Shopping and Services

Shops, places to buy stuff, and things people do.

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. 

Bears Mill

6450 Arcanum Bears Mill Rd,
Greenville, OH 45331
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.

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.

Grass Skirt Tiki Room

img_0362This is going to be a mini celebration review.

Address: 105 N. Grant Ave, Columbus, Ohio

Website: http://grassskirttiki.wcom

Rating: ****

The Grass Skirt Tiki Room is one of those fun places to eat, drink, and discover. The atmosphere is matched by the great food and drinks. This restaurant is not huge, so it could get busy. we went in the late afternoon on a summer day and the place was not crowded. So if crowded is not your thing middle of the afternoons are good. The Grass Skirt is a bar type of restaurant, so late nights could be fun with a group of friends.

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If you loved the Kahiki, and are looking for something to fill its place, this is it. The whole place, as the name suggests, is tiki themed. Very tiki themed. It is fun and festive. The decor is almost over the top, but stops at just the right point. There is a real laid back feeling to it. This does not mean your treated poorly. We were treated professional and the staff was attentive. This place is one where you really feel like you want to hang out. The menu has lots of choices all following theme.

So, give The Grass Skirt Tiki room a try.

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Coventry Village

from Wikipedia

Link: http://coventryvillage.org/

Coventry Village, a small shopping and art district in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is worth a visit. The “village” is an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, and people. From Birkenstock to toys to almost anything you can want.

The village is close to the University circle, with the Cleveland Museum of Art, Western Reserve Historical Society, and much more, and across the street from Lakeview Cemetery, resting place of many famous Ohioans. This makes the village a great place to get a bite after visiting the museums and other nearby attractions.

Almost every type of food is available. Subs, Asian, Mexican, Vegan, all most anything one can think of. Most of the restaurants are locally owned and operated, some are chains.

Once filled with food visitors can walk up and down the streets of Coventry Village exploring the strange and diverse collection of shops. The uniqueness of shopping available is reminiscent of other districts (Yellow Springs, Oregon District, Short North), but still an experience all its own. Coventry Village is home to the original Big Fun Toy Store, which sells gag gifts, old toys, and every little toy and fun related item an adult or child could want. Big Fun has expanded in to other areas, but is still the best in the village.

At the end of the night when the shops and the kitchens have closed the village is still hopping.  Many nightclubs and bars line the streets and are open well into the night. The nightlife is not just limited to the many clubs and venues but to the streets where some of the most entertaining things can be the people.

Parking can be a problem in the area. Every spot is metered. At time the spots can fill up. Most of the time the parking garage and streets spots are easy to find.

So with a large collection of … well everything, Coventry Village is worth a visit to anybody in Cleveland or just in the area.

Historic Sauder Village

Link: https://www.saudervillage.org/

Sauder Village is named after Erie Sauder, the founder of Sauder Furniture. Sauders is known for its inexpensive ready to assemble products sold in many big box stores. The village started in 1970’s as a dream of Erie’s and soon became a reality. Over the years Sauder Village collected many old, but not unusual, buildings from around the black swamp area.

The village is divided into multiple sections. Each section has a theme that ties the buildings and surrounding grounds together. At the main entrance is the main village area. This area contains buildings that would be found in a typical small village of the 19th century, including a doctors office, a train station, a herb shop, and Sauder’s original workshop, a museum housing a large number of artifacts, and more. Beyond the main village is newcomers and natives area, telling about the early traders in the area and the original inhabitants. Further along is a pioneers settlement, which is tells about settlers of the area. Before swinging back into the main village the trail runs through a small homestead of (as of June 2015) the 1920’s.

Simon Tomell from Sauder village website

Each building contains many artifacts and history of the time period of the section of park it is in and of the use of the building. On busy days most have interpretors and artisans inside to help explain the history. These artists and interpretors are what bring the village to life. Everything from the daily routine of a pioneer, to what a barber charged, are brought to life through the stories and teachings of the

employees. If the building is dedicated to an art, such as tin-smithing, or glass blowing, it is run by an actual purveyor of the art. Not only will the tell of the history of the art, but will probably be working on something to sell. This living history is brought to life spectacularly through out the village and seamlessly woven in at the same time.

From a small child learning about the history of the Black swamp, to an older person watching the craftsmen ply their trade, Sauder Village will have a little bit of something for everyone interested in history.

THE ISLANDS IN COLUMBUS – Part II

Along with the great article is some videos of the legendary place.

The interior

Kahiki Restaurant, Columbus Ohio 1999


Saving the Fireplace.

Kahiki Moai Fireplace Salvage


But whatever happened to the Fireplace?

Whatever Happened to the Kahiki Fireplace? A Tiki Mystery!


or the Fountain?

Kahiki Fountain


And the food?
The official channel of the frozen food company. (only 2 videos posted over 6 years ago)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEyxOKNY3xngqx8bidejFmg

Ohio’s License plate


The Ohio State Vehicle license plate has changed greatly over the years. From a white background, or some other solid color, with a single color text to the multiple colors recently used. The plate used today however were not created by a government for a government. The plates of today were designed by an artist and voted on by citizens. Ohio plates for the people by the people!
The design was created by Aaron Roberts, a graduate of Columbus College of Art & Design. The words used were voted on by the citizen in an online vote. Some other words were added to make sure that the whole of Ohio was represented. In the end the plates became an interesting way to advertise the great state.
So you don’t have to try reading them while driving the slogans are: With God All Things Are Possible, The Buckeye State, The Heart of It All, Beautiful Ohio, DiscoverOhio.com, So Much to Discover, 1803, Ohio Caverns, 1st Professional Baseball Team, 8 U.S. Presidents, Polymer Capital of the World, 17th State, Lake Erie, Cardinal (state bird), The Horseshoe, Newark Earthworks, Iroquois: Beautiful River, Serpent Mound, America’s Heartland, Home of Edison, Ohio River, State of Perfect Balance, Ohio Has It All, Ladybug (state insect), Hocking Hills, Put-in-Bay, Ohio Pride, Inventors Hall of Fame, Appalachian Plateau, Red Carnation (state flower), White Trillium (state wildflower), Birthplace of Aviation, Underground Railroad, Marietta (1st Settlement), Perry’s Victory, Beautiful Farmlands, Walleye (state fish), Ohio Burgee (state flag), Steel Innovators and Inventors, Adena, Glass City, Rock & Roll, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Johnny Appleseed, Marblehead Lighthouse

Thanks to Columbus Dispatch for the list.  

Ohio Gifts 2014

This holiday season there are lots of gifts you can get from Ohio.

Here are a few:

or online Der Dutchman Online Shop

Amish Gifts

Yes, the statehouse.

Ohio Gift Baskets and More.

Chocolate

Chocolate

Coffee and Tea

Salad Dressing and Steaks

Now for some Ohio Potato Chips:

Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati has a Cincinnati favorites gift basket

Historical and more, definitely Ohio

Lots of Ohio Gifts

Look up any of the many colleges and universities in the state, lots of them have gift shops online.

This is only a few, so if you did not see one of yours, do not worry there were too many to list all.

Ohio Small Business Saturday 2014

Watching television one night and a commercial came on for Small Business Saturday. This got us thinking about all the small businesses we have reviewed and how it would be good if everyone visit one this Saturday. Now, wait what if you can not travel, just visit a small business in your area. Small businesses make America, yes make it. Small businesses are run by individuals, families, and friends. Small business directly have an impact on the employees and owners. By visiting one business you are insuring that you can help out at least one person. Many small businesses are foundations in the fabric of the community. They take out ads in the high school yearbooks, support local sports teams, give money to charities, host birthday and family parties, become community meeting places, and are the Saturdays of our youth. We must support them and any little bit is our way of saying thanks for making our community a better place.

One way you can directly support small business is to visit a flea market. Flea markets are built on small independent people working for their passions. Every turn in a flea market is a new adventure. One place me visited was Trader’s World in Lebanon Ohio.

Small Business Saturday Night Icon

No Saturday out would be complete with some food. Ohio has lots of great restaurants. We reviewed a few great one. There was the Echo Restaurant or Arthur’s Restaurant in Hyde Park section Cincinnati. If you’re in the Columbus area, we reviewed some great places. So check out, Dirty Franks Hot Dog Palace, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, or The Thruman Cafe. Now these two cities are not all of it, there is the Golden Lamb in Lebanon or SumBurger in Chillicothe. Now for many Saturday equals coffee, so if your already in Chillicothe go here, Schlegel’s. Do not forget to travel north to Big Boppers Restaurant. There is also OinkADoodle Moo Barbeque in and around Dayton. Well if you’re in Dayton make sure go to the Hamburger Wagon. Now to finish off your day of eating make to see dinner and a show at La Comedia.

So if food is not your thing (you’re a robot) then you can always check out another kind of small business. We did a review of three fun places to visit in the Cleveland area, one of them is not food related, but all are good to visit this Saturday.

If you do not live or can not visit Ohio you can always find a small business using this website,

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/

or check out more information here,

https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba_initiatives/small_business_saturday_2014

Let’s say thank you to the PEOPLE who run our small businesses by visiting one this Saturday.