Local Landscape

What makes Here… Here

Airstream Factory Tour

419 West Pike Street
Jackson Center, OH 45334-0629
https://www.airstream.com/company/tours/

The history of Recreational Vehicles took a turn when Wally Byam acquired the Bowlus Company, took the door moved it to the side and created the Airstream Clipper. For about the next 16 years, except for a period during the war years, Airstreams were only manufactured in California.  In July 1952 a factory was opened in Jackson Center, Ohio. In 1979 the California plant was closed, leaving Jackson Center as the only place in the world where the unique trailer is produced.

The Factory is located in Jackson Center and is just down the highway from Armstrong Air and Space Museum. The tours start at 2pm and leave enough time in the morning to go the museum and have lunch at Al’s Woody’s Diner. The Airstream Factory also is a fitting location with the museum because NASA used Airstreams as Mobile Quarantine Facility for the returning Apollo 11 crew.

The Factory tour starts at the Service center. The center is where Airstream gifts and parts can be bought before the tour. This is where the guide will have each person a pen (a great souvenir ) to sign a wavier and give out ear and eye protection. The tour is on the actual factory floor and protection is needed.

The tour starts with a brief history of the company before heading outside. On the way to the main factory the guide will show some of the campers parked outside. This is not a museum tour or a Dealers lot. Wally Byam’s Gold trailer, “Stella’s Gold Airstream,”  is there but the rest are finished trailers about to be sent out and not really for display.

Inside the factory the noise can be loud at places. The earplugs protect visitors ears but also block out the guides voice. To get around this one member of the group is given a portable speaker. The guide can be heard from the front and back at most times, even over the noise of the factory. Sometimes the noise and spread of the group will make it hard to hear.

The tour goes through the process of constructing an Airstream from the ground up. Well more from sides to the floor to the internals. While it might not seem like much at first. Eventually the trailer comes together to the memorable shape. After the trailer is weather tested it is ready for interior. The interiors and wiring are added and the final product is ready to ship.

Overall the tour is a little under 2 hours depending on the size of the group. The distance is walked can be close to a mile. The process of building one of the most memorable trailers on the market is fun to see and the price (FREE) can’t be beat.

When we went the second factory building was being retooled for the next model years line of bus style touring coaches. Expect an update when we get a chance to return. 

Al’s Woody’s Diner

Address: 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 decided to try out Al’ Woody’s Diner. What we noticed first 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 over all 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 was not over done and a sports bar, but retained it’s 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 to 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.

Memorial Day Road Trips

On the final Monday in May America takes the time to honor those who died in service to its armed forces. This tradition started in 1868 when former Civil War soldiers decided to decorate the graves of fallen veterans. While the custom is a long held tradition around the world, this time was different. So many soldiers had died in the recent Civil War, and so many families effected, that having a single day to do this helped to bring larger importance to the act. It wasn’t until 1971 with the enactment of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that the day created a yearly 3 day weekend.

To honor the veterans who gave it all here are some road trip ideas that have a military background. Some can be completed in one day some might take two. A great site to learn more about Ohio historical places and come up with you own trips is http://touringohio.com

Northwest Ohio and the War of 1812:

Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site  – Fallen Timbers was the site of a major battle between American Indians and the newly formed United States of America. At the treaty of Paris in 1783 Britain gave the USA all of the land east of the Mississippi River. This include the Ohio Country. The American Indian tribes living in the area felt that they had no representation in the matter and that the land was still theirs. This led to the Battle of Fallen Timbers. At this battle American Soldiers fought the natives who were supplied by British from Fort Miamis. The defeat of the American Indians led to the Treaty of Greenville (see Garst Museum Below).

Fort Meigs – This fort with stood 2 attacks from the British and defended the Ohio country during the War of 1812. This is a full standing fort with a visitors center.

Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Library and Museum: The home and Museum of The former Civil War General and 19th President. For more information see our review.

Southwest and the Civil War

William Henry Harrison Tomb – The resting place of the 9th President and Ohio Indian Wars Veteran. He was the first president to die in office and is still the short serving person to have held the office. See our review here

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – This museum is dedicated not only to the Underground Railroad and the struggle of American Slaves, but the struggle of all people for equality, even in modern times. The museum is a powerful testament to the struggles that lead to the Civil War.

William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The birthplace and boyhood home of the 27th President. Governor of the Philippines following the Spanish American war, Secretary of War, and Commander in Chief gives this site some great military background.  See our review here

Land of Grant Grant Birthplace and Grant Boyhood home and School House – The 18th President and commander of the Union armies during the civil war. Visit where he was born, grew up and learned. See our review here.

West

Fort Jefferson – The site where St. Clair retreated after his defeat.

Garst Museum – Dedicated to the history of Darke county this museum tells the story of the Treaty of Greenville and the role it played in shaping Ohio. A nice large museum with lots of artifacts from the area. See our review here.

Fort Recovery – The site of the two largest and most important American Indian battles, The Defeat of St. Clair and the Battle of Fort Recovery. St. Clair had 900 of his 1200 men killed, about 1/4 of the US army. It is also the site of the fort that was built after the battle. It was this fort that allowed the US to win the next battle and led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville.

Northeast

Fort Steuben – Built to protect the surveyors of the northwest Territory. The Fort has a visitor center, full wood fort and large grounds surrounding it.

Fort Laurens – Site of the only Revolutionary War battle in the state.

McCook house – Home of the “Fighting McCooks.” Major Daniel McCook and his 9 sons and 6 nephews fought before and mostly during the Civil War.

The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum – The Tomb of William McKinley, the 25th President, and commander and chief during the Spanish-American War. Next to the tomb is the Library and Museum which house exhibits on the natural world, Stark County, and the life of the president. See our review here. 

Bears Mill

Location: 6450 Arcanum Bears Mill Rd, Greenville, OH 45331

Website: https://www.bearsmill.org

Bears Mill in Darke County is one of the last water powered mills still in operation in Ohio today. The 4 story mill has become more of a museum than a full day to day mill. The mill still mills tho.

Bear Mill has a shop on the first floor with a wide variety of kitchen utensils, pottery, decor, and ever chaining selection of art. Of course the shop also offers a selection of grains milled on site. The shop is a nice place to get a gift, or even just to get something for oneself.

The difference between Bear Mill and other local shops is in the mill itself. The mill is still in operation and during certain times one can actually see the grinding going on. When the miller is away the museum still is informational. The four floors are full of informational placards and pictures of the older days. Along with the working equipment are artifacts and items to support the story of how a mill works. One of the unique things about Bear Mill is that it has both the old buhr stone along with newer roller mills. Most mills discarded the old stones when they got the new rollers. The fact that the mill has both is a testament to the history that is preserved at the site.

Along with the beautiful mill are the acres of land surrounding it. Take a hike along the powerful Greenville Creek and see the force that drives the wheels inside. Sit and enjoy the sounds of the water and nature at the gazebo near-by.  Bears Mill has something for everyone.

Maid Rite

Address: 125 North Broadway St.
Greenville, Ohio 45331

Website: http://maidrite-greenville.com

Right down the street from the Garst Museum is the Famous Maid-Rite. Named Best burger in Ohio at times, but the award like the meat in the sandwich, is loose.

The meat in a Maid Rite is closer to a dry sloppy joe than a hamburger. It is steamed and seasoned, not fried. It is slightly sweet and will fall off the bun. The size is not quite a slider but with the looseness of the meat not quite a full sandwich. Two will be only slightly more than an average hamburger. The Maid Rite is not the only sandwich the restaurant has. For a more filling option the Big Jim is a maid rite with cheese and a slice of ham. They also have chicken salad, egg salad, and just ham, and ham and cheese sandwiches.

Along with the sandwiches are drinks and chip options, and desserts. The chips are Dayton’s own Mike Sells. The drink menu is large. Fountain drinks, bottle and sports drinks, and even something for the older folks (beer) are all available. The dessert menu includes traditional shakes, malts and sundaes.

The building is small and has limited seating. Not a problem at times, but seating can be an issue at meal times when the place is busy. In a hurry? Try the drive through. Want something to remember the place by? They sell hats and t-shirts in store.

Maid rite as the name says is maid right. The loose meat sandwich will leave one full and happy while the local atmosphere will leave one reminded of simple times in Greenville.

Caesar Creek State Park: An Update

Original Post: Caesar Creek

The popularity of boating at the park has led to the creation of a Marina. The Marina at Caesar Creek was in the original plans for the lake. It is located down the road from the beach swimming area. It has a small concessions shop with food and drinks, fishing supplies (license needed to fish in Caesar Creek) and boat supplies. The marina also has coin op laundry for the hiker, camper, or boater.

Being that the marina is a marina it does have items for boaters. 91 Octane Gas without Ethanol is available along with a pump out station. The marina itself has 112 seasonal slips, but due to the popularity of boating at the park they fill up each year. 20% are available via a lottery in August. They also have 10 Transient Slips open each day.

Before the marina was built the water level had to be lowered in the Creek. While the water was lower the state took the opportunity to do archaeological research on the area. The study found nothing of note as the area had been searched before the lake was filled.

The marina is not the only new thing at the park. On the trail to the Horseshoe falls is a new large swinging bridge. the bridge is a nice addition to an already scenic area.

 

Garst Museum

Garst Museum
http://garstmuseum.org/home.php
Address: 205 North Broadway, Greenville, OH 45331

What’s larger than a bread box?
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The Garst Museum in Greenville Ohio is larger than your average local history museum. This museum, while not as big as Carillon Historic ParkCleveland History Center, or the former Cincinnati History Museum, is not small. The multiple wings of the building are crammed full of interesting artifacts and history.

The museum starts by telling tp09-24-16_12-08he history of the most famous event in Darke County, the signing of the Greenville Treaty. The treaty was not signed right as either side entered the area, but after societies were built and battles fought. The museum does a great job of setting up that history. With plenty of artifacts of the time and information to describe and explain the use of the artifacts. So much information that it can almost get overwhelming. The Garst fortunately uses multimedia displays to break up the text and to give a bit of living history too.

Darke County did not end on August 3, 1795 and neither does the museum. The museum continues on to tell the story of two of the areas most famous children, Annie Oakley and Lowell Thomas. The Annie Oakley National Center houses pieces of Annie’s own effects. Not just the guns she fired as a famous sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, but clothes, jewelry,  souvenirs, trophy’s and so much more. The center helps to break apart the myth of Annie Oakley as tomboy and show her real life as complicated as it was.

The Lowell Thomas section tells the life of the globe trotting man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous. The Garst Museum goes beyond the story of the desert and tells the whole life of the man from birth, with the Lowell’s Birthplace outback, to his death.

p09-24-16_12-55Most of the rest of the museum is dedicated to the history of Darke County as an average American county. Inside of small rooms set along the walls are vintages of American life. Displays of what a kitchen, beauty shop, dentist office, and more would look like are filled with actual artifacts from said places. Along with the small rooms is another large room filled with more leftover pieces. This room is a great place for grandparents to take kids and teach them about the items they saw in their grandparents houses or even used themselves.

The upstairs houses one of the best displays of military uniforms in the state. With cases of uniforms and other memorabilia from almost every war the country has been in. All donated by local citizens or their families.

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The Garst Museum in Greenville works hard to live up to the “Best History Museum” award it was given by the Ohio Magazine and it shows. This museum is a great visit for people of all ages, even if you don’t live in Darke County.

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus: Updated!

Original Post: Schmidt’s Sausage Haus

NEW: Food trucks (http://www.schmidthaus.com/sausage-truck/)

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus is still serving the classic German fare it has for over 100 years. They still have the Autobahn Buffet. They still are in the old building that fills up on weekends and is hard to park at during busy hours. They have added a food trucks to help with this problem.

We have not been to the food truck yet, but have been to their tent at local fares. The food is just as good as at the original location and the cream puffs just as large. The food trucks are outside of  business most days. They have more than one truck and generally spread through out the city pretty well. They also have a truck tracker and schedule on their website. On weekends in the fall they are with everyone else in Columbus at the OSU games. So where ever one might be in Columbus they are never to far from good German food.

Tip: Visit Schmidt’s on most social media platforms @SchmidtsCbus.

Great American Ballpark


100 Joe Nuxhall Way,

Cincinnati, OH 45202

http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/ballpark/

Today, April 3, 2017, the Cincinnati Reds play the Philadelphia Phillies at home. This will be the first game of the 2017 season. While the Reds had a less than stellar 2016 season, fans entering Great American Ballpark today will be entering with high hopes. They will also be entering the latest stadium in a series of stadiums that go all the way back to the first games of professional baseball.

Opened in 2003, and named after Great American Insurance headquartered nearby, the stadium is one of a string of attraction along the ever changing riverfront. It’s neighbors U.S. Bank Arena, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Paul Brown Stadium all share the Central Riverfront Garage. The garage has plenty of parking for any game. The garage is very well organized with signs telling which structure is nearest and every exit has a street map telling what section it is and how to get back to it.

The stadium itself is surrounded by an open concourse with a gift shop and Hall of Fame Museum on one side and amazing views of the river on the other. Once inside the main gate fans will find a large open hallway with shopping on the left and a kids area on the right.  The layout is simple and circular. Walking in one direction will take a fan all the way around the park and back to where they started. This is a great way to get exercise during the game, but does not offer 360 degree views of the field like Fifth Third Field or other smaller venues.

The shopping inside the park is good, but the main gift shop is right outside the entrance and connected to the Reds Hall of Fame Museum. Inside the park smaller shops are spread through out with plenty of opportunities to pick up a hat or shirt. There is even a shop selling game used items, such as balls and bases.

Food is abundant at Great American. Most of the traditional ballpark fare is sold at concessions stand ringing the park. Some local items, like chili and goetta, are sold at specialty stands. Fancier sit down bars and restaurants are available too. A market near the entrance sells fresh fruit and bottled drinks. Almost any dish a fan might want is available. While the prices are ballpark prices the portions are huge and one dish will fill a person up. The value is the same as most any restaurant but the unique variety and locale make a meal a must.

Great American Ballpark,The National Steamboat Memorial, and BB Riverboats Docks

The overall theme of the stadium seems to be a river dock during the age of steamboats ( and baseball). The venue can be light on the theming in some places, it makes up for it in others.  Between the two scoreboards is a multilevel bar and patio in the shape of a steamboat. The paddle wheel of the boat is the National Steamboat Memorial located across the street. The smoke stacks billow steam for every Reds home run and fill the sky with steam and fireworks after a win. From certain seats working steamboats can even be seen giving passengers rides up and down the river. Fans will have a hard time forgetting that Cincinnati was once queen of the Ohio river and that steamboats made this possible.

With all that is available downtown Great American will be a highlight to an over filled day of fun for any fan, even if the team is having an off year.

Jungle Jim’s: Updated!

Original Post: Jungle Jim’s

The Original Jungle Jim’s is still as Jungley and Jimmy as ever. The food and craziness inside is still as mind blowing as ever. The outside has expanded to include a mini mall with a few restaurants and stores. While they are nothing too unique they help to enhance the overall experience.

NEW Location added:
4450 Eastgate South Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45245

The NEW and exciting update to the Jungle Jim’s franchise is the location on the other side of Cincinnati in Eastgate. The new store is even more zany than the original location. This one doesn’t just have a store map, but almost requires one. The large aisle that runs through out is great for getting from the front door to the registers, but is not so helpful if one goes down a smaller aisle and reconnects to it at some other point. Of course this being Jungle Jim’s, half the fun is getting lost in the endless selection.

The attractions from the original store are included in the new one. Sometimes they are even beefed up, such as in the candy section and honey sections. It seems as if the company knew what made the original a hit and simply expanded on it. The “Hot Sauce and Fiery Food” section is almost 3x as large. Candy section is twice as large. Aisles are now large enough for two lanes of cart traffic.

While expanding some sections Jungle Jim’s also made sure to make the shopping experience a good one. The store seems designed more from entrance to cash registers than the original one.  This is great for the shopper looking to experience everything. This is not so good for a person who is looking to get in and out in a hurry. But hey who goes to Jungle Jim’s expecting to get out in a hurry? This is the type of store that needs exploring and the new layout its great at helping that.

So for a shopping experience like no other visit the Original or NEW location of Jungle Jim’s.

Tip: Eat first. The place will make you want to buy everything and being hungry does not help.