The Tale Of Three Forest Giants

Once upon a time, in a magical land called Dayton, there lived three forest giants. Bibbi, Bodil and Bo were made of reclaimed wood by a man with the soul of a poet and the profession of an artist.

On Friday, an adventurer named Brandi, from a land not far away, went on a quest to find them all.

You’ll find these three giants at Aullwood Audubon north of Dayton. The truth is Aullwood is a spectacular place to visit even without the artwork. Woods, prairies, streams and meadows provide amazing habitat for all sorts of creatures. Trails meander here and there, exploring nooks and crannies, reaching into places that resemble a storybook picture.

The artist behind the forest giants is the world’s leading recycle artist. Thomas Dambo is a native of Denmark who uses locally sourced materials to create his sculptures. You can read more about him here.

If this story sounds familiar, that’s because I told you last year about visiting another location that is correct to hosting Dambo pieces. You can read about that here.

It’s a beautiful walk to reach all three sculptures and it’s not strenuous. I believe it’s about a three mile loop unless you’re like me and wander off a good bit. I regretted not packing a lunch and having a picnic somewhere. I’ll do that next time.

If you go, take note there’s also a nature center and an educational farm where you can meet some animals and explore.

Project READ At Antiques Village

If you’re in the Dayton area and are a reader, stop by the Project Read Bookstore at Antiques Village.

First off, this vendor mall is spectacular. It’s 80,000 square feet of antiques, vintage items, home decor and books. I never hesitate to swing by when in the area.

One corner is occupied by the Project READ Bookstore. Project READ is a literacy coalition that serves the Dayton area, referring people to literacy classes, GED programs and even reading tutoring for kids and adults.

The books they sell are neatly organized, clean and good quality. At just $3 per book, there are countless bargains to be found and it’s for a good cause. At least, that’s what I tell myself as I fill my cart!

Want to go treasure hunting at Antiques Village? Click here to visit their website.

Dawn Patrol

If you’re an aviation aficionado or a history devotee and are near Dayton, Ohio, here’s what you need to do today: get yourself to the National Museum of the US Air Force for the World War I event Dawn Patrol.

They have replica World War I era planes and radio controlled aircraft in the air and on display. There are some very old cars, vendors and reenactors who are eager to chat.

My dad and I went yesterday. Honestly, the weather was gusty and cool, making it hard to enjoy but there was still some great stuff to see.

First off, the planes!

The flying got started a little late because most of these planes are too light to handle well in these windy conditions. Here’s another.

The RC Aircraft always impresses me. These planes are built with an incredible degree of detail and often sound realistic from the air.

There was a small collection of period cars too. This 1908 Buick is pretty special. That’s the owner checking out the motor.

I always get a kick out of reenactors who are willing to share stories and demonstrate the things they find interesting.

Here’s one more picture for good measure.

This last plane is a full scale Fokker that my pal Dewey has been flying for the owner who is an aviation enthusiast but not a pilot. It’s a pretty special plane to see in person so be sure to look for it if you go today.

Want to go? Dawn Patrol info can be found here. It ends at five so be sure to hurry up and get there! While you’re there, stop by the museum for a look around!

Carillon Historical Park

Wealthy people who spend their resources creating something affordable for others to enjoy are some of my favorite people. It’s even better when what they create disguises learning with fun.

Once upon a time, there was a couple named Edward and Edith Deeds. He was a noted industrialist and they were well known as Dayton, Ohio elite. Their list of contributions to the world and to Dayton is pretty lengthy but the one I want to talk about is Carillon Historical Park.

This 65 acre park and museum center is a terrific day trip for any history buff or anyone looking for a fun way to learn about something different.

You enter through a visitors center and rather large museum. Here you’ll find exhibits about the stories that make Dayton special. Did you know that Dayton gave the world the cash register and the electric automobile self starter?

Under this roof, you’ll find everything from an enormous collection of gorgeous antique cash registers to a working carousel you can ride on. There are antique toys, Frigidaire appliances and artwork. Theres an inexplicably large collection of vintage beer steins and pictures of entertainers who fare from the Gem City.

There’s a ton of neat stuff to see.

And then you go outside to a village made up of recreated buildings that are historically important. I told you earlier this week about the incredible Wright Brothers tribute. There’s also a 19th century school house, an early tavern, a small filling station and print shop. There’s a museum of transportation where you can walk through train and trolley cars that are so ornate they put our modern public transit vehicles to shame.

One of the most moving museums is about the 1913 flood. They use a combination of pictures, artifacts and sound to tell deeply personal and moving accounts of what it was like. There’s an imagine of people using telephone lines to escape. Sounds effects convincingly transport you to another time. The blue line on the building’s exterior represents the flood line and will break your heart. It’s so high you have to stand back to even see it.

This park was dedicated in 1950 and still grows. In fact, it is vibrant. There are so many interesting things to see here that it is well worth the $12 adult admission.

In case you are wondering, they do have a Carillon here. Known as the Deeds Carillon, it is 151 feet tall and has 57 bells, making it the largest Carillon in Ohio. And like an idiot, I didn’t even think to snap a picture of it. Next trip!

This place reminds me a lot of Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s smaller than Greenfield but it’s also cheaper and closer to home for my Ohio readers – perfect for a late summer day trip!

Next time, we’ll talk about where we ate. Meanwhile, plan your trip to this fabulous place by learning more here. Oh, and that carousel? It’s just a dollar a ride!

Second Street Market

Second Street Market in Dayton, Ohio is one of those things that makes me wish I lived closer to a city. In fact, I would be there all the time if I lived closer.

This public market is part of the Five Rivers MetroParks system and is reminiscent of something you might see in Europe. Outside the 1911 Baltimore and Ohio Railroad warehouse, you’ll find all manner of vendors including farmers with their produce and fresh flowers.

There are crafters and other vendors too. Inside, you’ll find more of that along with folks selling Dayton products, handmade jewelry, fancy flavored olive oils, and locally grown meat.

There’s a walk-up coffee shop, a vegan place, a Chinese restaurant and a place that makes fresh bagels daily. My friend and I each had a breakfast bowl from a Mexican place – it was potatoes, eggs, salsa, peppers and queso served on a bed of fresh made tortilla chips. This was the best meal I’ve had in ages and friendly passersby even asked what we had that looked so good.

We also met a MetroParks employee who talked about growing herbs in containers. There was a guy playing guitar and the people watching was superb. Plus, everyone was friendly and the atmosphere is charming.

I couldn’t help but imagine strolling through here on a summer morning, basket in hand, to select perfectly ripe peaches and zucchini. I would treat myself to a bouquet of fresh flowers too!

A girl can dream!

They’re open year round on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Parking is free. Find them on Facebook or click here to visit their website for details.

Home To No Power

Last night I came home from a fabulous adventure to find a pitch black house. A storm had whipped through the area and left several small communities in the region without power.

I laid in my hammock, absorbing the pitch black darkness of the night and the sounds of the evening. The tree frogs and locusts were chatty but they had competition from a chorus of household generators all around.

I remember a time when a power outage meant that life in the country was quiet. It was an excuse to sit out on the porch and enjoy the fact there was nothing else to do. You got creative with your meals and left your fridge and freezer closed hoping to keep cold air contained as long as possible. I’m guessing everyone now just goes about their business without a thought of even going outside.

Those days of quiet laziness are long gone. Still, I enjoyed the evening and stayed outside until the air felt too cold.

Time marches on.

Speaking of time – it flew yesterday as I spent the day out adventuring with a friend. We went to Dayton where we spent some time browsing the Second Street Market before passing most of the day at Carrillon Historic Park. We topped off the day with a trip through the One Dollar Book Swap.

There’s lots of material to share from this fun day and we’ll get to it soon! Check back!