Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for November, 2013

The Little White Chapel on the Hill

Royer Chapel with Memorial Wall

Royer Chapel with Memorial Wall

Pleasant surprises often appear when least expected. Such was the case with little Royer Chapel, which sets back off winding Route 83 on Franklin Township Road 280, very near Wills Creek Dam in Coshocton County. Many claim that Royer Chapel is the smallest chapel in Ohio.

Originally built in 1897 through the efforts of Anne Royer, the chapel served as a memorial to her husband, Martin. Wood from an abandoned St. Nicholas Church and a stained glass window from old St. George Church were used in the construction.

Cross of Burned Timbers at the altar of Royer Chapel

Cross of Burnt Timbers above the altar of tiny Royer Chapel

When arriving at the chapel, a cross made of burnt wood stands out behind the Memorial Wall. Later information discloses that the original church was destroyed by arson on December 8, 2002 and rebuilt by men of the community a few years later. Two crosses were made from the burnt wood – one outside and another inside above the altar. Funds for constructing the new chapel were raised in part from memorial bricks engraved with the names of loved ones or contributors. The Memorial Wall standing out front was built with these same bricks.

Martin's marker and Clara's memorial, a likeness of her imported from France

Martin’s marker and Clara’s memorial, a likeness of her imported from France

Tiny Royer Family Chapel measures about ten feet wide by eighteen feet long, and is located near a cemetery where Martin and his daughter, Clara, were buried in 1888 and 1896 respectively. Clara’s monument, which was imported from France, displays a statue in her actual likeness. The chapel and cemetery were located across the road from the old family farm to accommodate Anne’s frequent visits.

Don and Esther Royer initiated the reconstruction process to keep alive family tradition started by Don’s great-great-aunt Anne. In ten days, four hundred friends and neighbors signed their petition for assistance, so they knew the community supported their plans to rebuild the chapel “just like it used to be”. Since Don and Esther’s wedding had taken place there years before, they had pictures showing exactly what it looked like inside. Those pictures made it easier for Don, in his own shop,  to build new pews and windows to closely match the originals.The reconstructed chapel was built on a new foundation but maintained its original size.

In a recent phone conversation, Anne recalled her wedding day. The seven pews of Royer Chapel were crowded with twenty-one family members. When they turned to walk down the aisle, through the door she could see the yard outside the building filled with her fellow workers from the Coshocton Tribune.

Prayer Box

Prayer Box

Inside, a peaceful chapel scene appears when you gently open the door, which is never locked. At the front of the chapel, a table contains a prayer box surrounded by a wreath of flowers. The inscription on the side of the box reads: Where dreams come true. Inside the box are numerous requests written on slips of paper available on the table.

Here’s a great place to sit down and enjoy the silence of peace while reflecting on life and its many twists and turns – rather like the road leading to the chapel.

Wills Creek Dam

Wills Creek Dam

While electricity, water, and heat do not exist at Royer Chapel, services were held every Sunday until recently when they were changed to approximately once a year. Maybe you will want to take a half hour leisurely drive northwest of Cambridge and explore a hidden treasure nearby. You might even want to take a short drive to Wills Creek Dam. Waters flow north on Wills Creek from its beginning near Pleasant City to where it flows into the Muskingum River near Coshocton.

This little chapel on the hill serves as a reminder to be thankful for the small things in life – a smile, a card or email, the joy of each new day.

Royer Chapel can be reached traveling State Route 83.  If traveling north from New Concord, Ohio you will pass through Bloomfield and head down the hill toward Wills Creek Dam. It is approximately 15 miles from New Concord to the dam. The church is difficult to spot unless you are watching. It sets on the east side of the road and can be clearly seen as soon as you turn onto Franklin Township Road 280, while Wills Creek Dam is on the west side about a mile down the road. Approaching from Coshocton on 83, directions are reversed.

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Excitement Reigned During Queen Victoria’s Recent Visit to Dickens Victorian Village

Queen Victoria visits Cambridge, Ohio.

Queen Victoria, portrayed by Anne Boyd, visits Cambridge, Ohio.

Imagine, if you will, stepping back to the time when Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain from 1837-1901. She had the longest reign of any British monarch in history – 64 years! During that time author, Charles Dickens, wrote his famous “A Christmas Carol”. Thus, Cambridge, Ohio, the home of Dickens Victorian Village, was the perfect place for their paths to cross again in modern times.

Queen Victoria, portrayed by Anne Boyd, visited Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge for a weekend of fun. Anne Boyd enjoys playing the role of Queen in various places – from Victoria, British Columbia to Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, Texas. Her visit in Cambridge began on Friday morning when the Queen, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, visited the local schools. Children gathered along the walks, bowing and curtsying to Her Majesty.

Queen presents students dressed as her five daughters.

At Central School, Queen Victoria presents students dressed as her five daughters.

Since the royal couple had nine children – five girls and four boys – five young ladies were chosen to portray her daughters. Each of the girls looked lovely in the cape and tiara she was given to wear. They all seemed quite pleased to be part of the festivities.

Queen Victoria told the students how she and her husband, Albert, started the Christmas tree tradition throughout Great Britain. The Queen’s Christmas tree in Windsor Palace was featured in The Illustrated London News in 1848. Candles lit the tree while a bucket of sand and another of water were always placed close by…just in case of fire. They hand-made all of the ornaments: cornucopias filled with candy or nuts, and beautiful glass balls studded with jewels.

A Bagpipe Band announces the Queen.

A Bagpipe Band announces the Queen.

Cambridge Social Dance Club

Cambridge Social Dance Club presented Victorian dances in beautiful Victorian dress.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Queen’s Parade. There were no motorized vehicles permitted so it was a quiet time, except for the wonderful bagpippers. Men on stilts and large wheeled bicycles added to the fun of the day. The Cambridge Social Dance Club performed traditional Victorian dances.

Knighting Ceremony

Knighting Ceremony with Katy Billings, lady-in-waiting; Eugene Kyle, town crier; Queen Victoria; and volunteer of the year, Lindy Thaxton, who was knighted.

A knighting ceremony by the Queen involved several local students as well as Lindy Thaxton, the Dickens volunteer-of-the-year. Eugene Kyle, dressed in the proper flowing robe of the town crier, read the proclamations with flourish. When the Queen was handed the sword for knighting, she also whispered some words of encouragement to the individual.

Her lady-in-waiting portrayed by Katy Billings was always at her side tending to her every wish. She helped the Queen by handing her capes, tiaras and swords, attended every event with the Queen, and learned patience while having lots of fun.

The Queen enjoyed the many activities of the weekend, which included: a High Tea with the Queen, GeoCaching with Dickens, Tavern Tasting, Mingle with the Monarch at the Cambridge Glass Museum, and a “Gone But Not Forgotten” Victorian Funeral Program.

Queen Victoria enjoyed the small town atmosphere and hopes to return another year. She was a very pleasant lady, who accepted every person as if they were an important part of her kingdom. When at home with her family, Anne has a reputation for making the world’s best chocolate chip cookies. Anyway you look at it, she was a very sweet lady.

The Queen’s Weekend was one of several special weekends at Dickens Victorian Village in 2013. The Village is open through out November and December in downtown Cambridge, Ohio with many activities for the entire family. Cambridge, Ohio is at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 so can easily be located.

The Awesome Japanese Garden at Dawes Arboretum

Dry Lake in Japanese Garden

Stone River in Japanese Garden at Dawes Arboretum

Peace! Sweet Peace! As soon as the climb to the Japanese Gardens at Dawes Arboretum began, a feeling a serenity surrounded. Back in 1963, Dr. Makoto Nakamura from the University of Kyoto, Japan designed this beautiful setting near Newark, Ohio.

Upon entering the gardens, you first approached a large area of white sand with boulders around its side. It appeared very similar to a sandtrap on a golf course.   Upon closer observation, it was a mixture of sand and small white stones, which filled the area. This is called a stone river, Karesansui, “dry landscape”, or more frequently known as a zen garden. White stone and sand in the zen garden represent water and purity.

Tranquil Lake

Tranquil Lake

A tranquil pond  was the centerpiece for this magnificent garden, which has many large rocks. Gumdrop and cherry trees added to the landscape. This peaceful path lead up the hill to a reflecting pool surrounded by plants from across the ocean. There truly is peace in beauty.

To step or not to step, that is the question.

To step or not to step, that is the question.

The bridge lead to a path of stepping stones crossing the remainder of the pond. Guests that day seemed to be testing the water just a bit before taking a frightening step for some. All around the stepping stones and under the bridge, bright colored koi put on a show for visitors.

Japanese Pagoda

Japanese Pagoda

Along the paved pathway, there were various statues and pieces of artwork. A small pagoda appeared at the edge of the woods – a place to stop and worship in the Buddhist tradition. This tall pagoda lantern added a touch of tranquility along the walk.

Tea house or meditation house

Tea house or meditation house

The meditation room made a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the silence, especially in the early morning or bundled up on a cold winter day. This rustic, roofed shelter protects from the elements and provides a place to sit and reflect.  This serene corner of the garden casts its spell as you drift off to dreams and peaceful thoughts.

Stops at this soothing and peaceful place are pleasant anytime of the year. The next time you pass the sign that says Dawes Arboretum, consider stopping by for a spell.

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road. Follow the signs inside to the Japanese Garden. It’s a relaxing experience.

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