Love a Good Factory Tour?

West central Ohio has an impeccable reputation for building things. Some of the finest manufacturers in the world are located in the Midwest and an incredible number of those can be found in the west central region of the buckeye state. Factory tours are an increasingly popular leisure time activity across all age groups. Who among us doesn’t enjoy the thrill of seeing something with which we’re familiar come to life right before our very eyes? If factory tours are your thing too, you’ll certainly want to make plans to visit Sidney, Ohio where your next factory tour adventure begins.

The Sidney Visitors Bureau in cooperation with its travel partners in Darke, Miami, Auglaize, Mercer, and Van Wert countries have collaborated to develop a factory tour itinerary in west central Ohio. The itinerary, appropriately called MADE IN WEST CENTRAL OHIO, represents a collection of interesting guided tours through a wide variety of venues that include an RV manufacturer, craft beer brewery, a chocolatier, jewelry store, winery, distillery, kitchen appliance manufacturer, and more.

Here’s what you’ll see on this newly developed tour 

Previously recognized by FoxNews.com as one of the top 10 greatest factory tours in America, the Airstream factory tour is not to be missed. From chassis assembly through final testing, this tour offers a front row seat to witness these iconic travel trailers coming to life. For years you’ve seen these beauties touring the highways and byways of America. This tour is your opportunity to see the quality and care that goes into their construction. Similarly at the KitchenAid Experience, visitors are treated to a behind-the-scenes look at a manufacturing process sure to give them a new appreciation for the way KitchenAid products are made. In addition, the KitchenAid demonstration kitchen hosts free cooking sessions, offering visitors the chance to see their appliances in action while learning a few tips and tricks of the culinary arts.

Included in the MADE IN WEST CENTRAL OHIO tour itinerary are stops at the Moeller Brew Barn, Winery at Versailles, and Indian Creek Distillery.  For those with a taste for beverages of the adult variety, this segment of the itinerary is a can’t miss.  Each stop will enlighten guests with a glimpse into the world of craft beer, wine, and whiskey making.  At the conclusion of each tour, guests have the opportunity to enjoy samples.

At Allison’s Custom Jewelry, Jon and Libby Allison offer an insightful view into the jewelry business from the science of geology to the artistry of crafting stunning keep-sakes that will be treasured by families for generations.  Stops at Winans Chocolates & Coffees and Ghyslain Chocolatier are also not to be missed. Both guided tours go behind the product display cases to show visitors how delicious candies, coffees, and other beautiful desserts are made and decorated.

Additional interesting stops include those to Braun Industries, Cool Machines, Universal Lettering Company, and Celina Tent. Braun Industries build custom handcrafted ambulances and have been doing so for more than 40 years. Cool Machines is a designer and manufacturer of insulation blowing equipment and accessories. At Universal Lettering Company guests visit with highly skilled sewing and embroidery experts who have for many years been providing personalized jackets for groups such as the world famous FFA jacket of the Future Farmers of America organization. Those stopping in to visit Celina Tent will be treated to a fascinating tour of this manufacturer who supplies tents for both the party rental industry as well as those organizations involved with disaster relief operations.

Detailed information including location specific addresses, phone numbers, cost, and more can be viewed HERE.

Now is the time to start planning your next getaway at www.VisitSidneyShelby.com. Come visit Sidney, Ohio… We’re waiting for you.

Summer Under Glass This Winter

Tired of winter? Want to smell flowers? Touch a butterfly? Maybe even perspire a bit? Then you need to head to Ohio’s tropical attractions in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse is an 18,000 square foot, crystalline conservatory – the only one of its kind.  Open year-round, the Glasshouse is home to two of the world’s most exotic, fragile and unique environments:  the spiny desert of Madagascar and the lush, butterfly-filled cloud forest of Costa Rica.

Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus offers beautiful and diverse climates including an arid Desert, a tropical Rainforest, a cool Himalayan Mountain, and a lush Pacific Island Water Garden. The Conservatory owns a signature collection of Dale Chihuly glass artwork.

Krohn Conservatory is one of Cincinnati’s treasures. It features Bonsai, Conservatory, Orchid, Tropical and Perennial gardens and nature collections. The total collection represents more than 1,000 different species of plants from rainforests to deserts.

Ohio’s Great Indoors

Hey, Ohio, get out to the great indoors of “The Buckeye State”
and beat the winter blahs!

Click the following for nearly 200 possibilities for winter daytrip fun.

Museums and Halls of Fame

Art Museums and Galleries

Historical Museums

Planes, Trains, Auto and Maritime Museums

Ohio has everything from the biggies such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Football Hall of Fame and a variety of art museums to the iconic tributes to The Wright Brothers and Annie Oakley to the oddities featuring trolls, pencil sharpeners and cardboard boats.

Now, go see something you never imagined before with Ohio’s great indoors!

The Best of Northern Ohio

WHY NORTHERN OHIO IS
AN INTERNATIONAL HOT SPOT!

Greatest Amusement Park on the Planet

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio was rated the top park in the world for 16 years but has recently been ranked the 2nd best by readers of Amusement Today. Cedar Point is also dubbed the roller-coaster capital of the world.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The city where the phrase “rock & roll” was coined beat out New York, San Francisco, Memphis and Chicago to enshrine the greatest rock stars in history. Its unique architecture has been recognized the world over.

World’s Largest “Amish Country”

Amish Country in Ohio’s Holmes and Wayne Counties is the largest concentration of Amish communities anywhere on the globe. The rolling country roads are dotted with horses and buggies. Many Amish shops offer homemade food and handcrafted furniture.

Top-10 Food Scene in the Country

Travel+Leisure readers ranked Cleveland as the seventh top-ranked food city in America within the past few years rating it ahead of staples like New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles and Chicago. Foodies now flock to “The Land”.

Largest Performing Arts Center Outside NYC

Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio is a historic theatre district with incredible architecture inside and out which hosts over 1,000 events annually. It even has the world’s first and largest outdoor chandelier giving it a one-of-a-kind feel.

National Christmas Lure Year-Round

Ohio’s North Pole is where Hollywood meets Christmas year-round. Castle Noel is the world’s largest privately held collection of Christmas movie props and costumes. A Christmas Story House has just about everything from the classic movie, A Christmas Story.

Top-10 Orchestra in the World

The Cleveland Orchestra is consistently ranked as one of the top-10 orchestras in the world and has remained as such for decades. It is renown as one of the Big Five American orchestras. Performing across continents, its home is the revered Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio, where the National Football League was born. Every year, it renews itself as the football capital with the induction ceremony to enshrine a new class of the game’s legends. The interactive museum tells the history of America’s #1 professional sport.

Island Life (no sharks)

The Lake Erie Islands in Ohio are lively with summer fun. Regular ferries take people from the mainland to bicycle havens like Kelley’s Island where it’s a little more kicked back. But the summer-long party is at Put-In-Bay located at South Bass Island. Sailing and fishing charters abound.

A National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of only 58 national parks. Between Akron and Cleveland, it offers an array of outdoor activities for every season. Three of its unique gems are the cascading Brandywine Falls, The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

American Watercolor Exhibition

The Canton Museum of Art (CMA) presents a special exhibition, American Masters: Watercolors from the CMA Permanent Collection, which features the Museum’s most recent acquisition: an 1890 Impressionist masterpiece, “Bleak House, Broadstairs,” by acclaimed pioneer of American Impressionism, Childe Hassam. Major watercolors by Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, George Luks, John Marin, Maurice Prendergast, and John Singer Sargent are also featured in this special exhibition, which is on view through March 2, 2018.

Max Barton, Executive Director of Canton Museum of Art, said, “We are thrilled to add this important, classic work of American Impressionism to our collection. A work by Hassam has long been on our search list, and we acquired a fine piece with an elegant subject and beautiful orchestration of color. Clearly inspired by Hassam’s exposure to the French style in the late 1800s, the painting is vibrant and crisp, and you feel as though you could step in and stroll the coastal waterway with the young lady.”

Purchase of “Bleak House, Broadstairs” was made through the Museum’s Accession Fund, which is restricted solely for the purchase of art. Works by Hassam are held in major museum collections across the country, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Art Institute of Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art; Smithsonian Museum of American Art; and numerous others.

About the Exhibition
Together, the seven artists featured in the American Masters exhibition contribute importantly to our cultural heritage and the evolution of watercolor painting. Rarely are all seven of the masterworks by these artists displayed at one time at CMA. Watercolor is one of the most challenging mediums for artists to use; the colors need to be carefully controlled or they bleed into one another. In the century following the Civil War, watercolor painting became an important American medium, and it was used more freely than anywhere else in the world. American Masters showcases creative excellence in this uniquely American medium that continues to inspire and grow today.

About Childe Hassam
Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935) was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the son of an old New England family. His father, Frederick Fitch Hassam, claimed descent from a 17th-century English immigrant, whose name, Horsham, had been corrupted over time to Hassam. Early in his career, Hassam was persuaded to drop his first name to exploit the exotic suggestion of his middle and family names. With his dark skin and heavily-lidded eyes, the artist was thought by many to be of Middle Eastern descent—and he happily went along with the misconception. In the mid-1880s, he took to painting an Islamic-looking crescent moon (later shortened to a slash) next to his signature, and he adopted the nickname Muley (from the Arabic Mawla, meaning Lord or Master) after MuleyAbul Hassan, a ruler of Granada in Washington Irving’s “Tales of the Alhambra.”

Raised in a cultivated household, Hassam decided early on to become an artist. He left high school to work for the Boston, Massachusetts publisher Little, Brown & Co. and also began training as a wood-engraver. He turned to illustration and received commissions to illustrate Celia Thaxter’s “An Island Garden” in 1894.

Hassam made his first trip to Europe in 1883, but it was not until 1886 that he embarked on a three-year stint of art study in Paris. He was enrolled for a short time at the Académie Julian, known for its noisy, crowded studios and absence of discipline of any kind. There Hassam saw a wide range of styles, as the school attracted many foreign artists as well as young French ones.  It was, however, the work of the Impressionists that really attracted Hassam. Although light had previously played a major role in Hassam’s work, color remained subdued. His 1887 “Grand Prix Day” demonstrates that after only a short time in Paris, he obtained a heightened sense of color and it is almost an Impressionist street scene in both its composition and
broken brushstroke.

Hassam was an anglophile who interpreted his own approach in terms of the British landscape tradition, but there is no question that he returned to the United States with the technique and sensibilities of the French Impressionists tempered with American realism. Impressionism came to Boston and flourished in the 1880s without the furious protest it had aroused in France. It is not surprising then that in 1898 Hassam joined with the former academic painter Julian Alden Weir and John Henry Twachtman in founding the Ten American Painters, which was to include Frank Weston Benson, Robert Reid and Edmund C. Tarbell, among others. This group of Impressionists mounted a series of exhibitions that were by far the most coherent of any held in America in that era.

Hassam created more than 2,000 oils, watercolors, pastels, and illustrations. With these works, he achieved critical acclaim through important American exhibitions. A series of street scenes, many vibrant and patriotic with bright banners, are considered the peak of his achievement.

About the Canton Museum of Art
The Canton Museum of Art is one of Ohio’s premier museums for an exceptional visual arts experience, recognized for powerful original exhibitions and national touring exhibitions focused on American art. The Museum’s innovative education outreach programs, classes, and workshops serve thousands of students of all ages. CMA’s acclaimed collection focuses on American works on paper, primarily watercolors, and contemporary ceramics. Founded in 1935, the Canton Museum of Art makes the discovery and exploration of art accessible to all. Visit cantonart.org or call 330.453.7666 for more information.

Regular admission is $8 Adults; $6, Seniors and Students (with valid I.D.); Museum Members are Free; and Children 12 and under, Free. Tickets are available at the Museum Ticket Office during Museum hours. For group visits, discounts, and tours, please call 330.453.7666 at least two weeks prior to your visit for reservations and/or to request a docent-led tour.

The Canton Museum of Art is located in the Cultural Center for the Arts, 1001 Market Avenue North, Canton, Ohio 44702. Free onsite parking is available around the Museum. Call 330.453.7666 for information and directions or visit our website at www.cantonart.org.

Egyptian Mummies Exhibition

The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) presents a rare opportunity to experience the three Egyptian mummies in its collection and consider some of the complex cultural and social questions surrounding their display. The exhibition will place the mummies in historical context by including additional Egyptian objects and artifacts from the TMA collection and loans from other institutions. It will also explore the role Egyptomania has played in our understanding of ancient Egypt and what ways that has incorrectly influenced our knowledge surrounding this ancient culture.

The Mummies: From Egypt to Toledo will be on view exclusively at TMA from February 3 through May 6, 2018. The exhibition is co-curated by Adam Levine, associate curator of ancient art and associate director, and Mike Deetsch, the Emma Bippus director of education and engagement, both of the Toledo Museum of Art.

In 1906 the founders of the Toledo Museum of Art, Edward Drummond Libbey and Florence Scott Libbey, purchased two Egyptian mummies: one, a Young Priest (ca. 800 BCE, Third Intermediate Period) and the other, an Old Man (ca. 100 CE, Roman Period). Due to conservation issues and considerations surrounding the display of human bodies, the mummies are only occasionally on view.

“As an institution dedicated to visual art and education, the Toledo Museum of Art is always looking to meaningfully engage our audiences with our vast and diverse collection in new and dynamic ways,” said the Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey Director, President and CEO Brian Kennedy. “This special installation provides visitors with a wonderful chance to trace the history of the Toledo mummies, while addressing important issues about their role in the museum space.”

The exhibition will be organized in three thematic sections: the rise of popular Egyptomania beginning with Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in the late 18th century to present-day Toledo; ancient Egyptian religion and the afterlife; and burial practice, human remains and the humanization of an ancient civilization. In the process, the exhibition will ask numerous questions about the mummies on display, including how do viewers interpret the mummies, should human remains be held by an art museum, what factors influence our understanding of ancient Egyptian art, and how has our perception of ancient Egypt changed throughout history?

The culture of ancient Egypt has captivated people worldwide since ancient Greek times, with mass popularity peaking after two key events: Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the turn of the 19th century, and the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. These events injected ancient Egypt culture – and its objects and artifacts associated with gods, kings and everyday life – into the mainstream.

Admission to the exhibition is free for Museum members and $10 for nonmembers. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, college students and military personnel ($7) and youth ages 5-17 ($5). Admission for school groups is free.

The Toledo Museum of Art is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.; and is closed Monday and major holidays. The Museum is located at 2445 Monroe Street at Scottwood Avenue, just west of the downtown business district and one block off I-75 with exit designations posted. For general information, visitors can call 419-255-8000 or 800-644-6862, or visit toledomuseum.org.

Locked Up & Lovin’ It!

ohio-state-reformatory-mansfield-prison-shawshank

By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

They drove along Reformatory Drive, their attention captured by the stone monster flickering through the fence.

One car was smothered amid a hundred bikers, all donning their leather cuts and club patch. The mass of vehicles slowly constricted to turn and enter a time capsule behind the main gate. Ahead was an avenue of buckeye trees emphasizing – “arrival.” It led smack into the prison, looming as an imposing castle.

“How would you like to live across the street from a prison?” A man asked a boy as they walked, gesturing at the houses across the way.

“Living across from a castle would be awesome!” The boy exclaimed, ignoring the leading question.

Everyone stood in awe of The Ohio State Reformatory. No wonder epic films like Shawshank Redemption were shot at this architectural gem in Mansfield, Ohio. With well over 100 years of hellish stories in its vault, it is ironic that this place was originally meant to inspire. Yet, just as easily, its mixture of architectural styles featuring Chateauesque and Richardsonian with Gothic overtones could also intimidate.   …READ MORE…

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Scene 75 Entertainment Center

Welcome to Scene 75 Entertainment Centers in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio areas.

  • Open to public Wednesday – Sunday: Wed & Thr 11am – 10pm, Fri 11am – 1am,  Sat 10am – 1am, Sun 11am – 10pm
  • Locations: Cleveland area (Map It) at 3688 Center Rd. in Brunswick, Ohio;  Cincinnati area (Map It) at 876 OH-28 in Milford, Ohio;  Dayton area (Map It) at 6196 Poe Ave. in Dayton, Ohio
  • Phone: Cleveland 234-803-1100, Cincinnati 513-965-4050, Dayton 937-619-3200
  • Web: https://www.scene75.com/

Scene 75 Entertainment Center in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton are the ultimate indoor family attraction in Ohio. They have it all! Enjoy the arcade, indoor go-karts, laser tag, black light mini golf, virtual reality, mini bowling, bumper cars, bouncing inflatables, 4-D motion theater, chaos room, atomic rush, Valkyrie, laser maze, plus bar and grill.

FREE – America’s Greatest Films

The historic Drexel Theatre in Columbus, Ohio launched America’s Greatest Films last year as a thank you to the community for its support during the renovation of the theatre. Made possible through the generous support of PNC, the America’s Greatest Film Series will continue in 2018, offering free screenings of some of the nation’s most beloved classic films on the first Tuesday of each month with a pre-screening introduction and post-film Q&A.

“We know what art can do, how it changes perspectives, even changes lives,” said Michael Gonsiorowski, PNC regional president for Columbus.  “PNC is known as the Bank of the Arts across central Ohio and we are thrilled to support the Drexel Theatre’s America’s Greatest Films series.”

The 2018 selections are as follows: All screenings are held at the Drexel Theatre (2254 E. Main St.). Doors open at 6:30pm. Screenings begin at 7pm. Admission is free.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Often considered the greatest of all Hollywood musicals, this tune-filled comedy spoofs the chaos in Hollywood during the transition from silent to sound, and includes musical gems “Good Morning,” “Broadway Melody,” “Make ‘Em Laugh,” and of course, “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The French Connection (1971)
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Rated R
Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider
Based on the 1969 non-fiction book of the same name, this gritty police drama portrays two tough New York City narcotics detectives plotting to intercept a large shipment of heroin from France. Often considered to contain one of the greatest car chases in movie history, this five-time Oscar winner was the first R-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958)
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Hailed as Hitchcock’s ultimate masterpiece, this taut mystery/suspense thriller showcases Stewart as a detective forced to retire after his fear of heights causes the death of a fellow policeman, and perhaps, the woman he’s been hired to follow. 

On the Waterfront (1954)
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb
Winner of eight Oscars, this crime-drama thriller stars Brando as an ex-prize fighter turned dock worker who struggles to do the right thing after witnessing a murder perpetrated by his corrupt union bosses and then falling for the murdered man’s sister. 

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine Ross, Strother Martin
This star-studded Western about Bolivia-bound, career train robbers Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid earned four Oscars. 

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Brock Peters
Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a widowed, idealistic Southern lawyer tries to raise his children and defend a black man wrongly accused of rape in 1930’s Alabama. 

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston
This three-time Oscar winner includes several George M. Cohen tunes including “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “Over There,” and his trademark work, “The Yankee Doodle Boy.” 

American Graffiti (1973)
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Cindy Williams
Directed by George Lucas and produced by Francis Ford Coppola, this coming-of-age classic set in 1962 features drag racing, drive-ins, and Inspiration Point as it follows four teenagers on their last night of summer before leaving for college. 

Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Winner of three Oscars, Billy Wilder’s film noir masterpiece set in 1940s Hollywood showcases Swanson as an aging silent-film star that ensnares a young screenwriter in a dangerous relationship.

Easy Rider (1969)
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Rated R
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
This groundbreaking film encapsulates the dreams, hopes, and hopelessness of 1960s counterculture as two bikers set off on a cross-country trek to New Orleans after buying cocaine in Mexico and re-selling it in California.  

Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
Nominated for four Oscars, Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant Cold War satire takes a comedic look at what could happen if the wrong person had access to “the” button. 

Chinatown (1974)
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Rated R
Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston
This Oscar-winning film noir classic directed by Roman Polanski follows a private detective hired to expose an adulterer but unwittingly swept up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

In addition, the Drexel’s America’s Greatest Films series will offer two free bonus screenings in 2018:

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Sunday, February 11, 2018, 3pm
Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn
The nearly four hours of dazzling cinematography and brilliant performances of this David Lean epic earned an impressive seven Oscars telling the story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during WWI.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 10am
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
Frank Capra’s bittersweet comedy/drama about desperately frustrated small town banker George Bailey and his look at a world in which he never existed is a holiday classic worth an annual viewing.

All film titles are subject to change. Visit www.Drexel.net to plan your visit.

For generations, the Drexel Theatre has been central Ohio’s first source for independent film and the best of Hollywood and international cinema, striving to specialize in simply the best films from around the world.

FREE Art Exhibitions in 2018

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio has announced its 2018 exhibitions, which will begin January 20, 2018. Each exhibition will have related programming as well, including curator talks, lectures and workshops. The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio is open to the public at no cost.

“We are proud to bring such thought-provoking and culturally important exhibitions to the community in 2018,” says Decorative Arts Center of Ohio Director Elizabeth Brown. “This year’s exhibitions have the potential to inspire, stimulate and unleash possibility for all of our visitors.”

Artists of the Winding Road A-Z 

The first exhibition of the year, “Artists of the Winding Road A-Z,” runs Jan. 20 to April 15, 2018. It showcases the works of 12 Appalachian Ohio artists who, through innovative work in media ranging from cloth and clay to bottle caps and asphalt, are raising an artful Appalachia and, in the process, helping to redefine the economy of Ohio’s Appalachian region.

Co-curated by David Mitzel, director of Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory, and Zanesville-based painter Michael Seiler, this exhibition features works by artists from Athens, Muskingum and Perry Counties. Those areas of Ohio were once mined for natural resources but have recently become known for artistic riches that are catalyzing economic revival.

“The (region’s) economy had been basically an economy of extraction – whether it be coal or oil or gas or timber. So instead of extraction, we’re looking for attraction – we want people to come here, we want people to stay here, we want people to live here,” Mitzel said.

The unique exhibition will feature works of more than 10 artists from the region.

Creating the Illusion: Costumes and Characters from the Paramount Archive 

From May 19 to August 12, 2018, the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio will bring the magic of Hollywood to Lancaster with its second exhibition of the year, “Creating the Illusion: Costumes and Characters from the Paramount Archive.” The exhibition is curated by Randall Thropp, Paramount Pictures costume archivist.

Costumes from the films “Coming to America,” “Forrest Gump” and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” are among the many films that will be featured in this exhibition that showcases memorable characters from more than modern-day Paramount Pictures films.

The exhibition was inspired by the book, “Creating the Illusion,” by Jay Jorgensen and Donald Scoggins. Forty-two costumes culled from the Paramount Archives will be on display in this colorful exhibition.

Imagining a Better World: The Artwork of Nelly Toll 

As a Jewish girl, Nelly Toll was in secret hiding with her mother during the Second World War in Poland. Her artwork depicts her real and imagined world during the Nazi occupation. She dreamed through her watercolor paintings, which showed her hope and imagination through an unfathomable hardship.

“The historical backdrop of World War II and occupied Poland provides context for Nelly’s personal narrative and illustrations; but this is not an exhibition about the Holocaust,” says Alexandra Nicholis Coon, executive director of the Massillon Museum, the organization traveling the exhibition. “Rather, it is a powerful story of surviving even the darkest of times through imagination, hope, and love.”

Today, Dr. Toll uses her personal experience as a platform to address bullying, emphasizing the importance of exercising compassion for all people.

Toll’s most complete collection of original artwork will be on display at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio from September 15 to December 23, 2018.

For information about exhibitions, programs and classes at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, visit www.decartsohio.org or call 740-681-1423.

The Decorative Arts Center is housed in the Reese-Peters House, a Federal/Greek Revival masterpiece at 145 E. Main Street in Lancaster’s Historic District. Admission is free Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

FREE – Putting Through the Ages

The only thing more fun than mini golf is mini golf with dinosaurs!

Putting Through The Ages returns to Medina County Park District’s Buffalo Creek Retreat to warm up the winter months with a free family activity for all ages. It’s an indoor mini-golf adventure that takes players on a journey through Ohio’s geologic history.

The course will be open weekends only from January 5 – February 25, 2018. Hours will be 12-4pm Fridays, 12-7pm Saturdays, and 12-4pm Sundays.

Created with the artistic and construction skills of park district staff and talented volunteers, the mini-golf course will explore the depths of the ancient ocean, wind through swamp forests, encounter massive ancient creatures, traverse a glacier, and introduce visitors to Ohio’s prehistoric people.

“It’s indoors, it’s free, it’s fun for all ages – and it’s educational, too,” said park district Naturalist Clair Bailey.

Buffalo Creek Retreat is located at 8708 Hubbard Valley Road in Guilford Township, Ohio.

Medina County Park District offers a variety of programs to beat the winter blahs. Visit www.MedinaCountyParks.com to learn more.

It’s All About The Story

Travel journalist Pico Iyer best described why we travel.   “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves.  We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.  We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed.  And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”

We Americans are a hard working lot.  Far too many earned vacation days go unused every year.  U.S. Travel Association’s Project: TIME OFF research discovered 662 million vacation days went unused in 2016 nationwide and nearly 22 million in Ohio alone.  In an effort to get more people taking a leisure vacation the Association has declared January 30, 2018 National #PlanForAVacation Day.

Why wait till the end of the month?  You’ve just spent days with your family and friends celebrating the holidays.  You’ve shared stories from the past, many of which involve travel.  Both the perfect vacation and the disaster have equal entertainment value when it comes down to the story.  Sometimes the more disasterous the vacation the better the story.  The point is at the end of the trip stories make the best souvenirs.

So now that all those great stories are fresh get inspired and start your planning for 2018 vacations and getaways.  Even a weekend getaway can refresh, relax and rejuvinate.

There’s no need to just bury yourself in your computer making future travel plans.  January is a great month for a little post-holiday R&R.  Funny but the best cure for cabin fever is a cozy cabin in the Hocking Hills, Ohio’s natural crown jewels.  You will encounter a serenity which surpasses any residual holiday stress and reinvigorates the body, soul and mind for the new year.

Of course there’s also plenty of fun in the Hocking Hills during the first month of the new year.  The 5th Annual Hocking Hills Comfort Food Cruise will be serving up classic comfort food at twelve locally owned, inviting restaurants while raising money for local food pantries January 13, 14, 20,21, 27 & 28, 2018.  Oh sure, your New Year’s resolution was to get fit; no problem, all along the Comfort Food Cruise there are plenty of places to stop, enjoy the majesty of winter and hike up an appetite or work off a little comforting indulgences.

The 53rd Annual Winter Hike will take place Saturday, January 20.  The six mile hike traverses breathtaking scenery, waterfalls suspended in frozen animation, prehistoric cave walls covered in ice beards and the Kiwani’s Club’s infamous bean soup at Cedar Falls.  Continuous starts begin at 9 am from Old Man’s Cave and continue till 11 am.  Transportation back to your car at Old Man’s Cave is provided.

The 3rd Annual Logan Frozen Festival is the perfect way to round out your Winter Hike weekend.  Plan to stick around after the hike on January 20 and head to historic downtown Logan, Hocking Hills’ hometown.  From 11 am to 5 pm more than thirty ice sculptures will line historic Main Street along with ice games, live sulpture demonstrations, an iceless ice skating rink, a Pop-Up shop, musical entertainment inside & out, warming fires and plenty of dining options.

This January resolve to use those vacation days.   Make new stories.  And, by the way, February is the month for romance and the Hocking Hills just happens to be Ohio’s favorite romantic destination. (According to Ohio Magazine’s 2018 Best of Ohio Readers Poll)  The readers of Ohio Magazine also voted Hocking Hills the best State Park in Ohio, the best place to hike, the best place to see fall leaves and the best place for a long weekend getaway.

Now start planning those vacations and gather new stories.  Begin at ExploreHockingHills.com or call 800-HOCKING for personal assistance.

Ohio Has A Baby Gorilla

The Toledo Zoo recently announced the birth of a male Western lowland gorilla.

Mokonzi, (Moh-khan-see) which means governor in Swahili, is baby number three for 23 year old mother, Kitani, and baby number five for 29 year old father, Kwisha. Mokonzi is healthy and bonding well with his parents. The new family is now on exhibit indoors at Kingdom of the Apes exhibit with the whole troop.

Baby gorillas are born quite tiny, averaging only four pounds, after approximately an eight and a half month gestation period. Offspring are born with a small white tuft of hair on their rump that will remain until they are around four years old. Babies are also born with an instinctive grasp behavior which allows them to hold on to mom’s chest as she moves around. Studies have shown that gorilla babies grow at twice the rate of human babies. At approximately three months of age, gorilla offspring learn to crawl and move to riding on mom’s back until approximately four years of age.

Adult western lowland gorillas (gorilla gorilla gorilla) are the largest of all great apes at four to six feet tall and anywhere from 150 to 500 pounds depending on sex. They live in the heavy rainforests of west central Africa and eat a vegetarian diet of roots, fruits and plants. Western lowland gorillas live in troops consisting of four – eight animals, with one silverback male, a few females, young offspring and occasionally a few young males. The troop maintains a ¾ to 16 square mile home range. Western lowland gorillas are listed as critically endangered and declining on the IUCN Red List for Threatened Species due to three main interconnected threats: habitat loss, bushmeat hunting and human encroachment.

“We are always thrilled to announce new additions, but are even more excited to showcase the continuation of our mission of caring for animals and conserving the natural world through new births. Helping to maintain insurance populations of endangered species is not only a testament to our outstanding animal care staff, but also to our Species Survival Plan partnerships and the support of our members and visitors. We are excited to watch this little gorilla grow and for future generations to appreciate these amazing creatures,” said Shayla Moriarty, Toledo Zoo’s director of communication.

Murder Mystery Getaway in January

Journey back in time to the fabulous ‘50s and take a stab at solving a murder mystery on the shores of Lake Erie. The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake will be transformed in time to the 1950’s for a comical, musical murder mystery on Saturday January 27, 2018 for Greased! — a murder mystery getaway package.

A cocktail reception will kick off the evening at 5:30 p.m., unveiling Noble Art Entertainment’s characters in this shocking story full of twists and turns. Then, guests will watch the mystery unfold during a sit-down dinner with many of the best songs from the ‘50’s. Great food, live music and plenty of mayhem will add to the night’s fun. Prizes will be awarded for the best guesses of “whodunit?”

The package includes an overnight stay, reception, dinner, mystery theater experience and breakfast for two the next morning, starting at $369* + tax per couple. This is the perfect holiday gift for those hard to buy for people in your family. For more information or to book your stay, call 866-442-9765 or visit www.TheLodgeatGeneva.com.

*Subject to availability. Taxes not included.  Valid 1/27/18 only. Rate for double occupancy in a standard double room, rate increases with additional guests and room types.

The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake features 109 finely appointed guest rooms (the majority with lake views) and 25 two-bedroom cottages; Horizons Restaurant, an upscale restaurant with a striking octagonal dining room and al fresco dining – all with a breathtaking view of Lake Erie; a lounge with a rectangular bar; and amenities that include a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pool and gift shop. The Lodge entrance is located one mile north of Geneva State Park, on the left. For room reservations, call 866-442-9765 or visit www.TheLodgeAtGeneva.com. For Horizons reservations, call 440-466-7100, then press 2. 

Delaware North is one of the largest and most admired privately-held hospitality companies in the world. Founded and owned by the Jacobs family for over 100 years, it is a global leader in hospitality and food service with subsidiary and affiliate operations in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurants and catering, parks, resorts, gaming and specialty retail industries. Its portfolio includes high-profile venues ranging from sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national parks, restaurants, airports, and some of the top regional casinos in the country. The company also owns a selection of award-winning destination resorts, as well as a series of premium restaurants and catering services that are leaders in the industry. Delaware North has annual revenue exceeding $3 billion with 60,000 associates serving half a billion guests in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. “Delaware North” is a reference to Delaware North Companies Inc. and its affiliates and subsidiaries, including location-specific operating entities.

Miracle in Medina

By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

A magical Christmas kingdom lights up at Castle Noel in the heart of an enchanted Rockwellesque town that turns everyone into a kid again. Welcome to America’s largest indoor year-round Christmas entertainment attraction. Mark Klaus and Medina, Ohio have a wonderful life together bringing joy to the world.  

This Christmas kingdom will take you on a journey of miracles’ past, present and future. Along the way, you’ll explore the historic sets, props and costumes of classic Christmas movies, roam the illuminated streets of New York City to see animated Christmas window displays, gaze at the toys of Yesteryear, and enjoy other creative fun sprinkled all around. This place is like a private tour of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory mixed with Disney magic. And you hold the golden ticket to experience it all at Castle Noel.

But this story began long before Mark Klaus came to town, relocating Christmas from the North Pole to Northern Ohio. The spirit of Christmas has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.  …READ MORE…

Click here to read the rest of the story

One-of-a-Kind Old-time Christmas Gifts

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A Piece of the Past is an Excellent Christmas Present!

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If you truly want to get someone a unique Christmas gift, make a trip to the Amish superstore known as Lehman’s Hardware in Kidron, Ohio. It’s in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. But don’t go on Sunday.

Founded by Jay Lehman in 1955 to serve the local hardware store for the Amish in northeast Ohio, Lehman’s stocks a huge selection of non-electric appliances, wood stoves, hand tools, old-fashioned kitchenware, toys and much more in its winding retail store, huge catalog and  e-commerce web site at www.Lehmans.com.

At Lehman’s, everything old is new again.

Lining the shelves are thousands of products, from tin toys to weather vanes to butter churns that you probably thought they quit making years ago. Where else are you going to find butter churns, cream separator and glass milk bottles? Or for that matter, copper kettles, cast iron cookware and a coal shovel?

If you like the attractive, practical appliances of yesteryear, then you’re going to love Lehman’s. This family-owned and operated business specializes in antique-styled appliances and retro home furnishings, non-electric kitchenware, old-time toys, hand tools, oil lamps, collectible cook books and much more.  If you think it isn’t made any more, call Lehman’s before you give up! After all, it’s where Hollywood comes to shop for just the right props for their sets.

Today, the expanded retail store features a buggy barn demonstration room, the Cast Iron Cafe serving soups, salads, sandwiches, drinks and desserts, and four reconstructed pre-Civil War era barns inside the retail space.

Ironically, what started out as a business to serve the local Amish has turned into an international operation, shipping products all over the world. Missionaries, survivalists, environmentalists, homesteaders, vacation home owners and the chronically nostalgic, as well as movie producers wanting to create an authentic scene, have made Lehman’s their low-tech superstore.

No one else is doing what Lehman’s does, on the scale that they do it.

The Kidron retail store is open every day except Sunday and is located four miles south of Rte. 30 between Wooster and Canton in northeast Ohio. Visit www.Lehmans.com for information about the store and its unique product line.

Christmas Train Rides in Ohio

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Are you looking to ride The Polar Express or Santa Trains? Do you want to take a trip to the North Pole? Act fast, they book quickly. Here are several great ideas to enjoy your holiday season in across Ohio.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Santa Claus Express and Polar Express in Penninsula, Ohio:   For availability, reservations and rates, call 800-468-4070.  The trip is full of fun as kids try to spot reindeer in the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley while they wait for Santa to stop by and visit. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers the Polar Express as well. However, getting tickets for this wonderful trip is very difficult even when planning months in advance. It is done through a mail-in lottery. Tickets are sometimes found through area newspapers as well. Passengers are encouraged to wear pajamas. Cookies and hot-coco are served.

Dennison Railroad Museum‘s Polar Express in Dennison, Ohio:
For availability, reservations and rates, call 740-922-6776.
This newly restored railroad station encourages parents to take your family on a journey of a lifetime. Just like The Polar Express book and movie, passengers are seen riding the rails in their pajamas sipping hot chocolate and snacking on cookies. As the storyline unfolds, so do the events aboard this train. Once at the North Pole, Santa hops aboard to meet the children and hand out presents.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Santa Trains in Nelsonville, Ohio: For tickets and information, call 740-249-1452. As the train departs, Santa begins his journey through the train of heated coaches and visits with each child, hearing their special requests before the Big Day. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy treat after Santa’s visit. Trains operate each Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, and a couple of evening departure. The ride lasts approximately two hours. Reserve ahead of time.

LM&M Railroad‘s North Pole Express in Lebanon, Ohio:
For availability, reservations and rates, call 513-933-8022
Take a ride on a vintage train to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Children will receive a small gift from Santa. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and entertainment by Santa’s elves. Bring kids, grandparents or a friend but don’t forget your camera because this event is filled with fun.

Cleveland Starts Here

New multimedia exhibit experience shares 220 years of Northeast Ohio’s stories. It’s a new twist on old CLE. 

Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is thrilled to share Cleveland Starts Here®, a new Cleveland history exhibit experience and digital portal, sponsored by the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle.

On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, presented by PNC, WRHS is giving the gift of history to the community with Cleveland Starts Here®, an entirely new exhibit experience. First-time visitors of the region and life-long residents will immerse themselves in Cleveland’s stories from the 1790s to today. Using the latest technologies and digital media, rarely seen images, films, art and historical artifacts are now accessible for visitors to experience. From the first Cleveland map and early survey tools, to a lunar descent engine and LeBron James’s championship shoes, Cleveland Starts Here® tells the stories of the triumphs and tragedies that define Cleveland. These stories of innovation, immigration, entrepreneurship, and diversity inspire visitors to create their own chapter in this ever evolving story.   Audiences around the world can also access WRHS’s extraordinary collections online via the Cleveland Starts Here® digital portal.

“We are excited to share Cleveland Starts Here® with the world. After three years of development and the incredible support we’ve received from donors and community leaders, we can’t wait for history buffs, sports enthusiasts, parents, grandparents, students, educators and CLE lovers around the world to experience our collective stories. It’s a celebration of the past and the present, and we welcome everyone to come and make connections to their lives,” said Kelly Falcone-Hall, WRHS President & CEO.

“Our Foundation is interested in supporting fine, successful institutions like WRHS and its Cleveland History Center,” said Morton L. Mandel, Chairman and CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. “Museums like this one preserve stories that shape our culture. The new Cleveland Starts Here® exhibit at the Cleveland History Center should make it possible for generations to pass along the stories and experiences that help connect the past with our world today.”

About Cleveland Starts Here

WRHS is working with Dennis and Kathy Barrie of Barrie Projects, a local consulting firm specializing in museums, exhibits, and cultural planning projects around the globe.  Gallagher & Associates is subcontracted to the project for content development and exhibit design.  Multimedia elements and the orientation film are produced by Northern Light Productions.  Fabrication, equipment, and gallery preparation are in partnership with ExPlus, Zenith, and AECOM.

WRHS surpassed its $2.5 million fundraising goal for Cleveland Starts Here® with title sponsorship coming from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation. Other much-appreciated leadership support came from the Jim and Anne Schoff Family Foundation for the Cleveland Starts Here documentary film, the Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation and The Reinberger Foundation. A complete list of donors is available at www.wrhs.org.

About the Western Reserve Historical Society and Cleveland History Center

Founded in 1867 as an historic branch of the Cleveland Library Association on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) shares the dynamic stories of Northeast Ohio and beyond – stories of the people, the artifacts and the archives that are the provenance for our region.

Operating six sites throughout Northeast Ohio, WRHS presents exhibitions, programs and experiences that tell the story of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio through art, documents and artifacts from a variety of collections at its headquarters, the Cleveland History Center in University Circle. Through the use of its vast collections of family history, community history, entrepreneurship, and technological innovation, the Cleveland History Center provides a much-needed sense of place in today’s mobile society. It is a base for learning about innovation that can be transferred into modern economic expansion.

Admission to the Cleveland History Center includes access to Cleveland Starts Here®, two historic mansions, both on the National Register of Historic Places, the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum (with support from The Frederick C. and Kathleen S. Crawford Fund of the Cleveland Foundation), Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, Research Library, Kidzibits Playzone, Community History Galleries, and rides on the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

WRHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate (www.affiliations.si.edu) a national outreach program that develops collaborative partnerships with cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources.  WRHS is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. Sponsorships, bequests, grants, admissions, and other funding are used by WRHS to preserve and enrich the region’s artistic and cultural heritage. WRHS earned a top four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s most-used independent evaluator of charities and nonprofits.  Visit us at 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44106, at www.wrhs.org or on social media @clestartshere.

Jungle Jim’s Video

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Jungle Jim’s International Market is a Foodie adventure like no other. Six acres of food under one roof! It’s not a supermarket, it’s a zoo-permarket! An international mecca, Jungle Jim’s offers thousands of imported and national brand groceries: 12,000 wines, 1,200 beers, 1,600 cheeses, 1,000 kinds of hot sauce, one full acre of produce (including organic and international). If it’s edible, you’ll find it here! Jungle Jim’s is truly a Food Lover’s Paradise!

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Home for the Holidays

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This is a fun little story for anyone trying to make it home for Christmas

It was just several weeks past basic training and my 18th birthday. I walked to the travel office at Fort Gordon, Georgia to book a bus to Cleveland, Ohio for Christmas. It would be my last chance to go home before I shipped off to Europe.

I congratulated myself for thinking months in advance to secure my passage home so that everything was set well ahead of time. No worries. But when the lady behind the window handed me my ticket, she had a peculiar smile. Something was off but by the time I walked back to the barracks and stuffed my ticket away, I had other things on my mind.

One of my best friends from home joined the Army with me. We were stationed on the same base for basic training – Fort Jackson, South Carolina – and now resided here for our advanced skills training to learn our Army jobs. Even though we were so close, we only saw each other twice. Back then, to communicate, we had to mail letters to each other at the post office even though we were just minutes away. He had procrastinated getting his bus ticket but sometime after Thanksgiving, he assured me it was in his hand.

When I showed up in a vast parking lot jammed with damn near the whole base, leaving, I scrambled to find my bus. I had an overstuffed duffle bag hoisted on one shoulder, weaving around buses with signs to Memphis, Denver, Boston, you name it. Then I saw Scott. He was hanging out the window of the bus marked for Cleveland.

I flashed a big smile of relief and pointed to him as if to say, “Save me a spot, I’ll be right there.”

Then, the unimaginable happened. The bus driver said the bus was full. I shoved my ticket into his chest with pleading eyes, unwilling to take no for an answer.

He looked at the ticket and said, “Nope! No good. We’re full.”

He boarded, the doors closed and my buddy cruised by me making hand motions and expressions, saying, “WHAT THE….”

One by one, buses kicked into drive and pulled out.

I desperately grabbed a sergeant and rattled off the horror of my predicament.

“Private, in about three minutes, you’ll be the only person in a ghost town. My suggestion is you land yourself on any bus with room headed north,” asserted the sergeant.

I turned and saw “Pittsburgh” in the window of a bus right in front of me. I stepped on and saw plenty of vacant seats. As a Browns fan, the humor didn’t escape me. I told the driver my story as he glanced at my ticket and waved me on.

Somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, we pulled off for a 15 minute break to get gas and food. I used this opportunity to make a collect call home. Fortunately, my mom picked up the phone.

“Mom, listen carefully, there was a mistake with my bus ticket and now I’m headed for Pittsburgh. You will have to pick me up there,” I spoke clearly but concisely.

“What…” she responded and began to babble.

“Mom, I have to go now. I can’t explain. Just pick me up at the Pittsburgh bus station at about Midnight. I will not have another chance to talk. I’ll see you there.”

She had no choice but to say, okay.

And just like that, I was off the phone and just made it back on the bus before it pulled out of the stop.

My parents got in the car and headed for Pittsburgh. There was no GPS or even an Internet to get directions. Time was of the essence so they just got in the car and drove, looking at a roadmap that had been stuffed in the glove compartment. When they neared the city, as luck would have it, they saw a greyhound bus on the road.

“Follow that bus!” Mom yelled at Dad.

And that’s what he did. They figured if a greyhound was headed for the city, it must be headed for the station. Quickly, they realized that the bus station was in what seemed to be a rundown part of town.

When I got off the bus and waited in the Pittsburgh station, I wandered aimlessly. I saw all walks of life up close. Most of the people wandering at this desolate hour were the kind that triggered a little voice in my head that said, “You need to get the hell out of here or at least keep moving.”

“ROCKY!” cried out my mom.

I wrapped my arms around her and my dad. It had been months since I had seen anyone I loved. And in this lonely, dark and cold terminal, they were a sight for sore eyes.

There I was, a grown man enlisted in the Army about to depart America for nearly three years before I’d see family again, enjoying the fact that my mom and dad traveled through the night to rescue me. It made this the most special trip home for the holidays I had ever had. And although I would never have wanted this to happen the way it did, I wouldn’t change the fact it had, yet I would never want it to happen again.

My dad picked up my duffle bag and said as any Browns fan would, “Pittsburgh sucks. Let’s go home.”

By Frank Rocco Satullo, author of “Here I Thought I Was Normal: Micro Memoirs of Mischief

Steubenville Nutcracker Village

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This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

Eastern Ohio’s Holiday Attraction:
Steubenville Nutcracker Village

What do Dr. Who, the Tin Man, Nurse Florence, Clark Kent, Mother Theresa, and Hairdresser Sue have in common? They are among the 150 life-sized Nutcrackers that take over Fort Steuben Park for the annual Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market.

Historic Fort Steuben and Nelson’s of Steubenville present this unique attraction, proudly sponsored by Trinity Health System, that features locally designed and fabricated Nutcrackers, each one representing a well-known character, mascot or profession. These colorful figures are arrayed under tunnels of sparkling lights, with holiday music streaming in the background, evoking smiles and selfies and lots of joy. With the Nutcrackers on display 24/7, there are plenty of opportunities to revisit.

Nutcrackers also are among the holiday themed décor that transforms the Exhibit Hall in the Fort Steuben Visitor Center into a Christmas Wonderland that welcomes young and old. Amidst a variety of decorated trees, visitors can watch the model railroad and view the toys and gifts reminiscent of past holidays. Youngsters can write letters to Santa and take photos by the Holiday Horse. Collectible nutcrackers, books, puzzles and gift items are on sale in the Fort Steuben Gift Shop, open daily in the Visitor Center from 10am to 6pm.

On the weekends, the Advent Market is open with artisans offering specialty crafts and baked goods in holiday chalets set around the 30’ Christmas Tree. Shoppers can browse and purchase homemade fudge, woodcrafts, local honey, herbal products, food and handmade crafts as well Nutcracker souvenirs. Entertainment by area performers, church and school choirs and popular regional bands fill the air with holiday music. Visit the beautiful nativity and historic First Federal Land Office, decorated for a 19th century Christmas. Jump on board the hayride or the Holly Trolley to cruise the downtown and marvel at the magnificent stained-glass windows in the downtown churches. The Market will be open from 3pm-8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 1pm-6pm on Sundays.

An original musical production based on the characters of the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and using the familiar melodies of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite – The Wooden Hearts Follies – will be performed on four Sunday afternoons. This clever comedy will delight young and old; tickets can be obtained in advance online or at the Visitor Center.

What would the holidays be without a parade and the Nutcrackers will be featured in the Steubenville Sights and Sounds of Christmas Parade. There are expected to be over 70 units including bands, floats and dance troupes that will travel through the downtown. The nearby Advent Market will also be open.

The stars of the show are the charming Nutcrackers themselves.  Nelsons of Steubenville founder and manager Mark Nelson explained the process. “We began as woodcrafters and our team of craftsmen simply adapted the tools and equipment to produce a light weight product made from a dense foam. My daughter Thérèse is the artist who designs and oversees the painting of the Nutcrackers. They have become so popular that we have a year’s waiting list for special orders!”

The Nutcrackers have also found a home during the year at Drosselmeyer’s Nutcracker Shoppe on N. 4th Street where all things Nutcracker can be found as well as tasty treats from the Steubenville Popcorn Company. Visitors can also browse the lovely designs at nearby McCauslen’s Florist and the wonderful selection of books at BookMarx Bookstore.

Judy Bratten, director of Historic Fort Steuben and the Visitor Center, noted that last year’s event drew thousands of people to the area. “It was a wonderful time for families, friends and visitors from out of town. Everyone was filled with the joy of the season and exclaimed over the magical experience on social media. We were listed as one of the ten ‘most unforgettable winter festivals in Ohio’ in 2016.”

For more information on the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market, contact the Fort Steuben Visitor Center, 120 S. 3rd Street, Steubenville OH or 866-301-1787 or visit the website, www.steubenvillenutcrackervillage.com.

Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

Holiday Happenings at the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics
A Place of Peace, Prayer and Hospitality

As we come into the final months of the year and the holiday seasons that draw us closer to the ones we love, it is the perfect time to visit the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics in west, central Ohio.

Looking at the quiet farm land of Mercer County gives no evidence of the harsh forest and swamp that the early German settlers found on their arrival in the mid-1830s. Many were Catholic and understood the need for help from God to survive.  Their deep faith urged them to build churches where they met despite the fact that they had no clerical minister to serve them. These churches, which now dot the landscape some three miles apart and make up the Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches State Scenic Byway, were built in such close proximity because of the difficult travel.

Bishop Purcell of Cincinnati became aware of the needs of these humble German-speaking people, and while in Europe, searched for a German-speaking missionary who would be willing to come to America to serve these noble folk. Fr. Francis de Sales Brunner, a Swiss priest and Precious Blood Missionary, encountered Bishop Purcell and came to Ohio in 1843.

Fr. Brunner and his Mother, Maria Anna Brunner, established the Sisters of the Precious Blood in 1834 in Switzerland. In 1844, six Sisters of the Precious Blood arrived in New Riegle, Ohio and began their nightly vigils of prayer.  In September 1846 eight sisters from that convent began perpetual adoration at Maria Stein in the original motherhouse convent. Sisters have prayed and ministered at Maria Stein without interruption since their arrival.

Today the main attraction is the relic chapel which was dedicated in 1892. The chapel has more than 1,000 relics including those from all four Gospel writers and all but one of the apostles. Honoring the Saints with their relics was a common way of expressing devotion to the Saints.  Fr. Brunner was an ardent collector of relics.  He brought a few with him on his first voyage to America. In 1845 he was presented with a gift of 600 relics.  In 1875 a collection of 175 relics was brought to Maria Stein and placed in the care of the Sisters.  Relics of more recent Saints have been added including Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John XXIII.  The shrine is home to the second-largest collection of holy relics in the United States.

In the old convent building there is a gift shop located on the first floor. It carries many articles of devotion, statues, and décor.  On the second floor pilgrims are treated to a museum with a history of the Sisters and early rural life in Mercer County.  The outside patio is adorned with pictures of the area churches that dot the country side hanging on the walls. A statue garden of various saints provides a quiet place for reflection and prayer.

The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics provides faith nourishment and spiritual renewal through prayer, pilgrimage and inspiration from the lives of the saints. People from around the world visit the Shrine to explore and enjoy this environment rich in holiness and history. For the many that come and enter the quiet of the chapels, peace returns and energies are renewed. It is where the cares, problems and worries of daily life can be placed in God’s hands. For many, healing of mind and spirit are sought and obtained. This tranquil country setting allows the heart and soul to find relief from the turbulence of today’s fast paced world.

During this season there are special events planned at the Shrine. For those extra thoughtful Christmas Gifts don’t miss the Pilgrim Gift Shop Christmas open house.

A special “Saints and Cinema” series is scheduled on Tuesday evenings in November. Enjoy a movie each week with free popcorn and drinks, followed by a light discussion. The movie begins at 6:30 each Tuesday, this program is free and open to the public.

Help your child experience the magic of Christmas with a special visit and program by St. Nicolas at the Shrine.  St. Nicolas will give a talk about his life and the traditions surrounding his name. Children will leave their shoes outside the chapel doors, only to find them filled with goodies after the presentation.  The afternoon will also include some crafts and activities and of course photo ops with St. Nicholas. Reservations must be made by calling 419-925-4532.

And not to be missed, during the entire month of December, stop by the shrine to see the beautiful collection of Nativity Sets and classic Advent Calendars on display.  A wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends and bask in the glow of holiday peace.

The Shrine is open Monday – Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Friday & Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

And on Sunday:  12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.   Closed on Major Holidays. For more information, or to contact the Shrine visit www.mariasteinshrine.org, or call 419-925-4532.

Hocking Hills Holiday Treasure Hunt

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

It’s that magical time of year again, holiday season!  Every year we shift our focus from our daily grind to planning for family gatherings, menus, gift shopping, decorating and connecting with the people we most love.  Could there possibly be a better time of year?

A big part of the fun is searching for the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  It must be as unique and special as the recipient.  The Hocking Hills has a really fun way to find those perfect gifts and win prizes, even a getaway to the Hocking Hills for four, complete with a cozy cabin for two nights, dining, outdoor adventures and hands-on crafts.  The Hocking Hills Holiday Treasure Hunt gives holiday shoppers a mall-ternative.

Discover one-of-a-kind creations by local artists and craftsmen at many of the participating shops along with apparel, tools, games, books and lots more.  It’s easy to go on the Treasure Hunt.  Simply download the Treasure Map from the website or pick one up at the Hocking Hills Welcome Center or any of the participating shops.  Visit six of the twenty-seven shops and collect the shop’s label.  Once you’ve collected six labels you can enter to win one of more than twenty-seven prizes and the Grand Prize, a Hocking Hills Getaway.

Increase your chances to win a prize during this year’s Holiday Treasure Hunt! To be eligible, take a photo of the #HockingHillsPaintedRock found at each store and post the photo on your Instagram account, tagging the location. Make sure to use #HockingHolidayTreasures and #HockingHillsPaintedRocks (do not move the rock). At the end of the Treasure Hunt, the top five users that visited the most stores with eligible posts from each location will win two official Hocking Hills Tourism Hiking Sticks.

Now get ready to enjoy all your favorite holiday movies, foods, giving and receiving wonderful expressions of love, even your crazy uncle’s corny jokes.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year and this year you can have a lot of fun hunting treasures in the Hocking Hills, Ohio’s natural crown jewels.

Bobbi’s Bungalow Guest House in West Liberty, Ohio

Welcome to Bobbi’s Bungalow Guest House in West Liberty, Ohio.

Bobbi’s Bungalow is a charming two bedroom guest house for business and leisure travelers. Step back in time into a renovated arts and crafts bungalow with beautiful hardwood floors, original woodwork and built-in cabinets. The bungalow is decorated to reflect the 1920-30’s era. It is located in historic downtown West Liberty, Ohio within walking distance of a café and bake shop, hometown diner, pharmacy, grocery, and quaint retail shops. After a day of exploring the local attractions, guests can enjoy the view of downtown from the front porch swing, relax on the back deck, enjoy a good book in the front parlor, or watch a favorite show on the 40” Smart TV.

While staying at Bobbi’s Bungalow, guests have the privacy of the entire 1,366 square foot home and grounds for relaxation and enjoyment. There are 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, plus a spacious living room, dining room and kitchen. Feel pampered in the luxurious pillow top queen bed, rest in one of the two comfy twin beds, or use the air mattress available for a maximum of 5 guests. Amenities include complimentary coffee and tea, off-street parking, telephone, Cable TV, Wi-fi, central air conditioning, and a full kitchen with stove, refrigerator, microwave and dishes to prepare meals if desired. Fresh cotton bedding, fluffy towels, a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner and individual soaps are also provided.

Plan to stay a few days in West Liberty to explore all it has to offer. Top on the list of attractions is America’s Most Colorful Caverns, the Ohio Caverns. Open all year around, it boasts having the largest and most perfectly formed pure white crystal stalactite found in any cave – the Crystal King. Marie’s Candies and the Piatt Castles are only the tip of the “stalagmite” of fun reasons to visit.

Get a “Jump” on Holiday Shopping

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

at Keim Family Market
Your One-of-a-kind Amish Variety Store 

Keim Family Market is an authentic, one-of-a-kind, Amish variety store offering a unique experience and hard-to-find offerings.

Their Christmas fruitcakes are shipped across the country and beyond. And although much is exported from the store, there is a new item imported from Australia, the world-renown Vuly trampoline.

Vuly trampolines are known for their extreme safety measures, strength and functionality. On Christmas morning, you won’t have to worry about missing a bolt because it doesn’t use any. It’s easily assembled. You’ll see different models at Keim’s among a playground of other children’s playsets available for purchase.

Inside, you’ll be treated to everything from fresh-made donuts to handmade dining tables. Feel the warmth and enjoy the aroma across the old-fashioned store coming from the bakers’ ovens. Every morning, Amish bakers are seen in plain sight rolling dough and preparing holiday treats. As soon as the goodies hit the store shelves, they’re grabbed up by customers to bring home.

The peanut butter pretzels usually don’t even make it to the car. Customers are known to rip open their boxes, usually at a bench somewhere along the front porch, sit down and dig in on the spot. The bakery is especially known for their fruit pies, cookies, breads and cinnamon rolls just to name several other specialties.

For those who arrive midday, there’s a full-service deli with a tasty variety of meats and cheeses to cater to any appetite. It’s not uncommon to see folks pack a cooler to bring home a party tray supply for their holiday gatherings.

The chef in the family will enjoy a trip to Keim’s to tackle that list of special ingredients needed for those cherished recipes. There are aisles of hard-to-find goods with the Keim label. In addition, you can find old-fashioned, tin cookie cutters in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Canned jams and jellies and so much more fill the shelves along with old-time candies and sugar-free foods.

If you need to satisfy a hard-to-please person in the family with a gift, you’re bound to find something interesting on Keim’s shelves. There is a wonderful selection of odds and ends from nostalgic wood toys to gorgeous wicker baskets to Amish-made quilts to scented candles. They also carry the ever-popular choices of wall hangings by P. Graham Dunn.

The indoor furniture selection fills the final third of the main store. If your child needs a new computer desk, look no further. If dad needs an easy chair, you’ll find it here. And if mom wants a dining set that is like no other, this is the place. But that’s not all! Keim has stools, benches, hutches, gliders, bedroom sets and more.

Outside there are other buildings to browse such as the bargain barn. And although out of season, you’re bound to find a deal on patio sets, gazebos and storage barns. There’s even an art barn!

Bring your Christmas list to this rural Amish outpost at the edge of Appalachia country. Folks make pilgrimages to this quaint destination to fill their shopping needs for the holiday season from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Portsmouth, Northern Kentucky and West Virginia as it is right on the Appalachian Highway in Southern Ohio. It’s not a quick trip to a big box store. This is a pilgrimage destination for the leisure shopper at a place rich in history and good old-fashioned customer service.

Keim Family Market is located at 2621 Burnt Cabin Road off SR 32 in Seaman, Ohio. They are open Monday – Saturday (Closed on Sunday). Call 937-386-9995 or visit KeimFamilyMarket.com.

 

Christmas Candlelightings in Roscoe Village

 

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

In the 1830s, Christmas in Roscoe Village was less about gifts and more a festive, religious celebration of family and friends.  Children were fortunate to receive handmade toys.  Often gifts were more practical in nature such as warm pairs of socks or mittens, a scarf or a warm hat.  There wasn’t an overabundance of spices, so a baked good at Christmastime might be as simple as caraway seed cookies.

Much of this old fashioned Christmas joy and time of reflection is rekindled each year in December during the annual Candlelighting celebrations in Historic Roscoe Village.  These holiday ceremonies are free to the public and begin at 6:00pm at the main stage near the center of the village on select dates in December.

Prior to the ceremonies, guests may enjoy a walk down Whitewoman Street as the village will be quaintly decorated for the holiday season.  They may browse the charming shops for unique Christmas gifts or share a holiday meal at one of the fine restaurants in the village.  Christmas carolers will be singing along the street, filling the air with the cheerful sounds of holiday music.

The Roscoe Christmas tour will be available for guests to experience some of the historical holiday traditions.  The Roscoe Village Visitor Center will have canal era hands-on activities to purchase and local crafter made items for sale in the gift shop.  Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered for a fee and guests may board the carriage in the front of the Visitor Center and enjoy a ride through the village to the main stage area. The smell of roasting chestnuts will fill the afternoon air, a tasty holiday treat and tradition. There will also be free hot mulled cider and cookies available before the ceremony, near the center of the village.

Guests will converge at the main stage area in the village at 6:00pm for the Candlelighting ceremony.  The crowd will listen to an invocation from a pastor, a holiday song by a choir and the recitation of a Christmas story by a special guest storyteller.  The 30-foot Christmas tree will be lit as the Honorary Candlelighter lights his/her candle and passes it to one person in the crowd.  The flame is then passed throughout the crowd until each person’s candle is lit as everyone softly sings the first verse of Silent Night. The pastor will then give a benediction, the choir will sing a special carol and the ceremony will conclude with each person joining in to sing a final Christmas carol.

A special Roscoe Village Christmas lantern tour begins back at the Visitor Center at 7:00pm after each Candlelighting ceremony.  Reservations for the evening tour should be made in advance.  A Roscoe Christmas guided tour will be available the month of December each Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Experience some of the 1830s holiday traditions and treats.  Contact the Roscoe Village Visitor Center at 800-877-1830 or 740-622-7644.  Admission and parking are FREE for the Candlelighting ceremonies. 

Christmas Towns of Miami County

This excerpt is from a past edition of OhioTraveler.com

3 Days, 5 Towns, 100+ Unique Shops and Restaurant

The towns of Miami County have come together to create the annual Holiday Welcome Weekend.

It’s the start of a new holiday tradition! The shops and restaurants of Covington, Piqua, Tipp City, Troy and West Milton welcome visitors to browse and dine while enjoying the best they have to offer for this year’s holiday season. The shops will be open select Fridays and Saturdays from 10am – 6pm and Sundays from Noon – 5pm, in November.

Why shop the Big Box stores? Instead, explore the historic downtowns for that one-of-a-kind gift, toy, and unique treasure for anyone on your shopping list. Grab your best friend, sweetheart, mom or sister and head to a place that can handle all of your holiday shopping needs. Then treat yourself to something savory at any of our local restaurants.

As part of this county-wide event, Troy welcomes shoppers to its downtown area as you search for that perfect gift. Clothing and gift boutiques, Fair Trade items and olive oils are just a sampling of what you will find. Also, don’t miss the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center as they host their 7th Annual “Hayner Gift Gallery”. The house will be filled with more than twenty fine artists and vendors, each selling their own special and unique products.

Windows in downtown Tipp City will be decorated with festive peppermint themes and a scavenger hunt will take you from shops to restaurants to win a prize! Visitors will also have the chance to take a photo with Buddy the Elf! One of the best toy stores in Ohio, as well as boutiques and collectibles can be found in this lovely historic downtown.

As you leave Tipp City, travel west on St. Rt. 571 to the charming community of West Milton.  Then turn left to explore the historic downtown specialty shops. Be sure to plan a stop at the Pearson House restaurant for a slice of their homemade pie.

You will find The Village of Covington by traveling north on St. Rt. 48. This community is a must see this holiday season.  They will be offering sleigh rides from 6-8 on Friday, photos with Santa on Saturday from 1-4, and house tours on Sunday. Tickets will be available at the downtown shops.

Your final discovery will be found as you head east on St. Rt. 36 straight to downtown Piqua.  There you will find the businesses will be decorated and ready to provide shoppers with an old-fashioned holiday shopping experience with excellent service, a warm smile and absolutely no shortage of incredible gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list.

There is so much going on during this weekend that you must stay a night (or two)! Area hotels are offering holiday packages and special discounts on overnight accommodations. For more information visit homegrowngreat.com.

It’s Thanksgiving! What Could Go Wrong?

BBQ-Turkey-Thanksgiving

We were hosting Thanksgiving for the first time! How exciting.

Our first arrivals were my mom, sister, niece and nephew. They came a day early. The men would arrive on Thanksgiving Day.

Based on previous visits, my mom’s rescue dog earned a reputation as “a runner” among other things. So we learned to leave an opening in the garage for the crew to pull inside. Then we shut the garage door and let everyone inside the house through the connecting side door.

What was easily forgotten was that the poor dog had been traveling for hours. Coming straight into the house among the happy greetings and hugs between family members who have not seen each other in months, he instinctively headed for the back door. But nobody noticed. Then, he decided that the large cloth chair would suffice to do his business.

He’s a big dog, and he took a big leak down the side of the chair and then shifted to thoroughly saturate the carpet – of course missing the adjacent tile floor by mere inches.

After supper, my sister had pies to cook. Don’t ask me why but something went terribly wrong!

After my little sis bellowed – “Oh noo!” – we all came running to find the oven was caked in hardened pie remains.

Good grief, what a mess it was! So we figured we’d just set the oven to self-clean and let it do its thing overnight.

In the morning, the oven was long cooled down, but the doggone door wouldn’t open. There was a 20+ pound turkey to cook! We burned up Google for a solution, but no matter what we tried, it didn’t work.

I looked at the time. I glanced out the window at the patio. I looked at the time again.

“Let’s just grill this bird!” I yelled.

People looked at me like I was crazy – as they often do.

I sprang into action and grabbed the propane tank to get it filled. I just knew that if I didn’t, it would probably run out halfway through cooking. Besides, my Google solution for grilling a turkey said I needed indirect heat so I needed a cooking sheet that would fit. I found an aluminum solution at the hardware store while I waited for the propane tank to be filled.

When I returned home, I fired up my modest grill. Within a minute my aluminum solution caught fire. I cleaned up that mess and zipped to the grocery store and back with a commercial grade baking pan. I slipped it under the grate. Perfect fit.

My dad and brother-in-law arrived about an hour and some beers into my roast.

“What are you doing?” they both asked at the same time.

“Barbecuing turkey,” I smiled casually with a slight buzz.

Their jaws dropped, and eyes grew wide in disbelief.

“This is going to be a bust of a meal,” I could read them saying in their minds.

I weathered the cold, tending to the manual temperature controls toggling around 325 degrees for hours. Sometimes the temperature reached about 350 degrees, and at others, it went down to 300, but I managed to keep it as steady as the pouring beer.

I couldn’t jeopardize the temperature by opening the lid. I had to wait for the halfway point to finally get a glimpse at what was happening inside.

That’s when I flipped the bird.

It looked pretty darn good but my dad and I both suspected looks could be deceiving. It might be one raw mess deep inside that meat.

I kept at the controls catching parts of the football game while fetching sanity refills.

On one trip to the kitchen, tensions grew, and some stereotypical sibling squabbling exchanged between my sister and me. Others joined in. Oh, this was going to be a Thanksgiving to remember.

I huffed off to my patio retreat. My sister simmered over the top of the stove. Inside the stove, her pie disaster from the night before remained trapped. Its warming aroma wafted in the air as the burners on the stove top heat the side dishes.

Then came the moment of truth. I shoved a thermometer inside a breast. Then I took the turkey into the house for my brother-in-law to carve it. At this point, nobody trusted me with sharp objects.

My brother-in-law’s heart sunk because he couldn’t get the carving knife through the bird. He was afraid to say anything. He just stared and wondered how he’d break the bad news. When he looked down again, he realized the thing was upside down.

We sat around the table – everyone silently praying for a meal that wouldn’t send us to the Emergency Room.

One by one, noises of pleasure passed around the table. Some declared that it was the best turkey that they ever had.

And when nobody got sick, I gave thanks.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, author of “HERE I THOUGHT I WAS NORMAL: Micro Memoirs of Mischief and creator of OhioTraveler.com

See more stories like this at TourGuideToFun.com

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…

Click here to read the rest of the story

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…

Click here to read the rest of the story

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!

How About a Little Glamping?

There’s nothing like late summer for glamping.  The days are still nice and long, the weather more moderate and the cool, clear nights are perfect for a campfire and star gazing.

According to Glamping.com, “Recently, a global trend has caught fire that offers outdoor enthusiasts an upgrade on rest and recreation. It’s called glamping, a new word for a new kind of travel, defined as glamorous camping.  When you’re glamping, there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, no long journey to find a bathroom. Whether you’re staying in a tent, yurt, airstream, pod, igloo, hut, villa, cabin, cube, teepee or treehouse, glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury.”

Nowhere in the Midwest is there a better place for Glamping than the Hocking Hills.  Conveniently located in southeast Ohio, just an hour from Columbus, the Hocking Hills are Ohio’s natural crown jewels.

Long known for the multitude of cabins peppered throughout the Hills amongst the region’s famous parks and forests with prehistoric caves, waterfalls, deep ravines and scenic clifftops, the Hocking Hills was a Glamping mecca before it became a global trend.

In addition to the cabins and lodges there are some really unique lodging options.  There’s treehouses, Tipis, Yurts, a Caboose and even Gypsy Wagons.  Enjoy hiking, ziplining, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing and rappelling during the day then retreat to a little Glamping in a truly unique setting.

In addition to the lovely, lingering late summer weather there’s plenty of fun and festival activity in September.  Check out the Ohio Paw-Paw Festival at Lake Snowden in Albany from September 15 to 17, 2017.  Test your endurance at the annual Hocking Hills Indian Run on September 16.  Pick your challenge at this 60k, 40k, 20k, 10k or 5k trail run departing from the Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center.  Ohio’s largest free air show will take to the skies on September 17 at the Vinton County Airport.

The Annual Hocking Hills Artists & Craftsmen Show and Sale will be in a new location this year and will be part of the inaugural Hocking Hills Fall Fest in Historic Downtown Logan on September 23 & 24.  In addition to all the wonderful one-of-a-kind works of art the weekend will include live music, food trucks, kid’s activities and a Chili cook off.  Historic Downtown Logan is coming back to life with new shops, eateries and performance venues, all conveniently located just a short drive from your Glamping headquarters in the Hocking Hills.

How about a little moonlight adventure?  There’s MoonShine Full Moon Zipline Tours, Night Flight Rappelling Adventures and canoeing on the Hocking River under the full moon on September 8 & 9.

September is still summer so get out and take advantage of the perfect summer Glamping getaway to the Hocking Hills.

New at Iconic Rubbermaid Store

The modern-day Everything Rubbermaid Store in downtown Wooster, Ohio turns 24-years-old this year.  But its roots in Wooster date back over 100 years!

Rubbermaid began as Wooster Rubber in 1920.  Five businessmen started the company by making toy balloons, paving the way for Rubbermaid. The historic store’s original purpose was to test customer response to new Rubbermaid products being manufactured in the former nearby factory.  The first such product was a patented rubber dustpan in 1933.  Since then, Rubbermaid, now Newell-Rubbermaid remains a leader in developing cutting-edge technologies and products that have organized the lives of nearly every American for decades.

There are still four floors of the best selection of Newell Brand Products, all in one location, with the main emphasis on Rubbermaid.

The following highlights some of the new items in the store today.

FreshWorks, one of the most advertised items, can be found here. They are in three different sizes to keep all those fruits and vegetables fresher, longer.

Another new item in the store is called Brilliance.  It’s a liquid-tight container which can also be put in the microwave.  It has a very special feature:  When you lift the latches there are vent holes in the lid that allow steam to escape and the splatter to stay contained.

Not as new, but just as wonderful to have and use are the Freezer Blox.  These sturdy blue boxes seal tightly and stack neatly in your freezer.  They are just the thing to preserve the fruits and vegetables from your garden harvest.

Elmer’s products are now in-store.  Plans are to grow this introductory product line in the coming months.

Contigo and Bubba bottles are now part of our family.  They are made to keep hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold. And they do just what they claim on the label.  They are designed to fit well in just about any cup holder and are pretty much spill proof. These make wonderful gifts.

The newest product line to be introduced is Ball canning supplies.  The inventory received so far has been greeted with enthusiasm.  Therefore, this product line is expected to expand moving forward.

When visiting the store it is a good strategy to start at the top floor, there’s a large elevator for you and your carts, and work your way down to the main floor.  This means starting in Bargainland!

The items in Bargainland, on the fourth floor, are reduced from 10-50% off of the original retail price.  Items on this floor could be discontinued, have slight cosmetic flaws or may just be part of a production overrun.

The third floor features residential and commercial garbage cans, commercial totes, a large variety of commercial food storage and Step 2 toys.

Venture the second floor for your basic necessities such as dish drainers, mats and trays, ice trays, butter dishes and glass and plastic food storage containers.  There are also plenty of laundry baskets, hampers and cleaning supplies.  Calphalon bake ware, utensils and a small selection of pots and pans can also be found here.

And finally, the first floor features outdoor sheds, coolers, garage organization, mail boxes and more.

Every month the store features an in-store special.  This has been done for years. The first thing many customers ask upon arrival is, “What’s the special of the month?”

Newell has made a number of new acquisitions in the last year so the store plans to bring more of those items to the shelves soon.  The plan is to introduce Coleman, Oster, Crockpot and Yankee Candle, just to name a few.  Be sure to visit their website – http://www.everythingrubbermaidstore.com/ – to keep abreast of the latest changes at the iconic Everything Rubbermaid Store in beautiful downtown Wooster, Ohio.

DIY Mohican

DIY takes on a whole new meaning in Mohican. It is all about Drive-It-Yourself during Mohican’s Fall Foliage Tour.

Drive through one of Ohio’s most popular park and forest – Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest. With a combined total of over 5,000 acres, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and driving will help in some of the most beautiful views of autumn. Whether it is overlooking Clear Fork Gorge, up high in the fire tower, from the Memorial Shrine, or a stroll through Wolf Creek Grist Mill; Mohican in the fall is full of color and fun.

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, 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.

The 26th Annual Mohican Bluegrass Festival returns to Mohican Wilderness Campground, September 14th – 16th. This family friendly event that takes place in the beautiful Mohican River. Performances include the International Bluegrass Music Association’s, award winning, Claire Lynch, and many more. Don’t miss this first class event.

September 30th is the annual Oktoberfest at Wolf Creek Grist Mill. Taste & enjoy 100 varieties of domestic and international beer, and wine to support fundraising efforts for Wolf Creek Grist Mill Historic Park & Museum. Live music, games, food, and more. Free busing to and from the event for patrons staying at any of the following sponsorship lodging locations: Red Window Townhouse, Mohican Adventures, Wally World Riverside Resort, Arrow Point Campgrounds Inc, Mohican Little Brown Inn, and The Mohican State Park Campground.

There are plenty of events happening this fall. October 3rd-7th is the 129th Loudonville Street Fair. Family fun and affordable, with five days of free admission, free entertainment, food, rides, and more.

October 9th – 22nd, is Mohican is the 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.

Fitness with a cause is a good excuse to get into shape for October 15th, to run or walk in the Mohican 5k. The 10th Annual Mohican 5K Run & Walk benefits the Loudonville-Mohican bike path with proceeds helping to maintain the area’s bike path.

September and 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.

During November and December, make sure to plan an individualized adventure in Mohican. Fishing, outdoor sports and more occur all year long. Live demonstrations and more are available for free and open to the public at the Mohican State Park and Mohican State Park Lodge & Conference Center. These programs will keep everyone entertained while learning about the nature of Mohican. Take a tour through the local museum. Be amazed at the wealth of history that changed the world.

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

Ohio’s Fall Foliage Railway

Ohio’s Scenic Railway & Wonderland
Fall foliage tours and…dare say? Santa Claus is coming to town!

Tucked back in the rolling hills of Southeast Ohio Appalachia is historic Nelsonville – a town redefining itself through art, niche shopping and the historic railroad depot offering leisurely rides along the Hocking Valley 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 boarding time, be sure to 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. The railroad itself operates on a line that dates back to the Civil War.

Riding this nostalgic railway can be a new adventure for youngsters, a trip down memory lane for grandparents, or just a fun thing to do for people in-between. Whatever your age, there’s a certain mystique about the conductor’s cry of “All Aboard” just before the train’s whistle blows for all to hear. It’s time to roll. And so the train gently sways into motion and glides across its steel ribbon of rail. It meanders through some of Ohio’s most beautiful countryside across meadows, through woods and over bridges.

These trips are never more beautiful than during Fall when you see the foliage turn color. And it’s never more fun than when Santa boards to talk to each and every child in December. Fall Foliage and Santa train rides often sellout so you may want to plan ahead. Tickets are available now at http://www.hvsry.org/tickets/.

In October, a Friday excursion train to Logan is added to the regularly scheduled rides on Saturday and Sunday.  Friday trains depart at 1pm between October 6 and 27, 2017 and last approximately two hours. The Saturday and Sunday trains run from Memorial Day through the end of October departing the Nelsonville depot at Noon and 2:30pm. The Noon ride is roundtrip to Haydenville, spanning 1 ½ hours. The 2:30 trip is to Logan, spanning two hours. 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. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating options include climate controlled coaches (air or heat), two open-air cars, and enclosed (but not temperature controlled) 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.

But not to be outdone, this all-volunteer operated railway takes most of November off to decorate the train and depot in the holiday spirit as it readies for the arrival of Santa Claus in December. 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 boards the train and walks through from end to end, visiting with each and every pajama-smiling child along the way! 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. Old musical favorites of the holiday season, from Bing Crosby to the Chipmunks, are played during the whole ride over the train’s PA system. Plus, each child receives a candy cane treat.

With some luck by way of Jack Frost, the winter journey will include a blanket of snow-covered countryside, sure to put everyone in the Christmas spirit. It’s a great ride with Santa Claus and the kids or grandkids. It usually takes about two hours to complete. Santa Trains operate weekends between November 25th and December 17th at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., plus an evening version at 6:00 pm on December 2nd and 9th only.

While you’re in this lovely small 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 whistle stops while on the campaign trail. There’s also Stuart’s Opera House, built in 1879 and the restored, picturesque, Nelsonville Public Square. Next to the Nelsonville depot is The Rocky® Outdoor Gear Store. And of course, there’s plenty of lodging throughout the Hocking Hills Area State Parks, which is known as the hot-tub capital of the Midwest!

If you plan to ride the rails of this rolling countryside, visit http://www.hvsry.org 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.

Running Shoes and Lederhosen

Needed for Grand Events this Month

Here comes the annual Minster Oktoberfest and Grand Lake Marathon at Grand Lake St. Marys!

Lace up those running shoes, the 4th annual Grand Lake Marathon will take place Saturday, September 23, 2017. This fast, flat, Boston Marathon qualifying course begins & ends at Lake Shore Park in Celina, Ohio along the shores of beautiful Grand Lake St Marys. So if you’re a rookie or an old pro, escape the concrete jungle and head to the countryside to enjoy a quick loop around the Grand. It’s almost as if Grand Lake was designed to have a Marathon around it…the course is that smooth & flat! While in the country, enjoy friendly, entertaining groups cheering you on your way.  Also enjoy lots of great live music along your journey back to Lakeshore Park where you will be greeted by family & fellow runners as well as a terrific after party filled with music, drinks, & great local food.

If you’re more of a short distance runner there will also be a Half Marathon, the Grand Lake Marathon 5K, or you can even choose to do a relay with your friends. Also new this year…is the Senior Marathon. The Grand Lake Marathon truly has a race for everyone and every caliber runner. Participants & spectators of all races will also have the opportunity to meet Olympic Marathon Runner Jared Ward! Jared will be at the race and at the Expo, which takes place on Friday, September 22nd where runners will pick-up their race packets, mix & mingle with fellow runners, and visit various venders who will be on site to get you all geared-up for your BIG run!

There is still time to register and be a part of this amazing Marathon. To find out everything you need to know about the Grand Lake Marathon visit GrandLakeMarathon.com.

The following weekend, September 29th through October 1st, it will be time to put on your lederhosen and do the “Chicken Dance” as  the region’s largest German heritage festival, the Minster Oktoberfest takes place in Minster, Ohio.  This annual celebration attracts more than 60,000 people each year and is rated as one of the best Oktoberfest celebrations in the nation.  From singing and dancing to the taste of hearty German foods, the 42nd annual edition of this event will provide a fun filled time for all. Topping the list of free entertainment this year includes popular bands such as The Klaberheads, Autobahn, the happy Wanderers, Cincinnati Schnapps and Aaron and the Polka Revolution.

Mark your calendar, come to Oktoberfest and watch the spectacular gala parade on Sunday afternoon, featuring colorful floats and marching bands.  Take part in the beer tray relay, the 10K run, the Jug Hoist and a number of other games. Enjoy the car show, the arts and crafts booths and the Miss Oktoberfest Pageant.  Whether or not you share the German heritage, you may find yourself doing the Chicken Dance before the evening is over.  For more information, check out MinsterOktoberfest.com for a complete schedule of events. When it comes to having a great time the Minster Oktoberfest, ist wunderbar!

Think Sidney for Autumn

Think Sidney for Autumn & Winter Adventures

West central Ohio is the place to be for fun and interesting things to do all year ‘round. Here are some can’t-miss ideas for you this season.

The third weekend in September returns the Fall Harvest Festival to Lake Loramie State Park. This three-day festival features a mountain man encampment, craft show, antique power show, live entertainment, games for the kids, and lots of yummy food. The festival kicks off Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. and runs through Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

For those yet to visit Lake Loramie State Park, you’ll find it as one of Ohio’s premier natural resources. The 1,600 acre lake with 30 miles of shoreline offers visitors a quiet and scenic retreat in rural Ohio. You can swim from a sandy beach, hike along the old canal towpath, wet a line from the lakeshore or a rented boat, ride a bike through the park and explore the nearby villages of Minster & Fort Loramie, and spend the night in a shaded campsite or cabin to totally unwind in the great outdoors. A long weekend at Lake Loramie State Park is sure to recharge your batteries for the week ahead.

Now open weekends from September 1st through November 6th is Vandemark Farm in Sidney.  At the Farm, you’ll enjoy their seasonal corn maze, petting zoo, hayrides, mini golf and driving range. Those daring enough can also take a ride on their Night Hawk Zip Line adventure. For additional information, check out the Vandemark Farm Facebook page for operating hours, ticket prices, and more.

If stories of ghosts blended with a little local history are of interest, you’ll certainly want to make plans to visit Sidney on October 10th and 11th for the annual Ghost Tour led by the Shelby County Historical Society. On this year’s tour, you’ll meet a variety of living history characters who died tragically and learn how their wealth and fame didn’t protect them from an unfortunate death. This year’s tour will include visits to the Old Shelby County Jail, Sidney Masonic Lodge, and the Ross Historical Center. The Ghost Tour usually sells out so those interested in attending should purchase their tickets early.

On October 29th the Shelby County Historical Society will conduct walking tours of six churches in downtown Sidney. Visits to these churches will offer you a flavor for the architecture in downtown Sidney, but this tour is about more than just buildings.  Each church on the tour route has its own story to tell and participants will also hear about area churches that didn’t survive the years as well. Tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting the Shelby County Historical Society.

Guess what happens when you put two sharp-witted, incredibly talented musicians behind two grand pianos where they play a wide range of music from classic rock to country, show tunes to the top 40 all while party goers shout song requests? A great time happens, that’s what! Dueling Pianos International will be presented at the Historic Sidney Theatre for one show only on October 27th. Your evening is sure to be a side-splitting good time so come prepared to laugh and sing along with 450 of your new, soon to be best friends.  Advanced tickets are available.

Sidney Alive is presenting a number of fun and unique things to do this season in downtown Sidney. September 8th is their annual Chocolate Walk where patrons aged 18 and over tour a variety of downtown Sidney businesses while enjoying samples of delicious chocolate treats along the way! On September 28th, Sidney Alive is hosting its first ever Open Air Dinner on the Shelby County Court Square. If you’re looking for an evening of murder, mayhem, and delicious food, be sure to mark your calendars for October 28th when Sidney Alive presents their annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the Bridge Restaurant in downtown Sidney. This year’s theme, Zombie Asylum, is a can’t miss good time. Tickets to all the above can be purchased in advance through Sidney Alive.

Sidney’s annual Winter Wonderland Parade is scheduled for November 17th when downtown shops and sidewalks get all dressed up for the holidays and those attending are treated to a festive evening parade, complete with Santa & Mrs. Claus. The Reason for the Season Lighting Ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. with the parade stepping off at 7:30.

The Christmas of Yesteryear celebration in downtown Sidney is planned for December 2nd where you’ll enjoy the sights, tastes and sounds of a Historic Downtown Sidney Christmas, complete with roasted chestnuts and horse and carriage rides.

Lastly, on December 3rd, you’re invited to come and take a magical, musical Christmas journey with the 3 Redneck Tenors, guaranteed to liven up your holidays this year. The 3 Redneck Tenors Christmas SPEC-TAC-YULE-AR is Christmas music like you’ve never heard before (and won’t easily forget). Shows are 3:00 and 7:00 p.m. and tickets can be purchased in advance.

For every leisure and recreation interest, the possibilities are many in Sidney. Additional information about all of the incredible attractions in west central Ohio can be found on the Sidney Visitors Bureau web site at VisitSidneyShelby.com.  A quick look at the web calendar is sure to entice you with an eye-popping array of seasonal fun.

Piqua Chautauqua

Piqua Chautauqua at Hance Pavilion

Last summer, a group form the Ohio Humanities Council visited Piqua to consider it as one of their Ohio Chautauqua sites for 2017.  Unfortunately, they were not selected, but they did encourage the group to develop their own Chautauqua event.  Well, give folks from Piqua a challenge and they deliver.  So a dedicated committee officially began working on Piqua Chautauqua!  The dates for this event will be September 19, 20 & 21, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. and will take place at Hance Pavilion, located in Fountain Park in Piqua.

Chautauqua performances actually has a history in Piqua back when the Piqua Community Chautauqua Association held their first festival at Fountain Park in 1912.  The festival grew in popularity and after World War I, a permanent pavilion was built, and today is known as Hance Pavilion.  Bringing back this wonderful event simply makes sense for the residents of Piqua.

What is a Chautauqua?  It began as any traveling show and local assembly that flourished in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that provided popular education combined with entertainment in the form of lectures, concerts, and plays.  Today’s Chautauqua’s are very similar; hiring humanities scholars who perform as 1st person historical figures while providing entertainment, and light refreshments.

The line-up of entertainers are well known for their historical performances around the county.  Here are their bios as themselves and their characters.

Brief Bio:  Karen Vuranch, Scholar

Storyteller, actress, and writer Karen Vuranch weaves together a love of history, a passion for stories and a sense of community. She is known for her traditional storytelling, plays based on oral history, and living history presentations of famous American women. She brings history to life through her unique performance style, which combines storytelling and drama to create an engaging presentation.

She is known nationally for her work and has toured extensively through West Virginia and the United States. She regularly performs in Chautauqua’s, which are summer performances presented by state Humanities Councils featuring scholar/actors portraying historical characters. Her repertoire of famous American women includes novelist Pearl S. Buck, labor activist Mother Jones, humanitarian Clara Barton, Indian captive Mary Draper Ingles, Civil War soldier and spy Emma Edmunds, Irish pirate Grace O’Malley, Wild West outlaw Belle Starr, the First Lady of Food, chef Julia Child, Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons and her newest character, beloved children’s author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She has an M.A. in Humanities from Marshall University and is the Director of the Theatre Department for Appalachian Studies at Concord University.

As Edith Wharton:

Edith Newbold Jones was born to a distinguished New York family and married wealthy banker Edward Wharton in 1885. After her marriage, she began to write stories set among turn-of-the-century New York society, and won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Age of Innocence. Her best-known work, Ethan Frome is a mainstay of high school English classes.

Edith Wharton’s full and glamorous life bridged the literary worlds of two continents and two centuries. Born in 1862 into an exclusive New York society against whose rigid codes of behavior she often rebelled, she lived to regret the passing of that stable if old-fashioned community and to appreciate the sense of personal identity its definitions provided. She became a prolific professional writer, author of more than forty published volumes, including novels, short stories.

Edith also headed the American relief committee in France during WWI, which helped Belgian refugees and was the only foreign journalist that the French government permitted to go to the front.  Her essays and articles were published throughout America, raising money and awareness for the war.

Brief Bio:  Charles Pace, Scholar

Charles Everett Pace is a founding scholar of the modern day Chautauqua in Ohio (which began in Columbus in 1998).  Ohioans last saw him as Frederick Douglass in the 2016 Ashland Chautauqua.  As well as serving as a Program Advisor at the Texas Union, the University of Texas at Austin, he has taught at The University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana and Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

Pace graduated from Texarkana Jr. College, The University of Texas at Austin (B.A., biology) and Purdue University (M.A., American Studies-history & anthropology).  His research area is the anthropology of performance, experience and visual communications.

He was a 16 year veteran of the Great Plains Chautauqua Society, Inc., and is a founding member of The National Chautauqua Tour. Pace has also conducted two public diplomacy missions for the United States International Communications Agency, an independent federal agency, in 25 cities and nine countries across Africa. He was also a featured Chautauqua presenters at three U.S. Presidential Debates at Hofstra University in Hemstead, New York in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

He was the featured performer in the role of W. E. B. Du Bois, at the 101st Annual Convention of the NAACP in Kansas City, Missouri in 1910.  Pace was also the featured performer at the 100th anniversary celebration of the founding of The Crisis Magazine, held at The New York Times Building in New York City in November 1910.

Charles Everett Pace is a Silver Life Member of the NAACP, travels nationally, and lives in Texarkana, USA.

As W.E.B. DuBois:

W. E. B. Dubois was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in New York City in 1909.  He was also the founding editor of The Crisis Magazine, the official organ of the Association in 1910. Educated at Fisk University, Harvard University and the University of Berlin in Germany, he was also the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard.  As an official member of the U. S. Press Corps that accompanied President Woodrow Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, he interviewed Black soldiers and convened the second Pan African Congress to discuss the fate of German Colonies in east and southwest Africa. The presentation present Dubois’ ideas on the legacy of the Great War, with a focus on the role of interracial leadership between Black and White Officers in the U. S. Army.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War myself, I will point out how lessons learned in World War I were applied in subsequent years to bring about a more democratic approach to leadership training and effectiveness in carrying out the nation’s political and military mission.

Brief Bio:   Paul S. Vickery, Scholar

Dr. Paul S. Vickery, Ph.D. is Professor of History at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK.  The author of 3 books, one of which is about Andrew Jackson’s military career, Vickery has presented historical characters such as Henry Ford and Bishop Francis Asbury around the country. He and his wife have traveled and lived in Europe and the Caribbean. He has been an ordained United Methodist Pastor for over 20 years.  As a member of the Mediterranean Studies Association, he has spoken at eight international universities and taught classes in Korea and England.  For 25 years he has brought students on study trips across the Caribbean and Europe and spoken on cruise ships including Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Silver Seas and Azamara.  Vickery is known for bringing humor to his historical presentations.

As Woodrow Wilson:

“He kept us out of war,” claimed the slogan that won the 1916 presidential race for Woodrow Wilson.  Yet in an address to Congress on April 2, 1917, he asked for a declaration of war. “It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war,” he declared, “into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance” (Wilson). What caused Wilson to change from maintaining strict neutrality to joining the Allies against the Hun?  What factors led the nation into an anti-German attitude that promoted the burning of German books and newspapers and banned German composers such as Beethoven and Bach? The man who insisted, “I come from the South and I know what war is—for I have seen its terrible wreckage and ruin,” was now calling for war to make the world “safe for democracy” (Fried 308). Why?

An Eventful Time in Coshocton

As summer comes to an end and leaves turn from green to orange, we welcome the autumn weather and you to beautiful Coshocton County. Fall is one of Coshocton’s most bustling and enjoyable seasons as there is so much to do. Immerse yourself in unique history, delicious wine tours on the Three Rivers Wine Trail, bluegrass music, shopping, dining, and much more. Our goal is to send everyone home happy with plenty to talk about and this fall, you will experience just that.

Coshocton is the proud host of the 3rd Annual Appalachian Bacon Nation Festival which is on September 1st & 2nd. Back by popular demand, the Bacon Festival draws in crowds from all over Ohio who share a mutual love for the sizzling strips of hog heaven. We are home to one of Kraft Heinz Foods largest bacon producing facilities of Oscar Meyer bacon, therefore it only makes sense that this delicious festival takes place in our town! Before the celebration is the Bacon ‘N’ Legs 5k Run through the streets Coshocton. You can purchase your tickets for the 5k here.

For those who love sweet treats, art, exciting rides, animals, and music, then you should not miss the Coshocton County Fair. It begins September 29 and ends on October 5. There is free nightly entertainment in the Grandstand, so whether you are into rough trucks, racing, or music, they have got it all. To check out the entertainment schedule for the fair, please click here. Put your dancing shoes on for the Fall Harvest Big Band dance on October 14. It will be a festive evening at the historic Lake Park Dance Pavilion which is a beautifully restored 1930s big band dance hall.

The free Fall Foliage and Farm Tour takes place on October 21 & 22 and is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and autumn lovers alike. The Drive-It-Yourself tour allows you to experience the history of Coshocton County as well as the beauty of nature and agricultural land. For more details about the tour, please visit the OSU Extension website.

To top off our wonderful fall events, the 48th Annual Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival is returning on October 20 – 22, 2017 in Historic Roscoe Village. Take a trip back in time in our 1800s canal era town by riding the canal boat, taking a Living History Tour, and a Spirit of Roscoe lantern tour (Friday & Saturday only). Numerous food and craft vendors will line the street offering plenty of shopping and dining options as well as things to do. And you cannot forget the wonderful smell of fresh apple butter that brings the festival to life.

Fall for Medina Year-round

Just 25 miles west of Akron and 30 miles south of Cleveland on I-71, Medina County is the kind of area that truly has something for everyone.  The vast array of festivals, shopping, attractions, parks, golf, historic architecture and eateries make Medina County a special place to visit and live.

Some of the area’s attributes that have put Medina County on the nationwide map are some of the finest, best preserved Victorian architecture; an internationally famous candle making facility and retail store, A. I. Root (Root is known for their fragrances and longer cleaner burning candles).  A strong economic base with companies like MTD, Westfield Insurance and RPM’s World Headquarters help Medina County. But today’s appeal of Medina County is its ability to retain rich traditions and values and create events and happenings around these values, the local history and agricultural base.

Each year Medina County features its annual Fall Foliage Tour with many of the area farms, parks, historical societies and shops participating to provide a superb tour.  In the past, this two-day event featured such stops as a llama farm, dairy and horse farms, Christmas tree farm, greenhouses, orchards, wineries and historical societies, among others.  Some stops have food vendors, wagon rides and other fun programs. Pioneers in the Park is a part of the Fall Foliage Tour with pioneer costumes and crafts.  The drive itself takes visitors through picturesque, rolling hills and rich farmland to provide a panoramic view of the county in all of its fall splendor.  It is held the second full weekend in October.

Each of the communities within the county has their own signature events throughout the year.  Valley City, also known as the Frog Jumping Capital of Ohio, boasts its annual Frog Jump Festival.  Stop by Wadsworth for the Blue Tip Festival (the Blue Tip Match Company was founded here). See one the longest parades in Ohio and the world’s tallest match stick.  Buzzard Day in March, located in Hinckley, marks the return of the buzzards for the summer season – and they always show up.  Come out to help the ranger spot the first arrival of buzzards.  This unique community festival also features crafts, its famous pancake breakfast and is a fun-packed day for all ages.  The Village of Seville hosts the World’s Largest Yard Sale.  The Medina County Fair, one of the area’s largest annual attractions features several acres of games, rides, ethnic foods, and top entertainment.  Brunswick’s Summer Celebration is another community event, and captures the spirit of days gone by with excellent eats, handmade country crafts and more.  The entire Village of Lodi participates in the annual Sweet Corn Festival which makes this event truly a community effort. So pick your favorites and mark your calendar for dates in the months ahead.

While visiting Medina County you may also enjoy an old-fashioned band concert in Medina’s Historic Public Square. If it’s chilly weather you prefer, visit the Square for the Medina Ice Festival, with incredible sculptures and ice carving competitions.  Tour the historic churches and historical society houses or stop in at one of our garden centers to see some the most beautiful flora in the area.  Outdoor adventures can be a hike at the many parks’ trails.  Golf enthusiasts can enjoy some of Ohio’s finest and most scenic championship courses scattered throughout the county.  Or bring the family to enjoy the enchanting miniature golf courses and go-kart racing for unique and hilariously entertaining fun.

This charming county has loads of apple orchards, wineries, breweries, several lovely garden centers, specialty shops with handmade and Amish furniture and crafts, antique stores, fascinating eating establishments and many monthly festivities.  Other community celebrations include Christmas Around the World and Walk With the Spirits of the Past which capture the spirit of centuries’ past.  Stop at Mapleside Farms for the Johnny Appleseed Festival and its crafts, good food, and entertainment. For more autumn family fun, visit Pumpkin Village and many other events all year long, including summer concerts on Friday nights at Mapleside Farms.

Medina County boasts Ohio Station Outlets with a train ride and over 50 outlets to find unique gifts, clothes, kitchen ware and more.  Just across the highway is Creek Bend Ranch, host of the Buckin’ Ohio Pro Bull Riding Series with many pre-show activities.  Rodeos are on one Saturday a month May thru September.  A great family fun activity.

Castle Noel, the newest attraction, offers holiday window displays from Bloomingdales, Lords & Taylors, Macy’s and others from New York City. In addition, there are plenty of toys, photos, the Santa Squeeze (experience what Santa feels when he goes down a chimney), and the Blizzard Vortex. There are also collections of props, set pieces and costumes from Christmas movies such as the Grinch’s 16’ sleigh, Will Ferrell’s Elf costume, a sweater worn by Tim Allen, soldiers from the Santa Claus movies and so many more items from many different Christmas movies.  End with a visit by Santa, then slide down the tall curved slide just like Ralphie did in “A Christmas Story”.  Open year round on weekends and daily for the holiday season.  Also located on the lower level is Alien Vacation Mini-Golf in Freaky 3D (black light mini-golf) soon to include props and aliens from various alien movies.

With the vast array of activities, events and some of the most beautiful historic architecture in Ohio, Medina County is well worth the visit. Plan your itinerary at VisitMedinaCounty.com.

Fall Adventure in Grove City

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If adventure had an Ohio zip code it would surely be 43123.  Just a short drive from Columbus, Grove City is an unexpected natures paradise.  Whether you like your adventure heart pounding or heartwarming, Grove City offers options for everyone from thrill seekers to wine sippers (and all those in between) with a range of activities that can only be called Altogether Adventure.

For more high-octane fall adventure, visitors can take aim at LVL UP Sports Paintball Megapark where you can play on themed fields, X-ball courses or woodsball courses.  Turn up the excitement with a round of glow-in-the-dark footgolf at Kickmaster Footgolf, then scope out their indoor soccer theme park for year-round fun.  Every green space offers up a remarkable range of outdoor activities from fresh water kayaking and tree-canopied cycling at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, to the thrill of fishing or archery in the new 3D range at Scioto Grove Metro Park. This is a place to get your heart rate up and let your spirits soar.

If you like your adventure a little softer, Grove City is also an ideal spot for bliss seekers to naturally refresh both mind and soul. Morning yoga at one of many local studios offers a chance to find your focus for the day.  You can feed your curious mind in the Historic Town Center with two museums, then feed your hungry appetite in a variety of local eateries. Take part in a leisurely ride with Heritage Cycles and end with a relaxing brew on the patio at Hop Yard 62. Mother Nature’s handiwork is on display everywhere you look, especially in parks and gardens with fall foliage better than any painting.  Bottom line, you may not like your adventure heart pounding, but natural beauty means it will always be breathtaking.

And because true adventure lovers don’t sit inside all winter, Grove City activities span the calendar. Sledding, ice skating and cross-country skiing make the most of frosty temps and pristine snow. Take the mile hike out to see the bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park then warm up with a cup of hot coffee at Lilly’s Kitchen Table.  Adventures in learning include year-round outdoor festivals and events like Arts in the Alley, Old Time Harvest Day, OktoberFest and Mistletoe Market exploring everything from arts to Grove City’s rich German heritage.  You can always find your favorite libations at the Plum Run Winery and other local brew pubs.  While treasure hunters can pursue antiques or artisan gifts in the cluster of eclectic shops including Country Hearth Primitives, The Unforgotten Piece, Farm Table on 62, Old World, New Home, Down Home Designs, Kitty Kottage, Never Grow Up Boutique, and more.

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

Start planning your fall adventure at visitgrovecityoh.com or call 800.539.0405 to receive your free Grove City Visitors Guide. And be sure to follow @visitgrovecity on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for even more trip ideas.

Amish-made

amish-horse-buggy-ohio

The Miller’s Family Story
By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

Amish folk like any other seek greener pastures to stake a claim in the pursuit of happiness.

Harry Miller’s family went from Kansas to Iowa and that’s where he met the love of his life, Lydia. Together, they started a family and added to it after moving to Wisconsin, and from there, Indiana.

The Indiana Amish community was large. Sometimes, Amish adventurers like to start smaller communities and keep things as modest as possible. When they find the right land to begin a community anew, they work together to erect their own schools and such.

An Amish friend and carpenter said to Harry, “Let’s checkout Ohio.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Click for more story, photos and video clips

Scrimmage: Football in American Art

Tackle the History of Football from the Civil War to the Present

Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present is the first comprehensive assembly of work by prominent American artists focusing on football. This exciting new exhibition is on view August 1 – October 29, 2017 with a special public reception on August 10 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Scrimmage will allow audiences from around the country to discover and explore football and art in a community steeped in both. This special exhibition is organized by the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art (formerly the University Art Museum) at Colorado State University, and the Jorden Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.

Through works assembled from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Figge Art Museum, Denver Art Museum, The Rockwell Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, Yale University, Canton Museum of Art, and numerous other public and private collections, including paintings, prints, sculptures, and new media, Scrimmage details the history of football from the end of the Civil War to the present, exploring themes such as race, teamwork, and competition for viewers to examine today. Scrimmage features 60 works from American artists including: Winslow Homer, Holiday in Camp, 1865; R. Tait McKenzie, The Onslaught, 1920; Thomas Hart Benton, Forward Pass, 1972; Andy Warhol, O.J. Simpson, 1977; and Ernie Barnes, Fumble in the Line, 1990.

Scrimmage Origins
This exhibition developed as curators discovered that a host of prominent American artists had pictured aspects of football and the public culture surrounding the sport, yet no focused art historical study had examined these images; in fact, very little research has addressed the large body of artworks that engage with sports.

The exhibition is not meant to present a history of football – the development of rules and gradual changes in play, the history of teams or players – but instead offers a window to understanding themes central to American life, both past and current. As such, the exhibition explores these images from multiple perspectives and themes. The Canton Museum of Art invites visitors to engage in a dialogue – with works of important American artists as a springboard – about sports, art, and their roles in our history and culture, and to reflect on how these images reveal attitudes and transitions in American life.

The exhibition is divided into the following eight sections:

Football: the Spectator Sport
How did football, which began as a private extracurricular activity for a small group of young men, become the public spectacle we know today?  Early on the sport was embraced by college administrators who saw benefits, including the potential for financial gain – contributions from alumni and institutional giving loyalty – and increased interest from the press. This exhibition examines the public culture of football as spectator sport. Football soon developed a culture separate from play on the field – bands, cheerleaders, mascots, team colors, pep-rallies, homecoming, and parades – were all introduced early in the history of the sport. These remain vital parts of the culture and have led to modern-day fan-driven activities like tail-gating, team merchandising, and extensive half-time extravaganzas brought to super-size scale at the Super Bowl.  Artists, as fascinated by these phenomena as the game itself, picture these American obsessions.

Class, Race and Ethnicity
Initially isolated to the campuses of the Ivy Leagues, football began as a sport for upper-class white Americans. The exhibition examines issues of class, race, and ethnicity and football’s transition from an Ivy League sport to a mass-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial phenomenon. How did this transition happen? Early and frequent press coverage brought football to a mass audience, broadening interest in the sport; at the turn of the century American immigrants began to engage in casual games as a means of assimilation into American life; and, as the American education system democratized, welcoming a wider-spectrum of students to campuses across the country, college football rosters began to reflect a more diverse population.  Despite this, the imagery of football reflects ongoing racial and ethnic prejudice and biases.  While African American and Native American players distinguished themselves on the football gridiron, their images are rarely seen in the early history of football art; instead they are reduced to racial stereotypes, or parodied in mascot imagery.

Football, Struggle, War and the “Strenuous Life”
President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term “strenuous life,” urging American men and boys to develop strength through athletics in preparation for “the rough work of the world.” In a 1900 article entitled “The American Boy” Roosevelt singled out football as a model. He admonished the American boy to engage in “manly exercises and to develop his body” and concluded by writing: “In short, in life, as in a foot-ball game, the principle to follow is: Hit the line hard; don’t foul and don’t shirk, but hit the line hard!”  For Roosevelt, the “strenuous life” was also preparation for the necessity of war and keeping America strong.  This exhibit examines artists’ depictions that relate to the promotion of football as a model for masculinity and that suggest analogies to warfare.

Gender in Football: Women’s Roles
Despite Title IX legislation and attempts at developing women’s football leagues, women have not played a role on the gridiron. Yet women figure prominently in football imagery. The exhibition explores how images both perpetuate and challenge gender stereotypes. While Charles Dana Gibson’s The Coming Game: Yale vs. Vassar, 1895, places women as protagonists on the field, the majority of artists portray women in passive and objectified roles.  As adorned spectators, cheerleaders, drum majorettes, women serve as foils that clearly define play on the field as a masculine realm.

Football and Violence
Current discussions about long-term football injuries and the concussion crisis suggest that these concerns are new. Yet, as early as the colonial period, rudimentary forms of football were outlawed and condemned for their violent nature and for provoking incendiary behavior. And, in the early part of the 20th century, despite his love for football, Theodore Roosevelt bemoaned the lawless nature of the game. The troublesome nature of football, explored by artists from the 19th century through the contemporary period, emerged first in a score of illustrations.  In Scrimmage artists picture the extreme physical nature of the sport and its ramifications.

The American Sport
Yale Coach, Walter Camp (1859-1925), widely known as the “father of American football,” envisioned a game that mirrored a model of capitalism, industrial strength, and American ingenuity. Creating rules that clearly distinguished football from what he saw as its unruly English antecedents, Camp’s football imitated an American corporate structure with each player fulfilling a specific assignment, a hierarchy of positions, and managerial roles for quarterback and coaching staff.  In the exhibition, artwork reflects these ideas and other traditions specific to American ways of life, including the association of the Thanksgiving holiday with football, the quarterback as American hero, and the sport as a rite-of-passage.

Celebrity Culture and the Media
The rise of football as an American sport is directly tied to media coverage. In Scrimmage, a number of prints are displayed that were published and widely distributed through a popular press that brought the sport to wide attention. Michael Oriard’s books, Reading Football, and King Football, trace the arc of media coverage from these early prints, through the rise of radio, newsreels, and movies, to the advent of the televised game, chronicling how our mediated world has promoted the sport and its participants. The first televised game took place on December 28, 1958 and gradually, television coverage accentuated spectacle; the use of slow motion, instant replay, half-time interviews and locker room footage, turned the football contest into high drama, and heightened attention to the celebrity status of individual players. Television also transformed the way that football was seen – allowing fans to follow teams from the comfort of their own homes. In this section we examine artists reacting to celebrity culture and to mediated views of football.

Athleticism
The concept of “muscular Christianity” promoted in the late 19th and early 20th century suggested that vigorous exercise and participation in sports competition, developed positive moral characteristics. Popularized, in great part, because of fears that an urbanized workforce lacked physical fitness, the movement promoted strenuous activity.  Football was often a model.  Though not always aligned to the movement of “muscular Christianity” American leadership has repeatedly emphasized the need for physical fitness, athletic achievement, teamwork and sportsmanship.  Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy all stressed the need for improved physical condition; Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness in 1956 and Kennedy urged better physical fitness in light of Cold War competition with a fit Soviet populace.  Today, Michelle Obama promotes “Let’s Move” as a means towards a healthier, less sedentary life.  In this section we examine artists who celebrate the athletic prowess of athletes and the skill and beauty of athletics.

Scrimmage Programming Features:
Along with the exhibit, several collaborative events are planned to bring Scrimmage to life over three months throughout the Canton community:

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (August 1 – 6) will connect Hall of Fame players to audiences with panel discussions of health issues, race in sports, and the linkage of football and art. Dates and times of the presentations will be announced as they are made available.
  • Arts In Stark ‘The Eleven’ Art Project (August 4) will unveil the newest mural, Super Bowl III, by artist Dirk Rozich with a free public reception at the Cultural Center for the Arts.
  • AULTCARE Family Field Day (September 9) will be a free event to engage in outdoor arts and sports activities, and explore the Scrimmage exhibit through tours led by local high school football coaches at the Canton Museum of Art. 11AM-3PM.
  • Canton Ballet (August – October) will perform variations of Touchdowns and Tutus, a program featuring high school football players paired with dancers to illustrate how players use ballet as a training technique, at various community events.
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra (September 3) will present a Summer in the Park “Tailgating” concert reliving football in music from film and television in advance of NFL season kickoff.
  • Massillon Museum (August – October) continues an exhibit series with its Paul Brown collection, celebrating Brown as the first coach of the Cleveland Browns and a leader in racial integration of football.
  • Canton Palace Theatre (September 7 – 8) will present Football Film Days featuring time-honored football favorites from the movies.
  • Stark District Library (August– October) will be working with the Museum to present programs based on the book “Rudy: My Story,” which was chosen for the Library’s One Book, One Community feature.

This special exhibition has been made possible with support in part by Stark Community Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, ArtsInStark, Aultcare, Visit Canton, and the Key Bank Foundation.

Top 50 Attractions in Ohio

standout-in-ohio-award-seal

Over the past several years, we have recognized 50 of the top attractions in Ohio tourism. In the coming months, we’ll continue our journey until we discover the TOP-100 attractions in Ohio. See 51-100 as they are added each month by clicking here.

Here are 50 Standouts in Ohio Tourism:

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum

Clifton Mill 

Contemporary Arts Center

The American Sign Museum

Great Mohican Pow-Wow

Duck Tape Festival

COSI

Bear’s Mill

Historic Sauder Village

African Safari Wildlife Park:

The Toledo Museum of Art

Castle Noel

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

Rainbow Hills Vineyards

Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival

All American Soap Box Derby

Historic Roscoe Village

Ghostly Manor Thrill Center

Cedar Point

Freedom Center

Hocking Ice

A Christmas Story House

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Circleville Pumpkin Show

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Wake Nation

Original Bob Evans Farm

Hartman Rock Garden

Allen County Museum

Warther Museum

Ye Olde Mill

Shadowbox Live

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

Buckin’ Ohio

USS Cod

Topiary Park

KitchenAid Experience

KD Guest Ranch

The Wilds

National Museum of The U.S. Air Force

The RainForest

Ohio State Reformatory

Jungle Jim’s International Market

Lehman’s Hardware Store

West Side Market

EnterTRAINment Junction

Ohio Caverns

The Unusual Junction

Memphis Kiddie Park

 

Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival

Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

As we wind down summer,
look ahead to one of Ohio’s favorite Fall fests

Autumn in Roscoe Village is a special time of year. The beautiful scenery of central Ohio’s rolling hills, the crisp mornings that transform into warm afternoons, and the smoky-sweet aroma of homemade apple butter bubbling over an open fire combine to make the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival in Historic Roscoe Village the perfect Fall event.  Now in its 48th year, the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival has attracted crowds of all ages to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of the season.

The three days of the Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival officially begin on Friday, October 20th, at 10:00 a.m. Crafters’ booths line the street with an array of unique handmade items including jewelry, home and garden items, paintings, pottery, and other creative discoveries. Of course, no stroll through the festival would be complete without sampling the delicious assortment of unique foods offered by the food vendors, which include home-made soup, apple butter burgers, steak sandwiches, sweet potato fries, cinnamon-roasted nuts, and kettle corn.  The unique Shops of Roscoe Village will be open and welcome festival guests as well.  Those of you who wish to dine later in the evening, be sure to venture into the Village and experience the Warehouse Steak n’ Stein and Uncorked Restaurants.

The dates of the 48th Annual Apple Butter Stirrin’ Festival are October 20th, 21st and 22nd. The festival runs from 10:00am to 6:00pm on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday.  The price of admission is $5.00 for ages 12 years and older, ages 11 years and younger are FREE.  As part of their festival admission, guests will have access to the Living History Buildings in the Village to tour at their leisure. All of the buildings will be fully staffed with costumed interpreters who will relate what life was like in a 19th century port town nestled along the Ohio and Erie Canal.  Younger visitors may also enjoy the kids’ activity area, complete with tin punching and other crafts from the period.

The three day schedule of events is accented by a variety of musical entertainment with performances by traditional dulcimer players, bluegrass bands, gospel singers, and other traditional music artists.  Relax on the wooden benches at the Main Stage area in the center of the Village as you tap your feet in rhythm to the music or dance on the sidelines.

Don’t forget to include a ride on the always popular Monticello III into your visit!  The horse-drawn canal boat, located at the nearby Canal Boat Landing, offers guests a glimpse of life on the canal as well as entertaining stories from the Captain.  A trolley will be available for guests at the Visitor Center on Saturday and Sunday afternoon to catch a ride to the Canal Boat Landing.

On Friday and Saturday evening the eerie candlelight tour, Spirit of Roscoe, will be offered at 7:00pm. On this tour, guests will walk through the historic village while listening to tales of the spirited folk who once resided in this quaint canal town. Reservations are recommended for the candlelight tour. Contact the Visitor Center at 740-622-7644 or 800-877-1830 or visit www.roscoevillage.com for further information.

Life On The Tow Path

Monticello III

Nostalgia is at its best when a bygone era is brought back to life through the personality and passion of a mom and pop operation. It’s the extra touch like seeing a wheelchair and getting out the ramp so nobody even has to ask. Whether it’s a couple, family on a daytrip or a large group tour, there’s one goal – send everyone home happy and with plenty to talk about.

“We’re in the memory making business,” grinned Tom Roahrig. ….Read More….

Click here to read the rest of the story

An Honest Day’s Work

keim family market amish store ohio

And Amish Way of Life

By Rocco Satullo, your tour guide to fun!

Keim Family Market is owned by Dan Miller, an Amish man. This is a story about his culture, community, business and family. It’s about an honest day’s work and the Amish way of life.

In the mid-1970s, an Amish wagon-train of sorts left the Northeast Ohio Amish heartland and arrived in rural Adams County, Ohio about an hour east of Cincinnati. The fledgling community built its homes and dug into the land to farm at the edge of Appalachia. In the early 1980s, hard times fell on Roy Keim so he took his wife Mattie’s homemade pies to sell along State Route 32. He earned $68 from truckers with a sweet tooth. And it is with that humble beginning, Keim grew a popular bakery, furniture and bulk food store.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Click for more story, photos and video clips

Great Mohican Pow Wow

The Great Mohican Pow Wow
at Ohio’s Mohican Reservation

Native American culture is celebrated at one of the best Pow-Wows in the country – The Great Mohican Pow Wow. It was previously named one of the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association.

The Great Mohican Pow-Wow will be hosted by Mohican Reservation Camp & Festival Grounds in Loudonville, Ohio twice in 2017 from July 7-9 and September 15-17. The setting is everything.  These festival grounds are nestled in secluded wooded hills lending itself well to the authenticity and beauty of this annual celebration.

The 2017 show features breathtaking tomahawk throwing and fire starting by Coyote Dog, world-champion hoop dancer Lowery Begay and colorful ceremonial dancing, music of the Andes Mountains by Malkuri and mesmerizing flutist of the year Douglas Blue Feather, and powerful storytelling by Lance White Eagle. There are also dance & drum competitions and a drum making demonstration.

Throughout the festival grounds there are demonstrations of Native American living. You can get a taste of Native American Indian foods. Plus, more than 40 artisans display and sell a wide variety of Native American made furs, clothes, baskets, art, jewelry, carvings and much more. Don’t miss the auction.

Pow-Wows are celebrations that last for days and are remembered for a lifetime. In that tradition, this authentic Pow-Wow is three-days long and multi-day discount packages are available as well as campsites. This scared celebration is the coming together of Native tribes to honor ancestors and renew their traditions and heritage. It is a real cultural presentation – not a hobbyist show.

The Pow-Wow emphasizes lifestyles, fellowship and competition among tribes. It showcases custom dancing, colorful ceremonial dress, the passing down of songs, sharing of foods and storytelling. All of which are critical to the survival of a culture. One of the most spectacular sights at an authentic Pow-Wow is the palate of color woven throughout the festivities.

The Great Mohican Pow-Wow will be hosted by Mohican Reservation Campgrounds at 23270 Wally Road South in Loudonville, Ohio. Admission is $8/adult and $4/child with discounts for two and three day passes as well as for colleges, groups, scouts, teachers, seniors and veterans. For complete information or directions, phone 1-800-766-2267 or visit www.mohicanpowwow.com.

Don’t Miss The Cars That Swim!

Cars that swim?  That’s the nickname for the Amphicar, the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass-produced.  3,878 Amphicars were built in Germany from 1961 to 1968.  Of those cars, 3,046 were imported into the United States.

The Amphicar has a top speed of 7 mph on water and 70 mph on land.  An Amphicar is moved in the water by its twin nylon propellers. A special two-part land-and-water transmission built by Hermes (makers of the Porsche transmission) allows the wheels and propellers to be operated either independently or simultaneously. The “land transmission” is a 4-speed-plus-reverse unit similar to those found in the old Volkswagen Beetles. The “water transmission” is a 2-speed offering unique to the Amphicar featuring single forward and reverse gears. In the water, the front wheels act as rudders.

When new, an Amphicar sold for between $2,800 and $3,300, depending on the year.  All Amphicars are convertibles and were originally offered in only 4 colors: Beach White, Regatta Red, Lagoon Blue and Fjord Green (Aqua).   You will find many today that have been customized with paint and accessories. Some of the more unique include one adorned with Pink Flamingoes, one painted to resemble the Bat Mobile and another to resemble a huge Rubber Ducky.

Amphicars have been honored guests at the Celina Lake Festival in west central Ohio for more than 20 years.  35 to 40 Amphicars are expected during the festival, which is being held July 28-30, 2017.  You will begin seeing the cars on Tuesday and Wednesday of festival week as they drive around town and cruise along in the lake.  Their official festival appearances include a Swim-In on Friday evening and you can see the entire contingent of Amphicars as they take part in the Grand Parade on Saturday evening.

The Celina Lake Festival offers plenty of summer fun for the entire family including a huge collector car show, a fun car/boat poker run, a large craft show, Free boat rides, a 5K run and music by Blame it on Shorty on Friday night.  On Saturday night, twist and shout and dress like you’re back in the 60’s when the Beatles tribute band Hard Days Night takes the stage.  Sunday is a special treat for the kids with lots of free fun including a kids fishing derby, pontoon rides, kiddie tractor pull, archery and canoeing,   Along with the Amphicars, other top attractions this year will be the Friday night, Fabulous Fireworks over the lake and the Saturday evening Grand Parade.

The Celina Lake Festival takes place in Celina, Ohio, July 28-30 at Lake Shore Park along the northwest corner of Grand Lake St. Marys.  Admission and parking are free. More information about the festival is available at www.lakefestival.com.

Sidney Ohio is Hot-Hot-Hot

 

Only a short drive from almost everywhere in Ohio, Sidney and the surrounding area offers an incredible variety of fun close to home. Outdoor concerts, festivals, and recreation of all sorts await you in west central Ohio.

On July 4, 2017 the City of Sidney celebrates our nation’s independence with a booming and colorful overhead lightshow of fireworks. The pyrotechnics kick off at 10:00 p.m. and can be easily viewed on either the campus of Sidney Middle School or Sidney High School. Be sure to bring a blanket, cooler, lawn chairs, and snacks for the kids. In the event of rain, the fireworks will be displayed at this same location on July 5th.

Later that week on July 6th, 7th, and 8th, country music fans are sure to enjoy this year’s Country Concert in nearby Fort Loramie. The 2017 star-packed lineup includes Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Justin Moore, Brett Eldredge, Old Dominion, Montgomery Gentry, Jon Pardi, the Charlie Daniels Band, and many more. In total twenty-eight performers on two big stages will leave you breathless by the end of this three-day music festival.

On the evening of July 14th, the historic Shelby County court square comes alive when the Sidney Civic Band takes the stage to present, Hollywood & Vine Meets Marching Right in Time – A Collection of Movie and Show Tunes sprinkled with Sousa, Fillmore, and others. Bring your lawn chair and relax under the century-old shade trees of the court house lawn while enjoying the music of this talented ensemble. After the show, how about stopping into one of downtown Sidney’s restaurants and bistros for a light sandwich, cold beverage, or iced coffee?

Do you like Bar-B-Que? Who doesn’t right? July 22nd marks the return of Downtown Sidney’s Annual BBQfest. Live music all day combined with some of the best award winning BBQ you’ve ever licked from your fingertips will have you grinning ear to ear all weekend long. Pork ribs, pulled pork, and BBQ chicken with all the fixins’ will be on hand. Come out early! The open-air Great Sidney Farmers Market runs weekly on Saturday’s from 8 a.m. until Noon with the BBQfest on this particular Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

Have you ever played Bocce Ball?  In conjunction with Saturday’s BBQfest, how about getting your team together to compete in the CARSTAR Bocce Grand Prix of Sidney?  This downtown tournament kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on the courthouse lawn and concludes later that day with the first place team taking home $1,500 in prize money.  Second place $750 and third place will be awarded $400 for their Bocce success.  If interested, you’d better hurry.  All team entry forms are due July 1st.

On July 23rd, the Shelby County Fair gets underway and runs through the 29th. For 156 consecutive years, the Shelby County Fair has excited and entertained guests of all ages. Rides, games, exhibits, livestock shows, that fantastic fair food and so much more! Oh yeah, don’t miss the always popular demolition derby, tractor pull, and an incredible line up of live entertainment. This year’s featured performers are Who Made Who – an AC/DC tribute on July 29th.

Also on the 29th you can round out the Hot-Hot-Hot month of July at downtown Sidney’s Backstage Block Party. Country and blues artist Lee Roy Parnell will bring a multitude of talents to the stage with his singing, songwriting, and musicianship. This versatile artist is known for country hits like, “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am” and “Tender Moment”. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. in the back lot behind the Historic Sidney Theatre.  Food and beverage sales begin at 5:30.

For every leisure and recreation interest, the possibilities are numerous in Sidney.  Additional information about these all of the incredible attractions in west central Ohio can be found at www.VisitSidneyShelby.com.

Discover Why Mohican Rocks Anytime

From canoeing to zip lining, an aerial adventure park to a round of golf, horseback riding and more; camping to castle or resort. Those are just a few adventures to look forward to in Mohican. Enjoy the year-round events and festivals that bring out the kid in everyone. Discover why Mohican rocks!

Summer is alive and well. The Fourth of July Weekend brings in a great crowd for a weekend full of events. Antique fair, The Loudonville Car Show, live entertainment and of course, fireworks. The 18th Century Colonial Trade Fair returns in August at Wolf Creek Grist Mill. Learn from participants and vendors in period costumes and tents on the history of the area and life back then. Live canon demonstrations and more to entertain kids of all ages. Every Saturday until October is the Live Birds of Prey at Mohican State Park Lodge. Free and open to the public, get up close to Ohio’s natural winged predators. The Mohican State Park’s naturalist also offers regular hikes and programs that are also free and open to the public. Landoll’s Mohican Castle is offering regular live entertainment to its guests dining at the Copper Mug Bar & Grille.

As autumn sets in, make sure to join on the Mohican Bluegrass Festival and Oktoberfest. The Mohican Bluegrass Festival hosts the best of Bluegrass Music in an outdoor venue with food, vendors and of course music. Oktoberfest is one of the area’s most popular event that brings in old-world style German atmosphere with live music, food and over 100 kinds of foreign and domestic beers. October will continue the fun with the Loudonville Street Fair. This free street fair five days full of family fun and entertainment.

Mohican 5K Run/Walk is October 15th. The 3.1 miles begins and ends along the bike path of Wally Road. The Mohican 5K Run/Walk benefits the Loudonville-Mohican bike path with proceeds helping to maintain the area’s bike path.

Plan to stay for a week or weekend. With over 4,000 campsites, private cabins, a castle, resort, and more. Take a stroll through downtown Loudonville for shopping and dining. Visit DiscoverMohican.com for more information or find them on Facebook – Discover Mohican.

Sleep at A Christmas Story House


Photo from A Christmas Story House & Museum

Fans of A Christmas Story can now book stays in one of the movie’s major filming locations. A Christmas Story House is now taking reservations for overnight stays year-round. Previously, only one annual Christmas holiday charity auction winner was able to spend the night in the house and sleep in Ralphie and Randy’s beds.

“We have had a lot of requests over the years from fans wanting to spend the night in the house,” said Brian Jones, founder and owner of A Christmas Story House & Museum.  “We are happy to finally be able to grant their request.”

Guests will have use of A Christmas Story House’s third floor loft until their 11am check out time, as well as full access to the house from an hour after close until 9am the following day. The house can accommodate up to 6 guests per night. The loft area is equipped with a bedroom, living room, full kitchen and full bath.  The rate for bookings begins at $495 per night. Included in the package is a free tour of A Christmas Story House & Museum, as well as discounts on local dining.

For more information and reservations please visit AChristmasStoryHouse.com/Stay or call 216-298-4919 ext. 1017.

A Christmas Story House & Museum, now restored to the original movie appearance, is located just five minutes from downtown Cleveland at 3159 W. 11th St. in the Tremont neighborhood. It is open year-round, 7 days a week, excluding major holidays. Tours of the house run every hour. Regular admission tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for children more information or for directions, visit AChristmasStoryHouse.com or call 216-298-4919.

Ride a 100-year-old Streetcar

 

For the first time, Northern Ohio Railway Museum offers trolley rides on a Cleveland streetcar that is over 100-years-old

Enjoy streetcar rides at the Northern Ohio Railway Museum this summer. The Museum is open every Saturday through October from 10am to 4pm. A regular feature at the Museum is guided walking tours. New this year on the tour is a visit inside a restored 1954 Cleveland Transit System Rapid Transit car. Admission to the museum is free but a fee is charged to ride the streetcar.

Now, the public may ride a streetcar on the museum’s demonstration track (weather and car availability permitting). Streetcar rides will continue each month on the second Saturday of each month. Trolley ride fares are $4 for those 13 and older. Fare for Children 6 to 12 years old is $2/person.  Children age 5 and younger ride for free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets may be purchased in the museum store and are good for all day riding. The rides will commence on the hour beginning at 11am, with the last ride of the day occurring at 3pm.

On the tour, visitors will see a diversified collection of streetcars, interurbans, and rapid transit equipment from the Northern Ohio region. The oldest trolley car in the collection dates back to 1895. It was purchased by an area trolley tycoon that later became a famous Cleveland mayor. Visitors get to see the equipment that built and maintained the streetcar system. Learn the story of how photographers and dancers permitted these utilitarian cars to serve their employer in ways their designers never imagined.

The story of trolley freight is told through rare artifacts. Discover how the interurban became the farmer’s friend and gave him easy access to larger cities for his products. See the last wooden interurban car to leave Cleveland in 1938. Learn how a sleepy streetcar line built to promote real estate, morphed into a pioneer rapid transit line that still operates today. Finally see a 1970 rapid car that served the first Airport Rapid Transit Line in the western hemisphere. Many other fascinating stories abound at the museum and can be found on the tour.

A unique feature of the tour is a visit to the restoration shop. See how these grand treasures of our past are painstakingly disassembled and restored to like-new condition by skilled craftsmen and women. At present several projects are underway in varying stages of completion. Conditions permitting, visitors will have the opportunity to see the restoration underway and have the work being done explained.

The Northern Ohio Railway Museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, restore, display, and operate streetcars and other electric railway equipment for the education and enjoyment of the public. The museum owns forty-two acres of land in southern Medina County, including two miles of the former Cleveland and Southwestern interurban railroad. At this site the museum has built over a mile of track and three large buildings to house its collection of historic trolleys, interurbans, and rapid transit cars, most from the northern Ohio area. Five pieces of the collection have been restored and others are currently being restored.

In addition to the public tours, the museum has speakers available for civic and other community groups. The Museum’s state certified educator is also available to work with schools, youth, or civic groups on educational initiatives. Operation Lifesaver presentations are also offered by the Education Department. For further information on these public service programs, please contact the museum.

Phone 330-769-5501 or visit www.northernohiorailwaymuseum.org. The Museum is located at 5515 Buffham Road in Seville, Medina County, Ohio, near Chippewa Lake.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

 

For the first time ever, join Joel Hodgson, creator of the critically acclaimed “Mystery Science Theater 3000” TV show and its new host Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) as they bring the first live touring production of “MST3K” to Cleveland on the “Watch Out for Snakes!” Tour for an August 8, 2017 performance.

Appearing with Joel and Jonah live on stage will be robot companions Crow (Hampton Yount), Tom Servo and Gypsy, along with Synthia (Rebecca Hanson) and her Bonehead henchmen. Of course, it wouldn’t be “MST3K” without the ever-present surveillance of the Mads, Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt), checking up on their unwilling test subjects via a video screen.

The evening will include all the things expected from an “MST3K” experience: a cheesy B-movie, hilarious riffing, wisecracking robots, silly sketches, plus –for the first time –audience participation! Featured is the MST3K favorite “Eegah,” featuring all-new riffs and sketches. It’s a fun, sci-fi thriller never before featured on “MST3K”.

Following its record-breaking #BringBackMST3K Kickstarter campaign, the new season of the show launched last April, exclusively on Netflix. The two live shows are written by the cast and writers of the new Netflix Original Series, which has earned a critics’ rating of 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.. The New York Times hails, “At last, a revival of something actually worth reviving… a different cast but the same outlook and style — and mercifully, the same reliable, giddy humor.”  “MST3K is just as hilarious as ever in rebooted form, turning its bemused eye on old, schlocky fare for some good, old-fashioned riffing,” raves Vanity Fair. And Nerdist says “The references are updated, the sets are snazzier, but the heart and soul of MST3K certainly remains intact.”

For almost 30 years, the award-winning comedy television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been known as one of the top cult TV shows of all time. The story of a human host and his robot sidekicks trapped aboard a satellite and forced to watch cheesy movies by their captor, MST3K has maintained its reputation thanks to its fervently devoted fan base, known as MSTies.

Created by Joel Hodgson, the first season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 aired in 1988 on KTMA-TV in Minneapolis. Set on the Satellite of Love, the series follows a hapless host trapped by mad scientists on a satellite in space, who is forced to watch some of the most outrageously unfortunate B movies ever created. To keep sane, he’s built two robot sidekicks, and together they do a running commentary on the films, affectionately mocking their flaws with inspired wisecracks and acting as a lively movie theater peanut gallery.

MST3K’s national broadcast life began in 1989 on the Comedy Channel (later to become Comedy Central), where it ran for seven seasons. The show’s final three seasons aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. Series creator Hodgson originally played the stranded man, Joel Robinson.  When he left in 1993, series head writer Mike Nelson replaced him as the new B-movie victim, and continued in the role for the rest of the show’s run. The format proved to be popular, and during its ten seasons and 197 episodes on the Comedy Channel and later, the Sci-Fi Channel, it attained a loyal fan base and critical acclaim, including a Peabody Award and two Primetime Emmy® nominations.

A couple of years ago, Shout! Factory and creator Joel Hodgson formed a new partnership known as Satellite of Love LLC, to acquire the global IP rights to MST3K with the aim of producing new episodes and managing and developing the IP in other areas. The highly successful Mystery Science Theater Kickstarter campaign to #BringBackMST3K, spearheaded by Shout! Factory and Hodgson surpassed its goal by funding the production of 14 new episodes and set the world record as the highest-funded Film and TV crowdfunding campaign in history. The new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 debuted as a Netflix Original Series this past April.

Tickets for the August 8 performance at the State Theatre are on sale now and available at www.playhousesquare.org or 216-241-6000.

Cleveland Go Ape Zip Line

Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure at Mill Stream Run Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks costs approximately $40 ages 10-15 and $60 for ages 16 and older.

  • Open: Call for seasonal and daily hours which may fluctuate due to weather
  • Location: (Map It) 16200 Valley Parkway in Strongsville, Ohio
  • Phone: 800-971-8271
  • Web: Click here

Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure at Mill Stream Run Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks:  It features five adrenaline pumping zip lines and more than 40 obstacles along the course. The journey takes about two to three hours. Along the way, adventurers are treated with spectacular views. In addition, enjoy the Tarzan swings and more.

The Hub of The 1800s Today

This is a story of resurgence for a bustling canal town that fell into ruin and has since reclaimed its glory days.

The tale begins with a massacre, and a girl who would grow to be known as the “White Woman.” This journey spans two eras of a community separated by a century. Both echoing out with the sounds of molten metal being pounded into form, a helmsmen shouting to a hoggee, a school bell ringing, and merchants asking, “How may I help you?” Both are known as Roscoe Village. Today, they coexist at a crossroads in time ready to serve visitors with authentic goods, services, tours, meals and unforgettable experiences.  ….Read More….

Click here to read the rest of the story

The Great Race Comes to Ohio!

Join Wapakoneta in Welcoming the
Great Race to the Buckeye State

The Great Race will be rolling into downtown Wapakoneta on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 and you are invited to be a part of the fun.  This will be the only Ohio stop for the Great Race this year.

The Great Race is an antique, vintage, and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally. Any car up through model year 1972 is eligible to enter. For purposes of scoring, the older the vehicle, the better the age factor adjustment the team will receive.  Last year the winning team drove a 1916 Hudson Indy Racer.  The Great Race is not a test of top speed. It is a test of a driver/navigator team’s ability to follow precise course instructions and the car’s (and team’s) ability to endure on a cross-country trip. The course instructions require the competing teams to drive at or below the posted speed limits at all times.

This year the Great Race will begin in Jacksonville, Florida on June 24th and end in Traverse City, Michigan on July 2nd.  An expected 120 of the race teams and their vintage cars will be spending their lunch hour in Wapakoneta on the 28th.  The public is invited to join in the fun. Beginning at 12:30, the cars will be parked throughout the downtown area, arriving a minute apart, and after a quick lunch, the teams will return to their cars to talk with the public about their vehicle and about the race.  It is a rare opportunity to see a wide variety of very unique, antique cars and trucks and talk with the teams driving these classic cars on this multi-day, cross-country adventure.

While in downtown Wapakoneta for the rally, enjoy great food at restaurants such as Cloud 9, J. Marie’s and the Alpha Café.  There is also a multitude of unique, specialty and antique shops, such as Casa Chic, Relic, Dad’s Toy Shop, Pamela Rose and the Auglaize Antique Mall, where you will find one of kind, fun, upcycled and distinctive items for your home, your wardrobe or for that special gift.

After the rally, check out the museum named for Wapakoneta’s most famous son, Neil Armstrong.  Located near exit 111 of I-75, The Armstrong Air & Space Museum pays tribute to the first man to step onto the moon as well as the many accomplishments of Ohio Astronauts throughout the history of space exploration.   While in the area you may also want to check out the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, the Miami-Erie Canal in Memoria Park in St. Marys and Grand Lake St. Marys, Ohio’s largest inland lake.

Have a great time at the Great Race in Wapakoneta on June 28th then make it an afternoon of fun and discovery in the Greater Grand Lake Visitors Region. For more information on the race or other fun summer events check out GreaterGrandLakeRegion.com.

Camp Sherman WWI Centennial

Chillicothe, Ohio, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Region of America played a huge role during World War I. After the United States entered the “Great War” in April 1917, the country realized it was not fully prepared for the war effort. This resulted with the government creating a system in training troops. Construction began on Camp Sherman in Chillicothe in July 1917 with the first recruit arriving in September 1917. The quaint, emerging city with roughly a population of around 16,000 soon found itself with an influx of 40,000 personnel and the third largest training camps in the United States. The expanse of the training camp encompassed over 2,000 acres dedicated to training soldiers for World War I.

Moving forward one-hundred years to 2017, Chillicothe will be welcoming guests into the community for the commemoration of Camp Sherman. Camp Sherman Days is a nine-day event that will offer visitors the opportunity to explore the impact of the Camp beginning July 1st through July 9th.

Many of the community’s attractions and social organizations will be hosting events to compliment Camp Sherman Days. This includes Veterans Appreciation at “Tecumseh!” Outdoor Drama, Chillicothe Paints baseball game, Adena Mansion & Gardens providing an ice cream social, VFW hosting a steak dinner, and the Chillicothe Kiwanis Club offering a pancake breakfast.

In addition to these special activities, there will be daily exhibits available to tour and explore regarding Camp Sherman’s history. The Ross County Heritage Center offers a permanent exhibit on Camp Sherman and has included a special, temporary exhibit to showcase the Camp’s history in Chillicothe for this event. The Pump House Center for the Arts is presenting their July exhibition centered around the artwork of Camp Sherman.

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park will be hosting a complete overview of the history of Camp Sherman. As the Camp damaged many of the prehistoric earthworks created by the Hopewell Culture over 2,000 years ago. Following the end of WWI, as the camp began dismantling its buildings, the restoration work began on these earthworks and are now protected by the National Park Service. As part of the centennial, the National Park will be offering exhibits that include artifacts and memorabilia from the site.

The Majestic Theatre not only was an entertainment outlet for Camp Sherman but also served as a facility for the city and Camp during the Spanish Flu outbreak. The theatre will be participating in the centennial commemoration by hosting a special Vaudeville performance, and a movie night showing of the 1941 film, “Sergeant York”.

One of the main events of the centennial will be the Living History Encampment. This is a rare event – a World War I living history demonstration. Visitors will be able to see authentic camp and tent displays, drill practices, live fire demonstrations at the original Camp Sherman Rifle Range, as well as many other living history activities. Plans also include a WWI antique show and other period vendors. This part of the event will take place on an active Ohio National Guard facility that is located at the base of Chillicothe’s Mount Logan on the original part of Camp Sherman used as the rifle range.

As the Camp was decommissioned and the buildings were disassembled, materials salvaged were used to build homes throughout Chillicothe. The only remaining building of nearly 2,000 structures at Camp Sherman is the former library. Burton E. Stevenson established the library at Camp Sherman which allowed for national efforts to model other libraries off the Camp Sherman Library. Stevenson became the director of the Chillicothe public library. In 1918, he founded the American Library in Paris and 12 years later he became the European director of the American Library Association’s Library War Service. The Chillicothe Ross County Public Library will be offering an exhibit on Burton E. Stevenson during Camp Sherman Days for his efforts on the library system in Chillicothe and abroad.

Additional details of the history of Camp Sherman can be found online at www.CampShermanDays.com. Visitors can also obtain more information about Ross County, Camp Sherman Days, and other events happening in the area by contacting the Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitors Bureau online at www.VisitChillicotheOhio.com or by phone at (800) 413-4118.

Treasure Island Park

 

Get on the Great Miami River with Two Great Events Hosted at Treasure Island Park in Troy, Ohio

Two very exciting events are coming to Miami Country this summer as Adventures on the Great Miami hosts the second annual Great Miami River Races along with the first ever Treasure Island River Fest, both on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

“We had racers coming from all across the Midwest last year! It was really great to see how excited everyone was,” Chris Jackson, owner of Adventures on the Great Miami said. “This is an event that we want to build on and keep running for a long time, and part of that now is kicking off Treasure Island River Fest to get even more folks out on the river!”

The first annual Treasure Island River Fest will be held at Treasure Island Park in Troy, Ohio. Planned as a day for the whole family, the Fest will feature boat demos running all day long, midday and evening sessions of SUP yoga, a kids paddle race, and a 3 mile river scavenger hunt previewing the new section of The Great Miami River they plan to service in 2017.

“No matter your level of experience, Treasure island River Fest really is about getting you out there, having fun and feeling comfortable with the water,” Jackson said. “Bring the family along, watch what you want, get involved with what you want, it’s just going to be a great summer day riverside.”

With a strong reaction upon its announcement, some events like the3 mile scavenger hunt are offering early registration through eventbrite.com to reserve eager participant’s spots.

In addition to fun on the water, Treasure Island River Fest will also feature live DJs throughout the day, food trucks and then a beer truck for later in the evening, a community concert, and the awards ceremony for the second annual Great Miami River Races.

Starting with last year’s signature 12.1 canoe race, The Great Miami River Races launch from Treasure Island at 10am and run down to Adventures on the Great Miami Tipp City property.

“Again, we’ve set up a number of safety checkpoints and will have floating volunteers all along the course to ensure a safe and fun day on the river,” Jackson said. “Last year’s event ran smoothly but there are still some things we’ve learned to help this year’s go off even better.”

Expanding the races, this year’s Great Miami River Races will feature two new races. The 2×2 Race is a 2 miles up and 2 miles downriver race and then there will be a 500 Meter Bridge Sprint race. Each of the three races will also now have classifications for teams, solo racers, and racing boats.

“We want Miami County to become a paddler’s destination,” Jackson said. “The Great Miami is such a beautiful river and really great for these kind of races. What makes it perfect for racing is also what makes it perfect for new paddlers, nice stretches of easy flowing river without major dangerous turns or fast water. It’s amazing that it’s gone this unnoticed for so long and people are just starting to realize all of its potential. We’re excited to be a part of that!”

For those interested, Treasure Island River Fest and The Great Miami River Races will be held on June 24 with racers launching from Treasure Island Park in Troy starting at 10am and events planned throughout the day. More information for Treasure Island River Fest can be found at www.greatmiami.net.

Summer Fun in Coshocton

Escape to nearby Coshocton, Ohio, this summer for a fun-filled getaway.  From entertaining events like the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Corvette Cruise-In, Coshocton Dulcimer Days Festival, and the Indian Mud Run, to amazing attractions like the wineries that make up the Three Rivers Wine Trail, Historic Roscoe Village, and the Monticello III Horse-drawn Canal Boat Ride, Coshocton is the perfect place to find your adventure.

On June 8 – 10, 2017, enjoy The Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival, sponsored by Frontier Power, featuring balloon launches, live entertainment, fireworks, balloon night glow, midway rides,  antique flea market, craft and food vendors, and more. Returning this year are Tethered Balloon rides, with full-service balloon rides available with prior reservations. “Balloon launches take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (weather permitting),” said Mindy Brems, director of the Coshocton Visitors Bureau.  “Live musical entertainment includes the Blend (1950’s acapella) and The Rorey Wesney Band.  Festival admission and parking are free.” A complete schedule and listing of balloons are available here.

“Corvette and classic car enthusiasts will enjoy the Corvettes at Roscoe Cruise-In on June 11,” added Brems.  “We typically have around 200 corvettes showcased on the street that day. ” Guests can stroll through Historic Roscoe Village while getting an up-close look at some beautiful cars, whose owners are proud to show them off.

Now through June 18, visitors will be fascinated by the Pushing the Surface Quilt Show at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in Roscoe Village.   “This exhibition of 26 works is a dance of color, beauty, ingenuity and story,” said Patti Malenke, director at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.  “Participating artists are from across the United States as well as Israel.” The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum also houses Native American tools and basketry, Ohio pioneer history, classic Japanese and Chinese artifacts and the famous Newark Holy Stones.

Coshocton is also the host of the longest running heritage music festival in Ohio—The 43rd Annual Coshocton Dulcimer Days held this year on June 16 – 18 in Historic Roscoe Village.  The festival features music workshops, free concerts, and the Mid-East Regional Dulcimer Championships.  Visitors to the event will enjoy music vendors, raffles, artists’ booths, traditional Appalachian music, and headliner concert Saturday evening with musicians The Vanderveer Brothers String Band and Jeff Hames. Find more details here.

The Indian Mud Run takes place on June 24 at Coshocton Lake Park. This Park fundraiser offers a “weekend warrior” challenging 5K obstacle race including approximately 20 obstacles along the beautiful Scarr Loop and Eagle Ridge Trails at Lake Park. For the brave, a 10 K course filled with more challenging obstacles is available. Register at IndianMudRun.com.  “We’ve been told by past participants that this is one of the best mud runs they’ve ever done, so we know the runners this year definitely will have a great time,” said Brems. Find details about The Indian Mud Run here.

Coshocton is home to several popular attractions including Historic Roscoe Village, a restored 1800s canal era town offering a glimpse into life in the 1800s. Self-guided tours are available daily. Most of the Famous Shops and Restaurants of Roscoe Village are open seven days a week, so visitors can immerse themselves in a quaint, nostalgic street rich with history discovering delightful shops, enjoying delicious dining and unique lodging options.

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

For those who love wineries, staying in Coshocton offers easy access to Ohio’s Three Rivers Wine Trail which features Raven’s Glenn, Baltic Mill, Indian Bear, Heritage Vineyard, Rainbow Hills and Yellow Butterfly. “Guests will love the diversity of the wineries,” said Brems. “From a restored flour mill to a historic yellow barn, the locations are as varied as the selection of wines.”  Find details here.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Coshocton has a lot to offer. Woodbury Wildlife Area is the largest public hunting and fishing land in the State of Ohio. Perfect for sporting or bird watching, it is something Coshocton is proud of! If you’d like something a bit less rustic, why not try the Coshocton Crow Geotrail? Use the GPS feature in your smartphone to locate 13 caches hidden in interesting places. Complete the passport and you’ll earn a collectible coin!

Make it an overnight getaway by spending time at one of Coshocton’s many affordable lodging options. From luxury cabins, friendly bed and breakfasts, hotels, motels, campgrounds, and guest houses, finding the perfect stay for a getaway is easy.  There are overnight packages to choose from that include Wine Tastings, Aquatic Center swimming passes, a Girlfriends’ Get-a-way and more.

Request a free visitor packet here or call (740) 622-4877 or 800-338-4724.

Washboard Music Festival

The streets in downtown Logan, located in heart of the Hocking Hills, will come alive with the annual Washboard Music Festival on June 15-17, 2017. Folks planning to attend the festival during Fathers’ Day weekend are encouraged to put on their dancing shoes and join along with the unique style of toe-tapping music that will be performed throughout the festival.

The event was created to honor the Columbus Washboard Factory that was purchased and moved to Logan from Columbus, Ohio nearly two decades ago. It is the only factory in the United States that continues to manufacture washboards. Thus the idea to establish a music festival that focuses on washboard music was born. Now you can enjoy the foot-tappin’ styles of Dixieland Jazz, Jug Music, Celtic, Blues and Cagun Zydeco played by bands from all around the country in the streets of small town America – Logan, Ohio.

The festivities kick off Thursday evening at the main stage when Arnett Howard and Friends perform. Little Roy & Lizzie take the stage Friday offering traditional bluegrass at its best. On Saturday, catch the Wayfarers and their own brand of American string-band music. Friday and Saturday music acts features the Steel City Rovers and their Celtic music, “Roscoe Goose” the Juggernaut Jug Band playing jazz, blues and ragtime, and Washboard Hank – a legendary Canadian artist on the alternative country scene. Additional musical acts include spYder Stompers & Sugar Pie and their pre-war acoustic country blues, Sodbusters’ rootsy folk and Bill Bailey’s percussion masterpiece. The Ohio River Minstrels will celebrate America’s heritage in story and song.

And that’s just the free music performances.

Families will enjoy the Children’s Park with rides. Mr. Puppet will be there to entertain the kids along with the magic of Dave Lehman.  A Quilt Show, hosted by members of the Hocking Valley Quilt Guild, will be held at The Bowen House from 12 – 5pm on Friday and Saturday. Both days also include a huge rummage sale. The historic Columbus Washboard Factory will be open to visitors from 9am – 7pm on Friday and Saturday. Saturday includes a tractor exhibit from 9am to 5pm. Afterward, enjoy the annual Washboard Music Festival Parade at 6 p.m.

In addition, the festival has plenty of food plus arts and crafts vendors. Click here to plan your good time.

This project is supported in part by awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council and the Hocking Hills Tourism Association.

Home-Grown Family Fun

Enjoy Home-Grown Family Fun in Wayne County, Ohio

Are you looking for a great place to vacation with your family this summer? Does a stress-free trip where you don’t have to wait in long lines or spend a fortune sound good to you? Then you might want to check out the fun family adventures Wayne County, Ohio has to offer.  Enjoy a visit to an old fashioned hardware store where the Amish shop for nonelectric goods. Pick your own seasonal fruits, visit an ice cream dairy, experience the thrill of a real Wild West rodeo, get up close and personal with the folks who grow your food at a farmers’ market, share a bike path with an Amish buggy, visit hometown festivals with parades and fireworks. Sound good? It sounded like something you’d enjoy.

If your family is partial to outdoor activities, Wayne County is home to many recreation areas such as Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve, Secrest Arboretum and Gardens, Shreve Wildlife Area, Wilderness Center, and Rails to Trails Bike Paths.

What youngster wouldn’t love the excitement of swashbuckling pirates and knights in shining armor? Treat your family to and afternoon or evening of live musical theater with The Ohio Light Opera, who calls The College of Wooster home during their summer festival season.  The 2017 bill of shows includes “The Music Man” and “HMS Pinafore.” Children’s ticket prices are just $10.00.

Wayne County is home to thirteen local historical societies who are proud to display the rich history of their communities. Your family might enjoy train history and a track car ride at the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society or a tour of the Wayne County Historical Society Campus complete with a one-room school house and a turn of the century firehouse, complete with a haunted pumper.

There are restaurants that will fit everyone’s budget. Many feature home-made foods from local produce, great ice cream fresh from the dairy, Amish family style restaurants, bakeries, and cafes.

Spend a night or two without breaking the bank!  Family friendly hotels offer indoor and outdoor pools and spas, free Wifi, great breakfast buffets and free parking.

So, if you thought the family vacation was out of reach this summer, think again.  Visit www.wccvb.com for more great cost effective vacation ideas or call 800-362-6474 to request a free visitors guide.

Safari in Ohio at The Wilds

 

Head to The Wilds and experience an adventure unlike any other! The Wilds features an array of activities perfect for the summer season.

A safari park and conservation center, The Wilds combines cutting-edge conservation science and education programs with hands-on experiences. The Wilds resides on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed surface mining land.

Home to more than 30 rare and endangered species from around the globe, The Wilds offers wide, open pastures for these species to roam and even coexist. Last year, The Wilds welcomed 50 newborns, including a greater one-horned rhino, cheetahs, and African painted dogs. These offspring are as exciting for conservationists as they are adorable for all animal lovers.

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

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

From June until September, The Wilds also offers a wide array of tours to enjoy at sunset:

  • The Sunset Safari Tour is a special tour with picturesque sunset views.  The tour includes a buffet dinner and an Open-Air Safari tour for viewing the animals when they are most active, at feeding time.
  • For those looking to get closer to the action, the Sunset Wildside Tour is a great option. This awe-inspiring tour takes guests off the beaten path and out into the pastures and also includes a buffet dinner.
  • The Sunset Horseback Safari is a perfect way to unwind at the end of the day while enjoying the outdoors from a unique vantage point. Sunset Horseback Safaris begin with a buffet dinner followed by approximately two hours of riding.
  • Guests seeking adventure at new heights should check out the Sunset Zipline Safari Tour. Go ziplining at sunset and take in the amazing panoramic views of The Wilds while zipping above and through the animal pastures.

Being a member of The Wilds has its perks. Membership includes free Open-Air Safari tours for one year, discounts on premium safari experiences, free parking, member benefits for Nomad Ridge and the Lodge, a subscription to The Wilds’ member magazine, discounts at The Wilds’ Gift Market and Overlook Café and free or discounted admission to more than 120 zoos and aquariums.

For those who want to make it a wild weekend can stay at Nomad Ridge. This adults-only getaway includes a private yurt overlooking the animal pastures. For larger groups, the Lodge is the perfect home away from home, as guests will stay in a private luxury cabin tucked away next to one of The Wilds most scenic lakes.

The Wilds is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May through September and weekends only in October. Pricing varies depending on the tour. For more information about The Wilds or to schedule a tour, please visit www.thewilds.org

The Wilds, one of the largest conservation centers in North America, is home to rare and endangered animals from around the world along with hundreds of indigenous species. The mission of the Wilds, a nonprofit organization, is to advance conservation through science, education and personal experience. For more information, visit www.thewilds.org.

Google 360 Captures Dayton Trails

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

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

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

Users can access the images of the Dayton region’s trails and landscapes by visiting www.google.com/maps. Captured areas include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find Your Adventure in Grove City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sculptures on the Square

Presenting “LAS BICICLETAS,
Urban Art from Mexico to the World”

Summer 2017 brings the return of one of Troy, Ohio’s favorite cultural events to its beautiful downtown. Throughout the months of May, June and July, Troy Main Street will present the eighth installment of Sculptures on the Square featuring LAS BICICLETAS, Urban Art from Mexico to the World.

“We are really excited to bring this exhibit to downtown,” said Troy Main Street executive director, John Wilson. “There will be many opportunities for our community to interact with the sculptures through pictures, conversations and learning opportunities. We expect that LAS BICICLETAS will create excitement and interest in downtown Troy, while providing an art experience for our residents and visitors.”

LAS BICICLETAS is an urban art exhibit created by Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro. It comprises 250 bicycle sculptures in black, white, red, and orange; colors that were used by the Mayan culture to symbolize the four cardinal points.

From May through July of 2017, 30 of these colorful steel sculptures will grace Duke Park, Treasure Island, the bike path along the nationally recognized Scenic Great Miami River, and the sidewalks of downtown Troy. Troy will be the first community of its size in the United States to host LAS BICICLETAS. The exhibit has visited, and was well received, in Chicago, New York City, Williamsburg, Virginia and Washington D.C., as well as major cities throughout Mexico.

“It has been a long process to bring an exhibit like this to Troy, but we are honored to have this international display in our region,” said Debbie Robart, sculptures committee chair. “The bright colors and unique designs are a welcome addition to our sculpture series.”

The mission of LAS BICICLETAS is to promote, through art, the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation and to procure better living conditions for all people in friendlier cities. The artist’s objective is to display bicycles as universally recognized vehicles of happiness and health.

The presence of LAS BICICLETAS in downtown Troy will have a significant impact on the local economy. They recognize that the draw of visitors could substantially increase commerce among the downtown retailers and restaurants, as well as their local hotels and all Troy businesses.

Sculptures on the Square is a bi-ennial public art exhibit in downtown Troy made possible by grants from the Troy Foundation and Robinson Fund, partnership with the City of Troy, and the generosity of individual and corporate donors. For more information, call Troy Main Street at (937) 339-5455, or visit the website at www.troymainstreet.org. More information about the exhibit can be found at www.lasbicicletas.org.

The Right Place at the Right Pace

Warm temperatures, longer days, and the greening of the landscape tell us that that travel season is upon us. While many of us dream and plan that memorable one or two-week vacation, most of our summer is filled with weekend getaways or day trips to new places. But let’s face it when we think of the hassle of driving to and from, getting around from place to place, and the cost of traveling even a short distance, enthusiasm can ebb away and weekend adventures turn into a backyard cookout.

What if there was a place close by, maybe an hour or so by car where the people were friendly, lots of fun things to do without breaking the bank, and memories just waiting to be made? Such a place does exist an hour north of Columbus in Marion. Loaded with historical sites such as the Home of President Warren G. Harding and a museum dedicated to the history of popcorn, filled with a varied population of truly local restaurants and eateries, and a countryside that is a pleasure to drive, Marion is truly the right place at the right pace this summer.

Getting away is all about experiencing new places at a pace that lets you relax. Whether it is enjoying a glass of wine and a sunset, sharing laughs with friends at a local dining favorite, or standing in the spot a president made famous, come visit Marion, Ohio this year. Spring and summer weekends are a delight on the many walking/biking trails as you see Mother Nature come to life. Summer sizzles with old-fashioned root beer floats, vista-like tee shots, and music in the air. Whenever you visit, plan on a few stops along the new Eaterarian Trail – a collection of local eateries that are known for their savory offerings and welcoming atmosphere.

Find out more at www.visitmarionohio.com.

Ohio’s Largest Gem Stone Collection

An adventurous trip to Brazil brought 60 tons of semi-precious stones back to Ohio Caverns’ rock shop. Visitors to Ohio Caverns may now purchase hand-selected, cut and polished agate, amethyst, citrine, quartz and many other rock-types as show pieces or in the form of bookends, lamps, candleholders and a lot of jewelry.

The journey to bring such a collection to Ohio for the first time was a learning experience for Tim Grissom of Ohio Caverns.

“It was a trip to remember,” Grissom said. “And it wasn’t easy.”

The venture began out of need. For decades, Ohio Caverns had a supplier out of Indiana for its amethyst and other pieces to retail in their gift shop. Amethyst is especially popular because of its brilliant purple color. It’s a quartz based mineral best known for being the birthstone for February.

“Our supplier threatened retirement,” Grissom laughed. “But we didn’t take his forewarning seriously enough to develop a contingency plan.”

A couple of years ago, that supplier said it’s no bluff. He’s retiring. The folks at Ohio Caverns were fortunate enough to negotiate the purchase of their former supplier’s remaining inventory. They hoped it would last a few years. They sold it all in half that time, but already had a new plan in the works.

Believe it or not, rock pedaling is big business and very competitive. Rather than settle for mail-order rocks that serious suppliers passed over when hand-selecting their own inventory in-person, Grissom and others at Ohio Caverns decided to go directly to the source. They wanted to hand-select the highest grade of semi-precious stones with hopes of coming home with a three-year supply. After a 28 hours travel time, Grissom found himself in the mining town of Soledade, Brazil among buyers from Germany, Japan, China, Australia and elsewhere.

“It’s a very desert-like climate but this town is built on the rock business,” Grissom said. “It’s in Brazil’s southernmost state before crossing over to Uruguay.”

Trucks pour in from the nearby mines and deliver semi-precious stones to the competing family businesses to cut and polish them into showroom quality.

“I had to employ an interpreter to navigate around town because my Portuguese is terrible. I know a little Spanish so there are some similarities but not enough,” explained Grissom.

The advantage that in-person buyers have is that they can personally inspect each individual piece to ensure it’s of the highest quality. If a particular piece doesn’t have enough color, you can replace it. The rejects are likely used in part to fulfill online orders by wholesale rock buyers around the world.

Grissom learned about each vendor in town first-hand. These are family businesses. It is highly competitive from one family business to another. The families running these competing businesses are huge because they’ve been at this for generations. Within one family, there may be different variations of the same product but everyone within an extended family business cooperate and work together.

Grissom ran into one exception where a large family had a rift within it. After the patriarch of the family died, his heirs feuded over the business he left behind.

“The division within that family was in plain view,” Grissom said. “They built a wall straight down the center of the building!”

Once the buying adventure was complete, Ohio Caverns’ order filled three intermodal containers designed to stack on cargo ships, place on flat train cars and transport by tractor trailer without ever having to be unloaded and reloaded. It took 10 weeks for Grissom’s hoard to get to Ohio. Part of the process included an inspection by customs at port in New York. The containers were transported to Columbus, Ohio by train and then by semis from there to the final destination in West Liberty, Ohio. Click here for a 3-D tour of the rock and gift shop at Ohio Caverns.

The gift and rock shop inside the Ohio Caverns visitor’s center also sells bags of rough to sift through to find semi-precious stones. These are used outside at an authentic gem mining sluice. Mining is for all ages. Bags of rough come in 3, 5 and 8 pounds. So if you want a hands-on mining experience you can get your hands a little wet and dirty hoping to score iron pyrite (fool’s gold), aventurine, quartz, calcite, amethyst and much more. For the budding Paleontologist, there are even fossilized sea creatures in rocks and shells to find.

The authentic wooden, gem mining sluice has a 13-foot tower and 80-foot flume. Water is piped out of the tower and splashes its way through staggered planks of narrow chutes. Along the flume, people gather with their bags of rough. There, they slide wooden plates into grooves at the sides of the channel as they pan for real gemstones, minerals and fossils. The mining sluice is easily accessed by those with limited mobility.

Ohio Cavern’s is known as America’s most colorful caverns. It offers one-of-a-kind treasures such as the Crystal King. The Crystal King is the largest and most perfectly formed pure white crystal stalactite found in any cave. A rare discovery at Ohio Caverns is its 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. 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. Ohio Caverns is located in a quiet park setting covering 35 acres of countryside. It has a playground and two large pavilions for sheltered picnicking.

To plan a visit to buy a piece of Ohio’s largest semi-precious stone collection or to see the one-of-a-kind wonders in America’s most colorful caverns, visit www.OhioCaverns.com.

Iconic Ohio Amish Shop Turns 40

Really, not much has changed in Miller’s 40 years of business. For an Amish family-run business, that’s just how they like it. But in four decades, they certainly have grown!

There’s still the clickety-clack all along Wheat Ridge Road in West Union, Ohio, where Miller’s Bakery, Furniture and Bulk Foods is located. The bustling Amish community that formed here decades ago simply became known as the Wheat Ridge Amish. Those early families who settled along this sprawling, peaceful, rolling countryside included a young couple, Harry and Lydia Miller, and their children. The year was 1977.

The Miller family farmed their land, but what they really loved to do as a family was bake. Before long, this family of eight was turning out pies left and right for their neighbors, friends and friends of friends from an overworked oven inside of their modest farmhouse. Word spread and before Harry and Lydia knew it, they were in the baking business.

Harry and his sons would return from trips to Amish-country in Northeast Ohio with some pieces of Amish-made furniture built by friends to sell. Just like the bakery, folks wanted more. Soon thereafter, a furniture business was running alongside the bakery. Over the years, the Miller family branched out across their 300-acre farm. Eventually, they built a 34,000 square foot building just to showcase their furniture offerings. Outside they added outdoor furniture, barns, playsets and more. In addition, they built a separate building for their bakery and another one for their bulk foods store.

Today, the Miller family is in its third generation. Most of Harry and Lydia’s children run things now. Daniel is at the furniture store, Larry at the bakery, and Harry Jr. at the bulk foods store, complete with a deli counter and seating. Malinda helps too. The other two sons, Gerold and David, come back often to visit. Altogether, the six children have provided Harry and Lydia with more than 20 grandkids. Many of them also help out with the family business. Things at Miller’s should be in good hands for generations to come, God willing.

Throughout the rest of 2017, the Millers have special events planned to thank customers for their blessings of being in business for so long.

  • May 13, 2017: Mother’s Day Weekend – Miller’s 40th Anniversary featuring free cake, ice cream and more.
  • May 26, 27 & 29, 2017 (closed on the 28th): Memorial Day Weekend Storewide Sale offers 10% off all items in stock at furniture store only (excluding outdoor building and gazebos and select bedroom sets).
  • September 1, 2 & 4, 2017 (closed on the 3rd): Labor Day Weekend Sale offers 10 percent off all items in stock at furniture store only. Excludes all outdoor buildings, gazebos and select bedroom sets. It is recommended to order early for Christmas.
  • September 2, 2017 (Labor Day Weekend): The 20th Annual Amish School Benefit Cookout. The menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, noodles, Chip’s fresh pie, homemade ice cream, coffee and soft drinks.
  • October 7, 2017: The 40th Annual Miller’s Anniversary Customer Appreciation Day. Visitors get a free Miller’s calendar for the upcoming year complete with sales dates and special event dates. The menu includes BBQ chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, fresh pie, homemade ice cream, coffee and soft drinks.
  • October 13, 14 and 15: Wheat Ridge Old Thyme Herb Fair & Harvest Celebration is 10am – 6pm at 817 Tater Ridge Road in West Union, Ohio. For more info, call 937-544-8252.
  • November 24 & 25, 2017: Storewide Thanksgiving Sale offering 10 percent off all items in stock (furniture store only).
  • December 23, (not the 24th or 25th) 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 2017: The End of Year Clearance Sale! This includes free coffee and cookies at the bakery and free cheese and candy samples at the Bulk Foods Store. Get 10 percent off all items in stock (furniture store only).

Many people travel near and far to visit scenic Southwest Ohio Appalachian Country and to shop at Miller’s Bakery, Furniture and Bulk Foods. It’s known as destination shopping. There’s even a picnic pavilion to relax and breathe in the fresh air. You can plan your pilgrimage at WheatRidgeAmish.com or by calling 937-544-8524. Miller’s stores are open Monday through Saturday (Always Closed on Sunday) from 9am – 5pm.

Service with a smile – it’s not something from Yesteryear. It’s this year and every day, always at Millers!

Let’s Get Out There!

The Weather’s Great – So Let’s Get Out There!

Located on I-75 just 30 miles north of Dayton, Ohio you’ll find a wonderful variety of outdoor recreation sure to satisfy every travel preference.

Just a short drive off the highway is Lake Loramie State Park. With its 1,600 acre lake and 30 miles of shoreline, Lake Loramie is one of the original canal feeder lakes for the Miami-Erie Canal and offers visitors a quiet retreat in rural Ohio. Swim from a sandy beach, hike along the old canal towpath, wet a line from the lakeshore or a rented boat, and spend the night in a shaded campsite or cabin. However you like to unwind, Lake Loramie State Park is the perfect destination to recharge your battery in the great outdoors.  Organized and upcoming activities at Lake Loramie State Park include a spring campout the weekend of May 5th, a Fishing Derby May 6th, and Paddlepalooza May 27th.

And speaking of “paloozas”, how about Alumapalooza the week of May 30th through June 3rd? Alumapalooza is a family-friendly festival for people who love Airstream travel trailers. For any or all of six days and five nights, participants can camp in a field right next to the Airstream manufacturing facility.  A wide variety of seminars and fun presentations are offered throughout the week plus additional activities like live music, yoga, trailer open houses, cooking demonstrations, a barbeque, and the not to be missed factory tours. In fact, the Airstream factory tour has been acclaimed by FoxNews.com as one of the top ten factory tours in the United States.

For the second year in a row at Alumapalooza Airstream is hosting a Fine Art Invitational. Participating artists include some of the top living artists today who have won numerous national awards and have their work featured in prominent galleries across the country. This year’s artists were chosen because their work reflects the idea of “Americana” – culture, history, people, and nature.

Alumapalooza is open to Airstream owners and non-owners alike and concurrent with Alumapalooza, the nearby Village of Jackson Center, home to Airstream is hosting Community Days, a local festival featuring live music, great food, and amusements for the kids.

Additional community festivals in the area during the month of May and June include the Anna Homecoming, Botkins Carousel, Holy Angels Parrish Picnic, and Downtown Sidney’s Kids Around the Square.  Each offers their own unique variety of family friendly entertainment, live music, delicious food, and lots of fun.

The Buckeye Farm Antiques Show returns to Sidney the weekend of May 26th.  This year’s show will feature Case tractors and equipment along with many other brands as well. Special activities not to be missed include threshing & corn shredding demonstrations, a craft & flea market, primitive crafts, agricultural machine parts area, blacksmith, sawmill, shingle mill, and plenty of free, family friendly entertainment. Also featured are an Antique Tractor Pull and Kiddie Tractor Pull. A car, truck, and motorcycle show will be presented on Sunday.

If live music performed in the great outdoors is your thing, how about these options? Beginning June 16th, the Sidney Civic Band begins its Summer Concert Series with Friday evening performances on the shaded and beautiful lawn of the Shelby County court house. On June 24th, Sidney’s first in a series of Backstage Block Party concerts kicks off in the back lot of the historic Sidney Theatre. High energy live music, food, and cold drinks… what could be better than that on a mid-June summer night?

If you enjoy history, how about planning to attend the Shelby County Historical Society’s 18th Annual Graceland Cemetery Tour? This year’s featured presentations will focus on the Titans of Industry who “in their day” helped influence the growth of the local economy and contributed meaningfully to our national economic prosperity as well. Free tours will be conducted on June 15th.

One more thought… Country music fans will not want to miss this year’s three day music festival at Country Concert in early July.  Headliners include Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, and Jake Owen.  Other well-known artists scheduled to appear are Brett Eldredge, Justin Moore, Jon Pardi, Montgomery Gentry, Old Dominion, the Charlie Daniels Band, and many more.  Twenty-seven performers on two big stages are sure to put Country Concert at the top of your to-do list this summer.

For every recreational interest, the possibilities are plentiful. Additional information about these and the many fine attractions of west central Ohio can be found on the web site of the Sidney Visitors Bureau at www.VisitSidneyShelby.com – “Sidney Ohio… We’re waiting for you.”

The Lusty Month of May

It’s not just a song title from the beloved musical “Camelot”.  The lusty month of May is a great description of how we feel about spring.  It’s a little easier to find yourself lost in a daydream while the first hummingbird of the season hovers out your window.  Mother Nature’s pallet contains endless varieties of green.  Wildflowers carpet the forest floor.  Dogwood, redbud and flowering crabapple trees burst with colorful blooms.  The air is sweet and the evening’s song is provided by a chorus of peepers.

Waterfalls erupt in thunderous motion as spring rains feed their fury.  Clifftops offer up miles and miles of the season’s awakening.   Inviting warm days make it impossible to resist going outside to play.   What better place to succumb to the lusty month of May than the Hocking Hills, Ohio’s natural crown jewels.

This May give in to those urges.  You know the ones, taking a road trip, taking a mental health day or two, playing outside like you did when you were a kid.  The Hocking Hills has a plethora of playgrounds.   From hiking among wildflowers and waterfalls to playing in an adult sandbox with really big toys it’s all here in the Hills.

Get a bird’s eye view of spring’s splendor on a zipline canopy tour.  With more than sixty ziplines the Hocking Hills is the Canopy Tour Capital of the Midwest.  The Hocking River is moving, making canoe and kayak tours effortless.  See a side of spring which can only be seen by horseback.  Drop a line and catch dinner.  There’s nothing like a fresh fish dinner cooked over an open fire on a cool spring evening.

Don’t miss the Hills’ newest attraction; Hocking Hills Sandbox.  This adult sandbox features real earth moving equipment.  Play with a bulldozer, track loader, excavator and high lift.  All the construction equipment you craved as a kid is waiting for you in a grown-up sandbox.

After a day of being a kid, kick back on the deck of your private cabin in the woods.  Gaze at the star filled night sky while you toast the marshmallows soon to be melting over chocolate and graham crackers for the ultimate ooey gooey sweet dream inducing treat.  Your every sense will be satisfied when you spend a little bit of “The Lusty Month of May” in Mother Nature’s Camelot.

Sweet Tooth Tours

Ohio has a confections trifecta that will satisfy any sweet tooth! Unlike Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, you don’t need a golden ticket to see candy galore at Spangler Candy Company, b.a. Sweetie Candy Company and Anthony Thomas Chocolates.

Spangler Candy Company in Bryan, Ohio makes millions of sweets daily. Hop on a trolley tour to see the museum, factory and store. This is the place where all of your Dum Dum Lollipops come from as well as candy canes. Did you know that the stripe on a candy cane has to be done by hand? They also make marshmallow candies and a variety of bulk candy. Learn how a paperboy turned $450 into the purchase of a factory and launched his own candy empire. For tour information, click here.

b.a. Sweetie Candy in Cleveland is the largest candy store in the country. It features over 4,000 different kinds of candy totaling about 400,000 pounds of candy under one roof with nearly 2 million pounds in stick. They have everything from old-time favorites to the latest craze. There’s even an old-fashioned truck full of candy just inside to greet customers as their jaws drop upon entering this sweet store. For visitor information, click here.

Visitors to Anthony Thomas Chocolates in Columbus can walk along a glass-enclosed suspended catwalk to see candy made at this 152,000 square-foot state-of-the-art candy factory. In one shift, 25,000 pounds of chocolate are produced. Even Augustus Loof would be left satisfied (sorry, no chocolate river here). To plan your tour, click here.

Ohio, it’s sweeeet to be here!

‘Spring’ to Coshocton in 2017!

Signs of spring weather arrived in mid-February, about five weeks shy of actual springtime. Nevertheless, Coshocton is blooming with activities to do! In April, the Johnson Humrickhouse Museum is hosting their annual Teen-Age Talent Exhibit, featuring over a hundred works of art from local high school and home school students. See everything from watercolors and pastels, to photography and sculpture, and much more. With the exhibit being around 27 years, it has attracted and entertained people from all over. The museum is also hosting “What Women Want ~ A Night Out Just for Women” in April, and the “Pushing the Surface Exhibit,” in May and June, which will feature 25 art quilts from nationally known artists. Visit www.jhmuseum.org.

The Coshocton Crow Geotrail trail is highly rated by geocachers for its many beautiful sites and family-friendly caches. Not only will you visit 13 of Coshocton’s most interesting places, but you’ll also find fascinating facts about crows. Did you know that there is a surplus of them? You will definitely find out once you come and visit Coshocton – www.visitcoshocton.com.

If you are a local history buff, then you don’t want to miss “Facts & Photos of The Flood of 1913” in March. Dave Snyder, who is a curator of the Walhonding Valley Historical Society and Museum will present a slideshow with dioramas, books, and pictures showing the impact the great flood had on the community, and the significant destruction to the canal system. This is a perfect event to attend as it is free, interesting, and educational! Plus, if you have any knowledge of the local history, the better! Visit www.roscoevillage.com.

In April, the Coshocton Community Choir will be featuring its Spring concert “I’m Gonna Sing!” Over 200 singers and musicians from central Ohio participate in this annual concert. The choir, now in its 46th season, has commissioned a number of arrangements from well-known composers. Musical selections span the centuries with classics from each era being performed. This concert features the 100-voice adult choir, the children’s choir, The Roscoe Brass Quintet, and the 40-voice teen choir, all performing a mix of sacred and secular choral music. When you attend this concert, it will be sure to put you in the Spring mood and inspire you to sing along! Visit coshoctoncommunitychoir.org.

Treat yourself to a glass of wine and a scenic view. The Three Rivers Wine Trail has a winery for you! Whether you would like to sample wines at a California style wine bar or sip wines in a rustic setting, you’ll find your perfect spot – and maybe a new favorite wine. Click here to see Coshocton wineries.

The Majestic Monarch

The Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati’s Eden Park features its 2017 International Butterfly Show, The Majestic Monarch, now through June 18.

This year’s show will celebrate the beauty of the majestic monarch butterflies and their amazing long journey across North America. Thousands of free-flying butterflies, of all varieties including the monarch, will fill the showroom and delight visitors with their beautiful colors and designs. Experience what it is like to be a butterfly surrounded by towering fir trees, giant flowers, and islands of color provided by the beautiful hydrangeas, marvelous marigolds, and gorgeous celosia.

Become a “Citizen Scientist” when visiting by observing which fruit nectar feeding station or which flower attracts the most butterflies. There is a lot to learn about Monarchs –– and everyone at Krohn is hoping that each visitor will spread the word about the importance of creating and preserving butterfly habitats.

The show will be open daily from 10am – 5 pm. Admission is $7/adult, and $4/child ages 5-17.

In April, here’s what’s happening:

The Land of Nod Tour Bus Visits Krohn
Sunday, April 2
10am – 5pm
A great day for families –– there will be Charlie Harper themed art activities and giveaways like tote bags and animal headbands.

Greater Cincinnati Orchid Society Potting Bee
Sunday, April 2
1 – 4pm
If you need help with potting your orchid, or want to learn more about orchids, mark your calendars for the Potting Bee!

Daffodil Show
Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9
10am – 5pm
Come for the butterflies and stay to see hundreds of the most beautiful daffodils on display during our very first daffodil show!

Easter Sunday: Enjoy an early morning with the Butterflies!
Sunday, April 16
8am – 5pm (Regular admission applies)
Purchase refreshments and enjoy the butterflies and flowers during these special early hours.

Photographer Nights
Sponsored By K & R Photographics
Mondays, April 17, 24
5:30 – 7:30pm
$12 per person (price includes unlimited admission pin)
Photographers and tripods welcome! Come get great shots of our butterflies after regular show hours.

Earth Day Celebration
Sponsored by Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control
Friday, April 21
10am – 2pm
The first 300 visitors will receive a free tree seedling sponsored by both Scherzinger Termite/Pest Control and Friends of Krohn.

Many special events, both family-friendly and adults-only, have been planned throughout the 12-week show ranging from Photographer Nights to Family Nights and just about anything in between.

For more information about Krohn Conservatory and the International Butterfly Show, call 513-421-5707 or go to www.cincinnatiparks.com.

Sweet Moses & Cleveland Orchestra

 

Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop unveiled its newest creation in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra to celebrate the Orchestra’s Second Century and upcoming season. The year will be the ensemble’s 100th season of concerts and marks the launch of its Second Century.

The shop’s Cleveland Orchestra Second Century Chocolate Bar is handmade using premium Belgian chocolate and features a relief of the iconic home of The Cleveland Orchestra – Severance Hall. The special edition chocolate bar (available in both milk and dark chocolate) will be available later this year.

“We are honored to take part in the Cleveland Orchestra’s upcoming centennial celebration and are thrilled about this collaboration,” said Sweet Moses founder Jeff Moreau. “The Orchestra’s lasting legacy and commitment to musical excellence is a source of pride for all of Cleveland.”

“The Cleveland Orchestra is delighted to be collaborating with Sweet Moses for this exclusive chocolate,” said Ross Binnie, Cleveland Orchestra, Chief Marketing Officer. “This wonderful sweet shop in Gordon Square has a special meaning for us, as it was one of the venues we performed at during our first ‘At Home Neighborhood Residency’ in 2013. Sweet Moses is a wonderful partner and what better way to celebrate our Second Century than by adding a fantastic chocolate.”

Sweet Moses, located in the historic Gordon Square Arts District, epitomizes the quintessential ice cream and confections experience. Harkening back to the days of the vintage soda fountain, attention is paid to every detail – from ice cream served up behind an authentic Bastion-Blessings soda fountain and root beer straight from the barrel to handmade English toffee and chocolate barks to freshly-popped popcorn and homemade pies. Even the hot fudge and caramel sauces that top the sundaes are fresh out of the Sweet Moses kitchen. For more information, please visit www.sweetmosestreats.com.

Under the direction of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, the New York Times has declared Cleveland to be the “best American orchestra” for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color, and chamber-like cohesion. The Cleveland Orchestra divides its time each year across concert seasons at home in Cleveland’s Severance Hall and each summer at Blossom Music Center. Additional portions of the year are devoted to touring and performance residencies around the world. Through concerts, tours, recordings, radio broadcasts, and internet streaming, the Orchestra is heard each year by millions of fans around the world.

The Cleveland Orchestra was created in 1918 by the Musical Arts Association, a non-profit corporation founded in 1915 to promote the presentation of live symphonic music in Cleveland. The Cleveland Orchestra became the Association’s only focus going forward, with strong leadership and community generosity enabling the ensemble to quickly grow from a respected regional group to national fame and then international acclaim. The Orchestra’s fame and acclaim have continued to grow and flourish, with the institution outlining a series of ambitious goals for its Second Century — to build upon its legendary musical excellence, to develop the youngest audience of any orchestra, to focus on fully serving the communities where it performs through concerts, engagement, and music education, to strengthen its business acumen and financial strength, and to embrace innovation and technology in support of its musical mission to engage people of all ages through the power of music to enrich lives and inspire minds, to foster learning and understanding, and to spark creativity and imagination. For more information, please visit www.clevelandorchestra.com.

Wild Orphans: To Rescue Or Not?

“Mommy, look what I found!”

Whether it is a baby bird, squirrel, bunny, or other wild animal, children have a knack for finding wild orphans.  Across the United States during the spring and summer months, thousands of young wild animals will be picked up; some need to be rescued, most do not.

“At Brukner Nature Center, we care for more than 1,400 animals each year,” said Becky Crow, Curator of Wildlife.  “They are brought to us by well-intentioned individuals, but many of them did not need to be rescued,” Crow added.

Baby bunnies, also known as kits, are one of the wild animals rescued most often, but usually do not need human help.  Mother rabbits are only at the nest to feed their young twice a day for about five minutes—at dawn and dusk.  And, yes, they really did put the nest in the middle of your backyard!  One reason for this is so mama rabbit can see any predators that may be approaching while she is nursing her young.  Kits are in their nest for only two to three weeks; a pretty short time before they are independent.  Leave the nest alone unless you find cold, limp babies, or obviously injured ones.  Brukner Nature Center has more advice for you on how to keep the young safe in the nest until they are ready to live on their own.

There is a myth that once a baby bird is touched by a human, it will not be cared for by the parent birds.  Not true!  First of all, birds, except for those in the vulture family, have a poor sense of smell.  They cannot even tell that you touched the nestling when returning it to the nest.  However, if you put a cold baby bird back in the nest and it is unable to beg for food when the parent arrives, it is in trouble.  It is always best to call Brukner Nature Center for help and advice.

Did you know that mother deer forage for food, leaving their camouflaged, spotted fawns alone for several hours at a time?  People who come across these vulnerable-looking fawns in the woods, their backyards and along roadways always assume they need help.  Unless the fawn is obviously injured—broken leg, open wound, flies buzzing around it—it is most likely perfectly fine.  Its mom intends to come back soon and expects to find the youngster right where she left it after the last feeding.

“It is illegal, as well as unwise, to keep wildlife as pets or even to try to raise orphans unless you are trained and have the proper permits from state and federal wildlife agencies,” said Crow.  Licensed wildlife rehabilitators have the knowledge and experience to care for wild orphans that need help.  They know how to raise orphans to be healthy and wild.  When you find a wild animal you think needs help, it is best to call for advice so both you and the wild animal remain safe.

In this area, you can call Brukner Nature Center at 937-698-6493.  Please make certain the wild animal in question needs to be rescued.  Even with the best efforts of Brukner Nature Center, there is no substitute for Mother Nature.

Brukner Nature Center is a non-profit, privately-funded organization promoting the appreciation and understanding of wildlife conservation through preservation, education, and rehabilitation.  Hours of operation are: Monday through Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm and Sundays, 12:30-5:00pm.  Admission is $2.50 per person or $10 for a family of 4 or more (cash or check).  No admission charge on Sundays!  For more information, call 937-698-6493, email info@bruknernaturecenter.com, or visit www.bruknernaturecenter.com.

Community – Not For Us Alone

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens opens its season with the theme of Community – Not For Us Alone. In the spring, the Manor House unveils a new permanent exhibit, The Seiberling Legacy, as well as a revamped behind-the-scenes “Nooks & Crannies” tour. The new Pollinator Garden opens near the Corbin Conservatory.

Featured prominently above the front door of the Manor House is the phrase “Non Nobis Solum,” which is Latin for “Not For Us Alone.” this expression is emblematic of how the Seiberlings lived, inspired to make their community a better place for all. F.A. and Gertrude Seiberling helped to shape the fabric of Akron as gracious hosts, patrons of the arts, philanthopists and entrepreneurs.

“We invite guests to visit and take a tour to learn more about the many ways the Seiberlings’ legacy still influences our community today,” notes Linda Conrad, President & Executive Director at Stan Hywet.

Opening in mid-April on the lower level of the Manor House is The Seiberling Legacy, a new permanent exhibit that presents a complete picture of the Seiberlings’ civic generosity. A visual story told in eight “chapters,” the display presents the many ways the family used its fortune and influence for the betterment of others. Each chapter — Community Spirit, Business & Innovation, Transportation, Health & Wellness, the Environment, Culture, Military Service and Housing – addresses another aspect of this family’s altruism.

“Nooks & Crannies,” the behind-the-scenes Manor House specialty tour, has been retooled with a new tour route and augmented with more details incorporated from additional research on the domestic staff who lived and worked on the estate. New exhibit panels and Walk the Hall guides are part of the refreshed tour.

The lifecycle and impact of bees and other pollinator insects are part of the new Pollinator Garden. Designed to educated guests about the need for pollination plants and the challenges facing these essential insects, it is located between the Butterfly Habitat and the Corbin Conservatory.

This garden features host plants (where insects lay eggs and larvae) and pollinator plants, the food source (nectar) in the flowers. Plants such as milkweed, Joe-pye weed and blueberries in the garden will attract bees, moths, and butterflies – insects that use flowers as a nectar source. An educational replica beehive will be on display in the Pollinator Garden to explain how a beehive and its hierarchy works.

Special events – guest favorites – are back. Founders’ Day Weekend, June 9-11, commemorates the 82nd anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous at the Gate Lodge. The 60th annual Father’s Day Car Show on June 18 features cars from 1957 (the same year that Stan Hywet opened as a historic house museum). The annual GALA – Starry, Starry, Starry Night – is June 23. Ohio Mart, the popular annual artisan craft festival is October 5-8. Deck The Hall in November and December features “Postcards from the Past” in the Manor House, Rudolf in his corral, two animated shop windows, more than 900,000 lights illuminating the Estate, including Dazzle and Gingerbread Land.

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is open April 1 through the end of November from Tuesday through Sunday from 10am-6pm; the last admission is at 4:30pm. Daytime hours change for the month of December. The Estate is also open on Memorial Day and Labor Day with regular operating hours.

More information is available at www.stanhywet.org or by calling 330-836-5533. Stan Hywet is located at 714 North Portage Path in Akron, Ohio.

Carmen

 

An all-female creative team bring to life a Civil War-era take on the exploits of the fierce and fiery gypsy girl, Carmen. 

This reimagined and reduced new production of Bizet’s most famous opera features the spoken dialogue of the original score, but is set during an early 20th century era of civil war and unsettling social atmosphere. An all-female creative team breathes new life into the powerfully beguiling gypsy Carmen who has no rules when it comes to seducing the soldier José, but his growing desire to keep her triggers a web of jealousy and murderous rage. As part of Opera Columbus’ artistic collaboration with The Juilliard School’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and its Artist Diploma in Opera Studies (ADOS) program, mezzo-soprano and ADOS artist Avery Amereau will perform the role of Carmen.

Opera Columbus presents Carmen at the Southern Theatre (21 E. Main St.). There will be a preview performance on Wednesday, May 3, at 1 pm with additional performances on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, May 7, at 2 pm. It is performed in French with English surtitles with the Columbus Symphony and BalletMet 2.

Tickets are $25-$88 (preview tickets are $10-30) at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase by phone, call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Young people aged 13-25 may purchase $5 All Access tickets while available. For more information, visit www.GoFor5.com.

In 2015, Opera Columbus’ entered into an artistic collaboration with The Juilliard School’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and its Artist Diploma in Opera Studies (ADOS) program. The ADOS program is an intensive, two-year curriculum of advanced opera studies for highly gifted and experienced singers at the post-master’s level, selected through a comprehensive audition process. As part of the new collaboration, Opera Columbus Artistic Director Peggy Kriha Dye, herself a graduate of Juilliard, observes the artists’ development as they work through the ADOS program. Dye and Juilliard’s Director of Opera Studies Stephen Wadsworth collaborate to determine what roles best suit each artist and what operas best suit upcoming Opera Columbus seasons. Selected ADOS artists are then contracted by Opera Columbus to perform in an upcoming, main stage production beginning with the 2016-17 season.

Mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau has garnered much attention for the unique quality of her voice and sensitivity to interpretation. She has been praised by The New York Times as “sensual and achingly perfect” as well as “particularly excellent,” and by Opera Today as possessing “an effortlessly rich mezzo-soprano voice worthy of any professional stage in the industry with charisma to match.” A native of Jupiter, Florida, Amereau received her Bachelor of Music degree at Mannes College, and her Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School studying under Edith Wiens. During the summers of 2011-14, she studied at the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie under the tutelage of Malcolm Martineau, Ann Murray, and John Fisher, among others. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies at Juilliard, where she is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.

For more information, visit www.OperaColumbus.org.

Pyramid Hill 20th Anniversary

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum in Hamilton, Ohio is celebrating its 20th Anniversary throughout 2017. This unique blend of art and nature has been a destination for folks for years as it continues to grow.

Three special events are planned from July through Fall spotlighting the park, the art, and the pyramid house. The park event will present a concert in partnership with the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera. The concert will include a new original composition by John Paul Stanbery, The Music Director and CEO of the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra and Chorale. The art event will bring an outdoor installation by Australian artist Amanda Parer titled Intrude and will remain on display for two weeks with a variety of themed programs. The home event will celebrate the opening of the Harry T. Wilks home, Pyramid House, which is currently under renovations. Harry T. Wilks opened the park as a public not for profit organization in 1997 as Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Arboretum.

“The logo was a perfect depiction of the land, stream, hills and trees. In the progression of the park and the name, we wanted to find a visual representation of an Art Park. The sculpture at the entrance is now very identifiable with the park,” said Director of Park Operations, Shaun Higgins. “So with the blessing of artist John Henry, a depiction of Passage is now part of the visual representation of Pyramid Hill. Easily identifiable and unique.”

The roots of Pyramid Hill date back to 1987 when Harry T. Wilks (1925-2014) purchased 40 acres of land just outside of Hamilton, Ohio. He desired to build his home there and before it was finished in 1992, he added several adjoining parcels of land. He would clear the land as he acquired it and build roads, create lakes and clear hiking trails. After the home was completed he invited friends to Pyramid Hill, and in 1995 he received nine offers to purchase home sites. However, by that time, Harry began to appreciate the beauty of the land and nature and wanted to preserve it for future generations.

Harry combined his love of art and had the idea to create a public sculpture park and formed a non-profit foundation to which he donated the land so it could be free from private development. He began visiting sculptors and purchased several pieces to place in the newly formed park. The park opened as a public not for profit in 1997. The park has been buzzing with school tours and visitors ever since with the park gradually acquiring national and international attention and appearing in articles in newspapers and magazines all over the country. World-renowned artists such as Perlman, Meadmore, Liberman, Isherwood, Rosenthal and Barrett, wanted to show their sculpture at Pyramid Hill.

Youth and adult programs as well as a vibrant event schedule were actively engaging the community within the year. In 1999 Holiday Lights On The Hill began to light up the Christmas season and continues as an annual tradition for many families in the greater Hamilton area. In 2003 the first annual Art Fair became a reality with artists from all over the country displaying their work. Each year, the roads are lined with wonderfully talented artists, live music, family art activities and unique food vendors. The Ancient Sculpture Museum inside of the park opened in 2007. The annual Zombie Ball was added in 2015 and the Museum Gallery Series began featuring local and regional artists in the Ancient Sculpture Museum in 2016. It features an indoor display of ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan and Egyptian sculpture. Pyramid Hill’s programs and artistic offerings continue to build and improve, attracting visitors from around the world.

Pyramid Hill continues to bring people to art in nature by featuring over 60 pieces of outdoor sculpture in a natural setting of hills, meadows and forests. Admission is $8 for adults $3 for children. Visit www.pyramidhill.org for more information to plan your visit.

Dennison Depot is a Standout!

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum is a standout in tourism and in history. This is one heck of a whistle stop! The depot is incredible. It’s like buying a ticket to a bygone era. And then you wander through the museum which is housed in one train car after another stretching down the track in what has to be one of the longest museums around. But that’s not all, this depot is special. The G.I. generation saw 1.3 million servicemen stop at the track side canteen in Dennison, Ohio. This town earned its friendly service offering a free cup of coffee and a sandwich to all the servicemen. At the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, you can find a great mix of WWII Canteen stories and tales of the railroad in an area where the trains made the town! 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/.

 

Secret & Lost Amusement Parks

The Secret and Lost Amusement Parks of Ohio

What can be better than going to an amusement park to ride roller-coasters? How about going to a park with coasters but its rarely open to the public. Ah, anyone getting an image of golden tickets to enter the Willie Wonka Chocolate Factory?

Well, it’s kind of like that.

Stricker’s Grove in Hamilton, Ohio is open to the public only four times a year: Fourth of July; Family Day, which is always the second Sunday in August; Labor Day; and Customer Appreciation Day, which is in October.

Ralph Stricker is the only person in the United States to build his own coaster. Construction was started in November, 1990 and completed in June, 1993. The Tornado is a wooden roller coaster. The second roller coaster at this little-known amusement park is the Teddy Bear. The original Teddy Bear was located in kiddie land at Coney Island in Cincinnati. Ralph Stricker obtained the blueprints and rebuilt the Teddy Bear at Stricker’s Grove.

The park also has a train, Ferris wheel, Merry Go Round, Scrambler, Tilt A Whirl, pirate ship, flying scooters and other rides, including kiddie cars, boats and rockets.  In addition to the rides, Stricker’s Grove also has an 18 hole miniature golf course, arcade with video games and skeeball, shooting gallery, horseshoes and more.

Stricker’s Grove is a family-owned and operated private amusement park available to rent to groups, organizations, and churches for family picnics, wedding receptions, meetings, etc. for groups of 500 or more from mid-May to early October. Unlike most other parks, Stricker’s Grove only rents to one group most of the time, therefore, guaranteeing complete privacy without the hassle of sharing the park and picnic facilities.  For more park information, click here.

Stricker’s Grove may be Ohio’s best kept secret as far as amusement parks go but some parks of its nature are forever lost to time.

Chippewa Lake Amusement Park was located at Chippewa Lake south of Cleveland. It operated for 100 years, finally closing in 1978 due to the lack of attendance. After the park died, it birthed renewed interest but for all the wrong reasons. Although it closed for good, its rides remained largely intact but neglected for the next 30 years. It became a stunning site as nature grew around the fun park’s once colorful rides. Perhaps the most picturesque scene today is the Ferris wheel that still stands but with an enormous tree that grew up from the ground, dead center, and now shoots through the top, towering over the rusted metal frame. Much of the decay began to pose such safety issues for trespassers that over recent years, rides such as the old wooden roller-coaster were turned to rubble. Here is a video of what was still left behind as recently as just a few years ago. Click here to play the video.

LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park was located in Middletown, Ohio where signs of its past are still there. The park dates back to 1922 when it was a family retreat for picnicking, mostly. It added rides in the 1940s and became a regional amusement park that served up summer memories for generations. In the 1970s it changed its name to Americana Amusement Park. But in 1990 a freak electrical fire did millions of dollars worth of damage. It struggled afterward. Nearby Kings Island contributed to that. Finally, it closed its turnstiles in 1999. It came up for one last gasp of air in 2002, reclaiming its original name but this rebirth was short-lived. Since then, its rides were demolished and sold off.

A more recent casualty of the amusement park world is Geauga Lake in Aurora, Ohio. It was one of the big-3 amusement parks in the state and was also one of the oldest. It had major roller-coasters that competed with Cedar Point. But with Cedar Point’s world acclaim, perhaps the northern part of Ohio just wasn’t big enough to support the two major parks. However, it wasn’t the first major park to shutter its doors at Geauga Lake. There was a time in the 1970s when one side of the lake hosted the amusement park and the other was home to Sea World. Sea World Ohio lasted from 1970 to 2000. The site later became a water park. As for Geauga Lake Park (which was renamed Six Flags Worlds of Adventure for a time), its rides were auctioned off and the park stripped down to its skeleton leaving modern day ruins still awaiting new development.

One survivor of the small and regional amusement park mass extinction that has occurred over the past several decades is Memphis Kiddie Park.

Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio is an amusement park for toddlers and preschoolers. Here, you hope that you’re shorter than the height stick! There are about a dozen rides, including North America’s oldest steel kiddie roller-coaster. Other nostalgic favorites include the train ride, airplane ride, boat ride, a little Ferris wheel, Merry-Go-Round and more. It’s a survivor of a bygone era when kiddie parks thrived. This one remains family-operated. Located in an old Cleveland neighborhood, it is a delight for generations of tiny thrill-seekers and parents alike. But this decades old secret is getting out and folks from afar are making the trek to this little amusement wonder for their toddlers to enjoy. For park information, click here.

And then there are the two modern day mega amusement parks thriving to this day in Ohio – Kings Island in Mason, Ohio and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.  Cedar Point Amusement Park is the reigning “Roller Coaster Capital of the World!”

There’s no secret about that.

Click here for over a dozen more thrilling attractions in Ohio.

By Rocco Satullo, your Tour Guide To Fun and author of Here I Thought I Was Normal and Earth Things.

Yep, There’s A Museum for That!

What do trolls, cardboard boats and pencil sharpeners have in common? They each have their own museum in Ohio.

Let’s jump down this rabbit hole to discover another world within our own.

Or maybe a troll hole?

The Troll Hole Museum in Alliance, Ohio displays the world’s largest collection of troll dolls. Explorers of this one-of-a-kind museum will discover the history and creation of troll dolls. And with that, the myth, magic and folklore of the ancient trolls themselves! The museum features rooms containing floor to ceiling trolls. In addition, there’s a troll hunters’ cabin, a walk-through troll cave, treasure room, and even an indoor waterfall. For visitor details, click here  .

Diving further down the rabbit hole, maybe your new troll would like a cardboard boat.

The Cardboard Boat Museum in New Richmond, Ohio claims to be the world’s only cardboard boat racing museum and America’s cardboard boat racing capital. The museum is owned and run by some of the best cardboard boat engineers and builders in the country. They are serious about their craft and have built many a winning vessel that’s sailed in cardboard boat regattas all over. These architects will provide tours as well as building tips to give your sea-worthy cardboard an advantage in your next race. The exotic and unusual boats are constructed with only cardboard, duct tape and paint. The displays are ever rotating so visitors keep coming back to see what’s new. Click here for visitor information.

And if you’re not far enough down the rabbit hole, let’s make one last stop at a tiny place with a huge collection.

You’ll discover more than 3,000 pencil sharpeners at Paul’s Pencil Sharpener Museum in Logan, Ohio. Paul Johnson started collecting pencil sharpeners, of all things, in 1989. It is then that his wife, Charlotte, bought him two little metal car pencil sharpeners. This fueled an idea and drove Paul to collect a large number and wide variety of pencil sharpeners. When you take a close look at these miniature art forms, you can appreciate the imagination behind the eclectic collection. It is interesting to hear the excitement of people of every age examining the pieces declaring, “Look at this one” or “Found my favorite.” Heck, there’s even a monster sharpener that belches after devouring pencil shavings. Sharpeners take the form of globes, skateboards, people, animals, you-name-it. For more information on this tiny pleasure, click here.

These three little gems of museums aren’t the only places housing unique displays in Ohio. For more, click here.

By Rocco Satullo, author of Here I Thought I Was Normal and Earth Things.

America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road

 

Re-Discovering America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road

What could be more fun than learning about an amazing national attraction for the first time? If you already knew about it, there may be more to the story that you didn’t know.

The Lincoln Highway was the first coast-to-coast road in America. It predates Route 66 by about twelve years. And while the “Mother Road” ran from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1926, the Lincoln Highway, then known as the “Father Road” or “Main Street Across America”, crossed the entire country in 1913.

At the turn of the 20th century, there were virtually no paved roads outside city limits, and by 1910 automobiles were good only for a short drive as long as you didn’t stray too far. Autos were simply a toy for the upper class. There were no gas stations or repair shops. Because there was no commercial manufacturing yet, gasoline was sold at the back of drugstores and farmers feed stores.

Auto manufacturers and tycoons soon recognized that America needed a network of good roads if they were to sell more automobiles. They reasoned that if a single, paved road were to connect the Atlantic to the Pacific, communities close by would build connecting roads. Eventually more distant communities would add roads, and soon a national network would be built, making the automobile a practical form of transportation for everybody.

The Lincoln Highway officially began September 14, 1913, with an announcement of the proposed route by founders and industry leaders Henry B. Joy of Packard Motor Company, Frank A. Seiberling of Goodyear Rubber, and Carl Fisher, founder of Prest-O-Lite Company; maker of carbide car headlamps. Their intention was to boost auto travel as a way of life, and also to commemorate President Lincoln, to whom no national monument had yet been established.

This first coast-to-coast route began at Times Square in New York City, and ended 3,389 miles westward in Lincoln Park, San Francisco, passing through a corridor of the United States somewhat similar to the route of today’s Interstate Route 80. Originally this path was typically marked with a large “L” and red and blue colored stripes – sometimes painted on utility poles. Named roads proliferated soon after the naming of the Lincoln Highway, but by the 1920s the state and federal governments began road building, and symbols and stripes of all the named roads started coming down. A new system was established for marking routes, and much of the Lincoln Highway was designated U.S. Route 30.

Founders of the road, the Lincoln Highway Association with its prestigious offices in Detroit, ceased its operations in 1928 with a final tribute to Abraham Lincoln. Nearly 2,500 concrete directional posts were set by the Boy Scouts of America in cities and towns along the highway, with 200 set in Ohio, some of which can be found yet today. This era of history changed America significantly. It helped give rise to the American vacation, and changed how and where we live today.

The Lincoln Highway route passed through the north-central part of Ohio by connecting the best available roads at that time. Driving the original Lincoln through Ohio from east to west will take you through East Liverpool, Lisbon, Canton, Massillon, Dalton, Wooster, Ashland, Mansfield, Bucyrus, Upper Sandusky, Ada, Beaverdam, Lima, Delphos and Van Wert. But the smaller communities that complete the thirty-nine Lincoln Highway communities in our state are the best gems to re-discover the fading remnants of the early auto era.

Because small communities avoided real estate redevelopment boom times, original buildings and streets remained the same or were minimally re-purposed, allowing the faded “ghost” signs on buildings to remain. In these small burgs you can still spot the old gas station, the Boy Scout post with the Lincoln medallion and a directional arrow showing the path of the original road, and if you are lucky and insightful, you will discern a new business in an old building intended for early tourists. If traveling with kids, get a game going to spot “Lincoln” in many business names and places.

And then, there is “pie.” That is to say, look for mom n’ pop restaurants and retails along the way that will welcome you with a smile. Remember that piece of pie you haven’t had since Grandma used to bake! Think antiques, old time hardware stores, five and dimes, community general stores and lots more to discover along the way.

Half the fun is re-discovering the history of this road. Watch for the half-hidden history along the way. Then, imagine traveling this road at a blazing speed of twenty miles per hour, when “paved road” meant a dusty, gravely, hot and pot-holed experience in a bumpy car with open sides and no air conditioning!

Take time to experience this important part of America’s past!

Learn more about Ohio jaunt along the nation’s first coast-to-coast road at www.historicbyway.com/. Information about the rest of the trek is at https://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/.