Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

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.

Ride the Rails to the Pumpkin Patch on Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad

Pumpkins go home to make jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Train rides highlight the month of October in Mt. Perry, Ohio. Board the historic Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad for a 45 minute ride through scenic southeastern Ohio. At the end of the ride in October, the train stops at the Pumpkin Patch where each child has an opportunity to go out in the field and pick out their own pumpkin.

Engineer Scott took control of diesel engine 4541.

Bill Ratz, Scott Dunbar, and an enthusiastic group of men and women enjoy spending weekends and free time working on the train, the tracks, and new ideas to make the train enjoyable. The sound of the train whistle and the call of “All Aboard!” thrills everyone who loves to ride a train.

Bill Ratz, train man, explained the history of Z&W Scenic Railroad.

Bill has been in love with trains since his first Lionel train as a child. When he became a paper boy, he always stopped to watch the trains along his route. Then his life turned a different direction when he met his wife, Pat, at Miami University where he majored in nuclear engineering. In recent years, he worked for IBM in Columbus City Schools as a software computer operator. His love of trains always remained as he worked with a tourist train there during his time off.

This unique dump truck runs on the tracks but has a bed that swivels to unload on the side.

The Zanesville & Western Railroad (Z&W) extended throughout southeastern Ohio in 1902. It connected Columbus to many of the coal and clay mines in the area. Locals knew the line over a hundred years ago as “Zigzag & Wobble.” It often carried coal that was mined in many areas of Ohio, or Glass Rock’s silica sand to places manufacturing glass, pottery, dinnerware, and fire brick.

Beginning in 1982, the Buckeye Central Scenic Railroad operated out of Hebron, Ohio. In 2003, they loaned their train to Byesville, Ohio until Byesville Scenic Railroad purchased their own equipment in 2006.

That same year of 2006, Bill and Pat heard from a friend, Ron Jedlicka, about an abandoned train track, that was owned by the State of Ohio. They took a ride to Mt. Perry to look the scene over and found the track was so overgrown that it couldn’t be seen in places. However, a dream was born that day.

A new coat of paint brightened up the flat car so it is ready to roll.

Ron had a huge interest in railroads as had been one of the founders of Buckeye Central. Ron met Scott at a train meeting and convinced him to join their efforts at Mt. Perry. Soon some of the equipment from the old Buckeye Central was moved to Mt. Perry via rail. The flat car being used today is one of those pieces of equipment.

Conductor Dennis made sure everyone was in place before the train moved.

The first thing Bill purchased for the Z&W Scenic Railroad was a locomotive. It was built for the U.S. Navy in 1941. His next purchase was the Indiana Coach from 1920. It has seats, which are being recovered as time permits, from the Long Island Railroad. His last purchase was the transfer caboose. All of these cars were brought to Mt. Perry over the highway.

Scott has purchased other equipment that is used for the train. Bill will admit that although he loves trains, Scott is the one with the mechanical skills to keep things running. They make a great railroad team.

In 2008, the Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad was born just a few miles off Interstate 70 between Columbus and Zanesville on SR 204. It operates out of Mt. Perry on the Glass Rock Spur along Jonathan Creek. The route today is about three and a half miles from Mt. Perry to East Fultonham and back. They have a flat open air car and an enclosed passenger car for your riding pleasure and a ramp for entering with ease.

The track goes through a shady tunnel of trees.

The tracks must be sprayed every spring so the train can ride smoothly along its route. Side branches are trimmed to avoid accidental brushes with riders. A bright blue coat of paint has been applied to the open-air car making it look like new. These volunteers work hard to make the best of what they have available. The entire route shows the beautiful countryside with everything well maintained along the way.

Board the train in Mt. Perry for a work in progress. The route will eventually cross 13 bridges and have 12 miles of track. They are hoping to add several new events such as a wine tasting ride in the future.

Dave Adair cooks a hobo dinner for Hobo Camp Weekend.

There are many possibilities for a train ride. School groups, senior citizens, and Boy Scouts enjoy riding the rails. Hobo Camp Weekend encourages passengers to wear their best hobo clothes and join them for a hobo meal around the campfire.

A Hobo Camp Weekend encourages passengers to wear their best hobo clothes and join them for a hobo meal around the campfire. You will probably be treated to beans and wieners or hobo stew!

Grassman Weekend gives an opportunity to watch for Grassman, or Bigfoot as he is often called. This is a great chance to share stories about personal experiences and viewings.

The Pumpkin Train stops to let everyone pick their own pumpkin from the patch.

Children get special treatment on many of the train rides. In October the Pumpkin Train runs rain or snow every Saturday and Sunday on October 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, and 30-31, 2021. The train leaves on the hour each hour from noon until 4:00. Kids love this time. A stop along the way gives children the opportunity to go out in the field and pick their own pumpkin.

The conductor greets passengers on the Christmas Train.

In December, an evening Santa Train on December 11-12 and December 18-19, 2021 is decorated inside and out for the season. Children love this ride as everyone gets a bag of candy and also a wrapped gift when they depart. A highlight, of course, is a special visit from Santa.

Santa welcomes everyone when he arrives riding on the engine.

60-80 people can ride the train easily. If you would like to have the whole train for your group even during the week, please call Bill at 614-595-9701 for a group rate. Parking is handy across the road in the Mt. Perry Foods parking lot.

Happy children pose with their pumpkins.

Cost is very reasonable with $8 for adults, $5 for children 6-15, and children 5 and under are free. Plus this year, everyone will have the pleasure of getting their own pumpkin from the patch.

Meet the Z&W in October at the Pumpkin Patch!

Western & Zanesville Scenic Railroad is located just a few miles from I-70 at Exit 142. Turn south on Mt. Perry Road for four miles, then turn right onto Coopermill Road. After about half a mile, turn right on Ohio 204. Parking is on the right hand side of the road in the Mt. Perry Foods parking lot. Or you can put 5700 State Route 204 NE, Mt. Perry, Ohio in your GPS!

Family Fun at Storybook Trails

Something new has been added to entertainment for youngsters who enjoy a walk in nature. Ohio Department of Natural Resources added Storybook Trails in 2020 to five state parks as a place for youngsters to explore the world of books as well as nature. Ohio is one of only seven states with free admission to all of its 75 state parks.

This Storybook Trail entrance is at Dillon State Park.

The first park to have a Storybook Trail was Alum Creek State Park. Other parks that share the nature trail include Dillon, John Bryan, Maumee Bay, and Wingfoot State Parks. More will be added. Here families can walk down scenic trails while learning about nature from authors who received inspiration from it.

Each park features a different book regarding nature and the books are changed at least once every year. This year, ODNR partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library to provide story content to the trails.

Reading and enjoying nature are two important values being developed. These Storybook Trails bring books to life for children and families. Along the way, you might want to sit down at a picnic table to enjoy lunch or a snack in the great out-of-doors. Some of the trails are paved while others are grass.

This summer, read “In the Trees, Honey Bees” along the Dillon trail.

Dillon State Park in Zanesville was the first Storybook Trail in Muskingum County. Here the story of “In the Trees, Honeybees” by Lori Mortensen is presented in child-high pages along Black Locust Trail. That’s down by the beach and ball courts with a great playground close by.

Children enjoy reading the story page by page.

“In the Trees, Honey Bees” is a rhyming book about nature. Younger children always like rhymes while on the sidebar there are creative activities and information about bees, pollination, and honey for older children. Students actually chose this book as they understand the need to save the honey bees.

This half-mile trail encourages children to explore the world of nature and is not too long for younger children or grandparents. There are 16 colorful child-high panels that bring the book to life and feature fun facts, nature clues, and activities. Trail-side interactive panels will have readers buzzing like a bee or breaking into a bee dance. These boards also encourage reading as you read the entire book along the trail.

Some activities will take you on a side trail that circles back to the main trail so you don’t miss any of the story. These extras add excitement to the day if you have the time and energy.

Choose a book from Little Free Library at the end of the trail.

When you are finished walking the trail, stop at the Free Little Library, where you can borrow a book to take home with you or leave books for someone else to enjoy.

This young man enjoyed reading the story last summer.

The Muskingum County Library liked this idea so much that they created a Story Walk in downtown Zanesville in June 2020. They change their stories with the seasons so you will frequently have a new adventure.

Stories change frequently on the Story Walk and the walk ends at the library.

At this time, you can read the story of “Officer Buckle and Gloria” as the pages are set in the beautiful flower containers along 5th Street beginning at Market Street, and end up at the Muskingum County Library.

Families enjoy the Story Walk in downtown Zanesville.

Officer Buckle presents safety programs to Napville Elementary School. But the children pay little attention until…he brings his dog, Gloria, along with him. The children love the antics of Gloria. Take the Story Walk and find out how the story ends.

Kidzville in Riverside Park provides an enjoyable and safe place for children and families.

Plans are near completion for another Story Walk near Kidzville in Riverside Park along the beautiful Muskingum River. Permanent frames will be installed this summer downtown and at the park so stories can be changed frequently.

Book pages have been enlarged for easy and fun reading.

Placing Story Walks at strategic places in the county where the community frequents will encourage reading and exercise. Springtime has brought families and their children to Kidzville as a great place to play in the fresh air. It’s a busy place. Many families are looking forward to the opening of the Kidzville Story Walk.

All three story trails provide a great place for a free stroll through nature with your children or grandchildren as you read a book, get some exercise, and explore the world of nature together.

Follow this shady trail to read all pages of the story at Dillon State Park.

Storybook Trail at Dillion State Park just west of Zanesville is the perfect place for a day with the entire family. Often visitors see white-tailed deer, grouse, wild turkeys, waterfowl, and sometimes even a bald eagle. The trail is located near a nice playground with a picnic area, and very close to the beach for a day in the sun. Visit there soon for free outdoor family fun. Be sure to pack a picnic basket!

“For the Birds” Creates Solid Birdseed Feeders

Retirement often leads to finding a hobby that makes life more fulfilling. When Marsha Stroud and Lee Marlatt retired, they found a recipe to make birdseed feeders and decided to try it. Now in their fourth year, they create the most unique birdfeeders imaginable for every season of the year. When they started this venture, they had no idea it would become so popular.

Marsha and Lee enjoy talking to customers at Rise and Shine Farmers’ Market.

They named their business simply “For the Birds” since that’s the purpose of everything they make. Their handmade solid birdseed feeders are a popular item at craft shows, farmers’ markets, schools, and Facebook. There’s a great variety to choose from. These birdseed art pieces must of course be non-toxic to birds.

Choose from a selection of owls in all colors.

The feeders begin with a cake or cupcake mold in various shapes and sizes. Roy, Marsha’s husband, cuts away a narrow section of the mold so a wire or hemp can be used as a hanger. Then a wild birdseed mix or sunflower seeds that have been combined with gelatin, water, flour, and light corn syrup gets poured into the mold. After being dried, Marsha colors the pieces with a food coloring paste.

Flowers and butterflies are the most popular birdfeeders for summertime.

Some of the more popular shapes in the summer are flowers such as zinnias, daisies, or roses. During the winter, snowmen and snowflakes become popular. Hearts appear for Valentine’s Day and bunnies for Easter. Their original ideas give customers something different to look forward to each year.

A heart-shaped birdfeeder is welcome anytime of the year.

Designing the birdseed feeders requires hours of experimentation, often causing frustration and even sometimes failure. But in the end, they put their heart and soul into each creation making it unique. They hope that it will end up being a special moment in someone’s life, or in some bird’s life!

Birdwatchers will enjoy having a couple of these feeders outside their window. A large variety of birds will soon appear in your backyard with the addition of these solid birdseed feeders. Keep your bird book handy for easy identification.

Many place their feeders outside a window for easy birdwatching.

Give one as a great gift for someone in a nursing home. If a tree isn’t handy, get a shepherd’s hook and place it outside their window where you can hang one of these unique birdseed feeders. Often the birds hang off the birdfeeder while they get a good snack.

Marsha and Lee like to customize the feeders according to requests. A man asked them to design a birdfeeder in the shape and color of the OU paw for his mother’s 90th birthday as she was a big OU fan.

Snowflakes and snowmen are the best sellers during the winter months.

Another lady requested a wreath of sunflower seeds with cranberry accents as a special Christmas treat…for her chickens!

As you might imagine, they are always on the lookout for molds of various shapes for their creations. One mold that has escaped their grasp is that of a turtle, not a Ninja turtle, just a regular box turtle.

The ladies prepare for the next farmers’ market with new birdfeeders.

Marsha and Lee, with help from Roy, usually work in the Stroud’s basement three days a week. They use approximately 100 pounds of birdseed each week to make between 80-90 birdfeeders. Their largest mold takes ten cups of birdseed.

This shows a small section of their craft show display.

The local Rise & Shine Farmers’ Market in Cambridge is one of their favorites as all products there are either locally grown or handmade. It usually runs from May – September so add them to your calendar now.

The River City Market in Marietta is held every Saturday for special homemade treats.

In February, Marsha and Lee plan to be back at the “Handmade, Homemade, Homegrown” River City Market in Marietta. While this is an outdoor market, it is held throughout the year. Here, For the Birds has an enclosed tent with a heater for some extra warmth. They are there on Saturdays from 8-noon.

This OSU birdfeeder is a big hit with Buckeye fans.

While many feeders are purchased at craft shows, they can also be found on Facebook and have been shipped to North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania to name a few states. They will be carefully packed and shipped for your personal use or as a gift for someone else.

Rufus Bernard joins For the Birds in saying Happy New Year.

Marsha does take breaks from this hobby. One of her favorite escapes is to Florida where she enjoys spending time on the beach. A few years ago, a St. Bernard ended up on their doorstep and they adopted him. Now Rufus, a rather large but friendly dog, keeps them busy and entertained.

Feeding the birds in the winter months is especially important as there isn’t much natural food for them to maintain their body fat reserves for those cold winter nights. Once they discover you have food for them, they’ll return again and again.

Visit “For the Birds” on Facebook where you can find many pictures of their work. For the Birds is just a phone call away at 740-584-0691. They have gift certificates available and do accept credit cards. There’s a feeder for every season so choices are unlimited.

Feed the birds. Not all birds fly south!

Visit For the Birds at one of their farmers’ market sites or find them on Facebook where you can order direct. Call them at 740-584-0691.

Sheriff Investigates Still

I enjoy writing about real situations so when our writers’ group decided to do a book called “Ripped From the Headlines,” I wanted to write about something that could have happened. One of my interests in natural health and I know a lady who brewed a special tea to help many problems. So this story is about a  fictitious local man, who was working on a natural cure. 

Boden, Ohio 1933 An anonymous source recently informed the Signal about law enforcement conducting an investigation in the woods outside of town. It seems a man known only as Lightning has been carefully watched by the sheriff’s office because of suspicious behavior involving a still in the hillside behind his home.

Neighbors watched Lightning carry bag after bag of materials into a cave under a rock cliff. Several local men were also seen entering the cave. It is suspected that they were there to purchase the brew being made.

A freshwater spring comes out in that area and is vital for the making of good rum, which some have heard Lightning say was his favorite drink.

Sheriff Harry Totten and a couple deputies surrounded the entrance on a recent morning very early before Lightning even arrived at the still. They hid in the trees so they could watch his approach.

Lightning whistled a merry tune of “Show Me the Way to Go Home” as he happily made his way to the hillside one sunny May morning.

Imagine his surprise when the sheriff and two deputies appeared from the woods with guns drawn. His whistling stopped as a puzzled look crossed his face.

“What’s the problem, sheriff? I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”

With a smirk on his face, Sheriff Totten answered, “We’ll see about that when we check inside the hillside here. Seems something strange is going on in that cave and we’re here to check it out.”

“Oh, sir, I can’t let you see in there as I’m working on a secret and don’t want anyone to see it until it is perfected.”

“Yea, sure. Some secret brew to make your neighbor’s feel better?” By now the sheriff was getting a bit upset by Lightning’s conversation.

“How do you know what I’m working on? No one has been told anything about it. This hasn’t even been tested yet.”

Exasperated, a deputy ordered, “Let us in the hillside and see what is inside.”

“Please don’t come in. I’m not ready for people to know about this.” pleaded Lightning.

“Sorry, but we’re headed in this very minute so step aside.” With that, they entered the hillside to find the still they were sure was making rum.

Inside they discovered something that resembled a still but it didn’t smell like alcohol at all. On closer inspection, it didn’t taste like alcohol either. In fact, it rather tasted like dirt.

“Yuk! This is horrible. You’ll never find anyone to buy this if you were planning on selling it. Whatever is it for?”

Lightning chewed on his lip as he tried to think of a way to explain what he was making without giving away the secret completely. Everyone knew about his wife’s rheumatism so maybe that would satisfy the sheriff.

“Actually, I’m trying to make a tonic that will help my wife’s rheumatism. She really suffers from the pain and I keep trying different combinations to see if I can find something that helps. I work on it each morning for a little while before I go to work and let her try some each day.”

Has it helped your wife any?” smirked the sheriff. “I don’t think anything you brew up here is going to prove to help rheumatism.”

With that, Sheriff Totten and his deputies had a good laugh as they returned to their recently purchased 1932 Ford Model B. “I always thought Lightning was a little off his rocker.”

Now Lightning could relax as he continued his experiment with the old Indian recipe his elders had passed down for generations. No one had developed it in recent years and Lightning felt it was about time that someone put it to work to help many people.

Living near Big Indian Run, he could gather the needed herbs and roots easily from the hillsides close by his home. When he combined them with fresh spring water, it didn’t take long in the still for the purest tea to overflow.

Some say it tasted like dirt, but if it helped a person feel better that was what was important.

He had heard stories of people being cured of their illnesses after drinking this special tea day after day. His ancestors had carried down the stories for generations.

Now, his daughter, Crystal, was very ill, too, and nothing seemed to help her. That’s what made him decide that this was the right time to develop this special brew.

“Daddy,” he heard her call. “Come carry me to the spring so I can watch you work.”

Quickly he moved to the house to help his daughter who was so weak she could scarcely stand. Together they sat by the spring and felt the soft summer breeze.

“If only you felt better and life could stay like this,” he whispered.

Crystal so wanted to go to school but right now that wasn’t possible. She knew her dad was trying his best to find a solution to make her feel better so she tried not to complain.

Day after day, Crystal drank the special tea her dad had brewed and day by day, he noticed a little color returning to her face and a little strength coming back to her body.

Sometimes the best cures for our aches and pains have been given to us in the natural world around us if we just know how to use them.

Today, Crystal enjoys going to school and laughs when her dad tells the story about Sheriff Totten thinking he had a still to brew alcohol.

His wife’s rheumatism has improved remarkably as well. There has to be something to that old Indian recipe.

Lightning is seriously thinking about bottling his brew!

Would you be willing to try some? 

Sophisticated Handcrafted Chocolates at Coblentz Candy Co.

Life happens. Chocolate helps!

Coblentz Chocolates is located in beautiful Amish country at Walnut Creek.

People come from miles around to see Coblentz Chocolate Company especially as the holiday season approaches. Located in the heart of beautiful Amish country on Route 515 in Walnut Creek, chocolate seems to be the favorite word here as everyone has a favorite chocolate treat.

Chocolate covered strawberries are one of their special occasion treats.

When you walk inside the shop, a heavenly smell surrounds you – the smell of chocolate. Then you are greeted with the friendliest workers who are eager to help you make your selections or answer your questions.

Dark chocolate coconut bonbons have been a favorite since opening.

Perhaps first, you would enjoy going back to the viewing area to actually watch them making the chocolate treat of the day. Watch through their special viewing gallery as it is made and hand-dipped. The gallery is closed during the pandemic.

Things have changed since those early years when Jason and Mary Coblentz and Jason’s brother Mark purchased a residence, which they still use today, and began making Coblentz Chocolates in 1987. Their main goal was to provide customers with quality caramels and chocolates. Those early creations are still favorites today.

If you like chocolate, you’re sure to like their fudge.

In the beginning, Coblentz had only two full-time and three part-time employees. They made 30 different kinds of candy. Then, Jason attended Pulakos Candy School for a three-week course in 1990 to perfect his chocolate-making skills. More additions were made to their selections.

Smooth and creamy Buckeyes are a popular item and in 2002, Coblentz made the world’s largest Buckeye, which weighed 277 pounds. Now that’s a lot of peanut butter and chocolate!

There’s plenty of parking right beside the store.

Finally, Mark decided to try a different business venture and sold his share of the company to Jason and Mary. Since that time, they have added a second story to the residence for additional candy manufacturing.

This showcase contains those early favorites of caramels and bonbons.

Some tempting treats include sea salt caramels and chocolate covered marshmallows, dark chocolate orange peels, chocolate covered cherries, and a large selection of sugar-free. All their cream centers are made from scratch. One lady told her friends, “If it’s from Coblentz, I know it will be good.”

Use these autumn treats on your holiday table.

It’s no surprise that Christmas is their busiest time of the year, but October is the busiest tourist month. Many tour buses stop on their way through Amish country to get a taste of this great tasting chocolate.

Coffee with a chocolate covered spoon makes a special gift.

Christmas Open House is usually held the middle of November. Get samples of their high-quality chocolate, sign up for door prizes, and sip their great coffee samples. There’s bound to be some great sales happening that weekend.

Mary and Jerry Coblentz traveled to Chili to see cocoa beans firsthand.

Jason and Mary can’t make candy all year long. Once in a while they take a break as both love to travel. Some of their favorite places include Florida, the Caribbean, England, and Ireland. My guess would be that they check out chocolate companies along the way.

Their caramel corn varieties will tickle different taste buds.

When asked about their future, Jason explained, “We want to maintain the quality of our candy so customers are getting what they expect.” You can’t go wrong with any chocolate that you buy here. You’ll have a hard time choosing just one.

Pick up a stuffed animal while you’re there. It’s more than a candy store!

If you can’t make a trip to the candy store right now, please visit Coblentz Candy at their website at www.coblentzchocolates.com . It’s the perfect place to find a gift for any occasion and they ship anywhere in the U.S.

Next time you visit Amish Country, plan a stop at Coblentz Chocolates at 4917 OH-5 15, Walnut Creek, Ohio. Parking is easy as there’s a large parking lot right beside the store. Treat yourself to the scrumptious taste of mouth-watering chocolate.

Road Trippin’ in the USA at McPeek’s Mighty Maze

If you want to get lost, McPeek’s Mighty Maze is the perfect place with Roadtrippin’ USA as the theme of their corn maze for 2020. Located at the Coshocton KOA Campground on County Road 10, it’s more than just a maze. They have many activities that those young at heart from 0 – 99 will enjoy.

This all began in 2015 after Ryan McPeek had purchased a campground near Coshocton and was trying to create something extra that campers and area residents would enjoy. A corn maze came to mind.

That first year was a learning year and a busy one for Ryan as he married Camille in August. They spent their honeymoon at McPeek’s Mighty Maze! This was a new experience for both of them as they had never created a corn maze before.

The entire Mighty Maze is shown in this overhead view.

The maze is more difficult to create than you might think. First, Dave Phillips of Maize Quest draws the maze for the year. After the corn is planted by Brian Mason in the spring, about July 4 the maze is created while the corn is knee-high, young, and tender making it easy to cut down.

Climb the steps to the platform for a great view of the maze.

Tim Day of Maize Quest then arrives with his tractor, rototiller, and GPS unit. Phillips’ Road Trippin’ USA maze is placed into the GPS and the tractor cuts out the maze in a few hours. Day is very busy as cuts about sixty corn mazes each year around the country.

Maize-O-Vision glasses help you see a special map of the maze.

Since the pandemic has made traveling on vacations a bit more difficult this year, the maze takes the shape of Road Trippin’ USA . You can take a fun road trip right here in Coshocton. The Route 66 logo is in one corner of the maze. Another section features a camper and you’ll find a few mountains along the edge.

Along the way, you’ll find stations to help you explore the USA.

At the end of August, holes were drilled to set up nine game stations. Colored ribbons were placed along the miles of pathways inside to help people find their way. Each section has a different color ribbon to help people know where they are. While at this giant corn maze you will learn a bit of history as you play the games and travel through the cornstalks for answers. Play Word Game and learn about 18 different National Parks.

Enjoy the challenge of the Rat Wheel – similar to what a hamster might use.

There’s also a Kid’s Corn Maze for little ones who don’t want to get too lost. Cornelius M. Quest’s Picture Find has children discovering nine Ohio animals hidden at picture stations inside the maze.

McPeek’s Giant Corn Maze is the best place to get lost in the stalks for the 6th season. Enjoy a tasty treat from their three food carts – mini donuts, ice cream, and special favorites like hot dogs and french fries or lumpia and chicken fried rice.

The Jump Pad is the perfect place to use up some extra energy.

There’s all kinds of Fall Fun available as well as the maze. Their giant Jump Pad will have you bouncin’ for joy. Or you might try your luck in a Rat Roll, which is similar to a hamster wheel. Even adults have fun with these! There’s also a Barrel Train ride for the youngsters. Don’t forget all the pumpkins.

Ryan McPeek enjoys driving the tractor for the hayrides.

A hayride winds through the corn maze as it heads to the top of Mt. Everest. Seating will be limited for each ride to assure social distancing. Some traditional events will not be held this year due to pandemic guidelines. The corn box is closed as well as the playground.

Have a different kind of experience at Flashlight Night, which was held earlier this season. Imagine the darkness surrounding you as the cool night breeze moves the cornstalks with eerie sounds. Be sure to pick up a map so you don’t get lost for the night. Take a Glow Hayride that same evening. You’ll have to come back another year for all the fun!

The barrel train ride is great fun for youngsters.

McPeek’s Mighty Maze will be open four weekends in October on Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 6 so plan ahead for a time of family fun roadtrippin’ through the corn or maybe gettin’ lost in the stalks.

Ryan and Camille will help make your adventure a memorable one. Check their website for further information and additional events at www.mcpeeksmightymaze.com or visit them on Facebook.

All ages enjoy the Duck Race to see whose duck will win the water race.

Admission at the gate is $10 per person with children under 2 free. If you register online ahead of time, admission is $8 per person. Staying at the KOA Campground in Coshocton gets you free admission to the Mighty Maze and a chance to enjoy the night air sitting around a campfire.

Sounds like Roadtrippin’ USA could be great fun for everyone at McPeek’s Mighty Maze. Get lost in the stalks!

​McPeek’s Mighty Maze is located at the Coshocton KOA Campgrounds on County Road 10 just east of Coshocton. You can’t miss their signs!

Barefoot McCoy Captures Real Life in His Songs

 

Surrounded by music since childhood, Jake “Barefoot” McCoy of Newark, Ohio now provides musical entertainment all over Ohio and across the United States. His popular folk music developed step by step throughout his life.


Barefoot as a child

Even as a child, Jake attempted to play his dad’s musical instruments.

   His family was homeschooled and piano instruction was part of the curriculum. At the age of five, he began classical piano lessons from a teacher who came to their house every week. A half-hour of practice was required daily.

   Jake feels lucky to have started his musical training at an early age. Music filled his heart and soul so by the time he was eight, he played as much by ear as by reading the music. It wasn’t until age 13 that Jake wrote his first songs using piano and guitar as accompaniment.

Barefoot at Apoxee Trail Florida

The Apoxee Trail in Florida is a great place to go hiking with your guitar.

   When attending Newark High School, Jake also participated in cross country and track. Running and being in nature got in his blood too, and he still gets pleasure from hiking today or taking long walks in the woods.

   Jake attended Asbury College in Kentucky for four years where he earned a degree in music and performance, with minors in accounting and agriculture. In that small town of Wilmore, locals met on the porches or in local clubs and enjoyed sharing music. That’s where he developed as a banjo player.

The same teddy bear is available in multiple, playful settings.

Historic Roscoe Village featured Jake at their grand piano for a Christmas concert.

   It was while enjoying music on those hot summer evenings along the Kentucky River that Jake began playing without wearing shoes. A couple of his friends, Rainwater, a Cherokee, and Gail Roe gave him the Indian name of “Barefoot” at that time and this unique name distinguishes him easily from other performers.

   While in Kentucky, he performed with many local bands from 2010 to 2014 and immersed himself in Appalachian culture, including readings of Thoreau and Wordsworth. If you listen closely, you can hear traces of his beliefs and values in the songs he writes.

Barefoot at South Florida Fair - West Palm Beach

Fairs are a popular venue. Here he performs at the South Florida State Fair in West Palm Beach.

   2015 created a memorable year for Barefoot as he went to California to visit a relative. He stayed the year playing every day as a street performer on the Santa Monica Pier. In the evenings he would play at local clubs and bars. While surrounded by all that music, he wrote over 100 songs that year.

   He began performing solo in 2015 and has since delighted crowds at over 1200 shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, New Mexico, and California. His most recent festival took place in March at Dawsonville, Georgia.

Barefoot April

Jake Barefoot McCoy writes meaningful lyrics for his folk songs.

   A special relative that influenced his music tremendously was Doc Watson. His folk guitar playing inspired much of Barefoot’s technique today. During the American folk music revival in the 1960s, the award-winning Doc played acoustic guitar and banjo with a special picking style.

   A multi-talented young man, Barefoot is a singer, songwriter, and musician. A specialty he has mastered is putting poetic lyrics together that tell stories of yesterday and tomorrow. Barefoot is a truly great lyricist able to capture beauty, happiness, frustrations, and pure fun.

Barefoot at Keyboard

The keyboard is a central part of his performances.

   He varies his performances by playing guitar, banjo, harmonica, and piano. No matter what instrument he picks up, his skill and feelings come pouring through. Those bare feet keep him in close touch with his foot percussion, which is often his guitar case.

Barefoot at Cherokee, NC

Cherokee Nation in North Carolina has a festival that he thoroughly enjoys.

   While playing around on the piano at home, he often just happens across his next song. He loves telling a story through his music and usually is working on several new songs. Sometimes he might work on a song idea for years, but often it happens in just one day, maybe even ten minutes.

Barefoot Latest Album

His album “Back to Virginia” takes you on a musical adventure from valleys to mountaintops.

   His albums are Bye Bye Bluebird, Ballyhoo, American Lady, and Back to Virginia. At concerts, Take Me Away and Cali top the list of requests. Summer in My Soul is his latest hit.

I will not grow old

While my heart is full

The world outside is so cold

But it’s Summer in My Soul.

Tourism Barefoot McCoy

He was a featured entertainer at Ohio Tourism Day on the Ohio Statehouse steps.

   Some of his favorite concerts have occurred at the Cherokee Festival in Cherokee Nation, the Paul Bunyan Festival at Old Washington, and Apple Butter Festival in Coshocton. My first concert of Barefoot’s occurred on the Ohio State House Lawn at a State Tourism Show and later listened when he performed at the Guernsey County Senior Center Picnic.

Barefoot at Senior Diner

Guernsey County Senior Center asked him to play for their Senior Picnic in the park.

   Like all young men, he has his dreams. One of those would be to go on an international tour. He’d also enjoy playing with Tommy Emmanuel, who he admires for his complex fingerstyle technique on the guitar. The talented Jake “Barefoot” McCoy certainly has a wonderful chance to fulfill his dreams.

Barefoot Tee

This Barefoot tee shirt could be a fun gift.

   Visit his website at www.barefootmccoy.com to hear some of his music. It’s an easy place to order an entertaining CD. Bluegrass fans might like to pick up a Barefoot Raglan Tee Shirt or Hoodie for themselves or a friend.

   Watch his schedule and plan to listen to his delightful musical creations sometime soon. Barefoot McCoy is a pure American Folk Music treasure.

The Camels Are Coming – Father’s Day Story

Dad, Mom and Bev 001

Mom, Dad, and a shy gypsy enjoy Father’s Day long ago. 

Dad would truly “Walk a mile for a Camel.” He thoroughly enjoyed his Camel cigarettes. No other brand would do. Why at that time their advertisements stated, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” Purchases were made by the carton.

   Needless to say, Dad always knew how many packs of cigarettes he still had left. One day when Dad and Mom returned from town, he found some of his packs of cigarettes missing. Mom questioned him as to whether he had smoked more than he thought. “No, Kate, I didn’t smoke that many packs. Someone had to take some.”

   Two weeks later, the same thing happened. This time they noticed that someone had come in through the cellar door while they were gone as the door was still wide open.

   Then Dad decided to play detective. He sent Mom to town at the regular time with me, wearing his work hat and white shirt, driving their car. We headed down the road to Indian Camp as we didn’t plan on staying away too long just in case Dad needed help.

   Before long, Dad heard someone pushing open the cellar door. Now was his chance to see who had been taking his cigarettes. He patiently waited at the top of the steps as he heard what sounded like young laughter.

   When the door to the upstairs opened, there stood Dad to greet the intruders. They happened to be two neighbor boys who wanted something to smoke and of course, their parents would not permit that.

   How surprised they were! He told them to come on upstairs and sit down in the living room. “Well, boys, should I call your parents? Will they approve of what you have done? You both know that stealing is wrong.”

   “Oh, please, Rudy, don’t call them. We’ll be in big trouble. We promise never to take your cigarettes again if you don’t tell.”

   Then Dad surprised them both by saying, “It will be our secret. If you ever want to smoke a cigarette, come over and ask me for one.”

   When Mom and I came back to the house, Dad was sitting on the porch with a smile on his face. “I caught two young boys and taught them a lesson. I don’t think it will ever happen again.” He was hoping that might cure their desire to take things that didn’t belong to them…and it did!

Ohio Sunday Springtime Drive

Sunday drives have been part of our family tradition since I was a child. Dad always loved to travel those back country roads to see what we could see. Today this gypsy is trying to carry on that tradition as often as possible.

Spring Salt Fork Lake 2   On a recent Sunday afternoon, my car headed out to one of my favorite spots for thinking and dreaming at Salt Fork Lake Dam. From there, it was a matter of luck where the next stops might be. Ride along and see what interesting places appeared along the way.

Spring Hillside   Along the way the trees were finally getting their leaves in that beautiful spring green with some colorful redbuds thrown into the mix to add a little color.

  Spring Plainfield flags     The small town of Plainfield made my heart swell as their main street was lined with the US flag. Houses and businesses all along the street had a flag in their front yard to show their support of our country.

Spring depot   Coming into Coshocton, I spotted an old depot no longer in use but a great reminder of how railroads were an important part of our past.

Spring Roscoe   A drive through Roscoe Village always gives pleasure. Today there were a few people out walking but not much traffic. The little shops along the way looked like they were lonesome for customers.

Spring Clary Gardens   Nearby Clary Gardens has not only a flower garden, but a hillside amphitheater for entertainment and weddings. There is also a lovely Quilt Barn on the premises.

Spring Basket   Down the road at Dresden, you can witness the largest basket in the world. This delightful, small town continues to make handwoven baskets at Dresden & Co.

Spring Whit's   Coming through Zanesville, a Whit’s custard ice cream cone called to me. The flavor of the month was Almond Joy, a delicious treat.

   Hope you enjoyed the ride!

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