Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for November, 2017

Tis the Season to Catch the Christmas Spirit

tis-outside

Entering  Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe, you see the real reason for the season displayed.

Decorating for Christmas helps lift the spirits of a world which is normally a bit on the gloomy side at this time of year. If you need any ideas, Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe near Berlin might be the perfect place to visit. With over 20,000 square feet to explore, you’ll feel like you’re in a Christmas Wonderland surrounded by the songs of the Christmas season all year long.

tis-jo-ann

Jo Ann is pleased with her new White on White Christmas display surrounded by angels.

The story of Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe and Jo Ann Schrock-Hershberger are inseparable. Over twenty years ago, Jo Ann was traveling and visited a Christmas store. She wondered if that idea would work back at her home near Berlin, Ohio.

Jo Ann’s grandfather served as an Amish bishop. Her father and mother broke away from the Amish tradition when Jo Ann was two years old. She wasn’t real sure if Christmas would be an attraction in Amish country. So she tried a small shop first. It worked!

tis-alleluia-chapel

A multitude of angels welcome  you in Alleluia Chapel filled with antique pews and stained glass windows.

Their unique round barn, once part of the Schrock farm, became the home for Tis the Season. When designing the layout of the entire shoppe herself, Jo Ann made sure “no matter where you are, you can see the reason for the season.” A large nativity scene sets high in the center, with the Alleluia Chapel on the main floor.

When you step through the front door, it’s like walking into Christmas. Greeted by the sounds of Christmas music, spectacular trees, beautiful collectibles, and innumerable ornaments, you are immediately filled with the holiday spirit.

tis-overview

This overview from the circular walkway on the second floor displays the spirit of Tis the Season.

Three levels provide room to explore. The main level has decorated trees of every style and color while the upper loft, with circular walkway, has rooms filled with specific decorations. One room overflows with snowmen, while another has various Santa ornaments. A room brimming with gingerbread decorations also holds various candy canes.

tis-cardinal-tree

Birds happen to be one of their most popular decorations for trees. This cardinal tree is perfect for Ohio.

The bottom floor contains examples of many trees, ranging from 2′ to 10′. Here you’ll find a great variety of trees: silver, twig, slim, prelit and more. There are over a hundred decorated trees throughout the building with varying themes from reindeer to angels. Each one is beautiful in its own way and gives you many ideas for decorating your own tree.

tis-snowmen

On the upper floor, snowmen dominate one of the rooms.

Their constantly expanding inventory now includes thousands of bulbs, tree toppers and garlands. Over a hundred different kinds of lights are available. It’s Ohio’s largest year round Christmas shop.

tis-collectibles

Collectibles like Snowbabies make delightful gifts. Various collectibles can be found throughout the shop.

Not only will you find everything you need to give your home a festive Christmas appearance, but they also have unique home decor and holiday gifts from dolls to gift baskets. Many collectibles are available here that can’t be easily found elsewhere.

tis-personalized

The most popular area personalizes from a large selection of ornaments.Selena and Logan find this a happy place to work.

Happy employees abound, but who wouldn’t be happy surrounded by Christmas. However, the main reason the employees enjoy working here is Jo Ann. She works side by side with them, roasting nuts or running the cash register. Everyone has a headset, which keeps them all in close contact.

tis-old-fashioned-tree

A nostalgic Christmas tree contains old-fashioned ornaments.

People come here from all over the world because they love Christmas and can find unique Christmas decorations. Men, women, and children enthusiastically explore all three floors. Once in a while a husband could be found patiently waiting on one of their many comfy sofas and chairs. Many come on family outings. Almost everyone leaves with a piece of Christmas.

When Jo Ann has time, she and her husband enjoy traveling and most likely visit Christmas shops along the way. While they have traveled extensively throughout the United States and taken many cruises, one place left on her bucket list is the homeland of her ancestors – Southern Germany and Austria. Everyone needs a change of pace now and then.

Plan an escape from daily routine and catch the spirit of the holidays at Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe. It’s the kind of place you return time and time again…I do.

christmas-santa-white

This old-fashioned Santa bell was my choice this year.

There’s only one problem. Which lovely Christmas decorations should you take home with you? Several of their ornaments hang on my tree every year, and an old-fashioned Santa was added on this road trip. Visit Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe where it’s nothing but Christmas all year long.

Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe can be found along State Route 39  near Millersburg, Ohio. It sets down off the road in a small valley as part of Schrock’s Amish Farm and Village.

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Castle Noel – A Family Christmas Experience

Castle Noel Buddy

Mark Klaus is ready to welcome you to Castle Noel and their newest movie set, “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas”, starring Buddy!

The most amazing thing you’ve ever seen

is Castle Noel in ’17.”

That’s how Mark and Dana Klaus feels about Castle Noel, which captures the spirit of a family Christmas in several ways. The heart and soul of Castle Noel in Medina is Mark Klaus – with a name like that and a full beard, Christmas seemed a natural passion.

Sweet Shoppe Window

This Sweet Shoppe window display from Saks 5th Avenue is a favorite of visitors.

Growing up, Mark’s dad loved decorating for Christmas. Neighbors came from miles around to see his 16′ Christmas tree, as well as the reindeer and sleigh hanging from their ceiling. The Klaus house looked like a Christmas Wonderland.

Castle Noel Ornament

Mark’s sculpting skills create beautiful ornaments.

Mark, a world renowned master sculptor, displays many of his sculpted ornaments and angels in their gift shop. His miniature detail is accomplished through using dental tools and magnifying glasses. Angels are one of his favorite sculptures. Why?

Mark’s mother was killed in an automobile accident when he was sixteen. It happened on Christmas Eve. Mark said, “This all is a tribute to my mom.”

Castle Noel Church

This former Methodist church in Medina is now home to Castle Noel.

When Mark was searching for the perfect place to locate his enormous Christmas collection, he looked all over the United States but decided to come back to his home area. He found an abandoned Methodist Church built in 1891 in Medina that reminded him of a castle, thus the name, Castle Noel, which opened in 2013.

Castle Noel Lampoon Vacation

Mark drove the camper from Lampoon Vacation all the way from California to Ohio.

Usually Mark and his wife, Dana, work seven days a week and think about Castle Noel twenty four hours a day. Once in a while, they go on vacation. Walt Disney’s parks top the list as Mark’s favorite spots. But he doesn’t go there for the reasons most attend…Mark goes for inspiration for another idea to make Castle Noel even better.

Castle Noel Vortex

Walking through the Blizzard Vortex had everyone hanging onto the handrails.

Every year there’s something new to see at Castle Noel as Mark constantly makes improvements so it can continue to be “America’s Largest Indoor Year Round Christmas Entertainment Attraction”.

Castle Noel Santa Squeeze

Get the feeling of Santa going down the chimney in Santa Squeeze with 100,000 glass bulbs overhead for some extra Christmas cheer.

There seems to be something exciting around each corner, so only a few of the highlights are mentioned here.

 

Castle Noel Grinch set

This is an actual movie set from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

His fantastic collection of Christmas movie sets, props and costumes that are worn in the Hollywood movies is mind boggling. He authenticates everything before displaying it in Castle Noel.

Castle Noel Gummy Bears

Mark was given three hours to remove this gummy bear display from Bloomingdale’s.

As you continue your journey you travel to New York City at Christmas time and stroll through the Platinum award winning animated window displays from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Windows from our own Higbee’s in the 60s, Bloomingdale’s, plus Macy’s of Pittsburgh, New York and Washington state create a magical journey for all ages.

Caslte Noel Slide

Go up the stairs through the Enchanted Mountain, see Santa, and ride the slide down…just like Ralphie.

Last stop is Enchanted Mountain filled with animated animals. But it’s the slide back down that everyone enjoys. Seated on a burlap mat, all ages enjoy the thrill of sliding down the giant red slide like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”. A great way to end the tour!

Castle Noel Alien Golf

Have some extra excitement at Alien Vacation Mini Golf.

But wait, there’s more! Outside you’ll find the entrance to Alien Vacation Mini Golf. You enter a 3D wonderland with miles of fiber optics. It now has 19 holes since the landing of the Alien Spaceship. You’ll enjoy this 3D spot whether you decide to play mini-golf or not.

Castle Noel Mark Klaus

A working Mark Klaus has fun with visitors after the tour.

Castle Noel is the perfect place for folks of every generation to make lasting Christmas memories. As Mark and Dana would tell you, “We like having fun around here.”

Castle Noel is located at 260 S Court Street, Medina, Ohio. From I-77 take exit 122B for US-224 W. Take exit 7 for OH-57 into the town of Medina. 

Cruisin’ Down the Muskingum River on a Sunny Afternoon

River boats

Camping, boating and fishing are popular along the beautiful Muskingum.

While the Muskingum River begins at Coshocton, between Zanesville and Marietta it holds many points of interest. This river is the only river navigable by larger boats within the state of Ohio. That’s all because of its system of eleven dams and locks, still in working order, that extends for 112 miles.

River Ferry 1900 001 (2)

The Coal Run Ferry delivered a load of railroad crossties on horse-drawn wagons across the Muskingum before bridges were built.

The river received its name from the Native Americans, who called it Moos-kin-gung – meaning “Elk Eye River”. That name happened due to the large herds of elk that once roamed this valley. In those early days, the cargo on the river consisted of essentials such as salt, flour, pork and apples. A round trip took three to five weeks to go from Zanesville to Pittsburgh and back via the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Steamer at Lock #3 001 (2)

The steamer approaches Lock #3 at Lowell in the early 1900s.

When steamboats became popular, navigation was rough on the rugged Muskingum River so they designed a system of dams and locks to lift the boats when the elevation changed abruptly. After a boat is secured within the lock, the lock tender closes the gate and opens the valves required to raise or lower the pool level. When the water in the lock chamber has reached the required level, the lock tender opens the through gate just like they did in 1841.

Steamer Marietta stuck on dam at Lock # 1 001 (2)

Steamer Marietta got stuck on the dam when not using the locks.

Sometimes the boats would attempt to go over those rugged spots without using the locks. Once in a while they succeeded, but often they ended up stuck in the river.

River Lorena

The Lorena takes passengers on a pleasure trip down the Muskingum River.

This trip began with a stop at the Lorena Sternwheeler at Zane’s Landing Park in the city of Zanesville. While the original Lorena visited Zanesville in the late 1800s, the present one arrived in 1976 for Zane’s Trace Commemoration. A ride on the sternwheeler gives you a chance to feel the river, as the paddles create a merry sound. Memories of the 1800s ride along with the Lorena.

River Lock 9

Lock #9 at Philo provides a great view of the dam and locks.

Soon Lock 9 at Philo appears with the original lock tender’s house.The falls at the lock sparkle in the sunshine as people stand in the shallow river to fish.

River Ohio Power Plant 1923 001 (2)

The Philo Ohio Power Plant was the first electric plant built along the Muskingum.

In 1923, Philo Ohio Power Company, one of the largest electric plants of that time, was located on an island in the river.

River Hand Powered Locks 001 (2)

The lock tender hand operates the lock at Rokeby Lock #8.

Lock 8, Rokeby Lock at Eagleport, is a special stop along this system of locks, the only hand operated locks still being used in the United States today. In fact, it is believed there is only one other system like this in the world, and that is in China. It was near this lock that General John Hunt Morgan and several hundred cavalry forded the Muskingum River on his raid across Ohio.

River Stockport Inn

Stockport Mill Inn would be a pleasant place to spend an evening.

Beside Lock 6 stands the beautiful Stockport Inn. Today’s Inn was built in 1906 by the Dover brothers; however, there were two mills previously at this site dating back to 1842. This mill was known for its refined flours: Gold Bond, Seal of Ohio, and Pride of the Valley. It’s a perfect place to spend a night as each room has a balcony that overlooks the river. On the weekends, enjoy a tasty meal at Restaurant on the Dam.

River Fishing

Fishermen wade into the river in hopes of a great catch.

During the drive down the river, it is lined with cabins and campers for those that enjoy being near the water. Most have boats at their docks and many slides end in the river. Frequently fishermen are either on the shore or wading nearby waiting for a nibble on their line, and perhaps fish to cook over a campfire in the evening

River Ohio

Imagine early travelers’ surprise upon seeing that the Muskingum River empties into the wide Ohio River at Marietta.

The trip ends at the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory – Marietta. Here the Muskingum River joins the Ohio River to flow eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.

River Lafayette

At the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers stands the Lafayette Hotel.

Some say this beautiful old Lafayette Hotel still holds spirits of many travelers from the past. One nighttime visitor is Mr. Hoag, former owner of the hotel, who appears in his brown derby hat. That’s something not seen by my eyes, but a story heard by my ears.

The locks are open weekends 9:30 – 6:00 from mid May until mid October. Please check their schedule and call ahead if you need to use the locks at another time so a lock tender can be available.

valley-gem-heads-out

While in Marietta, you might want to cruise on the Valley Gem.

Be sure to take time to sit along the Ohio River and enjoy reminiscing about those long ago riverboats that went from Pittsburgh to Zanesville along this route. They carried both passengers and freight. Barges still carry their loads of coal and steel up and down the river, and people enjoy taking a ride in their pleasure boats as well.

Some things have changed, but the Muskingum River has remained the same since the days of ancient visitors. Hope you can enjoy a trip down the Muskingum River sometime soon.

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