Road Trip! Destination: Roscoe Village, Ohio
You don't have to hike all the way to Williamsburg to experience some good old-fashioned living history. Situated between Columbus and Canton, Roscoe Village was once the bustling center of commerce located along the Ohio and Erie Canal. From the early 1800s to the early 1900s, the village thrived on the freight-cargo and passenger boats making use of the new waterway. Today, visitors can take their own trip back in time and ride the canal just like their traveling counterparts did while immersing themselves in a living history lesson. At the Hay Learning Center, you can watch as broomcorn is used to handcraft brooms or see the printer operate a printing press from the 1870s. A variety of tours take you through original structures including the one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop or toll house where costumed guides are waiting to share a story or two. Quaint shops offering everything from gourmet jellies to one-of-a-kind works of art from local artisans dot the red-brick throughways, and a number of charming B&B's provide the perfect place to end the day.
Mudlarked in Roscoe: A Historic Scavenger Hunt
Unfortunately, you've become a tad bogged down. What's an explorer to do when their boat is stuck in the mud? Might as well get to work. While you're busy trying to fill your bill of lading, costumed guides and artisans weave historical tales as they go about their daily activities as blacksmiths, broom makers, weavers, printers, doctor and school teachers. No tales are left untold when visiting the Village Smithy, Toll House, LeRetilley Fish Pond, Eliza's Garden, the 1825 Craftsman's House (also the oldest building in Roscoe) and Caldersburg Pearl Canal Boat Exhibit, a three-cabin replica of a cargo boat. Along the way, visitors also will learn about the devastating flood of 1913 that contributed to Roscoe's economic decline and the efforts made to restore the village into a living learning center. “We've made it a fun and exciting way to get that history across,” says Debbie McDonald, marketing and public-relations director. “They can still have fun with history, but it's more interactive with our interpreters.”
The scavenger hunt runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Center or the Toll House. Hours are seasonal and vary month-to-month, so be sure to call ahead.
Details: 740-622-9310 or www.roscoevillage.com
Monticello III canal boat rides
Four draft horses will pull you along for a mile and a quarter along a restored section of the Ohio and Erie Canal during this 45-minute trip back in time. “Most of the people assume it's got a motor on the back or we're going to pull it with a tractor, but we've always done it the way it's always been done. We just want to be authentic,” director Lori Everhart says. Tall tales and history lessons, including the building of the canal, life during the canal era and what led to the demise of the canal, are narrated by the boat captain as you set adrift into the 1830s. “It's the most peaceful 45 minutes — you will just glide over the water,” Everhart says.
There are hourly departures through Labor Day at the Coshocton Lake Park Complex, 23253 State Route 83 N., Coshocton.
Details: 740-622-7528 or www.visitcoshocton.com
Named after their mother (Mary Humrickhouse Johnson) and father (Joseph Kerr Johnson), the museum was founded by Coshocton natives David and John Johnson. While adults, the brothers enjoyed extensive traveling throughout the globe that afforded them the opportunity to amass a treasure trove of historical collectibles. As homage to their hometown, more than 15,000 items were eventually shipped back to Coshocton in 1931 following their deaths that were used to establish the museum. With four permanent galleries including Native American, Historic Ohio, Decorative Arts and Newark Holy Stones, this nationally accredited space is sure to satiate the appetite of any history buff. In addition to its permanent displays, rotating exhibits occupy the Golden Gallery and highlight subjects ranging from Civil War displays to local glassware and advertising art.
Details: 740-622-8710 or www.jhmuseum.org
Roscoe General Store
A pit stop at this family owned and operated business on Whitewoman Street in Coshocton is a great place to stock up on homemade fudge, fresh nuts or any number of gifts and home-decor items. Decorated with items reminiscent of its heyday, the stores's claim to fame is an impressive array of spreads and preserves that includes elderberry, bumble berry, apple butter, pumpkin butter and pear butter.
Details: 740-622-7715 or www.roscoegeneralstore.com
Gospel Hill Lighthouse
Although it's not located smack dab in the middle of Roscoe Village, it only takes a hop, skip and a jump before you're standing in front of the country's largest inland lighthouse. Open daily with free admission, this 65-foot-tall behemoth in Warsaw offers a stunning view of the surrounding topography. Built by Gospel Hill Ministry, the structure includes a prayer room that is open to all.
Details: 740-824-3300 or www.gospelhill.org
Bed & Breakfast
There are plenty of places in which a weary traveler can rest his head; however, if keeping in the spirit of the past is your desire, then there are a number of B&B's that are worth considering.
Owners Steve and Tina Miller operate Sarah's House (740-754-2097 or www.sarahshouse.com), an 1860s Victorian home in Dresden named after original owners Lamech and Sarah Rambo. During the building of the home, the timber used in the framing and the butternut woodwork in the interior arrived via the Ohio & Erie Canal.
At Medbery Manor (740-295-0169 or www.medberymanor.com) in Coshocton, guests are welcomed into a Greek Revival-style home built in the 1840s by Roscoe Village merchant Arnold Medbery. Visitors arrive from near and far. “We have regulars that come from Pennsylvania, Indiana, quite a few places. We actually have one lady that flies in from Texas every year for her class reunion. She's 75 years old and flies her own plane,” owner Bill Schoener says.
The Apple Butter Inn (740-622-1329 or www.applebutterinn.net) in Coshocton is ready to indulge visitors with surroundings replete with antiques and other reminders of days gone by. A full breakfast is included, and, of course, guests are invited to indulge in some locally made apple butter.
Kate Benz is a features writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-380-8515 or via Twitter @KateBenzTRIB.
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