Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Travel Tale’ Category

Heartland Travel Showcase Promotes Tour Group Travel

Heartland Bus (2)

Area travel attractions and tour groups enjoyed a peaceful ride to Heartland Travel Showcase.

    Every February, tour group leaders and attractions from the eastern United States meet at Heartland Travel Showcase to share ideas in various locations of the eastern United States. They have recently been in Pigeon Forge, Detroit, and Chicago with plans to have their showcase in Cleveland for 2021.

Radisson Hotel Home

Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol was our home for a few days.

     This gypsy has been fortunate to be able to attend the Showcase for several years as the tour group coordinator for Dickens Victorian Village.  We were fortunate to have a great bus driver for our trip to Lansing. When we arrived, we unloaded our suitcases at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing, which was just across the river from the Lansing Center where the Showcase was to take place.

     Heartland Travel Showcase is produced by the Ohio Travel Association in various cities in the eastern part of the United States. Travel is an important industry accounting for nearly $44 billion dollars a year in the state of Ohio. These shows are an important place to make connections and let others know about your particular event.

Lansing River Walk

An enclosed pedway led us from the hotel over this Grand River to the Lansing Center where the Showcase was held.

     This weekend event sets up booths early Friday morning, followed by what is called a Four Minute Meet. Here the tour groups are set up in a large conference room in alphabetical order and attractions have four minutes to tell them about why they might like to arrange a tour to their particular area and attraction.

Heartland Set up

Tour attractions just finished setting up their booths in preparation for the next two days of appointments with tour operators.

     The evening always has entertainment and a delicious buffet of foods provided by the city hosting the event. In Pigeon Forge, we visited The Island at Pigeon Forge as well as the Titanic Museum and a buffet at a country/dinner theater. Detroit treated us to a historic museum while Chicago opened the doors to their Impression 5 Science Center.

Lite Brite at Science Museum

Freedom to play with a giant Lite-Brite screen has Heartland visitors at the science center designing the mega-screen with a huge heart.

Heartland Slime

Several enjoyed the challenge of making their personal bag of “slime” for the kid in them.

     These places not only show other groups the highlights of their area but gives a chance to become familiar with other attractions and tour groups on a more personal level.

2020 Heartland (2)

Dixie Lacy from the Visitors and Convention Bureau and Beverly Kerr, group tour director for Dickens Victorian Village met with many potential visitors.

     Saturday and Sunday are spent at appointments that are scheduled with various attractions. This gives tour operators a chance to learn more about the attractions and see if they would like to schedule a visit.

    All events throughout the weekend are spent in networking with other tour groups and tour operators. There were also seminars on ways to learn about trends in the travel industry and how we might use them in our event.

Heartland Muskingum

On one side were friends from Muskingum County. Brenton Baker from the nearly opened  Dresden & Co. shared the booth with Kelly Ashby, Zanesville’s Chamber Vice President.

     We were pleased to be surrounded by other area attractions making it easy to discuss combined tours for a possible several day tour. These connections are an important part of the travel industry so we have friends who can help answer questions.

Heartland Marietta

Across the aisle, another special friend,  Deana Clark from the nearby Marietta/Washington County CVB  provides possibilities of many interesting tours.

Great Ohio Lodges - Salt Fork

On the other side representing Great Ohio Lodges were Joan Arrowsmith and Kathlene Williams. Our local Salt Fork Lodge is part of that group and the perfect place for lodging.

     By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, ideas are flowing in everyone’s minds about tourism in 2021-22. It’s been a great place to build relationships and plan tours.

Heartland Capitol Building Lansing

Our last evening there, we took a walk to a nearby restaurant and had this view of the Lansing Capitol right down the street.

The bus ride home has everyone talking about possibilities for the future.

If anyone is interested in a tour to Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio during November and December each year, please contact me at DickensGroupTours@gmail.com and we’ll design a plan for your specific group.

Riding the Rails – A Father’s Day Story

Rudy WencekHobo Rule No. 1: Decide your own life. Don’t let another person rule you.

Young boys thoughts often turn to adventure when they have nothing else to occupy their mind. Such was the case with my dad, Rudy, when he was a young teenager.

   His parents had died when he was but a young child so he lived with his sister and her family. At a very young age, he began working at Cambridge Glass Company and took pleasure in seeing the sand turned into beautiful glass objects.

   However, there were days when the glass company was not busy. Sometimes workers would sit outside and pitch pennies while waiting to see if there was a job for them that day.

   On days when there was no work, Dad often hopped on a train as it slowed down for the crossing near the glass plant. How he enjoyed the freedom to explore as he rode those trains from New York City to Chicago and all the places in between.

   This happy-go-lucky train hopper often told of the friendly people he met in his travels and the other ‘hobos’ who were riding the rails. They always shared their food, clothes and sometimes their cigarettes.

   Picture Dad in his ‘hunky cap’, gray work shirt and pants, and maybe a few dollars in his pocket. Perhaps he stopped in a hobo jungle to share a can of beans or mulligan stew with other wanderers. Life was simple on the rails so not much was needed.

   It’s interesting to know that in 1915 there were a million hobos in The United States. By 1930 when Dad was riding the rails, that number had increased to over two million.

   There were many ways of hopping on a train. They might find an empty boxcar, hop on between cars, grab a railing and climb to the top, or even ride under the train. These young and vigorous men had plenty of nerve.

   Clicking his fingers, Dad often said, “If I hadn’t met Kate, I would probably have ridden those trains all the way to the Pacific Ocean.” But marriage and full-time employment at Cambridge Glass Company stopped his riding the rails

   While Dad never rode the rails again, he still enjoyed driving anywhere Mom would go. Sunday drives always took us on adventures in every direction. Perhaps Dad set the stage for my being a gypsy.

This story was in our local newspaper as part of our Rainy Day Writers tribute to Father’s Day. It is a true story of his early life that my Dad liked to share with his grandsons. Dad went on to be co-owner of a local glass company, Variety Glass, so the glass industry played a large role in his life.

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.

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.

 

Tag Cloud