Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Heartland Travel Showcase Promotes Tour Group Travel

Heartland Bus (2)

Area travel attractions and tour groups enjoyed a peaceful ride to Heartland Travel Showcase.

    Every February, tour group leaders and attractions from the eastern United States meet at Heartland Travel Showcase to share ideas in various locations of the eastern United States. They have recently been in Pigeon Forge, Detroit, and Chicago with plans to have their showcase in Cleveland for 2021.

Radisson Hotel Home

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol was our home for a few days.

     This gypsy has been fortunate to be able to attend the Showcase for several years as the tour group coordinator for Dickens Victorian Village.  We were fortunate to have a great bus driver for our trip to Lansing. When we arrived, we unloaded our suitcases at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, which was just across the river from the Lansing Center where the Showcase was to take place.

     Heartland Travel Showcase is produced by the Ohio Travel Association in various cities in the eastern part of the United States. Travel is an important industry accounting for nearly $44 billion dollars a year in the state of Ohio. These shows are an important place to make connections and let others know about your particular event.

Lansing River Walk

An enclosed pedway led us from the hotel over this Grand River to the Lansing Center where the Showcase was held.

     This weekend event sets up booths early Friday morning, followed by what is called a Four Minute Meet. Here the tour groups are set up in a large conference room in alphabetical order and attractions have four minutes to tell them about why they might like to arrange a tour to their particular area and attraction.

Heartland Set up

Tour attractions just finished setting up their booths in preparation for the next two days of appointments with tour operators.

     The evening always has entertainment and a delicious buffet of foods provided by the city hosting the event. In Pigeon Forge, we visited The Island at Pigeon Forge as well as the Titanic Museum and a buffet at a country/dinner theater. Detroit treated us to a historic museum while Chicago opened the doors to their Impression 5 Science Center.

Lite Brite at Science Museum

Freedom to play with a giant Lite-Brite screen has Heartland visitors at the science center designing the mega-screen with a huge heart.

Heartland Slime

Several enjoyed the challenge of making their personal bag of “slime” for the kid in them.

     These places not only show other groups the highlights of their area but gives a chance to become familiar with other attractions and tour groups on a more personal level.

2020 Heartland (2)

Dixie Lacy from the Visitors and Convention Bureau and Beverly Kerr, group tour director for Dickens Victorian Village met with many potential visitors.

     Saturday and Sunday are spent at appointments that are scheduled with various attractions. This gives tour operators a chance to learn more about the attractions and see if they would like to schedule a visit.

    All events throughout the weekend are spent in networking with other tour groups and tour operators. There were also seminars on ways to learn about trends in the travel industry and how we might use them in our event.

Heartland Muskingum

On one side were friends from Muskingum County. Brenton Baker from the nearly opened  Dresden & Co. shared the booth with Kelly Ashby, Zanesville’s Chamber Vice President.

     We were pleased to be surrounded by other area attractions making it easy to discuss combined tours for a possible several day tour. These connections are an important part of the travel industry so we have friends who can help answer questions.

Heartland Marietta

Across the aisle, another special friend,  Deana Clark from the nearby Marietta/Washington County CVB  provides possibilities of many interesting tours.

Great Ohio Lodges - Salt Fork

On the other side representing Great Ohio Lodges were Joan Arrowsmith and Kathlene Williams. Our local Salt Fork Lodge is part of that group and the perfect place for lodging.

     By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, ideas are flowing in everyone’s minds about tourism in 2021-22. It’s been a great place to build relationships and plan tours.

Heartland Capitol Building Lansing

Our last evening there, we took a walk to a nearby restaurant and had this view of the Lansing Capitol right down the street.

The bus ride home has everyone talking about possibilities for the future.

If anyone is interested in a tour to Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio during November and December each year, please contact me at DickensGroupTours@gmail.com and we’ll design a plan for your specific group.

Memories of Christmas Past at Arms Family Museum

Arms Entrance

The Arms Family Museum presents “Memories of Christmas Past.”

By the Fireside” brings to life the traditions and decorations used during Christmastime many years ago. Picture yourself sitting by a warm fire with stockings hung from the mantle ready for Christmas surprises. There’s so much to see in seven rooms filled with Christmas of old that you’re sure to find memories that have been tucked away in your mind from years in the past.

Arms Fireplace with cards

This brought back memories of hanging Christmas cards around a cardboard brick fireplace.

   The Arms Family Museum in Youngstown presents its 12th annual “Memories of Christmas Past” from November 23 through Sunday, January 5, 2020. This display has been designed each year by the mastermind of Anthony Worrellia, who explores the world for new ideas and rare Christmas decorations. Each year the rooms take on a different theme which gives them a special glow.

Arms Sitting Room with feather tree and wooden toys

Their cozy sitting room had a feather tree and wooden toys.

   Anthony searches all year for the perfect items to display. He borrows from friends and acquaintances all over the country. His connections through a group of international Christmas collectors, The Golden Glow of Christmas Past, help him in his search for new ideas. A team of volunteers and staff begin setting up the displays in late September.

Arms Asian Dining Room

This Asian dining room was inspired by a Christmas card collection.

   His ideas might come from something as simple as a collection of Christmas cards and postcards. That happened this year when the cards led Anthony to create a dining room setting with an Asian and European touch.

Arms Honeycomb Santa

Honeycomb Santas, candles, snowmen and other decorations were available in the 1920s.

   A display of those old-fashioned honeycomb decorations from the 1920s caught my eye. Large red plastic bells hung throughout the exhibit that used to hang in the classroom. A favorite in the library was a seven and a half foot crystal tree containing over 2,000 crystals which was wrapped with blue lights creating a magical feeling.

Arms Crystal Tree

2,000 crystals shimmer in a field of blue lights.

   A fun Scavenger Hunt along the way had you looking carefully for a list of things to be found. Included were 4 snow dogs, an owl with a Santa hat, a bonsai tree, and as many elves as you could find. It also caused guests to interact with each other creating an all-round friendly atmosphere.

   The setting is perfect as it showcases the Greystone house built by Wilford and Olive Arms in 1905. Upon her death in 1960, Olive left the Mahoning Valley Historical Society her home and its contents with the stipulation that it be developed as the Arms Museum.

Arms Guide Cassie Christmas Card collection

Guide Cassie tells of the vintage Christmas card collection on display.

   While the first floor has Christmas in every corner, the second floor shows the mansion as it was when the Arms lived there. Children prefer the basement, which resembles an old log cabin, as this is the place where they experience hands-on activities.

Arms Sleigh 2

Don costumes for a great photo opportunity.

   In the lower level at “Santa’s Village,” children and adults enjoy getting dressed in Christmas costumes of Santa, elf, or drummer boy. All of these costumes are locally made. Santa’s sleigh, made by another local gentleman, gives the perfect background for a photo opportunity. There are craft tables also where you can make bead or paint chip tree ornaments, holiday cards, or even a miniature Greystone mansion.

Arms Mantle Scene

This mantle scene shows four dogs pulling a girl on a sled. All of them have coats of real fur.

   Catch the Christmas spirit as you stroll through the three floors of Arms Family Museum. Volunteers throughout are very helpful and answer questions easily. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon – 4:00 from now until January 5, 2020, with their display of “Memories of Christmas Past.” In January, they will be rearranging and cleaning to be ready to open the traditional mansion in February.

Arms Gift Shop

Their gift shop contained many vintage items.

   Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children with toddlers under 3 being admitted at no charge. Active military, as well as military veterans, are always free. It’s quite a popular spot as over 8,000 people enjoyed the Christmas exhibit in 2018. Something new this year is permission to take pictures without a flash. Everyone enjoys photos of memorable places they visit.

  Arms Sign   Families have made “Memories of Christmas Past” a family tradition since there’s something new every year. Everyone will enjoy awakening memories and making new ones during a visit to the Arms Family Museum. The magic of Christmas never ends.

The Arms Family Museum is located in Youngstown, Ohio at 648 Wick Avenue. It is near the Youngstown State University campus so watch for their exit signs.

Creative Touch to Cambridge Glass Makes Treasures That Have Historic Value

Cambridge Ornaments - Fireplace MantleIf you break or chip a piece of your precious Cambridge Glass, don’t throw it away. There still might be a use for it.

   Cambridge Glass Company made beautiful pieces of glassware from 1902 -1958 that are still cherished today. Once in a while a piece gets scratched or even cracked, but those who love Cambridge Glass don’t want to throw it away.

Cambridge Chipped

A shelf filled with damaged Cambridge Glass waits to be transformed into ornaments.

   That’s when sisters Cindy Arent and Lindy Thatcher decided they would use these imperfect pieces to make Christmas ornaments. This year they made 170 ornaments and see them selling quickly at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass.

   All of the decorations they make are from imperfect donated glass. Some may be broken dramatically, while others may just have a chip or small crack. No perfect pieces are ever used to create an ornament.

Cambridge severely broken

The stem on a severely broken piece will someday hang on someone’s Christmas display.

   When a goblet is donated, Lindy cuts off the bowl and then cuts off the stem. Two ornaments can be made from one piece of damaged glass. The base of the goblet is not used for decorations.

Cambridge Lindy smooths

Lindy grinds the cut section smooth while wearing protective covering.

   She has a power saw that cuts the glass smoothly, but she still has to grind it to make the end perfectly smooth. Lindy is very cautious as knows that glass particles often fly through the air. She wears a respirator and protective glasses when grinding.

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The top part of a goblet becomes a beautifully etched Christmas ornament.

   After grinding the edges, a bell cap is formed over the end from which it will be hung. An epoxy glue holds the bell cap in place after a few minutes of pressure before letting it set for 48 hours. Then a ring is attached for easy hanging.

Cambridge Cindy decorate

Cindy decorates the ornaments with ribbon and Christmas cheer.

   Every year in the springtime when National Cambridge Collectors Convention meets, Lindy and Cindy often get a new selection of items donated to them for use as ornaments. These ladies donate their time and materials, and all money from the sale of the ornaments is given to the National Museum of Cambridge Glass in Cambridge, Ohio.

Cambridge Sisters

Sisters Cindy and Lindy give all proceeds to the Cambridge Glass Museum.

   A favorite ornament is an etched goblet hung upside down so it resembles a bell. Add a beautiful gold or red bow and it’s the perfect highlight for your Christmas tree.

Cambridge OSU Buckeye and Rosepoint

This OSU Buckeye / Rose Point ornament is an eye-catcher.

   Requests are frequently given for ornaments of a particular pattern or color. A favorite of many is that ever-popular Rose Point. They are shipped all over the United States to people who had family working at Cambridge Glass. A perfect gift!

Cambridge and Cameron (2)

Cameron Fontana from Good Day Columbus chose a Christmas ornament for his wife.

   While Carl Beynon and Cindy began making jewelry in the form of necklaces and earrings from the broken glass many years ago, today those items are being created by Susan Elliott, an NCC member who now lives in New Concord. Her jewelry items can also be purchased in the gift shop at the museum.

Cambridge stem pictures

The wall behind Cindy’s work area shows different stem styles.

   Cindy and Lindy have a long family history of Cambridge Glass. Their aunt, Mary Martha Mitchell worked at the Cambridge Glass Company for most of her life so the girls heard about it all through their youth. Today both ladies are on the Board of Directors for the National Museum of Cambridge Glass. Cindy is the museum director while Lindy is the treasurer.

Cambridge Wildflower ornament

A Cambridge Wildflower ornament is trimmed in gold.

   While Cindy had heard about Cambridge Glass all her life, her interest was piqued when her husband, Mike, bought her a Cambridge Glass Moonlight bowl as a Christmas present. Her interest shortly thereafter became more serious.

   Lindy often went with her Aunt Mary to glass shows all over the country. She couldn’t help but catch the fever traveling with someone who for over thirty years had served as secretary to Presidents of the Cambridge Glass, A.J. Bennett and W.L. Orme.

Creative Team

These busy ladies at the museum, Cindy, Sharon, and Lindy, also co-chair the Dickens Creative Team.

   Not only do these ladies volunteer their time to the Glass Museum, Lindy, Cindy and Sharon Bachna are also co-chairs of the Creative Team, which designs the Victorian scenes for Dickens Victorian Village. Cambridge is fortunate to have such dedication. They are busy and creative volunteers!

Cambridge Ornament Display

Ornaments can be purchased from the museum display.

   Cambridge Glass is still treasured in many ways today. You can find these spectacular sparkling ornaments in the gift shop at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass on 9th Street in Cambridge, Ohio. Their Holiday Hours from November 1 – December 21 are Friday and Saturday from noon – 4:00. 

   Cambridge Glass ornaments will add a special touch to your tree or home. For many, they will bring back memories of family members who worked at the factory. Stop by and visit their outstanding displays. It’s a great place to find a special sparkling Christmas gift or perhaps a treasure for yourself.

National Museum of Cambridge Glass is located at 136 South 9th Street in Cambridge, Ohio just a half block off Wheeling Avenue. Cambridge is located at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 for easy access.

Seneca Lake Pottery Designed by Chuck and Shana Fair

Chuck and Shana (2)

Chuck and Shana become a Victorian couple during the Dickens Victorian Village season.

   When people retire, they often search for something to fill those empty hours. Chuck and Shana Fair found the perfect retirement project – making pottery. They took classes at OU Zanesville and had so much fun that Chuck decided to set up a studio in their garage. That led to the creation of Seneca Lake Pottery.

   Shana grew up on the water at Lake White near Waverly so Seneca Lake seemed the perfect place to retire. She loves the feeling of weightlessness in the water and enjoys meeting a school of fish as well as exploring the beauty of the underwater colors.

thumbnail_CF as town crier

Chuck became the town crier for Dickens’ Opening Night.

   Chuck grew up locally near Kimbolton and met Shana when they were students at Ohio State University. They married after graduation and each had fulfilling careers. Chuck worked as a buyer in the electronics industry, where he saw the progression from tubes to transistors to microprocessors. Shana’s career led her to work as a library director.

Chuck at Potter Wheel

People enjoy watching Chuck throw a pot on the wheel.

   Today at Seneca Lake Pottery, Chuck focuses on wheel throwing to create pots with strong lines. He embellishes his pots by altering the thrown forms, adding texture and finishing with bold glazes.

   He frequently demonstrates making pottery at downtown events and festivals. People, especially children, gather around to watch his creations magically take form.

Shana at SF Festival (2)

Shana displays yarn colored with natural dyes.

   Although pottery was new to Shana, she has been interested in crafts since she was a Brownie Scout and wove her first lanyard. Since then her passion turned to creating objects in macrame and she is presently working on a window treatment.

   She also hand spins yarn, silk, and cotton using her great-great grandmother’s spinning wheel. Then she dyes the yarn with native plants such as marigolds, onion skins, walnut husks, Queen Anne’s Lace, or insects. These were the kinds of natural materials the early settlers could find near their homes.

 

Seneca Pottery at Ellie's Cottage

A display of their Seneca Lake Pottery can be seen at Ellie’s Cottage in downtown Cambridge.

 Last season Shana created some beautiful pottery Christmas ornaments with silkscreened original sketches of the scenes done by Bob Ley before the Dickens Victorian Village project ever began. The idea was so popular that she is going to do more scenes this year.

Santa's Stockings

Collecting for Santa is one of the roles they play at the Byesville Rotary Club.

   Both Chuck and Shana are active in not only the making of pottery but also volunteering in the community. They are a husband/wife team that works together at so many functions.

Chuck at Rotary Chicken BBQ

Chuck enjoys working the chicken BBQ on a Rotary weekend fundraiser.

   They play leadership roles in the Byesville Rotary Club by organizing events to help the community. The Rotary Club provides scholarships to many area youths, Health Screenings. and Christmas food baskets to mention a few of their projects.

Shana - Guatemala

Chuck and Shana traveled to Guatemala to present books for their Literacy Program.

   A recent mission trip took them to Guatemala where they donated books to the Literacy Program there. This country is making an attempt to be self-sustaining, so Rotary is assisting with scholarships and books to help keep children in school. The Fairs enjoy meeting interesting people wherever they travel.

Creative Team 2015

They both are part of the Creative Team that designs the Dickens Victorian scenes.

   They also are a tremendous help with Dickens Victorian Village in nearby Cambridge. In fact, without their long hours spent with the Dickens Creative Team, the Victorian scenes may never make it to the streets. Chuck is the carpenter in residence as he builds and repairs platforms as well as figures. He is now responsible for making the framework for any new or replaced characters.

Shana Mannequin head

Shana recently put the finishing touches on one of the mannequin heads.

   Shana has been working on the scenes for years as she has an eye for perfect costumes. Her needle and thread are often at work here. In the last couple of years, she has expanded her talents to making the heads for some of the figures.

Downtown Potters

Chuck and Shana enjoy demonstrating their pottery skills in downtown Cambridge.

   Both Chuck and Shana will be found in the Heritage Arts Tent at the 50th Anniversary of the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival demonstrating their creative talents. Chuck will be throwing pots on the potter’s wheel while Shana will be demonstrating slab building on molds.

thumbnail_2a Chuck

thumbnail_2t Shana--Cpt. Don's

Chuck and Shana enjoy scuba diving in the Caribbean.

   They enjoy exploring new places so take exciting vacations each year. A favorite spot is the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean where they enjoy scuba diving in the coral reef at the National Park. This year their plans are to head to Glacier National Park on a Roads Scholar tour.

thumbnail_CF at Bryce

Chuck enjoys the view on one of their adventures at Bryce Canyon.

   As you can tell, this is a busy couple. When asked what they do for relaxation, both answer, “Gardening.” Chuck also enjoys golfing and woodworking while Shana, with her library background, enjoys reading a book at the water’s edge. They both enjoy frequent trips to the theater.

   Chuck admonishes young people to “keep an open mind about what is going on around you. Don’t be complacent about what you learned in your childhood.” Chuck finds changes in technology fascinating. “There’s no way to guess what you are going to see in life in the next hundred years.”

   People like Chuck and Shana who share their talents are vital to the success of the community. We’re happy they decided to make their home on Seneca Lake.

Smucker’s Creates Memorable Meals and Moments

With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good!

Smucker's horse drawn wagon

J.M. Smucker used a horse and cart to deliver apple butter when he started in 1897.

Trees planted by Johnny Appleseed became the source of apples for Jerome Monroe Smucker back in 1897. This farmer from Orville, Ohio built a cider mill to press fresh apple cider. It wasn’t long after that when Jerome sold his first jar of apple butter from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. The J.M. Smucker’s Company was formed.

 

Smucker's Entrance

Smucker’s entrance is lined with an apple orchard since that’s where it all began.

   Their early jams and jellies are still popular today even though their list of products has been greatly expanded. Family run for four generations, today more than 7000 employees carry on that fine early tradition in more than 30 locations across North America.

 

Smucker's Pollination Garden

During the summer, you can walk through their pollination garden.

   Smucker’s archway highlights their history as you enter. On the left-hand side is an apple orchard so fitting for someone who started the company from apple trees planted by Johnny Appleseed. In the summertime, they have a Pollination Garden for the incredible bees to get their nectar for the production of fruit.

 

Smucker's Jam Chandelier

This chandelier made of jelly jars hangs from the open rafters.

   The building even takes you back to those early years as the high open rafters show that it is all wood pegged. No nails were used in construction, much as those early settlers did long ago.

 

J.M. Smucker on apple bin

J.M. proudly stands on his bins of apples as he makes his proclamation.

   A small pictorial museum tells the history of JM Smucker from its beginning. It shows the changes that have been made to make it the present day company. A display of glasses that were used for canning Smucker’s over the years brought back memories of mom saving jelly jars for our drinking glasses at home. That could have been because someone broke a lot of glasses.

 

Smucker's overview

Capture the Christmas Spirit when you enter their Showcase Store.

   The company’s main purpose is to bring families together to share memorable meals and moments. The Smucker’s store has only been around since 1999. This Showcase Store displays all the brands that Smucker’s now makes, which has really expanded since their humble beginning. “Quality first and sales will follow” was the slogan of Willard Smucker.

 

Smucker's Sample Station with Denise

Not sure which flavor to buy?  Denise will help you at the Sample Station.

   Jams and jellies still rank at the top of the favorites list. If you see something you would like to taste, take an unopened jar to the Sample Table, where they most likely already have a jar of that opened for tasting. It’s a great place to make comparisons between brands. Smucker’s claims they are the only brand of jam that can make a slice of bread lively!

 

Smucker's Danilynn and peanut butter

Smucker’s Danimarie explains all the varieties of peanut butter they make.

   Every month has great specials in their store. When I visited, it was Peanut Butter Month where you could sample several different brands of peanut butter that they produce for different companies. My final decision was a jar of Smucker’s Peanut Butter. Creamy, my choice!

 

Smucker's Memorable Moments

Have someone’s picture placed on a label at their Memorable Moments station.

   Another special place is a spot called Memorable Moments. Here you can have your picture taken, or download a picture from your phone, and have it placed on the label of a jar of jam, jelly or peanut butter. How cute to have a child’s picture on his favorite jar of peanut butter!

 

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Buy gifts for your dog or cat as well – made by Smucker’s.

   Surprisingly, they also make snacks for dogs and cats. Find treats like Milk-Bone or Meow Mix as a treat for your furry friend when you get home from shopping.

 

Smucker's Cafe

Here’s a great place to stop for a snack while shopping.

   Take a break at their Smucker’s Cafe where the bake an oven brick pizza while you wait. Or if you want to try something new, they make a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich that they say is delicious. Prices were very reasonable and products quite tasty.

Smucker's Sundae Shoppe

Make your own sundae at the Sundae Shoppe with a variety of toppings available.

 

Smucker's Gift Baskets

Check out their great gift baskets for every occasion.

   Smucker’s is a great place to shop for Christmas or any time of the year. They have beautiful gift baskets that you can purchase, or they will make one according to your wishes. Visit their festive store in Orrville, Ohio during the Christmas season or any time of the year.

 

Smucker's Store

Smucker’s Showroom features all their brands all year long.

   In every jar from Smucker’s, there’s more than you see. There are memories, smiles and love shared by people who make it.

Smucker’s is located west of I-77 in Orrville, Ohio on Route 57 just a quarter mile north of Route 30. Their headquarters is located at 1 Strawberry Lane.

Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

The entrance to Bonnie’s home gives a warm Christmas welcome.

Christmas trees appear in every room of the home of Bonnie Perkins, whose love for trees began back in childhood. Even though her mother wasn’t into decorating much for Christmas, there was always a tree at her grandmother’s house.

  Bonnie remembers a tree there that was so special it’s still stuck in her mind. Her grandmother decorated the tree with their gifts – handkerchiefs with Disney characters on them. Under the tree were bright oranges, a special treat.

Bonnie Living Room Tree

Bonnie tells about this tree, “The tree in the picture is my most special tree, closest to my heart. It has several decorations my kids made as children, some handmade ornaments from a friend, beautifully beaded balls from my late sister, and lots of memories of my husband when we would choose and buy a few new ornaments at Christmastime. Now in late years, I have things on it from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It always has a special spot in my bedroom. I see it the last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!!”

   Once she married Floyd Perkins, they always had a cut tree for Christmas. Now since she has so many trees, they are of the artificial kind.

   Her pet project for the past 15 years has been Wonderland of Trees, her favorite undertaking of everything she has ever done. This charity display and auction attracts area artists with a flair for creativity as they produce trees and holiday decorations that inspire.

Bonnie Awards

Bonnie displays her many awards for Wonderland of Trees. The glass trees in her hands are awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice.

   Not only does Bonnie help with the display of the Christmas paradise in the lobby of Southeastern Medical Center, but she also frequently is awarded several prizes. In past years, she has won People’s Choice and Best of Show Awards several times.

Bonnie Packed Branches

The branches of her trees have so many ornaments you can scarcely see the pine.

   Usually, she gets an idea “sometime during the end of the year and the first of October.” When someone wins awards year after year, you know they have a magical touch. Once the tree is decorated, spotting the pine beneath can be difficult. Any place the pine peeks through, Bonnie places a flower. Now the entire tree blooms in the color of her choice.

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

She calls this her Grinch Tree, which still makes a beautiful reflection.

   Her home is a showcase of holiday spirit. Many years it has been part of the Christmas Tour of Homes with people clamoring to get a look inside this beautiful house. It usually takes her a couple of weeks to decorate, and even though Bonnie is 83 years old, she climbs the ladder with ease

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

One tree people always remember at Bonnie’s is her Jewelry Tree.

   A favorite tree of visitors can be seen in one of her spare bedrooms. One year Bonnie had a bowl of costume jewelry that she wasn’t quite sure how to use. She also had many strands of pearls as that was a time of her life when she wore pearls frequently. It crossed her mind to give them to Goodwill.

   Then one evening she was resting in bed when an idea came to her. She would use the jewelry on a Christmas tree. That year the Jewelry Tree won all three awards at the Festival of Trees. People’s Choice, Best of Show, and Most Creative. But then it was sold at auction.

   Early the next day, Bonnie’s son and daughter arrived at her home with their families. They were carrying the Jewelry Tree as they had purchased it for their mother. This tree is special today for more reasons than awards.

Bonnie Big Tree

The largest tree in her house stands by the window in the living room.

   Her living room contains the largest tree which nearly reaches the 24′ ceiling. Also here is a beautiful fireplace built from two boxcar loads of copper ore sent from Colorado. An ornate chandelier from Spain adds a special touch to this room as well.

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

   No matter how beautiful everything appears, it’s a house to be lived in and enjoyed. Grandchildren enjoy games of hide and seek behind the furniture, and toys can often be found scattered around the rooms.

Bonnie Family Portrait

This family portrait hangs in her hallway as family is most important to Bonnie.

   Having started life in a poor beginning has made Bonnie appreciate her good fortune, but she assures that it came from hard work. Floyd and Bonnie stayed busy all through their life.

Bonnie Welcome Center

Not all Bonnie’s trees are at home. Every year she decorates a tree for the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Center. She still climbs ladders!

   Even though Christmas trees are her passion, she also enjoys flower gardening, her fish ponds, grandchildren, and helping others. Something she looks forward to once a month is going with garden club members to make crafts with residents of Cardinal House.

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

Here’s just a sampling of her beautiful flower beds.

   The most exciting thing she ever did in her life was to take a cruise around the world with her late husband, Floyd. For 101 days, Bonnie said she lived a life of nothing but luxury while seeing places like the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt.

Bonnie Showing Horses

Bonnie shared this photo of her prizewinning Tennessee Walker, which she rode in competition.

   Even though Bonnie has enjoyed homes in Florida, thoroughbred Tennessee Walking horses, antique cars and lovely surroundings, no one’s life is ever all perfection.

Bonnie's 2018 tree

Bonnie’s 2018 Christmas Tree at the Guernsey County Visitors Bureau.

   This gracious lady always makes people feel special wherever they happen to meet her. Her advice for an enjoyable life would be, “Look for the good things in life. Find something happy about every day.”

Happiest Season of All at White Pillars Christmas House

White Pillars - Christmas House

White Pillars Christmas House carries unique decorations.

Take a break from the Christmas rush and surround yourself with the spirit of Christmas. One place to receive that feeling is at White Pillars Christmas House. Visions of beautiful decorations for your home will dance in your head.

White Pillars - Snow Babies

These well-liked Snowbabies are attractively displayed.

   Wanting a business of their own, three high school friends decided to reopen White Pillars Christmas House along Old Route 40 west of New Concord. Why did they decide to open this particular business? Because everyone likes Christmas and they could remember going to White Pillars as children.

White Pillars - Buckeye Tree

Every good OSU fan needs some Buckeye ornaments.

   Having been built in 1882, the home originally belonged to a potato farmer, who had a 300-acre farm there. Upstairs were the servants’ quarters and a separate back staircase they used can still be seen behind the railing in the Sale Room.

White Pillars - Bear Nativity

This bear nativity scene seems perfect for a cabin or lodge.

    When Jane Castor first saw this house, she told her husband, “That house would make a perfect Christmas shop.” In 1981, Don and Jane Castor, owners of Zanesville Pottery, opened the first White Pillars Christmas House at this location. For many years after that, Betty Ward had the house, but then sadly it closed for five years. Everything was sold down to the bare walls.

   Those three high school friends: Trent Cubbison along with Keith Taylor and his wife, Yolanda, had to start over from scratch. The house had stood empty during that five-year span, and many wished it was still open, as they appreciated a place that carried unique items for the holidays.

White Pillars - Marshmallows

These “Toasted” marshmallows hold clever sayings like Inside I’m a real softie.

   The trio decided they would continue that tradition and fill up the house with special Christmas items you couldn’t easily find elsewhere. Each January they close the store and head to a special market where they purchase these unique items.

White Pillars - Snowpinions

Snowpinions have a little sass and a lot of attitude. Have a little fun with your gift!

   These three hard-working owners also work in other areas as well. All graduates of John Glenn High School, Trent is now the principal of the East Muskingum Middle School. Keith serves as pastor of three small Methodist churches in Claysville, Cumberland and Hiramsburg. That gives him a special connection to Christmas.

White Pillars - Grinch Tree

This nasty creature, The Grinch, hated Christmas until a little girl changed his mind.

   Their first year in 2015, only the bottom floor was opened. They didn’t want to go in debt so increased their merchandise as quickly as funds were available. Their plan obviously worked as in 2017 they opened the second floor as well. Now all nine rooms are full of Christmas items you probably won’t find anywhere else locally.

White Pillars - Department 56

This Department 56 Village is all about Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.

   A popular item is Department 56 Villages from Dickens’ houses to those of Charlie Brown. They believe they are the only store in the state of Ohio that sells them.

White Pillars- Radko Ornaments

Radko ornaments are made of Polish hand-crafted glass.

   Christopher Radko glass holiday treasures are created in Polish artisan factories. Each piece is handcrafted from glass blowing and silvering to delicate painting. These magical heirlooms bring joy and happiness to homes worldwide.

White Pillars - Ornaments

Find the perfect ornaments for your tree from their vast selection.

   While they don’t sell Christmas trees, they do have a wide variety of ornaments, which are their biggest seller. Prices range from $2 – $80 and you’ll have to see for yourself their great variety.

White Pillars - Keith

Co-owner, Keith, stands beside a popular LED Confetti lite display.

   Keith, who has a great sense of humor, enjoys being at the Christmas House because “You can’t come in a Christmas shop in a bad mood.” He also has great fun decorating and arranging the displays.

White Pillars - Room

This room holds many magical decorations for your home.

   It’s a soothing place to shop as soft Christmas music plays in the background all the time. Everyone that stops by is happy they are open again. For the owners, it’s a great chance to meet people from all over the world and hear their Christmas tales.

White Pillars - Santa

Santa greets you at the front door as you enter and as you leave.

   Christmas will be here before you know it, so stop by White Pillars Christmas House at 7405 East Pike (Route 40) Norwich. Their hours are Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 4 pm. And they’re open eleven months of the year – January, they shop!

   You’ll be amazed at how much is perfectly displayed inside this two-story Victorian mansion.

White Pillars Christmas House is located on Old Route 40 between New Concord and Norwich on the north side of the road, naturally. Stop and receive a friendly greeting and find some treasured Christmas decorations.

Cambridge Amateur Radio Association Serves the Community

Amateur Radio Operators

We talk to the world.

Kenwood TS-50 Radio

CARA recently inherited an old Kenwood TS-50 Ham Radio.

Communication modes with amateur radio are numerous. Some still use the International Morse Code, while others prefer voice communication or a digital mode. Using the satellites that are in our skies today, they can bounce radio waves off them, or even off the moon or meteors, to send messages around the world.

   Longtime members of Cambridge Amateur Radio Association, Sonny and Lyn Alfman are quite active in the group and helpful in explaining the joys of amateur operators, called “hams”. Sonny said that word was derived from Old English in London, where their speech made ‘amateur’ sounds like ‘hamateur’. Now you easily see the connection.

HAM Passing Messages via Amateur Radio

“Ham” operators Bruce Homer, Larry Dukes, and Alan Day pass messages.

   These hams have to pass an amateur radio exam in order to obtain a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license. They are only called amateurs because they do not get paid for their services.

   The Cambridge Amateur Radio Association (CARA) is the latest name for a group that was formed in Cambridge way back in 1913. They were the 18th Amateur Radio group formed in the United States. Today there are 5,600 groups.

_Ham Caleb Barton with Everlyn Barton

Evelyn Barton practices her communication skills while Caleb Barton listens and learns.

   This area group has approximately fifty members, meets every month and often takes a field trip to a science museum. But you can be certain they enjoy their radios every day. Ages of operators vary from 10 to 82 and each one of them has their own unique call sign.

   Special Radio Sports encourage competition through challenging contests on the local, state, national and even international levels. Sonny likes being challenged. “If it isn’t hard, it isn’t fun.” Perhaps that ‘s one reason he’s talked to every country in the world at least once. This includes talks with King Hussein of Jordan and Barry Goldwater.

CARA 2

During a contest, Larry Dukes talks to another ham as Nathan Roe lists info on the laptop.

   It’s possible to talk to other amateurs locally, nationally, internationally, and even out of this world via the International Space Station. Actually, ham radio is the official hobby of NASA’s space station where they frequently talk to students as they pass over them.

   It’s said that the ham operators wear a two-sided hat – one side for emergencies and the other for fun.

Ham CARA Alan Day snowstorm (1)

CARA member, Alan Day, assisted on the Muskingum River during the 1978 blizzard.

   One service of CARA is to provide auxiliary communications to agencies during disasters such as floods, windstorms and hurricanes. They work closely with the Guernsey County Emergency Management Association, but special training is required to work with EMA. During that terrible blizzard of 1978, they made communication possible for the Ohio National Guard in this area.

CARA

At a Field Day in Byesville’s Jackson Park, Evelyn Barton talks to another amateur while Jake Johnson listens in.

   Ever wonder how events stay so well organized? Well, these amateur radio operators enjoy being behind the scenes for bicycle events, marathons and parades – especially the Cambridge Christmas Parade since 1979. Now that’s commitment. They align the parade entries and send them out in the correct order of appearance. That’s no easy task.

   These local hams enjoy setting up portable stations at local events so people can better understand how it operates. Recently, they displayed at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, National Road / Zane Grey Museum, and John & Annie Glenn Historic Site. Just last month their members operated from the three crash sites of the USS Shenandoah in Noble County.

   When Christmas season arrives, their club has an on-air net on Christmas Eve. Children, who are visiting a member, can talk to Santa on the radio!

Ham Century of Radio

The group worked together to write a book, “A Century of Radio”.

   Ham members created a book, “A Century of Radio”. The book was organized by Evelyn Barton and tells the history of the club, which celebrates 105 years this December.

Ham Waller McMunn Museum

Standing outside the future Waller-McMunn Museum are Sonny Alfman, Larry Dukes, Dave Adair, and young helpers on each end.

  A current project involves the building which was used by Roy Waller and his brother-in-law, J. Homer McMunn, as an amateur radio station. Then in 1923, this same building was used as WEBE, the first commercial broadcast radio station in Cambridge. Plans are to restore this building and turn it into the Waller-McMunn Museum.

   Contact is maintained on a monthly basis through the CARA Communicator, a quarterly newsletter created by Lyn. Members participate in numerous events to practice their emergency communication skills. Training classes are held and the local group administers the federal test so new trainees can receive their FCC license.

Sonny and Lyn

Special thanks to Sonny and Lyn for answering all my questions and teaching me about CARA.

   When electric power fails, ham radio becomes even more important as it’s the only foolproof radio in the world. If you would like to become a ham operator, please contact Lyn Alfman at 740-872-3888 or lynalfman@aol.com.

   Ham radio has something for everyone to enjoy! Sonny says, “Amateur Radio is America’s best-kept secret.” It’s the perfect way to leave home while sitting in your favorite chair.

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.

 

Nutcracker Village Guards Historic Fort Steuben

Nutcrackers Line the Avenue

Nutcrackers, under an archway of lights, line the walk at Fort Steuben.

Time slows down as everyone strolls slowly through Historic Fort Steuben Nutcracker Village while they view the Nutcrackers and visit with friends.You can feel the Christmas spirit in the air.

A truly magical event happens at Fort Steuben Park from November 21 through January 7. Nutcrackers stand guard throughout the park twenty-four hours a day to bring joy and excitement to the Steubenville community along the Ohio River.

German tradition tells us that nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck and protect your home. Their power and strength is much like a watchdog keeping evil spirits and danger away.

john-glenn.jpg

Each Nutcracker designates a popular area figure such as astronaut, John Glenn.

The first nutcrackers carved by the Steinbachs of Germany featured kings, military officers and prominent members of the upper class. Steubenville Nutcracker Village has continued that tradition by having Nutcrackers designed in the image of prominent local, historical and literary people.

Nutcracker Ohio State

All area schools are represented by a Nutcracker, including Ohio State.

The Steubenville Nutcracker Village became a reality due to the partnership of Nelson’s of Steubenville and Old Fort Steuben Project with Jerry Barilla, president. The project is sponsored by Trinity Health System. It’s their gift to the people of the Ohio Valley. They lay claim to having the world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers at 150 and growing each year.

Nutcracker First Junior

That first Nutcracker, Junior, stands inside the Visitors Center.

The idea came to Jerry Barilla as he was packing away his nutcrackers after the holiday season. A spark went off that said, “This could be a community project.” Enter Mark Nelson of Nelson’s Art and Design who fanned that spark and with help from his family created the first Nutcracker.

Nutcracker Terese and Mark 2

Terese, Uncle Drosselmeyer, and  co-founder, Mark Nelson. enjoy visiting at the market.

Each 6′ Nutcracker is uniquely designed and hand painted in Steubenville by Nelson’s, home of inspirational gifts. Mark’s daughter, Terese, designs and oversees painting of the nutcrackers while Brian Stutzman, woodworker at Nelson’s, does the actual carving.  Much thought, planning and time go into each Nutcracker as their details are outstanding.

Nutcracker Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa has been honored due to her great inspiration to the world.

Constructed of a dense foam with fiber glass covering, they are both light enough to move easily and sturdy enough to withstand the harsh winter elements of November and December.

Nutcracker Grandpa and Grandma

Grandma and Grandpa Nutcracker sit in Advent Market with picnic tables behind them.

When Mark was asked if he had a favorite Nutcracker, he thought carefully before responding. “Picking a favorite Nutcracker is like picking a favorite child…Impossible!”

Nutcracker Nativity SceneTake a stroll through Fort Steuben Park day or night to walk among the Nutcrackers lined along the avenue created by a canopy of colorful lights. Nighttime becomes magical as lights and music highlight the characters.

Nutcracker Tree in Advent Market

A 30′ Christmas Tree stands in the center of Advent Market.

Special effects can be seen from the blue and gold lights on the Sixth Street Bridge, a 30′ Christmas tree in the heart of Advent Market, and wreaths, holly and garland all around the park. The Advent Market, inspired by a Franciscan custom, is open the five weekends after Thanksgiving on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with handcrafted and homemade goods available from holiday chalets.

Nutcracker Crooners

The Rat Pack is featured, including hometown star, Dean Martin, “King of Cool”.

If you would care to watch a special performance, Wooden Heart Follies, an original Nutcracker musical, is being presented at the Steubenville Masonic Temple.  Discover if wooden figures can fall in love. While the melodies are from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, the story is based on the Nutcrackers in Fort Steuben Park

Nutcracker Letters to Santa

Inside the Visitors Center is a convenient place to write Letters to Santa.

Don’t forget to check inside the Visitors Center, where you’ll find a Winter Wonderland of Christmas holidays from the past. There’s also a place to write a letter to Santa and many great gift ideas.

Nutcracker Fudge

You could even find Nutcracker fudge in the Advent Market.

Take a free ride downtown, to view some of the artwork in this “City of Murals”, on the Holly Trolley every half hour on Saturday or Sunday from 1-4 pm.  Or perhaps you prefer a free Hayride every half hour on Advent Days from 6-8 pm.

Nutcracker Amphitheater

Berkman Amphitheater along the Ohio River provides a place for weekend entertainment.

Watch live entertainment consisting of area performers, church and school choirs, and regional bands on Advent Weekends from 5 – 8 pm in the Berkman Amphitheater in the park. Holiday music fills the air.

Nelson Family

The Mark Nelson family all play a role in Steubenville Nutcracker Village.

Stroll through Fort Steuben Park and pick out your favorite Nutcracker…if you can. It’s a great place for families to come together and receive a little Christmas magic.

Historic Fort Steuben Nutcracker Village can be reached off Ohio-7 along the Ohio River. Address is 120 S 3rd Street, Steubenville, Ohio.

 

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