Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Travel Tale’ Category

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.

Chocolate

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.

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Teacher Learns About Polar Bears in Icy Arctic

bobbie-polar-bears

Sometimes even polar bears just want to have fun.

Not everyone would consider sleeping in a tent on the ice the perfect vacation, but Bobbie Henderson thought it a great adventure. Over the past few years, she has made not one, but two trips to the far, far north just to get up close and personal with polar bears.

While she’s had a long-time passion for animals, one day while teaching an eighth grade class, they watched a film about polar bears. At the end of the film, it told about possible tours on the tundra where you could see polar bears just outside your window. Bobbie was hooked.

bobbie-three-polar-bears-001-2

Three polar bears relax in the setting sun on Hudson Bay.

Her first polar bear expedition headed to Churchill on Hudson Bay in the far north of Manitoba, Canada. Northern style shops lined the streets of this small town. Sirens went off to alert people when a polar bear came to visit. They even had a polar bear jail, where they placed tranquilized bears until they could be taken back to the wilds by helicopter.

At Churchill, a group of 32 boarded Tundra Buggies set high off the ground to take them exploring. Once they reached camp, the group settled in for a week of visiting polar bears.

Headquarters consisted of a stationary area with seven modular sections. Camp here was spartan, but comfortable…with excellent food. Showers were limited to two and a half minutes as all water had to be heated, while outhouses stood on the edge of camp. Overall, a relaxed atmosphere.

bobbie-window-view

The highlight of the trip for Bobbie was when this polar bear stuck its nose in the tundra buggy window right beside her.

Half the group would go polar bear watching in the morning, while the other half went in the afternoon. On one of these trips, windows were left down to take better pictures. The thrill of the trip for Bobbie was when one polar bear, 10′ tall, actually stuck its nose in the window right where she sat. She could have reached out and touched him…but took a picture instead.

bobbie-polar-bear

Forty polar bears were sighted on her first expedition.

One strict rule here states: “Don’t even think about feeding the bears.” Feeding was discouraged as it would make the bears too familiar with humans, perhaps causing both of them problems. If anyone did feed a bear, they were taken from camp in a helicopter at their expense. Bears find their own food and enjoy a steady diet of seals. They can eat a hundred pounds of blubber in a single sitting.

On that first expedition, Bobbie saw 40 polar bears in their natural environment. There’s a reason that Manitoba is called “The Polar Bear Capital of the World”.

bobbie-tents

Their yellow tents were the only sign of civilization in this Arctic wilderness.

Her second polar bear adventure began in Nunavut near Pond Inlet on the northern tip of Baffin Island. Now she was 700 K north of the Arctic Circle! This small town said their biggest problems were drugs, family abuse, and alcohol. They did have a couple television sets and computers, which broadcast in their native Inuktitut language.

Snow machines pulled them to camp this time on 18′ komitak sleds…three people to a sled. The ride took eight bumpy hours. Camp consisted of bright yellow tents on the ice with an insulated pad underneath and a very warm sleeping bag. Native Eskimos served as guides and someone stood guard around the clock to make certain no bears invaded the camp.

bobbie-tundra-001-2

Bobbie, their guide Dave and Jenny from Australia listen through hydrophones to the world beneath the ice.

The reflection of the midnight sun off the ice gave members the worst sunburns on their faces that they could imagine. They would reach outside their tents at night to get ice to cool off their burning face.

Perhaps it was due to the weather, but on this trip they only saw four polar bears. They first faced blizzard conditions but by the end of the week, it started to rain, so ice was melting in spots especially along the crevices. Now the komitak sleds had to jump the crevices making for a very rough and wet ride back to town.

Living on the frozen ocean, they explored ancient ruins of the Thule people, followed tracks of polar bears in the snow, built snowmen and created snow angels. Each day provided another unique adventure, which made this magical place a once in a lifetime experience.

bobbie-classroom

Ms Henderson brought back her experiences and used them in the classroom.

Upon her return, Bobbie shared her Arctic adventures in her Florida classroom. She used the trip to teach spelling, vocabulary, map skills and wildlife conservation. Bringing personal experiences to the classroom always enhances learning. Now she enjoys sharing her experiences as a substitute teacher here in southeastern Ohio.

bobbie-collectibles

Her house is overflowing with polar bear memorabilia.

While Bobbie was glad she did both trips, she wants to return to Churchill again because she saw more bears there, and camping was a little more relaxing. Since she likes cold weather, Greenland, the North Pole, and Arctic regions are places she would enjoy visiting.

bobbie

Bobbie volunteers at Dickens Victorian Village, where she dresses as a lovely Victorian lady.

Animals like Bobbie. At her home near Cambridge, she keeps several dogs, cats, and rare macaws. Deer hang out at her back deck. But if you happen to see a polar bear there, it’s just Bobbie in her polar bear costume.

bobbie-polar-bear-costume

Sometimes she enjoys dressing as a polar bear.

Dreams Do Come True

Dave received his first train in 1950.

Dave received his first train in 1950.

Ever since Dave Adair was a small child, he enjoyed trains. As a youngster, he frequently visited his Slavish grandfather, Dzeda, who lived near the train tracks in East Cambridge. Dzeda also worked in the Klondyke and Black Top coal mines in Guernsey County so he would tell Dave stories about the coal cars as they rolled by. It’s easy to see how Dave became interested in trains and coal mines.

Dave’s secret wish was that someday he would be able to have a caboose of his very own – a real one used on the train tracks.

Ellen, Dave's wife, started his collection with this caboose.

Ellen, Dave’s wife, started his collection with this caboose.

When Dave was about forty, his wife, Ellen, took a ride with him a couple weeks before Christmas. They stopped in Senecaville to look at a caboose that belonged to Herb Tipton and had been used on the B&O Railroad. When they arrived and looked over the caboose, Ellen said, “Merry Christmas!”

Dave couldn’t believe it and looking back on that day said, “It was the biggest shock of my life.” Of course, she told him it would be his Christmas and birthday present for years to come. Little did she know at the time that she was only starting a vast train collection that today fills their home’s yard.

This original chair from a B&O office holds two lanterns.

This original chair from a B&O office holds two railroad lanterns.

Over the years, Dave has narrowed his interest to Guernsey County trains and coal mining history. Almost everything in his collection came from Guernsey County. Every item and picture is special to him, but he doesn’t have any favorites. They are all part of history.

Dave built his own Depot and Museum in his back yard.

Dave built his own Depot and Museum in his back yard.

Since there wasn’t any place nearby that had room for his coal mine and train collection, Dave decided to build his own depot at his home and turned it into a museum. Nothing pleases him more than to sit down in his depot and tell stories about the coal mines and trains that were in Guernsey County long ago. But getting him to talk about himself was not an easy task.

Dave and his son, Alan, look over their large HO display.

Dave and his son, Alan, look over their large HO display.

Now that Dave is retired, most of his time is spent volunteering, while spreading the word about Guernsey County history. His slide shows have been popular attractions for years. He spends time volunteering at the Guernsey County Historical Society, Cambridge Amateur Radio Association, Coal Miners Museum in Byesville, and at various nursing homes, giving people a chance to tell their stories. He says, “It’s better to give than receive.”

Dave Adair tells coal miners' stories.

Dave Adair tells coal miners’ stories.

While he claims to be “an ordinary Joe”, the history he has collected makes him a special person even though to him it’s just a hobby. It’s a good thing to make people happy and that is what Dave does best as he shares his stories and makes people smile. Through it all, his main goal is to preserve the history of Guernsey County trains and coal mines.

Dave and his family, thirty people in all, recently went on a short vacation. Where do you think they went? They headed for the train tracks in West Virginia, where they rode the Tygart Flyer. He’s still living his dream.

Cruisin’ down the Ohio River with Mark Twain on the Valley Gem

Valley Gem heads down the Muskingum River to its confluence the Ohio River.

Valley Gem heads down the Muskingum River to its confluence with the Ohio River.

Riverboat’s a comin’!

Nothing excited Samuel Clemens more than his time on the riverboats.  The sound of the paddlewheel hitting the water thrilled him, while the changing landscape gave him opportunity to see deer and even Injuns, while sitting in the pilot house.

Some say Clemens received his pen name, Mark Twain, from this passion for the river, since Mark Twain means “mark number two”. The second mark on the water measuring stick signified  twelve feet of water – a safe depth for boats to pass easily.

Breakfast Cruise on Valley Gem

Breakfast Cruise on Valley Gem

Spending time on the Valley Gem, with the charming impersonator of Mark Twain, delighted all passengers. They also enjoyed a tasty breakfast buffet as they cruised the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers. Mark Twain, portrayed by Stephen Hollen, greeted everyone with a hearty welcome as they stepped aboard the Valley Gem at Marietta, Ohio.

Immediately his sense of humor became apparent as he strolled from table to table encouaging everyone to try the marinated road possum and grits. His enjoyment in that role quickly ignited the crowd into a happy mood.

View behind the paddle wheel

View behind the paddle wheel

The cruise was a smooth two hour ride up and down the river. Many enjoyed going to the top deck to get a better view and feel the breeze. The paddle wheel created quite a spray so those standing near it received a generous sprinkling. After some fresh air, passengers returned to the main cabin to listen to Mark Twain spin his yarns.

Twain then told of his being born in 1835 at Florida, Missouri – population 99. Growing up,  he was given a big spoon of cod liver oil every day. He remarked that his tongue and body were so slippery, he could have eaten broken glass and it would have passed.

Twain visited everyone.

Twain visited everyone.

At 13, Samuel Clemens became a printer’s apprentice and soon joined his brother Orion’s newspaper, where he discovered he enjoyed writing stories.

A few years later he headed to St. Louis, Missouri for another newspaper job but got sidetracked by falling in love …with the river.

For two years he served as an apprentice receiving $500 at the end of that period. Training was not as easy as it might sound. In order to get a license, pilots had to know the 2,000 miles of the Mississippi like the back of their hand. Even at nighttime, pilots were required to remember the placement of every sandbar and the name of every twist and turn, like Eagles Fork or Johnsons Landing. But Mark Twain said during those years, “I had the time of my life.”

After becoming a full-fledged riverboat pilot, he was paid $250 a month. The only other people in the United States at that time that made $250 a month, besides river pilots, were the vice-president of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Riverboat pilot was much more profitable than writing fiction!

When riverboat travel became impossible in 1861 due to the Civil War, Mark Twain returned to the world of the newspaper. His adventures led him across the United States from coast to coast as well as to Europe and the Middle East.

After his travels, he settled in Hartford, Conneticut with his wife and family in 1873. That is where he wrote stories based on his memories of growing up in Hannibal, and enjoying the Mississippi River. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn came to life through his pen.

Mark Twain says thanks to each passenger as they leave.

Mark Twain says thanks to each passenger as they leave.

The journey was closed with Mark Twain telling his favorite story, “Golden Arm”. It was the story of a rich family from Hannibal, who always came to the landing to see the riverboats arrive and hear the calliope. Mark Twain even sang a Riverboat Song and had the audience join in on the chorus:

Down the river, Down the river, Oh down the O-hi-o.

I’ll not tell the story though, perhaps the next time he visits Marietta you will get a chance to hear more of his delightful tales.

Later in life Mark Twain uttered this comment: “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’ ”  And Mark Twain was not disappointed.

The Valley Gem is located next door to the Ohio River Museum at 601 Front Street, Marietta, Ohio, one block from Ohio State Route 7, and minutes from I-77.

Blowin’ in the Wind

"Stick dolls" - aka clothespins

“Stick dolls” – aka clothespins

“Gran, I found some real, stick dolls.” Jenny ran into the room proudly carrying a flowered bag. “Can I play with them?” Five-year-old Jenny was spending the weekend with Gran for the first time ever, so she anxiously explored every nook and cranny of Gran’s house.

“Play with them for a while, but later you can help me use those stick dolls. Actually those are clothespins that I need when I wash clothes. Not many people use them anymore, but I still enjoy hanging my clothes outside to dry. Bring that bag with you and we can hang the clothes I just washed on the line outside.”

When they went outside, Gran first washed off the clothesline with a damp cloth. No sense in putting clean clothes on a dirty line. Then Gran showed Jenny how to put the clothes on the clothesline using the “stick dolls”. Jenny watched with fascination as she handed Gran clothespin after clothespin.

The clothes on the line told the neighbors a lot about the family. You could easily tell when a baby was born, how much the children were growing, and even if someone was sick.

Gran explained how she liked to hang the washing on the clothesline in order : whites, shirts, pants, and towels. Shirts needed to be hung by the bottoms and not the shoulders so they were easier to iron. If you had two lines, you always hung the quilts, sheets and towels on the outside line so the neighbors couldn’t see the underclothes blowing in the wind.

Mom hangs up clothes to dry. (Mural by C.M. Scott)

Mom hangs up clothes to dry. (Mural by C.M. Scott)

Once they pinned all the clothes on the line, Jenny’s questioning eyes looked at Gran,” Now, how do they get dry?”

“Well, Jenny, when we put a pole under the line to push it up higher, the wind will blow on them and make them dry. If we leave them out here for a little while, most of them should dry quickly.”

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

With that Jenny and Gran went back in the house and sat down at the kitchen table. There they enjoyed fresh strawberry shortcake with whipped topping. While they ate, they decorated a recipe holder for Jenny’s mom made with a plastic fork and spoon in a small flower pot filled with sand. It would soon be Mother’s Day, so Jenny felt proud to have something special for her mom.

After a while, Jenny said, “Do you think those clothes are dry yet?”

Since a gentle breeze had blown the clothes dry, Gran took the clothespins off and handed a couple shirts to Jenny so she could see how they dried. Jenny held them close and took a deep breath. “The wind must smell good because these shirts smell better than Snuggle. Drying clothes like this is hard work, Gran. Someone should give you a clothes dryer for Mother’s Day.”

Gran smiled and rolled her eyes, “Next time you’re over, I’ll show you how to use the washboard.”

Coming soon” A story about the history of the washboard and its many uses.

 

Beautiful Ohio’s Winter Wonderland

Jackson Park near Byesville provides a scenic place to walk on a winter day.

Jackson Park near Byesville is a great place to walk on a winter day.

Snow flakes fall against the window panes while the wind howls through the cracks in the wall. Looking out the window here in Ohio, there is snow as far as the eye can see. This is the perfect time to get out the picture album and reminisce about other snowy days.

Dad shovels snow.

Dad bundles up to shovel snow.

Shoveling snow has always been a winter chore throughout the years. Often this task got delegated to the man of the house as he bundled up in buckled boots, old overcoat, and toboggan to protect himself against the winter cold. At the time of this picture, the car wasn’t driven into the garage because the tires had chains on them to enable better traction in the snow. Sometimes it may have been days before anyone cleared the roads. It may be a neighbor with a blade on his tractor or perhaps the highway department, that finally opened the roads for needed supplies. Often when the snowplows cleared the roads, they would push a pile of snow a couple feet high across the end of your driveway. Or you may have lived in a place where the winds blew drifts several feet high. Those were and still are the times that try men’s souls and their backs.

Children enjoy a sled ride.

Children enjoy a sled ride.

Children always enjoy a ride on their sled whether they are being pulled by someone or gliding down a hill. Many neighborhoods have a favorite hill where children gather to race on their sleds. Sometimes they may use a large lid or piece of cardboard with the front bent up so it can slide easily down the hills without getting caught in the snow. An old innertube also provides a great way to slide down a hill. You can be certain that everyone is going to come home covered with snow and ready for some hot chocolate.

Carrot nose placed on his first snowman.

Carrot nose placed on his first snowman.

Another favorite activity in the wintertime is building a snowman. Parents enjoy helping youngsters build that first snowman as it makes dad and mom feel young again too. To add the finishing touches, a nose is created by using a carrot, while its mouth and two eyes are made out of coal. Many times a hat is placed on the snowman’s head with a scarf around their neck. Then everyone hopes it doesn’t melt away too quickly after all that hard work.

Pepper, the Pony, pulls a sleigh through the snow.

Pepper, the Pony, pulls a sleigh over the snow.

If you are lucky enough to have a horse of your own, or a kind neighbor with a horse, hooking up a sled or sleigh behind a horse is great fun. It is important that someone either lead the horse or ride it as otherwise the horse might take off too quickly leaving passengers on the ground in the snow. What a treat when it works properly!

Deer wander over the Ohio hills.

Deer wander over the Ohio hills, as seen from my kitchen window.

This is also the time to see animals seemingly enjoying the snow as well. Kittens leap over snow covered chairs and playfully wrestle on the ground, while dogs might just sit and watch the activites around them. Deer graze on a few blades of grass still poking through the snow, while keeping alert to any danger around.

While this is not a favorite season for all, many truly enjoy taking a walk in the snow, skiing, or ice skating on a frozen farm pond. Winter recollections can be an enjoyable way to pass a homebound day. Wonder what your favorite wintertime activities might be? To tell the truth, this gypsy would rather take a road trip on a sunshiny day!

I Think I Can, I Think I Can Lesson from Dad

Dad's old truck

Dad’s old truck

Hop in the truck. Let’s go for a ride! Those were the words that lifted my heart and put a skip in my step. Often on a Sunday afternoon, Dad would dress in his best white shirt, put on his straw hat, and jump up on the running board of his Chevy pick-up truck. Happy memories were made on a Sunday drive sitting in the front seat between Dad grasping the steering wheel, and Mom clutching the door on the other side.

My job was trying to lose him on the back roads of Guernsey County. At each intersection of the road, it was my choice as to which way we should turn – right or left? But no matter how hard I tried, accomplishing that task was not a possibility.

With a snap of his fingers, he’d insist, “I know the back roads of Guernsey County like the back of my hand.” And he did!

Sometimes he would shut off the engine – to save gasoline, which was 25 cents a gallon at that time. Then we would fly down the hills and see how far we could coast before he needed to start the engine running again. A special enjoyment for him was the ability to drive over the roller-coaster like hills in such a manner that your stomach did little flips. The main goal was to have fun while enjoying a ride with his family.

Some of the hills were very steep and our black Chevy truck was very, very old. Sometimes we would make it part way up the hill, stop, then back down to the bottom again for a second try. That old truck didn’t have much get up and go, so it was quite a struggle to climb those steep Ohio hills! Next time he would get a better run for the hill. His laughter still rings in my ears as he would say, “I think I can, I think I can.”

When our truck finally rattled and sputtered to the top of the hill, he would clap his hands and with a voice filled with laughter say, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

What a great lesson in life: If we truly think we can do something, it can be accomplished. Lessons like that from Dad have stuck with me all these years. Mom always went along for the rides even though she didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as Dad and his daughter. Shaking her head, Mom would declare, “You two are my favorite gypsies.”

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