Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Gnadenhutten Ohio Celebrates 250 Years

Ohio’s Oldest Existing Settlement

A local lady designed this wooden flag to celebrate their 250th Anniversary.

Gnadenhutten is the oldest settlement in the state of Ohio and this year celebrates its 250th birthday. In 1772, Rev. David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary, and another young missionary, John Heckewelder, founded two villages along the Tuscarawas River in the state of Ohio with the help of Joshua, a Mohican chieftain.

Most are familiar with Schoenbrunn Village, which was Zeisberger’s first settlement for the American Indians – mostly Delawares. His second settlement that same year was Gnadenhutten and that town still exists today.

Children have many games to enjoy at the festival.

This October, Gnadenhutten will celebrate its 250th anniversary at their Homecoming Celebration on the 7, 8, and 9th. It all begins on Friday evening with food trucks downtown and apple butter being made at the museum. Saturday has activities planned all day long for all members of the family. Sunday, church services will be held in the Museum House in the Historical Park.

The stage is set for a musical Saturday afternoon and evening.

Streets downtown are blocked off for craft booths, Farmers’ Market, Corn-Hole Tournament, and music. While the kids are enjoying the Bounce House, Obstacle Course, Putt Putt, and Face Painting, adults might relax playing Bingo at the Fire House. Don’t forget to check out Custom Kemps Car Show in the afternoon.

Putnams System Rewind will provide music on Saturday evening.

Saturday will be filled with music. In the afternoon Wes Schryok and Mike Wykoff will be entertaining. Then that evening, Putnams System Rewind, a family band with a reputation for performing a great variety of music, will be on stage from 6 -9. Music will be followed by fireworks from the top of Stocker’s Hill.

An encampment in early 1800s style will greet visitors to the Historical Park.

Apple Butter Days happens on October 8 and 9 at the museum with apple peeling beginning on Friday night when they will show people how to make apple butter. The family of Samuel Shrock from Millersburg will be making the apple butter again this year. Enjoy visiting the encampment in the park where people will be dressed for the early 1800s.

A monument at the Historical Park remembers those who were slain.

A memorial was placed in the Historical Park at the spot of what is now called the Gnadenhutten Massacre. The plaque on the memorial states:

HERE

TRIUMPHED IN DEATH

NINETY

CHRISTIAN INDIANS

MARCH 8, 1782

Ten years after settlement, Captain David Williamson, an American Revolutionary War officer, and his militia suspected the peaceful Mohicans and Delawares in Gnadenhutten, who had been converted by the Moravian missionaries because they remained neutral during the war. Seeking revenge for other Indian raids, they tricked the Delaware into believing they were friends. The next day, March 8, 1782, they killed all the villagers except for two scalped boys who escaped and told of the incident. One Ohio historian called it “the wickedest deed in our history.” Story of this tragedy is told at the outdoor drama, Trumpet in the Land.

The museum contains a history of Gnadenhutten from its beginning.

A museum tells the story of those early settlers, who lived a peaceful life in their log cabins along the river. These Indians loved music and enjoyed working in their gardens. There is also a reconstructed church and log cabin like those that were on that site over 200 years ago. A burial mound contains the remains of those ninety Christian Delawares who were massacred that day.

John Heil, curator, visits at the museum with his two best friends, who never argue with him.

The mayor’s office and the museum have a small booklet “Massacre at Gnadenhutten” which is a copy of the history published by the Gnadenhutten Monument and Cemetery Organization back on October 7, 1843. It tells the entire story of what is called the blackest page in history of the Northwest Territory.

A special display tells the history of John Heckewelder, the founder of the village.

After the massacre, John Heckewelder returned to the village and again organized the town but this time with basically a white Moravian population. Today there is still a Moravian Church in Gnadenhutten called the John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church established in 1803. Due to his early persistence in establishing the village, Gnadenhutten still exists today.

The Moravian tradition lives on as John Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church has been in the same spot for 220 years.

Mayor Rich Gosling hopes that in the future, “While we will never forget the tragic massacre that took place here, I would like for Gnadenhutten to, first of all, be remembered as the oldest settlement in Ohio.”

The Tuscarawas River flows at the edge of Gnadenhutten.

The town has grown from those early days when travel was on trails by horseback and wagon or on the Tuscarawas River. Things changed in the early 1900s when the Ohio-Erie Canal traveled along the river, followed by the railroad and then today’s highways.

Enjoy a visit to Gnadenhutten, the oldest established town in Ohio, during their 250th Anniversary celebration. Then watch what changes happen over the next 50 years.

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.

Pea Ohana Watersports for a River Adventure

Want to drift down the river on a sunny afternoon? Pea Ohana Watersports in Zanesville might be the place for you to visit. There you can rent a river tube, kayak, or paddleboard so you can float or paddle the day away as you go down either the Licking or Muskingum Rivers. Opening Day is May 27, 2022.

Bear and Marissa Davis, owners, enjoy life on the river.

While the name may seem strange here in Ohio, Pea Ohana is a famous surfing hotspot in Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu. That’s a favorite place for Bear Davis and his wife, Marissa to vacation. For added connection, Pea Ohana means Bear Family in Hawaiian. For Bear and Marissa, “Pea Ohana is not just a business, it’s a lifestyle.”

Bear’s ancestors came here from Wales and became coal miners in Coshocton. While the family still owns a farm in Coshocton, the family moved to Newark to work on the canal there. Bear remembers always being around the water. His family would take their boat to different rivers every chance they had.

Over the last several years, Bear has been a lacrosse coach in Division 1 schools and won championships there. He has actually coached lacrosse all over the world and today still helps to coach it in the inner-city in Columbus. But his love for being on the water was always in the back of his mind.

Business partners, Bear and Mark, greet those seeking an adventure on the river.

Bear began looking for a spot to open a business on the river and checked several places. A building became available under Weasel Boy Brewing at 126 Muskingum Avenue along the river in the Putnam district that seemed the perfect spot. There was also a restaurant, Muddy Miser, next door. Bear, his wife Marissa, and a friend Mark Sell are partners in this place for river fun.

Everyone gets their river tubes ready for departure.

At Pea Ohana you can rent kayaks, river tubes, or paddleboards for your adventure on the river. There is a large assortment as they have 700 river tubes, 70 kayaks, and 40 paddleboards at this time. Bear indicated, “Our plan is to create a hub for anything on the water for people who want to try something new.” Families have a blast making new memories on the river.

Group is organized for their gentle ride down the river.

There are different sizes and shapes of tubes to suit your taste. Some of their river tubes have a back support for extra comfort and even a cup holder to soothe your thirst as you drift on the river. Pick your favorite to take you down a four-mile ride on the wild and scenic Licking River over two sets of rapids. Enjoy a splash through the water.

A group of kayaks and river tubes enjoy drifting down the river.

The colorful kayaks come in two shapes. Some of them you can sit down in and others you sit on top. It’s all according to your preference. There are also cooler tubes to carry drinks and snacks for your time of relaxation.

This passenger/equipment bus takes passengers to the starting point of their ride.

They might drop you off in their equipment bus at Dillon Falls for a four-mile stretch on the Licking River. Some make the trip in an hour and a half while others prefer to drift lazily for maybe four hours. Another route begins at their headquarters and goes four miles down the Muskingum River. If you have your own kayak, they are happy to arrange drop-off and pick-up for you.

The fun begins on the bus ride!

Paddleboards are something new and Bear feels it is important to be ready for the experience. It begins at Historic Lock #10 where you first have a yoga class by Yoga Booth to loosen up the muscles for the adventure of using the paddleboard up and down the historic Muskingum River canal in downtown Zanesville.

Great view of the Y Bridge happens along the journey.

While floating down the Muskingum River, passing under the famous Y-bridge is a highlight of the trip. Pea Ohana provides guided tours for the beginner on up. Bear, River Fun Engineer, feels, “A trip to the river with Pea Ohana will be a fun and relaxing way to escape life’s worries for a few hours.”

Pea Ohana provides a great place for family fun.

Everything is done on an individual basis with each person having their own kayak or tube. They do encourage everyone to go with a group for safety purposes and a new group begins hourly as needed. Along the route, there are checkpoints to make certain that no one is having a problem and that all are on track.

Raymond Ramos painted this mural inside the activity center.

Corporate or birthday parties give people a chance to know others on a different level. It’s a relaxing atmosphere to talk with your fellow drifters as you go down the river. After the trip, they have a 6,000 sq. ft. room where you can have a birthday or corporate party.

If you are quick, you might even catch a fish.

They are also opening a site in Columbus this summer at the Boat House Restaurant at 679 Spring Street in Confluence Park. Here you can drift down the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers.

Kayaks and tubes are available for rent Friday through Sunday at Pea Ohana Watersports in Zanesville. Fees for the kayak rentals are $35. Tube rentals are $25. Call 740-297-8798 to make an appointment for an outing Monday through Thursday. Live life today!

Visit their website at http://www.peaohama.com for more information and to make reservations. Take time this summer to enjoy the great outdoors with your family. Bear reminds guests, “ Make magic happen on the river this summer.”

Great Guernsey Trail Provides Variety of Activities

Enjoy the view from the observation deck at Coal Ridge Park.

Spring is in the air! Take a leisurely walk or bike ride down the seven-mile Great Guernsey Trail that goes from East Cambridge to Lore City. It’s a smooth walk or ride as the trail is paved with asphalt and fairly level. So whether you’re a walker, runner, skateboarder, or cyclist, the trail provides a great place to exercise surrounded by the peacefulness of nature.

This bridge on the trail crosses over Leatherwood Creek.

This all began as a rails to trails project along the old tracks of the CSX Railroad. Leatherwood Creek runs beside the trail for much of the way so you can expect to see waterfowl on your walk. You might also see rabbits, squirrels, bald eagles, deer, and other wildlife as well. You’ll be surprised at all you will discover as you explore the Great Guernsey Trail.

A child walks the trail with their dog. Photo by Cassie Clarkson Photography

Ron Gombeda, Director of CDC which supervises the trail, explained, “The natural beauty along the trail makes it a great place to visit. The habitat assortment of wetlands, woodlands, and creek makes it a great place to view a variety of wildlife.” This trail has recently been given the honor of being designated a National Recreation Trail by the Department of the Interior.

At the Corduroy Road trailhead in East Cambridge, you will find the Guernsey County Archery Range with an elevated shooting platform and the Trailside Skate Park suitable for skateboarding and rollerblades. The Trailside Concession stand sells prepackaged snacks, drinks, and bicycle repair kits during hours of operation. They even have a charger for electric cars at a nominal fee!

The dog parks are a great place to let your dog run free and get some exercise.

Great Guernsey Trail Dog Parks can be found at the Corduroy and the Lore City Trailheads. Dogs like to play too and this gives them a fenced-in place to run freely.

Lore City Park provides the other trailhead for Great Guernsey Trail and has plenty of parking.

The Lore City Trailhead has restrooms, drinking water, and a beautiful playground for the children. It’s also a historical site with a sign telling the story of Civil War General John Hunt Morgan stopping at what was then Campbell’s Station and causing havoc along the famous Morgan’s Raiders Trail.

You might be lucky enough to spot a deer during your walk or ride.

A new trail has been added near the 1.5-mile marker that links the Great Guernsey Trail with Coal Ridge Park and Trails. While the trails here are still unimproved, you’ll find observation platforms and a large pond for fishing and kayaking.

Melissa West and Karly Lyons work on the Earth Science feature at the trail.

Earth Science Education Stations have been created through the assistance of Karly Lyons. These have been placed at various spots along the trail and filled with rocks, fossils, minerals, and other earth-related materials. Learn a little more about our world as you travel the trail.

Find Little Free Libraries along the trail at Cambridge, Kipling, and Lore City.

A Little Free Library has been added to the trail so people can pick up books and leave ones they have already read to share with others. Adult and children’s books are usually available in boxes at Cambridge, Kipling, and Lore City.

Cambridge Rotary and Buckeye Trail students help plant a Butterfly Garden along the trail.

During the spring and summer months, enjoy the many wildflowers that grow along the trail. Stop by the Butterfly Garden which was started by Laura Dunlap. The Cambridge Rotary Club and Buckeye Trail students have helped with planting flowers there to attract the butterflies. It’s a nice stop along the trail.

A Sensory Path provides a series of movements for kids to follow.

There are frequent markers so you know how far you have gone. Benches also appear quite often so you have a place to rest if needed. They’ve thought about everyone when designing this trail.

Families enjoy the wheelchair accessible path.

For those using wheelchairs, the trail is accessible for a relaxing drive in the fresh air. Parking and restrooms are available at the beginning and end of the trail with a portable restroom located midway down the trail.

Three times during the year, the trail sponsors a 5K/10K/ Family Fun Walk with a half marathon, which attracts around 250 participants. The first one will be on May 21 followed by one in August and then December for those who enjoy the cold. All proceeds go to improvements at the trail.

In October, Treats on the Trail gathers at the Lore City Park. There may be close to a thousand people at this event. It is a free event and open to the public with costume contest, prizes, and raffles. Treats are given by many local businesses from Cambridge to Kipling and Lore City.

Maintenance keeps the trail trimmed and cleared all year long.

When it snows, there are a few cross-country skiers who get out early and use the trail before the maintenance crew clears the trail for walkers and bikers. It’s amazing how many different uses this trail has developed and they have plans for more. A five-mile obstacle trail course could be their next project.

Great Guernsey Trail has become a popular spot for outdoor exercise making it necessary to add extra parking at the Corduroy Trailhead. It’s the place where walkers, runners, bicyclists, cross-country skiers, and birdwatchers gather.

Make plans now to enjoy sunshine in nature as you travel the trail at any season of the year.

Fun at Fox’s High Rock Petting Zoo in Hocking Hills

Fox’s Petting Zoo is south of Logan on Route 664.

Next time you’re in the Hocking Hills area, take the youngsters a few miles south of Logan to Fox’s High Rock Farm and experience their Petting Zoo. The animals and hosts are very friendly. Get up-close to gentle animals that love extra attention.

Aaron and Cindy Fox want to share their love of animals.

Some people naturally love animals. Aaron and Cindy Fox grew up with dogs, cats, and horses all their life. So in 2016, when they found a small farm near Logan, they thought it would be the perfect place for a Petting Zoo so they could share their love of animals.

Horses have been a long-time Fox family favorite.

The animals here love people, as are well cared for and given special treatment from the time they are born. When animals are handled with kindness, they reciprocate by being gentle and love to be petted, fed, and talked to.

Miniature donkey Cindy watches over her baby Zeke.

At the Petting Zoo, you will find sheep, horses, a pig, miniature cows, miniature donkeys, many goats, and friendly cats. While this is a small petting zoo, guests receive significant attention. Several college students, who all love animals and children, work here during the summer months. They answer questions and assist children as they find a favorite animal to pet.

This young man is giving special attention to a lamb by combing it.

Visiting a petting zoo has many benefits for children. They learn how to be gentle and caring with goats and sheep yet learn to be brave when petting larger animals like donkeys and horses. It’s the perfect place to observe the unique behaviors of the animals at close range.

This young lady goes nose to nose with a gentle cow.

Aaron and Cindy want the Petting Zoo to be affordable so admission is $2 per person. Many children come back often during the year to watch the animals grow and change. Baby animals are always a big attraction.

Purchase an ice cream cone filled with Petting Zoo Feed and get close to the animals.

If you really want the animals to be your friend, buy an ice cream cone filled with Mazuri Petting Zoo Diet for $1. All the animals like this food which is purchased in 40-pound bags. You’ll have them eating right out of your hand. Yes, they even eat the cone!

Primary diet for all of the animals is hay from the Fox’s farm. During the winter season, they receive grain in the morning, but throughout the summer when the Petting Zoo is open, animals are fat and happy from all the food they are fed from the ice cream cones.

Goats, especially the baby ones, are very popular.

Get up close and personal with many goats that fill the pens. Children love watching the playful antics of the goats. Rub a pig’s belly or hug a lamb before heading out to the pasture to pet a horse, donkey, or cow.

This friendly pig likes to have its belly rubbed.

Rules for visiting say: 

  • Please no hitting, biting, pulling, running, yelling, or screaming.
  • Not responsible for butts, scratches, licks, and spit.
  • We take responsibility for fun, good times, big smiles, laughter, and education.
Nacho is a rescue cat that loves the attention of visitors.

Their gift shop is filled with gifts you are sure to enjoy. Find tee shirts, local Hocking Hills products (some made of goat milk), and stuffed animals, of course. Just outside the gift shop is a Penny Pincher machine that turns your penny into a souvenir with a picture of an animal on it. They have a wide selection of animal Christmas ornaments so I had to have one for my Christmas tree that gets decorated with memories of all my favorite places.

Their other business is Hocking Hills Canoe LIvery.

Aaron and Cindy are never bored as they also have Hocking Hills Canoe Livery in Logan. Here, the staff helps plan canoe, kayak, and raft trips on the Hocking River.

Once in a while, Aaron and Cindy find someone reliable to watch the animals and take a break in the Smoky Mountains or at Gatlinburg. Stopping at any Petting Zoo they see along the way is part of their journey as they are always looking for new ideas and ways to improve their zoo.

Children enjoy feeding the goats.

Their goal at the Petting Zoo is to give others the joy they feel being surrounded by animals on a daily basis. The Petting Zoo is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day every day except Wednesday from 10:00 – 5:00. During September and October, they are usually open on the weekends.

Teach the love of animals to your family by visiting the Petting Zoo with super friendly animals just south of Logan on Route 664. Take pictures for memories of a great day in Hocking Hills. The animals are waiting for you!

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.

Storybook Christmas in Muskingum County

Santa enjoys “Twas the Night Before Christmas” at the Muskingum County Library.

Children and adults look forward to favorite Christmas stories year after year. Muskingum County has taken those favorites and turned them into window decorations, paintings, and outdoor displays that make you want to pick up a book and read those stories again.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” decorates the lawn of Park National Bank

Nearly 100 businesses in Zanesville, New Concord, and Dresden have developed displays of favorite storybooks. It’s the perfect time to take a ride or walk to see how creative they have become. The displays can be seen until Jan. 1. It’s fun to look for them along the way!

All this is possible due to the combined efforts of Muskingum County Community Foundation, the Muskingum County commissioners, and Zanesville-Muskingum County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. When groups combine their efforts, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.

“The Polar Express” arrives at New Concord’s Village Hall

This Christmas Storybook adventure began in 2014 when it was decided to add a musical light show to the courthouse. Then over 50 businesses in Dresden, New Concord, and Zanesville picked a favorite holiday storybook and decorated their places to match the theme.

This rustic manger scene, “The Very First Christmas,” at First Baptist Church in Dresden explains the real meaning of Christmas.

You’ll probably find all your favorite stories and characters someplace along the way as today there are even more. Some of my favorites were Rudolph by the new Santa house at Secrest Center, the Charlie Brown window paintings at Community Bank, and the old, rustic manger scene at the First Baptist Church in Dresden.

Window displays at Goss Supply have been a special attraction for many years.

Once the Storybook Christmas began, ideas began to form for added decorations and events throughout the season. Everything expanded and Goss Supply added a Coloring Contest with teddy bears for winners. That contest continues to this day with two winners being chosen from each age 4 – 12.

Santa’s House is a new addition to Storybook Christmas this year.

By 2016, horse and carriage rides were added at Zane’s Landing and many additional Christmas lights were placed there. The Storybook Christmas Parade began that year also with Santa welcoming in the holiday season.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” brightens the corner downtown.

During all this time, the committee had wonderful assistance from students at Mid-East Career and Technology Center. They continue to construct decorations for the storybook themes and help hang lighted pole decorations to this day.

Take a selfie with the Elfie.

While this all began six years ago with the courthouse light show, Christmas activities have expanded dramatically since that time. This year they added the Santa house and a 5K Run and a 1 Mile Walk. It will be exciting to see what the future holds.

“Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” stands near Santa’s home at Secrest Center.

Children will want to visit Santa at his new home by Secrest Auditorium. He is there Thursday through Sunday when he has time to visit. Check the schedule on www.VisitZanesville.com for accurate times.

Mail letters to Santa at North Pole Express mailboxes throughout the county.

If Santa’s not home, you might want to drop off a letter to Santa. There are eleven North Pole Express Mailboxes throughout Muskingum County where letters can be mailed. They will then be read on WHIZ-TV and also posted on the website.

Visit “A Special Place for Santa” at White Pillars Christmas House in Norwich.

If you happen to be in the Zanesville area in the evening, there are several places that have very nice light displays. Zane’s Landing’s Holiday Trail of Lights is filled with Christmas cheer as well as the Lemmon Family Christmas Light Show at 909 Lindbergh Avenue.

“The Nutcracker” stands at the door of Smore Baskets in Dresden.

Of course, you’ll want to end your evening in Zanesville with their Courthouse Music and Light Show, which should certainly put you in the Christmas spirit.

Windows at Community Bank are painted with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

When you return home, perhaps you’ll enjoy finding an old Christmas storybook you have enjoyed over the years. Sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and read one of those classic tales that will never grow old.

Wishing all my readers out there a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with precious memories.

Oglebay Festival of Lights Brings Winter Joy

A tunnel of twinkling lights welcomes you to the Oglebay Winter Festival.

Christmas wonder fills the air with a drive through the beautiful Oglebay Winter Festival of Lights in Wheeling, West Virginia. Adults and children alike catch the holiday spirit as they witness six miles of ninety lighted scenes on 300 acres. Here you’ll find one of the largest light shows in the nation.

Oglebay’s Good Zoo continues to light up for the holidays.

In 1980, Oglebay’s Good Zoo staff decided they would decorate the Good Zoo with lights to attract more visitors in the winter months. “The Good Zoo Lights Up for You” began with dazzling lights and a holiday laser music show in the Benedum Planetarium.

The carnival atmosphere helps you enjoy the beautifully lit carousel.

Seeing the success of this project, the commission decided to expand it throughout Wheeling Park. Winter Festival of Lights began in 1985 when it had 125,00 lights placed on trees, buildings, and scenes. Five years later, the size of that show had doubled and continues to have added attractions and improvements each year.

Enjoy the lighted ferris wheel and the strong man ringing a bell.

No one tires of seeing the lights or driving in long lines of traffic to witness them. That just gives more time to enjoy the displays. Plan to spend the evening having a leisurely drive that captures the spirit of Christmas.

An Ohio River paddleboat sees its reflection at the park.

More than one million people enjoy this light display each year. It has become a popular drive-thru for tour buses as well as family cars. The ability to see the displays from a higher view makes tour bus visits extra special. Or you can catch the trolley at Wilson Lodge on a first-come, first-served basis unless you make reservations in advance.

There are still several original displays that are visitors’ favorites. These include the Candy Cane Wreath, the Twelve Days of Christmas, a 60′ tall Poinsettia Wreath, and the large Polyhedron Star. Some things never lose their charm.

A new feature this year is a 70′ tall Holiday Tree at The Hilltop

In 2021, a 70′ high Holiday tree is their newest feature. You can find it at The Hilltop. Enjoy thousands of dancing lights that combine color, music, light, and animation into the evening sky.

Santa directs the musical light display at Oglebay Mansion this year.

Sounds of the Season have been added to fourteen scenes so you might sing along as you drive the trail. Stop and watch Santa at the Oglebay Mansion as he conducts the musical synchronized light show there.

Families enjoy a walk through lighted blossoms in Gardens of Light.

They haven’t forgotten the reason for the season. Inside the Carriage Glass House, you’ll find a life-size nativity scene. It glows with the beauty of the season since the “Christmas Tree Garden” with 30 live decorated trees is nearby. Don’t forget to walk through the “Gardens of Light” with lighted hanging baskets and illuminated flowers along the path. It’s breathtaking!

Dinosaurs always catch the eye of youngsters.

The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay runs from Nov. 4, 2021, to Jan. 9, 2022. That gives you plenty of time to watch the light show after the holiday rush when you have more time to relax. It’s a great way to start the new year.

New this year is a Holiday Dinner Show “Jingle This” at the West Virginia Public Theatre in Oglebay. Enjoy a holiday meal, then listen to the music and stories of several talented performers. This happens two weeks in November and three in December from Sunday through Thursday. Check their calendar for dates and reservation information at www.oglebay.com.

Christmas tin soldiers guard the roadway.

The gates open at 5:30 each evening and there may already be a line at that time. They suggest a $25 donation per vehicle to maintain and improve the Festival of Lights. Every $25 donor receives a Festival of Lights Vehicle Pass valid throughout the holiday season as well as an Oglebary Rewards book. However, it is a free show…donations are appreciated but not mandatory since it is a public park.

Don’t miss the sights and sounds of Christmas at Oglebay!

Watching the Festival of Lights inspired Bob and Sue Ley to initiate a Christmas holiday tradition in downtown Cambridge. Dickens Victorian Village was created as well as their fantastic Courthouse Holiday Light Show.

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.

PV’s Pumpkin Patch for Fall Fun

Welcome to PV’s Pumpkin Patch!

Children naturally gravitate toward a bright orange pumpkin. Take home your favorite shaped pumpkin, carve a special face, then use it for decoration. You can’t celebrate fall without a pumpkin.

Children are certain to have a great time at PV’s Pumpkin Patch near Frazeysburg. Every Friday and Saturday they’ll find activities that will make them smile. It’s their fifth year and the Pumpkin Patch just gets better each year.

Grandpa’s tractor gets special repair attention from a skeleton crew.

Paul and Wendy Vensil are fortunate to live on the land where Paul’s great-grandparents lived since 1874. In 2017, Wendy came up with the idea for a Pumpkin Patch. Ever since Paul was a youngster, his grandpa called him PV. Therefore, PV’s Pumpkin Patch seemed a natural name since it was located on his grandpa’s farm.

Being able to still work the farm is something Paul really enjoys. Wendy enjoys watching the children have a good time. It makes all their hard work worthwhile.

Decorate for fall with pumpkins, mums, gourds, and cornstalks.

Wendy plants three different varieties of pumpkins from late May to early July and starts as many as possible in individual cups before planting. When you have three acres of pumpkins, that’s a time-consuming task. However, they have fun watching them grow.

The jump pad always has someone bouncing.

That first year, along with the pumpkin patch, they bought a jump pad. It’s huge! Also they purchased a beautiful playset and started the corn box – a popular place for youngsters. Every year they have added something new.

The corn box is a favorite of youngsters.

New this year is a Basketball Gravity Wagon for all those basketball fans out there, a new barn for their pigs and goats, and a new slide with a more slippery liner.

The new Duck Race attracts people of all ages.

The Vensils live surrounded by family in an old-fashioned kind of atmosphere. That family supports their efforts and helps in so many ways from planting to decorating.

What fun to hop in a barrel for a ride.

The best way to start your visit is with a wagon ride or children can take a barrel ride instead. These bright blue barrels are cut out so two children can ride in each. This year, animal heads have been added to each barrel for some extra fun. A tractor pulls them around the grounds and back through a spooky Halloween trail in the woods.

Two dragons guard the entrance to the corn maze.

You would expect a Pumpkin Patch to have a corn maze. This one is guarded by two dragons! There’s also a hay bale maze, which is more difficult to construct than you might believe.

The hay bale maze can be a challenge to children.

There’s even a Zipline just for youngsters under 100 pounds. Let them have the fun of a Zipline at a young age with little danger as it isn’t too far above ground and only 90′ long. Spark the spirit of adventure in your children.

Imagine a Pumpkin Sling Shot. That’s something even the adults find enjoyable. Pull back on the Sling Shot and send a small pumpkin flying through the air. See how far they can go!

Families enjoy picking a wagon filled with pumpkins.

The setting provides adults a great view of the entire area, which is fenced in so children have boundaries. All activities are within the fence making for a relaxing day at PV’s Pumpkin Patch. Parents appreciate it! It’s an amazing place with fun for all ages of children.

Susie’s Snack Shack provides refreshments on the weekends.

Food Concessions are on Saturday and Sunday only. Susie’s Snack Shack contains favorites sandwiches like BBQ pork, shredded chicken, sloppy joes, and hot dogs. You might like Loaded Nachos or Taco in a Bag. All are at reasonable prices.

Don’t forget the Petting Zoo where children can get up close to some of their favorite animals. Here you’ll find pigs, goats, roosters, chickens, and bunnies.

Slide into the pumpkin patch on a slippery slide.

PV’s Pumpkin Patch is closed on Monday and Tuesday, but open for many activities and purchases on Wednesday – Friday 4 pm – 7 pm. Their days filled with extra fun for the children happen on Saturday 11 am – 7 pm, and Sunday 12pm – 5 pm. They are open through the end of October. Zipline, wagon rides, barrel rides, and concessions are only open on the weekends.

Admission is $7 per person ages 2 and up and children must be accompanied by an adult. Wednesday – Friday adults are admitted free and children are $5. Check their schedule at www.pvspumpkinpatch.com .

While there, adults can pick up some mums, pumpkins, gourds, Indian Corn, and cornstalks to give your home or business a touch of autumn. You can pick your own pumpkin or take home one already picked. It’s time to decorate for fall. Children will have so much fun at PV’s Pumpkin Patch.

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