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Gift Basket Ideas from Ohio

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

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

Northeast:

Northwest:

Southwest:

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

Central:

Amish Country:

 

 

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CRYPTOZOHIO: Museums

cryptohio

 

Museums in Ohio house some of our oldest treasures. With these treasures come other things. Memories, value, skeletons, intrigue, wonder, strange happenings just to name a few. From tales of people still attached to the artifacts to visitors who came but never left, museums in Ohio are more than just a little strange.

Skeletons, Death masks, Hearses and more:
13267469_1626496387670226_320170361_nQuite a few museums have skeletons on display. Not old bones of animals, but skeletons of once living people. The Massillon museum has Oscar. On display since 1934 little is known of the man except that he was donated by Dr. Fred L. Rhodes, who dissected him in medical school. Another skeleton is on display at the Ragersville Historical Society. Jeff Davis was a bad man, who would not stop being bad. The citizens of Ragersville decided to stop him themselves by carrying out mob justice. This event gave the town the nickname “Hangtown”, and the museum eventually got the skeleton of a very bad man.

Not only are skeletons on display, but death mask and all forms of funeral memorabilia. In the laundry room of an East Liverpool B&B is the death mask of  Pretty Boy Flyod along with other items from the funeral home that worked on him. In West Union is a museum dedicated to the funeral profession. The William Lafferty Memorial Funeral and Carriage Collection house a few hearses and tools of the trade.

In Lima is the Allen County Museum. This local history museum house many strange and wonderful things. It has a collection of objects that have been swallowed. The museum house a strange collection of preserved animals. The Noah’s Ark displays showcase many varieties of animals along a moving conveyor belt. It also has what was once, and may still be, the world’s largest collection of Albino Animals.

Ohio History Center:
The Ohio History Center house many strange and unusual things from Ohio’s checkered past. The large collection of animals in the back of the natural history section are probably some of the most well known. Extinct animals that once roamed the land are next to specimens of ones that still do. This is home of the last Passenger Pigeon shot in the wild. Some of the strangest animals are however are not on display all the time. The museums two headed cow, or the display in the open air village with a tiger and the more exotic fare. Every once and a while the museum will bring out some it’s more controversial items, such as the Electric Chair once used by the state. When on display, and put in the proper context, one can feel the history of the items all around them. Sometimes in a good way, some times not.

National Museum of the United States Air Force
A museum which house artifacts from war and is national museum for 1/5 of the armed services is bound to have some ghosts in it. 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 it’s 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 las 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 transfered 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.

Cleveland Museum of Art: 
This is one of those big, expanded art museums. The type where the new building is built around the old one. This is also one of those old art museums which just celebrated it’s 100 birthday. With that much history something weird is bound to happen.  In one of the galleries battery powered lights will suddenly turn off only to go back on after the leave. The person in Portrait of Jean-Gabriel du Theil at the Signing of the Treaty of Vienna  has been said to stare at himself at night. The gallery in which this painting hung was said to have problems until the painting was put in storage. Finally former director William Mathewson Milliken has been said to visit the 1916 gallery from time to time.

Cincinnati Museum Center / Union Terminal: 
Union Terminal is being repaired. This is causing havoc to the Museum inside. The question that this leaves unanswered is “What will happen to the visitors that never leave?” The terminal has a long storied past, first as the original site of Pro Baseball, Then as a major train station for the armed forces leaving for war during WWII, and now as a museum center. In the back section, near the tracks, loved ones of those who never returned from war can be heard crying and waiting to this day for them to return. During a break in in 1989 a security guard was killed. She is said to still patrol the grounds hoping to prevent another break in.

While extensive this is just a quick look in to the strange and wondrous site around Ohio. Most museums in the state have some stories of their own.

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Poet and Park

With this being National Poetry Month and National Parks Week, We thought we would honor both by honoring Ohio’s own Paul Laurence Dunbar. His house is free to visit, and part of the Dayton Aviation National Historical Park. Here is his most famous poem.

Sympathy
Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!

Cryptozohio: Stories of the Stage

Photo by J. Ellwood

Theaters have a long standing history of ghost and strange things that go bump in the night. It has become a practice to leave a single light burning on stage when the theater is empty. Some say this is for safety, but the name, ghost light, says otherwise.

From former actors to patrons who never wanted to leave Ohio’s theaters have some stories of their own.

Victoria Theater: It is said that the private box on the left is haunted by a former patron who was attacked there. People have reported feeling uneasy and even been attacked by the woman. Another ghost is that of a man who committed suicide by stabbing himself with a knife fastened to the back of a seat. It is said that his face can be seen in the curtains back stage from time to time. One night an actress vanished from her dressing room. She is said to have never left the building however. Her perfume can be smelled, her petticoats heard as she crosses the stage, and she has even been reported in the 3rd floor restroom.

Playhouse Square: Made up of many theaters, Playhouse  is a destination for Cleveland’s patrons of the arts, both living and not. The Hanna Theatre is one of the most haunted of the bunch. Over 70 different entities have been said to reside there. Patrons have been seen in the balcony dressed for a show. Most of the mischief is said to happen backstage with props, paint, and tools seeming to move around on their own.

Ohio Theatre (Columbus): An old stage manager is said to haunt this theater in Columbus. He is reported opening elevators and playing pranks on the crew. A child is said to haunt the basement. As with most other old theaters the balcony is houses patrons who never wanted to leave.

Music Hall: One of the most haunted theaters in Ohio, but not because of the people working in it. The theater was built on top of the Cincinnati Orphan Asylum, an orphanage for children of the insane asylum. Ghost were reported before the theater even opened.  The sounds of the ghost making mischief or going about a normal routine are heard through out the building. They are patrons, cast, and crew who should not be. The Travel Channel even named it one of The Most Terrifying Places in America. If you want to experience the Ghost of Music Hall, take a tour. (yeah they sell out early so check back next year)

Is this all of them, no. This is just a small portion of the haunts from the stages of Ohio. Stay tuned for more Stories from the Stage.

If you go to one of the theaters listed above go for a show. Do not harass the theaters. They do too much good for that.

Celluloid Ohio – Haunting the Screen

Ohio is no Hollywood, but it has had it fair share of films set in Ohio, filmed in Ohio, or about Ohioans. This month we look at the films that gave us a good scare.

A Nightmare on Elm Street – The classic film is set in Springwood, Ohio. It stars the dream killer Freddy Krueger. The franchise spawned 9 films, a tv series, comic books, and one of the most speculated crossovers of all time, Freddy Vs Jason.

Some other Horror films set in Ohio:

  • The Faculty
  • Finale
  • Heathers
  • I am Number Four
  • Meet the Applegates
  • Phantom of the Paradise
  • Salvage
  • Scorned
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Super 8
  • Take Shelter
  • Thankskilling
  • Trick ‘r’ Treat

Local Filmmakers: Many local filmmakers are also making films about the great state. If you are a filmmaker and want to know more about the opportunities in Ohio visit: http://development.ohio.gov/filmoffice/UsefulLinks.html 

Cleveland Museum of Art

100_6984 ror2015Rating: *****
Address: 11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106 (in the heart of University Circle)

Quick Review: One of the Best art museums in America? Maybe the World.

Wow, just wow. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the best thing in an already great city. Like most art museums it contains pictures made with paint. Unlike other art museums it also contains medieval armor and weapons, Greek statues, modern art sculptures, and so, so, much more.

The best way to experience the museum is to start at the bottom and work chronologically. The problem is that the art world didn’t start in one place and move to another. Many art forms started and evolved in different parts of the world at once. The museum shows this off quite well. The main hallway opens to many rooms that connect to other rooms. The galleries, although separate, seem to flow well into each other. The Egyptian room leads to the Greek rooms, or vice versa, which  lead to the middle ages and so on. This free flowing but chronological order helps to explain the slow evolution of art as a medium for human communication and expression.

Upstairs the art flows in brighter and more open galleries. Yet the treasures still seem to surprise the first time visitor or experienced art lover. Where a person would expect more paintings are arms and armor. Where one would expect to find a hallway a room full of paintings appears. A tucked away hall contains Fraberge Eggs, or Tiffany glass.  Then after hours wandering the galleries, the biggest surprise of all.

The museum is actually two buildings with a huge covered courtyard in the center. The majority of the ancient western art is in the original 1916 building. Almost as many from the late 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries are in the North building. The North Building also houses the Eastern galleries, Native art galleries, and changing exhibits.

From the wonders of Egypt to the modern day the museum is a treasure trove of sights. Located within the University Circle Collection of Museums The Cleveland Museum of Art is a must see for anyone with a day to fill in the Sixth City.

Quick tips: 1. The Thinker is missing pieces. The story is worth finding. 2. Parking in the garage is pricey but other spots can be found. 3. Some galleries open to the outside. The light difference can be quite drastic.

Playhouse Square

1501 Euclid Ave #200
Cleveland, OH 44115
http://www.playhousesquare.com

Here is Playhouse Squares mission: A not-for-profit performing arts center that presents and produces a wide variety of performing arts, advances arts education and creates a destination that is a superior location for entertainment business and housing, thereby strengthening the economic vitality of the region.

Playhouse Square is located in Cleveland and is more than just one theater and more than one resident company. Playhouse Square hosts Opera Cleveland, DANCECleveland, Ohio Ballet, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Tri-C Cultural Arts Series, Tri-C Jazz Festival, and a Broadway Series. Playhouse Square theaters include the Allen Theater, State Theater, Palace Theater, 14th St. Theater, Ohio Theater, and Hanna Theater. Playhouse Square is the 2nd largest theater complex in the country.

In 1921 four of the theaters opened and over the years they had fallen in disarray and were in great need of repair. Over the years all of the theaters have been restored.

Many Broadway shows type touring shows are shown in the Palace Theater. This theater is a great place to see a musical. The theater is large and ornate. The stage is big enough to house large productions. The sound quality is good. The seats are of good quality. The location to the stage from the seats gives a good view of the show. Some touring shows are also in one of the other theaters in the complex.

Playhouse Square also has a Discovery Theater Series for families and a Discovery Theater Series for Schools along with many other educational events.

Playhouse Square hosts the Great Lakes Theater Festival each year at the Ohio and Hannah Theater. This is a great time to from Fall to Spring to see a great local production.  This festival has had actors the like of Donald Moffat, Larry Linville, and Tom Hanks.  This festival started out with plays by William Shakespeare, but now includes many other classics.

The surrounding area of the theaters also has some fine restaurants, a Wyndahm Hotel, and lots of parking garages.

Playhouse Square is more than one theater and more than one company.  Each theater brings a unique show and experience to the theater lover.  What is great is one can find at least one show (dance, music, musicals, plays, and more) to watch a year. If one only went to one show they would really have to hold themselves back. Playhouse Square has too many offering in a year to only go to one show. If you live in Cleveland make it a point to see a show here. If you plan on visiting Cleveland time your trip to when your favorite show is playing.