With the kids home from school, this time of year provides an opportunity for families - grandparents, aunts, uncles, moms, dads and the kids - to take in some fun things to do close to home. Here are three places you can visit this holiday week.
Dickens Victorian Village
For a holiday experience like none other, visit the Dickens Victorian Village and fantastic courthouse light display in Cambridge. This historic town offers a unique mix of the old and the new. The family event is free to the public.
The city of Cambridge has a passion for making the Christmas holidays special for visitors. More than 1,000 volunteers work year round to create the Victorian display which, begins in November and continues through the first week of January. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to see the 80 plus life like scenes with more than 185 life size figures depicting Victorian times.
The display is located along historic Route 40 known as Wheeling Avenue in the city. Sometimes it is difficult to tell the real people from the lifelike figures as you walk along the historic national road. Having a hot chocolate on the courthouse square, shopping in the unique shops, or getting a spot of tea and a scone at Mrs. Cratchit’s Kitchen, all fits into the holiday spirit that is abundant in this historic city.
After sunset, the city really lights up with the Guernsey County Courthouse light show. The historic 1881 building takes a leap into the 21st century with 36 animated light displays synchronized to holiday music from traditional to Mannheim Steamroller. More than 30,000 lights dancing to the music memorized onlookers.
First stop in Cambridge should be the Ye Ole Curiosity Shoppe and Dickens Welcome Center located at 643 Wheeling Avenue. Pick up a walking tour brochure and find everything you need to know including a behind the scenes look at what it takes to create this event. Plan to eat at one of the restaurants, take a ride on the Byesville Scenic Railroad or a carriage ride around town. A holiday trip to Cambridge is sure to boost your holiday spirit. For more information and dates and times visit www.dickensvictorianvillage.com/
"A Christmas Story" home
One of the most famed Christmas movies of all time, "A Christmas Story" was filmed in Cleveland and released in 1983. Ralphie's house is open year-round for tours. Climb under the kitchen sink, shoot the Red Rider BB gun - but don't shoot your eye out - and have your picture taken by the famed leg lamp. The house where Ralphie lived was purchased by Brian Jones in 2005 during an eBay auction. Jones paid for the house by selling leg lamps. He restored it from its more modern and re-modeled look to be just like it was in the movie - detailed right down to the shed in the backyard and the leg lamp in the window.
Visit the official, "A Christmas Story" museum, which displays original props, costumes and memorabilia including behind the scenes photos and a gift shop.
Watch the movie for the first time or watch it again, then pack the family in the station wagon and visit Ralphie's house - it will be like winning a major award.
The house is located at 3159 W. 11th Street, Cleveland. Visit www.achristmasstoryhouse.com for more information.
American Toy and Marble Museum
Relive the days of drawing a circle and shooting boulders at agies and cat eyes. Visitors to the American Toy and Marble Museum will find the history of the Akron toy industry.
Samuel C. Dyke 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 at 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. It began in 1989 when a group realized the role the city played as the birthplace of the modern American toy industry. 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 younger days. Play is encouraged at this museum and there are plenty of interactive displays and activities.
Kids will receive hand's on lessons in the game of marbles, learn about the art of making marbles and what it was like playing in the schoolyard many years ago and much more.
The museum is free and is open to the public. Hours are different throughout the year. Call for current hours 330-869-5807 or visit www.americantoymarbles.com/. The site also has parking information and maps.