Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

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Heartland Travel Showcase 2018

Foggy Buffalo

This foggy view from our hotel room featured the new Metro Rail.

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Heartland Travel Showcase to let others know about attractions and events in the Cambridge, Ohio area, and especially tell them about Dickens Victorian Village.  It’s always a pleasure to tell others about your hometown.

Buffalo, New York hosted the 2018 Heartland Travel Showcase. Arriving by coach with several other travel associates, we were greeted by a fog covered Buffalo due to warm temperatures and a still frozen Lake Erie.

Hyatt entrance

The lobby of the luxurious Hyatt Regency Hotel welcomed us.

After getting settled into the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, it was time to have dinner with fellow travelers. These travel showcases are the perfect place to make new connections for future tours.

Tourism Reception

Barb, January and Carol enjoyed meeting friends at one of the receptions.

Heartland is where booking group travel is a Heart-to-Heart business. Numerous occasions provide a chance to network with others. It’s also the place where you can create a more personal relationship with possible clients during receptions and meetings.


A couple chocolate samples still untouched. The Goo Goo Cluster was created and distributed by the Grand Ole Opry.

Treats were non-stop from the time we stepped on the charter coach, where a box of chocolates were passed around. The Chocolate Tasting continued day after day with many chocolate treats being given in the form of candy or desserts.

Heartland Aisles

Exhibitor booths were placed in nine long aisles for ease of locating.

Contacts, leads, ideas and bookings are what Heartland is all about. With over two hundred exhibitors and sixty tour operators at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, it’s a great chance to learn more about the travel industry as you meet new people and learn about their wants and needs.

Teddy Roosevelt

President Theodore Roosevelt told us about some of his accomplishments. Buffalo served as his Inauguration site after the assassination of Pres. McKinley.

An exciting forum gave newcomers a chance to learn from more experienced faces in the tour industry. Technology has changed the face of the industry as more publicity is being done via social media. They stressed the importance of promoting posts as well as using keywords to help people connect.

Potential Client

Cambridge tourism partners, Bev and Dixie, explain local attractions to a tour company.

Much of the three day session was spent one-on-one with tour directors meeting exhibitors and learning more about their places to visit. What a difficult job they would have in deciding as each place sounded like the perfect place for a group tour.

Dinner guests

Exhibitors Mary, Mary and Chris sparkled during an evening reception at the Lafayette Brewery.

You could schedule up to forty meetings with various group leaders. The rest of the time was spent either visiting other people’s booths or talking to people who stopped by your booth. Communication about travel was the name of the game.

Return Bus

Three days later, the coach was loaded for the return trip home.

The event definitely spread the word about an event or destination. Most attending say it is their favorite travel show of the year. It is one of the friendliest places you can imagine.

Buffalo Skyline

This painting of the skyline of Buffalo hung in the walkway to the Convention Center.

Shuffle off to Buffalo or your favorite travel destination sometime soon. New places await your exploration.


It’s Snowing in Cambridge, Ohio


‘Snowing’ the scene is one of the final touches in the warehouse by Cindy and Shana.

Oh the weather outside’s been frightful…frightfully hot that is. But inside Dickens Universal, it’s snowing! The crew at Dickens Victorian Village is busy replacing the layer of snow on 67  scene platforms.

Some think that the scenes are placed on the street in the fall, returned to storage, and then magically appear again the next year. This is not the case, as much hard labor in many areas is necessary to repair the winter damage.

The Creation Team, who make and maintain the mannequins, works all year round so the figures will look excellent when placed on the streets in late October. There’s usually a month off in January to let them dry out from snow and rain. Then the work begins.

Last winter wasn’t a terrible winter, but still freezing and thawing plus the wind caused great damage to heads and clothing alike. “The Travelers” provide a great example of some of the possible problems to be encountered.


Lindy gets help from Tom putting a new shirt on this mannequin..

The lady needed a new skirt this year and it has been discovered that upholstery material is often one of the best choices. Cotton does not hold up well. Donated clothing and material are appreciated and used as often as possible. Making new clothes requires time at home at a sewing machine as well as time in Dickens Universal, where mannequins are stored.

One very time consuming detail happens when each item has to be tacked down, or they would blow away when on the street. For example, a scarf must be stitched meticulously to the jacket. This could take a couple hours to make it secure enough to hold through the strongest wind.


Touching up the heads seems a never ending job. Just ask volunteer, Shana.

Their heads need some repair each year. Often it is just a touch-up of paint, but sometimes the weather causes the clay used in making the heads to crack, much like our highways. When water gets in that crack, it expands creating bigger problems.Paint cracks and varnish turns yellow, so repairs are necessary if they are to look presentable on the street for the season.


Annie and John Glenn take their place on Wheeling Avenue this year. Sharon had to adjust John’s neck to fit just right.

Once in a while the entire side of a face may peel off, causing either cracks to be filled or a new head to be made. Hats in some ways protect the heads, but in others they cause a problem as mildew forms under the hats that tend to hold dampness.


Making and repairing the frames has received great help this season from Chuck.

Inside each figure is a basic frame of 2 x 4s  and they all set on a raised platform to keep them off the ground and make them more easily seen on Wheeling Avenue. This is going to be the 11th year for Dickens Victorian Village, so some of these must also be replaced.


Even founder, Bob, helps with ‘snowing’ as Lindy passes by with a clean shirt for another figure.

Around the base of each platform, a plastic skirt gives it a finished look. All skirts must be removed each year and thoroughly cleaned. Then snow is placed on the top of the platform in the form of white plastic, which is stapled in place.


For now, those finished Victorian characters sit waiting for the end of October so they can make their annual trip to downtown Cambridge.

You can see that for “The Travelers” to be ready to make their journey in the fall, much time has to be spent for at least nine months of the year. Right now, even though there is no AC in the warehouse and work is frightfully hot, it’s snow time at Dickens Victorian Village.

Let it snow! Let it snow!  Let it snow!



Coshocton Canal Quilters Have a Stichin’ Good Time

Quilt Room

The Conference Room at the Carlisle Inn was a quilter’s paradise.

Imagine your favorite getaway. It might be the ocean, the mountains or a cruise to a faraway place. That’s not the case with the ladies from the Coshocton Canal Quilters. A weekend retreat with all their sewing gear and good friends fits the bill for them. All their work was displayed recently at their 29th Annual Quilt Show, “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows”.

This year the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek served as headquarters for a weekend retreat for fifty-eight ladies of all ages. This being my first visit to a retreat, walking into the conference room where it was held filled me with wonder and excitement.

Quilt - Oldest

This member’s interest in quilting began back when, at the age of four, she played under her grandmother’s quilting rack.

They had all brought their sewing machines, tables, chairs, lamps, materials, all their sewing tools…and of course, snacks. How could all that have fit in their cars?

But everyone was having a good time with no obligations other than enjoying quilting and talking to their friends. The social part of the retreat seemed to be very important.

Their project this year was to make a Crow Quilt for the Crow Festival since Coshocton is often referred to as Crow Town. The ladies seemed to think the crows were pretty smart birds and knew how to live together well.  Perhaps they could teach people a lesson.

Each person is asked to finish one crow square for the quilt. While every crow turned out to be quite unique, they had to have three basic characteristics: a black crow, orange beak, and orange feet. Most of them had a sparkle of bling added someplace in the design.

The quilt will then be raffled off at The Pomerene Center for the Arts in October with proceeds to be used for the groups’ projects. This is a busy group as their guild has over a hundred members. When not making quilts for themselves or their family, they make quilts for veterans, chemo patients, battered women’s shelter, James Cancer center, and more.

Quilt WV

This quilt was made for a family member, who is a big fan of WVU.

This large family of quilters comes together for retreats because they want to have fun. One person said, “We let our hair down. It’s a big slumber party.” They encourage each other no matter how many times the threads of motherly patience, health and sanity keep breaking through their lives. The human connection might be as comforting as the quilts they produce.

Gambling might even be part of their day! Left, Right, Center is played here with bundles of fabric, called “fat quarters”, being used instead of cash. The winner takes all!

Quilt Gladys

A good friend works on her Multiple Madness quilt design, while enjoying the company of so many great friends.

Beautiful patterns surround you here and each quilt will become a treasure for someone. A pattern that is one of my favorites has a proper name of “Kaleidoscope Dresden Plate Pattern”, but it is more commonly called “Multiple Madness”. Once you make one quilt using this pattern, you have to keep making them.

This weekend also provides inspiration to try something new. Speakers have special workshops to make a quilted item, or give ideas for future projects. Talking with others about their projects, sparks the imagination to try something new. Words of encouragement are frequent.

Quilt TN Tees

This lady traveled from Tennessee to visit with friends and finish her tee-shirt quilt.

A popular item at the show was tee-shirt quilts. They could be of any size from throw to queen size and contain someone’s old tee shirts. Someone had recently lost their husband and a friend was making her a quilt of his old tee shirts to cuddle up to on a cold night.

Some of the ladies took a lunch break. Where do you think they went? To buy fabric! They came back remembering a special fabric they had seen in which aisle at a particular store.

Quilt New SMThe highlight of the visit occurred with the story of a lady whose sewing machine stopped working the first night she was there. As a surprise, the next morning her husband brought her a brand new sewing machine. What a guy! He’s sew special.

Upon returning home, my tee shirts were checked out carefully. Which ones might make a good quilt for a gypsy?

Mysterious Bigfoot Legend – Skeptic or Believer?

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” This quote from distinguished astronomer, Dr Carl Sagan, is popular with Bigfoot investigators. They are still searching for more clues that will prove their Bigfoot theory.

Guernsey County, Ohio is one of those “hot spots” for Bigfoot investigators.  Annually, the Ohio Bigfoot Conference gathers informative speakers to share their adventures with the gathering crowd.  The 2012 conference was held at Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center near Cambridge, Ohio after previously being held at Newcomerstown and then Salt Fork Lodge. The move was partially made to accommodate the growing attendance as last year at Salt Fork they overflowed the conference room and many were  forced to watch the program on big screen TVs in the lobby.  The Bigfoot enthusiasts have increased from less than a hundred in 1989 to over seven hundred at present.

The goal of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization is to find, recognize, and protect what many believe to be an unclassified primate, commonly known as Bigfoot, and residing in North America.

A highlight of the meeting this year was the appearance of legendary Bigfoot seeker, Peter Byrne, who fascinated visitors in the lobby with his Bigfoot stories. Peter, the star of the show, has led professional expeditions in search of Yeti and Bigfoot.  His book, The Search for Bigfoot, tells of his fascinating life exploring since 1946 in the Himalayas for Yeti, the Himalayan version of Bigfoot.  Even though he is 86 years old, Peter still has a curious mind and continues his search for Bigfoot on the Oregon Coast.

Before the scheduled speakers, curious visitors checked out tables in the lobby with lots of unusual items. Of course, there were videos of possible sightings as well as plaster casts of large footprints left behind by something or someone. Lengths of these footprints average about 16″ long, but some range up to 22″, and are much wider than a human footprint.

Soaps and lotions carried the name Sasquatch, the Canadian Bigfoot rendition. One popular soap made in Canada bore the title Sasquatch Sweat Soap – Guaranteed not to grow hair. Sasquatch Sweat Cream was also available. Not certain if their purpose was to repel or attract Bigfoot.   There were even cookies for sale shaped like…yes, you guessed it, Bigfoot.

The first speaker of the day was past president, Don Keating, who led this conference for 23 years. He first heard of Bigfoot in 1984 from a story in the Newcomerstown News that told of strange sightings of a large, hairy creature in and around the Newcomerstown area. Later Don began investigating some of the unusual sightings he heard from neighboring Guernsey County as well – glowing red eyes, large footprints, and very tall creatures.

Salt Fork Lake area became one of those places where frequent strange events seemed to occur. Often something eerie seemed to be happening at Hosak’s Cave in the late evening hours, especially when there was a full moon.  For their safety, people were even strongly advised to leave the area by park rangers.

When Don Keating said he was leaving his president’s position to devote more time to his weather research, someone in the audience asked an interesting question: “Do you find predicting the weather a lot like investigating Bigfoot?” To which Don answered, “With both, you put your neck on the line.”

Grabbed a Bigfoot cookie to munch while listening to additional speakers which included: Dr John Bindernagel, wildlife biologist; Bill Draginis, surveillance and security expert; and Mike Esordi, crypto zoologist with artistic abilities. All are active in Bigfoot research and frequently share their knowledge through lectures around the world.

Whether you believe in the existence of Bigfoot or not, you could hear some interesting adventures at the conference. Maybe some evening you will want to spend the night at Salt Fork State Park. If you listen carefully, you might hear strange calls, branches breaking in the woods, or rocks being thrown into the lake. Could these sounds be made by Bigfoot?  Keep your eyes and ears open!

Salt Fork State Park is located just five miles north of Cambridge, Ohio just off Route 22. I-70 and I-77 intersect close by so you will have easy access to the area.  While in town, stop at Mr. Lee’s or Theo’s Restaurant as both have delicious home cooked meals at reasonable prices.

Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood

“Don’t You Hear Those Lions Roar?” as you pass the First Baptist Church in Cambridge, Ohio on a Sunday afternoon January through March. The parking lot is not filled with people attending a church event, but those practicing for the 39th Annual Cambridge Lions Club Music & Comedy  Show.

This year’s theme of “Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood” offers a wide selection of favorite songs ranging from the slow and mellow to those with vim and vigor.  While the songs are familiar, the arrangements may not be, as they were specially designed for this show by local well known musician and director of the show, Paul Hudson.

Paul has recently retired as Band Director from John Glenn High School and is active down many musical avenues including being percussionist in the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra.  “You Can’t Stop the Beat” when Paul is able to get everyone on the same musical wave. Frequently he tells the chorus members things like : “You have to know the words,” or “Listen to Tom play the melody.” Know he is hoping that after ten weeks of practice, the words will all be memorized and the rhythms will be somewhat correct.

Once the chorus has practiced for a few weeks, Lion Troy Simmons arrives to record the practice session using microphones over each vocal area to pick up the parts clearly. Then he makes a CD for each member so they can practice along with it during the week. So if you see someone singing while driving down the road and tapping out rhythms on their steering wheel, it very likely could be a Lions Club chorus member trying to learn all the words and parts correctly.

A big part of the success of the show also goes to accompanist Tom Apel, who appears in the local area at the piano wherever and whenever needed . Tom attends every practice and patiently plays the parts over and over again. Sometimes it seems he could use four hands! As it gets closer to show time, Tom will be joined by some other local musicians, who are part of the Lions’ Music & Comedy Show Band.

Being associated with the Lions Club, you can be certain that after practice, chorus members will say, “I’ve Had the Time of My Life.”  Lions Club members seem to have an extra dose of humor in everything they do.  Of course, this show is more than fun as the main purpose of these Knights for Sight is to raise money to help those in the area who need some assistance in paying for eyeglasses and eye care.

Make plans to attend “Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood” on March 29, 30, or 31 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium in downtown Cambridge, Ohio for an evening of fun entertainment as well as contributing to a great cause. Tickets may be purchased online at or at Country Bits & Pieces. Tickets are $8 on Thursday evening or $10 on Friday or Saturday. All shows begin at 7:30.

Members will definitely tell you “There’s No Business Like Show Business” as they prepare for the 2012 “Cambridge Lions Go Hollywood.”  Let’s go on with the show!

Coming to the show from out of town? From I-70 take Exit 178 at SR 209. Proceed west on 209 /Southgate Road until you arrive downtown at the Courthouse. Make a right hand turn and two traffic lights later you are in front of the Scottish Rite Auditorium at the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 10th Street.  It is across from the Cambridge Post Office. Coming from I-77, take Exit 180B, which is US 40 West. After approximately one mile, you will arrive in downtown Cambridge. At the corner of Wheeling Avenue and 10th Street, you will find the Scottish Rite Auditorium. Hope to see you there!

Ghosts – Believer or Skeptic

Caution Ghost Crossing! could easily be a sign encountered quite often by members of the Southeastern Ohio Paranormal Investigators.   And on a Saturday in February, ghost hunting appeared to be a very popular subject as the auditorium at the John McIntire Library in Zanesville, Ohio was packed with adults seeking to learn more about ghosts. While the curious were gathering, videos of ghost hunts were being shown to whet the appetite. Members of the S.E.O.P.I. were on hand to give information about the technical aspect of ghost hunting, historic research involved, as well as psychic and metaphysical connections.

Started four years ago, the S.E.O.P.I. has become a popular source for people who feel they have a ghost on  their property, and even for those wanting help getting their ghosts to move on. Tom Robson, lead investigator, said that while they continue to explore all possibilities, “There can’t be an expert in a field with no scientific evidence.” As a youngster, Tom had an experience with the paranormal as well as a deep interest in history. Now he has discovered how  the two seem to be closely connected. What started out to be just a part time hobby for him has nearly turned into a full time job.

The evidence that has been captured is 90% on audio and only 10% on video. There was a nice display of the instruments used to capture the sounds and pictures at the various haunted establishments. Some of their favorite instruments included: the Olympus digital audio recorder, Zoom H1 microphone, and Zoom H2, which was so powerful they said you could hear raindrops three rooms away.

For example, during an Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) session on the Triangular Field in Gettysburg, questions were asked of a spirit and there were many responses recorded that were easily understood.  Responses were short such as : “Right”, “OK”, or  “I know”. When leaving the field, the team said, “Blessings to all,” to which a voice answered, “Thank you.” The recording equipment produces some very interesting results.

Historian, Gary Felumlee, presented paranormal research tips, because knowing the time period you are dealing with could be vital for a successful communication. His goal is eventually to show by scientific means that the unusual activity is from the spirit world. Gary recently wrote about one of these historic paranormal experiences in a book entitled Public Spirits Of The Old Putnam District Of Zanesville Ohio.

An interesting observation that Gary pointed out was the fact that you need to introduce yourself to the ghost. That will make them more comfortable and more likely to stay in the vicinity and if you are lucky even answer your questions. So he suggested that you say something like, “My name is ***** and I’m here to learn about you.”

The metaphysical side of investigations was also covered with April Lovejoy explaining the world of crystals and meditation. Often team members wear particular crystals as protective devices from the spirits.  She actually had the entire audience practice five minutes of meditation to learn to focus their mind in one place.  This helps, too, when on a paranormal investigation as it permits the team a close connection to the place they are visiting.

Well know psychic, Ellen Bone, described an actual investigation where through psychic connection they were able to find the location of the spirit and release it from the residence. Ellen’s natural intuitive qualities were always encouraged by her family where psychic activities were accepted as part of the norm. She believes we are all connected, and does her work with honesty and kindness.

Evidence was shared through recordings, photos, and videos. It was surprising how many establishments in the area have had some paranormal activity. They presented information on several places where the S.E.O.P.I. team had been welcomed to investigate. These included many places right here in Ohio: Penny Court, Col. Taylor Bed & Breakfast, and Cambridge Performing Arts Centre in Cambridge; Zak’s Restaurant, Papa Chuck’s Pizza, Zanesville Community Theater, Stone Academy, and Schultz Mansion in Zanesville; Licking County Jail in Newark; and The Captain’s House in Dresden, just to name a few.

Door prizes, including gift certificates, tee shirts, books, and pictures were given out throughout the program. To make the prizes extra special, all were donated by businesses where paranormal activity has been a frequent occurrence.

What do you think? Have you encountered any ghostly experiences in your world? Time to decide: Believer or Skeptic!

Southeastern Ohio Paranormal Investigators are a select group of researchers from many walks of life. The group is based in Zanesville, Ohio and assists residents and businesses that encounter suspected paranormal activities.

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