Local Landscape

What makes Here… Here

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.

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12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #8

A Crystal Holiday at Krohn Conservatory

Cincinnati, Ohio

https://www.cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/

The Krohn has great flowers year round but The Holiday show this year is taking it a step further.  As their website says
“See replicas of the Roebling Bridge, Carol Ann’s Carousel, Union Terminal and others.  Special this year, National Park Service structures will be on display, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.  Applied Imagination’s installations garner nationwide recognition and delighting audiences by using plant materials to build historic architecture and whimsical worlds.”
Just down the way  from the Krohn is

LUMINARIA

Night Lights at the Cincinnati Observatory
December 9 6:30pm – 8:30pm

https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org/publicevents/upcoming-events-2/

For the 43rd year the Cincinnati Observatory will open up it historic telescope for a look at the Holiday night sky. They will have carolers, stargazing, gift shop, and Hot Drinks to warm you up.

Best of all this event is free and open to the public.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #6

A Carillon Christmas – Carillon Historical Park Dayton
https://www.daytonhistory.org/events/special-events/a-carillon-christmas/

Our review of the park

The Carillon Historical Park is amazing. it is one of the best open air museums is the state and has a lot to offer. At the Holidays they go all out. The large bell tower in the front of the park (a Carillon, which gives the place its name) is turned into the second largest, behind King’s Islands Eiffel Tower, christmas tree in Ohio. The buildings and paths are decorated  with a nod to history. At night some of the buildings even take on new meanings with the working fireplaces becoming kitchens baking cookies to sell. With Carolers, card printing on real printing presses, model trains (some large enough to ride), puppet shows on the half hour, and plenty of food there is bound to be something to see all night.

Make sure to visit the Carillon for a breath taking view inside the tree. Just try “not” to spin around too much while looking up at the lights.

While the Christmas event start later in the evening the park is open all day for the same ticket. Come early, get a parking spot, and enjoy the museum and grounds before the crowds. Then when the park opens have you’ll have time for the festivities.

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #3

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting:

December 6, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

This year’s holiday festivities at the Ohio Statehouse open with the annual tree lighting on December 6th. The festival will include Carolers, local mascots, historical characters, dignitaries, and even Santa himself. The event is free.
http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/calendar/event?id=1294

Through out the rest of the season there will be weekday lunchtime choir concerts in the Museum Gallery in the basement of the Statehouse. In the past the performances have included local groups and high school choirs from around the state. As always the concerts are free and open to the public.
http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/calendar/event?id=1308

12 days of Holiday Activities 2018 – Day #2

Zoo Lights

Our Review.

Ohio Zoo’s are world class. At the holidays they do not disappoint. They are annually some of the best lights in the nation. This year the lights are again in the running for Best Zoo Lights from the 10best at USA TODAY.

PNC Festival of Lights 
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
http://cincinnatizoo.org/events/festival-of-lights/

The Cincinnati Zoo will have a 25 foot tree on their swan lake, with floating orbs, all synchronized to music. A gingerbread village with hidden surprises will entertain. The Sisters from Frozen have a meet and greet at the Frozen Wonderland area, and Santa will be available 1 hour before the lights this year.

The Cincinnati Zoo was #1 in 2015 and #8 in 2017. How will they do this year?
To vote for them as the best: https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-zoo-lights-2018/pnc-festival-of-lights-at-the-cincinnati-zoo-cincinnati/

WildLights
Columbus Zoo

https://www.columbuszoo.org/home/visit/plan-your-visit/event-calendar

The Columbus Zoo has gone all out this year. They have a 42 ft tree that puts on a show. Santa is at home near the polar bears. They also have shows through out the zoo, and much more.

The Columbus Zoo was #5 in 2015 and #7 in 2016. Can they break the top 5 this year?

To vote for them as the Best : https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-zoo-lights-2018/wildlights-at-the-columbus-zoo-columbus-ohio/

 

Toledo Zoo Lights Before Christmas
Toledo Zoo
https://www.toledozoo.org/lights

The Toledo Zoo has carolers, lights, and more lights. This year the historic tunnel will make its renovated reopening at the lights. The Cafe will once again be used as a backdrop for a dazzling lights show and the winter village will return.

The Toledo Zoo was #2 in 2015, #1 in 2016 and 2017. Will it make this a 3rd year in a row?

To vote for them as the best: https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-zoo-lights-2018/lights-before-christmas-at-the-toledo-zoo-toledo-ohio/

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/

The Langsdon Mineral Collection at Mercer County Library (Celina Branch)

303 North Main St.
Celina, OH

http://langsdonminerals.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LangsdonMinerals/

The picture we posted for this collection does not do the place justice, we know this. It was hard to get a picture as the collection is all in glass cases. The collection is massive. There is something like 900 minerals in 21 display cases. We went to the Celina branch, so this number could be for the collection through out the library system, but still there were tons of minerals on display. The minerals were donated by Ron & Ruth Langsdon. This is part of their collection of minerals.

Thanks to the Langsdon’s their collection is on display for the public to see. Anyone can come into the library and enjoy the minerals. The display cases are housed in the same area of the library. One can easily walk down the aisles and see the minerals. There are also some cases at the end of the aisles of books. The minerals are laid out nicely in the beautiful glass cases. They are easy to see and each mineral is labeled. This collection is for the mineral hunter/lover and the novice. The do offer tours/presentations also for groups and students.

The best way to figure out the hours to visit this collection, is to check out the library’s website: https://mercerlibrary.org/celina/.

This was a real unique find and something that might only be found in a larger museum. Even, if you have no interest in rocks or minerals, check out this collection you will not be disappointed.

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.

 

 

CRYPTOZOHIO: Most Haunted

Cryptozohio - Stories from the Depths

Some place seem to have residents that love the place. Really love it to death. Some places even have a lot of residents that seem to love the place beyond death. In Ohio a number of locations have decided to give themselves the title of “Most haunted…” Are they “The most Haunted”? Can anything really be the “Most.” We will let you decide. Here is a look in to some of them.

Most Haunted City:

Athens

The most haunted city in Ohio, or even one of the most haunted in the nation. Athens is located in the middle of the foothills of southeast Ohio. It is the hub of the area and most of the regions major services are located there. If people needed health care, higher education, or other things, they had to travel in to town. The Athens Lunatic Asylum was a mental health facility for over 100 years that served this purpose. It was known for performing lobotomies, electroshock therapy, hydrotherapy, and the use of psychotropic drugs. The hospital also had a cemetery on site. Around 1930 residents are buried in there. Many without names and just numbers. The facility is now The Ridges and houses the Kennedy Art Museum. As expected from a former mental facility, the location is said to be forever inhabited by many former patients.

The area that is Ohio University has more stories than rooms it seems. We have already mentioned the many stories and legends that the university holds. Some of these stories just don’t add up when looked into. This could be a case of students, wanting to believe in the strange, passing on legends to the newer crowd. Halloween is a big deal at OU with the Halloween block party being one of the largest in Ohio. Despite this large number of story that are made up, many more exist that are based in fact. This could be the former mental facility on campus, the area’s history as an American Indian village, or the fact that the school started almost 15 years before Ohio even became a state.  A place does not get the title of one of the “Most Haunted Universities in America” with a few things happening.

Most Haunted House:

Franklin Castle

Slightly outside of the heart of Cleveland is what some say is the most haunted house in Ohio. Built around 1883 this house was the former residence of Hannes Tiedemann and his family. About ten years after the house was built it saw its first death, the Tiedemann’s 15-year-old daughter. Soon after the family’s grandmother passed away. Within 3 years 3 more children had died. A year later Louise, the family mother, passed away.

Soon the house was sold and used as a German social club for many years. In 1968 the Romano family bought the castle. After a while the family complained of ghost. They performed exorcisms and had ghost hunting groups investigate, all to no avail. After years of hauntings they sold the property to Sam Muscatello. Muscatello had plans for the place but needed cash. To make money he offered haunted tours. Many say that the stories of the location seemed to increase during this time. Muscatello was known for inviting the media to the house and promoting its haunted nature. In one of the towers he even found human bones, which some wonder if he placed there himself. Despite

Over the years many rumors have been attached to the location. Stories of bootlegging, murders, and eerie happenings. Even if the stories are the work of an overactive promoter, many people say they have felt things in the house.

Most Haunted Prison:

Ohio Reformatory

Of course the most famous prison in Ohio is the considered the most haunted.  The Ohio Reformatory, Ohio’s official State Penal Museum. Opened to prisoners in 1896, the prison lasted almost 100 years. The Reformatory saw a large share of prisoners and was closed due to overcrowding.

With such a large population in a small area disease, accidents, and violence were bound to happen. During its time over 200 people died within the prisons walls. the East Cell block, the world’s largest free-standing cell block, was where most of the inmates were housed, but not the location of the most deaths. The 8 most haunted spots seem to be spread out all over the place. The most haunted being the location where men were left to themselves, Solitary Confinement.

Over the years many TV shows and movies have been filmed in the prison. The most famous being The Shawshank Redemption. The most popular thing to film however, besides music videos, is Ghost Hunting shows. Almost every paranormal show has taken time to visit.

Tours are given of the overall prison, the Hollywood history of the location, and the popular haunted areas. Tours can be booked from the Reformatory’s website: https://www.mrps.org/explore/paranormal-programs/ghost-walks

Most Haunted Government Building:

Ohio Statehouse

The cornerstone of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus was laid in 1839 and the building first opened for business in 1857. During that time many workers were from the nearby prison. Some even died during the construction. Throughout the lower levels and parking garage it is said that sounds of construction can still be heard. During the 1990’s restoration graffiti was found from the workers.

While many government building had been opened before it, the Statehouse is the most famous in the state. With all the people who have worked in the building, and the many famous visitors, it is also considered the most haunted. The most famous visitor said to revisit from time to time is Abraham Lincoln. He first visited in 1859. He returned in 1861 on his way to DC to be sworn in as president. It was inside the statehouse that he learned he had officially won the presidency. His final visit was in 1865 when he laid in memorial after his assassination. Some say that he can be seen wandering the rotunda. Sometimes he is seen with the daughter of Governor Samuel Chase. He is also said to dance with the lady in grey from the nearby Camp Chase cemetery. Along with the 4 working cannons the grounds of the Statehouse are guarded by Civil War veterans who never left their post. Some even say they are even guarding Lincoln to this day.

The most famous worker to have stayed is that of Thomas Bateman. Bateman was a clerk of the senate for over 50 years. Very studious and rule bound, it is said that at exactly 5 o’clock he can be felt moving from the senate floor to the hall way outside and the lights can be seen flickering to indicate the end of the work day.  Along with Bateman many other workers have been heard late at night. Some say it is just the echoing of the stone floors, others say it is lawmakers forever trying to get one last bit of work done long after they should have left.

The State house offers haunted tours yearly along with its daily tours. Ohio Statehouse event page has information on this popular tours and many more things to do at the Statehouse..

Most Haunted Cemetery:

Woodland Cemetery – Dayton

While most cemeteries have a story or two about something “living” among the non-living, this location has a few more than most in the state. We have talked about the many hauntings at this picturesque location before. The most famous is of a dog who is said to return to visit his young owner. The statue of the dog has been said to breath and move the many tributes left beside it. Victims of Jack the Strangler , The Cincinnati Ripper, and many who made their own victims all rest uneasily throughout the grounds. The electric chair is responsible for quite a few of the graves, even as the story goes, one who helped to build it.

Haunted lantern tours and most of the scenic fall tours fill up early in September. To book checkout their website. Many other tours are available throughout the year.  Even without the haunted aspect this is worth a visit.
http://www.woodlandcemetery.org/tours-and-events

 

Toledo Botanical Garden

5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo, Ohio 43615

https://metroparkstoledo.com/explore-your-parks/toledo-botanical-garden

Deer in the forested part of the park.

A great way to spend a few hours in the afternoon is to visit the Toledo Botanical Gardens. One can decide on how much of the over 60 acres to see. We like to walk, so we tried to see as much as we could. There is a diverse range of woodland to perennial gardens, herb gardens, and tree-lined walkways. The park is full of walkways, and the trails are also easy to walk on, so access over a large area of the park is accessible.. The trails are great for exercise if nothing else. This park is a great way to get in a few extra steps.  This is the perfect place if you have a few minutes of a few hours

tree-lined grand alley

There are some ponds and rivers throughout the park. This was a great chance to see wildlife. We were able to see lots of swans when we visited. There was also deer in the park. Much of the wildlife did not seem concerned with our presence and we able to get quite close.

The park also has concerts and events, through out the year. So multiple visits are a good idea.

The Artists Village house many small buildings that house many of the local community groups. Each building is open at different times and has different events. Go here for more information – https://artvillage419.org.

outdoor sculpture

If plants are not your thing, there are many sculptures thought out the park. We were amazed at the scale and size of many of these sculptures.

The Gardens also houses the Blair Museum of Lithophanes. Our tip is to visit the gardens when the museum is also open. You can easily do both in a few hours.

Tips:

  • Bring your walking shoes
  • Bring a camera
  • Check out their website for special events
  • Check out their website for plants that are blooming
  • Check out the Artist Village
  • Go at a time when the Blair Museum is also open
  • Plan to spend an hour or more (at the park), but you could spend all afternoon.
  • Be on the look out for wildlife
  • Bring your kids (if you have any)

This park is great for a few hours or a whole afternoon. The plant lover and the non plant lover will find some enjoyment.

Note: We probably did not include all to see and do at the park.