Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

Leonard Thomas – Born to Perform

Len Salt Fork Bash 2

When a piano’s not available, a keyboard will do.

When Leonard Thomas enters a room with a piano, you want to pull out the piano bench and have him tickle the ivories as he bursts into song.

While Len was born in Cambridge in 1927 and now lives there, he has traveled extensively using his musical talents not only at the piano or with his vibrant voice, but also in composing and directing. This man overflows with musical talent.

Len Note from Fred Waring

Fred Waring showed his appreciation to Len in this keepsake note.

He credits his success to the wonderful upbringing he received from his parents and siblings. Their support and encouragement make him feel lucky to have such a special family. He learned the importance of hard work from being a paperboy and soda jerk to conductor and performer.

The first time he sang in public happened at the First Christian Church when he was twenty-four months old. He entertained the crowd downstairs by singing “Bow Wow Blues” to the amazement of all. Len still calls this church home.

Len going places

Even as a youngster, Lenny had plans for going places.

When Lenny was only three years old, he went to visit with the family. A niece was just starting to take piano lessons and he asked her to show him what she was learning. She first  played the notes with her right hand, and Lenny played them back by ear. Next she played the left hand. Again Lenny played them back by ear. He asked her how you put them together and she said she had never done that yet. So Lenny said, “Do it like this.” and played them both.

By the time he was four, his parents thought he should have piano lessons, but they couldn’t afford it. Lenny went to see a lady across the street who gave piano lessons and told her he would like to take lessons but didn’t have any money to pay her.

She asked him if he would mow her yard for fifty cents a week. Lenny asked her how much the lessons would be. “Fifty cents a week.” It worked perfectly.

Len Fred, Ann and Len

Fred Waring and Len’s one-room school teacher, Anna Priaulx, visit with Len after a concert.

Lenny attended Rock Hill School, a one-room school near Center.  This provided a great learning atmosphere for him as he learned from all the classes. Everything fascinated him under the guidance of a very special teacher, Anna Priaulx.

By the age of ten, this young boy could play nearly all the classicals from great composers from memory.  He didn’t however forget the songs that were popular during that era.

Len Trio (2)

At Cambridge High School in 1947, Len played for this trio of  Carol, Barbara and Donna, who he said could harmonize as well as the Andrew Sisters.

At Cambridge High School, his musical talent has never been forgotten. His choice of a band instrument became a sousaphone, but he also sang in many groups as well as served as accompanist. No wonder he was voted the boy most likely to succeed as well as the most talented.

Len Muskingum Sr

Len graduated from Muskingum College and after retirement came back to assist with their music program.

Leonard graduated from Muskingum College with a B.S. in Music Education, but he never intended to use it. He wanted a career in performing so headed to Boston University, where he studied with great success.

But when he got home from Boston, his mother told him there was a letter waiting for him. It was his draft call from the Army. Len got lucky again as he was assigned to a base with a band. Now he could use his sousaphone experience from high school to participate in the Army band.

With this band, he headed to Germany, where they spent their time performing, participating in parades and singing at the chapel and in a barbershop quartet. Why he even had his own apartment and gave piano lessons.

Upon his return home, the hand of God guided him to the minister of the Central Presbyterian Church in Zanesville. There he had his first real job as choral director for five choirs among other assignment.

Along came someone from the court system and suggested that Len become a probation officer since he worked so well with young people. Now he had two jobs, so decided to buy his first car – a black ’57 Sunliner convertible.

Len with Steinbach

He still plays the piano he purchased in New York City in 1964, when he lived in a townhouse on the 19th floor.

Three years later, Len again decided to further his education and headed back to Boston to pursue his doctorate. Since all the schools were closed for the summer, he contacted an Army buddy in New York City and moved there for a while to a Central Park Townhouse.

Enjoying city life, Len began looking for a teaching job in the area.  He found one in Brooklyn at McKinley Jr. High School. Here he directed their choirs and led them in performing outstanding concerts. For eleven and a half years, this was his life.

Len Pennsylvanians

An attractive program design highlights Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.

Well, except for summers!  Those last six summers he attended Fred Waring’s Workshops, where he learned more about performing. One of the students asked Len to play for their audition. It was Len that landed the job to play with the Pennsylvanians with his keyboard talent.

Len Young Pennsylvanians

Teaching young people is something he has always enjoyed. Here he is conductor for the Young Pennsylvanians.

For many years, Leonard performed with Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. During the 40s and early 50s, Waring produced a string of hits, selling millions of records. Breezin’ Along with the Breeze was his signature tune. Waring’s often called The Man Who Taught America to Sing. Len Thomas was one of those he helped along the way.

Len and Fred at last performance

Pennsylvanians perform for the final time with Len and Fred Waring, only twelve days before Waring’ passed away.

When Fred Waring died in 1984, Len was asked to work as editor and arranger for Shawnee Press, which was founded by Fred Waring. Shawnee Press has been instrumental in providing quality musical arrangements to high schools, colleges, and orchestras.

Len Shawnee Press Business card

Len’s business card with Shawnee Press carried Waring’s logo at the top.

After working for Shawnee Press for seventeen years, it was sold and moved to another state. At the same time, Len had an offer to purchase his beautiful home in Pennsylvania. His heart and mind said it was time to return home.

Len Distinguished Service Award at Muskingum

Len received the Distinguished Service Award at Muskingum University.

When he returned, Muskingum College requested that he direct their concert choir. Frequently, he gave piano lessons, where he explained to students that playing the piano isn’t just done with the fingers, but with the wrists, arms and elbows. Your entire body feels the music.

Len at Salt Fork Festival Chorus

He still loves to perform and assists with many community musical events, such as the Salt Fork Festival Chorus.

The community feels lucky to have him return to the Cambridge area. Now he plays in the Muskingum Jazz Group, for numerous groups including the Cambridge Singers, and provides background music for many banquets, parties, funerals and weddings.  Let’s face it, Len loves to perform.

Preservation Dixieland All Stars

Preservation Dixieland All Stars will be performing at the Salt Fork Festival BASH. Members include: Jerry Weaver, Len Thomas, Don Kason, and Dave Jacobs.

Today at the age of 86, he has no problem remembering all those songs from years gone by. No matter what song is requested, Len’s fingers respond perfect. “The Lord’s been good to me,” smiled Len, as he’s fulfilled all his dreams.

His twilight years have been both enjoyable and fulfilling. Now it the time when he can give back to the community where he grew up. “When you spend time helping others, you find the happiness you seek.”

 

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Kiyoe Howald – Frequently Featured Artist

Kiyoe Hope and Despair

Kiyoe’s painting, “Hope and Despair”, carries a story of life during WWII in Japan.

Light can vanquish darkness as long as you never lose hope.

Born in Japan during WWII, Kiyoe knew what it was like to live in despair on the island of Hokkaido. As a nine year old when the war ended, her family had neither food nor fuel. So Kiyoe and one of her seven siblings would pack up kimonos and dishes, then bundle up and take the train to the country. Putting these items on a sled, they would then trade for potatoes, radishes, and wood to keep their home warm. They traded until they had nothing left.

Years later, she would compose a picture depicting life as she remembered it then. The picture is called “Hope and Despair”. Kiyoe feels the picture perfectly describes the world she lived in during WWII. In her mind, “No child should ever have to feel that way.” Even in the midst of despair, Kiyoe’s collage tells people there is hope that things would get better.

Kiyoe Art Show

Kiyoe’s Art Show in Zanesville featured paintings showing her love of nature.

This popular painting, “Hope and Despair”, was part of an art show at the Zanesville Public Library recently. It attracted much attention as Kiyoe shared the story of her painting, which showed so much hurt being present. The light showed good things to come. All the people in the painting are shown leaving to go to Northern Europe. You can feel their pain through her art, and others are touched by the symbolism.

At an early age, Kiyoe’s teacher in Japan noticed her artistic ability. She did art work in middle school but put art on the back burner to help care for her family in Japan. Years later she moved to Tokyo to find a better job as a tour bus guide so she could send money to her mom.

Kiyoe Christmas Card 001

A Christmas card?  No this is a hand painted cake, which won first prize.

It was here this beautiful Japanese lady met her husband, Senior Master Sergeant Larry Howald, while he was serving in the Air Force in Japan after the war. They enjoyed hiking and running together. Before he went back to the States, he asked her to make Japanese shawls for his mother and grandmother.

On Valentines Day, Kiyoe received a card from Larry saying, “Come to the States and marry me.” Since then, Larry has been a great supporter of Kiyoe’s artwork.

Kiyoe Birthday Cakes 001

Birthday cakes were one of Kiyoe’s ways of sharing her art years ago.

Her daughter, Miki, and son, Arn, remember the beautiful cakes their mom decorated with pictures that looked like paintings. She has won several cake decorating contests. Her art was being kept alive in a different way at this time of her life.

Kiyoe Pottery Vase

Kiyoe’s hand painted vase was part of a community art project in Zanesville.

After retirement from Larry Wade, where she was a seamstress, Kiyoe began taking classes and workshops about watercolors. Bill Koch’s watercolor class was a big influence on her revived interest in art. She has won first prize with many of her paintings around the area and even at the State Fair. Kiyoe’s work is always in demand.

Mannequin dressing

Making hats for the mannequins at Dickens Victorian Village gave her creativity a boost.

Volunteering for Dickens Victorian Village took many hours of her days for years. She began by making skirts and capes for the Imagination Station at the Visitors Center. Making hats became a new fun venture.

Kiyoe Howard

Recently she created mannequin heads resembling John and Annie Glenn.

Later, she made several of the mannequin heads that line the main street of Cambridge during the holiday season. In her mind, “Working at Dickens made me more creative.” Kiyoe’s current project for Dickens involves creating a new head for Father Christmas as his head has severe water damage.

Rock Garden

Her rock garden represents tranquility in a busy world.

“There’s always something new to learn.” Those words from Kiyoe are no surprise as she constantly explores new artistic endeavors. Currently, she is taking a Carving Class in Parkersburg, where she is learning the beginning steps of wood carving. Her goal is to someday carve a Buddha.

Kiyoe Alaska

On a recent trip to Alaska, nature again caught her eye.

She also teaches acrylic and watercolor classes in Zanesville. Origami classes have also been taught by Kiyoe as she enjoys making these meaningful objects, a Japanese tradition.

Since she doesn’t look her age, it makes one wonder how she stays so young. Every week she attends a Tai Chi class and a Yoga class. She never runs, but does walk three miles at least once a week.

Kiyoe Waterfall Series

In her Falling Water Series, her subjects are waterfalls that exist in peaceful, hidden canyons.

In the spring, Kiyoe will have an art show at First Friday in Zanesville. This event is sponsored by Zanesville Appalachian Arts Project. She finds associating with other artists quite rewarding. Even though she is a bit on the shy side, it’s a real pleasure for her to participate in artistic endeavors.

One thing she has yet to try is brush writing. When she finds someone to teach her some basics, this will be her next artistic challenge.

Kiyoe Name 001

This card created by Kiyoe has her name written in Japanese.

Kiyoe takes great pride in her work and enjoys having others appreciate it. Her beautiful smile and humble manner make everyone comfortable in her presence. Like Kiyoe, may we always be searching for new things to learn.

 

Heartland Travel Showcase 2018

Foggy Buffalo

This foggy view from our hotel room featured the new Metro Rail.

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Heartland Travel Showcase to let others know about attractions and events in the Cambridge, Ohio area, and especially tell them about Dickens Victorian Village.  It’s always a pleasure to tell others about your hometown.

Buffalo, New York hosted the 2018 Heartland Travel Showcase. Arriving by coach with several other travel associates, we were greeted by a fog covered Buffalo due to warm temperatures and a still frozen Lake Erie.

Hyatt entrance

The lobby of the luxurious Hyatt Regency Hotel welcomed us.

After getting settled into the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, it was time to have dinner with fellow travelers. These travel showcases are the perfect place to make new connections for future tours.

Tourism Reception

Barb, January and Carol enjoyed meeting friends at one of the receptions.

Heartland is where booking group travel is a Heart-to-Heart business. Numerous occasions provide a chance to network with others. It’s also the place where you can create a more personal relationship with possible clients during receptions and meetings.

Chocolate

A couple chocolate samples still untouched. The Goo Goo Cluster was created and distributed by the Grand Ole Opry.

Treats were non-stop from the time we stepped on the charter coach, where a box of chocolates were passed around. The Chocolate Tasting continued day after day with many chocolate treats being given in the form of candy or desserts.

Heartland Aisles

Exhibitor booths were placed in nine long aisles for ease of locating.

Contacts, leads, ideas and bookings are what Heartland is all about. With over two hundred exhibitors and sixty tour operators at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, it’s a great chance to learn more about the travel industry as you meet new people and learn about their wants and needs.

Teddy Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt told us about some of his accomplishments. Buffalo served as his Inauguration site after the assassination of Pres. McKinley.

An exciting forum gave newcomers a chance to learn from more experienced faces in the tour industry. Technology has changed the face of the industry as more publicity is being done via social media. They stressed the importance of promoting posts as well as using keywords to help people connect.

Potential Client

Cambridge tourism partners, Bev and Dixie, explain local attractions to a tour company.

Much of the three day session was spent one-on-one with tour directors meeting exhibitors and learning more about their places to visit. What a difficult job they would have in deciding as each place sounded like the perfect place for a group tour.

Dinner guests

Exhibitors Mary, Mary and Chris sparkled during an evening reception at the Lafayette Brewery.

You could schedule up to forty meetings with various group leaders. The rest of the time was spent either visiting other people’s booths or talking to people who stopped by your booth. Communication about travel was the name of the game.

Return Bus

Three days later, the coach was loaded for the return trip home.

The event definitely spread the word about an event or destination. Most attending say it is their favorite travel show of the year. It is one of the friendliest places you can imagine.

Buffalo Skyline

This painting of the skyline of Buffalo hung in the walkway to the Convention Center.

Shuffle off to Buffalo or your favorite travel destination sometime soon. New places await your exploration.

“Civil War Songs and the Stories They Tell” with Steve and Lisa Ball

Stee and Lisa Ball

Steve and Lisa Ball  perform Civil War songs at Crossroads Library.

Music plays an important role in the ranks of the military. They have used music to signal their troops for hundreds of years. Often music served as a boost to morale of the soldiers after a hard day of battle.

Be entertained by tales of the Civil War put to music as Steve and Lisa Ball present an entertaining and informative program “Civil War Songs and Stories They Tell”. This musical way of teaching history of the Civil War from 1861-65 is shared around the country about a hundred times each year. The songs come alive with their wonderful vocal and instrumental skills.

Steve Ball guitar

An 1855 Martin is one of Steve’s favorite guitars.

Martin guitars of the Civil War era, from Steve’s private collection, are used in their presentation. All the Martins are in their original coffin cases. Steve’s only the caretaker for these guitars as they will hopefully be passed on from generation to generation. He frequently calls Lisa ‘his band’ as she joins with her upright bass and voice.

Steve’s interest in the Civil War began as a teen, when he learned his Great-Great-Grandfather, William Tyler Butts, was a Union private from Athens, Ohio. He was part of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment out of Chillicothe. Steve is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and wears his SUV medal on his uniform.

He’s spent the last twenty years studying the music of the Civil War era and the development of the first American folk songs. A long list of accomplishments could follow his name. They also have a Stephen Foster program telling the history of many of those popular folk songs.

During their program, the variety is astounding. There are not only patriotic pieces, but also silly marches and songs of lost love. You’ll be drawn to their music and stories even if you aren’t a Civil War buff.

Lisa's cello

Lisa plays bass and vocalizes with Steve.

Their performances happen at reenactments, indoor presentations, Civil War roundtables, and even the Ohio Statehouse. Being a Civil War buff , he researches everything so it’s authentic. Steve is living his dream.

Learn more about the history of the Civil War and come away with a better understanding of life during that time as Steve and Lisa Ball tell the story through song.

Many of the songs have a unique history, such as “Darling Nellie Gray”, a song written by Benjamin Hanby, who operated an Underground Railroad in Rush, Ohio. It told about his girlfriend, Nellie Gray, who wanted to escape to Canada. You can learn more about this song by visiting the Hanby House in Westerville, Ohio.

Steve and Lisa

Steve and Lisa add much background information on songs to their performances.

Another song “Aura Lea”, was written by Willie Fosdick (lyrics) and George Poulton (music) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Willie’s wife was Aura Lee, the woman with the golden hair. In 1955, Elvis Presley used the tune of “Aura Lee” and added new lyrics to become his theme song, “Love Me Tender”.

A popular Southern song was “Goober Peas”. Burle Ives liked the folk song. The Balls  had everyone singing along.

Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating Goober peas

Goodness how delicious, eating Goober peas..

Steve Ball CD

Listen to Civil War songs anytime with their popular CDs.

Next time you hear that Steve and Lisa Ball are performing in your area, be certain to drop by and hear their story of the Civil War in song, or perhaps you’ll hear his story of the music and life of Stephen Foster. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy their stories and music.

 

The Many Artistic Abilities of Michael Warren

Michael Warren

This carving of a Native American from South Dakota came to Michael in a dream.

See the visions! Live your dreams!

Those words are an inspiration to artist, Michael Warren, who is talented in several different areas of art. Most of all, he is known for his outstanding woodcarvings, which feature the nature he enjoys so much. That’s why he calls his business, “Lost in the Woods Art Gallery”, which is located in Cambridge.

Michael Warren deerhunter

Deer hunting lets him be out in nature and perhaps be lucky enough to get meat for dinner.

Michael has been an avid hunter and fisherman since his youth. Right now he’s anxious for deer season so he can use his favorite bow and get some deer steaks and jerky. Wildlife seems to work its way into most of his life and art work.

Michael Warren sketches

Michael’s sketches also center around the wildlife he enjoys so much.

His first grade teacher at Lincoln School noticed his advanced creativity at the age of six, since he could look at something and recreate it even at that young age. Having a great art teacher in high school like Mr. Al Joseph continued his development. That led to studies at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Michael’s thankful for all those who inspired him throughout the years.

Michael Warren SF Festival

His booth at the Salt Fork Festival attracted much attention from the sound of the chain saw.

For the past two years, his work has been featured at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, where he has won honors in People’s Choice both years. The first year he had a large carving of a turkey, while this year, a fish won honors.

Michael Warren Fish

A carved fish, when completed, won the People’s Choice honors at the festival.

His carvings tell a story. The fish, for example, has his mouth open as he leaps from the water to catch a dragonfly going by. Unfortunately, the fish didn’t catch the dragonfly, but did catch a ribbon at the festival. The artist actually saw this bass in action at a farm pond in New Concord.

Michael sees something in every log, then puts a little part of himself into the carving. Staying focused with each cut becomes important. Then the sanding and detail work are a must. Much thought and prayer go into his detailed designs.

Michael Warren Caricature

He draws people, as he sees them, in his caricatures.

Carving is only one of his talents. A special attraction to children and the young at heart are his caricatures. Children enjoy watching him while he creates a picture of them…as he sees them. This gypsy is even going to have a caricature done.

At the Soak ‘Em Festival in Caldwell, Michael noticed a three year old boy dressed in cowboy hat and boots watching him draw. When Michael asked him if he would like a picture drawn, the little cowboy said he had no money. That didn’t stop Michael as he made that young lad smile with a cute caricature. Later in the day, the little cowboy ran up to Michael and put a quarter on his knee. They both smiled.

Michael Warren etching

His glass etchings also carry the wildlife theme.

Pencil drawings and glass etchings are also something that Michael does well. Again his love of nature shines forth in them.

Michael Warren mural

This mural by Michael covers a 127 foot wall at Deerassic Park with animal mounts in front.

A large mural measuring 127′ X 54′ can be found at Deerassic Park.When Michael painted this mural he hid scripture throughout. Look carefully the next time you’re out that way and see what you can find. Hint: There’s something in the pond.

Michael Warren Turkey

He has carved several turkeys, a popular item.

Michael is a very quiet soul and like many strong men, doesn’t like to be thought of as having any weakness. However, Michael was born with a heart disease and now has frequent bouts with congestive heart problems. But, he keeps going just a bit slower perhaps than he did a few years ago. No one would ever realize this because of his amazing smile and kind soul.

Often when he is creating, he likes to listen to gospel music. The song “Enough” is one of his favorites.”All I have in You is more than enough.”

Michael Warren feather

Hand-painted turkey feathers take time and patience.

His work is amazing and very detailed. Michael feels that’s because he usually gets a vision of something he should create. It’s a special gift that God has given him and he wants to use it to give people a little joy in their lives. A goal in his mind for the future is to carve a life size replica of Jesus on the cross.

The people the artist has met along the way have been a special blessing to him. Michael feels these three things are the best way to start your day, “Pray. Never give up. Let no one take your joy or love away from the journey God has instilled in your heart.”

Michael Warren at work

This artist stays busy creating new carvings of wildlife and various other objects.

If you would like to learn more about his work, contact Michael at michaelartest1000@gmail.com . Michael thanks God for being with him through all the good and rough times and proudly accepts the title of one of ‘His Artists’.

 


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. 

Buzz On In for Reynolds Honey

Bee George and Marcia

George and Marcia Reynolds have worked well together for fifty-five years.

Buzzing bees sound like music to the ears of George and Marcia Reynolds. Since 1972, they’ve had hives of bees and their reason for starting this venture had nothing to do with pollination or honey.

Bee Flowers

No surprise that you are greeted at their home by a bed of flower blossoms for the bees.

George suffered with arthritis after a childhood bout with polio. Doctors told him he would be in a wheelchair by the age of forty. However, George heard about a bee sting therapy they were experimenting with in Canada, that might cure arthritis. He bought his first hive to see if it would work.

Obviously, it did, because forty-five years later, George has no signs of arthritis and is quite active as he cares for forty hives of bees. Not all are at his farm as he often places one or two colonies at friends’ houses as a favor to the landowner.

Even he admits he blundered through that first colony and suffered some painful bee stings. A fellow beekeeper told him that bees shouldn’t be that nasty. What he needed was a new queen. It worked. With the new queen, the colony became much gentler.

Bee Covering

George wears a long sleeved white shirt and veiled hat while working with the bees.

Most of the equipment he uses is economically homemade. After he puts on a long sleeve white shirt, he covers his head with a veiled hat. His smoker confuses the bees so he can more easily use a special tool to open the hive. In order to get close to the bees, George even provided a veil for me to wear. No stings received.

Bee Smoker

A smoker is used to remove scents and confuse the bees.

The story of honey production centers around the queen bee, who does nothing but lay eggs…500 to 2000 a day! She’s even able to decide which kind of egg she will lay – drone or worker bee.

Bee Hives

There are about forty bee hives scattered around their farm.

The worker bees gather pollen from a variety of blossoms to bring back to the hive to feed the queen, and store for their winter food. Then the housekeeper bee packs it into the cells. To remove most of the water from the nectar, they fan it with the rapid movement of their wings.

Bee New Hive

Bees were transferred board by board to their new hive.

Bee Transfer

Many bees keep busy in the hive storing honey for winter.

Beekeepers only take a small portion of their food for us to enjoy, so the bees have plenty of food left for winter.

Bee Honey Board

This board has been covered in honey, which George will soon process and put in bottles.

After George scrapes the honey off a frame, he breaks it into pieces by centrifugal force using an extractor. It flows to the bottom of the extractor and pours from the spigot through a strainer to get out the larger particles. He never touches the honey himself and it is never heated as that would remove helpful qualities.

If you use honey for medicinal purposes, local honey created from local blossoms is your best bet. It can even be used to reduce scars after surgery. George doesn’t spray his bees or vegetation so Reynolds Honey is chemical free.

Bee Honey

They frequently sell their honey at the local Farmers Market.

His wife, Marcia, isn’t eager to work closely with the bees. She helps with bottling and labeling after the honey is harvested.

George remarked, “I learn something new each year.” That’s remarkable since he’s been working with bees a long time. When customers comment on how great his honey tastes, he tells them, “I have nothing to do with that. Every batch tastes different. It all depends on what blossoms the bees find.”

If you would like to be a beekeeper, talk to someone who has been doing it for years. It’s scary at first so you need someone to encourage you. The local Guernsey/Noble Beekeepers Association would be the perfect place to begin.

Bee Cucumber

Fun in his garden resulted in this cucumber grown inside a water bottle.

In their spare time, George and Marcia have a large garden and two 30X56 greenhouses. Heirloom varieties create some unusual plants for the garden. This year he’s experimenting with sesame. The seeds came from plants at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. A White Heron cucumber also thrives in his garden. He shared with me a cucumber grown in a water bottle.

George also carves wooden horses and has made each child in the family a small barn for their carved horses. Marcia relaxes with crocheting and adult coloring books.

It’s easy to see the Reynolds are busy as bees all year long.

If you would like some of the Reynolds Honey, visit George and Marcia during the summer months at Farmers Markets in Cambridge and New Concord. Other times, call George at 740-872-3865.

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