Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

Kamikaze Fireflies: A Laugh-Out-Loud Must-See

Wednesday October 29, 2014 at 11:11 AM | 0 Comments

Kamikaze Fireflies: A Delightful Duo of a Must-See Fun

Kamikaze Fireflies: A Delightful Duo of a Must-See Fun

Ever since my son had a hankering to pick up a sword for some playtime swashbuckling, we’ve headed to Ohio’s Renaissance Festival for a perfect fall outing. The Kamikaze Fireflies are what bring me back over and over, and are a laugh-out-loud must-see. Fortunately, this dynamic duo–Rob Williams and Casey Martin, take their unique brand of high energy comedy and daredevil antics everywhere and anywhere.

This year, one of the Kamikaze Fireflies’ anywheres was the stage of America’s Got Talent. Alas, they didn’t win but they did get a standing ovation and a rockin’ TV appearance.  Nick Cannon shimmying up Rob to stand on Rob’s shoulders was part of the routine.

In between calling out for people at the Ohio Renaissance Festival to come take a seat at their performance space, promising a grand finale, Rob told me what a boost the America’s Got Talent gig has been for them.

The stacked chairs and juggling routine.

The stacked chairs and juggling routine.

Walking on stilts, building a tower of chairs and balancing on top, making a bologna sandwich complete with mayonnaise and a pickle using nothing but Rob’s bare feet, and getting audience members to do things like help Rob and Casey balance on top of 20-foot poles so they can juggle flaming torches as if its child’s play are part of their act that combines circus with vaudeville.

The child’s play feel is part of the routine that Rob and Casey flavor with impish glee as they work through their routines that don’t seem like work at all. No matter what they are doing, the banter between them and with the audience is a seamless flow of jokes and joshes.  This was the 5th time we’ve seen them, and I found myself as charmed and delighted as ever.

With the Ohio Renaissance Festival over, the Kamikaze Fireflies are flitting elsewhere. This couple who hails from California never seems to be at home. Their next stops are:

Texas Renaissance Festival
11/1/14 – 11/2/14 

 -A perfect fall day with Casey calling out for an audience in the background

-A perfect fall day with Casey calling out for an audience in the background

Louisiana Renaissance Festival
11/11/12 – 11/13/14 ; 11/15/14 -11/15/14; 11/22/14 – 11/23/14

In 2015, look for them at the Renaissance festivals in Colorado, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The KamikazeFireflies’ website will have an updated list of locations and dates of their appearances.

As for me, I’ll see them again next October, an autumn pleasure I’ve come to count on.

Post and last two photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein. First photo courtesy of Kamikaze Fireflies.

 

 

New Adventure Thrills in Hocking Hills, Ohio

Wednesday September 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM | 0 Comments

Fly like Superman across the river down below

Fly like Superman across the river down below

Recently, I saw the woods and the river in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio from a whole different angle–flying like Superman. At the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours Adventure, the SuperZip is quarter of a mile zipline that begins at the top of an 85 ft. tower and ends across the Hocking River where strapping young men await your arrival. It’s their job to help you get earth bound once you stop.

The swift journey–an up to 50 mph speed, is a blast. I did it twice and managed to capture the flights of some of my traveling companions.

The end of the line of the SuperZip

The end of the line of the SuperZip

One of the terrific things about this zipline is that there’s the thrill of speed and height without the stomach drop that comes with a roller coaster ride. Plus it’s eco-friendly. Nothing but pulleys, zipline cable and the laws of physics at work.

The SuperZip is also a perfect thrill for anyone who doesn’t have the couple hours it takes to go through the full Hocking Hills Canopy Tour–and it’s cheaper. One trip on the SuperZip is $30. Two trips cost $45 and one more is $55.

Segway trip past folks in flight

Segway trip past folks in flight

Because the SuperZip doesn’t require reservations, this way to tour Hocking Hills can be a spur of the moment decision. It can also be paired with a canoe trip from nearby Logan. It’s possible to paddle up the river, take time out for a SuperZip trip or two and then resume your river travel.

For those afraid of heights, or just wanting a from the ground view, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours has added another adventure–the Off-road Segway tour.

Wildflowers and butterflies abound

Wildflowers and butterflies abound

I tried that too and give that trip along trails mowed through sections of the property a thumbs up as well.  At first, as I almost ran over the guide, I wondered if I would ever get the  hang of Segway travel.  Fortunately, he was patient and taught me well. After a session of practicing,  I was able to navigate hills and turns without any trouble.

The guide did warn us a few times that Segways can be dangerous, particularly if one isn’t paying attention or getting too cocky. For anyone who has water skied, cross-country skied or skated before the movement felt similar. A helpful hint is to remember is that you’re the boss. Don’t let the Segway take over. If you step off by accident, let go–the thing will stop.

As I rode along on my Segway, following the guide who pointed out details about the area and woods, I was relaxed enough to enjoy the scenery.

Because  the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour Segways don’t go over 12 miles an hour, I wasn’t speeding by the butterflies flitting among the purple thistles and golden rod.

A way to enjoy the woods

Enjoying the woods in Ohio

For sections of the off-road trip that wound through woods, across fields, and up and down hills, we skirted by part of the “X- TREME”  zipline, a series of 11 ziplines that tower above the ground with a birds eye view of some of Ohio’s prettiest landscape. It was fun watching folks fly by overhead as I moved along on my own adventure.

If you go, make reservations soon for the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour if that’s your aim. Fall foliage season is on its way. Again, the SuperZip does not require reservations. The Off-Road Segway tour has only been in operation for 3 months. Reservations are required for that as well.

By the way, the Off-Road Segway tour is for people 14 and older. Check Hocking Hills Canopy Tours website for other age and size regulations.

If you go: Hocking Hills Canopy Tour is about 45 minutes south of Columbus, Ohio. There is a snack bar, gift shop and places to picnic.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
10714 Jackson Street
Rockbridge, Ohio 43149

1-740-385-9477

I was a guest at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for research purposes.

Photos and Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writers Association

 

James Thurber Country in Columbus, Ohio

Wednesday December 11, 2013 at 6:06 AM | 4 Comments

James Thurber's college years home

James Thurber’s college years home

Which high schooler reading James Thurber’s short story, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” didn’t dream of having a secret life? I know I did. Happily, what I envisioned when I doodled in the margins of math papers has come to pass. I am a traveler. In my travels, I’ve had the pleasure of learning more about James Thurber’s genius as a social commentator and humorist through his connection to Columbus, Ohio.

James Thurber was born in Columbus on December 8, 1894 and now enjoys status as one of the city’s favorite sons. Thanks to a dedicated, enamored with James Thurber following of staff and volunteers at the Thurber House Museum and Thurber Center, Thurber has a firm footing in Columbus’s must see landscape.

The Thurber House at 77 Jefferson Ave. is at the edge of  Columbus’s downtown. The tree-lined street divided by a picturesque boulevard evokes thoughts of Thurber’s era when people took Sunday strolls, even though, most of the Victorian-style red brick, once private homes, now house businesses and non-profit organizations. Thurber’s home on the left, towards the end of the boulevard, looks just like it did when Thurber lived there.  The house is both a house museum that showcases James Thurber’s legacy, and a literary power house that, in conjunction with the Thurber Center located next door, promotes literary excellence.

Poet and author Charlene Fix at the last of 2013's Literary Picnics

Poet and author Charlene Fix at a Literary Picnic

The literary power house role of the Thurber House Museum and Center starts with the tidy side yard by James Thurber’s former home. Its wrought iron fence provides the boundary for the Literary Picnics that take place each summer.  The Literary Picnics feature renowned Ohio authors who read their works from the house’s back porch to a rapt audience of picnikers who bring their own food or order a gourmet box meal ahead of time.

At other times author readings are held either at the Thurber Center or at other Columbus venues. Both local and nationally known authors are featured. The mix is a literary banquet that happens throughout the year. Last month, I delighted in Tom Barlow’s reading of one of his short stories from his newly published collection Welcome to the Goat Rodeo.

Self guided tours of the Thurber House are daily from 1–4 p.m. These tours are free. Guided tours are on Sundays for $4 for adults and $2 for students and seniors.

Formerly The Great Southern Hotel where Thurber visited

Formerly The Great Southern Hotel where Thurber visited

For more James Thurber travel (and food and libations), head to the Westin Columbus Hotel (formerly The Great Southern) 310 South High St. 614-228-3800. Here, James Thurber would visit his mother and brother, Robert, who lived at the hotel from the mid 1940’s to 1950’s.  In Thurber’s, the hotel’s bar/restaurant you can take in framed prints of James Thurber’s cartoons while enjoying the ambiance and offerings of this AAA 4-Diamond hotel that first opened in 1897.

At The Ohio State University, Thurber’s alma mater, Thurber Theatre is located in The Drake Performance and Event Center. The theatre is named for Thurber who began his time at OSU in 1913 and served as a staff member of The Lantern, the university’s paper.

James Thurber's grave at Green Lawn Cemetery

James Thurber’s grave at Green Lawn Cemetery

Although James Thurber did not live in Columbus as an adult, his grave is in Columbus’s historic Green Lawn Cemetery. Thurber died November 2, 1961. The cemetery, founded in 1848, was designed to serve as a park as well as a cemetery and is known for its birdwatching opportunities, as well as its notable residents.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @ThurberHouse on Twitter.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein of Midwest Travel Writers Association. Photo of Charlene Fix, courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Other photos courtesy of The Thurber House and Westin Columbus.