Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Ohio’ Category

Nutcracker Village Guards Historic Fort Steuben

Nutcrackers Line the Avenue

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nutcracker Ohio State

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

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

Nutcracker First Junior

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

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

Nutcracker Terese and Mark 2

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

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

Nutcracker Mother Teresa

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

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

Nutcracker Grandpa and Grandma

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

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

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

Nutcracker Tree in Advent Market

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

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

Nutcracker Crooners

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

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

Nutcracker Letters to Santa

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

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

Nutcracker Fudge

You could even find Nutcracker fudge in the Advent Market.

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

Nutcracker Amphitheater

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

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

Nelson Family

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

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

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

 

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Tis the Season to Catch the Christmas Spirit

tis-outside

Entering  Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe, you see the real reason for the season displayed.

Decorating for Christmas helps lift the spirits of a world which is normally a bit on the gloomy side at this time of year. If you need any ideas, Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe near Berlin might be the perfect place to visit. With over 20,000 square feet to explore, you’ll feel like you’re in a Christmas Wonderland surrounded by the songs of the Christmas season all year long.

tis-jo-ann

Jo Ann is pleased with her new White on White Christmas display surrounded by angels.

The story of Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe and Jo Ann Schrock-Hershberger are inseparable. Over twenty years ago, Jo Ann was traveling and visited a Christmas store. She wondered if that idea would work back at her home near Berlin, Ohio.

Jo Ann’s grandfather served as an Amish bishop. Her father and mother broke away from the Amish tradition when Jo Ann was two years old. She wasn’t real sure if Christmas would be an attraction in Amish country. So she tried a small shop first. It worked!

tis-alleluia-chapel

A multitude of angels welcome  you in Alleluia Chapel filled with antique pews and stained glass windows.

Their unique round barn, once part of the Schrock farm, became the home for Tis the Season. When designing the layout of the entire shoppe herself, Jo Ann made sure “no matter where you are, you can see the reason for the season.” A large nativity scene sets high in the center, with the Alleluia Chapel on the main floor.

When you step through the front door, it’s like walking into Christmas. Greeted by the sounds of Christmas music, spectacular trees, beautiful collectibles, and innumerable ornaments, you are immediately filled with the holiday spirit.

tis-overview

This overview from the circular walkway on the second floor displays the spirit of Tis the Season.

Three levels provide room to explore. The main level has decorated trees of every style and color while the upper loft, with circular walkway, has rooms filled with specific decorations. One room overflows with snowmen, while another has various Santa ornaments. A room brimming with gingerbread decorations also holds various candy canes.

tis-cardinal-tree

Birds happen to be one of their most popular decorations for trees. This cardinal tree is perfect for Ohio.

The bottom floor contains examples of many trees, ranging from 2′ to 10′. Here you’ll find a great variety of trees: silver, twig, slim, prelit and more. There are over a hundred decorated trees throughout the building with varying themes from reindeer to angels. Each one is beautiful in its own way and gives you many ideas for decorating your own tree.

tis-snowmen

On the upper floor, snowmen dominate one of the rooms.

Their constantly expanding inventory now includes thousands of bulbs, tree toppers and garlands. Over a hundred different kinds of lights are available. It’s Ohio’s largest year round Christmas shop.

tis-collectibles

Collectibles like Snowbabies make delightful gifts. Various collectibles can be found throughout the shop.

Not only will you find everything you need to give your home a festive Christmas appearance, but they also have unique home decor and holiday gifts from dolls to gift baskets. Many collectibles are available here that can’t be easily found elsewhere.

tis-personalized

The most popular area personalizes from a large selection of ornaments.Selena and Logan find this a happy place to work.

Happy employees abound, but who wouldn’t be happy surrounded by Christmas. However, the main reason the employees enjoy working here is Jo Ann. She works side by side with them, roasting nuts or running the cash register. Everyone has a headset, which keeps them all in close contact.

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A nostalgic Christmas tree contains old-fashioned ornaments.

People come here from all over the world because they love Christmas and can find unique Christmas decorations. Men, women, and children enthusiastically explore all three floors. Once in a while a husband could be found patiently waiting on one of their many comfy sofas and chairs. Many come on family outings. Almost everyone leaves with a piece of Christmas.

When Jo Ann has time, she and her husband enjoy traveling and most likely visit Christmas shops along the way. While they have traveled extensively throughout the United States and taken many cruises, one place left on her bucket list is the homeland of her ancestors – Southern Germany and Austria. Everyone needs a change of pace now and then.

Plan an escape from daily routine and catch the spirit of the holidays at Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe. It’s the kind of place you return time and time again…I do.

christmas-santa-white

This old-fashioned Santa bell was my choice this year.

There’s only one problem. Which lovely Christmas decorations should you take home with you? Several of their ornaments hang on my tree every year, and an old-fashioned Santa was added on this road trip. Visit Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe where it’s nothing but Christmas all year long.

Tis the Season Christmas Shoppe can be found along State Route 39  near Millersburg, Ohio. It sets down off the road in a small valley as part of Schrock’s Amish Farm and Village.

Castle Noel – A Family Christmas Experience

Castle Noel Buddy

Mark Klaus is ready to welcome you to Castle Noel and their newest movie set, “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas”, starring Buddy!

The most amazing thing you’ve ever seen

is Castle Noel in ’17.”

That’s how Mark and Dana Klaus feels about Castle Noel, which captures the spirit of a family Christmas in several ways. The heart and soul of Castle Noel in Medina is Mark Klaus – with a name like that and a full beard, Christmas seemed a natural passion.

Sweet Shoppe Window

This Sweet Shoppe window display from Saks 5th Avenue is a favorite of visitors.

Growing up, Mark’s dad loved decorating for Christmas. Neighbors came from miles around to see his 16′ Christmas tree, as well as the reindeer and sleigh hanging from their ceiling. The Klaus house looked like a Christmas Wonderland.

Castle Noel Ornament

Mark’s sculpting skills create beautiful ornaments.

Mark, a world renowned master sculptor, displays many of his sculpted ornaments and angels in their gift shop. His miniature detail is accomplished through using dental tools and magnifying glasses. Angels are one of his favorite sculptures. Why?

Mark’s mother was killed in an automobile accident when he was sixteen. It happened on Christmas Eve. Mark said, “This all is a tribute to my mom.”

Castle Noel Church

This former Methodist church in Medina is now home to Castle Noel.

When Mark was searching for the perfect place to locate his enormous Christmas collection, he looked all over the United States but decided to come back to his home area. He found an abandoned Methodist Church built in 1891 in Medina that reminded him of a castle, thus the name, Castle Noel, which opened in 2013.

Castle Noel Lampoon Vacation

Mark drove the camper from Lampoon Vacation all the way from California to Ohio.

Usually Mark and his wife, Dana, work seven days a week and think about Castle Noel twenty four hours a day. Once in a while, they go on vacation. Walt Disney’s parks top the list as Mark’s favorite spots. But he doesn’t go there for the reasons most attend…Mark goes for inspiration for another idea to make Castle Noel even better.

Castle Noel Vortex

Walking through the Blizzard Vortex had everyone hanging onto the handrails.

Every year there’s something new to see at Castle Noel as Mark constantly makes improvements so it can continue to be “America’s Largest Indoor Year Round Christmas Entertainment Attraction”.

Castle Noel Santa Squeeze

Get the feeling of Santa going down the chimney in Santa Squeeze with 100,000 glass bulbs overhead for some extra Christmas cheer.

There seems to be something exciting around each corner, so only a few of the highlights are mentioned here.

 

Castle Noel Grinch set

This is an actual movie set from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

His fantastic collection of Christmas movie sets, props and costumes that are worn in the Hollywood movies is mind boggling. He authenticates everything before displaying it in Castle Noel.

Castle Noel Gummy Bears

Mark was given three hours to remove this gummy bear display from Bloomingdale’s.

As you continue your journey you travel to New York City at Christmas time and stroll through the Platinum award winning animated window displays from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Windows from our own Higbee’s in the 60s, Bloomingdale’s, plus Macy’s of Pittsburgh, New York and Washington state create a magical journey for all ages.

Caslte Noel Slide

Go up the stairs through the Enchanted Mountain, see Santa, and ride the slide down…just like Ralphie.

Last stop is Enchanted Mountain filled with animated animals. But it’s the slide back down that everyone enjoys. Seated on a burlap mat, all ages enjoy the thrill of sliding down the giant red slide like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”. A great way to end the tour!

Castle Noel Alien Golf

Have some extra excitement at Alien Vacation Mini Golf.

But wait, there’s more! Outside you’ll find the entrance to Alien Vacation Mini Golf. You enter a 3D wonderland with miles of fiber optics. It now has 19 holes since the landing of the Alien Spaceship. You’ll enjoy this 3D spot whether you decide to play mini-golf or not.

Castle Noel Mark Klaus

A working Mark Klaus has fun with visitors after the tour.

Castle Noel is the perfect place for folks of every generation to make lasting Christmas memories. As Mark and Dana would tell you, “We like having fun around here.”

Castle Noel is located at 260 S Court Street, Medina, Ohio. From I-77 take exit 122B for US-224 W. Take exit 7 for OH-57 into the town of Medina. 

Cruisin’ Down the Muskingum River on a Sunny Afternoon

River boats

Camping, boating and fishing are popular along the beautiful Muskingum.

While the Muskingum River begins at Coshocton, between Zanesville and Marietta it holds many points of interest. This river is the only river navigable by larger boats within the state of Ohio. That’s all because of its system of eleven dams and locks, still in working order, that extends for 112 miles.

River Ferry 1900 001 (2)

The Coal Run Ferry delivered a load of railroad crossties on horse-drawn wagons across the Muskingum before bridges were built.

The river received its name from the Native Americans, who called it Moos-kin-gung – meaning “Elk Eye River”. That name happened due to the large herds of elk that once roamed this valley. In those early days, the cargo on the river consisted of essentials such as salt, flour, pork and apples. A round trip took three to five weeks to go from Zanesville to Pittsburgh and back via the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers.

Steamer at Lock #3 001 (2)

The steamer approaches Lock #3 at Lowell in the early 1900s.

When steamboats became popular, navigation was rough on the rugged Muskingum River so they designed a system of dams and locks to lift the boats when the elevation changed abruptly. After a boat is secured within the lock, the lock tender closes the gate and opens the valves required to raise or lower the pool level. When the water in the lock chamber has reached the required level, the lock tender opens the through gate just like they did in 1841.

Steamer Marietta stuck on dam at Lock # 1 001 (2)

Steamer Marietta got stuck on the dam when not using the locks.

Sometimes the boats would attempt to go over those rugged spots without using the locks. Once in a while they succeeded, but often they ended up stuck in the river.

River Lorena

The Lorena takes passengers on a pleasure trip down the Muskingum River.

This trip began with a stop at the Lorena Sternwheeler at Zane’s Landing Park in the city of Zanesville. While the original Lorena visited Zanesville in the late 1800s, the present one arrived in 1976 for Zane’s Trace Commemoration. A ride on the sternwheeler gives you a chance to feel the river, as the paddles create a merry sound. Memories of the 1800s ride along with the Lorena.

River Lock 9

Lock #9 at Philo provides a great view of the dam and locks.

Soon Lock 9 at Philo appears with the original lock tender’s house.The falls at the lock sparkle in the sunshine as people stand in the shallow river to fish.

River Ohio Power Plant 1923 001 (2)

The Philo Ohio Power Plant was the first electric plant built along the Muskingum.

In 1923, Philo Ohio Power Company, one of the largest electric plants of that time, was located on an island in the river.

River Hand Powered Locks 001 (2)

The lock tender hand operates the lock at Rokeby Lock #8.

Lock 8, Rokeby Lock at Eagleport, is a special stop along this system of locks, the only hand operated locks still being used in the United States today. In fact, it is believed there is only one other system like this in the world, and that is in China. It was near this lock that General John Hunt Morgan and several hundred cavalry forded the Muskingum River on his raid across Ohio.

River Stockport Inn

Stockport Mill Inn would be a pleasant place to spend an evening.

Beside Lock 6 stands the beautiful Stockport Inn. Today’s Inn was built in 1906 by the Dover brothers; however, there were two mills previously at this site dating back to 1842. This mill was known for its refined flours: Gold Bond, Seal of Ohio, and Pride of the Valley. It’s a perfect place to spend a night as each room has a balcony that overlooks the river. On the weekends, enjoy a tasty meal at Restaurant on the Dam.

River Fishing

Fishermen wade into the river in hopes of a great catch.

During the drive down the river, it is lined with cabins and campers for those that enjoy being near the water. Most have boats at their docks and many slides end in the river. Frequently fishermen are either on the shore or wading nearby waiting for a nibble on their line, and perhaps fish to cook over a campfire in the evening

River Ohio

Imagine early travelers’ surprise upon seeing that the Muskingum River empties into the wide Ohio River at Marietta.

The trip ends at the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory – Marietta. Here the Muskingum River joins the Ohio River to flow eventually to the Gulf of Mexico.

River Lafayette

At the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers stands the Lafayette Hotel.

Some say this beautiful old Lafayette Hotel still holds spirits of many travelers from the past. One nighttime visitor is Mr. Hoag, former owner of the hotel, who appears in his brown derby hat. That’s something not seen by my eyes, but a story heard by my ears.

The locks are open weekends 9:30 – 6:00 from mid May until mid October. Please check their schedule and call ahead if you need to use the locks at another time so a lock tender can be available.

valley-gem-heads-out

While in Marietta, you might want to cruise on the Valley Gem.

Be sure to take time to sit along the Ohio River and enjoy reminiscing about those long ago riverboats that went from Pittsburgh to Zanesville along this route. They carried both passengers and freight. Barges still carry their loads of coal and steel up and down the river, and people enjoy taking a ride in their pleasure boats as well.

Some things have changed, but the Muskingum River has remained the same since the days of ancient visitors. Hope you can enjoy a trip down the Muskingum River sometime soon.

Victorian Elegance at Barnesville Mansion Museum

Barnesville Mansion

This eye-catching mansion showcases the luxurious Victorian era.

Feel the spirit of Victorian times in this elegant, historic mansion in Barnesville. The beauty of Barnesville Victorian Mansion Museum lasts year around, but comes alive at Christmas time when it is beautifully decorated in Victorian style.

Barnesville Owner

A portrait of John Bradford, the original owner appears upstairs.

Twenty-six rooms have been restored to the original style of its construction during 1888-1893 for John W. “Dias” Bradford, a well-known merchant and highly respected citizen of Barnesville. It took five years to build this fine Victorian home as a great architect worked with the finest craftsmen to finish everything to perfection. Not only did he build this fine house, but Bradford was also responsible for building the first bank in Barnesville.

Barnesville Griffin

A protective griffin in the fretwork greets visitors upon entering.

Arriving through the carriage entrance, you’re greeted by a carved oak fretwork, a design formed by intricate scrolling. A winged griffin was included in the carving, as it was believed a griffin would prevent misfortune.

Barnesville Door Hinges

Even the door hinges showed intricate designs.

Everything speaks of elegance with eleven fireplaces, which have decorative carved wooden mantles. Woodwork throughout is handcarved so even the spirals on the banister have an individual air. The floors show a beautiful parquet design from room to room. Even the hinges on the doors have an intricate design, which was then matched on the doorknobs and staircase. No cost was spared.

Barnesville Butler's Bell

A butler’s bell system was installed when the home was built with the telephone later added below it.

Even at this early time, the builder had the foresight to wire the house for electricity. Therefore, the lights could use either gas or electric.

Barnesville Child's Dress

This pretty yellow lace dress was found in a trunk in the attic.

Finding drinking water in those early days created a problem. Most places had a cistern, which caught rain water and drainage from other sources. This water made everyone sick so it was only used for cleaning and bathing. Their drinks consisted of beer, cider, whiskey and wine. Life expectancy was forty-six years.

Inglenook, a special courting room, set back into the wall. The man sat on one end and the girl on the other. In this special room, the acoustics were such that they could talk softly to one another, but no one else could hear them.

Barnesville Growlery

The Growlery provided a place for men to relax during the evening.

The Growlery was the place men often met after dinner to discuss business while smoking and playing games. Beautifully carved ivory and clay pipes rested on the game table as well as an ornate spittoon and snuff bottles. A stereoscope had viewing cards handy.

While the house had many fireplaces, the one in the Growlery had a special charm. Made with blue and white tile from Consolidated Pottery of Zanesville, it contained the image of Diana, Goddess of the Hunt.

Barnesville Bed with Doll

A Shannon Doll from a West Virginia collection stands at the foot of an original bed.

Bathrooms presented an interesting story as there were three inside, one downstairs – a powder room, and two upstairs. However, they were suspicious of going to an indoor toilet since they feared sewer gases could be dangerous. The servants’ rooms were located near the bathrooms.

Barnesville Child's Bedroom

This child’s bedroom contained everything a little girl would enjoy.

The powder room and one upstairs bath had 22K gold decorations. Two 540 gallon tanks located on the third floor supplied running water.

In that day, most people took one bath a week. Every month they washed their hair with a special rinse of eggs and vinegar to give it a lasting shine.

Barnesville Clock Room

A picture of Queen Victoria had been placed in their clock room.

Clocks held an importance far above just telling time. You could tell the quality of the home as well as their finances by the kinds of clocks they had on display. Taking care of the clocks was always the man’s duty, or sometimes the oldest son. The museum has a large clock collection on the third floor.

That third floor also held the ballroom, which was typical of Victorian mansions. Twelve couples could easily dance around the floor. An adjoining room held an old Victrola, organ and banjo.

Barnesville Bathrub

Emery Stewart drew flowers on this bathtub in 1966.

Excellent guides created an informative day. They all enjoyed sharing stories of the mansion. One of those guides, Emery Stewart, started working at the museum when he was a student at Barnesville High School in 1966. His first assignment was to paint flowers on the bathtub in the upstairs bathroom. He’s been a volunteer ever since and loves his hometown of Barnesville.

One amazing picture, a “hair” picture, had been made from pieces of family hair. This unusual picture formed a family tree with pieces of each person’s hair on their branch of the tree. Lovingly made step by step by an aunt or grandmother, the whole family story could be told from the “hair family tree”.

Barnesville Doll Collection

A large collection of Pete Ballard dolls can be found upstairs.

Barnesville sat along the railroad line and was a wealthy city in its heyday, having eleven hotels, seventeen saloons, and several mansions. The Board members were very pleased to receive a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to be used for television broadcasting so they could share the history of their mansion and hometown.

The Barnesville Victorian Mansion Museum at 532 N. Chestnut Street is open for tours May 1 through October 1, Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00-4:00 pm. Groups and buses can be scheduled at any time by contacting the museum.

Barnesville Volunteers on Porch

Volunteers Sherry McClellan, Emery Stewart, and Judy Jenewein help keep history alive.

Specials events take place at the mansion throughout the year. They’ve had wine tastings, graveyard tours, and their lovely Christmas tour. Here you can see a Victorian style Christmas from the weekend after Thanksgiving until the weekend before Christmas.

Keeping the spirit of their beginning alive will hopefully carry over from generation to generation.

The Barnesville Victorian Museum is located at 532 N Chestnut Street in Barnesville, Ohio. Take OH-800 S off I-70 into Barnesville. Make a left on Walton Avenue and the museum will be on the left.

 

 

Chris Hart Performs One-Man Shows That Receive Rousing Reviews

Chris Hart

Chris Hart delights audiences with his repertoire of stories.

One-man performances require much research and attention to detail. Chris Hart has this down to a science. Not only does Chris do extensive research, but he writes all of the programs himself. This makes it easier for him during performances, as he is the only one who knows if he strayed from the original script.

Christopher Hart, museum curator and living historian at Roscoe Village, hales from the country in Tuscarawas County these days, even though born in Cambridge. Living on Steubenville Avenue for the first few years of his life, Chris indicated that he was a “good kid”, always a bit shy.

That shyness continued through school at Newcomerstown High School, where Chris didn’t participate in high school performances. Yet he loved going to the theater and watching.

sherlock (2)

Involved in Sherlock Holmes performances, Chris often portrays Sherlock’s sidekick, John Watson.

So where did the idea for one-man shows first appear? A few years after he married his supporting wife, Suzie, they visited a restored village in Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. There, a man dressed in full costume told a living history story of a Confederate soldier, who never went home. Chris told Suzie, “That would be the ideal job. Fun!” The seed was planted.

Ohio Northern had become his college of choice to study in their pharamaceutical department. For many years, Chris played the real life role of pharmacist all over Tuscarawas County, but has since retired.

Now he had extra time. One day he noticed an ad for a person to portray a village doctor in Roscoe Village. Four people applied and took turns being doctor throughout the season. This was the first real person he had even done, but that was only the beginning.

Chris Hart

Captain Reynolds tells tales of life of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

A Canal Boat Captain on the Ohio-Erie Canal, which ran close to Roscoe Village, was the first character he fully developed himself. He became Captain Reynolds, who in his travels meets a photographer, snake charmer and even a witch.

While Chris began his one-man, first-person performance days at Roscoe Village, it didn’t take long for listeners to know they had a talented storyteller on their hands. He doesn’t just tell a story, he becomes the character in dress, voice, and emotion.

Queen Victoria and Chris Hart

During Dickens Victorian Village season, Chris performed “Audience with the Queen” with Queen Victoria.

His characters usually are drawn from famous historic events, but he doesn’t portray the main character. He finds it much more interesting to portray someone in the background of the event as he sees it through their eyes. Plus, everyone knows what Charles Dickens looked like, but nobody knows much about his close friend, James Fields.

The only famous person he has done is Neil Armstrong giving a press release twenty years after his walk on the moon. So far he has developed nearly forty different characters, and the list continues to grow.

Main Street Bar

Chris greets visitors to Olde Main Street at the original walnut bar from Sam Douglass Saloon in Newcomerstown.

He jokingly says his ideas come from the committee in his head. He takes ideas he personally likes and finds a character to fulfill that role, or he does a request for an organization. It usually takes about two to three months to research and write one of his performances. His best writing time happens at 5:00 in the morning.

Every story has three basic elements to reach the audience. It needs a little humor, the listener needs to feel a tug of emotion, and there’s usually a twist of some kind that makes the story surprising.

Titanic 001

This is a copy of the original boarding pass used for the Titanic.

His most popular show right now features “The Survivor of the Titanic”, where he portrays Peter Daley a first class passenger on the ship. Peter remembers that fateful day when the Titanic went down and how he survived.

Another favorite, “Shepherd’s Journey”, came to him while he was driving his car. A shepherd at the Nativity moves with Jesus through several major events in his life, culminating at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is a popular religious performance from Christmas through Easter.

Prof. Chris Hart

Chris prepares for another pharmaceutical lecture at Belmont Tech.

Even though Chris enjoys his work on stage, he now also teaches pharmaceutical classes at seven different colleges. His favorite class is at the University of Findlay, where he teaches the History of Pharmacy. As you might imagine his classes are fun as well as educational, since he often appears in costume to make the lesson real.

After seeing his schedule, it’s obvious that Chris makes good use of his time with little to spare. When he does have extra time, reading and hiking at Salt Fork provide relaxation. Mt. Everest tops the list of places Chris would like to visit. It’s the tallest mountain in the world with many stories to tell.

Chris a Salt Fork Festival.

At the Salt Fork Festival, Chris told the story, “Paws for the Cause”, about a Civil War soldier and his dog.

Throughout the year, Chris can be found throughout the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee entertaining audiences with his tales of years gone by. His most recent addition tells the story of a 9/11 survivor, “I’m Not a Hero”. Be sure to catch one or more of his one-man shows sometime soon. You’ll be a fan.

This season, 2017, he will be doing a new story for Friends of the Library during Dickens Victorian Village season. This time he takes on the role of Peter Cratchit, Scrooge’s office clerk, in a performance called “My, How Christmas Has Changed”.

When this fantastic storyteller stops to ponder, it’s not uncommon to hear him say, “That reminds me of another story.” Chris Hart brings history to life!

If you would like to contact Chris for a show at your event, phone him at 740–408-4608. You might find him at Olde Main Street in Newcomerstown or follow him on Facebook at Christopher Hart: History Comes to Life. Schedule ahead!

 

 

Algonquin Mill Fall Festival Features Crafts, Food and Entertainment

Algonquin Mill 2

This old mill is the reason for the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival.

Take nine tons of cabbage and ferment it into sauerkraut. Grind buckwheat and wheat into flour. Saw boards at an old fashioned sawmill. Embroidery a quilt. These activities from days gone by are just a sampling of what happens at the Algonquin Mill Festival near Carrollton on October 13-15.

The festival began in 1971 to pay off the loan the historical society took to purchase Algonquin Mill on 3.8 acres. They wanted this historic spot to be preserved to help people understand life in the 1800s. It’s been a popular annual event ever since with 16,000 – 20,000 people attending the three day event.

Algonquin 1853 Bridge

This 1853 bridge built by Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton was still in use in the 1960s.

The original old mill built in the early 1800s is their reason for being. The first two mills on this spot were driven by water from nearby McGuire Creek. Today’s mill, built in 1826, was originally operated by water. In 1890 it was converted to steam power. At its peak, the mill produced 25 barrels a day, grinding corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat.

Algonquin Mill

John Miday, miller, and Bill Baughman make sure the corn mill is working properly.

The mill was closed in 1939 and the steam engine went off to fight in WWII. Today they use a one hundred year old steam engine to power the gristmill and grind cornmeal and flour.

Algonquin School 2

This one-room school is the oldest building on the property with typical pot-bellied stove.

The complex contains many other buildings as well and many of them are original. The log buildings have all been brought on site from nearby locations. The one-room school happens to be the oldest of those buildings. During the festival a schoolmarm will be teaching class.

Algonquin Volunteers

Volunteers from all over the area enjoy a tasty pot-luck lunch every Thursday.

They make enough money at the three day festival to support the Algonquin Mill Complex for the entire year. Their volunteers are amazing and very active as they arrive every Thursday all year long to work on projects at the complex. Many said they planned their work schedule so they could have Thursday off.

Whole families get involved in helping here. Volunteers come from all around and even though there is a large number, David McMahon, president of the Carroll County Historical Society, said they could use twice as many.

Algonquin Cookie House

One of the original buildings is now the Cookie House with the Cheese House close by.

Old fashioned foods are a highlight of the festival. Pancakes, sauerkraut, apple butter, homemade jams, cider, and maple syrup are made and served. Or you can buy some to take home and enjoy. The mill also grounds fresh cornmeal along with buckwheat, spelt and wheat flour.

Algonquin Sauerkraut

Dave George takes his job seriously as the man in charge of the sauerkraut operation.

Dave happens to be in charge of the sauerkraut and that’s no small task. When you start out with nine tons of cabbage, it takes a careful eye to make certain it ferments properly in large containers. Then it will be put in jars to be sold at the festival. Word has it that they are usually sold out of sauerkraut by noon on Sunday!

Algonquin Art

This is just a small sampling of the art on display in the past.

The barn at Whispering Winds Farm held square dances in years gone by, but today that’s where you’ll find an Art & Photography Show. This juried show displays original pieces created between 2014 and 2017 with no previous entries allowed. Every year it’s a whole new show, sharing one-of-a-kind items.

Algonquin Crafters 2

Women embroidery a quilt and work on many crafts in the Civil War era Gothic farmhouse.

You’ll discover time honored crafts such as rugweaving, spinning and quilting in the Civil War era farmhouse. The walls are covered with aprons, quilts, scarves and rugs they have made to sell. These ladies begin working on next year’s crafts the Thursday after the festival ends to refill the walls.

Algonquin Threshing Machine

Dave McMahon, president of Carroll County Historical Society, explains the antique Case threshing machine in their Farm Museum.

Throughout the grounds demonstrations exist for chair caning, wood carving, candle dipping, broom making and blacksmith trades. An old sawmill attracts people of all ages and is one of the most popular demonstrations.

Algonquin Mill Barn

This is the last original work of Mail Pouch Barn painter, Harley Warrick. There are two other Mail Pouch Barns Warrick painted at the complex.

Don’t forget, all day long old-time entertainment takes place. There’ll be cloggers, banjo and fiddle players and gospel groups performing. Local high school bands and choirs also enjoy participating. If you want, you could sit there all day and be entertained.

Algonquin Stagecoach Inn

On the hillside behind this old stagecoach inn, Perry J. Vasbinder Arboretum has been established with over 400 different plantings.

If you should happen to want to visit Algonquin Mill at a time other than the festival, Thursdays are the perfect time as volunteers are always there to answer questions. Of course, you can walk around the grounds 365 days a year and learn about the complex from literature available on the wall of their information center, but buildings will be locked.

This festival is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy all those old fashioned tastes, crafts, and entertainment. Entry per vehicle is $8.00 so load up the van and have a day of fun and learning. You’ll be glad you stopped by.

The Algonquin Mill Complex is located south of Carrollton along OH 322, which is east of I-77. There are several bends to make on this scenic adventure no matter what direction you are coming from, so it’s best to place their address in your GPS system. Find them at 4296 Scio Road SW. 

 

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