5 Truly Unique Shops to Find Cool Gifts Near Crestline

Gift giving season is here, and that means the scramble to find a good gift is on. You could go down to the mall or get a gift card, but isn’t finding something personal and unique a lot more fun?

We think so, which is why we put together this list of five places in the area worth checking out:

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The Parsley Pot

Imagine an old barn stuffed with all sorts of unique decorations, hand-crafted goods, interesting gifts, kitchen items, and tons more for the house and home.

That’s The Parsley Pot, a great hidden gem in nearby Ashland that deserves a visit if you’re shopping for gifts. From candles to knickknacks to much more, even stuff for pets, there is a lot of variety to dig into here!

Pure Roots

When you want gifts with a local touch, Pure Roots is a great choice. With a focus on hand-crafted, locally made gifts, you’ll find everything from Christmas ornaments to knickknacks to kitchen and home goods, plus much more.

The store is dedicated to stuff made right here in this area, by local artisans and craftspeople, so you can feel good about your purchase!

Antiquation

Talk about unique. The folks at Antiquation offer a variety of gifts focused around décor and the home. That in itself is not unusual, but the nature of their gifts is: they tend to be from reclaimed materials, hand made to turn them into something new and fresh.

These are terrific, fun, interesting pieces that you won’t find anywhere else, making this a good stop when you want a truly unique gift.

Something Special Shoppe

Rocks, minerals, gemstones, jewelry supplies, beads – you won’t find many shops like this one! It’s a throwback to the sort of stores you just don’t find anymore.

It’s easy to find a unique gift here. These are truly “treasures from Mother Earth,” as the shop slogan says. Give them a visit. We think you’ll be surprised.

 

Ruby Moon

A hidden gem packed with hand-made goods, this is a secret little treasure spot that makes for good gift shopping.

Much of the store is stocked with hand-crafted goods (often made by the owner herself) along with reclaimed items and more. Just browsing can be a lot of fun! If you’re in a pinch when it comes to finding a gift, try Ruby Moon.

Know of a great local gift shop with interesting gifts? Let us know about it in the comments!

5 Charitable Organizations Near Crestline That Deserve Support

Any time of year is a good time to help others, but the sentiment grows during the holidays. With that in mind, we’d like to spotlight a few charities from the region who deserve your support.

There are far more than we can ever list, so these are just a few of them. Tell us about others in the comments!

 

All About the Paw Pet Rescue

One difference between us and animals is that animals can’t ask for help when they need it. That’s why local organizations like All About the Paw are so important.

Working out of Mansfield, since 2013 this group has devoted themselves to giving unwanted animals a home. They focus on dogs that usually can’t find a home, i.e. those with behavioral issues, older dogs, black dogs, and so on.

They don’t operate a shelter, which means they rely solely on foster homes – and that means volunteers like YOU are needed to help them! They have already saved hundreds of dogs and have grown into the region’s largest charitable pet rescue. Help them grow some more!

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity are not exclusive to our region, but operating out of nearby Galion, they do great work in the area.

This organization’s mission is easy to sum up but not so easy to accomplish: they refurbish old housing and help provide new housing to people in need. They don’t just give away their services, either.

Those who benefit from their work go through a rigorous application program, ensuring the work of donors truly helps those in need. They are deserving of your support!

Girls With Sole

This unique charity helps get girls who have been abused up and running – literally! Girls With Sole is a Cleveland-based charity devoted to getting abused young women out and active through running programs.

They provide equipment and opportunities that help boost the confidence of these girls, helping them lead better lives free of abuse. A worthy cause!

The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs

The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs has a very important goal: to match older rescued dogs with loving homes. This charity is frequently among the best rated in the area for good reason.

Their work speaks for itself in the happiness they bring these elderly dogs. When waiting to find a home, the dogs are given shelter, too. They do great work and deserve your support!

 

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

During these cold Ohio winter months, the plight of the homeless gets more dire than ever. That’s why the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless exists: to help advocate on their behalf.

They engage in lobbying and education efforts, plus more, in order to help us find a solution to homelessness instead of just treating the symptoms.

Do you know of a charity in the region that deserves more attention? Please let us know about them in the comments!

5 Weird Road Trips to Take Surrounding Crestline

If you’re like us, you sometimes like to take a peek at the region’s weirder side. And believe us, there is plenty of weirdness to explore in Ohio, especially when autumn arrives.

With that in mind, here are 5 spots that would make a great day trip for anyone who enjoys the weirder side of life:

Big Four Train Depot, Galion

This old train depot is said to be one of the most haunted locations in the region, supposedly stalked by a ghostly man in a trench coat and a demonic entity. A “coffin room” on the second floor is, appropriately enough, the focal point for the haunting.

Supposedly it’s been the site of several tragedies, adding a further creepy factor. It’s just a few miles outside Crestline, so it’s an easy trip to make.

 

Johnnycake Lock

Head out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park to see Lock 27, better known as Johnnycake Lock. The tale is an interesting one. Back in 1828, just after the opening of the Ohio & Erie Canal, a deluge of rain filled the canal with mud. A boat got stranded inside Lock 27.

The boat and its passengers were stuck for days with nothing to eat but Johnnycakes, a type of flatbread made with cornmeal. Now, legend claims the ghost of a child who drowned there haunts the place. Sounds creepy!

Brownella Cottage and Galion Historical Museum, Galion

The local historical society calls this place home – and so does a ghost! This place would be worth visiting for the museum alone; anyone who enjoys local history would like it here.

However, what’s intriguing around the Halloween season is a disembodied man in black with white hair who supposedly haunts this place. Many museum visitors claim to have seen him over the years. Is he real? Pay them a visit to find out!

Chippewa Lake Park

About 20 miles outside of Cleveland you’ll find the remains of an old amusement park, overgrown and decaying. The amusement park once thrived, but has been abandoned since the 1970s.

Keep in mind, this is private property, so you shouldn’t go wandering around there, but if you ever get the opportunity to visit the site expected to see old coasters, crumbling rides, trees overtaking a Ferris Wheel, and more. It’s a cool spot!

 

The Haserot Angel, Cleveland Lake View Cemetery

You’ll have to head into Cleveland to see this one. The Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland is a pretty weird place in general, but the oddest thing there has to be The Haserot Angel. After all, its real name is The Angel of Death Victorious. Seriously!

This angel statue looks like it’s crying black tears. Very creepy! The rest of the cemetery is filled with some odd sights, too, making it worth an afternoon walk for people who like to see weird stuff.

Know of any great weird day trips to take near Crestline? Tell us about them in the comments!

6 Reasons to Have an Independent Insurance Agent

We all have insurance agents. It’s just a part of modern life.

But there is a HUGE difference between having a faceless insurance agent at some distance corporate agency, and having someone local. Knowing your agent in a face-to-face ways makes a huge difference in your experience. Here’s how:

1)      You Know Who You’re Talking To

Call your corporate insurance agency and you never know who you’re going to speak to. It will be just another anonymous person in their customer service center.

Calling your local independent insurance agent, on the other hand, is much different. You will KNOW who you’re talking to and will develop a relationship with them!

 

2)      You Can Meet Them

It’s a pretty big difference between working over the phone with some big corporation and working with your local independent agent. You can call us anytime, or even look us in the eye and ask your questions!

Being able to actually stop in and visit our offices is something the giant corporate agencies can’t provide you.

3)      They Make House Calls

It’s true. Unlike the nameless number you speak to on the phone, your local agent can come right to your home to work with you. Doesn’t get any better than that!

4)      Customized Insurance Policies

Do you want to deal with a big bureaucracy when trying to insure unique items like jewelry, musical instruments, and others?

Of course not! That’s when having a local agent becomes a blessing. We can work with you one-on-one to give you an experience the big guys can’t.

5)       They Know The Local Professionals

Your local agent actually LIVES in your areas, which means they can recommend local contractors and repair shops when you’ve had a mishap.

Think you’ll get that from corporate agents? If you do, it will be with some chain they’ve partnered with rather than an actual recommendation.

 

6)      They Work With Claims Adjusters to Get You Good Treatment

One HUGE difference between corporate agents and independent agents is that independent agents are advocates for you, not the stockholders.

After a claim, they will actually review the damage to ensure you are treated fairly by the adjuster, for example. That’s because their focus is on YOU, not some corporate headquarters.

With all this in mind, why would you ever work with a corporate insurance agent? Just like you would with a great restaurant, keep it local

Great Things to Do Near Mansfield & Crestline This July

Summer is now in full swing in Ohio, which means school is out and families are looking for things to do. If you’re in the Crestline and Mansfield area, here are five great choices for things to keep you busy this July:

Galion Pickle Run Festival, July 1-2

You don’t have to love pickles to love this event! It’s named after a creek that once ran through town. Heise Park in nearby Galion will be packed with a variety of family-friendly activities, with popular favorites like the YMCA 5K, a cool Disc Golf Tournament, the Golden Age Center Car Show on Sunday, fireworks, and more highlighting the weekend long event.

The 5K begins at 8:30am on July 1, with other events spanning all day July 2. The event was first held in 1978. After a long hiatus, it finally returned last year!

 

Mansfield Airport Day & Car Show, July 1

On July 1, head down to the Mansfield Lahm Airport pavilion for a pancake breakfast being held by the Mansfield Aviation Club (MAC) from 8-11am, then lunch until 1pm.

After that, kids between 8 and 17 can sign up for FREE AIRPLANE RIDES. Registration begins at 11:30am. There will also be planes on display, an antique car show, and if the weather cooperates, an F-16 fly by. Great way to get July 4th week off to a good start!

Ink in the Clink: Tattoo & Musical Festival, July 14-16

The infamous Ohio State Reformatory will play host to the Ink in the Clink: Tattoo & Musical Festival, which will feature over 100 amazing tattoo artists, over a dozen bands providing live music, loads of vendors, a beer garden, tours of the prison, ghost hunts, and far too much more to list here.

The event kicks off at 11am each day, and tickets are available in advance or at the gate.

Touch-A-Truck, July 15

The Richland Carrousel Park is putting on the Touch-A-Truck event July 15, at 75 N Main Street in Mansfield.

From 10am to 2pm, families can come by for food, old-fashioned soda and cotton candy, and explore all sorts of vintage vehicles. As they say, “Touch. Explore. Giggle.” The Carousel will be open from 10am to 5pm, too!

 

July Night Haunt, July 29, 2017

If you like things on the scary side, take a short drive into Lucas (4050 Bromfield Road) for the July Night Haunt, presented by Malabar Farm State Park.

From 8pm to midnight, you’ll explore murders, cemeteries and haunted houses, and finish things off with hot dogs and s'mores around a campfire. Pre-registration is required. This event is not recommended for young children!

If you know of any other cool events happening nearby this July, let us know! We’d love to help promote them.

5 Places Where Kids Eat Free (or Cheap) Near Mansfield

We know how difficult it is to keep the family happy and focused, especially during the school year. It’s easy for everyone in the house to go stir crazy!

It can get expensive going out to eat, however. That’s why we gathered this list of nearby places where kids can eat free. That way you can get out of the house without spending a lot. 


Bob Evans

Drop into the local Bob Evans on Tuesdays after 4pm. Then, your kids will eat free with the
purchase of an adult entrée. If you like home style American food that is very filling, Bob Evans does it – and when the kids can eat free, well, that’s a nice bonus!

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Texas Roadhouse
 

If your family loves hearty meat, Texas Roadhouse will be a treat. Huge portions of fantastic BBQ, with just about everything you can imagine, plus on Mondays kids meals are just 99 cents from 4:30pm to 7:30pm.


Two Cousins Pizza Co

It’s hard to go wrong with pizza, and you sure won’t be going wrong at Two Cousins. When it comes to the family, pizza is always a winner!

Two Cousins has terrific mix of traditional East Coast pie and thick Midwest pie. There’s a reason why so many Ohio families have been going here for many years! And on most days, for every $5 a kid can make their own personal pie!

Hong Kong Buffet

When you’re ready to mix things up, try the buffet at Hong Kong Buffet. They have great Asian food of many types, a large selection, and buffets are always fun for the kids. Even better, every day kids eat free with an adult purchase. Good bang for your buck!

 

Cicis

You can’t mention food places to eat without mentioning an Italian place, and Cicis is just what you want when the family is hungry.

Wonderful traditional pasta dishes, generous portions, good prices, and a comfortable like-home feeling make this a great stop for the family. Plus, they always have a free pizza buffet for kids 3 and under.

We know a lot of you out there know about some other good choices to eat with the family. We want to hear about them. Let us know in the comments. We may even recommend them in a future column!