Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for December, 2014

My Gypsy Christmas Tree

Gypsy Christmas Tree

My Gypsy Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Thy leaves are so unchanging.

Alien from Roswell, NM helps bear trim the tree.

Alien from Roswell helps bear trim the tree.

My favorite Christmas decoration is the Christmas Tree. Each ornament brings back special memories made over the years.

As a child, my memories of Christmas always centered around a pine tree. Under the tree, wrapped packages magically appeared each Christmas morning. One of the first presents I remember was a chalkboard with the alphabet written around the edge – just in time for first grade. My parents obviously encouraged my writing at a very early age.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ride the ski lift at Aspen, CO.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ride the ski lift at Aspen, CO.

Those were the days when dad would take me in his pick-up truck down Hopewell Hill to a hillside of trees where we would pick out the very best one. Dad would saw it down, carry it down the hill, and place it in the back of the pick-up.  All the way home my eyes would be out the back window, making certain that tree remained on board.

Although mom wasn’t a big fan of decorating, she would put on the lights, then let me decorate the part of the tree that I could reach. Perhaps you can see why the Christmas tree became an important, fun part of the holiday.

A bear from Canaan Valley is my newest ornament.

A bear from Canaan Valley is my newest ornament.

Over the years, ornaments have been accumulated from various places. Once I began my Gypsy Road Trips, when I came upon a spot I truly enjoyed, my search for an ornament began.

Now my Christmas tree looks like a Gypsy Tree with ornaments from all over the United States. No pattern or special design adorns this tree, just pleasant memories. Sometimes it takes a week to decorate as each ornament brings back happy times spent on the road. Oh, there are still a few from long ago and even some received from students in my classes, but most of them are travel treasures.

Bear ice skates on Prince Edward Island.

Bear ice skates on Prince Edward Island.

As you can probably tell, bears have a special place in my heart and they are seen in many of the ornaments hanging on my tree. There are definitely too many to share at one time, so perhaps next year you will be treated to more of the special memories hanging on my Gypsy Christmas Tree.

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. May you find peace and happiness under your Christmas tree.

As Santa would say as he drove out of sight,  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

My Gypsy Tree lights up the evening.

My Gypsy Christmas Tree lights up the evening.

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Toys and Trains for All Generations

Kruger Street Museum

Kruger Street Museum in Wheeling, WV

All of us are children at heart. Find the child within you by visiting the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, a hidden gem in Wheeling, WV. Discover toys from your childhood as well as multitudes of model trains.

A one hundred-year-old Victorian schoolhouse, Kruger Street School on the edge of Wheeling, WV, has been converted into a haven of toys from years gone by. With two floors containing ten rooms of toys, the child in you will want to explore for hours.

This lifetime dream of a toy museum for father and son, Allan Robert and Allan Raymond Miller, came true back in 1998. The vision began with a collection of Lionel trains, and the Millers’ thoughts and plans expanded to the present day museum.

Can you find the dinosaur hidden in the HO-Gauge Train Display?

Can you find the dinosaur hidden in the HO-Gauge Train Display?

Upstairs, trains fill several rooms and all offer interactive buttons so you can be a railroad engineer for a short time. While the HO-Gauge Train set, with dinosaurs hidden within, is a major attraction, there are several layouts on display. One attractive display uses local business names on stores and train cars. Names like Riesbeck’s, Coleman’s, Bleifus Tires, and Wes Banco draw viewers’ attention.

 

Interactive Slow Car Race Tracks

Interactive Slot Car Race Tracks

A slot car room gives opportunity to participate in driving the track, and is a favorite of many youngsters. Even this gypsy had to give it a try. Every room contains something children can play, as well as chairs for parents to sit and watch. Perhaps you will even meet Loo, the cat, who wanders freely while enjoying encounters with visitors.

K-Land Amusement Park

K-Land Amusement Park

The present curator, James Schulte, enjoys seeing entire families bond wth new memories as they discuss their favorite toys. Schulte also constructed the rides in a room called K-Land Amusement Park, from his own creative designs using the K’NEX building system. There you will find a ferris wheel, old-fashioned swings, and roller coaster that work at the push of a button.

Popular Pinball Machine

Popular Pinball Machine

Downstairs an old-fashioned Nickelodeon plays tunes for a quarter, while at the other end of the lobby you can play a vintage pinball machine, the most popular game here. This gives children a chance to experience fun before video games. It is a favorite of all generations with a long line quite often waiting for a chance to play.

The Game Room contains a mixture of traditional games from the 1900s, such as Candy Land, Rubik’s Cube  and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, a long ago favorite. A large selection of games are available to actually play such as foozball, checkers, blocks, and dominos.

Dollhouses from floor to ceiling

Dollhouses from floor to ceiling

Dollhouses and many dolls, including Barbies, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and Dippity Flip Flop, entertain the young ladies. Packed from floor to ceiling, dollhouses of all eras, Barbie cars, and several doll collections are on display.

For the 17th year, the Marx Convention will be held mid-June at the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum. Over a hundred tables display Marx toys, but the biggest attraction is the group of former enthusiastic Marx employees, who have stories to tell regarding their part in the toy making.

1890's Tut Tut Car - oldest toy at the museum

1890’s Tut Tut Car – oldest toy at the museum

Stop by their Gift Shop, which has been described as one big toy box, to take home a lasting memory. A special section features glassware from Wilkerson’s Glass in Moundsville, WV. The museum is open every day from 9- 4 in June – December. During January – May, they’re only open on weekends, except for special arranged tours.

Relive your childhood memories at Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum sometime soon, when you can spend the day.  So many toys create a wonderland for the young at heart.

Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum can easily be reached just off I-70 in Wheeling, WV at Exit 4, Elm Grove. Take a right on Route 40, then go straight through the intersection to Kruger Street, with the museum on the right hand side. The sign is easily spotted.

The Smallest Church in 48 States Our Lady of the Pines

Listed as smallest church in 48 states, but that is debatable.

Listed as smallest church in 48 states, but that is debatable.

On the backroads of West Virginia, a sign points to Our Lady of the Pines. Established in 1968 near Thomas, WV, this church claims to be the smallest church in 48 states. Blessings from your visit will bring peace of mind as you travel on down the mountain highway.

Statue outside the church

Statue outside the church

The community received its name from Silver Lake, a small man-made lake built in 1928 at the headwaters of the Youghiogheny River. Previously this town was known as Breedlove, the southern terminal at that time of the Preston Railroad.

This tiny memorial Roman Catholic church was constructed in 1958 by Mr. and Mrs. P.L. Milkint in honor of their parents. This small piece of beauty was built completely out of love. The delightful stone church contains stained glass windows and an historic bell in the tower.

Topped by a cross on its steeple, a second cross appears in the cement work of the sidewalk just outside the front door. On their well kept lawn, beautiful flowers surround a memorial statue in front of the church.

The altar inside the smallest church

The altar inside the smallest church

Mission priests come from time to time and hold mass in this little gem in the mountains. Many young couples have been married here as well. Often on a Sunday five to six hundred visitors leave here with a peaceful feeling.

Inside six pews can seat 12 worshippers. Outside measurements are 24′ X 12′, while inside measurements are 16′ X 11′. Even though the church claims to be the smallest church in the states, there are many other smallest churches listed around the country. If you know of a smaller church, please let me know.

The beautiful altar area, cross above the altar, candleholders, and old rugged cross at the foot of the altar were all handmade with love. The infant of Prague with its red velvet garment was donated by a dear friend of the family. Their Lithuanian grandmother actually wove the altar cloth over ninety years ago in her home country.

Smallest mailing office with its own Zip Code

Smallest mailing office with its own Zip Code

Unusual postal hours on sign

Unusual postal hours on sign

The church’s next door neighbor is the smallest mailing office – a post office serving the small rural community of Silver Lake, West Virginia 26716. A sign inside tells that there is outgoing mail daily, but window service is only available on Friday 13th. Parcel post service is available on Feb 29th. It’s always a pleasure to see the Stars and Stripes flying, surrounded by more beautiful flowers. It seems they have planted flowers  that bloom from spring through fall.

Here in the pines, take time for reflection and relaxation as you visit the smallest church in the forty-eight states. The wind in the pines whispers blessings of peace and goodwill to those who stop by for a visit

This tiny church can be found just south of Deep Creek, MD along route 219 at Silver Lake, West Virginia on County Road 24/8. Enjoy the beautiful mountain roads along the way.

 

 

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