Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘pumpkin patch’

Ride the Rails to the Pumpkin Patch on Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad

Pumpkins go home to make jack-o-lanterns or pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Train rides highlight the month of October in Mt. Perry, Ohio. Board the historic Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad for a 45 minute ride through scenic southeastern Ohio. At the end of the ride in October, the train stops at the Pumpkin Patch where each child has an opportunity to go out in the field and pick out their own pumpkin.

Engineer Scott took control of diesel engine 4541.

Bill Ratz, Scott Dunbar, and an enthusiastic group of men and women enjoy spending weekends and free time working on the train, the tracks, and new ideas to make the train enjoyable. The sound of the train whistle and the call of “All Aboard!” thrills everyone who loves to ride a train.

Bill Ratz, train man, explained the history of Z&W Scenic Railroad.

Bill has been in love with trains since his first Lionel train as a child. When he became a paper boy, he always stopped to watch the trains along his route. Then his life turned a different direction when he met his wife, Pat, at Miami University where he majored in nuclear engineering. In recent years, he worked for IBM in Columbus City Schools as a software computer operator. His love of trains always remained as he worked with a tourist train there during his time off.

This unique dump truck runs on the tracks but has a bed that swivels to unload on the side.

The Zanesville & Western Railroad (Z&W) extended throughout southeastern Ohio in 1902. It connected Columbus to many of the coal and clay mines in the area. Locals knew the line over a hundred years ago as “Zigzag & Wobble.” It often carried coal that was mined in many areas of Ohio, or Glass Rock’s silica sand to places manufacturing glass, pottery, dinnerware, and fire brick.

Beginning in 1982, the Buckeye Central Scenic Railroad operated out of Hebron, Ohio. In 2003, they loaned their train to Byesville, Ohio until Byesville Scenic Railroad purchased their own equipment in 2006.

That same year of 2006, Bill and Pat heard from a friend, Ron Jedlicka, about an abandoned train track, that was owned by the State of Ohio. They took a ride to Mt. Perry to look the scene over and found the track was so overgrown that it couldn’t be seen in places. However, a dream was born that day.

A new coat of paint brightened up the flat car so it is ready to roll.

Ron had a huge interest in railroads as had been one of the founders of Buckeye Central. Ron met Scott at a train meeting and convinced him to join their efforts at Mt. Perry. Soon some of the equipment from the old Buckeye Central was moved to Mt. Perry via rail. The flat car being used today is one of those pieces of equipment.

Conductor Dennis made sure everyone was in place before the train moved.

The first thing Bill purchased for the Z&W Scenic Railroad was a locomotive. It was built for the U.S. Navy in 1941. His next purchase was the Indiana Coach from 1920. It has seats, which are being recovered as time permits, from the Long Island Railroad. His last purchase was the transfer caboose. All of these cars were brought to Mt. Perry over the highway.

Scott has purchased other equipment that is used for the train. Bill will admit that although he loves trains, Scott is the one with the mechanical skills to keep things running. They make a great railroad team.

In 2008, the Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad was born just a few miles off Interstate 70 between Columbus and Zanesville on SR 204. It operates out of Mt. Perry on the Glass Rock Spur along Jonathan Creek. The route today is about three and a half miles from Mt. Perry to East Fultonham and back. They have a flat open air car and an enclosed passenger car for your riding pleasure and a ramp for entering with ease.

The track goes through a shady tunnel of trees.

The tracks must be sprayed every spring so the train can ride smoothly along its route. Side branches are trimmed to avoid accidental brushes with riders. A bright blue coat of paint has been applied to the open-air car making it look like new. These volunteers work hard to make the best of what they have available. The entire route shows the beautiful countryside with everything well maintained along the way.

Board the train in Mt. Perry for a work in progress. The route will eventually cross 13 bridges and have 12 miles of track. They are hoping to add several new events such as a wine tasting ride in the future.

Dave Adair cooks a hobo dinner for Hobo Camp Weekend.

There are many possibilities for a train ride. School groups, senior citizens, and Boy Scouts enjoy riding the rails. Hobo Camp Weekend encourages passengers to wear their best hobo clothes and join them for a hobo meal around the campfire.

A Hobo Camp Weekend encourages passengers to wear their best hobo clothes and join them for a hobo meal around the campfire. You will probably be treated to beans and wieners or hobo stew!

Grassman Weekend gives an opportunity to watch for Grassman, or Bigfoot as he is often called. This is a great chance to share stories about personal experiences and viewings.

The Pumpkin Train stops to let everyone pick their own pumpkin from the patch.

Children get special treatment on many of the train rides. In October the Pumpkin Train runs rain or snow every Saturday and Sunday on October 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, and 30-31, 2021. The train leaves on the hour each hour from noon until 4:00. Kids love this time. A stop along the way gives children the opportunity to go out in the field and pick their own pumpkin.

The conductor greets passengers on the Christmas Train.

In December, an evening Santa Train on December 11-12 and December 18-19, 2021 is decorated inside and out for the season. Children love this ride as everyone gets a bag of candy and also a wrapped gift when they depart. A highlight, of course, is a special visit from Santa.

Santa welcomes everyone when he arrives riding on the engine.

60-80 people can ride the train easily. If you would like to have the whole train for your group even during the week, please call Bill at 614-595-9701 for a group rate. Parking is handy across the road in the Mt. Perry Foods parking lot.

Happy children pose with their pumpkins.

Cost is very reasonable with $8 for adults, $5 for children 6-15, and children 5 and under are free. Plus this year, everyone will have the pleasure of getting their own pumpkin from the patch.

Meet the Z&W in October at the Pumpkin Patch!

Western & Zanesville Scenic Railroad is located just a few miles from I-70 at Exit 142. Turn south on Mt. Perry Road for four miles, then turn right onto Coopermill Road. After about half a mile, turn right on Ohio 204. Parking is on the right hand side of the road in the Mt. Perry Foods parking lot. Or you can put 5700 State Route 204 NE, Mt. Perry, Ohio in your GPS!

Schumaker Farms Takes Pride in Their Heritage

Schumaker Produce Stand

Schumaker’s’ Produce Stand gets ready to open for another busy day.

Once a farmer, always a farmer

   Driving just outside of West Lafayette, a small produce stand catches your eye. At this time of year, pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks give you a feel of fall in the air. But there’s much more to the story of Schumaker Farms than just their produce stand. Let me tell you the rest of their story.

Schumaker Family

Today the farm is run by Chad, Leigha, Wendy, and Jim Schumaker.

   Way back in 1806, now we’re talking over 200 years ago, the family of Francis McGuire from Hampshire County, Virginia settled here on 1500 acres. Their daughter, Magdalena, married George Miller, and that family tradition has continued to operate this farm for seven generations.

Schumaker Signs of Fall

Signs of fall at the produce stand include pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks.

   Jim and Wendy Schumaker are the present family members working on this farm. Now their farm is much smaller as when it was passed down, the land was split between heirs. But pride in their heritage continues. Jim’s great-grandfather was the original owner. Several family members are buried high on a farm hill in Miller-McGuire Cemetery where their spirits keep watch over the farm.

Schumaker Old Barn

The date of 1887 can still be faintly seen on the slate roof of this original barn.

   The buildings on the farm date back to 1887 as you can easily see from the printing on the barn’s slate roof. Jim has strived over the years to improve the farm. ”I want to make it a showplace to share the farm with other people.” He’s always looking for new things to include to promote the farm in agritourism.

Schumaker Jim

Jim proudly displays the Bicentennial Farm Award for 200 years of family farming.

   They sell their produce in the summer months from a building constructed by Jim’s father, Robert, following his service in WWII. It was first used as a commercial garage, then later as an auto shop, Ferguson tractor dealership and boat dealership.

   Their most popular item at this produce stand is sweet corn. With eight acres of corn, they pick it fresh every morning. They have raised sweet corn for 58 years and sell about a hundred dozen ears a day all summer long.

Schumaker Donna Addy Cookie Maker

Donna Addy frequently bakes delicious cookies in the morning.

   Wendy keeps busy with her catering business as well since 1995. Perhaps she picked up her love of cooking from her grandmother, who was a great cook. But most of all, Wendy enjoys working with the various people she meets.

Schumaker Banquet Facility

Their banquet pavilion is a popular place for receptions and fundraisers.

   Their catering service can be “at our place or yours”. Their place is a large pavilion on the farm where people frequently have wedding receptions, family reunions, and other special events. Wendy caters all around the area and was recently honored to cater the luncheon for the dedication of the Woody Hayes bronze statue during the “Gateway to Fall” celebration in Newcomerstown.

Schumaker Wendy at truck

Wendy holds a jar of their famous BBQ sauce beside her catering truck.

   People enjoy favorites such as cheesy potatoes, pulled pork, and meatballs. Schumaker Farms Sweet BBQ Sauce became so popular, they now have it bottled so you can take home that great taste.

thumbnail_Schumaker Chad and Leigha with scarred pumpkin

Chad and Leigha hold a pumpkin she scarred when it was green.

   Today their son Chad and his wife Leigha have taken over many of the day-to-day operations and plan to keep the farm going. Leigha has a special flair for decorating while Chad has loved farming since his youth. They are in charge of the seven-acre pumpkin patch.

   Fall is Fun Time at Schumaker Farms. On weekends you can hop on a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where you can pick the pumpkin of your choice.

Schumaker Hay Ride

Many schools take field trips to the farm and include a hayride.

   Bring the youngsters along to play in the corn bin, slide down their huge slide, and visit the petting zoo. Enjoy the corn maze and a barn straw maze while picking up fresh produce or a delicious snack. Admission is $5 a car and includes all activities.

Schumaker Corn Bin

Children enjoy playing in the corn bin.

   Field trips for school groups create a great learning experience with a retired teacher explaining how a pumpkin becomes a pumpkin as well as other insights into farming. The Schumakers explain, “Those roly-poly orange spheres with built-in handles on top are naturals to wear grins or sneers and destined to bring grins to all your students’ faces.”

   When they eventually “slow down” and take a break, a cruise to a warm climate is their top choice. This chance only happens in January or February when they have enjoyed the Caribbean and Panama Canal in the last few years.

   Stop by Schumaker Farms for their Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience this fall. There are lots of things to see and do. These hard-working people enjoy their lives. For them, work is fun!

Schumaker Farms is located along OH-751 just west of West Lafayette. From US 36 take OH-751 south and watch for the farm produce stand on the left side of the road.

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