Sunday, October 11, 2015

Haunted Capitol...Get Your Scare On!

Mansfield, Ohio offers a variety of fright...that allow for visitors to get their scare on in some of the creepiest spots in the Midwest. 

Be one of the tens of thousands of visitors that make their way to north central Ohio to see if they can handle the host of haunted destinations that have earned Mansfield its spooky reputation. These sites have been featured on national TV, including: Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," SyFy's "Ghost Hunters" and Bio's "My Ghost Story."  

It takes a brave visitor to take on the historic Ohio State Reformatory's hair-raising, one-of-a-kind Haunted Prison Experience. "Supernatural III". It has won awards and this scarefest uses professional actors and Hollywood animatronics, props and special effects to create a haunted tour that goes far beyond any typical "haunted house." More information is available at

The Ohio State Reformatory has a reputation as one of the most haunted places in America as well as an architectural and cultural treasure. It is known for its use in a variety of movies including the No. 1 movie of all time, "The Shawshank Redemption." 

For complete information on all of the region's haunted and paranormal experiences, including videos, useful "ghost ratings," site tours, ghost hunts and haunted houses are found via the Haunted Mansfield Guide at  In addition, Private Paranormal Investigations of several local haunts can be scheduled for groups and individuals by calling 419-295-5002 or emailing

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Discovering More than the Grape!

The Grape Discovery Center in Westfield, New York is all about the grapes, except for this special event..."An Evening of Harvest Wines and Beer at the Grape." 
It is a great place to visit anytime of year, but October 3, 2015 the center will hold this special event from 6 to 10 p.m.
The evening will include pairing Harvest Wines and Craft Beer with local foods during harvest season. 
Appetizers, small bites and desserts paired with the harvest wine and beer tastings will be offered throughout the gift shop, tasting bar and exhibit room with music on the patio and a up close view of  the vineyards. 
Local experts will also been on hand to guide you through history and exhibits, give you ideas of how to entertain with wine and answer any questions. 

They are keeping it local with food from local farms and more. What better time to visit New York than the fall?

This begins a series of special events at the Grape Discovery Center presenting Lake Erie regional wine and craft beverages in a seasonal context. 

Get into the spirit for the holidays. Check out the up coming December events with Holiday Wines, Beers and spirits. 
In March, 2016...umm, Diversity of Craft Beverages and maple infused theme. 
The center is open year round and is located in the center of the famous Lake Erie Grape Region at 8305 West Main Road (NYS Route 20) in Westfield. 
The Grape Discovery Center has everything grape...wines, gifts, video's and history of the grape! For more information or to register for events call 716-326-2003 or visit

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More San Antonio

Night time boat tour on the river
Don't miss the boat....San Antonio is known for its history, as well as its beautiful Riverwalk––blocks and blocks of shops, coffee shops and restaurants set along the river among the beautiful landscape.

The Riverwalk is slated as the "heart and soul" of the city and is home to many events throughout the year. Take a narrated boat tour of the Riverwalk to get your feet wet and scope out those things you want to do.  There is also a river taxi available for getting from place to place.

This area is one of the best and most visited places in Texas. From its hotels and restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, shops and more there is really something to do for everyone. 

A newer section of the Riverwalk known as the Museum Reach makes the walk even bigger and better. This area has beautiful landscaping and lights at night. It features the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Bourbon Street Seafood Kitchen and the lock system for the river boats. Also the oldest VFW Post in the state is located on this section of the walk. 

For more information on the Riverwalk, times of operation, boat schedule and more visit

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This Place is the Berries!

 Fresh Berries and fun for the entire family...

One of the best fresh places to go is the Blueberry Patch in Mansfield, Ohio. Although they are open year round the time to go––if you want to hit blueberry picking season is June through Aug.

You can pick your own blueberries or buy them fresh off the plants already picked. There is nothing like the freshness in the taste of these berries.

The Blueberry Patch is loaded with everything blueberries and here are some of the best reasons to visit:
Having lunch at the Blossom Cafe. It opens in the morning and serves meals and pastries until 4 p.m. The cafe serves daily lunch specials and you don't want to miss the blueberry pie. Blossom Cafe offers more than 80 teas from around the world and also cappuccino, chai, lattes and the list goes on.  Have a fresh pastry, muffin, biscotti, cookie, yogurt parfait or scone––all of this in an European Garden setting.

A fresh cup of coffee at the Beanery. The coffee is hand roasted at the Beanery. At the Patch the best beans are selected and freshly ground.  Create your own blend and it will be roasted to order. Take home your favorite––with a few of those fresh pastries. There are too many varieties to name, but there is a snicker doodle, a blueberry danish, sticky bun and about 30 others.

The Blueberry Patch Gift Shop. This is where you will find more gifts than you can think of occasions. There are handbags, baby gifts, candles, jewelry and many Ohio and USA made items.  Shoppers will find a large variety of items for their home and garden as well. From Vera Bradley to Root candles there is something for everyone including the kids.

Family fun. Picking blueberries is a fun event. Blueberries are usually available through August, but calling before you plan to go is a good idea, if you want to pick your own.  Frozen blueberries are available all year long. The Blueberry Patch grows more than 27 varieties of blueberries. The Patch welcomes families and has buckets. Pick your own at U-Pick pricing.

Health. Why eat blueberries? They are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Studies show that the little blue berry is a leader in antioxidant capacity, it has vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber all while being low in calories and without cholesterol. It is a berry that has a history in the US.

Wine. 1285 Winery is located at the Blueberry Patch and has a tasting room and, of course, blueberry wine. They make all of the wines on site and the winery also has a full menu that is separate from the cafe.

Those should be some great reasons to visit the Blueberry Parch located at 1285 West Hanley Road. it is fun anytime of the year, but this is the time for those fresh berries. For more information on hours and berry availability call 419-884-1797 or visit

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mansfield Ohio offers a Jurassic Experience July 17-19, 2015

If you are into the "Jurassic World" scene, you won't want to miss this special  event in Mansfield. It is your own Jurassic experience...
"Jurassic Quest" and will run July 17-19, 2015.

The event will have more than 50 life-size, ultra-realistic animatronic dinosaurs. It takes place at the Richland County Fairgrounds and provides a weekend of fun for families to experience prehistoric educational entertainment, including multiple science stations, guided dinosaur tours, fossil digs and more. 

Jurassic Quest includes dino craft stations filled with all the supplies needed to color and create a paper dinosaur. Get your face painted and blend in with the prehistoric creatures, getting their face painted and climbing aboard an animatronic dinosaur for a ride. There are also bungee pulls and bounce houses for a little extra fun. However, you can't beat the life-like baby Triceratops and Camarasaurus puppets, a walking adolescent T-Rex and Spinosaurus, will meet and greet visitors. 

Ticket information is available at, while local hotel and visitor information can be found at

Mansfield Ohio offers a wealth of unusual travel adventures and experiences, that include a haunted prison that is used for filming blockbuster movies to breathtaking scenery, downhill skiing to the working farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were married. Complete visitor information is available at or (800) 642-8282. The fairgrounds are located at 750 N Home Road in Mansfield, Ohio 44906. Visit more Mansfield fun on this blog.

Pictures by Andy Austin

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Remembering the Alamo...where is it?

A common trivia question...where is the Alamo? That is a beautiful, interesting and friendly city in Texas...San Antonio. 

One of the first things I recall from my school history classes is learning about the Alamo. We grew up watching cowboy shows and, often, they included something about the Alamo, including the 1960 John Wayne classic, "The Alamo." San Antonio is rich in history, arts, culture, entertainment and more.

Visiting the historic site is much different than I anticipated. I thought it was going to be sitting far our of town all by itself surrounding by the Great Plains and prairie grass. That is how I remember the Alamo from movies. But, this well known piece of history we all remember sits in downtown San Antonio among the tall buildings. But, it belongs here, where everyone can easily peruse this part of our country's history. There is plenty of parking at area lots making the history within a short walk. Park and enjoy the city, with shops and restaurants within walking distance.

Getting a chance to go into the Alamo is reflective. Stepping through the doors there is a feel of those times we studied about. Visitors were quiet and respectful of this 250 year old piece of history.

The Alamo has served as a garrison for five different armies and has existed under the flags of six independent nations. 

The Alamo certainly brings visitors to San Antonio, but there is a lot more to see and do. Watch for more posts on San Antonio and for more information visit

Monday, June 22, 2015

Turning the Page on Travel in Page, Arizona

Close your eyes and picture colorful mountains and at the base of those mountains the desert. In this place, the water is clear and there is something to do year round in a climate that is warm and sunny more often than not. You have pictured...Page, Arizona.Page is a place that has desert, canyons, water, mountains and just about anything you want to do.

It is home to slot canyons and Glen Canyon Dam and there is something to do for everyone in this center of the national parks location. If you have not heard of Page or know where it is located, the city sits right above Lake Powell, borders Utah and is just a short drive from both Zion and Bryce National Parks. Do not miss this stop on your Western adventure.

A great place to begin is an off road adventure and there is one company that takes you to the secret canyon––Hummer Adventures. The bright yellow Hummers traverse over obstacles and difficult terrain. Visitors climb the rocks and sand hills, not on foot, but in the vehicle. Adventurers will make their way on an easy walk through the desert getting a look at the variety of desert plant life and maybe even some wildlife. It is the secret canyon that will take your breath away. Called a slot canyon, it proves to be a natural wonder. The unique thing about this particular trip is visitors can roam around the canyon, take pictures and spend time where they want to. They are small tour groups and plenty of time is allowed for roaming. It makes for a quiet peacefulness you might not have experienced ever before. Photographers will love it.

This area is known for its beautiful slot canyons both on land and water. A slot canyon is a narrow canyon that has been formed by rushing water and they are deeper than they are wide. These canyons were made over millions of years.If you are might catch a rare look of the canyon in the snow. 

Lake Powell offers canyons of its own to explore. The best way to explore the lake is by hopping aboard one of these guided floating tours and see some canyons from the water, up close and personal. You might even get a view of a waterfall streaming from the top of the canyon above.Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas offer a variety of tours that offer history, information and views you just can't get by being a land lover. 

Don’t expect to see Lake Powell in one day as there are 96 side canyons and more than almost 2,000 miles of shoreline. But, getting aboard a boat tour or two will get you started.

In Page you will find many opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, golf and so much more, but maybe one of the most unique things to do is play cowboy and take in the scenery.

It is at Copper Cloud Ranch that you will get the most sought after scenery cowboy style––on horseback. Wildlife, beautiful scenes, peace, quiet and a calmness that can’t be explained. Rides are usually one to three hours, but since each ride is customized to the riders ability and interest they can be changed. Rides are available seven days a week. There is nothing like it. Be sure to wear long pants, shoes that are not too bulky to slip in and out of the stirrups, a hat, sunscreen and camera, everything else you will need awaits you at Copper Cloud Ranch. Call to set up your customized ride of a lifetime.

The Page Lake Powell area has a unique setting. It sits on top of a mesa that overlooks the lake at, what is known as the Grand Circle, which offers an amazing selection of parks, monuments, historical sites and prehistoric Indian ruins. 

It is so Western that you have probably seen it in the movies as Hollywood has used the natural settings for filming many times over. The city is five hours from Las Vegas and five hours from Phoenix.

Page is not an old community as it began in 1957 as housing for those working on the Glen Canyon Dam. There are a variety of places to stay during your visit, but for a unique homey experience, checkout the one of a kind bed and breakfast – The Bear’s Den.

Add this city to your bucket list and enjoy what Page, AZ. has to offer.

Helpful info:
Slot Canyon Hummer Adventures
Call to book your horse excursions
Bear's Den B&B
Boat tours:
Antelope Point Marina
928-645-5900 or 928-608-4477
Lake Powell Resorts and Marianas

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Topsail NC...Where the Turtles Roam

Can't beat a day on the beach at Topsail, N.C. Weather is beautiful, waves are fun to play in and the sun is plentiful. AND...a visit to the Topsail Turtle Project can't be beat, it is interesting, educational and fun for the entire family.

These calm, graceful Sea Turtles face danger everyday as boat propellers hit them and humans leave trash on the beach. Turtles don't know to not eat the trash. It is not nutritious and is unhealthy. They feel full, but they cannot survive on our trash--hey need protein. 

Injured sea turtles are brought to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. At the Topsail facility an army of volunteers are ready to help the struggling turtle. They are doing great work and a lot of time and effort goes into saving the turtle population. 
The Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is known as one of the leading tourist destinations in North Carolina and visitors can expect to wait in line––so go early. 

Visitors might see three species of endangered turtles – loggerheads which are the largest, Kemp Ridleys and Greens in various stages of recuperation. 
Kids love it! Try to visit during a turtle release, an emotional time for the volunteers of the center. You won't want to miss it. 
Follow the center on Facebook at The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue & Rehabilitation Center and watch for updates on releases and what is going on with the turtles. For more information on things to do at Topsail visit

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Don't Whine...Wine in Southern Indiana

Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau
With five wineries, historic bed and breakfast, restaurants and many things to do...why not plan a getaway to Corydon, in southern Indiana?

The area's five winemakers share a passion for the grape and welcome visitors to sample their award winning wines. 

Each of Corydon's wineries has its own uniqueness from a retired couple whose hobby just got a little out of hand, to a winemaker that is a viticulture educator. Their stories are different and their approaches to wine making unique. 

Quibble Hill Winery
338 Gowers Lane NW
Depauw, IN

This winery is located on the owners family farm. Jamie and Steve Kraft began clearing a patch of land and built a two-story log cabin to house the winery. The found their love of the grape as they toured wineries--one of their favorite hobbies. They began making their own wines and sharing their experience. They now have 160 vines and make a variety of wines that are available in the tasting room of the Quibble Hill Winery. 

Scout Mountain Winery
2145 Scout Mountain Rd.
Corydon, IN 47112

Mike and Margaret Schad have been making wine for about 20 years however, Scout Mountain has been open just a few years. The wines are sweet, fruity flavors that wine travelers can sample in the tasting room. Visitors can also spend the night at the on property's bed and breakfast--a 1920's built home. In the fall, 100 apple trees are ripe for the picking. Also on the property are heirloom vegetable and herb plants and produce is for sale in the spring and summer. The Schad's offer tips and expert advice for home vegetable and fruit growing.. 

Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau
Best Vineyards
8373 Morgans Lane
Elizabeth, IN

Wilbert Best and his two sisters, Rachel and Berretta are the owners of Best Vineyards. The three went into business after Wilbert purchased some farmland in 2000. The idea was to make  a few extra bucks and start a new hobby, the three decided to grow some grapes to sell. The farm’s 2,500 vines now provide fruit for Best Vineyard's own wines. Wine can be enjoyed at the farm’s tasting room, which is so inviting, even the neighbor’s dogs can't stay away.

Indian Creek Winery
6491 County Line Road

Indian Creek winery started as a hobby but quickly became a thriving business. Mark and Mary Jane Kendell opened the winery upon retirement. The couple travels by car to hand pick grapes and juices from some of the nation’s finest vineyards, stopping at local wineries along the way. Complimentary tastings of the winery’s seven different varieties are available at their tasting room.

Turtle Run Winery
940 St Peters Church Rd NE


Harrison County Convention and Visitors Bureau
This winery was the first to open in Harrison County. Owner Jim Pfeiffer is loaded with knowledge he shares with visitors. He has the in-depth wine-making facts and history. A professor of viticulture, Pfeiffer can even guess what types of wine travelers enjoy by the kind of food they like to eat. Turtle Run's more than 30 wines include specific selections named after each of Jim and wife Laura’s three children.  Barrel aged and crafted in the old French style, the Pfeiffers' wines have won awards and accolades, including Turtle Run's Traminette being ranked as one of the top 10 wines in the world under $20.

There is much to do in Corydon. While visiting the wineries be sure to allow time for the Civil War battle field, caves and caverns, Indians first capitol, Leora Brown School and much more. There is an affordable selection of places to stay from historic B&B to modern hotels and a river boat casino. For more information visit or call 888-738-2137. In May is Southern Indiana Uncorked Festival visit for dates and times. 

For more information on Corydon visit the links below. 

Scream for ice cream

Underground Indiana

The best of everything

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This Museum Is Where You Play!

If you have lost your marbles--maybe you can find them at the American Toy and Marble Museum in Akron. Remember the days of drawing a circle and shooting boulders at agies and cat eyes? You can relive those childhood times at this Akron museum. 

Akron is known for many things including making tires, the Goodyear Blimp and LeBron James. However, what many may not know, is that it Akron is known for its major contributions to the toy world.

Those contributions are because of Samuel C. Dyke who modernized making toys in 1884. Marbles had been around for many years, but were very expensive as they were made one at a time by hand. Dyke changed that when he invented the machinery to make what was known as the first massed produced toy. The marble factory was located at Lock 3 on the Ohio Erie Canal. The clay marbles, were sold to the store next door to Dyke's marble factory, the Merrill Pottery, which, at the time, was one of the largest potteries in the United States.

The museum is located at 202 South Main Street at Locke 3. It began in 1989 when a group realized the role the city played as the birthplace of the modern American toy industry. In 1991 the non-profit museum was born.
At the museum parents can reminisce through the toys from their childhood and kids can see how different it was in their parents and grandparents days. 

Visitors will find cat eyes, puries, agies and a variety of other toys at the American Toy and Marble Museum. The museum also hosts large marble tournaments. Play is encouraged at this museum and there are plenty of interactive displays and activities.

A variety of popular children's programs are available. They include Spherical, Lyrical, Mystifying Marbles, Let the Games Begin, Growing Up 100 Years Ago, The Science, Engineering and Arts of Marbles and the Story of Tom Dare and the Marbles Tourney. Kids will learn why marbles were the most popular children's game in the history of our country. 

They will receive hand's on lessons in the game of marbles, the art of making marbles, what it was like playing in the schoolyard many years ago and much more.

There is a lot of great information on the website including the "how to" of everything about the game of marbles, online games, history and much more. The museum is free and is  open to the public. Hours are different throughout the year and it is open more often and longer hours during the summer when concerts are held at the park. It is best to visit the website or call to get current hours 330-869-5807 or The site also has parking information and maps.