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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. 

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Fort Ancient

6123 St. Rt. 350
Oregonia, Ohio 45054

Website: http://www.fortancient.org/

Quick Review: Historical museum with lots of walking trails to explore more history.

Fort Ancient is a museums and grounds representing the Native American cultures which once inhabited the area. It contains a museum and surrounding grounds.

The history of the area is long and complicated. The first people to build a village at the site were the Hopewell people. They were a mound building society, which they inherited from the Adena. Some of the best examples of this are at Hopewell Culture National Historic Park. The Hopewell Culture only lasted till the 500’s. About 500 years later people of the Fort Ancient culture took over the site and used th area until the arrival of Europeans. It is because of the walls and mounds that the first archaeologist to study the area thought that the recent inhabitants had used it as a fort. Only recently has it be understood that the walls and the later village were from separate unrelated cultures.

img_0386The museum offers 9,000 sq ft of exhibit space. There are exhibits on the first Ohioans, how they used the land, their first contact with the Europeans, and the conflict which ensued. There is also a prehistoric garden, showing all the crops that would of been grown during the time There are lots of hands on exhibits.

Fort Ancient is not just a museum but also and great outdoor space. It is the largest outdoor historic site of its kind in the country. There are 2.5 miles of walking trails. These trails allow one to see the historic mounds and also the surrounding countryside.  There are two overlooks that give a great view. The trails are easily accessed from parking lots through out. The park is nice because what is learned at museum can be experienced in the natural setting. The maps and dioramas in the museums show off where everything used to be, so seeing this outside really adds to the overall experience.

Tip: Fort Ancient is worth a visit on its own, but is also part of the Ohio History Connection and is free with Membership

CRYPTOZOHIO: Cemeteries

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Ever since Settlers have been moving into Ohio they have had a need to take care of their dead. The most popular option has been to bury them in local cemeteries. As the cemeteries filled up stories of strange happenings have been told. These are just a few of the more popular ones from Ohio’s  most well know cemeteries.

DO NOT GO INTO A CEMETERY UNLESS ALLOWED! As with all cemeteries respect for the past, present, and future is required. If you want to go at night take a tour.

Cincinnati’s Spring Grove:
One of the United State’s largest cemeteries with over 700 acres of land. This along with the other of Ohio’s large rural garden cemeteries is a great place to walk around. But be careful, this place is said to be haunted. One such story is of a bust in section 100 that is said to have human eyes follow visitors as they pass. The Deter memorial is said to visited by to glowing white dogs. Other stories include the groundskeepers seeing hand and fingers sticking out of the ground as they mow.

Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery:
With a president, one of the the riches men ever, and the untouchable man who helped bring down Al Capone, the history of Lakeview is everywhere. James Garfield  was shot only four months after his inauguration as America’s 20th president. It took over two months for him to succumb, not to the bullet, but to the poor care he was given by his doctors. At the time people commented that he had  already left his body and gone wondering around at times. Even after his burial this is said to be the case. The cemetery also houses it share of Weeping Angles and moving statues. The most famous is “The Angel of Death Victorious.” The Collinwood Memorial, where 10 unknow children from the Collinwood school fire, is also located here. Probably the most eerie stories from the place are that of the moving tombstones.

Columbus’s Green Lawn Cemetery:
Home to many famous Ohioans, and not just politicians. The most famous haunted site in the 360 acre grounds is Hayden Mausoleum. A knock on it’s doors is said to be returned, or even more, by one of it’s residents. James Snook, Olympic medal pistol shooter, and murderer haunts the grounds.

Dayton’s Woodland Cemetery:
Most of the cities most famous residents are buried here. From the Wright brothers to James Ritty the names just seem to pop up around every corner. So do the less famous and more infamous. Some even say the residence themselves seem to pop up. The most famous is that of Johnny Morehouse. Morehouse was a boy who drown in the local canal. His dog tried to save him but was too late. For several days the dog was said to watch over the boys grave site. Since then the dog has been said to return to watch over the site from time to time. The cemetery also houses a lady in white ghost who is said to haunt the tops of the hill near her grave. A more modern teen girl is also said to inhabit the hillsides. Victims of Jack the Strangler , The Cincinnati Ripper, and many who made their own victims all rest uneasily through out 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.

Happy Centennial National Parks

Today marks the 100th birthday of our National Parks Service. The parks service started in 1916. The first park was established in Ohio in 1923.  From that day forward the parks have been one of the great attractions in the state. The parks have something for everyone.

A Brief Timeline of National Parks Service in Ohio

1923 –Hopewell Culture: Started as part of the Mound City Group National Monument. It is fitting that this was the first park because it is dedicated to the history of Ohio’s earliest inhabitants

1966 – Perry’s Victory & International Peace MemorialA monument to the Commander of the Battle of Lake Erie during the war of 1812. Also memorializes the war as the last conflict between the United States, Britain, and Canada.

1969 – William Howard Taft National Historic Site: The boyhood home, and later family home, of the 27th president of the United States.

1980 – David Berger National MonumentA monument to one of athletes killed at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
North Country Scenic Trail: Established as one of the longest of the 11 scenic trails. In Ohio it connects to the Buckeye Trail and runs through Hocking Hills, one of Ohio’s most hiked areas.
James A Garfield National Historical Site: The Home of 20th President James A Garfield. Considered the first Presidential Library in America.

1992 – Dayton Aviation HeritageCelebrates the history of flight and the two Dayton Brothers who solved the problems of getting man in the air. Is spread out in 5 different locations through out Dayton.

1999 – Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis: The site of the battle of Fallen Timbers, the final battle in the Northwest Indian War, and the site of Fort Miamis, a British fort built to stop Gen. Wayne, which he eventually held.

2000 – Cuyahoga Valley: Originally created as a recreational area in 1974, Cuyahoga became a National park in 2000. This park celebrates the history of the people, canals, and nature of the northwestern Ohio valley.
First Ladies National Historical Site: Built in the home of Ida McKinley, this site is dedicated to the history of the wives of the Presidents of The United States.

2004 – National Heritage AreaIncorporated just after the Centennial of Flight this large area of western Ohio houses the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, and Woodlawn Cemetery (with the graves of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and The Wright Brothers)

2013 – Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers: So new that it is not even finished opening yet. The Monument is dedicated to one of the most famous Buffalo Soldiers and first African-American national park Superintendent.

Hocking Hills State Park Updated

Here is an update of the park after a recent visit. This will give you some idea of what the park looks like in the Summer. Might inspire you to get out an hike it.

Address: 19852 State Route 664 S
Logan, Ohio 43138

Rating ****

Links: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/parks/hocking/tabid/743/Default.aspx

Quick Review: State park loaded with tons of outdoor activities and camping.

Review: Hocking Hills State Park is best summed up by what is said on its website:

“Hocking Hills provides a variety of recreational opportunities in a splendid natural setting. Towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges lure the hiker and naturalist and serve as a backdrop to popular facilities and accommodations.”

Hocking Hills is located near Logan, Ohio. When going to hocking hills one can spend the day hiking, fishing, playing games, doing archery, swimming (seasonal), enjoying nature programs, visiting the visitors center. camping, ice fishing (seasonal), and visiting the near by area. One thing to mention is that a rock climbing/rappelling area is available in the adjacent Hocking Hills State Forest. An easy hike or drive if you wanted to do rock climbing while on your stay to Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills has lots of camping opportunities. Hocking Hills has basically four camping options. Lets start at the most basic and work our way up. Hocking Hills about 12 – 13 camp sites without electricity, 156 with electricity, 3 camper cabins, and 40 cottages. This gives a person many different options to what kind of camping they would like to do. The most popular and probably hardest to get are the cottages, so book well in advance (months). Major holidays in the summer like Labor Day, July Fourth, and Memorial Day probably fill up the fastest. What is nice is that Hocking Hills website gives a person a great way to see if cottages are available. So visit the website or call before traveling to the park. These cottages, are gas-heated, air-conditioned, family housekeeping cottages that sleep up to six persons, have showers, gas burning fireplaces, complete kitchens, dining areas, and screened porches. This would meet the needs of any family camping. There are also group camping sites for perfect for any youth or adult organization.

One of the most popular activities to do while at Hocking Hills is hiking. The are 26 miles of hiking trails located on the park. The trails range from easy with handicap access to difficult. Most of the trails are of a moderate difficulty. One great trail to take is the Old Man’s Cave Trail. This is the place to see a mile long gorge, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, rock formations, and the the 149 foot tall hemlock said to be the tallest tree in Ohio. The rock formations have names like Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, Eagle Rock, and Whale in the Wall. The major reason to go on Old Man’s Cave Trail is to see old mans cave, the rock shelter that was once the home of Richard Rowe, a 19th-century hermit. What is fun to do is to make a list of all of the features of Old Man’s Cave Trail and then while on the trail try to make sure to find each thing, a scavenger hunt of sorts. What is great about the trails in the park is that a hiker gets to see many different rock formations, trees, and natural landscapes. Some of the trails in the park are also sections of the Buckey Trail. The park has many maps available for the trails. Visit the visitors center or park office for a map.

There is tons to do at Hocking Hills State Park for a long stay or just one day. The park is easily explorable without staying the night. The park could also be the jumping off spot for a visit to the surrounding area. In the Hocking Valley there are lots of shopping opportunities, the Adena Mansion and Gardens to visit, other nature parks, and many tourist activities. This truly is a beautiful part of Ohio.

Hocking Hills State Park is a great park to visit for the day or the week. This park will connect or reconnect one with all of nature’s grandness while also providing an experience one is not going to forget.

The Hocking Hills Dining Lodge – http://hockinglodge.com/ is next to Old Man’s Cave and in the park. They are a home made family style restaurant.  They are open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.  

Ohio Oddities

There are some documentaries and television shows about roadside attractions. We watched these shows and thought about what Ohio has to offer. We were looking for places that one could go to and look around for a few minutes. Free was and is best. We wanted places that were monuments, art, or created by a unique individual. We wanted something you would not find everyday.

Here is our review of a few of these type of places. Each review will be short and the addresses given are the ones we used, but you should always check out directions for yourself and not use us solely.

 

Field of Corn

4995 Rings Rd.

Dublin, Ohio

Yes, a field of corn in Ohio. Well, kind of.

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This is an art instillation in the city of Dublin. You will find over 100 ears of corn made of concrete. The corn is in rows. The ears are large scale and so is the spaces between each of the ears. This is a fairly easy attraction to get to, not really out of your way. This art instillation is part tribute and part fun. Not sure if residents feel the same way, but this is fun site to see.

 

 

Chief Leatherlips Monument

7377 Riverside Dr, Dublin, Ohio

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This one is also in Dublin. It is in a city park called Scioto Park. The monument is 12 foot and made of limestone. You can walk around the sculpture and even on top of it. The sculpture is nestled into the hillside. This alone is worth going to but the park, with its river access and great scenery makes it a great place to go. Easy to get to.

 

 

 

 

Longaberger Basket Company Building

1500 East Main St., Newark, OH

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This one is kind of famous. A large building made to look like a basket. This building was the headquarters of Longaberger Basket Company. It has since been announced that the headquarters moved. You can still easily see the building. This would be one site to see before because it could one day be gone. We hope not, as it a great attraction. You can easily get to this building and pictures are a must. Hard to miss an almost 10 story tall basket on the side of a highway.

Summer Time in Ohio

As the weather warms we prepare for the changing of the season. Like the rain watering the flowers the warmer weather makes Ohio’s outdoor options grow. Ohio does not disappoint in the summer.

We have big plans for this Summer. We are excited to visit some more sports teams, see the new stuff at The Ohio History Center, goto a Drive in, and see a bunch of different roadside attractions along the way. So stay tuned over the next few months for a flurry of posts and reviews about the great state of Ohio.

Want to see the state, plan a trip with the help of Ohio’s tourism board or other helpful sites. Or just use our suggestions (click for more info):

Goto an Amusement Park:
Kings Island
Cedar Point
Coney Island
Zoombezi Bay

See a Show:
Drive-ins
Fraze Pavilion
Blossom Center for the Performing Arts
Riverbend Music Center
Express Live – Columbus
Toledo Zoo Ampitherater

See a game:
Dayton Dragons (the hardest seats to get in pro sports)
Cleveland Indians
Columbus Crew
Columbus Clippers
Cincinnati Reds
Toledo MudHens
Akron Rubber Ducks
Lake County Captains

Goto a Zoo:
Columbus Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Toledo Zoo

Go to a park:
Ohio State Parks
National Parks in Ohio

Goto a Festival:
Ohio Festivals – a crazy good list of them.

Goto a Museum:
Cleveland History Center (formerly Wester Reserve Historical)
COSI
Cincinnati Museum Center
Toledo Museum of Art 
Dayton Art Institute

Go for a Drive:
Ohio Roadtrips

While we hope this gave you some great ideas for the summer, this is just a small portion of things to do in Ohio.

 

 

 

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!

Ohio History Outside Ohio: Henry Ford Museum

Ohio’s contribution to the world is so grand that it is almost impossible to spend a day out and about and not use something made, invented, or improved by an Ohioan. From the cash register used to buy and sell products to the planes and cars used to transport them. Ohio is everywhere. This means that some of Ohio’s greatest artifacts are no longer in Ohio. Sometimes to learn about Ohio one must leave it.

Original Wright House and Shop

The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, MI, only 45 minutes from Toledo, house many pieces of Ohio’s contributions to the world.
The museum is broken up into 2 sections, the Ford Museum, and Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village is an open air museum housing many birthplaces, homes, and shops of some very famous people, including some of the artifacts from the world’s most famous Daytonians, Orville and Wilbur Wright. In 1937 Orville helped to move the Wright Cycle Shop where he and his brother built the first airplane. Along with the shop their original house and shed are part of the Main street section. Along with the Wrights house is the birthplace and smokehouse of William Holmes McGuffey. McGuffey was famous for writing the McGuffey reader, considered the first standard grade school textbook, while as a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. An Entire section of the village is dedicated to Ohio native Thomas Edison, who was a good friend of Henry Ford. Included are recreations of his Menlo Park Complex.

DSCN1674Inside the main museum is a lot more artifacts from Ohio. The 1952 Oscar Mayer Wienermobile built by The Gerstenslager Company of Wooster Ohio is one of the first things visitors see as they enter. Included in the section on the history of furniture is many pieces built in Cincinnati. Cincinnati was a big manufacturing city during the early to mid 1800’s. As the exhibit passes over this time period many placards repeat the cities name. As is expected in a museum built by Henry Ford, a large portion is dedicated to the automobile. One such car is the first DSCN1765Japanese car, a Honda Accord, built in America. With the OHIO license plate USA – 001 it is hard to miss the Buckeye State heritage. The car was built in the Marysville Plant. Another exhibit is the history of tourism by car. This includes a camper used by Henry Ford and two Ohioans, Thomas Edison and  Harvey Firestone. The camper was used on outings the three took as friends.

With the great impact Ohio has had on the world it is no wonder a museum the size of the Henry Ford Museum would contain something of Ohio’s past, but the level of authentic world changing memorabilia makes it worth the short drive outside Ohio.

Five Rivers Metro Parks

Rating: *****

Link: http://www.metroparks.org/

Quick Review: Outdoor activities for everyone.

The best way to start out a review of the Five Rivers Metro Parks is by listing the parks goals

Goals

  • To be recognized as the leader in land protection; caring for what we have and adding what we need.
  • To connect today’s 21st century audience with nature and conservation.
  • To be recognized as an indispensable leader in the quality of life, wellness and economic vitality of the community.
  • To be recognized as a responsible steward of the Montgomery County taxpayers dollars and as returning a value for those dollars

The Five Rivers Metro Parks are located in and around Dayton, Ohio and Montgomery County. The parks are more and more every year than what one would expect from outdoor recreation. The park system is changing to meet the needs of the 21st century person. Here is a list of a few of the activities: hiking, boating, cycling, rock climbing, general fitness, horseback riding, gardening, bird watching, plant observing, and more. The metro park system has three types of parks, urban parks, natural area parks, and garden parks. The metro park system is also more than just one park, but a system of parks, trails, bike paths, and rivers.

What is nice about the parks is that they are basically free and open for a long period of times. The parks offer educational activities for every age group.

Here is a highlight of some of the parks. Some parks to not miss.

Cox Aboretum is a 189-acre facility is a place for visitors to escape among trees, shrubs, specialty gardens, mature forests, and prairies. Cox’s hosts many educational programs through out the year. Cox is located in the middle of the South Dayton area near the Dayton Mall. Cox is easily accessed and can be enjoyed in a few hours or most of the day. Cox’s has many plant species to look at. Cox’s also host an annual butterfly house in the summer. Cox is great for the young and old because the trails are paved or not on a great incline. Cox is the perfect place to go on a warm summer evening to look at the flowers.

Germantown Metro Park is also one of the park systems gems. Germantown MetroPark is located twenty minutes from Dayton. Germantown MetroPark is the most diverse and significant natural area managed by MetroParks. Germantown has a wonderful small nature center (check the their website for hours) with a great staff of park rangers to assist one in getting to know the park and it’s natural beauty. The great thing about the nature center is the park rangers can tell you which part of the park to aviod because of washed out areas or down trees, espically in early summer. The rangers also put on a great deal of natural education activities. Germantown Metropark is a hikers paridise withover 15.9 miles of wooded trails for walking and hiking. The park also allows group camping for organizations involved in environment activites. The park has wooded areas, praries, streams, and creeks. The Twin Valley Backpacking Trail is also accessable from the park.

There is something for everyone to do: go downtown to Riverscape and watch the foutian in the summer, canoe at Eastwood Metropark, cross country ski at Englewood Metropark, horseback ride at Carriage Hill Metropark, moutian bike at Huffman Metropark, or look at the beautiful flowers at Alluwood Garden Metropark. The Metropark system has something for every age group, ability level, interest, and expereince. The Fiver Rivers Metropark system is one of the best in the state of Ohio.