Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for September, 2019

Schumaker Farms Takes Pride in Their Heritage

Schumaker Produce Stand

Schumaker’s’ Produce Stand gets ready to open for another busy day.

Once a farmer, always a farmer

   Driving just outside of West Lafayette, a small produce stand catches your eye. At this time of year, pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks give you a feel of fall in the air. But there’s much more to the story of Schumaker Farms than just their produce stand. Let me tell you the rest of their story.

Schumaker Family

Today the farm is run by Chad, Leigha, Wendy, and Jim Schumaker.

   Way back in 1806, now we’re talking over 200 years ago, the family of Francis McGuire from Hampshire County, Virginia settled here on 1500 acres. Their daughter, Magdalena, married George Miller, and that family tradition has continued to operate this farm for seven generations.

Schumaker Signs of Fall

Signs of fall at the produce stand include pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks.

   Jim and Wendy Schumaker are the present family members working on this farm. Now their farm is much smaller as when it was passed down, the land was split between heirs. But pride in their heritage continues. Jim’s great-grandfather was the original owner. Several family members are buried high on a farm hill in Miller-McGuire Cemetery where their spirits keep watch over the farm.

Schumaker Old Barn

The date of 1887 can still be faintly seen on the slate roof of this original barn.

   The buildings on the farm date back to 1887 as you can easily see from the printing on the barn’s slate roof. Jim has strived over the years to improve the farm. ”I want to make it a showplace to share the farm with other people.” He’s always looking for new things to include to promote the farm in agritourism.

Schumaker Jim

Jim proudly displays the Bicentennial Farm Award for 200 years of family farming.

   They sell their produce in the summer months from a building constructed by Jim’s father, Robert, following his service in WWII. It was first used as a commercial garage, then later as an auto shop, Ferguson tractor dealership and boat dealership.

   Their most popular item at this produce stand is sweet corn. With eight acres of corn, they pick it fresh every morning. They have raised sweet corn for 58 years and sell about a hundred dozen ears a day all summer long.

Schumaker Donna Addy Cookie Maker

Donna Addy frequently bakes delicious cookies in the morning.

   Wendy keeps busy with her catering business as well since 1995. Perhaps she picked up her love of cooking from her grandmother, who was a great cook. But most of all, Wendy enjoys working with the various people she meets.

Schumaker Banquet Facility

Their banquet pavilion is a popular place for receptions and fundraisers.

   Their catering service can be “at our place or yours”. Their place is a large pavilion on the farm where people frequently have wedding receptions, family reunions, and other special events. Wendy caters all around the area and was recently honored to cater the luncheon for the dedication of the Woody Hayes bronze statue during the “Gateway to Fall” celebration in Newcomerstown.

Schumaker Wendy at truck

Wendy holds a jar of their famous BBQ sauce beside her catering truck.

   People enjoy favorites such as cheesy potatoes, pulled pork, and meatballs. Schumaker Farms Sweet BBQ Sauce became so popular, they now have it bottled so you can take home that great taste.

thumbnail_Schumaker Chad and Leigha with scarred pumpkin

Chad and Leigha hold a pumpkin she scarred when it was green.

   Today their son Chad and his wife Leigha have taken over many of the day-to-day operations and plan to keep the farm going. Leigha has a special flair for decorating while Chad has loved farming since his youth. They are in charge of the seven-acre pumpkin patch.

   Fall is Fun Time at Schumaker Farms. On weekends you can hop on a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where you can pick the pumpkin of your choice.

Schumaker Hay Ride

Many schools take field trips to the farm and include a hayride.

   Bring the youngsters along to play in the corn bin, slide down their huge slide, and visit the petting zoo. Enjoy the corn maze and a barn straw maze while picking up fresh produce or a delicious snack. Admission is $5 a car and includes all activities.

Schumaker Corn Bin

Children enjoy playing in the corn bin.

   Field trips for school groups create a great learning experience with a retired teacher explaining how a pumpkin becomes a pumpkin as well as other insights into farming. The Schumakers explain, “Those roly-poly orange spheres with built-in handles on top are naturals to wear grins or sneers and destined to bring grins to all your students’ faces.”

   When they eventually “slow down” and take a break, a cruise to a warm climate is their top choice. This chance only happens in January or February when they have enjoyed the Caribbean and Panama Canal in the last few years.

   Stop by Schumaker Farms for their Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience this fall. There are lots of things to see and do. These hard-working people enjoy their lives. For them, work is fun!

Schumaker Farms is located along OH-751 just west of West Lafayette. From US 36 take OH-751 south and watch for the farm produce stand on the left side of the road.

Twin City Opera House Alive with Music, Films, and Spirits

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio

Everything looks very similar in this historical picture – except the cars.

   Walking into Twin City Opera House is like walking back in history. On May 28, 1892, the formal opening was held for the performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado” by the Arion Opera Company. All 800 seats were sold!

   Railroad excursion trains brought people from neighboring towns. While many were not patrons of the opera, all were curious to see this newly proclaimed “light of the day” as it was one of the first buildings in the county to be lit by electric light. The opening was not as grand as expected due to failure at the local generating plant, which caused the theater to be plunged into darkness.

Opera House - entrance

The entranceway still has an owl above the doorway.

   Building the Town Hall and Opera House was a politically charged issue in McConnelsville at that time. Before the GOP adopted the elephant as its symbol in the twentieth century, the party had sometimes used the owl of its ancestral “Whig” party as its mascot. That owl still adorns the keystone in the archway over the Opera House entrance.

Opera House - Marvin and Deana

Marvin and Deana Clark currently manage Ohio Valley Opry.

   Today, The Ohio Valley Opry founded by Marvin and Deana Clark in 2000 provides monthly entertainment at the old Opera House. They toured the United States for nearly twenty years as the Marvin & Deana Clark Family then returned to the area where Marvin grew up in southeastern Ohio.

Opera House- Ohio Valley Opry clear

The Clark Family Band provides great variety in their performances.

During this time on the road, they played at churches, fairs, and festivals with their four daughters. Most of the time they have played Country, Country Gospel, and Bluegrass. Marvin actually writes most of the songs that the family sings. They provide music and laughter throughout their performances.

Opera House - packed

Ohio Valley Opry frequently fills the auditorium with fans.

Opera House Sign

The husband and wife team of Birch and Sperry entertained with magic and the xylophone in the 1940s. This poster hangs in the lobby.

   A large variety of performers and celebrities have appeared at the Opera House over the years. Evangelist Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, and Senator Albert Beveridge spoke there. The most spectacular of all were the traveling shows that would arrive by train and provide lavish productions. The tradition continues today with local, regional, and national artists now performing.

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio   Back in 1913, a system for showing silent films was installed. The best seats in the house were those in the “Parquet Circle,” which would be the front rows of the center section on the ground floor. Those premium seats could coast as much as twenty cents, while those in the “peanut gallery” were a nickel.

Opera House - stairs to balcony

Climb this beautiful stairway to the balcony.

   The first sound pictures using a “Vitaphone” system arrived at the Opera House in 1930. True “talkies” arrived in 1936. The theater still continues to screen recently released films, as it has done nearly every week since 1936. Price for viewing all films is a reasonable $4 per person.

Travel Channel Paranormal Show

The Travel Channel included them in their Paranormal show.

   No building this old would be without some resident spirits. Ghost stories have been around at the Opera House for over forty years with paranormal investigators spending many nights there with their special equipment. Often it is listed as one of the most haunted buildings in Ohio.

Haunted Twin City Opera House - Haunted Places in Ohio

United Paranormal is one of many groups that explore the resident spirits in the underground tunnels.

   Some say that Everett Miller, an usher there for thirty years, watches over the Opera House and has been contacted by the investigators. Or you might see ten-year-old Elizabeth peeking from the catwalk. Deep in the basement, Dark Shadow Masses have been observed by many. Spirits seem to thrive here. Come for a ghost hunt to find out more.

   It’s a beautiful drive down the Muskingum River to McConnelsville any season of the year. Check out their schedule at www.operahouseinc.com for dates and times of musical performances, film screenings, and ghost tours.

Opera House - Time capsule

Josie points to a time capsule that her dad helped develop to be opened in 2090.

   On September 21st, there will be two shows featuring country music legend, Doug Stone. Movies change each week so check out the schedule before heading to McConnelsville. The next scheduled public Ghost Hunt is December 7 and pre-registration is required.

Opera House - with statue

The Twin City Opera House can be found in the center of town near the Civil War monument.

   As you can see, the Twin City Opera House adds excitement to the McConnelsville area in many different ways. Make your choice – music, films or ghosts – and join in the fun.

Twin City Opera House is located in downtown McConnelsville along the scenic Muskingum River on Ohio Route 60-S.

Doug Waller Collects Stories of Bigfoot Experiences

Author of Four Bigfoot Books

Doug at Library

Doug Waller greets those attending a lecture at the library.

If you have an encounter with a large, hairy, ape-like creature, Doug Waller is the man to call. He’s writing books about the experiences people have had with what they call Bigfoot or Sasquatch. His stories come from sightings all over the world.

bigfoot-newcomerstown

This Bigfoot statue, a favorite of mine, can be found in Newcomerstown at The Feed Barn.

   People have been intrigued by the Legend of Bigfoot for hundreds of years. This large hairy creature is known as Bigfoot in the United States, Sasquatch in Canada, and Yeti in the Himalayans. It’s no surprise that the creature received his name after footprints were discovered that were very large – up to 24 inches long.

Bigfoot sightings US and Canada

This map shows Bigfoot sightings in the United States and Canada.

   Bigfoot has been written about for years. In 1925, Zane Grey wrote an article in Oregon Trail Magazine describing the encounter some miners had with what they described as two giant forest monsters, who looked like ape-men. Native Americans saw Bigfoot as a spiritual being and included it in their totem poles.

   Doug’s interest in the legend of Bigfoot has been strong for over thirty years. His first recollection was in the 1970s when he read about the hairy ape-man in Missouri called Mo Mo – Missouri Monster. When he was just out of high school, he read in the newspaper about a meeting that Don Keating was having about Bigfoot so he attended.

Doug FOotprint Casts

Casts of footprints were on display from Ohio and California.

   Things got serious when he joined the staff of the Guernsey County Public Library. During his 23 years working there, he would read two or three books about Bigfoot at a time. Once he read all the local ones, he began ordering them in from other libraries. Another staff member, Shawna Parks, also found the subject interesting and investigated stories with Doug.

   Then a popular local couple had an experience at Salt Fork State Park in August of 2004 that really spurred his interest. They had seen a large creature near the grounds where they were camping. It had many of the characteristics of Bigfoot including that distinct odor that resembles rotten eggs. It was the first local spotting that could be investigated. This area is now known as Bigfoot Ridge and is a primitive campground and picnic area.

Bigfoot sign

This sign displays its name and symbol at many events.

   In 2008, Doug formed a group called Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation. The main focus of the group is to give a safe venue for Bigfoot eyewitnesses to come together to share their encounters and experiences. Many witnesses are reluctant to tell of their experience due to ridicule. Most say it has changed their life. Some never hunted again or even went into the woods. Others moved from the country where they had always lived to ensure safety.

Doug Speaking about Bigfoot

Doug uses a slideshow to share stories of Bigfoot.

   Now Doug frequently gives lectures in six or seven different states about these experiences and holds campouts at spots where the mysterious Bigfoot happens to frequent. Investigators meet there around a campfire and many stay for the weekend looking for evidence of footprints, hair, and rough structures.

Bigfoot Campout Salt Fork

Campouts are held during the summer months at Salt Fork State Park.

   Often during the evening, they hear screams, wood knocks, rocks are thrown, and trees twisted. Branches are frequently found arranged into a simple structure. When tracks are found, they make a case of them for future reference. Some of Bigfoot’s favorite paths include railroad tracks, streams, and power lines.

Bigfoot structure Salt Fork State Park

This structure, thought to be made by Bigfoot, was found near Salt Fork Lake.

   One interesting tale happened in Belmont County with a family who lived in the country. The dad worked in the deep coal mines on a swing shift so that meant that mom and the four children were often alone at night. That’s when Bigfoot would pay a visit. He would scream and pound on the walls.

   One evening something was hiding in the loft of the barn. The mother fired a shot and heard the creature running away. Another night Bigfoot got into the basement. The mother could hear him breathing and smelled that wretched smell before she called the sheriff as well as her husband at work. Her husband came home twenty miles to find her guarding the door with her gun and the children hiding behind her skirt. No trace was found of Bigfoot.

Doug Footprint Comparison

Another Bigfoot speaker, David Wickham, shows a size comparison between a Bigfoot and human footprint.

   There are many ideas of who Bigfoot really is but no one has the answer. Some feel he’s linked to the caveman. Others think he’s an interdimensional being or believe that there is an extraterrestrial connection. One theory says that Bigfoot appears due to the electromagnetic effects of UFOs as the two are frequently seen together. Research continues!

Doug Books

Doug has written four books in which he shares people’s Bigfoot stories.

   Doug has written four books about Bigfoot stories that have been shared with him and has a start on number five. Some share anonymously as they fear ridicule from friends and family. His mission is to record these stories for posterity. There have been sightings recorded in 49 of the 50 states. Hawaii is the only one without enough evidence to be listed.

Doug - Books at Stillions Market

Purchase one of Doug’s books from Tyler at Center Market on Route 22 as you head to Salt Fork State Park.

   He receives phone calls from all over the country these days and hears many interesting experiences. But Doug remarked, “I hope I haven’t gotten the most interesting one yet.”

   Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

To contact Doug, you can email him at southeasternohiobigfoot@yahoo.com or message him on the Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation Facebook page.

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