Submitted by Champaign Co. Visitors Bureau
Calling all history buffs! Established on March 1, 1805, Champaign County became the 18th of 88 counties in Ohio. With over 200 years of rich and varied history to discover in these eight stops along the Champaign County Heritage Trail, the county offers something for everyone seeking to explore the past.
We all have family history and it is the first history we ever learn. Start your journey in West Liberty at Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek where you can explore the lives of the Piatt family as a case study and in the process think about your own family history. Nestled in the gorgeous countryside, Piatt Castle has been a popular destination for over 100 years. All tours at Piatt Castle are facilitated self-guided journeys through historical artifacts, photographs, exhibits, and explanatory text.
Head west to Saint Paris, where the Pony Wagon Town Historical Museum awaits. The museum, which was once a railroad depot, offers in-depth details on the history of Saint Paris, Ohio with historic artifacts on site for your viewing pleasure. Known as “Pony Wagon Town”, Saint Paris was the home of Walborn & Riker Company, known worldwide for quality pony pleasure vehicles.
Travel to the county seat of Urbana for four attractions all in close proximity. Grimes Field Municipal Airport is part of the National Aviation Heritage Area and is the home of three free museums where you will land on a goldmine of aviation history. The Champaign Aviation Museum is home to eight vintage aircraft including a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, being restored to flying condition and a WWII B-25 Mitchell fully restored and flying. The Grimes Flying Lab and Museum will illuminate your understanding of aircraft lighting that makes aviation safer for all of us. The Grimes Flying Lab Foundation is dedicated to the Flying Lab test vehicle, as well as preserving the legacy of Warren G. Grimes. The third museum located at Grimes Field, Mid America Flight Museum North, is home to the Travel Air 6000 restoration project. Here a team of dedicated volunteers spend countless hours restoring this aircraft as well as a Stinson Model A Tri-moor (The only existing one in the world).
Once you have had your fill of aviation history, travel back in time at the Champaign County Historical Museum, where the history of Champaign County has been preserved. Learn about the Native American tribes who lived here, the county’s earliest setters, its role in the Civil War and Underground Railroad. This is where the history of Champaign County is chronicled and where it comes to life!
A few miles away is Oak Dale Cemetery with its majestic oaks, historic monuments and winding driveways. The cemetery is home to a recently-restored replica of a John Quincy Adams Ward statue that was the first statue by an American artist placed in New York City’s Central Park. Also of note is the grave of legendary frontiersman, Simon Kenton, that is marked by a life-sized statue started by John Quincy Adams Ward and completed over 100 years later by local artist, Mike Major.
Travel to the center of town to the Monument Square Historic District and stroll down the beautiful tree-lined Scioto Street Historic District with its grand historic homes. The Man on the Monument, a statue of a Union soldier who looks North, is the focus of the round about and town square. Take in the unique and historical architecture of downtown while you shop and dine. Don’t miss out on the antique and vintage shops where you can take a piece of history home with you. Just south of the square you can take in a movie or performance at the Gloria Theatre, a 113 year old theatre with a rich history of its own, that is being restored and renovated into a modern entertainment venue.
The last stop in Urbana takes you to Freedom Grove, nestled on the Southside of Urbana, it is the perfect place for reflection and remembrance, with a beam from the fallen World Trade Center as the focal point.
Finally, head East to the Village of Mechanicsburg with a visit to Maple Grove Cemetery. Two interments of note are William Bart Saxbe, former United States Ambassador and Senator from Ohio, and Addison White, a runaway slave. A historical marker on Main Street tells the story of White and how the people of Mechanicsburg paid $900 for his freedom.
If you are craving even more history stop by the Champaign County Visitors Bureau located at 127 W. Court Street in Urbana for self guided tour brochures that include the Historic Homes of Scioto Street, Historical Markers of Champaign County, a Downtown Urbana Architectural Treasure Hunt, and a Tombstone Trail. For history lovers planning an overnight trip, the Cobblestone Hotel-Urbana is offering special rates for those participating in the Heritage Trail. Call the hotel directly and ask for the Family Fun Trail Rate. For more visitors information go to visitchampaignohio.com.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
Volunteering is a great way to help your community. It is also a great way to build skills, meet new friends, and give back. Whether you are in school or retired, we can help you find a volunteer opportunity that is a perfect fit for you, right here in Champaign County.
LifeCare Alliance for Meals on Wheel
The delivery company for Meals on Wheels, LifeCare Alliance, is looking for volunteer delivery drivers in Logan and Champaign counties. Volunteers may sign up for a route one day a month, one day a week or as often as they would like to in-between.
You can make a huge impact on those receiving meals, for many clients the Meals-on-Wheel delivery driver is the only person they encounter that day. Be the light in their day and volunteer now!
Learn more by calling 614-444-MEAL or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve
If you love nature and want to find a volunteer opportunity locally, look no further than Cedar Bog. Individuals, families and organized groups are all welcome. There is always a lot to be done at the Bog, here are some of the ways you can volunteer your time.
You can learn more by calling 937-484-3744 to schedule a meeting.
United Way offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities in Champaign County. There are many ongoing ways to help and there are also events available to sign up for.
You can learn more about the opportunities available at uwccmc.galaxydigital.com/need/
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to eliminate substandard housing. They build and repair homes to make good living conditions for all. Our local Habitat for Humanity group completed their first home in 2007. In total they have built eight homes in Urbana, two in Saint Paris, and one in Mechanicsburg.
If you want to be part of this amazing organization and volunteer for a Saturday build, you can request more info at www.hfhcco.org/volunteer or by contacting ReStore in Urbana at 937-653-2981.
The goal of the Champaign County Family YMCA is to build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Some of their volunteer opportunities include; welcoming guests, rocking babies, reading and playing with preschoolers, coaching youth sports teams, after school homework helpers, and special events!
You can visit their website at www.champaignfamilyymca.org/cms-view-page.php?page=volunteering to fill out a volunteer application.
There are so many volunteer opportunities at Mercy Health. Here is a list of some of the potential volunteer opportunities.
Each facility will have their own needs, so it is best to call 937-653-5231 to inquire about setting up a time to meet.
From Urbana Daily Citizen
Mercy Health has launched a series of video podcasts focused on helping teachers, parents and students navigate the “new normal” during this uncertain time.
In this four-episode series, behavioral health professionals offer insight and guidance and share their own stories about sending students back to school. The podcasts aim to give parents, teachers and administrators tools to help them and their students adjust to returning to the classroom during a pandemic.
The podcasts feature Dr. Carson Felkel, director of Behavioral Health for Bon Secours Mercy Health, and Dr. Aimee Drescher, a clinical psychologist with Mercy Health. The episodes focus on normalizing anxiety, working with children, CDC guideline reminders, tips on talking with children and when to contact a professional.
“This year has been brought challenges unlike any we have ever experienced into our homes and schools. We want to make sure our communities know that they are not alone and that Mercy Health is here to help,” Dr. Felkel said. “Our mission is to care for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and through conversation and guidance, we hope to ease our communities back into school.” Mercy Health is making the podcasts available to area school districts for distribution and also posting them on the Mercy Health blog at blog.mercy.com/ for use by all. The first video is available at blog.mercy.
It covers stress and normalizing anxiety during this back-toschool season and also provides tips on how to implement self-care into your routine and different ways to help your family cope during this time.
“Our communities and our schools have shown a strength while working through what it means to send our children – who which we hold most dear – back to school,” Dr. Drescher said. “It is our hope to let our school leaders, parents and teachers know that the anxiety they feel is normal and offer tips on how to adjust.”
By Chelsea Bray: Elle A. Design
Driving down US Highway 68 you will find many amazing stops but travel slightly off the beaten path and you will find an absolute treasure. Dragonfly Vineyard and Wine Cellar is located between West Liberty and Urbana on Herr Road. This beautiful location is owned and operated by Kent and Connie Eichenauer. They planted their first four acres of grapes in 2011 with no intention of operating their own winery. Eventually Kent got curious enough to start making wine in their basement and their very first Riesling was produced.
Early on Kent became involved in the viticulture program through Ohio State and the Wine Producers Association. This helped him form great relationships with other local winemakers. Their support from fellow Ohio winemakers helped guide them on this incredible journey.
They invested in their own equipment to harvest, crush, ferment and store their own vineyard grapes and started serving their homemade wine to friends and family. The response was more than they could have imagined and the support and encouragement to open their own winery pushed them to begin their new adventure.
They opened Dragonfly Vineyard and Wine Cellar in June 2019. They currently grow four acres of grapes including Vidal, Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Marquette and LaCreseant. They have neighbors who grow Frontenac that they harvest also. Their knowledge and love for wine really shines through in each bottle.
If you are interested in visiting Dragonfly Vineyard and Wine Cellar, they are currently open Thursday from 5:00-9:00PM and Friday and Saturday 12:00-9:00PM. There are some new guidelines they are implementing during COVID-19 and you can see them all on their website. They sometimes have live music and other events happening at the vineyard and you can find more info about those on their facebook page.
But they didn't stop there. We Spend Local launched an an online store dedicated to showing your love for local. Each month they feature a "We Give Local" design dedicated to that month's podcast interview. 50% of the proceeds from the sale of those shirts will be donated back to that organization or business or a cause of their choosing. The first design was dedicated to Urbana Fire Department and Chief Ortlieb requested the donation be designated to Box 13 to ensure the funds be shared throughout Champaign County.
Tune in now to hear the newest podcast at https://www.wespendlocal.com/podcast.html featuring Jamie Houseman, President of Mercy Health Urbana Hospital and support Mercy Health's Guardian Angel Fund here: https://wespendlocal.itemorder.com/sale. This fund was developed for children who are clients of the Mercy Health Pediatrics, who have unmet needs due to lack of family finances. It especially targets “working families” and offers the services such as filling Prescription needs and over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, eyeglasses, dental emergencies and further medical evaluation by a physician or medical specialist. Funds have also been used to purchase winter coats and gloves, car seats, etc for families with need.
DSA will reimburse two-thirds of the wages paid (up to $10,000) to an intern acquired through our program. Companies can either be a tech-focused company or any company with the need for a tech-focused intern. During this time of social distancing, the internship allows for and encourages, remote or telework opportunities. Companies can hire as many as three (3) interns for different positions. The minimum wage for interns is $15 per hour but can exceed that amount. The internship period begins on November 1, 2020 and ends on April 30, 2021.
The company application is now open and interested companies can apply at https://development.ohio.gov/bs_thirdfrontier/diip.htm
Below is a 1 pager outlining the Internship Program. Please feel free to forward along to any businesses you think may be interested in this opportunity.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
We humans are not the only ones getting tired of staying at home all the time. Your dog is ready to get out and explore too! There is so much you can do right here in Champaign County to treat your dog to a day out.
If your pup is in need of a spa day look no further than the Lil Dog Ranch. They offer full grooming services. You can book a bath and brush which includes a nail trim, ear cleaning and bandana. If your dog needs a haircut, they can do that too! They even offer flea treatments and teeth brushing. All of your dogs’ grooming needs can be taken care of in just one stop.
Once your dog is looking their best, it is time to hit the town and make some new friends. Head over to Fido’s Field, Urbana’s dog park. Here you will find 2.4 acres for your pup to enjoy. There are two doggie drinking fountains and separate areas for dogs under 25 pounds and dogs over 25 pounds. There are benches available for the human guests and plenty of shade when it’s time to take a break. After your break you can hit the agility area and test your dogs’ skills.
After a long day of being pampered and making friends your dog is sure to be ready for a special treat. There are so many great local places you can head to that offer treats for pups of all sizes. At The Depot in Urbana you can stop on their patio and enjoy some shade while you have a coffee and your dog has a pup cup (a cup of whipped cream). They also have water bowls available inside that you can ask for while you visit. If you are looking for more than a cup of coffee, there are many places you can grab lunch where you can bring your dog too! Dairy Queen, Crabill’s, and Spotted Cow all have outdoor seating where your dog is welcome to join you for lunch or dinner.
At the end of a long day you can stay at Cobblestone Hotel in Urbana, Ohio. The new hotel on the south end of town is pet friendly! When booking a room just mention that you will be bringing your pup with you. It is an additional $25 per night for your pet and there is plenty of room to walk your dog and doggie bags available. If you need to leave, the staff will take down your phone number so if anything happens, they will give you a call.
We hope you and your dog have a great time visiting Champaign County! Let us know what your favorite stop was along the way.
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By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
How the Bill Butler Champaign Open Started
In 1982, Bill Butler combined his love of golf and his passion to help people to create the Bill Butler Champaign Open. Bill had realized that there was a gap in funding for people with disabilities, causing many to go without basic needs. The BBCO raises funds to assist these individuals, many of which live right here in our community.
The golf tournament is usually held annually in August, but this year the event had to be cancelled. The amazing people with BBCO and at Champaign Residential Services, Inc.(CRSI) don’t want that to stop you from supporting this mission that is still very much needed, maybe even more during these times. There are so many unknowns right now but not knowing if you will have your basic needs met should never be one of them.
For 2020, the organization has decided to have a Day of Giving on August 19th in place of the annual BBCO. The goal has not changed, and the focus is to raise funds to ensure the needs of those they serve are met. These funds go to people being served by CRSI, many here locally, and make a huge difference in our community. Every single dollar raised will make a positive impact on someone’s life!
How to Donate
CRSI has set up an easy-to-use form on their website where you can make a donation. You can visit their site to donate today! You can also send a check made payable to BBCO to the address below.
Attn Terri Thompson
P.O. Box 29
Urbana, Ohio 43078
Every dollar counts. Please help spread the word about the Day of Giving on August 19th and make this year a memorable one for the Bill Butler Champaign Open and everyone supported by the funds raised for CRSI. You can learn more on their site.