Thursday, October 23, 2014

Western Reserve Historical Society

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  When the Colony of Connecticut was granted land in the Americas by King Charles II their holdings extended west to the Mississippi River. After the Revolutionary War the state of Connecticut agreed to give up most of this land but kept a small portion which became known as the Western Reserve. Some of the land was sold and some was reserved for New Englanders who’s homes had been destroyed by British soldiers. The settlers brought traditional New England town planning, building styles and town names to northeast Ohio. Surprisingly little of this story and little of the history of Cleveland is included in the museum.

  The largest exhibit is an extensive car collection. Many of the cars were manufactured in Cleveland. Other are rare models including the first car to circumvent the world and four stainless steel cars. Two mansions have been incorporated in the museum structure. One has some rooms furnished with antiques and some rooms with museum exhibits. The other mansion is only shown by guided tour which we missed.

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  The museum is accessible. Some of the exhibits have LCD screens with slideshows or short videos. These are impossible to view from a seated position.

  Do not attempt to park in the museum lot if you have anything larger than a SUV. The lot is small and if it’s full or you can not fit there’s no room to turn around. Metered on-the-street parking is available on Magnolia Drive. Park directly across from the museum lot for an easy path to the museum entrance. Museum

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Historic Zoar Village

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  Zoar was founded in 1817 by a group of German immigrants who came to the US seeking religious freedom. They practiced a communal style of living which lasted for more than 80 years but by 1898 the villagers had voted to disband the society and the property was divided among the residents. The village is still very small with less than 100 buildings. Most have been restored, some are shops and restaurants, some are private residences. There’s a museum and a few of the buildings are open to tour but check the hours before visiting.

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The store, where tour ticket are purchased, has steps at the entrance. The museum has steps too. There aren’t any ramps or signs indicating any other access. The streets and sidewalks are in very good condition. We walked/roll through the whole town which was very enjoyable even though we had little information about any of the buildings which were all closed since it was the middle of the week.

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Parking for RVs is available at the south end of town in the lot near the hotel and cider mill.  Village

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Public Lands Interpretive Association

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  Another one for all of the map geeks! :-)  Link

The maps include all of the public lands in the western states with activities that are available in each and a good filtering system to make it easier to find just the things that interest you.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Downtown Sugarcreek Campground

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  Very little information is available for this campground so we weren’t sure about what to expect. It’s nice – a large grassy area with picnic tables, restrooms, a dump station, and electricity and water at the sites. It’s located behind a fitness center and next door to a small IGA grocery store. Fees are paid at the fitness center.

  The little town of Sugar Creek is within walking distance. Sugar Creek bills itself as the “Little Switzerland of Ohio” but in reality it’s just a small town with some gingerbread decoration on a few of the buildings. There are a handful of things to see in the town and the surrounding area such as the largest cuckoo clock in the world. :-) Sugar Creek

  A sidewalk leads from the campground into town. The sidewalk  and curb cuts are in good condition with a slightly difficult spot at the railroad crossing.  Campground

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Alpine Hills Museum

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   An early wood shop with hand tools, a print shop, an Amish kitchen and a cheese making display are the major exhibits on the first floor of the museum. The second floor and the basement have more exhibits but unfortunately they are not accessible due to long flights of steps.

  Parking is available along the streets. Museum

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

World's Largest Cuckoo Clock

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   It’s big - 23 feet, 6 inches tall, 24 feet wide and 13 feet, 6 inches deep! The clock was built in 1972 as an attraction at the Alpine Alpa Restaurant. When the restaurant closed in 2009 the clock was bought by local businessman Mark Coblentz. After a complete restoration the clock was set in place in the center of the little town of Sugarcreek. Every 30 minutes the cuckoo pops out, a band appears from behind the doors and the couple twirls around to the music.

   A paved walkway allows wheelchair users a close up view.

   Parking is available along the streets. Clock

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center Behalt Cyclorama

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  The main exhibit in the center is a 10 ft tall x 265 ft long circular painting (photography is not permitted) which traces the rise of Christianity, the start of the Anabaptist movement in Zurich, Switzerland in 1525 and the history of Mennonites, Amish and Hutterite people up to the present. The painting is a little gruesome with details of the persecution of the Anabaptists in Europe before they fled to the Americas seeking religious freedom. The center also has a few exhibits and a short film to explain the culture, lifestyle, similarities and differences of each group.

  Everything is accessible.

The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Center

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Historic Roscoe Village

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  The Ohio and Erie Canal was built in the early 1800s to link the Ohio River to Lake Erie and to make transporting agricultural and manufactured products to and from rural communities economically feasible. Roscoe Village was one of the small communities located along the canal. The village thrived while the canal was in use but by 1861 railroads began hauling most of the freight and the village slow fell into ruin. In the 1960s local residents Edward Montgomery and his wife, Frances Montgomery started a foundation to restore the village. Over a dozen buildings have been restored. Many are shops and restaurants; six are open for tours.

  Visitors may stroll through the village on their own, visit the small museum at the welcome center or take a guided tour which includes entry to both the museum and the historic buildings. We chose to visit the museum and walk through town but didn’t visit the historic buildings. An additional attraction is a paved path which starts at the parking lot and circles around a small lake. The path has one very steep section. A spur trail goes to the Monticello III Canal Boat.

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  The museum is accessible but the parking lot is surfaced with large gravel so park close to the welcome center for easier access. The sidewalks through the town are very uneven and many of the curb cuts are in bad condition. Most of the shops have a step at the entrance. The historic buildings all have ramps. I forgot to check to see if the boat is wheelchair accessible.

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  The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Village

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

National Road/Zane Grey Museum

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  At first glance Zane Grey, a very successful author who wrote more than 90 books, and US 40 in Ohio don’t seem to have much in common but there’s a reason that they’re both in this museum. Zane’s great-grandfather Ebenezer Zane oversaw construction of the first road running from Wheeling, West Virginia to Kentucky. It was a rough road, barely more than a trail, but eventually the section from Wheeling to Zanesville, Ohio became part of the National Road (US 40), the first major improved highway in the United States to be built by the federal government.

  The museum has a wonderful diorama portraying the National Road through time, from wilderness and clearing the trees to wide paved roads and city landscapes.  The story of Zane Gray’s life and career is told with many personal artifacts and posters from the numerous movies based on his books.

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The museum is accessible but a ramped sidewalk without a landing and an entrance door that opens out makes entering awkward. The museum hallway makes a complete circle through the displays. A ramp at the end is steep but can be avoided by back tracking.

The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Museum

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Wilds

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  The Wilds is a conservation center for endangered animals. The animals live in family groups with an enormous amount of space to roam but, most likely because of feeding practices, they hang out close to the roads so viewing is great. Two hour guided tours are given by shuttle bus. A much more expensive tour is conducted with a pickup truck that has seats for six people and includes feed for the animals.

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  The shuttle tours are either enclosed and open air. Both have seating spaces for two wheelchairs. It’s best to make arrangements in advance. The pickup tours are not accessible. If you can not board a standard bus you’ll be directed to park in the upper lot where the shuttle buses load, rather than the main parking lot. The gift shop is accessible. The buses have tie downs that are old and should be replaced but they do the job. The shuttle stops for unloading at the Lake Trail and the Carnivore Center. The Lake Trail is not accessible so we didn’t get off the bus at that stop but the Carnivore Center trails are paved or boardwalk and are  accessible.

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  The parking lots are large enough for RVs.  Wilds

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