Cambridge, OH – June 2016 – Wooden Toys & Fancy Glass

Our first weekend road trip once we were back took us to Cambridge, Ohio, with a few sights along the way, including a return visit to Dawes Arboretum, where the roses and many other flowers were in full bloom. It was ironic that the two areas featured here were the roses and a small bonsai display given we had recently been to a world class display of both in Portland, but for eastern Ohio it was quite nice.

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Our first stop in Cambridge was to find the Hopalong Cassidy Museum, only to find out that it had been located in a flea market that had closed and been torn down, so we settled for an Ohio Historical Society plaque noting that this was his birthplace. Having failed at that we drove across town to The Great American Steam Locomotive Museum located at the Cambridge Wooden Toy Company. Despite the impressive name it is really just a small shop in a residential neighborhood in Cambridge. It is however, a great place to visit.

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Seattle native Brian Gray has been carving wood since 1976, having landed in Cambridge after having met his wife, a Cambridge native, while in the service. As you enter the building you immediately come into the wood shop. You can’t help but notice how immaculate and organized it is. The back room is where he has his collection of carved trains, as well as other toys on display and for sale.

Brian really seemed to enjoy showing us around, telling us about each locomotive, and his personal connection to many of them. In the end we had a nice conversation, took some great photos and came home with a new wooden toy helicopter.

Our next stop was the National Museum of Cambridge Glass, displaying glassware produced by the company from 1902 until 1958 in three main rooms, the Dining Room, Sample Room and Member’s display area.

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It houses a superb collection of Cambridge glassware produced by The Cambridge Glass Company from 1902 to 1958.

The museum is located at 136 South Ninth Street, one block south of the main street of Cambridge, and is open April through October with hours of operation shown at the bottom of this page. The museum features over 6,000 pieces of glassware, with an interpretive area demonstrating how glass was made from gathering, shaping, etching, and engraving.

Just minutes after we arrived a bus load of elderly ladies came rolling in, along with a lot of chatter, an abundance of perfume and the general feel of being overran by a collection of eccentric old aunts. We proceeded to speed tour and went on our way, but in our brief time there we did see a very nice collection of glass, and even a few marbles.

We had plans for later in the day in Coshocton, a 30 miles, 45 minute twisty drive away. As we neared Coshocton I detoured to a small crossroads town called Iselta where a small stone building that is reputed to be the oldest building in the midwest, having been built around 1680. It is located in a field literally 10′ from a house trailer. The building itself has no interior to speak of, but it is still interesting to think a building from the 1600s exists in Ohio.

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Just around the corner from here is a restaurant called Unusual Junction. Built to look like an old wooden train station, complete with a few rail cars and a brightly painted VW Bus out front, but the highlight is the original giant Price is Right sign inside. We continued on to Cambridge for a hoped hot air balloon launch, but the day had high winds so none were flying that day.

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On the way back to Columbus we stopped off a the Longaberger factory store in Frazeysburg. Makers of overpriced baskets that were all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s their business has all but dried up leaving a large, mostly vacant, complex complete with grass growing through the cracks in the pavement of the parking lot. Amazed to find the store open, we went in for a few minutes, and even more amazingly came home with…a gourd with holes punched in it filled with colorful lights, because every home needs old dried fruit as nightlights.

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Also located on the complex is a museum celebrating the good times of the founder, Dave Longaberger, as well as a giant faux basket full of apples

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