Seasonal

Not everyday of the year does this happen.

Summer in the Cedar Bog

p09-03-16_13-012

980 Woodburn Rd, Urbana, OH 43078
http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/cedarbog

Cedar Bog, located just outside of Urbana, is a 450 acre nature preserve dedicated to Ohio’s wetlands. Cedar Bog is mistitled. It is actually a Fen. The difference between a fen and a bog is a simple but confusing one. A bog receives water from precipitation. A fen receives water from the local watershed, like underground water table or surrounding rivers.  With over a mile of trails the Bog is a great way to see the wetlands. While this sounds like a walk through a swamp, Cedar Bogs main trail is a boardwalk above the fen. This allows for a nice dry walk even after a recent rain.

The mile long trail runs through tp09-03-16_13-51he forest, in to open areas, and loops back to the main entrance. While it is a short walk the abundance of plant and animal life on the trail makes the walk take much longer.

Summer
With flowers blooming all over the place, birds flying over head, and plenty of Plestiodon (skinks with a blue tail).  The summer is a great time to see the wildlife that comes to graze in the shaded forests of the fen. The flowers blooming in the forest take advantage of the shade to absorb the water from the fen and bloom well into August and later. The abundance of wildlife is also concentrated in the forest. The cool of the morning is the best time to see them. As the day heats up many go to sleep or find a cool place to hide.

One of the main blooms seen is the Mimulus aurantiacus “Monkey Flower”, both the orange and yellow variety. This flower is a host plant for the Buckeye Butterfly which can be seen all over the fen. The forest seems to explode with color. The trees are also full of foliage and make for a great shade in the heat of the day. The difference between the “deep” forest and the fields is striking. The creek at the edge of the trail is full of moss and other growth and seems smaller than during the spring. The flow of water is feed by the large underground water system that makes the bog possible. Even during the hottest month of the year the creek flows nicely. This is a good place to find wildlife taking a quick drink. Most reptiles and amphibians will be in this area of the reserve.

While the bog and forest are cool during the summer. The nearby prairie is not.  The contrast to the wildness of the forest is striking. The sun scorches the land and dries out the area. The prairie in this area has been around since before the settlement of Ohio. The plants in the Prairie trail are use to this and can survive, if not thrive, in the heat. Many of the blooms are yellow and blend in to the color of the grass. The prairie is a great place to see butterflies and insects not found in the forest. Early in the day some wildlife can be seen taking advantage of the grass before the heat of the midday sun.

The summer will be warmer so take some water and go enjoy the nature in one of Ohio’s more diverse and unique trails.

Tip: The bog cost to enter, but is included in a Ohio History Connection Membership. Visiting once a season, with a guest, can pay for the membership.

Advertisements

The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights

6800 Executive Blvd, Huber Heights, OH 45424

https://www.rosemusiccenter.com

The Dayton area is no stranger to outdoor concert venues. Since 1991 there has been the Fraze Pavilion. Last year Levitt Pavilion in downtown opened for free concerts. The largest by far is the The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights.

The Rose Music Center is located north of town in the city of Hube Heights. The venue opened in 2015 and is the first in a group of building being developed in the area. It is right of the highway and very easy to spot standing by itself in a field. It also is one of the largest buildings in the area, which doesn’t hurt.

The Center has plenty of parking and is well suited for the crowds that it attracts. The interior is just a row of concession stands restrooms and the performance area. The concessions are standard concert venue far with hot dogs, sandwiches, and plenty to drink. Offerings are the same across the entire pavilion. No need to walk far distances for something special. The area around the center is also full of many options for a bite before the show, with more being built in the future. The restrooms are large and right next to the entrance of the seating area. They handle a lot of people and tend to back up very little at busy times.

The actual performance area is the main draw of the center. Unlike the Fraze all seats are covered. This roof covers the seats but is high enough not to block any views and to allow for ventilation on the hot summer nights. Containing 4,200 seat, it is one of  larger venues in the county. The seating area is wide and deep angling toward the decently sized stage. Some of the back seats can be a little far from the stage, but are not too far to be able to enjoy the show. The back section is angled steep enough that views are not blocked too much. There are video screens and a good sound system to help make sure everyone has a good time, not just the people in front. The seats are comfortable without being anything to special. The Rose Center is located along a major highway (I-70). This makes for easy access to and from an event. This also means that during busy times some of the noise from the road will bleed into the venue. Any performance will usually drown this out.

The selection of acts are very similar to the ones at the Fraze. From well known new acts to older bands, The Rose has a little bit of something for everyone. While the Greater Dayton area seem too small to support two large venues, the differences between the more intimate feeling Fraze and the grand scale of the Rose set them apart enough for both venues to be supported and loved.

As the weather heats up so do the summer tours and The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights is a great place to see a loved band or find a new favorite.

Fort Meigs

29100 W River Rd, Perrysburg, OH 43551

https://www.fortmeigs.org

Following the Siege of Fort Meigs the fort was no longer needed.  A smaller fort was built but abandoned at the end of the war. As the years went on the site was left but not forgotten. 1864, during another American war, brothers Timothy and Thomas Hayes bought the land and decided to preserve it for all that had fallen. In 1907 their family decided to sell it to the state of Ohio. One year later a large monument was installed by veterans of the Civil War to honor those from the War of 1812. In the 1960’s the Ohio History Society decided to rebuilt the Fort. The new recreated Fort opened in 1974. After nearly 30 years the Fort was starting to show its age and in 2000 the Fort was rebuilt again. This new Fort now stands proudly along the Maumee.

The Fort is split into two main parts, the Fort and the Museum. Starting with the Fort is a good idea. The land has change overtime but the Fort itself was recreated to be as accurate as possible. Inside the its walls are the embankments, like those that protected the men during the battle, blockhouses, and the memorial erected by the Civil War veterans. At first this seems like any other recreation of a fort. Walking around the grounds one can get a feel for how big the Fort was. The land however does not really give much for the feel of the time, or the life of a soldier. One can go inside the blockhouse too.

The blockhouses, all seven of them, are the real treat to the Fort recreation. Unlike some recreations where it is a blank building, or just a few items, these are full museum rooms.  Inside are displays about the time of the Fort, the life of the soldiers, and the activities of the siege. They include maps, very detailed models, and interactive displays. All of the blockhouses are separated into one aspect each, but together make up a large museum. Each one must be entered to get the whole story of the Fort.

Outside the trails include the paths that the would have been used at the time. They follow along the outer edge along the wall going from house to house. At certain points the wall is lower and the river can be seen, or the field where the British and Tecumseh’s men were stationed. At these points are cannons ready to defend the Fort.

Inside the visitors center is a nice video, museum, and the gift shop. While the Fort is about the battle, the museum is more about times before the conflict, the times of the greater conflict, and how we know what we know than it is the siege itself. This is where the actual artifacts are housed. Along side the artifacts are stories of how they were found. Pictures of the archaeological digs, tales of the interpretation needed, and questions still left unanswered. The museum is a great companion to the Fort.

From the Fort to the fields to the Museum, Fort Meigs is a great place to learn about a piece of American history that helped to keep us free, the life and times of the men and women who fought, and we can keep their history alive.

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 #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/

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.