Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

Possum Products Creates Basic Wooden Toys

Russ with saw

Russell uses a special saw to cut out pieces for his wooden toys.

Toys for kids of all ages can be found at Possum Products in Newcomerstown. Russ Riggle creates quality handmade wooden toys from over seventy different items he has designed.

Russ Basic Wooden Toy

The popular trend today is to return to the basics with his small wooden car.

   Making toys was a hobby for Russ for many years. He’s always had a passion for building things from wood and remembers a very rough wooden car he built at the age of five. By the time he was in fourth grade, he built a wooden Viking ship. Now his toys are more elaborate and much better quality.

Russ working on wheels

The wheels for his toys are all custom made and attached with wooden pegs.

   After working as a mechanical engineer for many years, his job moved overseas about seven years ago. At that time, he started selling some of the toys he made at the Newcomerstown Farmers’ Market. Sitting around isn’t something that Russ enjoys, so he began experimenting with new designs and products. Russ claims that he makes “anything with four wheels or that can fly in the sky”.

Russ building trucks

Assembling the toys is a bit like putting a puzzle together.

   Besides their being quality toys, they are all made right here in Newcomerstown, Ohio with U.S.A. materials. All toys are smoothly sanded but there is no finish applied. They are lead-free, with no metal or plastic parts and the glue is even food grade in case a young child just happens to chew on it.

   Now he travels to festivals and craft shows all over the state and has even expanded his shows to some out-of-state venues. His toys are very popular as people like to buy things that are created with American-made materials and craftsmanship.

Russ Setting Up

Son Adam helps his dad Russ set up the booth at the Paul Bunyan Festival.

   His sons enjoy helping at the festivals and even make a few wooden toys of their own. Adam and Ben frequently appear to help their dad with setting up the booth. Both enjoy talking to the customers as much as Russ does, and Russ says they are both great salesmen as well.

Russ display

Children like to play with the many toys on display at festival times.

   Having seen Possum Products at the Paul Bunyan Show, Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, and Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, it became evident that their products were something that people from birth to ninety years old enjoy. Boys and girls walk up to their booth and roll the toys along the table, often reorganizing it. It’s a great tool for developing their imagination.

Russ Log truck

This wooden log truck complete with pine logs is his most popular toy.

   One little girl found a snowplow on the table, picked it up and walked outside. There she decided to move some gravel around with the snowplow. She put that toy to work.

   Their display includes a large selection of small wooden animals, which the children pick up and name. One youngster was naming the animals and came to one they called “Cloud”, which was really a sheep. Another cute name the children came up with was “Fast Food” for a pig on wheels.

Russ semi with race car

Get two wooden toys together with this semi carrying a race car.

   Since Russ works out of his basement at home, purchases must be made from the website and festivals he visits. They are busy with shows, and just recently had done eight shows in three weekends. Now you see why it’s important to have his sons involved.

    A rather popular way of using the wooden items is to laser etch the customer’s logo onto the sides. Then they can hand out the wooden truck or tractor with a long-term advertisement. While he doesn’t do custom work, he does get many ideas from his customers for future toys.

Russ helicopter 2

This made a great gift for a helicopter pilot.

   This is Russ’ only job right now and he spends many long hours doing something that he thoroughly enjoys. Making trains, planes, trucks, and tractors takes time and patience as he uses his own designs and even custom-makes his wheels. His prices are very reasonable ranging from $2 for small animals to $72 for a train.

Russ Salt Fork tent

Possum Products displayed at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Visit Russ on his website www.possumproductsllc.com or see his toys in person at a festival or consignment shop near you. In the coming year, Possum Products will be going to Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, Pike Elementary, Roscoe Village and the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   For the guys at Possum Products, the best thing about making toys is the look on a child’s face when they pick up the toys. Russ takes pride in the wooden toys he makes. When he isn’t making toys, he’s playing with them!

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COSI – A Great Place to Spend a Winter’s Day

COSI outside

COSI provides a great place for school field trips at any time of the year.

When the weather outside is frightful, inside COSI is still delightful. It’s easy to spend an entire day there without any problem. There’s no age limit on enjoyment as kids from 1-100 enjoy interacting with the exhibits.

   This all began in 1958 as a dream of Sandy Hallack, an advertising executive, who thought Columbus would be the perfect place for a science museum. It took time and determination to get the cooperation of the community, but his dream was fulfilled in 1964.

COSI Hope Street Market

Visit businesses from 1898, then turn the corner and see these same businesses in 1962. Progress!

   The old Memorial Hall building became its first home for the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and over 5000 people visited on Opening Day. Admission was 50 cents for an adult and 25 cents for children.

   So many museums are places where you can’t touch anything. Hallack wanted a place where you could not only touch things but move them and take them apart. Many say, “It’s the jewel of the community.”

COSI High Wire Unicycle Rider

Adults and children thrill during trips across the High Wire Unicycle.

   In 1999, they moved to a new home built especially for COSI. Since that first opening, over 33,000,000 people have visited both sites. That’s impressive!

   There’s so much variety of scientific displays that it’s impossible to cover all of them fully. These are some of the highlights that impressed me on a recent visit.

COSI Tyranosaurus Rex

Children stop to study Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Dinosaur Gallery.

   Dinosaurs are here! New discoveries and new technology are helping scientists piece together information to see what dinosaurs were really like. In this permanent exhibit, see a reconstructed Tyrannosaurus Rex in actual size.

COSI Stegasauras

Life-size skeletons of dinosaurs, such as Stegosaurus, help make history come alive.

   View a collection of dinosaur prints found on a farm in Texas. An interesting section shows the transition from dinosaur to bird. Be sure to catch a glimpse of Toasty, their gila monster before you leave. This is just a taste of what you will find at COSI’s Dinosaur Gallery.

   On the first floor, you also see the wide variety of traveling exhibits in the American Museum of Natural History. Right now that exhibit explores the “Power of Poison”. Find stories about how poisons have worked throughout history. This exhibit will soon be replaced with another traveling exhibit “Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids”. Let your imagination expand!

COSI Space capsule

Test your skills as an armchair astronaut in a SImulated Space Capsule Ride.

   Their planetarium is the largest in the state of Ohio. Various shows can be seen throughout the day. “Wildest Weather” lets you witness weather found on all the planets from dust storms on Mars or the whirling, high-speed winds on Venus to a trip through the asteroid belt.

   In the Human Body section, you can have your pulse taken, check out your age through technological viewing, and view all the body parts while learning their functions. One special room there was the “Echo Free Room”, where you could enter a very quiet and peaceful place, almost as quiet as my apartment.

COSI Poseidon's Realm

Poseidon’s Realm in the Ocean creates an opportunity to explore water with hands-on experiences.

   Children love to play in water so the Ocean exhibit appeals to almost everyone. Parents and grandparents can be seen joining in the water fun. Touch, hold and feel the water as you study the mysteries of Poseidon’s realm.

COSI Baby Alligator

A COSI guide encourages children to touch, Tick-Tock, an American Alligator baby.

   Another spot that is coming up on January 26 is called “Large in Charge” and will teach people about alligators and crocodiles, who have roamed the planet for over 200 million years. This is one of those preview places where a COSI guide had an American Alligator Baby, called “Tick-Tock”, for children to touch.

COSI Kids Space

A safe haven is provided for small children to place in Kids Space, an enclosed area.

   An interesting place on the second floor was called “Kids Space” and only children under six were allowed in and they were carefully monitored. Here little ones could play in a tree house, visit a barnyard, climb in an ambulance or paint pictures. There was even a place to play with water at Splish Splash. What fun!

COSI WOSU

See yourself perform on WOSU TV or check out their giant kaleidoscope.

   Sometime during the day, you’ll most likely want to stop at the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater – The Ultimate Window to the World. Now showing several times a day are “Oceans” and “Incredible Predators”.

COSI Bathroom door

Educational information continues even on the doors of the restrooms.

   Everywhere there are hands-on things to try as answers to science questions are discovered. COSI employees can be found giving lectures in small auditoriums or demonstrating experiments and animals in the hallways. It’s non-stop entertainment if you love adventure or science.

COSI on wheels

COSI on Wheels has visited over 7.5 million students at their schools.

   Field trips to COSI create learning experiences, but if your school isn’t able to attend perhaps they would like to have a visit from COSI on Wheels. This program takes special features of COSI to schools in the area with the farthest they have ever gone to Memphis, Tennessee. Students from Kindergarten to 6th grade find their dynamic science activities of interest.

COSI Laser Harp

Music lovers always stop to play the Laser Harp before leaving COSI.

   Children have a great time exploring COSI and so do adults. You’ll discover something new each time you stop by. Plan a visit soon for a day filled with fun while learning. Kids of all ages are welcome!

COSI is located in Columbus, Ohio at 333 W. Broad Street. Take I-70 and use exit 99C. Your GPS will be handy for a few turns before arriving at Broad Street. Some may prefer to follow Route 40 (Broad Street) through downtown Columbus. COSI is right along the bank of the Scioto River.

Daniel Caron Captures Meaningful Photos and Explores Kindness

Daniel Caron Captures Meaningful Photos and Explores Kindness

There is always something interesting going on outside in nature.”

Daniel photographer

Daniel enjoys being close to nature in his journey through life.

Daniel Caron’s favorite place for photography is in nature because it’s always available and changes almost every moment. When people ask where he takes his pictures, they are surprised that often Daniel replies, “In my backyard.”

Daniel Falling Transition

Falling Transition

   Not only does Daniel take great pictures, but he also adds meaning to them. Take the simple autumn leaf as it fell to the ground in his backyard with colors ranging from green to red to yellow. To Daniel, this leaf signified transition.

   Nature teaches a lesson to many people who are in transition just like the leaf. The green is a time of growth, while red signifies that robust time of life. Yellow mellows out for their golden years.

Daniel Late Blooming Rose

A late-blooming rose covered with dew

   Obviously, this photographer observes and sees things in nature and people that others don’t see. When he does senior portraits, they capture an extra special side of each individual.

Daniel watching the sunset

Watching the Sunset

   Two people have been a tremendous influence in his life. His dad gave Daniel his love of nature through National Geographic specials the family watched together. His wife taught him more about kindness and caring than anyone else.

Daniel Ancient Art by Fremonts

Ancient Art by Fremonts in Utah at Dinosaur National Monument

   Often he gives talks on photography at various libraries and community functions. At a recent lecture at Crossroads Library, Daniel impressed those in attendance with his skill and photographs. He was willing to give instructions and ideas to improve others’ photos as well.

Daniel Bee

A bee sips sweet nectar

   This award-winning photographer didn’t promote any certain camera for pictures and even acknowledged that the handy cell phone produced some nice pictures. Not only is Daniel a great photographer, but also a great teacher of ways to enhance your photography skills. Be sure to bring your camera or cell phone to his lectures for some hands-on experience.

Daniel painted bunting

Colorful Painted Bunting

   When talking to Daniel about his pictures, it was surprising to discover there was much more than photography on his mind. Previously, he had worked in administration at a West Virginia college where he provided wellness and substance abuse education. He also has been an adjunct faculty member at three West Virginia colleges.

   But then 9/11 happened!

Daniel at Conference

Daniel prepares for annual APCA conference where he found outstanding connections.

   When he saw the caring messages shared that day, he decided to leave the field of education and spread the word about improving people’s daily interactions. Since that time he has worked with thousands of people across the United States, Canada and several foreign countries. He makes it clear that he is not a motivational speaker as he focuses on skill development to help people get along with each other.

   Most people don’t want to be butting heads with traffic, family, and society, but people don’t know what to do about it. That’s what Daniel is trying to teach in his engagements. We all need that kindness and love connection.

Daniel winter purple finch

Purple Finch in Winter

   His talks are made in many different places such as senior centers, correctional facilities, service men and women, colleges and universities. The farthest he has traveled was to South Africa where he worked with children at a school for the deaf showing them that someone cares.

   One of his recent speeches was entitled “How to Play with Difficult People”. It’s all about building a better life and living the way we really want to be. “Few things build community faster than showing people how everyone is connected.”

Daniel with Smokey the Bear at Wayne National Forest

Daniel met Smokey Bear while helping at Wayne National Forest.

   When asked for the first tip to better living, the answer was surprising. “Pay attention to your breathing.” When we are upset our breathing changes. By taking a deep breath and letting go with a sigh, you can feel the body relax.

   Daniel takes his work seriously. “If you knew that kindness and connection benefited everyone, why would you behave any other way?”

DanielNorth American male Cardinal in snow

Northern Cardinal in Snowstorm

   Returning to the original topic of photography, Daniel gave this advice, “Quick and easy doesn’t always work. A photographer takes his time. There are no shortcuts.” Daniel recalls sitting in his backyard early in the morning just waiting for the sun to come up and hit the frost on the trees. The photographs he captures makes the waiting all worthwhile.

Daniel Flower

Life in Full Bloom

   His dream would be to have an assignment from National Geographic as this wanderlust would enjoy visiting every zoo in the world. While he already swam with dolphins, wolves and bears, he’d love to see the penguins and seals in Antarctica before they are gone. There is so much going on in the world that Daniel said, “I don’t want to miss the adventure.”

Daniel Nature Waterfalls

Sounds of Nature

   But Daniel is content wherever he is. He commented that when he grew up in Massachusetts, he would never have believed that someday he would live in Ohio with his wife, two rescue horses, six chickens, four roosters and six cats. His love of nature certainly is evident in everything he does.

   Daniel’s advice for everyone is simply, “Be kind.”

To reach Daniel Caron to engage him for a talk about photography or kindness, call him at 740-314-9198 or email him using: daniel@danielsprograms.com .

Tom Swan Captures the Spirit of the Story

storytelling

Tom immerses himself in “Three Billy Goats Gruff” at the Salt Fork Festival.

There’s a secret to storytelling and Tom Swan has discovered the magical way to tell or read a story and make it come to life. Children listen closely as he tells his tales and even adults are drawn into his stories.

   Years ago Tom listened to the Minnesota Public Radio Show, “A Prairie Home Companion” as Garrison Keillor read “Tales of Lake Wobegon”. He read with such expression that Tom decided he would like to try telling stories too.

National Storytelling Festival

Tom’s daughter, Aili, and mother, Julia, accompanied him to the National Storytelling Festival.

   In order to get some first-hand experience at listening to great storytellers, Tom and his family have attended the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN several times. Here, all that is permitted to tell a story is a mic and a stool.

blue hair

Aili is with her dad, who wanted to surprise old college friends in Colorado so dyed his hair blue.

   People don’t understand how entertaining stories can be if they are told with enthusiasm. Stand-up comics and one-man shows depend completely on capturing the audience through expression. Too often readers and storytellers simply read, and that’s just not enough to seize and keep the attention of the audience.

Children's Moment

Tom continues the Swan Family tradition of performing with puppets.

   To tell a story well, the storyteller must bring back to their mind why the story is important to them. All stories are not fun; some have a poignant or nostalgic theme. Tom practices telling stories while driving his car. Most important is to memorize the first line. Once you get started the rest just flows into place.

   Usually, he has an outline in his mind so the major points are covered. When he writes the story down, it’s usually after he has told the story to a group. His first storytelling adventure was with the Zanesville Christian Women’s Club where he recited the poem, Cremation of Sam McGee, in a meaningful manner.

Installation as state president of the doctors' wives' club

The kilt reflected his Scottish ancestry when he was inducted as president of the Ohio Doctors’ Wives’ Club.

   Tom is married to Dr. Linda Swan, an obstetrician at Genesis Hospital in Zanesville. As a result, Tom has become very involved in the National AMA Alliance, which he calls The Doctors’ Wives’ Club. He has been state president and involved nationally in their organization.

Roasted Leg of lamb and kosher salt crusted new potatoes

One of his favorite dishes to prepare is roasted leg of lamb with new potatoes and red wine.

   Tom has led an unusual life as a housewife. Now, however, his children are adults with his daughter being in medical school and his son a State Trooper. So today he lives the life of a trophy husband when he isn’t out telling stories to places like The Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, Dickens Victorian Village, the Celtic Society, and various schools and churches. This man loves a mental challenge.

Buckeye 4 miler

Physical fitness is important in his life. He wore a kilt when participating in the Buckeye            4 -Mile Run.

   Tom grew up in Cambridge, Ohio and graduated from Miami University, where he majored in zoology and was a cheerleader. Since his father and grandfather were doctors, it seemed that he might follow in their footsteps. But Tom really didn’t enjoy the studying required to be a doctor so decided to become a high school science teacher, which he did for seven years.

Auctioneer

As auctioneer at the AMA Alliance in Chicago, he helped raise money for community health grants.

  Frequently, he has participated in Community Theater in Cambridge and Zanesville. Handbells are something he has also played over the years and still participates in a great handbell choir at the Grace United Methodist Church in Zanesville.

Sermon on the Mount

He let his hair grow long to portray Jesus giving the Sermon on the Mount.

   Dedicated to fitness training, Tom decided to learn the Sermon on the Mount while bicycling. He then decided that he would like to portray Christ giving this sermon so Tom let his hair and beard grow so he would better fit the image. It is of great importance for a storyteller to get into the character he is portraying. He presented this program in several area churches.

Trixie

Tom donated his hair to Locks of Love after portraying Trixie.

   While his hair was long, Tom also decided to dress as Trixie with heels and a short skirt. When he was working with the Doctors’ Wives’ Club, he auctioned off the opportunity to take pictures with Trixie and raised quite a bit of money for their projects.

Judas back from the dead

Tom likes to tell all sides of the story so portrayed Judas returning from the dead.

   The role of Judas coming back from the dead was also a fulfilling role that he portrayed. Here Judas asked that he quit being terrorized as he was sorry for the betrayal. It ends with a warning to the audience not to be like Judas.

Chainsaw carver

Tom showed his artistic side by this chainsaw carving of a 10′ bear.

   Tom gave a bit of good advice to himself and others who find themselves overwhelmed with tasks and commitments. “Learn to say NO to anything that is neither necessary nor meaningful.” That’s great advice from a man who also likes to spend time with his granddaughter.

Baked Alaska

This Baked Alaska proves to be a popular dessert with the Swans.

   A favorite story of Tom’s is “Selfish Giant”, however, his favorite one to tell is “Three Billy Goats Gruff”. There he has fun using different voices to entertain children.

Queen Victoria and her royal bard

As a royal bard, Tom shared stories with Queen Victoria during Dickens Victorian Village season.

   Tom’s goal is to make a living telling stories. If you would enjoy having Tom tell stories at one of your events, you can contact him at lswan@columbus.rr.com.

With our Hardleys

Tom and Linda head off on their Vespa motorscooters, which Tom calls “Hardleys”.

   When Tom’s not telling stories these days, he enjoys riding motorbikes with his wife. He’s also been experimenting with making wine – from honey instead of fruit. Sometimes he adds a bit of cinnamon, cloves or orange for a different taste treat.

   No one can say that Tom Swan lives a boring life.

Smucker’s Creates Memorable Meals and Moments

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

Smucker's horse drawn wagon

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

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

 

Smucker's Entrance

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

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

 

Smucker's Pollination Garden

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

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

 

Smucker's Jam Chandelier

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

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

 

J.M. Smucker on apple bin

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

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

 

Smucker's overview

Capture the Christmas Spirit when you enter their Showcase Store.

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

 

Smucker's Sample Station with Denise

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

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

 

Smucker's Danilynn and peanut butter

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

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

 

Smucker's Memorable Moments

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

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

 

DSC02755

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

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

 

Smucker's Cafe

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

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

Smucker's Sundae Shoppe

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

 

Smucker's Gift Baskets

Check out their great gift baskets for every occasion.

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

 

Smucker's Store

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

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

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

Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

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

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

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

Bonnie Living Room Tree

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

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

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

Bonnie Awards

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

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

Bonnie Packed Branches

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

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

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

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

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

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

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

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

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

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

Bonnie Big Tree

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

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

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

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

Bonnie Family Portrait

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

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

Bonnie Welcome Center

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

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

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

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

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

Bonnie Showing Horses

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

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

Bonnie's 2018 tree

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

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

Happiest Season of All at White Pillars Christmas House

White Pillars - Christmas House

White Pillars Christmas House carries unique decorations.

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

White Pillars - Snow Babies

These well-liked Snowbabies are attractively displayed.

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

White Pillars - Buckeye Tree

Every good OSU fan needs some Buckeye ornaments.

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

White Pillars - Bear Nativity

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

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

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

White Pillars - Marshmallows

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

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

White Pillars - Snowpinions

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

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

White Pillars - Grinch Tree

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

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

White Pillars - Department 56

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

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

White Pillars- Radko Ornaments

Radko ornaments are made of Polish hand-crafted glass.

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

White Pillars - Ornaments

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

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

White Pillars - Keith

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

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

White Pillars - Room

This room holds many magical decorations for your home.

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

White Pillars - Santa

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

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

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

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

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