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12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #11

The “A Christmas Story” House

http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com

Every year TBS has a tradition of playing a Christmas Story for 24 hours on Christmas eve and day. Many people across America do not know that the film, based on stories from Jean Shepherd‘s book “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash“, was filmed in Cleveland. The house that was used for exterior shots and the opening of the “Fragile” package has become a museum and is open year round. This time of year, however, is the perfect time to visit the house. The original house has been decorated to match the sound stages from the movie and tours are given. Overnight stays are also offered.  The Bumpuses’ house next door (for overnight stays), a Museum across the street, and a gift shop are also on site. The House is located in a residential area so be mindful of the neighbors when visiting.

a few blocks away from the House is

West side Market

http://westsidemarket.org

Our Review of The West Side Market

The West Side Market is a nationally known market. The market is a great place to stock up on fresh meat, vegetables, and other goodies for your holiday meals. The site is also a great place to see the history of Cleveland. The citizen of Cleveland have been going to the market for the last 106 years so you know they must be doing something right.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #1

The Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill

Our review

The Legendary Lights at the Historic Clifton Mill have been lighting up the holidays for the last 31 years. The display started with a few lights on the mill and has exploded to the hills, cliff, and creek surrounding it. The display will even put on a show on the hour every hour. The Light display maybe a reason to go but it is so much more than that. The Mill also features a vintage toy room, a Santa room, and a miniature city with many moving parts.

With over 4 million lights every year is a big year. 2018, however, is a big year for the lights at Clifton Mill. This year they have made the USATODAYS 10best public holiday lights display nomination list. They also will be on the December 3 Great Holiday Light Fight on ABC. With so much national exposure make sure dress warm and take some time to see them this year.

To vote for Clifton Mill as the best public lights:
https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-holiday-lights-display/legendary-lights-of-clifton-mill-clifton-mill/

CRYPTOZOHIO: Most Haunted in Ohio II

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

This a continuing list of places that claim to be “The Most Haunted” in Ohio. The location itself might not make the claim, but the claim is made by many people. In our last post (click here) we covered The most haunted City, House, Government Building, Prison, and Cemetery. Today we cover a few more of Ohio’s “Most Haunted”

Most Haunted Museum:

National Museum of the United States Air Force

In our post about the Ohio’s haunted museums we touched on the stories from the museum. Dedicated to the History of a branch of the Armed Service and housing weapons of destruction, the museum is the perfect recipe for ghosts stories and urban legends. The NMUSAF is bound to have a few things that remain long after the battles are fought.

… In the WWII exhibit ghost are said to haunt the planes they once flew. The Lady B Good’s entire crew is said to haunt the area surrounding its memorial stain glass window. Near by the plane is also said to be haunted, but it could just be the crew from the Lady mistaking it , the same model of plane, as their own.  One or two planes have even been said to be “piloted” by ghost who are trying to finish their last mission. Additionally almost all of the Prisoner of War sections of the museum seem to have an eerie feel about them. Almost as if those who never returned have found away back.

This museum is more than just ghost stories though. On July 8th, 1947 something crashed outside of a farm in Roswell, New Mexico. Was it a spy balloon or something else? Some stories say that what ever was found was transferred to the base and stored in Hangar 18. The Base also has stories surround it and the technology it houses. It is said that it has reverse engineered alien tech and that the owners are coming back to claim it.

Most Haunted Island:

Johnson’s Island

Some people say that the “Most Haunted Island in Ohio” is South Bass Island, but with the size of land mass it is more of a haunted town than a haunted Island. Per acre Johnson’s Island is considered the “Most Haunted.” The island maybe small but it played a big role in the Civil War.

Johnson’s Island is located off the coast of lake Erie near Marblehead Lighthouse. The proximity to shore, about 1/2 mile away, made it a suitable location for a Civil War Prison and later Fort. The island is close enough to bring supplies, but far enough to discourage escape attempts. Despite the distance to shore making swimming a challenge in the warmer months, it was not much of a deterrent during the colder months when the lake would freeze over. The frozen lake would also make resupplying the prison a challenge. The harsh winter months were hardest on the prisoners from the south who were use to more mild winters. Disease and weather took a toll. Despite the problems, few prisoners escaped and only 200 men died, making it one of the lowest mortality rates of any prison during the war. But from that 200 men many may have not had easy deaths.

After the war the island was abandoned by the Army. Eventually it was used as a resort, farm land and a rock quarry. From the time the first civilians started to come to the island legends of the former inhabitants had started to be told. In the rock quarry a group of Italian immigrants, many who did not speak english, started singing a strange song one day. It was later found out that this song was Dixie. At the Confederate Cemetery voices can be heard. It is also said the Monument to the fallen soldiers has been seen to move around. The strange sightings are not just confined to the cemetery. While most were buried in the cemetery proper, graves have been found all over the small island. Most of the properties on the now inhabited island are said to be on top of a grave or two.

Most Haunted Inn:

Golden Lamb

Opened shortly after Ohio became a state The Golden Lamb is one of the oldest continually operating Inns in the nation. Over the years many famous people have spent the night there. While it was more famous during the 19th century, with every one from Mark Twain to every Ohio President stopping by, it still sees a good number of visitors each year.

With so many years of operation it is expected that tragedies and strange occurrences will happen.  Probably the weirdest accident to happen was that of lawyer Clement Vallandigham. While in his room trying to show fellow lawyers how his client’s “victim” could have shot himself accidentally, he accidentally shot himself. His client was found not guilty.  Vallandigham was not the only member of court to die in the inn. Charles Sherman, a Supreme Court Justice for the state of Ohio, while doing his required rounds of his district became ill. He was transferred to the Golden Lamb, which is across the street from the courthouse. He died a few days later. His death left his wife and children in dire straights, including future Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. The ghost that haunts the middle floors is said to be one of these two men.

Probably the most famous Ghost of the Inn is that of Sarah. She was the daughter of a former innkeeper and grew upon there.  Her room has been turned into a museum on the fourth floor. Some say this is to appease her, other say it is just a tourist attraction. It is said that late at night a young girl can be seen wandering around the halls near the room. Some say that the ghost is not that of Sarah however. Having lived to adulthood it is strange that she would come back as a child. The tricks the ghost play are not that of an adult but of childish youth. Many think it could be the spirit of Eliza Clay, daughter of famous senator Henry Clay, who died in the inn of a fever.

The Golden Lamb is open year round as a restaurant and working Inn. The Inn does not shy away from its history but celebrates it. This is one place that can be stayed in at night and one might get to experience the strange happenings. One can also visit during the day and see the historic rooms with a chance at a close encounter. For more stories of the Golden Lamb check out https://www.citybeat.com/home/article/13016077/golden-lamb-inn-ghost-hunt 

Most Haunted Park:

Wayne National Forest – Athens Unit

Wayne National Forest may not be a single park, but the parks within it can run together so much that it is hard to distinguish one from the other at times. The area of the forest that has been most cited in stories and legends is the portion surrounding Athens. This area includes Hocking Hills State Park and Lake hope State Park.

Moonville tunnel ror

As we wrote in our post on haunted state parks of Ohio, Lake Hope State Park  is home to Moonville Tunnel. This tunnel is an old abandoned rail tunnel that has seen it share of tragedies. Tales of former rail workers, citizens who fell from the bridges connecting the tunnel. Even without the stories the modern location is creepy all by itself.

… The tunnel is located off the Moonville rail trail. There is a high water trail down the road. This path will lead around the creek that runs high most of the warmer months. The tunnel itself is a run down popular area. The walls are lined with graffiti and trash. Even in the light of day the area is creepy and scary. The idea that the ghost of a lost railroad worker, or a local citizen, becomes almost a guarantee once one has visited the area. Well worth the hike.

Also located in this portion of Wayne National Forest is the ever popular Hocking Hills. This place is so popular that it draws citizens from across the state every weekend. Some stories are from first time campers who see or hear things that are natural in the deep forest of the region and attribute it to the legends of the park. While this may explain some of the tales told, so many more are told that there must be something lurking in the park.  From the natives who first inhabited the land to the Early explorers who are the name sake of the region, many a visitor has come to the place never to leave.

(These parks only contain a portion of the legends from the region see our post here for more)

Most Haunted Subway:

Cincinnati’s Abandoned Subway

Okay this is Ohio’s only Subway. The creepiness and the abandoned nature of it got it on our list. It is also one of, if not the, largest abandoned subways systems in the nation. The size of the thing has attracted many urban explorers ( We do not encourage trespassing), homeless citizens, and wild animals to visit the tunnels.

The subway system was very well-built and is in good order almost 100 years later. This in part due to the workmanship of the people who built it and in part to it supporting a busy road above. Like most projects of the time, a few workers deaths was not unheard of. But did the workers ever leave, or do they continue to stay and work on a system with little hope of becoming active. Explorers who have gone into the tunnels have said to hear creepy noises and even moaning. Many have also said to have found the camps of the homeless who have made the tunnels home. Most visitors come away from the Cincinnati Subway with an uneasy felling.

A documentary on the System has been produced and airs on PBS from time to time. It is available on Amazon. If you would like to visit the Tunnels of Ohio’s Subway, tours are offered on occasion. We recommend a tour due to the nature of the location and the legality of exploration. Visit https://www.cincymuseum.org/heritage-programs#subway-talk-and-walk for more information.

 

 

Day Trips in Cincinnati

Are you planning to go to  Zinzinnati for Oktoberfest, but need something to do the next day? Have a day free and are wondering what to do? Here are some day trip ideas for Cincinnati.

Trip 1: A day at the park 

A trip to Eden park is a great way to spend the day, see the sights and not spend a lot of money.

  1. Echo Restaurant: a great place to get a quick breakfast before a long day of sightseeing
  2. Krohn Conservatory:  Located in Eden park it is a greenhouse that goes way beyond anything at the local flower shop.
  3. A picnic in Eden Park:  While in one of Cincinnati loveliest sites stop for a quick bite. Sit on the lawn, by the lake, or at the river overlook.
  4. Cincinnati Art Museum: The next stop is also in Eden park. One of the best art museums in the state.

 Trip 2: Signs in the Sky

An afternoon and evening trip to see the city in a different light.

  1. American Sign Museum: A museum dedicated to signs of all forms. With a working neon shop and more neon that one location needs. Last Tour starts a 2pm
  2. Arthur’s: One of the best burger joints in town. Grab a bite for dinner and then walk around Hyde Park.
  3. Cincinnati Observatory:  A great place to visit any time. See the stars at night or just see the telescopes during the day.

Trip 3: History on Display 

Important sites for two of America’s Presidents and a lesson on the struggle for freedom

  1. William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The home of one of Ohio 8 Presidents.
  2. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: A museum dedicated to freedom for all and the struggle of obtain it.
  3. William Henry Harrison Tomb and Memorial: The site official resting place of the first president to die in office. Also near-by is a marker for the Birthplace of his grandson President Benjamin Harrison.

Trip 4: Art – food for the soul. Food – art for the stomach

A walking tour of the heart of the city and all the art it has to offer. This walking tour can pass by Music Hall and many other great sites.

  1. Findlay Market: A historic market in Over The Rhine. A great place for breakfast or lunch.
  2. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Main Branch: Stop in for a book, or just to see the great art they have on display.
  3. Fountain Square: The heart of downtown. Stop and admire the fountain, see a concert, or grab a bite.
  4. Contemporary Art Center and 21c Museum Hotel:  Two free art galleries just down the street.
  5. Some of the many, many, many murals the city has: Way more than one could probably see in one day.

Trip 5: A ballgame and some sites

  1. A walk along the riverfront to see the Riverboats
  2. National Steamboat Memorial: A hidden treasure with hidden secrets worth finding
  3. Great American Ballpark: The home of the Cincinnati Reds OR Paul Brown Stadium: Home of the Cincinnati Bengals

Whole Day Themselves:

  1. Cincinnati Zoo: One of the Best Zoos in the nation (maybe start with breakfast at Sugar n’ Spice)
  2. Cincinnati Museum Center. When it reopens this will be one of the premier attractions in the area.

Fountain Square

520 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

https://myfountainsquare.com

In the heart of downtown Cincinnati is a large fountain. Surrounded by buildings and the hustle and bustle of business life this fountain could easily be forgotten by the people outside of Cincinnati. But even if the people outside the city forgot it, the people of the city never would. Fountain Square has become the heart of Cincinnati and as famous an icon as the riverfront and the bridges.

The fountain was commissioned by Tyler Davidson, and made at the Royal Bronze Foundry of Bavaria, to honor his late brother-in-law and businesses partner. August von Kreling had the design, but had found no one to sponsor its creation. The fountain stands 43 feet tall. On top is a statue of a lady called The Genius of Water. Around here are four figures representing the human uses of water. Around them at the edges are four figures that represent the pleasures of water. These figures were originally added to the design as drinking fountains and can still be used to this day. The fountain was dedicated on October 6th, 1871 and has been renovated 3 times over the years. In 1971, for its centennial celebration, the fountain was moved and the entire square was redesigned. This was the design and configuration made famous by the WKRP in Cincinnati opening. In 2006 it was moved again as the entire square was revitalized hopping to make it the heart of the city once more.

The original model on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum

It did become the focal point that organizers were hoping for. The square is surrounded by shops and restaurants. The variety of food, from local upscale venues to national fast casual chains, is large enough to make it a daily destination. Many workers simply walk to the square instead of hunting around town. Food trucks park in and around the square on occasion too.

As the heart of the city, the square should be near many other things. 3 art galleries, the library, The Aronoff Center, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Great American Ballpark, and so many other arractions are within walking distance, or a short ride on the Streetcar. Throughout the week the square host trivia nights, themed food nights, concerts, a Farmers Market (harking back to the sites original uses as a butchers market), and much much more. During the colder months it hosts a skating rink.

We went after a visit to the Cincinnati Public Library Main Branch on a warm spring day. It was lunch time and we found the square busy. Many people were visiting the local food trucks that had parked nearby. Seating seemed to not be a problem as the square had many tables set up. Music was playing from a dj booth located next to the stage. Over all the atmosphere was festive and lively despite the crowds. We were full from eating earlier but found this would be a great place to stop for lunch while exploring the city.

Tip: The fountain is turned off when the weather becomes freezing on a constant basis and is turned on before the first game of the MLB season.

Sugar n’ Spice

4381 Reading Road, Cincinnati OH 45229

https://sugar-n-spice-restaurant.com

Our quest to eat at any breakfast place we can allowed us to come along this little gem. What we like about breakfast places is that you can find some really local and quirky ones. Sugar n’ Spice Restaurant has been in business for 75 or more years. This shows how popular this place has stayed. This is not a huge restaurant, but it does not need to be, either

We went in the middle of the morning on a weekday. We saw a mix of people from workers to families. The place has a counter and tables around the outer edges of the one room. We decided to sit at the counter in order to not have to wait for a booth. This place probably has a wait during the busy times and on the weekends. So expect to wait. The turnover is quick, but if you in a hurry do not go on the weekends.

They are known for their wispy thin pancakes and omelets. We ordered a breakfast quesadilla and a salmon platter. If you like a breakfast burrito a breakfast quesadilla is a sibling to this fine dish. The salmon platter had  flavorful salmon patties. We did not order lunch, but some of the menu items looked tasty. There is a cuddlin puppy, which is a hotdog wrapped in bacon with melted cheese and relish served on Texas toast. They also have all types of burgers and sandwiches. They have coffee. The real test of a breakfast place is not over fancy coffee, but if the coffee is refilled often. Our coffee was never empty. The staff made sure we had a coffee. The prices for the food were reasonable and the wait time for food was not long.

Sugar n’ Spice does support the local community, so we felt good about going to this place.

We made to feel at home at this place and taken care of. We felt a sense of fun and were even offered a choice of rubber duckies to pick from. This is a place one should check out and return to often.

 

World A’fair

2018 location: Dayton Convention Center
22 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402

https://www.aworldafair.org/

Date: Usually the weekend before Memorial Day (May 18-20, 2018)

Ohio is a melting pot. Over the years people from all walks of life and all parts of the globe have come together to make it a very interesting place. In the beginning most of the immigrants came from Europe. As the Countries involvement in Asia and other area of the world, the diversity of the state expanded too. One city that has embraced this diversity is Dayton. The city has many cultural organizations that help to keep the spirit of the people’s homeland alive and to help to educate the next generations.

For the past 45 years the many organizations have been coming together to celebrate the diversity of its people. Known as A World A’Fair, the event brings over 30 cultural heritage groups from around the region to one large celebration, the largest international festival in Ohio. Housed in the Dayton Convention Centers main hall the event is basically a market and two stages.

The “market” area is the largest section. It consist of one booth from each of the organizations involved. Each year the A’Fair has one aspect of culture that it focuses on. Each booth is required to display something based on that aspect. The single focus does an amazing job of showcasing the diversity of culture, while at the same time showing that all cultures have something in common. At most booth food is served. This is not just some over popularized sampling of the culture, like a fourth grade presentation. This is the real immigrants spending time to make the food of their homelands. While some of the food is common to the palate of the average 21st century American, such as bratwurst, wontons, curry, or pizza, it is all made in the tradition al way. The food is reasonably priced and a great reason to come back over the 3 days. Some booths sell merchandise too. The event is one of the largest fundraising for any group involved. Over 30,000 people attended in 2016.

The entertainment for A World A’Fair is also provide by the organizations. The 3 day event has many dancers, singers, and acrobats spread out over two stages. The Main Stage is where the large presentations take place. It is a large area off to the side of the main floor. The very large bleachers always seem to have space despite the crowds. The Interactive Stage is a smaller area for more, well interactive, presentations. The area is quite small and can fill up fast. Most groups preform many times over the weekend, with multiple chances to see them every day. These are great places to stop and eat, rest during the day, and wait to eat some more.

To help keep the younger ones interested the event has a children’s passport. The passport is a small book with questions that can be answered with information found at each booth. There also is a small child’s area in front of the Main Stage with crafts and demos. There also is a separate fair in the lobby of the convention center. Here many local organizations such as The Humane Society of Greater Dayton, and the Dayton Metro Library have informational booth for people waiting in line to enter. Sometimes the festivities from inside spill out into this area.

Over the years The World A’Fair has become more than a simple high school level presentation of cultures. It is a 3 day explosion of diversity and food, and dancing, and more food.  A must see for anyone looking to expand their understanding of the world.
Tip: Around noon Saturday a Naturalization Ceremony is held to welcome more citizens to the nation. A great chance to see the love that the immigrants coming to the area have for their new home, while still celebrating their old home.

Gift Basket Ideas from Ohio

This is the time of year that the stores are filled with simple stocking stuffers and easy to grab gifts for friends and family.  For loved ones near-by this is fine. For friends or family that have moved out of Ohio, or who live in another state and wonder what’s so great about the great state of Ohio, a little more is needed. Here are a few suggestions (not a complete list add your own in comments below) for perfect way to wrap up Ohio.

We have organized our ideas into regional baskets. Pick and choose or add your own. These are just suggestions. If you have any more suggestions you can add them in the comments below.

Northeast:

Northwest:

Southwest:

  • Cincinnati Style Chili – A little bit thinner than the “other” styles of chili, this classic is known for its ability to turn spaghetti into a regional favorite. Everyone has their favorite place, and all are good.
  • Grippos – if they want barbecue chips they probably crave these.
    Mike-Sells – if they are from a little closer to Dayton these are the choice
  • Ester Price – Chocolates from Dayton
  • Boston Stoker Coffee – Don’t let the name fool you, it’s locally roasted coffee.

Central:

Amish Country:

 

 

Mel-o-dee diner sign

Mel-O-Dee

2350 S Dayton-Lakeview Rd, Carlisle, New Carlisle, OH 45344

http://www.melodeerestaurant.com

Located just north of Fairborn and Huber Heights, the Mel-o-Dee is along the small strip that is the business district of New Carlisle. The restaurant is very hard to miss with the famous sign lighting up the way. While many other food options are available in the major cities nearby, and a few in town, Mel-O-Dee is worth the short drive.

The restaurant was opened in 1964, and run ever since, by the Childers family. They are currently on the 3 and 4th generations. The place feels like it has been updated, and yet kept the same ever since opening. If you want a fancy modern chain restaurant, this is not the place. The decor however does not feel inauthentic and cheesy. Everything works nicely to give a small town ascetic.  The atmosphere is of a local restaurant where people will come before a football game, or after church, and discuss the town’s mayor, with the mayor probably at the next booth.

When we went the food was amazing. The menu consists of Breakfast, sandwiches, and Dinner. The menu is nothing too fancy but has enough options to satisfy all but the pickiest eater. The selection is a reminiscent of a menu found in the 70’s and 80’s before current food trends started to take over. When we went the special was Baked Swiss Steak. It was a great traditional meal that many a place has forgotten.  The bread, as with most items, is simple and fresh made daily in house. The daily specials change from time to time and the online menu does not do justice to the selection at hand in store.

Mel-O-Dee is famous for its broasted fair of chicken, pork, or fish. Broasting is a style of cooking that is a mix of pressure cooking and frying. It is famous in central and southern Ohio. The food comes out crisp, not extra crispy, on the outside and juicy on the inside. The overall effect is similar to frying, but different enough to be memorable.  Mel-O-Dee takes pride in their broasting and has a whole section of the menu dedicated to it. If one has never had broasted foods before, Mel-O-Dee is a great place to begin. They even have carryout buckets up to 1000 pieces.

The prices of food may have gone up since the 90’s, but are still are the cheaper side of most sit down restaurants. The decor and feel of the place has not changed much since then. So for a good old nostalgic feel of small town Ohio go to Mel-O-Dee. As they say “Our Food will put a Mel-O-Dee in your Heart.”

Al’s Woody’s Diner

9 N Wood St
Wapakoneta, Ohio, OH 45895

On a trip to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta we decided to try something new for lunch. We really wanted something local and good. We ended up going to Al’ Woody’s Diner. What we first noticed is that is not a huge place and that it seemed everyone knew everyone. The menu ranges from burgers, pizza, sandwiches, to dinners. The menu also has lots of local advertisements in it, so one more reason it seems this place is connect to the community.

When we went it was lunch time and we took the last seats at the bar. If we would have waited we could have gotten a table. The place seemed to have a lot of locals and just the right amount of seating for everyone. The overall look was local Wapakoneta with a major kick to Ohio State University and the buckeye state. “Woody” in the name refers to former coach Woody Hayes.  The inside is a a sports bar and not overdone, but retained its local diner/restaurant feel.

At lunch they have a buffet. This is mostly Pizza and Fried Chicken. We had Burgers and Chicken sandwiches. The food was standard and nothing too fancy on paper. But was exactly what one would want from this type of diner. It was well prepared and came out quickly enough to be able to get back to work or the museum. We started with the giant basket of onion straws and lost track of time. They were more than enough to share with 2 people or a group. The taste was of onions but not overpowering. The breading was well balanced with the insides to make for a great french fry substitute.

The food was good. It was well prepared and had a touch of homemade to it. Nothing felt “bagged” or factory prepared. The staff was friendly and service great. The selection was good and the price just right. The next time you visit Armstrong Air and Space save some time to go down the street to Al’s Woody’s Diner.