Ohio is popping with history but in Marion, that history tastes delicious with an added touch of butter – or salt – or caramel – or…
Welcome to the big top, literally. Step right up folks, the world’s largest popcorn museum is inside a circus tent inside a historic building.
Before you see anything, you smell it! MM-mmm-mm! Fresh roasted popcorn. Just before you catch yourself drooling, your eyes will turn as wide as saucers when the giant red, white and blue circus tent comes into view.
The main attraction is the world famous Wyandot Popcorn Museum. It’s the largest on the planet and only one of two in the country. It just so happens that the other one is also in Ohio. Go figure.
The bright and colorful circus tent puts everyone in a festive mood. Then you see these fascinating nickel plated contraptions that look more like priceless pieces of art. But its art that moves. Careful, the intricate interlinking parts of these unique machines will mesmerize you. So will the craftsmanship.
Imagine a steam whistle blowing.
Here you don’t have to imagine it because you’ll hear it – for real. But for safety purposes, the steam whistles on these polished like new relics are now generated by air compressors.
a trivia question: What are non-popped kernels called?
Okay, back to the story.
This creative and interactive museum features more than 50 popcorn machines – many doubled as peanut roasters (5 or 6 peanut roasting only machines). The collection features a few horse drawn carts, a 1927 Ford Model TT Concession Wagon, 1911 Dunbar Wagon, Cretors 1899 No. 1 Popcorn Cart, 1896 Kingery steam-driven wagon, and 1892 Olson store-type dry popper.
Here’s a side note about that 1911 Dunbar Wagon. The museum founder, George Brown, son of the Wyandot Popcorn Company founder, William “Hoover” Brown, decided to drive over to the Mid-Ohio Raceway one day in the early 1980s. Native Ohioan and famed Hollywood actor, Paul Newman, was there with his race team. George and Paul struck up a conversation about popcorn of all things. George grew up in the business and Paul wanted to launch a line of popcorn for his Newman’s Own brand. But he needed the right supplier. That day he found one. They shook hands and next, the Brown family found themselves in New York’s Central Park with Newman and his business partner Al Hutchner launching their line of jarred popcorn in 1984. George’s wife, Millie, posed for a photograph with Paul Newman with a perfect vintage 1911 Dunbar Wagon as a backdrop. That wagon is in the Wyandot Popcorn Museum today.
The museum teaches all kinds of interesting things about popcorn history and Wyandot Popcorn Company’s part in that. For example, in 1948 an archaeological dig in “Bat Cave”, New Mexico turned up what many believe to be the oldest ears of popcorn ever found, dating well over a thousand years old. Popcorn was originally prepared by Native Americans using a bowl containing sand and placing the bowl over fire. The sand heated the kernels and when they popped, they popped to the top of the sand.
Now let’s fast forward to modern history and the early movie theaters. Movie theater popcorn started when street vendors began setting up in front of movie houses. At first, theater owners chased the vendors away. But when they saw how much movie goers loved the popped corn, theater owners saw dollar signs and invited the vendors inside. Then they realized they don’t need the vendors, just the machines. So the movie theater snack bar was born. In 1948, Popped Right Corn Company became a subsidiary of Wyandot Popcorn Company to supply theater chains with popped popcorn.
But the Wyandot story and how it contributed to the history of popcorn began during The Great Depression. That’s when William “Hoover” Brown decided to plant 100 acres of popcorn to see how things would go. Well, things went well. And that’s how Wyandot Popcorn Company got its start in 1936. Years later, Golden Crisp and Caramel Corn were named by Ava Brown, “Hoover’s” wife, for the Shirk Candy Company which is still open in Marion, Ohio today.
“Hoover” and Ava’s son, George, gained interest in the popcorn industry, naturally, and in the 1970’s, he wanted to write a book about it.
His passion brought him to auctions where he acquired old broken down popcorn machines and peanut roasters. He then found a superb restorer in Bob Pearson of Kansas to transform the vintage machines to their original condition. They looked brand new again. Other restorers over the years included Roy Arrington in Las Vegas, NV and several of Wyandot’s own restoring experts. And although George never wrote his book, he became a treasure trove of information and thus a reliable source for others who wrote books about the popcorn industry.
George’s private collection grew so big, he decided to open a museum in 1982 at the Wyandot Popcorn Company’s headquarters in Marion. The museum grew more and found new homes for the public to come marvel at the colorful history of popcorn and experience it firsthand. Locations included the Southland Mall. After that, the collection was pieced out to multiple locations like the old COSI (Center of Science & Industry) museum building in Columbus, Ohio to feature displays.
Finally, in 1989, The Wyandot Popcorn Museum found a permanent home at Heritage Hall – the old 1910 Marion post office building – along with the Marion County Historical Society Museum. The Wyandot Popcorn Museum is inside what used as a sizeable mail sorting room in the 1930s which is now transformed by the big top circus tent.
Today Wyandot Popcorn Company in Marion, Ohio creates popcorn for a major brand to private label. Who that company is shall remain a secret.
Not only is Marion, Ohio home to the largest popcorn museum in the world, it hosts the largest popcorn festival in the world. The American Bus Association previously named The Marion Popcorn Festival one of the top-100 events in North America. The festival is always held during the weekend after Labor Day and attracts about a quarter million people annually. Details about the fest are at PopcornFestival.com.
Wyandot Popcorn Museum is open from 1pm – 4pm on weekends except in January and February and major holidays. It is located at 169 E. Church Street in Marion, Ohio. Admission is $4/adult, $3/senior, $1.50 for school age kids and free for preschoolers. For more information, call 740-387-4255 or visit WyandotPopcornMus.com.
One more thing – everyone leaves the museum with a FREE box of popcorn! Now, get to Marion, Ohio and see what’s poppin’ for you.
By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler
Reminiscent of small town old town charm around the holidays, the nostalgic Everything Rubbermaid Store in Wooster, Ohio does the season right.
Their window wonderland shines bright among the many downtown storefronts. Each scene carefully crafted to invite folks in for warmth and smiles. But the real lure is a Santa Claus the kids will never see – but they will communicate with him in a way they’ll remember forever.
Don’t miss this Christmas miracle on November 21, 2014 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
The old store with its worn wooden floors still has operational air tubes. This system used to shoot payments up to a higher floor for processing. Then change and a receipt were returned through the same tube. But now, it sends letters from kids directly to Santa at the North Pole. Kids sprawl out all around and meticulously draft the perfect letter – some more hastily so. Then, they get in line and one-by-one each letter to Santa is placed in its own canister and sucked up the tube. A short time later, the tube plops out the same canister in the return chute. Kids scamper around to see if it’s theirs. Yes, Santa answers every letter sent in a matter of minutes and includes a free treat, too!
Alas - the magic of Christmas.
This holiday shopping season, see the iconic store still at the corner of Market & Liberty Street in Wooster. It’s the original Everything Rubbermaid Store. The historic store and its worn wood floors make for a delightful trip down memory lane. And with its diverse product line, you can check a lot of names off your shopping list.
The store has an area on the third floor dedicated to kids’ stuff, featuring a play land in the middle where there are clubhouses, slides and many other things to capture a child’s attention. Moms have never had so many options with home organization items, cleaning, coolers, and food storage products. Dads may have finally found a store they won’t want to leave as they peruse through sheds, Sanford items (like the all-important Sharpie), Fast Track garage organization and Irwin tools. Things perhaps nobody wants to shop for but always need are garbage cans, Roughtotes and recycling containers. Then there’s the one section everybody loves – Bargainland! When items go obsolete, they are featured here at a reduced rate.
Rubbermaid began as Wooster Rubber in 1920. Five businessmen started the company by making toy balloons, paving the way for Rubbermaid.
The historic store’s original purpose was to test customer response to new Rubbermaid products being manufactured in the former nearby factory. The first such product was a patented rubber dustpan in 1933. Since then, Rubbermaid, now Newell-Rubbermaid, remains a leader in developing cutting-edge technologies and products that have organized the lives of Americans for decades.
For those customers who don’t have the luxury of physically visiting the store, log onto the virtual storefront at www.everythingrubbermaidstore.com. There, customers not only see pictures of the real store and learn about the products they offer, but can fill a virtual shopping cart by clicking away. Items can also be ordered from their EBay store by clicking on the EBay icon or by doing an advanced search on EBay. The store name is everythingrubbermaid01.
This one-of-a-kind store also makes shopping easier than ever by offering shipping for any and all items purchased. Everything Rubbermaid’s Mail Order Department serves the United States and Canada, through phone and fax orders. For questions or to place an order, call 330-264-7119 extension 5967 (Monday - Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm EST) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special orders are an important part of the store’s business. The store may not carry everything, but if Rubbermaid makes it, they can usually get whatever a customer wants. They will also service special orders of any size. Discounts may apply to large orders. It doesn’t matter if it is one of something or a thousand of something.
Every day is Senior Citizens Day at Everything Rubbermaid Store. All that is needed to get a Senior Citizens Discount is a Golden Buckeye Card (Ohio Residents) or a valid driver’s license verifying the shopper is 60-years-old or older for out-of-state shoppers.
The store welcomes bus tours and has a convenient loading zone directly in front of the store. All bus tours receive a discount and a small gift.
Everything Rubbermaid Store is open seven days per week (except major holidays): Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm; Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm; and Sunday 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm (April through December). The mail order department is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, but if you call on the weekend, they may still be able to help.
Rubbermaid Store is located at 115 S Market St. in
By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler
What's in your stocking?
“One day, I’m taking the whole family to Hawaii, grandkids and all,” dreamed Daniel Miller, owner of the authentic Amish run Miller’s Furniture in West Union, Ohio.
“I decided if we were ever going to do it, we better do it now because these grandbabies are adding up,” joked Daniel Miller.
This Christmas season, Daniel and his wife, children and grandchildren will board a train that’ll take them from Cincinnati to the west coast.
“I love going across the country by train,” Said Miller. “It is such a beautiful and relaxing time, especially through the mountains once you get to Colorado and beyond.”
From there, they will take a cruise ship and sail to five Hawaiian islands for the vacation of a lifetime.
Meanwhile, back at Miller’s Furniture, Bakery and Bulk Food stores on the family’s 300 acre farm, Daniel’s brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews and even grand nieces and nephews will be busy as usual filling holiday orders nationwide.
Fill your care package for the holidays with traditional homemade confections, meats and cheeses or get the hard-to-find baking flavorings to make your signature dish. All of which can be shipped overnight to just about anywhere from these Miller family run Amish stores in Southwest Ohio.
Millers Furniture, Bakery and Bulk Food stores in West Union, Ohio have been the key ingredient for holiday preparations for generations. And orders for signature items such as their fudge, turtles, buckeyes and cashew crunches are ever increasing as word of (watering) mouth spreads.
But that’s just for starters. The popularity of their eight kinds of fresh baked pies or six kinds of breads has the oven being fired up extra early every morning during holiday season. Fresh glazed donuts, cream horns and pumpkin rolls are often met with folks describing them as – “To die for!”
And for the party tray that sets itself apart from all the others – go with Miller’s meats and cheeses. That’s if you want to make an impression that lasts …because the meats and cheeses won’t!
For those that are do-it-yourselfer, you’ll want to fill a cart with baking supplies that will make people say, “Yum!” And then ask, “What’s in this?” If you aren’t a do-it-youselfer but want to be, no worries, Miller’s has the recipes and cookbooks that will make you a hit.
If your Christmas shopping includes getting something special that you can’t just pick up anywhere, head into the third of the main buildings at Millers – the furniture store. You can go big and get a dream play set for your kids or go small and put a handmade bread box under the Christmas tree. Handcrafted wooden chests, lighthouses, bedroom sets, dining tables, curios, stools and more fill this 34,000 square foot Amish furniture store.
For those who can make a daytrip to the physical location of Miller’s Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Foods, there are some special discounts in the near future:
The Miller family moved to the small Wheat Ridge Amish community in the 1970s. Their homemade baking was so popular with the community, over the next 37 years it transformed the 300 acre farm into what you see today. Now, four generations of Millers live and work there.
For more information, directions or catalog for Miller’s Bakery, Furniture & Bulk Foods, call 937-544-8524 or visit WheatRidgeAmish.com.
By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler
Shoot Your Way Into Shape This Winter
Tired of the office? Tired of school? Tired of being indoors? Get outside and play …Paintball.
Nothing rejuvenates the mind, body and soul like running around the woods and fields on Niederman Family Farm chasing co-workers, classmates, friends or family trying to pop a cap in their gluteus maximus. Whether it’s the fresh air, exercise, camaraderie or opportunity to settle an old score, playing friendly war games makes any heart run young in this year round sport.
“The best thing about it is you just need to bring yourself – that’s it – and we’ll take care of the rest,” said a smiling Brian Garver, who runs the Niederman paintball operation. “After we teach you the ropes, you get turned loose in no time for what will undoubtedly be one heck of an adrenaline rush.”
Paintball at Niederman Family Farm is ideal for any level of experience from first-timers to seasoned professionals.
“We have grown with this sport,” said Bethann Niederman, owner of Niederman Family Farm. “If you want smaller speedball courses with bunkers and barriers, we have six different varieties. If you prefer more strategy and want to cover vast areas of woods and streams, we have three woods fields.”
Paintball is fast becoming the ultimate group activity. Corporations love it for team building exercises. Bachelor parties to church groups enjoy the pure fun of it all. And it makes for the most memorable birthday parties.
“The party room is always being used to put that final touch on a great day of play for our groups,” said Bethann Niederman. “We also accommodate large family reunions and corporate events in a restored 1890s barn with modern amenities.
Everything here is made simple. Just walk in and get suited up with safety goggles, guns, paintballs and anything else you need to join the excitement just around the corner in no time flat. Veterans can shop the full store to upgrade or reload.
Any size group can reserve a field of play. One of the nice things about reserving a field for a special occasion is that the game goes on no matter the weather conditions. Besides, there are covered pavilions and barns to keep everyone dry while not on the field of play.
Niederman Family Farm’s paintball courses are open year-round on weekends without appointments. Walk-ins are welcome. Groups may play anytime of week by making a reservation.
“We even host major competitive tournaments and themed events,” said Brian Garver. “Our props get very elaborate and range from Star Wars to The Wizard of Oz.”
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will be one of the biggest days on Niederman Family Farm because they just announced a mega Black Friday Paintball Sale. The fully stocked pro-shop will have everything needed to play the game on sale!
“Often a first-timer returns from the courses, plops their rental gear down and turns to the store and suits up with their own stuff – It’s THAT contagious!” said Brian Carver.
Niederman Family Farm is a working farm just off I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton. In its fourth generation, the Niederman’s have diversified parts of their farm in order to survive and preserve their way of life. Ongoing accommodations feature barn rentals, primitive cabins (with heat and air conditioning), bonfire pits and many seasonal events plus group tours.
Niederman Family Farm is located at 5110 LeSourdsville-West Chester Road in Liberty Township, Ohio between Cincinnati and Dayton. Call 513-779-3228 or visit PaintballCountryOhio.com to plan your attack for outdoor fun, year round.
By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler
“Over the river and thru the woods” to the foothills of Appalachia and to a fun family Christmas shopping event. Under one roof, you’ll find 40 talented Southern Ohio artisans and craftsman showcasing their unique skills. This is a great opportunity to get gifts for those hard-to-get-for folks on your shopping list. Stroll the little shops that each artisan takes pride in fashioning from November 14-16, 2014 just off the Appalachian Highway in Winchester, Ohio east of Cincinnati.
Leisurely shop in a friendly family atmosphere for those one-of-a-kind items until hunger pangs hit. Then, enjoy delicious Appalachian country homemade hot soups, chicken salad croissants, soft pretzels and chili or an old fashioned PBJ. A selection of cold and hot drinks including hot cider will be available. With tummy satisfied it may be time to start working on that list again.
On Sunday, from 1-2pm, shoppers are treated to the festive music of charismatic singer songwriter Steve Free.
About that unique shopping. Here are some of the best southern Ohio has to offer.
Fragrance abounds at the family owned “Mill Branch Soap” shop. Brenda Harvey has been specializing in a fine line of natural olive oil soaps, lip balms and natural body products for several years now. Mill Branch Soap is a highly featured artisan at the “Country Living” Fairs in New York, Columbus and Georgia. This Mason, Ohio-based family-business began working on an avocado bar formula when their son was diagnosed with eczema. This bar is excellent for babies and children’s skin.
The words “all-natural” and “hand-crafted” are not taken lightly in Appalachia. Artisans strive to produce that all natural product and proudly write those words on their tagged products.
Bee Charmer Honey specializes as well in all-natural soaps, lotion bars, 100% beeswax candles and raw honey infused from flowers and peppers. This small business from Batavia, Ohio strongly believes that the best things in life come from the honeybee. Bee Charmer Honey was named after “Uncle Joe” Hawkins, a calm and good natured bee keeper who loved tending to his bees. Uncle Joe was nicknamed the BEE CHARMER. Ask Catherine Butcher of BCH for some stories and pictures of Uncle Joe covered with his beloved bees.
Adams Countians, Bootsie and Glen Robison, of Locust Hill Farm, were featured on the popular PBS show “Our Ohio” a few years ago. They were interviewed on their farm amongst Bootsie’s flock of sheep that is her source of wool yarn. Bootsie has been spinning for 25 years and her expertise shows through in her scarves, shawls, hats and mittens. Her latest designs are yoga socks and felted embellished pin cushions. Her little shop radiates warmth and creativity.
“Recycle” and” Reuse” are two more important words in Southern Ohio. June Pickens of “Come Next Spring” recycles and reuses old wine and beer bottles and turns them into stunning vessels for soap dispensers, olive oil bottles and her very popular hummingbird feeders. Nicknamed Juniebee, she has even been known to dumpster dive for these beautiful bottles. Her business name came about from telling her husband Bob in the cold winter months that “come next spring” she would get down to business. Shopping for a name or two will surely come off your list at Juniebee’s shop.
Your first words when you enter the building will be “What’s that smell?” It will be the scrumptious scents from the mother/daughter team, Valerie and Lynsie’s. Their smell-good shop is appropriately named, “Scentsy”. Valerie loved selling Scentsy so much that her daughter, Lynsie, followed in her footsteps. They are the go-to Scentsy ladies in this neck of the woods. They travel far and wide together making the world a better place to smell. The decorative warmers are great for anyone on your shopping list. Here’s a tip: buy one, wrap it up, put it under the tree and tag it: From Me - To Me.
Everyone loves the 77 years young, Betty Fischer of Betty’s Sew Creative. At the age of 10, Betty learned to sew on a Singer Treadle and fell instantly in love with the art. Betty took sewing classes in school and then graduated college with a minor in Art. While teaching, Betty was the “go-to” person for ideas. Friends would often remark, “Betty you are so creative.” Betty’s love of the art is seen through her quilts, table runners, children’s toys, games and much more. Vivacious and enthusiastic Betty has a lot of history to share with you so be prepared for an engaging conversation.
Maggie Vance of Maggie’s Magic decided upon retiring that she would write, but a friend convinced her to try painting. Maggie discovered her new passion with the first stroke of the paint brush. That passion shows through with her oil paintings and other works of art displayed in her shop.
And then there’s the show’s hot spot – Buckeye Confections. Family-run by Alicia and Jeremiah (and a few little ones, too), they make buckeyes in dark and white chocolate as well as chocolate covered pretzels and a wide variety of cookies. Other favorites feature fudges and cupcakes. Jeremiah’s special hard candies are irresistible to snack on while shopping or even better to take home for later (if they don’t get eaten on the trip back).
That’s just a quick sampling. Many more artisans with fantastic back stories and products are all under one roof for a brief time to help you knock out that Christmas list. These include stained glass, Christmas décor, handmade writing pens, precision hand cut sterling jewelry, primitives, antiques, handmade old fashioned wooden toys for children, “sew cute” doll clothes, Lia Sophia, Avon, Alpaca products, pottery, recycled felted woolen garments, wind chimes, goats milk soaps, lotions and so much more.
Visit November 14-16, 2014: Friday & Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 11-4. This special shopping event will be located at 9764 Tri-county Rd in Winchester, Ohio. Call 937-695-5545 or visit www.appalachianmountainchristmas.homestead.comfor further information.
Holidays are Perfect for Reunion Planning
In a few short weeks Americans will begin an unofficial five week mental vacation referred to as “the holidays”. If it were up to most of us all business meetings would be suspended from the day before Thanksgiving to the first Monday following New Year’s Day. Days would be spent decorating, cooking, searching for the perfect gift for everyone on our ‘nice’ list and performing random acts of kindness. Evenings would be spent celebrating with friends and family.
The holidays are the perfect opportunity to plan reunions. Today’s families tend to be spread out across the country and sometimes across the world. Destination Reunions make it easy for folks to pick a central location for everyone to gather. While everyone is together for holiday celebrations make plans for a fun, warm weather reunion.
The Hocking Hills is a great choice for family and friend gatherings. Large lodges provide groups with all the comforts of home in a breathtaking setting with great amenities like game rooms, in-ground heated swimming pools, fire pits, hot tubs, gourmet kitchens and more. It’s your own private resort.
The beauty of family is how similar and different everyone is – all at the same time. A Hocking Hills Reunion lets everyone enjoy time together and spend time doing just what they like. Adventure junkies can take to the sky on ziplines strung in the tree canopy. Pump up the ole adrenalin by rappelling down a 130 foot rock face, not one of those indoor fake rock walls but the real McCoy in the Hocking State Forest.
Canoe and kayak tours are a great way to explore nature and can be arranged for any size group. Drop a line in Lake Logan, Rose Lake or Lake Hope for some of the best inland lake fishing in Ohio. Dinner could be the catch of the day cooked over an open fire at your woodsy retreat.
Landlubbers will love the world-class hiking. The Hocking Hills State Park, Lake Hope State Park and Tar Hollow State Park have scenic trails leading through deep gorges, pre-historic caves, past waterfalls and up cliffs to scenic overlooks. Equestrians have plenty of roaming room in the Hocking Hills and Zaleski State Forests. Take an all-terrain Segway ride to Rockbridge Nature Preserve. Rent an ATV or bring your own and explore the Wayne National Forest.
How about a little retail therapy? The Hills are peppered with artists and craftsmen shops and galleries. The Hocking Hills Arts & Ag Map guides treasure hunters to the many gems located off the beaten path. Concentrations of shops and restaurants can be found in the historic downtowns of Logan, Nelsonville and Lancaster as well as Hocking Hills Market in Rockbridge and Rempel’s Grove in Logan.
All reunions are different and require different services. Catering services, photographers, commemorative t-shirts, entertainment and more are ready to service your reunion needs. Your reunion begins at ExploreHockingHills.com or by calling 1-800-HOCKING (462-5464). A real live person will be happy to help.
Speaking of the upcoming holidays, here’s a perfect stocking stuffer – Hocking Hills Comfort Food Cruise tickets. On January 24 & 25, January 31 & February 1 and February 7 & 8, 2015 cruise through the Hocking Hills enjoying the beauty of winter while indulging in some of your favorite comfort foods. Ten different restaurants will each feature a classic comfort food. Tickets are $15 and $5 of each ticket sold goes directly to local food banks. Tickets are valid all six days.
Don’t worry about those New Year’s Resolutions. At the first guilty twinge just stop and take a hike. In addition to using some of that 'comfort food fuel' you will be treated to a feast for the senses as you pass cave walls covered with ice beards and waterfalls frozen in suspended animation.
Take a break from busy in the Hocking Hills. Close to home, a million miles from ho-hum.
STANDOUT in TOURISM
A Christmas Story House: This Standout in Ohio Christmas tourism is actually open year round and needs no triple dog dare to want to check it out. The house is where the popular holiday classic, "A Christmas Story", was filmed. It is five minutes from downtown Cleveland and has been restored to its 1983 movie appearance. Across the street is its museum featuring movie-related memorabilia. You can even buy leg lamps, a pink bunny suit, decoder pin and official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model 1938 Air Rifle BB Gun complete with retro box from A Christmas Story – but be careful, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Learn more about this legendary Christmas destination at www.AChristmasStoryHouse.com.
This award recognizes Ohio's truest standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at www.ohiotraveler.com/standouts.htm.
OhioTraveler.com's focus is on admission-FREE tourism. Most sections of OhioTraveler.com feature places with FREE ADMISSION at the very top of menu options. Find your free fun now:
In addition to featuring freebies and places worth the price of admission, OhioTraveler.com seeks the more interesting and unique in Ohio tourism. Instead of endless listings of events, lodging, restaurants and stores, we veer away from mainstream and choose the road less traveled. Take a look:
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Ohio travel and tourism guide to Ohio tourist attractions, festivals and events in Ohio featuring Ohio vacation destinations, travel information tours, museums, arts, restaurants, lodging, wineries, parks, historic sites, outdoor activities, recreation and leisure activities and entertainment coupons, discounts and other travel deals along Ohio's roads less traveled.
The holidays start at Thanksgiving in Preble County, Ohio!
Downtown Eaton Inc. sponsors “White Christmas” on November 28, 2014 (the Friday after Thanksgiving) in downtown Eaton in central Preble County. This year's parade includes police escorts, Eaton High School Band, the LaFrance fire truck carrying local officials (council members and county commissioners) as well as Santa and Mrs. Claus. 300 first and second graders will troop in the parade with jingle bells and sing Christmas songs. The Eaton Community Chorus entertains downtown at 4:45pm. Then, the parade begins at 5:00pm at Decatur and Barron Streets and marches to the Courthouse for performances by the band, singing of carols by the children, official lighting of the white lights of downtown Eaton, and singing of "White Christmas" by the Eaton Community Chorus. The first and second graders are eligible for bicycles that are given away that evening. All the fun downtown is done by 6:00pm. And then Fort St. Clair opens for a “drive through,” with tests of all the lights of Whispering Christmas.
Eaton’s “Whispering Christmas” officially opens on December 1st and goes through December 31, 2014. Fort St. Clair (located at the intersection of Camden Road and State Route 122 West in Eaton OH) features nearly one million lights in dozens of displays. Driving through the park is an adventure for young and old alike, or park and enjoy the lights and music while sitting or walking through the displays. The park’s cabins are open from December 1 through 24, 6-10pm for visits with Santa, steaming hot chocolate, and refreshments. Admission is free and donations are gratefully accepted. 11am – 5pm at the Old
Contact the City of Eaton at 937-456-4125 for more information.
West Alexandria, in east central Preble County, hosts a spectacular “Christmas in the Village Craft Bazaar” on Saturday December 6 from 11am to 5pm at the Old Twin Valley South High School at 45 North Main Street (State Route 503 just north of Dayton Street/US Route 35) in West Alexandria. Over 20 vendors bring their products for your holiday shopping. Food and entertainment set the stage for the day’s activity.
On Sunday December 7, West Alexandria kicks off its “Christmas in the Village” with a lighted parade at 4pm and shopping all afternoon in the businesses of the village. Start at the library and get the map of businesses and the first stamp on the tour card to enter the raffle for door prizes provided by the local businesses. Stop at the Santa Villa in the Peace Park to meet Santa himself. The day’s festivities end at 8pm. Return on December 13 and 14 to visit Santa from 5-7pm. Gifts for Santa’s visitors are provided.
Contact Carol Lunsford at 937-839-4085 for more information.
Lewisburg in northeastern Preble County celebrates the holidays with a “Tour of Homes” on December 7. Beautiful homes will be on display to celebrate the festive season. Tickets will be on sale at the Lewisburg Community centers at 261 East Clay Street from 1-5pm. Presale tickets are available and more information about the Tour will be announced as the event draws closer. Contact Pam Baker at 937-962-2190 for more information.
Lewisburg’s December 7 Tour of Homes ends in time for Santa to arrive at 5pm at the Lewisburg Park across from the Community Center. At 6pm the Park will be brightened by thousands of light in the annual “Lighting of the Park.” Hot chocolate and hotdogs will provide warmth for the body amidst the glow of the lights. For more information about the Lighting of the Park, contact Mark Madigan at 937-272-6480.
For more information about other holiday events in Preble County, visit these web sites:
If you’re disillusioned with the whole holiday shopping hoopla of waiting in long lines and fighting for parking spaces at the mall, the Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau invites you to discover award winning downtown Wooster, Ohio. It’s a place where you can shop in a relaxed stress-free atmosphere and experience Christmas Shopping the way it should be.
Come enjoy the “unwrapping” of the animated Christmas windows on November 21st as the Downtown Merchants celebrate Window Wonderland and the arrival of Santa. Watch the hook and ladder truck successfully bring Santa off the roof of a downtown business and enjoy hot cocoa while visiting the stores and taking a horse drawn wagon ride around town.
Whether your shopping style is funky or sophisticated you’ll appreciate the unique “Soho Style” galleries, bakeries, restaurants, book stores, and wonderful one-of-a-kind shops including Everything Rubbermaid, Today’s Kitchen Store, Friendtique Hospice Resale Boutique, Gallery in the Vault, and the Wooster Book Company, and more.
You will also find antique stores, a bicycle shop, a running store and a brewery.
Turn your shopping trip into a special holiday getaway and spend the night at the St. Paul Hotel, a New York style boutique hotel, just a block off Public Square. It’s walking distance to many fine restaurants and night spots.
Visit www.wccvb.com or call 1-800-362-6474 for a complete list of holiday shops and events in our area.
Since 1808, Licking County has welcomed visitors. It’s where they sought to escape the confines of their everyday lives and spend time exploring the nearly 700 square miles of some of the best that the American Heartland has to offer.
Whether you live in Central Ohio or are traveling through, stop in Licking County. Be prepared though, there is a lot to choose from, including 40 miles of paved hiking and biking trails, indoor and outdoor water parks, sites of major historical significance, arboretums, award-winning golf courses, live theater and educational industrial tours.
Licking County is also home to the largest Native American earthworks anywhere in the United States. Built 2,000 years ago, by the Hopewell Culture, the Newark Earthworks are a staggering display of ancient human ingenuity and a must-see!
If you find that there is more to see than time allows, there are plenty of lodging accommodations for a weekend getaway or family vacation. These range from the intimacy of bed and breakfasts and county inns to more mainstream hotel options.
Many Licking County communities offer some unique shopping venues. These include places featuring the hard to find items as well as hand-crafted pieces created by local artisans. Taking home a bit of the county should not be a problem.
Microbreweries, wineries and interesting dining options abound. Sit at the water’s edge at Buckeye Lake. Enjoy locally crafted beers or wines. Stroll down the streets of quaint towns like Utica, Johnstown or Granville after a relaxing dinner that likely features local products from the area’s farm to table producers.
Fairs and festivals in Licking County are celebrated year-round. Be sure to mark your calendar for The Velvet Ice Cream Festival, The Hartford Fair, The Newark Strawberry Festival, MOPAR Nationals and The Flint Ridge Knap-In are great annual summer and fall festivals.
To help celebrate the season, make plans to enjoy the Licking County Courthouse Holiday Lighting and the Granville Candlelight Walking tour.
Licking County…Four Great Seasons to Escape!
FRUITCAKE IS NO
Lots of jokes surround fruitcake gifts around the holiday season – but at Keim Family Market, its serious business!
Keim fruitcakes have created a legend of their own – in deliciousness. That’s why the modest Amish shop gets orders nationwide.
Keim Family Market began decades ago as a horse and buggy stand along Ohio’s Appalachian Highway. Through word of mouth about the incredible home baked goods, customers came from miles away.
Today, Keim’s is a sizeable store that has a full kitchen where everything is made before your eyes, put on display, literally still warm from the ovens. They are known for their fresh-made pies, breads and a variety of Amish baked goods but they are just as well known for their meats and cheeses. Not only that, they have a whole grocery of Amish jarred and canned goods and bags of hard-to-find ingredients and spices. And that’s not even the half of it. They also have handcrafted wood furniture filling the other half of the main store with armoires, tables, chairs, you name it. And outside they have barns and children’s play sets for sale.
Bring your Christmas list to this authentic Amish-owned and operated marketplace. Folks make pilgrimages to this quaint destination to fill their shopping needs for the holiday season from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Portsmouth and Northern Kentucky. Once you near this rural Amish outpost, the senses dance with the luring aroma of pies, cinnamon rolls or fresh-baked breads wafting in the air. The peanut butter pretzels will make your mouth water just looking at ‘em.
This is not a quick trip to a big box store. This is a place for leisure shopping to find that one-of-a-kind item for even the most finicky person to shop for.
Keim Family Market is a special place, rich in history. If in the holiday hustle and bustle you don’t find an afternoon to escape the stresses of “convenience” shopping, there’s always mail-order – albeit, it comes without the pleasantries of visiting an out-of-the-way Amish landmark.
Keim Family Market is located at 2621 Burnt Cabin Road off SR 32 in Seaman, Ohio. They are open Monday - Friday 8am - 6 pm and Saturday 8am - 5pm but closed on Sunday. Their phone number is 937-386-9995. More information is available at KeimFamilyMarket.com.
By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler
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