Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

Romance Blossoms at Dickens Victorian Village

A loving heart is the truest wisdom.

~Charles Dickens

There was a special connection the first time they met.

The spirit of Christmas at Dickens Victorian Village leads to many interesting adventures. One of those involves a couple who just happened to meet at Sheetz in New Philadelphia when Shannon was having car trouble and Curtis appeared to help. They sensed a connection that first evening.

After that, they talked on the phone several times and agreed to meet again at Sheetz before going to dinner in New Philadelphia on November 22, 2014. Curtis discovered through the phone calls that Shannon had a real passion for Christmas. After dinner at Pro’s Table, he suggested they go to Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge.

Shannon had never been there before but loved Dickens Victorian Village at first sight. They walked from 6th Street to 11th Street and enjoyed all the Victorian scenes. They laughed, talked, and had a great time.

Shannon decorates her tree with her longtime collection of Hallmark ornaments.

Shannon loves the Christmas season because it’s a time when everyone is happy and thoughtful. Families gather around the Christmas tree to exchange gifts and share their love. To her, the season is filled with happiness.

In December, even though Curtis has a passion for heavy metal music, he arranged to take Shannon to hear the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Pittsburgh. While there, he took her a ride on the Incline in a car reserved just for them. On the way down, he presented her with a promise ring – with a promise that he would never hurt her. Charles Dickens expressed that same vow for all of us when he wrote, “Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

Shannon was walked down the aisle by her brother with the Dickens characters in the background.

A year later, on November 22, 2015, Curtis and Shannon were married at the Courthouse during the Dickens Victorian Village season. They loved the Christmas spirit that they felt there. It started out a fairly warm day; however, just during the wedding ceremony, snow fell creating a magical snowball effect.

Curtis and Shannon were married at the Guernsey County Courthouse with snow falling just for their ceremony.

Shannon told Curtis he could wear whatever he wanted to the wedding as she knew he didn’t like dressing up in a suit. Curtis chose his leather Harley jacket, hat, and boots. Then Shannon decided to wear Harley boots under her traditional wedding gown. They wrote their own special vows. Their reception was held at the Senecaville Fire Department, where Curtis is a volunteer. Then they headed to Carlisle Inn for their honeymoon. Their fun never stops!

Christmas with her Christmas tree is a special time of the year for Shannon.

Their Christmas Trees are a source of real pleasure. Shannon collects Hallmark ornaments for one of their trees while Curtis has a Harley Christmas tree. Christmas is an important celebration at the Broners’ home.

Being bikers is an important part of their lives and they enjoy having their hot dog stand at biker events.

Curtis is a gas and welding specialist at Matheson..the gas professionals in Senecaville, while Shannon works as a medical secretary at Akron Children’s Hospital. Even though both of them have full-time jobs, Curtis always had a dream of having a hot dog cart. As a youngster of seven years old, he went to work with his dad who was a policeman. Outside the office, there was a hot dog cart where Curtis enjoyed getting his lunch and began dreaming.

In 2016, they went to Connecticut where a church had advertised a brand new cart for sale. The church didn’t realize all the work involved and was willing to sell it for a fair price. One of the first places they used that cart was at Seneca Lake when they were rebuilding the concession stand. That summer, the hot dog cart was at the lake every weekend.

The hot dog stand keeps them busy on weekends.

The only time they have ever sold on a street corner was for Dickens Victorian Village. They set up on the US Bank steps right beside the courthouse, their magical place. Broner hot dogs are all beef and none of their additions are from a can. Would you believe that a macaroni and cheese dog with bacon is their most popular seller? Other popular ones are their Carolina slaw dog and of course, a chili dog.

Their logo incorporates the fact that Curt is a volunteer at the fire department.

They don’t skimp on anything so you get a meal in a bun. Usually, their hot dog cart can now be found at festivals and Harley events. The Hot Dog Cart logo incorporates the firefighter with the traditional dalmatian dog and the helmet shows Curtis’ volunteer #23. Their slogan, “Putting out the fire in your belly,” goes with that firefighter logo. Slogan, logo, and name are all registered and can not be duplicated…much like the great taste of their hot dogs!

Riding Curt’s Harley is one of their favorite pastimes.

When asked what they might enjoy doing in the future, Shannon would like to go on a cruise to someplace warm. Curtis wants to ride his Harley across country on Route 66. Life for them will always be an adventure.

In the meantime, they enjoy returning to Dickens Victorian Village every November 22 to relive their first date with a walk downtown and a chance to see the beautiful Holiday Light Show. Dickens will always hold a special place in their hearts. Perhaps it will find a special spot in your heart too.

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasure of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!

~Charles Dickens

Jake Graham’s Writing Journey

If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna’ make a dream come true.

Jake Graham writes under the author name of Jacob Paul Patchen.

Since the age of twelve, Jake Graham has been writing poetry. His first poem emerged during a disturbing time in his life and was on the stormy side. Then he fell in love with poetry.

As a student at Meadowbrook High School, he also wanted to play football. So poetry was set aside as his main passion for a while. However, he never stopped writing poems in his notebooks as it helped him to understand the world around him.

After high school, Jake served with the Marines in Iraq.

Jake is a veteran of the Marines where he served in the infantry in Iraq. His reason for serving was to protect our freedoms, which are very important to him. He appreciates all who have served.

“Of Love and War” is a collection of poems associated with the author’s service in Iraq.
Upon his return from service, he worked with Graham Excavating for a short time.

He went to Muskingum University to follow his football passion but while there his professors gave him encouragement and guidance in his writing. Today Jake is a learning consultant at Muskingum University where he tutors students with learning disabilities in their PLUS program. His youthful spirit helps students feel they can accomplish their goals.

A big influence in his life was Grandpa Charles “Whitey” Patchen.

Most of his poetry is written about him and his life…and for him. It’s very therapeutic to write about feelings. Growing up, Jake was very close to his grandfather so some of his poetry such as the book “Plucking Chickens from the Pines with Grandpa” developed from experiences with him.

Jake felt that the lessons he learned from his grandpa were more important than anything he learned in school…if he had paid attention! Actually, Jake wanted to keep his grandfather’s Patchen name alive since he had no sons and uses Jacob Paul Patchen as his author name.

Jake surprised his mom with a Welcome sign for Christmas with some of his shotgun shells attached.

His novels are fiction and based on ideas that float through his mind. “When something hits you, you have to act on it,” Jake explained. When he writes, he pictures it in his head as playing out as a movie. His stories center around love, family, war, and learning things the hard way. These are the things that made him the man he is today so he feels it important to spread that message.

Jake read some of his poetry at a meeting of Cambridge Writers at Crossroads Library.

Due to his Marine service, his books that are related to the war are based on real experiences he has felt himself or witnessed. He seriously cares about the number of suicides that are committed each day by veterans who have problems living with the world they have seen. Of Love and War is based on his war experiences through poetry and prose.

Words That Matter – Family begins a children’s series of picture books that help them focus on what is important in life. His plans are for a ten-book series for children to help them with issues in many parts of their lives.

The Silver Medal was presented to him by the Military Writers Society of America.

Telling it like it is has become his style. He doesn’t hold back on telling things that really do happen even if he is writing them in a fiction format. His style is easy to read and has already won six book awards. He writes stories for children, teens, young adults. and adults. Every book has a purpose with a touch of Jake’s great sense of humor.

Recently he had a signing at Bookology in Cambridge.

Recently, author Jacob Paul Patchen has had the opportunity for speaking engagements as well as book signings. He enjoys talking to other writers and constantly looks for ways to improve his own writings.

He frequently speaks to groups about his writing and experiences.

It was a special privilege to come back to Meadowbrook High School and speak to students on Career Day, as well as to classes at Muskingum University. Perhaps along the way, he can help someone have a better understanding of a personal problem through his writings.

Here are his earliest books and he keeps adding to that list all the time.

A couple of these books have become required reading for counselor training classes as they explain the turmoil that accompanies problems faced in today’s world. His words paint a clear picture of what victims endure. For those suffering past or present from abuse or severe trauma, these books touch the soul.

His most recent book, “No Pistol Tastes the Same” a PRSD Novel, gives a clear picture of what the war zone was like and the problems many military men and women have when returning to civilian life. Jake’s choice of words and comparisons make reading easy, yet you can feel their pain.

This author wants to impact others with his writing so much that they try to change for the better. Finding happiness in the form of love, freedom, and purpose would be his goal. Someday he’d like to own some land, a house, an RV…and maybe even an island!

Jacob Patchen encourages others by telling them,

“Go do more than just exist. Go be.

Go inspire and achieve.

Go do the things that make you breathe.

Find a way to make us better.”

That would be a great lesson for all of us to follow. Find the things in life that bring you enjoyment, then focus on those things.

For questions or scheduling a talk, contact the author at Jacobpaulpatchen@yahoo.com.

Early Cambridge City Park History FIlled with Wonderful Memories

Families throughout the area have pleasant memories of times spent at Cambridge City Park. Some have been here from childhood to adulthood and have seen many of the changes in recent years but those early years remain only a memory.

Col. Taylor’s mansion built in 1878 is today a popular Bed & Breakfast.

The area that we call Cambridge City Park today was once part of Col. Taylor’s thousand-acre estate. The home we know today as Taylor Bed & Breakfast was actually the first house to be built on the hill outside of town.

Not only did he build a beautiful home for his wife, but he had a nearby barn where he kept his horses, the only means of transportation at that time. Since the horses needed water, Col. Taylor built Taylor Lake. When the pond froze over in the winter, blocks of ice were cut from it and stored in an underground cellar. Usually, they had ice until sometime in July before it all melted.

The City Pond, where children love to feed the ducks, was the first part of the park.

Taylor Lake today is the duck pond at our Cambridge City Park. In January 1913, Taylor Grove and the lake were sold to the city by Col. Taylor’s heirs for $25,000. Our Cambridge City Park was about to begin.

In July, a Clean-up Day was organized. All men interested in the City Park were to line up at the Courthouse and march to the City Park being led there by the Cambridge Band. A Colored Band was also there to liven the day. Ladies provided a picnic supper in the evening.

Electric Park hosted a Chautauqua celebration and many other activities before Cambridge City Park existed.

The Cambridge City Band began playing at the park in July 1913 when they sponsored the Lincoln Chautauqua, which had previously taken place at Electric Park. The price of a season ticket to enter the performing tent for the six-day event was $1.50 for adults and $1.00 for children 8 -15. There were a number of seats, swings, and tents provided for the patrons. Anyone wishing to do so could pitch their tent there that week.

In July, a lifeguard was appointed to oversee the swimming in the former Taylor Lake with rules laid down for the conduct of boys and girls to be enforced. If the girls were highly interested in swimming there, arrangements would be made to set aside a particular time for them to swim as well as have a woman oversee during that time and give lessons in swimming. A bathhouse has been promised by city council in the near future.

Baseball was played in the park in the summer of 1913.

At about the same time, the first baseball diamond was constructed which brought local teams and their families to the City Park. Money was raised by a group of interested citizens for a stadium called Lakeview Park that seated approximately 1000 people. Many baseball and softball games were played here each summer. It also was the perfect place for the annual Jaycee’s Fireworks on July 4.

By July of that year, families and organizations were already having their picnics there. Some of the first groups were the Mail Carriers Association of Southeastern Ohio and the Welsh-American Society, both of these on Labor Day.

A bathhouse along the pond, where swimming was popular, was an early addition.

Gravel walks were installed, rope swings, a bathhouse on the side of the lake, high and low diving boards, and the lake was enlarged. They wanted it to be the most beautiful recreation ground in Southeastern Ohio.

One of the early buildings to be constructed was the Big Pavilion, which served as a dance floor, concert hall, and speaker’s stand. Often there were six or seven reunions held there in one day.

The Kiddie’s Pool was a popular and safe place to swim.

In 1930, the local president of Cambridge Glass Co., A.J. Bennett provided funds to build a Children’s Wading Pool at the park so they had a safe place to swim away from the pond. There were two sides to the pool – a shallow side for wading and a deeper side for swimming. Lifeguards did not like children going under the bridge to get to the deeper side. It was closed in 1973.

The slide at the big pool was a favorite for a cool ride.

In 1941, Cambridge City Pool was opened after being constructed through a federal grant by the WPA. In 1998, the pool had to be redone to meet current standards. Again, the community supported the project wholeheartedly.

The park pavilion had a Coca Cola concession stand in 1965.

By this time there were several concession stands throughout the park – at the big pavilion, baseball diamond, and swimming pool. One person recalls having keys to all of them and if he happened to be at the park would open whichever one had a crowd. His first summer he made $.75 an hour.

Horseshoe contests were popular at picnics and reunions.

Pitching horseshoes was another important means of entertainment. There were several horseshoe pits at the park and many tournaments were held there usually accompanied by an ice cream social.

A man who lived close to town brought in his ponies for the children to ride.

Most children have dreams of riding a pony. Someone helped make that dream come alive by bringing several of his ponies to the park and charging a small fee for a ride. Speaking of horses, in those early years, you could hear the musical sound of a carousel at the park. No wonder the park was such a busy place..and still is today.

Kids of all ages enjoy a fast spin on the merry-go-round.
The Witch’s Hat was considered the most dangerous ride at the park.

Over the years, the playground has become an important part of the park. The largest section was begun soon after the park opened. A merry-go-round that parents felt was a terror device gave youngsters of all ages a chance to see how fast they could spin. The playground has been upgraded today through the generosity of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs.

The firetruck made a great place for climbing and using your imagination.

An old fire truck that out-lasted its usefulness at the city fire department was stripped of all removable parts and placed in the park in 1957 for children to climb on. Not often did children get a chance to play on a fire truck.

The Armstrong Bridge was originally over Salt Fork Creek before the development of Salt Fork Lake.

In 1966-67. the Armstrong Bridge was relocated to the City Park. This bridge, built in 1849, originally spanned Salt Fork Creek near the town of Clio. When Salt Fork Lake development was announced, the bridge was moved to preserve it.

This is just a little taste of the history of our Cambridge City Park. This community has been so supportive of the park since its beginning through individual and business financial support and volunteering. May they keep improving and supporting the park to make it even a better place for future generations.

Dickens Victorian Village Bus Tours

Buses have coned places for parking in front of the Welcome Center.

Step back in time at Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio during the months of November and December. The friendly small-town atmosphere will have you feeling like you’ve arrived in jolly old London during the late 1800s. Bus groups get special treatment during their visits and we usually have nearly fifty groups a year during that season.

While this article is basically for the tour groups, you will find many things here that make it a great place for a family weekend adventure.

As soon as a tour group arrives in Cambridge,  you will get that Victorian feeling. A costumed guide will step on your bus at the edge of town and stay with you throughout the day as they tell how Dickens Victorian Village began sixteen years ago.

Our mayor welcomes you to Cambridge along with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

Tour venues are very flexible as each group has particular interests. Most groups begin the day with a slow bus tour of six blocks of downtown Cambridge. During November and December, there is a Victorian scene under every lamppost in those six blocks. In 2021, there were 168 life-size mannequins in 96 different scenes.

A touch of snow adds to the holiday cheer on one of the Victorian scenes.

The scenes are based on Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” and also scenes from London during Dickens’ time. Each scene has a brass plaque attached, which explains its connection to that time in history.

Everyone enjoys a tasty treat from Kennedy’s Bakery.

Along the way, almost every bus group stops at Kennedy’s Bakery, a hometown favorite that has been in business since 1925. Three generations of the Kennedy family have created the same tasty pastries year after year. Bus groups stop back again and again.

Mosser Glass still produces glass at their factory with a beautiful Gift Shop included.

If you arrive in the morning, Mosser Glass provides an interesting stop as they are still making glass on site. Watch them create some beautiful glass pieces. Cher purchases turkey candy dishes here each year for her guests at Thanksgiving dinner. They have even provided beautiful glass Easter eggs to the White House. Their showroom is outstanding.

Volunteers at the Welcome Center are dressed in Victorian garb to welcome guests.

Down the street, the bus will have a coned off place to park near our Dickens Welcome Center. Here Father Christmas will greet the bus. Volunteers at the Welcome Center will talk about how the figures are made and encourage you to dress in Victorian clothes at Imagination Station. Have your picture taken for a fond memory with a beautiful Christmas tree or the figure of Charles Dickens himself.

Several unique shops help make this stop a pleasure for those who enjoy shopping.  Find a unique gift for yourself or a friend from several shops which include locally made articles.

Francis Family Restaurant has a large banquet room for buffets.
Mr. Lee’s Family Restaurant provides great meals and service
Theo’s Restaurant has delicious buffets and serve their homemade pies.

Of course, lunch is always an important stop of the day. Three local restaurants have delicious buffets that are only prepared for bus tours. Take your choice of Francis Family Restaurant, Lee’s, or Theo’s for a buffet that will leave you satisfied.

The Queen’s Tea takes place at the beautiful Cambridge Country Club.

Some wish to have an upscale lunch or dinner and choose to have dinner with Queen Victoria at the Cambridge Country Club where she tells about her life growing up in London from childhood to adult.

Victorian ladies greet you at the Cambridge Glass Museum.

Several museums give a great place to spend a couple of hours. Cambridge Glass Museum greets you with ladies dressed in Victorian costumes and tells you of Christmas at the Glasshouse. They will give you many hands-on activities to keep your group smiling.

Coal Miner Dave tells the story of those early coal mines in the area.

Another possibility is the Guernsey County Museum where you can meet Coal Miner Dave, who tells of those early years in the county.  At the same place, you will discover a one-room classroom and a teacher who will give you a lesson and perhaps even a test. Those are highlights of a museum packed with historic pieces.

Ladies enjoy wearing hats and shawls as they enjoy tea and sweets.

You might prefer having afternoon tea at one of our local churches. They will provide a short program of music and information before serving tea, scones, and cookies.

Finish off the evening with the Courthouse Holiday Light Show.

We always end the day with the Holiday Courthouse Light Show, which has over 65,000 lights synchronized to holiday music. An entire hour is different! The show starts every evening from Nov. 1 – Dec. 31 from 5:30 – 9:00. You can even watch it from the coach.

These are just a few ideas you might include in your trip to Dickens Victorian Village. If you would like to learn more please contact me at DickensGroupTours@gmail.com for additional places to visit.

Jerry Thompson Portrays Civil War Santa

Jerry Thompson overflows with the Christmas spirit as he enjoys portraying the Civil War Santa as well as today’s traditional Santa Claus. Usually, it is the adults that enjoy his Civil War stories while the children prefer the modern Santa.

Jerry participated in a Dickens Marathon Reading dressed as Civil War Santa.

While Jerry majored in history at Miami University, his interest in the Civil War began with his great-great-grandfather, Sgt. Major Alfred Weedon. Alfred was born in 1845 on a farm just outside of Liberty, (now Kimbolton) Ohio. In July 1861, he enlisted in the 26th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Inspiration was received from a Harper’s Weekly cover by Thomas Nast.

One day, Jerry saw the cover of an old Harper’s Weekly magazine, where they did a story about the Civil War Santa on January 5, 1863. Thomas Nast drew a Civil War Santa distributing gifts to the Union soldiers. It was his first Santa Claus cartoon and the only Civil War Santa he ever drew. From that one publication in Harper’s Weekly, the troops jumped on the idea and it ran through the camps of the Union soldiers.

Jerry then jumped on the idea of portraying Civil War Santa to honor his great-great-grandfather. A seamstress from Claysville looked at the picture and designed a costume for Jerry. She used red and white awning material for the pants, and a navy-blue sweatshirt with white stars sewed all over it. The finishing touch was a red hat encircled with holly.

These Civil War historians presented a program at Roscoe Village.

Jerry had been a member of the Southeastern Ohio Civil War Roundtable for many years and served as president. So, it seemed only natural to begin presenting programs at Civil War Roundtables and various Christmas outings. There he told the story of Christmas during the Civil War and especially shared the story of the Civil War experiences of Alfred Weedon, his great-great-grandfather.

You might find interesting some of the highlights he tells. After Alfred enlisted, he fought and was captured in Perrysville, Kentucky, and in 1862 was exchanged and paroled to home for one year, as was a custom at that time. Every week, Alfred had to go to Camp Chase in Columbus by train from Kimbolton to report in.

When his year was up, he was sent to Chatanooga, Tennessee where he participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. Even though weak and sickly, Alfred crawled with the rest of the troops to the top of that ridge for a Union victory. Seven months later, during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Alfred was shot in the leg, discharged from the service, and limped through the rest of his life.

Jerry stands by the house on Madison Avenue, where his great-great-grandfather lived a hundred years ago.

When he returned to Ohio, he first went back to his original home in Kimbolton but later moved to Cambridge on Madison Avenue. Mr. Weedon taught school at Birmingham and built the first house at Guernsey Station. He served as Clerk of Courts in Guernsey County, was a member of the Methodist Protestant Church and the Cambridge G.A.R. Post. He’s buried in Northwood Cemetery in Cambridge.

Often Jerry joins other Civil War historians to share stories at libraries and festivals. Roscoe Village held a special Civil War Tree Lighting program, which included many historians from around the area who sang and spoke about the Civil War. Jerry appeared as Civil War Santa.

This image by Thomas Nast helped create our modern version of Santa.

Thomas Nast, born in 1840, is also credited with being the man who invented Santa Claus as we know him today. When he changed the color of Santa’s coat from tan to red, his Santa became the inspiration for the Coca Cola Santa we know so well.

Jerry has also portrayed the traditional Santa at many venues for over 40 years. He’s made thousands of children happy in his Santa appearances at places like Lazarus and many malls. Being Secret Santa for Cassell Station was a pleasure for 25 years.

After 9/11, Santa wore an Uncle Sam hat during the Christmas Parade in the bucket of the firetruck.

In the Cambridge Christmas Parade, that was Jerry that waved as Santa from the bucket of the fire truck for about 20 years. One special year was 2001 after the event of 9/11 when he wore Uncle Sam’s hat instead of the traditional Santa hat.

Santa rode a motorcycle to help promote Christmas in July.

A motorcycle has even carried Santa on a couple of adventures. At Colony Square Mall, he participated in the Motorcyclists for Kids Toy Ride. Then Mark Dubeck from Moore’s Jewelers asked him if he would advertise their Christmas in July sale by riding around town on a motorcycle. Jerry knows how to have fun even if that July day reached 97°.

Santa and Moose the Wonder Dog posed for pictures at Pound Partners.

Pets with Santa sponsored a fundraiser for Pound Partners where people could get their pet’s pictures taken with Santa. Moose the Wonder Dog, the Pound Partners’ mascot, received a lot of special attention.

Of course, Santa only takes up a small portion of his life. Activities in the community and with his family fill his schedule these days.

In 2019, Jerry managed the Heritage Tent for the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. There was a large variety of local talent displayed in that tent from potters and weavers to quilters and fabric designers. Local organizations also took part such as Guernsey County Museum, Cambridge Amateur Radio Association, and The National Road/Zane Grey Museum. In 2021, Jerry managed both the Heritage Tent and the Marketplace.

Jerry won the 2019 Muskingum County Hospitality Award.

The Muskingum County Hospitality Award was awarded to Jerry in 2019 for his dedication as a staff member at the Old National Road/Zane Grey Museum. His friendly manner as tour guide and host makes guests feel welcome as soon as they enter the door.

Acting has been something that Jerry has done for years as part of the local Cambridge Performing Arts Center. He played a variety of roles there for around 40 years. Some of his favorites were William Jennings Bryant and Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace.

In 2020, Jerry took part in Macbeth at Zanesville Community Theater. Its themes of greed, corruption, violence, and fear seem to have reappeared in 2020. He shook his head when he admitted that learning the lines is harder these days.

Motorcyclists gathered at Colony Square Mall for a Toy Ride.

During the past few years, Jerry has participated in the Dickens Marathon Reading held during the Dickens Victorian Village season. This year Jerry will be in charge of that event and is moving it downtown so more people can enjoy the readings. He always seems to find a way to help the community.

Jerry has led an interesting life locally from radio announcer to dyslexia instructor at Muskingum University. However, one of his favorite activities has been portraying Santa Claus and especially the Civil War Santa in memory of his great-great-grandfather, Alfred Weedon.

Celebrate the Holidays at Dickens Victorian Village

Mayor Orr along with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim welcome visitors to Cambridge, Ohio

Charles Dickens would have enjoyed a walk down Wheeling Avenue in Cambridge to see the scenes from his book, A Christmas Carol, as well as scenes from old England. Dickens Victorian Village takes you back in time to those long-ago days each November and December.

Many special events are planned throughout the months for the enjoyment of area residents as well as the multitude of visitors that pour into town each season on buses and in cars. They all enjoy the friendly atmosphere as they are greeted by Victorian dressed volunteers throughout the town.

Victorian Scenes

The glassblower scene can be found on the corner of 9th Street on the way to the Cambridge Glass Museum.

The heartbeat of the village lies in 168 scenes that line the street. They can be found under every lamppost and in some store windows. Each has a brass plaque explaining its relationship to London and Charles Dickens. The scenes are designed and refurbished annually by a Creative Team that takes great pride in making the characters appear real.

Dickens Welcome Center

Dickens Welcome Center contains many items with a touch of Old England.

Everyone needs to stop at the Welcome Center to pick up information about the downtown area and hear how the project began. Here you will find the first figure created for the village, that of Charles Dickens. Dress in Victorian clothes at a fun Imagination Station where you can step back in time yourself. Of course, there are wonderful gifts available to bring back memories of your visit.

Sherlock Holmes

A Sherlock Holmes mystery provides weekend entertainment.

Every other year Holmes fans await the newest Sherlock Holmes mystery written by local playwright Anne Chlovechok. Can you figure out the murder mystery this year surrounding Sherlock Holmes and the Chlosterphobic Conundrum?

Performances will be at Pritchard Laughlin on November 12-14 and 19-21 at 7:00 on Friday and Saturday with a Sunday matinee at 3:00. Join in the fun of this tantalizing mystery that begins at the Colonel Taylor Inn.

Trolley Tours

Ride the trolley to learn local history from historian, Rick Booth.

Three weekends during the season, hop on a Trolley Tour of downtown and the city of Cambridge. Learn the story of how Dickens Victorian Village began and about the history of Cambridge from its founding. Hear stories of some of those settlers from the Isle of Guernsey who made Guernsey County the special place it is today.

Tours are still offered in 2021 at $10 a person on the following Saturdays: December 4 and December 18. They run hourly beginning at 10:00 am with the last trolley leaving at 5:00 pm. You’re sure to hear some special stories from trolley guide and local historian, Rick Booth.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides

Relax to the sound of horses’ hooves on an evening carriage ride.

If you prefer taking a slower ride through town, climb in the carriage and enjoy viewing the Victorian scenes to the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves. It’s also a special way to experience the Courthouse Light Show as you listen to the music all snuggled up in a blanket surrounded by the cool evening air.

Carriage rides will be available from November 12 to December 18 for $10 for adults and $8 for children under the age of 12. Catch the carriage on West 8th Street beside the Courthouse. Availability depends on the weather.

Victorian Teas

Ladies dress in their finest for a Victorian Tea.

Ladies and gentlemen enjoy dressing in their finest clothes and wearing beautiful hats as they enjoy teas in the Victorian style. There are three teas during the season where English pastries, confectionaries, and fruit accompany a wide assortment of teas. Every tea has entertainment for the enjoyment of those in attendance.

Two of the teas take place each year at the Masonic Ballroom in downtown Cambridge while the third tea is held at the Cambridge Country Club each November with Queen Victoria in attendance. Reservations are required for all of the teas by calling 740-421-4956. There is only one tea remaining in 2021 and that will be on December 11 at the Masonic Ballroom at a cost of $18.95.

Christmas Candlelight Walk

Cindy, Lindy, and Mayor Tom Orr prepare for the Christmas Candlelight Walk.

Get in the spirit of Christmas! Bring your own candle or lantern and join your friends at the Dickens Welcome Center on December 18 at 6:00 pm to begin an evening stroll as you pass the scenes of Victorian characters. Charles Dickens often took strolls through downtown London so would approve of this entertaining evening.

Guides will tell stories regarding the scenes during this free event. Learn more about the time of Charles Dickens. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bundle up in case snow flurries happen to fall.

Courthouse Holiday Light Show

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Courthouse Holiday Light Show.

Be dazzled by the 65,000 lights synchronized to holiday music on the Guernsey County Courthouse. People line the streets to watch this spectacular light show presented by AVC Communications. It’s a favorite of tour buses and local residents. Children enjoy dancing to the music.

Enjoy this Holiday Light Show any evening from November 1 through December 3 1 from 5:30 – 9:00 pm. Watching from the courthouse lawn or sitting on the benches enhances the show but you can view it from your car and tune to the radio station to listen to the music.

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As you can tell, there’s plenty to see and enjoy while visiting Dickens Victorian Village. For more information visit www.DickensVictorianVillage.com or check out their Facebook page.

Charles Dickens wrote in A Christmas Carol, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” Create happy memories with your family and friends this holiday season at Dickens Victorian Village.

The Living Word – Ohio’s Only Outdoor Passion Play

LW Amphitheater

Their hillside amphitheater contains a re-creation of Old Jerusalem.

The only outdoor passion play in Ohio, or in any of the surrounding states, takes place in the hills just outside Cambridge. The Living Word Outdoor Drama tells the story of the last weeks of the life of Jesus. The perfect hillside amphitheater is centered around a 400-foot panoramic set which looks like Old Jerusalem at the time when Jesus lived. The mission of the drama is “To spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

LW Cast

The volunteer cast of the Living Word Drama takes pleasure in each performance.

   Dedicated volunteers from many area churches are at the heart of The Living Word from participating in the drama to working in the ticket booth, gift shop, and concession stand. Lighting and special effects along with authentic costumes make this a spectacular event. A white donkey and an authentic horse-drawn Roman chariot add to the excitement.

Jesus healing a child

This picture of Jesus healing a child is on the front of this year’s Living Word brochure.

   A special feature of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” is the ability of audience members or area residents to participate in the show. Costumes are available for them to wear as they become part of the story. Bring your own sandals (no flip-flops) or use those available with the costumes. It’s a great opportunity to be on stage in a large production without having to learn any lines.

LW Harvey and wife

Living Word was founded by Frank Rougton Harvey with his wife, Hazel.

   The Living Word Drama was founded in 1974 by Biblical dramatist Frank Roughton  Harvey when he moved to Guernsey County from Georgia. Since that time over a half million visitors have witnessed the show, which celebrates its 45th season this year.

LW Jesus healing

Jesus heals a woman while townspeople show amazement at his divine authority to heal.

   Today the Living Word is directed by Heath Dawson, a young man with a passion for the outdoor drama. He has the enthusiasm of youth as well as a love of God that makes a great combination for this position. Heath looked out over the performance and remarked, “I love this place. I don’t ever see myself wanting to leave.”

LW scene

The disciples gather at the home of Mary and Martha.

   It’s amazing to find something as magnificent as The Living Word Outdoor Drama located in the hills of Guernsey County. It’s a spectacular setting over 400′ long with a temple, courtrooms, homes, and gateways. The cast puts their heart and soul into making the scriptures come alive as they tell the story of those last days of Jesus’ life.

LV Last Supper lighted

The disciplines gather with Jesus for the Last Supper in the Upper Room.

   Witness scripture come to life through the Sermon on the Mount, the Palm Sunday Entrance, The Last Supper, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension in this beautiful outdoor setting. The excellent sound system makes it easy to clearly hear the performance from any seat in the amphitheater during this two and a half-hour drama.

   The traumatic ending grabs at the heart of young and old alike. A hush comes over the crowd and many hide their eyes when the crucifixion happens as they can’t bear to watch the agony involved. But resurrection follows giving hope to all. It’s a dynamic drama.

LW Jesus on Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday brings Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

   Many improvements have recently been made. New this year are a graveled parking lot, fresh paint in the concession area and restrooms, and wonderful landscaping at the Cross of Mercy circle in front of the box office. Currently, they are working on better lighting for the parking lot.

   During August, the drama hosts “Crucifixed”, a day of musical entertainment geared toward young people. It will feature Christian music bands from across the nation, including As We Ascend, Random Hero, The Protest, Zahna, and our own local praise/worship team The Love Brothers.

LW Art

Roman equestrians add excitement to the drama.

   A family-centered day will be held in September. The “Jerusalem Experience” will feature Biblical experiences of making costumes, games, and fun for the entire family. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students but include Free Admission to the evening performance!

   Their director is certain to greet you as you leave with a smile and “God bless you.” His faith means everything in his life as he has discovered, “It’s amazing what God can do to, for, through, and with a person when you let Him.”

LW Jesus praying   The present attendance record stands from 2016 when nearly 700 people witnessed the Living Word Outdoor Drama. This year “Set the Attendance Record Night” will occur on September 25, 2021, the season finale. They are hopeful that this time there will be nearly 1,000 people in attendance. On this final night of the season, admission is by donation only. Come early to get a good seat.

   Shows for this powerful drama are 7:30 on Friday and Saturday evenings June through Sept.

LW Entrance   Admission is $18 for adults, $6 children (4-12) and $16 for seniors (60 and over). It’s located a couple of miles outside Cambridge at 6010 College Hill Road. It’s a great place for families and even tour buses to spend an evening.

   Listen to the story that never grows old for people of all ages at The Living Word Outdoor Drama sometime soon. Because He lives!

For more information visit their website at www.livingworddrama.org.

Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival – Coming Back Strong in ’21

Another year arrives when folks from far and wide gather in Cambridge City Park for the annual Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival weekend from August 13-15. 2021 will be the 51st year for the festival to be held. Over the years, it has changed with the times but still keeps the juried art as its basis.

Visitors are sure to find something special as the festival includes artists, entertainers, concessions, crafts, student art, heritage tent, marketplace, and some surprises. This weekend event will bring a smile to your face as you see friends and neighbors throughout the park. Here are some highlights of the weekend.

Artists

Artists Russ Shaffer and Virginia Price have been with the festival for many years.

All the work that is seen at this festival is made by the artists themselves. Many will be demonstrating their craft as you watch them make rugs, pottery, musical instruments, and more. It’s a fun time to perhaps find a hobby you might enjoy during the rest of the year.

Maggie and Gene Jorgensen together create beautiful jewelry. Gene also does unique forged iron shapes.

Many of the artists have been in attendance for many years. One artist has actually been at the festival since its beginning. Virginia Price, 101 years old, will again be displaying her watercolors. She still paints even today so is a precious part of the festivities. New artists like Ken Vaughan will showcase their leather goods made from deerskin. Variety can be found around every bend.

Entertainers

The Loves Gospel Quartet, comprised of a father and his three sons, is always a crowd favorite.

Throughout the weekend, the Performing Arts Tent or the Big Pavilion provides a place to rest while listening to talented artists sing, dance, or play their musical instruments. You won’t be disappointed in the variety of music being presented.

These Ladies of Longford give a lively performance of Itish music.

The Loves Gospel Quartet is a popular local group that is always a crowd-pleaser as well as the Cambridge City Band and Muskingum Symphonic Winds. A Celtic group, The Ladies of Longford, delight the crowd with their lively Irish music, and for those who enjoy bluegrass, join Kevin Prater Band, another favorite.

Concessions

Buckeye Concessions is a favorite place for kettle korn and lemonade.

Everyone likes to take a break from walking the grounds and have a treat, or lunch at one of the many concession stands. You’ll be able to get everything from homemade ice cream or kettle corn to a cool Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade.

You might have to wait in line to get some of Russo’s Wood Fired Pizza.

Then head down to the big pavilion to sit down with friends and have lunch. Get some delicious Zeke’s BBQ, Rosso’s wood-fired pizza, or stop by J.C. Concessions for a sandwich or meal that will give you strength to carry on with your festival enjoyment.

Crafts

Crafts for children are a favorite part of the festival. Adults can join in as well.

Each year local ladies interested in the arts create many ideas to be used by children and adults in a special pavilion. For children, they range from masks and crowns to picture frames. Adults might create a design on a tote bag or jar.

Craft classes are held daily in one of the small pavilions with patient ladies guiding children and adults in creating some artistic items they are sure to want to display at home. Cost for these classes is $3 and under.

Student Art

These artistic students were award winners at the 2019 show. They are pictured with sponsors and organizers.

A popular exhibit has become the student art display by youngsters from K-12. Several area art teachers have projects with their class for display and other students submit something they have done at home. Prizes are awarded in different age groups to encourage children to continue practicing their artistic talents.

Artwork from area students of all ages can be found in the Student Art Tent.

High school seniors have a special category as each year a senior or two are awarded scholarships to continue their love of art. Last year a scholarship to continue their education was also given to a college student who had artistic creations on display.

Heritage Arts Tent

Chuck and Shana Fair demonstrate pottery making and decorating in the Heritage Arts Tent.

Showing their Appalachian heritage, many local craftsmen and groups display their talents in this large tent. Here you might find someone making pottery, quilts, or weaving wool.

Carl Wickham has his hand carved Civil War items on display. They are made to scale…just perfect!

Local organizations and individuals display their Appalachian connection through displays of the Guernsey County Historical Society, CARA, and Zane Grey Museum. It’s a great place to learn more about our area’s history throughout the years.

Marketplace

Popular Candy’s Gourmet Fudge is back with delicious baked goods as well.

For many years, Ohio-made products have been featured. Most are tasty treats from the area such as honey, jellies, homemade baked goods, and candy.

Lisa Bell of Farmstead Bakery makes the most delicious gluten-free products you have ever tasted.

Bell Farmstead Bakery will be back with their tasty, gluten-free items. While there you can also pick up a bouquet of flowers to brighten your day or the day of a friend. All of these are from Ohio individuals or companies.

Salt Fork Festival Chorus entertains on Sunday afternoon with voices of local people who love to sing.

For 50 years, the festival has given many an opportunity to display their works of art as well as their musical talents. Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival weekend is a great chance for free entertainment as you walk through over a hundred different artists’ displays.

Put the weekend of August 13-15 on your calendar as a time to explore the arts at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival at the Cambridge City Park. Take your family or friends along for a fun-filled artistic day with great entertainment and food that satisfies.

See you at the festival!

Julia Swan’s Quilts Tell a Story

Traditional would not be a word that describes Julia Swan or her quilts. Julia has been a community minded lady all her life and helped introduce many new ideas in the area. It wasn’t until after the children had all left home that Julia seriously worked on quilting. She tried a few of the traditional patterns but found that she enjoyed making her own creative designs instead.

Angels of God quilt used mother’s handkerchief collection.

Most of her quilts have a story behind them. The Angels of God quilt began with dying the fabric to look like Marc Chagalla’s sky. Louis Palmer, art professor at Muskingum College, helped her arrange the background of angels, which were made from folded handkerchiefs that her mother collected.

When they walked around the fabric, Palmer noticed a godlike figure had appeared in the fabric so Julia used it as the focal point and highlighted it with quilting. The halos for the angels were lace doilies. Their faces were originally to be white until Julia accidentally dropped them in her coffee cup then they had many different skin shades.

The Exhibition quilt contained pictures drawn by her grandchildren.

The Exhibition, more a wall hanging than a quilt, is a collection of three drawings done by her grandchildren when they were three or four years old. These looked like modern art to her eyes! When Julia’s children were young, they had bunny fur jackets so she used some of that fur for the coat of the lady in this wall hanging.

The Many Faces of Liberty represented Ohio in a national quilt competition.

During a Statue of Liberty contest, each state had a quilt chosen to be displayed in New York City. Julia’s quilt, The Many Faces of Liberty, was chosen from Ohio. The face on each Liberty figure was created to represent the people of many nations who have immigrated to the United States. To personalize the quilt, one face has red hair since nearly all members of the Swan family have red hair.

Ohio Barn quilt appeared in Ohio University’s quilt show during Ohio’s Bicentennial celebration.

Pride in family continues as Julia and her granddaughter Anna have combined efforts to make a book of her quilts, Julia’s Quilts “Through the Eye of a Needle,” so the family will always remember their meaning. Her granddaughter is a Delta pilot but not doing much flying these days.

Tom and Julia enjoyed family fun with their four children.

Julie met Tom Swan, the love of her life, at Muskingum College and they settled in Cambridge where Tom had his medical practice and Julia was busy raising four children. At that time Julia was busy giving Red Cross swimming lessons, which were free to all children in the area and volunteered at Hill ‘n Dale Girl Scout Camp.

During this time, Julia enjoyed knitting and made sweaters, mittens, and scarves for everyone in the family. She made needlepoint pillows for almost every chair in the house. That artistic side of her just couldn’t stay hidden. The family enjoyed performing together, hiking, and camping.

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars has been marching in area parades for 45 years!

In 1975, Julia was instrumental in developing what some called a Marching Flag but what the ladies of their bridge club called Broad Stripes and Bright Stars. That first parade was the Bi-Centennial Celebration in downtown Cambridge when the ladies donned their flag sections and marched with the tallest on the side toward the stars going down to the shortest on the other end.

Julia recalled that no mechanical transportation was permitted in that parade so everything was drawn by horses. That made for some careful stepping with the white pants and white shoes of the flag ladies.

This group still marches today in most Veterans Day and Memorial Day parades. There are still two of the original in the group and two daughters of original members have continued the tradition.

This picture was taken at their first parade in 1975.

A special project that involved quilting took place when the Hospital Wing she was a member of decided to hold the Daffodil Luncheon. Al Shore from New York City brought clothes down for modeling during the early years. For about thirty years, the wing members all did a square of a daffodil quilt, which raised money for the hospital through chances sold.

The Swan family supported the Salt Fork Ats & Crafts Festival from its beginning and provided, among other things, a puppet show that children loved and still remember to this day.

Julia uses her picture at a Dickens scene for her Christmas card each year.

Julia enjoys going downtown and visiting with the Victorian scenes on Wheeling Avenue during Dickens Victorian Village. Each year she has her picture taken with one of the scenes. One year she was wiping the coal dust from the face of one of the coalminers with her white handkerchief.

Granddaughter Anna and Julia get creative with ceramics.

Writing letters to friends is also something she has always enjoyed but today she writes wearing a glove to help protect her fingers. Her letters are still filled with positive thoughts and humorous stories in spite of the difficulty with writing. She encourages friends with her motto for living, “Life’s much more fun when you enjoy reading, art, and music. Learn to enjoy each day.”

Playing golf has been one of her favorite pastimes for years.

She even creates cards for her family. On Valentine’s Day, her card included a picture of one of her quilts and this verse:

Come to the gallery along with me

Such pleasures there are yet to be

Admiring these quilts of mine

Together with my Valentine.

Julia still stayed very busy up until the recent pandemic. She has a strong faith in God and enjoys Bible study and sings in the choir at her church. Being a volunteer at the John & Annie Glenn Museum also has given her great pleasure over the years. She is currently part of the planning committee for the 100th John Glenn Celebration scheduled for this summer in Cambridge and New Concord.

Family fun in the great outdoors make for a pleasant day.

Every day is a special adventure for Julia Swan. She doesn’t feel that all the wonderful things in her life have been merely coincidences but part of a bigger plan. She tells family and friends, “Be open to God’s surprises.”

Robb Gable Features Dickens Victorian Village in “Christmastime in My Hometown”

Personal experiences become the basis of many songs that Robb Gable writes. A popular song at this time of year is one he wrote specifically about Dickens Victorian Village called “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

Robb entertained with his Christmas song at a Victorian tea.

Ever since the Courthouse Light Show began fourteen years ago, Robb and his wife, Robin, have attended every Opening Night. The whole family loves Christmas with its music, lights and manger scene. Excitement fills the air in downtown Cambridge during the Dickens Victorian Village season.

This scene provided the inspiration for “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

One evening while watching the Hallmark channel on television, Robb realized that his hometown was very much like a Hallmark movie. As he sat on the couch watching television, he wrote the words to “Christmastime in My Hometown” in ten minutes. The words just flowed as he remembered what happens downtown Cambridge in November and December.

Christmastime is here again.

And our little town is busier than it’s ever been.

And that old courthouse shines so bright

Music fills the air upon a cold December night.

Christmas Eve service has become a tradition at Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship.

Christmas has always been special with his family and every year on Christmas Eve the family gathers at Southern Hills Baptist Fellowship for a musical service that packs the building. Robb, his two sons, and his brother, Pastor Kirk look forward to this family tradition.

Saturday nights with his sons are special musical evenings.

Robb’s love of music drifted over to his two sons, Cole and Eli. Cole has varied talents which include producing classical to heavy metal sounds as well as being an author. Eli has drifted down to Nashville where he writes songs and performs on the drums and guitar.

There’s more to Robb’s musical ability than just Christmastime. He’s a singer, songwriter, and producer of musical entertainment and especially enjoys Christian country music. During the recent pandemic, Robb shared a series of YouTubes, “Alive from the Couch.”

Robb began playing piano and guitar at an early age.

You can find out a lot about Robb just by listening to the words of the songs that he has written, as most of them are from events that have happened in his life. He grew up on a little dirt road on College Hill just a few miles out of town. This led to him writing a song “Dirt Road.”

Many can relate to Robb’s life experiences easily when he puts them to music. Take his “Trailer” song that tells about a few years when he and his family lived in a trailer. It was the first place his family could afford to call their home. His songs all have meaning that touches on real life.

His older brother, Kirk, actually gave Robb the desire to be a musician as Kirk always played music around the house. At the age of seven, Robb began taking piano lessons and when he was eleven, began playing guitar.

This Gable Brothers album cover features the two brothers, Kirk and Robb.

Kirk and Robb performed as the Gable Brothers for several years beginning in 2000. Their songs were heard world-wide and several of their songs charted in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

Their dog, Scout, likes to hang out in Scout Dog Studio.

Today, Scout Dog Studio is where Robb’s music all begins and where he spends most of his time. The studio is named for their dog, Scout, who seems to enjoy hanging out in the studio as well. Robb has two studio rooms. One is devoted to drums, which he feels are the foundation of music. He loves drums and also plays keyboard along with the guitar.

Robb’s collection of Fender Telecasters keeps growing as each one has a different voice.

Robb has quite a collection of guitars but he says that each one has its own voice and purpose. Fender Telecasters have become a favorite and his collection of them has expanded to over 30, according to his wife. She knows Robb well as they’ve been married for 27 years.

A guitar kit was the perfect birthday present for Robb.

Robb loves anything about music. He especially enjoys the process of production. Usually he writes the words first and they come quickly. His songs begin with a recording of the drum, which often is done by his son, Eli. Then Robb adds the rest himself piece by piece…a guitar or guitars, keyboard, and last of all the vocals.

The last song he wrote was for Robin on their anniversary. He took a little more time to write that song – fifteen minutes since it was special! No matter what happens around him, he is happy when he sees her smile.

Recently, he has gone back to his renovation business as he likes working on his own schedule. Gable Renovation specializes in interior remodeling as Robb is a carpenter by trade. He offers trustworthy service, fair pricing, and quality results. He wants to exceed your expectations.

Robb leads the band at Trinity Baptist Church in Cambridge.

In his spare time, he is very active in his church and leads the band at Trinity Baptist. Spreading the Christian message through song gives him great pleasure.

Cole, Robin, Scout, Robin, and Eli enjoy a Gable family vacation.

The Gable family has enjoyed many wonderful family vacations over the years. Sometimes they take their guitars along and they always stop at a music store. Robin recalls one year when they didn’t take a guitar with them. About a week into the vacation, they bought a guitar at a local music store and passed it around like candy that evening. The Gable boys all love their music.

Join Robb and Robin downtown at the Courthouse Light Show.

Catch that hometown Christmas spirit at Dickens Victorian Village in downtown Cambridge during November and December. You’ll understand why it inspired Robb to write “Christmastime in My Hometown.”

And people come from all around

To see the sights and hear the sounds

Of Christmastime! Christmastime in my hometown.

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