Holiday lights synced to music

Christmas is a fun time of year to travel. No matter where you are, you can always find holiday light displays to enjoy. We found an extremely fancy light display at a house near Columbus, Ohio last weekend.

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The Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky

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The Museum building

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The working carousel

Early "Armored Horse"

Early “Armored Horse”

Sandusky, Ohio is home to a fascinating museum devoted to the history of the carousel and merry-go-round. You will be amazed at the history of the different styles of animals used throughout the years. There are so many subtle variations within the different styles.

Another feature is a full sized and working carousel within the building. Go ahead, enjoy a ride on this marvelous piece of history. It was purchased in the 1990’s. No animals came with the ride, and museum staff lovingly added animals from the onsite collection as well as loaned animals from private collections.

The museum is in the old Post Office building and there have even been some paranormal activity reported within the museum! Here is the museum website with all information including open hours, etc.

Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl

Tom's Ice Cream Bowl

Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl

Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl is a real off the beaten path gem in Zanesville, Ohio. Sher and I were told to be sure to take in this local treat shop by Alan Cottrill, a local artist. (read about our time with him here.)

This favorite shop has been in business since 1948. The history of the establishment is interesting but the real story is that the ice cream dishes are worthy of high praise! Sher enjoyed the banana split while I ordered the hot fudge sundae. Huge portions, delicious homemade ice cream and scrumptious toppings were quickly prepared and served to us

Also offered are home made chocolate candies and a wide variety of nuts. The nuts are fresh roasted daily. In addition Tom’s has a good selection of sandwiches on their menu.

Yummy!

Yummy!

Candy/Roasted nuts counter

Candy/Roasted nuts counter

Long story short: when in Zanesville, Ohio, patronize Tom’s Ice Cream Bowl. Anyone you talk to in Zanesville will tell you the same. Here is their websiteUse it for directions and hours open. This is a terrific place for an ice cream break.

We shared conversation with Alan Cottrill, master sculptor

Alan Cottrill, left, with Maj inside Alan's Studio and Gallery

Alan Cottrill, left, with Maj inside Alan’s Studio and Gallery

As soon as we had introduced ourselves Alan immediately noticed the small leather medicine bag that I wore around my neck. Understanding proper protocol he did not ask what was carried within. I knew that Sher and I were in for a treat interacting with this gifted and learned sculptor.

Alan graciously shared with me his history that led to his work in the 3D world of sculpture. From an international multi-millionaire businessman at 30 to a starving artist in New York City at 40, he explained how each came about. Alan really lit up when he recounted the “first time” he “touched clay”. Thus the paint brush was put aside and his true genius showed itself.

Small version with photo of final scupture in place

Small version with photo of final scupture in place

Red Cloud study board

Red Cloud study board

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was fascinated to learn that Alan spends so much time learning everything he can about the person who will be featured in his work. A bust of George Armstrong Custer is displayed on the first floor of the Gallery. A duplicate is now at West Point. Alan spent a lot of research time on the photos, life and times of Custer. Then I noticed a large board on an easel with mutiple photos and a book about Red Cloud, the famed Ogala Souix War leader. Thus I was able to see the beginings of what will in the future be another fine sculpture by Alan Cottrill.

His Gallery in Zanesville, Ohio is filled with hundreds of his works. His early paintings are also displayed. He shared that his favorite works are the two sarcophagi for his wife and himself. His children’s faces adorn the sides of each, and never will you see a more poignant depiction of love of spouse and family.

A trip to Zanesville is in order for anyone who loves art. This is the Gallery website.

The Cottrill sarcophagi

The Cottrill sarcophagi

We meet the nicest people while traveling

Rachael removing the molds

Rachael removing the molds

We’ve met the nicest people on our travels through the United States. On Monday we were at the Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio and Gallery. This is located in Zanesville, Ohio and we almost passed by this town as we were traveling on Interstate 70.

Rachael Girton has been working at the Alan Cottrill Studio and Gallery for almost 8 years. She has been working for Mr. Cottrill since high school. She was in a government sponsered program for disabled teens who might have trouble finding a job as an adult. Rachele has type 1 Diabetes which is the most serious form of diabetes.

 

 

She started working at the Gallery while in high school and was such a valued employee that she has been there for almost 8 years.

Maj was fascinated with the process

Maj was fascinated with the process

Abe revealed! The molds will be used for the "lost wax" process

Abe revealed! The molds will be used for the “lost wax” process

She is a totally delightful person and we were so happy to meet her. She led us through the process of removing the molds from a bust of Abe Lincoln. It was fascinating watching her carefully removing the two mold pieces. Maj was there watching her every move!

Be sure to visit Alan Cotrill’s website here to see more of Alan’s remarkable works.

We are in Zanesville

Today we are in Zanesville, Ohio. We are on our way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and saw signs for the visitors center for Muskingum Co., so we stopped and it is a pretty neat place. I’m really glad we stopped because we found out where the big Longaberger Basket is. The people at the welcome center are so helpful. They told us other places to see as we travel in Muskingum County. We are going to visit Alan Cottrill Sculpture and Gallery now. I wish it would stop raining so we could pictures of the sculptures he has along the street. Hopefully we will get some and have them up tonight.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus Ohio

One of the beautiful butterflies

One of the beautiful butterflies

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio is a most remarkable facility. Nestled in the beauty of the Franklin Park, the Conservatory houses a wide varitey of fauna from all over the world. Different ecosystems are represented in different “rooms” within the massive structure.

Himalayan Mountain fauna is found in one of the rooms. You can move from the Himalayan Mountains through a door and enjoy desert plants in yet another room, Man made stone outcroppings set the foundation for all of the plants on display. Waterfalls and other water features add to the ambience of the displays.

 

Of special interest is the tropical rain forest room that also serves as a home to hundreds of butterflies. Bred on site, the different species of butterflies are released several times during the week by staff members. During these informative release shows the staff discusses the life cycles and traits of each butterfly.

Strange cacti in the desert hall

Strange cacti in the desert hall

Brilliant color and striking bloom

Brilliant color and striking bloom

Parts of the facility was under renovation when we visitied with our granddaughter, however the construction did not interfere with our enjoyment of the many plants and ecosystems represented.

Make sure to plan a visit to the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus. All pertainent information is on their website here.

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Beautiful waterfall and Nature Preserve

20150522_134618 (2)Traveling in the Columbus and Dublin, Ohio area? There is a little gem of a nature park that you really should see. Nestled in a ravine running into the Scioto River in Dublin, Ohio you will find a stunning waterfall in a peaceful setting in the middle of the city. The Griggs Nature Preserve is part of the Columbus Parks system.

The small parking lot is located on the west side of the river on the south side of  Hayden Run Road east of Dublin Road. There is a trail head that immediately turns into a new, well constructed boardwalk trail. The steep steps lead down the ravine bank to a wide boardwalk with railings on both sides. The boardwalk follows the stream which may give you the chance to see some ducks and their families. Songbirds add to the vista of the pretty trees, wildflowers and other foliage.

The waterfall itself is at the end of the 1/4 mile long boardwalk. What a beautiful waterfall and pool! The rock outcroppings are stunnning to see and you wonder how did this falls come to be. It is hard to believe that this serene natural setting is surrounded by the bustling cities of Dublin and Columbus!

Words of caution: The steps leading down to the stream trail are very steep and long. It is easy going down, but the climb back up can be difficult. Plan accordingly. In addition, the parking lot is small and will require the use of your towed vehicle. Only a Class B will fit into the small parking lot.

1916 era monument to National Road “modern imporvements” in Ohio

Photo on the Eagles Nest historic marker showing travel on the National Highway

Photo on the Eagles Nest historic marker showing travel on the National Highway

The Eagles Nest monument on the National Road (US 40) was erected around 1916 after a 29 mile stretch of the then umimproved and often nearly impassable road was replaced with concrete. The stretch of highway ran from Zanesville to Hebron.

The monument is a large granite rock with some interesting inscriptions carved into the surface. The photos show some of the details of the inscriptions, including a Conestoga wagon and mileage to Cumberland, Maryland, the starting point of the road.

The day we stopped here the conditions were very muddy and wet. What a reminder of some of the early muddy conditions that the early travelors faced as they traveled across country.

 

The Eagles Nest monument

The Eagles Nest monument

Conestoga wagon etched into the granite

Conestoga wagon etched into the granite

You are 220 miles from the start of the National Road in Cumberland, MD.

You are 220 miles from the start of the National Road in Cumberland, MD.