveling with pets, they advise that pets are not permitted on the train unless it is a certified assistance animal. Parking is free in any of the three lots around the depot, which is located next to the famous Rocky Boots Outdoor Gear Store along Business Route 33 (Canal Street).

Check out the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway at www.hockingvalleytrain.org , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ hvsry, Twitter at @hvscenicrailway, or give them a call toll-free at 800-967-7834.

33 W. Canal Street, Nelsonville, Ohio 45764 (Business U.S. Route 33)–about one hour southeast of Columbus!

Weekends through October. Santa Trains operate weekends from Thanksgiving through the third week of December.

Contact Info?
Twitter: @hvscenicrailway

It’s All In Medina

castle-noel-medina-cvbNestled in Northeast Ohio’s Western Reserve region, Medina County offers natural and manmade features to fit everyone’s interest.  With close proximity to Cleveland and Akron, the area provides a unique pairing of “small town atmosphere with big city flavor”.  There are small towns with unique architecture, town centers with gazebos, wonderful retail, outlets and great dining.  Drive by wide-open spaces including farmland, woods, rolling hills, lakes, streams, ledges, even the continental divide runs through Medina County.

The rural countryside offers beautiful scenic drives all year long but especially in the fall to see the changing colors.  While traveling in Medina County, you may pass by small and large alpaca, horse, dairy, grain, berry and/or tree farms.  Past orchards, mills, garden centers, parks, farm markets, a winery and petting farms.  Come out for an exciting Sunday drive, especially in the fall for the beautiful colors and the drive-it-yourself Fall Foliage Tour.

Unique to Medina County is the Buckin’ Ohio Pro Bull Riding Rodeos, Stone Carvings in the ledges, America’s largest Christmas entertainment attraction, and colorful history such as the Seville Giants and Victorian architecture.

If shopping is something that is a pleasure, Medina County offers unique retail stops, outlets, farmers markets, antiques, second hand and consignment shoppes, food, art, furnishings and gifts, just to name a few.  Check out a very specialized shop, the Log Cabin Shop, for Early American merchandise and re-enactment supplies.  The city of Medina is home to Root Candles at West Liberty.

A one-of-a-kind attraction in Medina County is Castle Noel, a Christmas entertainment complex featuring “I Had That” Toyland Experience, Blizzard Vortex, Santa’s Chimney Squeeze, stroll past the New York City department store windows from Sax, Bloomingdales and other, the Christmas Movieland prop and costume collection and Santa Klaus Mountain.

Local history is accented with museums:  Medina Toy & Train Museum, Little Wiz Fire Museum, Medina Town Hall and Engine House Museum and the Northern Ohio Railway Museum.  Historical societies in Medina County offer unique sites, an 1850’s farm in Brunswick, a one-room school house in York Township, a Victorian home in Medina and Worden Ledges stone carvings in Hinckley (Cleveland Metroparks).

Medina County is blessed with many wonderful parks that offer swimming, hiking, fishing, pavilions, sports fields, an environmental center for education and many wonderful programs for all ages to enjoy.  It even has the Cleveland Metroparks jewel – the Hinckley Reservation.

Medina County also has many festivals and events that take place throughout the year offering fun entertainment for the whole family.  The Medina Ice Festival (February), Wadsworth Herb & Craft Festival (May), Seville’s Largest Yard Sale and Wadsworth Blue Tip Festival (June), Lodi Sweet Corn Festival and Brunswick Summer Celebration (July), Valley City Frog Jump Festival, Medina International Fest and, of course, the Medina County Fair (August), Johnny Appleseed Festival and Walk with the Spirits of the Past (September), Medina County Fall Foliage Tour (October), Candlelight Walk and Christmas in the Colonies (November)

Also featured in Medina County are a number of wonderful art programs: Art-in-the-Park, Arts Week in July, free concerts by community bands, Jazz under the Stars, Concerts over the Valley, Rally in the Alley are throughout the summer and there are a multitude of theatre productions, Shakespeare community and school productions.

Learn more about Medina County and all of these attractions at VisitMedinaCounty.com. Here’s a short video highlighting several things to do.

There’s Something to Crow About

coshocton-cvb-crowFor decades, Coshocton has been known as ‘Crow Town’.  No one seems to recall when or why that nickname began, but in recent years thousands of Canadian Crows have decided to make Coshocton their winter roost from November through early March. So in order to make the best of the situation, the crows are now celebrated each November with ‘crow-themed’ festivities such as the Crow-shocton Crush winery event and the Crow Homecoming.

Getaway to Coshocton this fall just like the crows do!  There’s plenty going on this season including the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival, Fall Foliage Tour, Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, Winery event, Crow Homecoming, and seasonal getaway packages.

Coshocton is known for Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s town that was once a bustling port along the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is now home to restaurants, tours of the historic buildings, and the Famous Shops of Historic Roscoe Village. Special seasonal tours are also available during the fall and holidays including the ‘Spirit of Roscoe’ Tour and ‘A Roscoe Christmas’ in November and December.

The Shops and Restaurants in Historic Roscoe Village certainly keep things exciting in this historic village, making this the perfect place for holiday shopping.  Find gifts such as handmade leather goods, fine jewelry, gourmet foods, coffee, locally-made flags, Vera Bradley, unique gifts, flowers & plants, homemade fudge, Ohio-Made items, old-fashioned candy, and hand-woven rugs.

Nearby is the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat where travelers on the 45-minute ride are entertained by the Captain as he explains 1800s life on the canal with tall tales and a lot of history, creating the feeling of actually gliding right into the 1830s.  The canal boat operates on Saturdays and Sundays until mid-October.

Also in Historic Roscoe Village is the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum showcasing permanent exhibits of Historic Ohio, Euro–American decorative arts, American Indian, and Asian arts. Other special exhibits are featured throughout the year. The museum is also home to the legendary Newark Holy Stones unearthed in the 1860s in the Newark Ohio Earthworks.

Coshocton also boasts the Three Rivers Wine Trail, including Raven’s Glenn Winery, Heritage Vineyard Winery, Rainbow Hills Winery and Yellow Butterfly Winery.

Another popular stop for travelers in the area is Unusual Junction – housed in a restored railroad depot filled with Ohio’s largest selection of hot sauces and mustards, spices, Amish and other locally-made cheeses, deli meats, trail bologna, candies, and the Lava Rock Grill Restaurant. The restaurant is home of the original ‘Price Is Right’ sign that was used during the Bob Barker days, signed by Barker himself. Unusual Junction is also the site of Universe Bridal and Prom Superstore, one of the largest stores of its kind in the Midwest.

Coshocton is perfect for the outdoor lover with numerous hiking and biking trails at Lake Park; walking paths at Clary Gardens; plus the area is blessed to have thousands of acres of public hunting and fishing land making it a popular hiking, fishing, and hunting destination year-round.

There are many festivals and events coming up this season including The Fall Harvest Big Band Dance, The Apple Butter Stirrin’ in Historic Roscoe Village, the Fall Foliage & Farm Tour, live bluegrass music events, Crow Homecoming, the Coshocton Community Choir Christmas Festival Concert, and the Christmas Candlelightings in Roscoe Village.

Several overnight getaway packages available this season take advantage of all the events going on including a Fall Foliage package, Girlfriends Holiday Shopping Getaway package, the Old-fashioned Christmas in Historic Roscoe Village package, and several others.

Leave the hectic pace of the modern world behind and get away to Historic Roscoe Village and Coshocton, Ohio ~small-town friendliness, a slower pace, relaxation, and, of course, the crows.  For additional information, call for a free visitor packet at 800-338-4724 or go towww.VisitCoshocton.com and then visit Coshocton in person.

Backroads Of Wayne County

wayne-cvb-fallThe Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, invites you to grab your picnic basket and cooler before setting out to enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather on a Backroads of Wayne County, Fill Your Picnic Hamper Tour.

Your first stop should be at their office at 428 W. Liberty Street in Downtown Wooster. They will be happy to furnish you with maps and information on the area. The office is open Monday through Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm. If you’d rather, visit them online atwww.wccvb.com.

While in Downtown Wooster, stop by Local Roots Market and Café, a year-round indoor local food co-op featuring baked goods, meats, eggs, produce, arts and crafts and seasonal ready-to-go salads and soups.

New to Downtown Wooster is the JAFB Brewery, featuring freshly made hand-crafted beer.  JABF invites you to enjoy your picnic lunch in their tap room as they make just one thing…beer, and they do it right.

Another great place to enjoy the outdoors is the beautiful Secrest Arboretum & Gardens on The Ohio State University’s Agricultural College campus in Wooster. Open daily from dusk to dawn offering scenic walking and biking paths and the oppurtunity to explore the diverse landscape theme gardens.

Wayne County boasts two award-winning wineries, Troutman Vineyards and Winery in Wooster and Silver Run Vineyard and Winery in Doylestown.  Both establishments offer tasting rooms with scenic views of the rural countryside.

Take a short drive north on scenic route 94 to the village of Marshallville and the Marshallville Packing Company.  This is where you’ll be glad you packed the cooler…as they offer a complete line of old-world sausages, smoked meats and cheeses.

The self driving tour, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, highlights some of the less traveled backroads of Wayne county.  Enjoy the gorgeous autumn weather as this tour features stops at local farmers markets, bakeries, meat markets, wineries and breweries.

Bring your picnic hamper to the following locations and pack it with delicious, fresh from the farm, homemade and homegrown treats…the very best of backroads county cusine!

Local Roots Market and Café
140 S. Walnut St.
Wooster, OH 44691



A year-round, indoor, local food co-op featuring baked goods, meats, eggs, produce, arts and crafts.  All from Ohio producers. Fresh seasonal dishes.

JAFB Wooster Brewery
120 Beall Ave.
Wooster, OH 44691


Fresh American handcrafted beer made in historic Downtown Wooster. They invite you to bring your picnic to their tap room as they only do beer. Growlers available to go.

Secrest Arboretum & Gardens
2122 William Rd.
Wooster, OH 44691


The perfect spot to enjoy a picnic. Open daily dawn to dusk. Enjoy the beautiful gardens and arboretum. Part of The Ohio State University’s Agricultural College.

Troutman Vineyards and Winery
4243 Columbus Ave.
Wooster, OH 44691


Bring a picnic lunch and sample home-grown wine in the shade of their backyard.  Feed the goats and take a stroll through the vineyard.  Learn about the wine making process.

Silver Run Vineyard and Winery
376 Eastern Rd.
Doylestown, OH 44230


Boutique winery featuring hand-crafted wines in a country setting.  Relax by the coxy fireplace or on the covered back porch.

Marshallville Packing Co.
50 E. Market St.
Marshallville, OH 44645


A complete line of old-world sausages, smoked meats, and cheeses.