The Warther Museum, which was named Best Museum of 2010 by CityVoters, houses the Warther family's collection of intricately carved steam locomotives, more than 73,000 buttons, and more. The heart of the museum is Ernest Warther's wood, ebony, and ivory carvings of working steam engines, which include the Empire State Express, an eight-foot-long ivory train that was used to transport the Brooklyn Dodgers to state fairs. Mr. Warther, who earned the title World's Master Carver in the ’20s, also carved and displayed presidential canes and a working reproduction of a steel mill where he once worked.
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum thrusts visitors into the midst of Pennsylvania's Trolley Era, conjuring bygone methods of travel with exhibits, rides, and a full roster of antique trolleys, including a horse-drawn streetcar from the 1870s. Hourly tours shepherd guests and members on their exploration of the museum's collection, starting with a video introduction before a scenic, four-mile ride fills the air with the sounds of century-oldf trolleys. Inside the visitor-education center, pictorial exhibits breathe life into storied eras, and stops inside the restoration shop illuminate how volunteer craftsmen restore vintage trolleys. Trolley fans can also add to their own memorabilia collections with souvenirs from the store, or borrow the museum spaces for birthday parties and rentals.
Today’s side deal offers cottage fever as an antidote for cabin fever. Escape to the pastoral paradise of The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, flanked by the natural bounty of Hocking Hills State Park. For $190, this Groupon gets you a night’s stay in one of the Inn’s cozy cottages ($179–$249 value), where unwinding is the only action item. Turn up the romance dial with that special somebody or something as you enjoy a $25 gift certificate towards any spa service, goodies including chocolates and other tasty treats ($45 value), and a complimentary full country breakfast, a combined value of $319. The warm, freshly baked cookies that greet you upon arrival are a delicious signifier of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls' dedication to hospitality and personalized customer care.
For more than 146 years, The Haunt's two-story farmhouse has been collecting spirits as it sits tucked away on a forested road in the small town of Somerset. The Bowen family owns and operates this nexus of supernatural activities, guiding willing patrons through a terrifying journey available for only five nights. As guests approach the seemingly placid home, shrieks, growls, and flickering lights dance behind the building's pane-glass windows. A frightful flight through the home gives way to a journey through a 5-acre outdoor maze and 4,000-foot haunted trail. Caretakers return patrons to the entrance via a leisurely hay-wagon ride, giving guests time to calm their racing hearts and climb back into their skin.
Like a museum of living landscape paintings, The Dawes Arboretum combines the delicate beauties of a Japanese garden, a cypress swamp, and an azalea glen, creating a colorful haven of native plants. But this 1,800-acre wonderland wasn’t always so expansive. In 1929, when nature lovers Beman and Bertie Dawes first transformed their woodland property into an arboretum, it was just a 293-acre swath of Licking County. This stretch, with its rolling hills and mature trees, was so calm that it drew visitors from across the state and instilled a love of nature in the Dawes’ children.
Today, many of the arboretum’s more than 16,000 labeled trees and shrubs are representative of types native to central Ohio, such as the 17 Ohio buckeyes planted to form the number 17. Elsewhere, more than 100 bonsai trees adorn the courtyard by the visitors’ center. Along with plants, the grounds entice explorers with more than 12 miles of hiking trails and a 4-mile auto tour. Antiques and memorabilia from the 19th and 20th centuries adorn the Daweswood House Museum, and the Discovery Center enthralls youngsters with bird watching, crafts, and fun facts about honeybees and frogs.
On the rolling hillsides of Wheeling, West Virginia, the white pillars of the Mansion Museum stand majestically over the manicured lawns and landscaped gardens of the Oglebay Institute. Originally built in 1846 as an eight-bedroom farmhouse, the mansion entered the Oglebay family in 1900, and was willed to the city 30 years later to serve as a facility for education and recreation. Today it features a rotation of exhibits and programs, which share fine art, glassware, and environmental education with more than 100,000 people annually.
Tucked next to the Mansion, the glass museum has collected some 3,000 pieces of Wheeling glass, cut lead crystal, and Victorian art glass. The Sweeney Punch Bowl, a 5-foot, 225-pound piece of cut lead crystal, is the jewel of the collection, epitomizing the aesthetic splendor and unwieldy nature of most Victorian-era flasks. The Schrader Environmental Education Center imparts visitors with an appreciation for the natural world with interactive trail tours, campfires, and astronomy events; and the Stifle Fine Arts Center's ever-changing visual-arts exhibits display work from local and national artists.