Looking for fall color; we found Historic Roscoe Village

Historic Roscoe Village

It has been twenty-six years since we lived where they had fall colors.  Now in our new home, we decided to go out for a drive to take advantage of them.  In the process, we found ourselves at Historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton, Ohio.

The present village is the recreation of a town on the Ohio and Erie Canal that was wiped out by the Great Flood of 1913 which swept through 20 states.

Coshocton resident Edward Montgomery and his wife, Frances, purchased a toll house in 1961 that served the canal.  They then endeavored to revive and restore the 19th Century port town.  The toll house was the first to be restored in 1968.  The Montgomery Foundation and the Roscoe Village Foundation, created in 1969, still continue the work.

A self-guided tour of the town now includes the Village Smithy, the Hay Craft & Learning Center, the Toll House, Dr. Maro Johnson’s Office, Dr. Maro Johnson’s Home and Kitchen Pantry, the Caldersburgh Pearl Canal Boat Exhibit, the Craftsman’s House and the Roscoe School, all attended by people in period costumes.  Another 16 buildings house restaurants and shops.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Roscoe was laid out in 1816 on the Walhonding River near where it runs into the Muskingum River.  It was laid out on the opposite shore from Coshocton with the hope farmers would rather bring their business there than pay for a ferry to cross the river.  First named Caldersburgh, it was renamed Roscoe in 1830 in honor of William Roscoe, an English historian and a leading abolitionist of the time.

After the early death of its founder in 1924, the town might have withered except that in 1825, Ohio began construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal from Cleveland on Lake Erie to Portsmouth on the Ohio River.  That meant trade with the rest of the country and even the world now opened up to this rural area, and Roscoe was on the canal! The first canal boat arrived in Roscoe in 1830.  The town became the fourth largest wheat port on a 350-mile canal system that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River.

But by the 1860s, railroads had begun to take over most transportation.  However, while declining, the canal continued to operate until the Great Flood.

There is a canal boat on exhibit, and in the summer, one can take a ride on a restored portion of the canal just outside the town.  The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum has American Indian, Historic Ohio, Decorative Arts, and East Asian artifacts collections as well as others and temporary exhibits.  When we were in town, they had an exhibit of World War Two posters.

Roscoe’s main street is Whitewoman Street.  Mary Harris was captured by the French and Indians in 1704 at the age of nine.  Taken to a mission outside Montreal, she eventually married a Mohawk Chief.  She and her husband moved to the area in the 1740s.  In 1751, Christopher Gist, an explorer and surveyor, learned that her village, the trail to it [present Roscoe’s main street] and the river were all named Whitewoman for her.  They were so recorded by Ohio mapmaker Thomas Mitchell in 1755.  Subsequently, she returned to Canada where she is thought to have died, the first European woman resident of Ohio.

Charlie Williams, the first male European resident of the area, came in 1800 and opened a tavern before going on to work as a hog drover, ferryman, commissioner, sheriff and state representative.

Date of our visit: 10 Oct 20

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Constanta, Romania

Born in Transylvania, he says he is only 95 but acts much younger. Photo courtesy of Diane Fosselman

Last week we were able to spend some time with a 95-year-old friend who was born in Romania.  That made me want to look back to our one-day visit in 2006.  A cruise ship does not let one become acquainted with the “real” country, but it was probably our only chance to ever see it at all.

Despite being on the Black Sea, the port is industrial and the idea of a cruise ship was a novelty in 2006.  Romania had only ceased being communist in December 1989.  Our tour guide normally took out scuba divers not tourists on buses.  But he was young and enthusiastic, and it was interesting.

Constanta was a 6th Century BC town followed by a 1st Century CE Roman colony.  Many of the resort hotels had name from the U.S. like “Palm Beach” and “Florida.”  Some, still government-owned at the time, were in poor repair.  There was a nice beach, but it was October and not beach weather.  I was more interested in the Roman ruins including a road and walkway in the basement of the hotel where we had lunch.

The area was an interesting mix of old and new, Roman, Communist dictatorship, and new democracy.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Date of our visit: 23 October 2006

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Some Favorite Photographs

Like many travel bloggers, I have spent a lot of time during the Covid-19 lock-down looking at photos.  It has been a rewarding experience leaving me grateful every day for all the opportunities we have had.

I know nothing about F-stops, etc. and admire those of you that regularly make fabulous images.  I use a point and shoot camera.  But sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn.  Here are a few of my favorites.  As always, click on images to enlarge.

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Canyon de Chelly isn’t pronounced the way it reads.

Canyon de Chelly May 97

It seems forever since we took a long drive.  Coincidentally, we had long drives – up to 14,000 miles – around the U.S. and Canada in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018.  2020 is a COVID bust.

But I am grateful for what we have been able to do and am reminded of our many blessings as I look back through my photo files.

I have only three photos of our 1997 visit to Canyon de Chelly National Monument outside Chinle, Arizona.  The name is pronounced “can-yun duh shay.” But what memories they brought back.

People have lived there nearly 5,000 years on top of the canyon walls, on the valley floor and in cliff dwellings.  The Ancient Puebloans, the name now given to the cliff dwellers, were there first.  They were joined eight or nine hundred years ago by the Navajo who migrated down from Canada.   The Navajo are related to other Athabascans including those still in Canada, those who went to California and the Apache.

Petroglyphs in Canyon de Chelly May 97

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was authorized in 1931 to preserve the important archeological resources. The monument encompasses approximately 84,000 acres of lands located entirely on the Navajo Nation.  The National Park Service and the Navajo Nation share resources and work in partnership to manage the monument.  Now only roughly 40 families still reside within the park boundaries.  When we visited, they were growing peaches, apples, corn, squash and beans.

As I write, the park is closed by COVID-19 restrictions.

One can drive two paved rim drives to 3 overlooks on the North Rim Drive and 7 overlooks on the South Rim Drive.

One can also take tours operated by Navajo companies in the valley.  Back in 1997, it was $50 per person to ride on benches mounted on the back of a flatbed truck.  If you had a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you could drive yourself with a guide for $50, so that is what we did.

We picked up our guide, Bryson Joe, in Chinle and drove to a point where the North and South Rim Drives intersected in a V.  I asked which way to go.  He replied straight ahead – into the river!

He made a point to remind us there was another $50 charge if we had to be towed out.  He also said sand bars changed regularly with the current in the river [it was still spring], we were the first people of the day, and therefore there was no path to follow.  We plunged in.

It was beautiful, but as the water climbed over the wheels of our rental vehicle, I became progressively more nervous.

Occasionally we would drive up on to a bank to take some pictures and our guide would tell us more about the history of the canyon.  Finally, he took pity on me and offered to drive.  I readily accepted and did not regret tipping as much as we originally paid.  Round-trip up the river was twenty-nine miles.

Canyon de Chelly May 97

The Navajo nation with more than three hundred thousand members is the second-largest Federally-recognized tribe.  The Cherokee Nation is the largest.

As in most First Americans encounters, they were not treated well by Europeans.  By the time of the Civil War, it was decided to relocate the Navajo.  Colonel “Kit Carson” waged a scorched earth policy to force the Navajo out rather than kill them, burning homes, crops and supplies.  Even with the help of the Utes, the long-time enemies of the Navajo, by November 1863, he was still unsuccessful.  He was ordered to drive the Navajo out of Canyon de Chelly.  A band led by the warrior Delgado concluded they would not survive the winter and surrendered. But those led by Barboncito and Manuelito vowed to fight to the end.

Carson entered the Canyon January 6 in deep snow.  Barboncito and Manuelito retreated to a mesa called the Fortress where they had stockpiled supplies.  Carson took his men to a camp in Chinle.

But it was a hard winter.  Cold and starvation took their toll.  Delgado urged the People, as the Navajo called themselves, to come in peacefully.  Manuelito fled to take refuge with the Hopi.  And by the summer of 1864, Carson had accepted the surrender of nearly 8,000 people.  Forced to walk over three hundred miles to Bosque Redondo reservation, the tribe suffered even more.  The deadly journey became known as the “Long Walk” of the Navajo.

The government failed to furnish adequate supplies in New Mexico, and even more died and suffered in what the Navajo call “The Fearing Time.”

Finally in 1868, the Treaty of Bosque Redondo was negotiated between Navajo leaders and the federal government allowing the surviving Navajo to return to a portion of their former homeland.

Date of our visit 10 May 97

This post was a reminder of the days when we had little money, every film had to be developed, and we hoarded our shots. Now, with digital cameras, I make multiple images of every scene, and if I forget my camera, I still have my phone. 😊

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Trains in the Garden

“Welcome Gnome” at entrance to Children’s Park

We enjoyed our previous visits to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens [posts here and here] and when we moved to the area, we purchased a membership.  Our most recent visit was with our 90-year-old brother-in-law, a railroad buff, to see trains.

Paul Busse’s Garden Railway has 9 G-scale trains running over 1122 feet of track and through four themed areas: Fairytale Land, Wild West Land, European Travels, and Who Lives Here [animal theme].  The 51 architectural structures are all plant-based. There is a brook and two waterfalls.

Just as interesting to me, were all the miniature buildings built by Busse-founded Applied Imagination.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Paul graduated from Ohio State University in 1972, with a degree in landscape architecture. He formed his own company specializing in creative outdoor living spaces and began to incorporate G-scale trains in his work in 1975.  G-scale trains are larger than other commercial model trains and can run both indoors and outdoors.

Busse created his first public garden railroad for the Ohio State Fair in 1982.  In 1991, he formed Applied Imagination combining his work with landscaping, garden railroads and the use of plant material to create “botanical architecture”.

AmeriFlora ’92, a ninety-five million dollar international exhibit in Columbus, attracted five and a half million visitors and brought fame to Busse for his German-themed garden.  The New York Botanical Garden will celebrate their 23rd anniversary of its Holiday Train Show this year.

Busse is now retired but still active.  His company is owned and operated by his daughter Laura Busse Dolan.

Date of our visit: 15 September 2020

There are many Applied Imagination exhibits.  Click here for their schedule.  Perhaps you can see one in your area.

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A popcorn museum? Marion, Ohio

Wouldn’t popcorn get stale?  Nonetheless, when we saw a sign in Marion, Ohio for the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, we had to go in.  At the end of the day, I turned to Alie and said, “I was the clown.”

Early Creators Wagons often had a clown on them.

It turned out to be the largest collection of popcorn wagons and peanut roasters in the United States. The wagons date back as far as the turn of the twentieth century and have been restored to their original condition.

W. Hoover Brown, who, with his wife Ava, founded Wyandot Popcorn Company in 1936, created the museum in a one-room schoolhouse built in 1882 that he once attended. Originally, they were mostly a collection of documents relating to popcorn production, but gradually antique poppers were added. When the museum outgrew the space, it was relocated [sometimes wagons were just loaned out] until the Marion County Historical Society purchased the 1899 Marion County Post Office in 1989 with the help of the Wyandot Company and the agreement to give 40% of the floor space to the popcorn museum.

The 1899 Cretors No. 1 wagon is the third oldest surviving Cretors popcorn machine. There also is an 1896 Kingery steam-driven wagon and an 1892 Olsen store-type dry popper hand-turned with the original patent for a squirrel cage dry popper.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Cretors and Company is still in business, making popcorn poppers for 135 years. I noticed their machines in the museum featured a clown turning a miniature popcorn maker. Also among these wonderfully restored wagons was a “modern” 1950 popcorn maker on a lower shelf. I am sure it is the model I used in college one winter when I made 70,000 bags of popcorn for a sports arena.  “I was the clown” making popcorn.

1950 Creators #41, still the most used popper at fairs and concessions in the U.S. and Canada.

Date of our visit: 30 Aug 20

Some day we will have to visit The J.H. Fentress Antique Popcorn Museum in Holland, Ohio.

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You might want to pass this place by.

We often say we are the people for whom alligator farms are built.  We will visit and enjoy almost anything.  But I must admit I wasn’t sure it was worth sharing this one, the Pencil Sharpener Museum.

Perhaps like us, you will be wandering the trails of nearby Hocking Hills State Park. But you might then happen to be just outside Logan, Ohio.  There it is, next to a local information center, so small it is easily missed, The Pencil Sharpener Museum.

At first it just looks like a backyard tool shed.  Inside, however, are over 3400 pencil sharpeners collected by the Reverend Paul A. Johnson and displayed in glass cabinets in his backyard shed until his death until 2010 after which it was moved to the Hocking Hills Welcome Center yard.

The collection started in 1989 when his wife gave him two sharpeners in the shape of little metal automobiles.  “Transportation” became just one part of the collection which has household items like a stove and a commode, musical instruments, famous buildings, flowers, sports figures and too many other items to list here.  He gave away his duplicates to his daughter who worked with mentally challenged children to use as awards and occasionally just to visitors.

Click on photos to enlarge.  I was unable to get photos without reflections. 😢

It only took about a quarter of an hour to visit – and that was because we found ourselves taking time to seek out really unique ones – but the important thing was it was fun to see.

Date of our visit: 16 Sep 20

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A huge stone ball that moves: or “choose to believe; it is more fun.”

Our new home is close to Ohio’s center, which makes day trips around the state easy.

Marion, Ohio Cemetery

We wandered up to Marion, home to President Warren G. Harding, and visited his grand tomb, the subject of a future post.

Across the road is the Marion Cemetery where one finds what might look like a monument to a bowling ball manufacturer.  It is actually the Merchant Stone which is famous in the area.

Charles Merchant was a wealthy Marion citizen involved in both industry and railroads.  His family marked his grave in 1896 with a pedestal topped by an approximately 5200-pound stone ball.

Then a legend developed: the polished Quincy black granite ball is said to move on its own revealing an unpolished spot where the stone originally rested on the pedestal.  Noticing the shift, the Merchant family had the giant stone lifted by a crane and placed back in its rightful orientation in 1898.  But the ball moved on.

In an article for Ohio Magazine, Jim Riedl, superintendent of the cemetery, said they had pictures from the early 1900s with the unpolished spot near the top.  He said during his 40 years there, it had only moved four or five inches.

There has been much speculation on why and how much it moves, some attributing it to water and ice formation, others to seismic or gravitational forces.  It is a cemetery; some even suspect ghosts are involved.

In 1929, it was featured in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”  Many say “not.”

“The Pennsylvania Ramble,” a blogger, believes the stone was “probably just set incorrectly in the first place.”  She points out there are no scratches that would have formed by movement on the polished surface.

Some feel it is just a long-standing joke by the groundskeepers.

In every photo I could find including one dating back twenty years, the spot is always in the same place.  I’d like to see Riedl’s photos.

But it was a beautiful day and a beautiful place for those not bothered by cemeteries; we enjoyed it seeing it.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Date of our visit: 30 Aug 20

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A good day in the mountains: Durango-Silverton, Colorado

In April 2019, I wrote a post entitled “A bad day in the mountains is still a good day” about a trip alone in the rain – Alie was ill –on the Durango-Silverton Railroad.  You can read it here.

But while using pandemic “stay at home” time to review old photos, I came across some photos of the same trip in 2005 when the sun shown on all.

When we bought our tickets, the clerk offered us a choice of either an inside car or an open “gondola.”  She advised us to take the open car because the views were much better.  She said, however, we shouldn’t wear light clothing because we would be exposed to ashes and soot from the 1920’s steam engine.  An employee said the steam engine was more powerful than their diesel, but that they used the diesel and shorter trains during periods of drought.  The river was running high.  We were happy to put up with soot.

The sun was out, and our day was brightened further by the people we met in the car.

Our seats were next a man, his son and son’s girlfriend on their way to the Needles stop.  From there, they would hike to open his adventure-based camp for the season.  He had lived in the area for thirty years.  On the way, he took time to tell us about the geography and history of the area.

We also were joined by a young bride and groom and their wedding party going to the Cascades stop where the wedding would be held.  They were dressed in Western costume. Even the groomsmen wore bright serapes.  They were extremely happy, and their happiness radiated brighter than the sun.  Those of us making the round-trip applauded when they re-boarded, probably puzzling those who just came on in Silverton for a one-way trip to Durango.

Even our lunch stop in Silverton was special although just a sandwich and piece of pie.  Both the bread and pie were fresh, homemade and delicious; I was in heaven.

Click on photos to enlarge.

We have a phrase, “a milkshake” memory, that refers to a 1947 milkshake which became thicker and tastier every year in my in-law’s memory.  My 2019 trip was a “good day in the mountains.” Our 2005 trip was a milkshake.

Date of our trip: 23 May 2005

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What makes a great cruise?

Management and leadership usually make the difference.

Captain Georgios Theodorou takes his daily morning walk.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, as it was known at the time, transferred two ships to its new subsidiary Azamara Cruises in 2008.  One of these was renamed the Journey.

In December 2009, we took what I believe was the Journey’s first transatlantic sailing from Barcelona to Miami.  I believe it was the first time because the cruise was incredibly inexpensive.  I’m not sure one could find a similar bargain today even as cruise lines struggle to rebuild their businesses.

We will never forget that trip simply because of the amazing crew.  We are lucky to have had other great cruises, but that trip was unique.

The Journey had 634 passengers with 405 crew, so we saw the same people frequently.

Almost all cruise-line crew are friendly, but on that trip, the friendliness seemed so genuine.

Although not a formal part of the schedule, two of the small entertainment cast volunteered to give those who wanted an “acting/improvisation” class.  Alie wasn’t bad; nothing shall be said about me.

Since it was a small ship without many professional entertainers, they had a crew talent show; we were surprised by some remarkable performances by non-professionals.

Crew talent show

The head chef came by our table, but we did not have a brief “how was everything; it was great” conversation.  She stayed a full fifteen minutes, and we had a good conversation about both the food and her career.

The Head Chef participates in a class.

When we boarded, Alie was experiencing a bad arthritis flare and could not walk; I pushed her everywhere in a wheelchair, but she told everyone she planned to be walking before we reached Miami.  She improved enough late in the cruise to be able to walk into the dining room.  When she did, the three men sharing the position of maitre d’ serenaded her.

Three “Journey” Maitre d’s

Several times we have sailed on a ship more than once and found the level of service and attention detail was not the same each time.  We decided the captain and hotel director, the person who manages the part of the crew that deals most often with customers, make the difference.

The Journey’s Captain Georgios Theodorou, was the most accessible we ever encountered.  He was often seen around the ship.  A former Greek Olympic athlete, he walked the upper deck track every morning; he was in shape and worked to stay that way even in middle age.

When we took at tour of the bridge, Captain Theodorou gave us a very interesting lecture on the history of navigation from reliance on stars to the sextant to modern global positioning equipment and electronic mapping.  He told us he served on an international committee which he hoped would give captains almost instantaneous notice of hazards at sea.  For example, if a container fell from a cargo ship [which evidently is not that uncommon], other ships in the area would see it marked on their electronic charts.

Later, he and the cruise director gave anyone who wanted to participate, an hour-long class in Greek dancing.  I can’t say I learned how to do it, but it was fun.  Even more fun was when the two gave a demonstration and the Captain did a flip and danced on his hands – his somewhat prominent belly then became a massive “chest.”

Click on photos to enlarge.

Dates of our travel: 4-18 December 2009

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