My Subject and Special Collections Staycation Pail List

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June 16, 2014 by randberg

In recent days, there have been discussions over which words were going to be added to the accepted dictionary of the English language. As I remember it, “selfie” made the list, but I think “twerk” went home disappointed. A few years back there was a similar debate over the word “staycation” which originated out of the Great Recession as an alternative to traditional summer vacations. “Stay at home” and do “day trips” during your vacation in order to have “fun on a budget.” The whole idea sounds really good on paper, but I’m not convinced how it will play out in the real world. It reminds me of the one year my older brother took us three younger kids around the neighborhood Trick-or-Treating. Because he was in his teens, he wasn’t in costume, but many of the people who opened their doors for us felt bad about not giving him any candy. I think he ended up with his pockets full of apples. I am sure he had a good time, but I bet it just wasn’t the same without the Snickers and Milky Ways!

Anyway, this year has turned out to be my year for some big home improvements. A new roof (after 27 years) and major painting of trim and staining of siding (after 19 years) have finally caught up with me. So for this summer, at least, financial concerns have forced me to fully embrace the idea of a “staycation.” At the same time, being the Subject and Special Collections “nerd” that I readily admit to being, I have come up with my “2014 Summer Vacation Pail List.” I call it a “pail list” because it does not contain destinations life-altering enough to be on a “bucket list.” A bucket list would have things like riding the burros down the windy path into the Grand Canyon, visiting the pyramids in Egypt, or hang gliding off the coast of Big Sur. My chosen destinations are much less grandiose and definitely closer to home so they only would make my “pail list.”

So here is my staycation pail list, in no particular order, for the Summer of 2014:

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center: This Cincinnati destination has been on my list for many years and I’m embarrassed that I have not made the trip to see something this important that is so close to home. Ohio was one of the most important states on the Underground Railroad and as a life-long Ohioan, I need to visit. (

Kelley’s Island State Park: I have been to Kelley’s Island before on a Boy Scout outing, but in the rush that surrounded that trip, I did not have enough time to do the place justice. Once you get past all the shops and restaurants on Kelley’s Island, there is the state park which contains a truly awe-inspiring area of grooved limestone created by the movement of glaciers. (

Zanesville’s Y-bridge: The largest of anything (ball of twine, rocking chair, etc.) always gets my attention and the Y-bridge fits that bill. The first Y-bridge was built on this location, crossing the Muskingum and Licking Rivers, in 1814. It has been re-built many times and always in the Y-shape. It is the largest of its kind in the world! A good time to visit would be during the Y-bridge Arts Festival to be held August 1-2, 2014. (

National Museum of Cambridge Glass: Ohio and neighboring West Virginia comprised one of the world’s largest glassmaking regions. While there are many other places to see glass collections, I have always enjoyed the wide array of colors produced by Cambridge Glass. One important feature of the museum is designed to help collectors tell the difference between the original pieces and reproductions. (

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum: Part of the vast collections at The Ohio State University, the Ireland collection brings together some of the most important artists in one location. Anyone who still saves the cartoon section of the Sunday paper until last (like I do), should make a trip to Columbus. There is a special exhibit on my all-time favorite strip, Calvin and Hobbes, through August 3, 2014. (

Merry Go Round Museum: This Sandusky institution is so aptly located, being a few short miles from one of the great Merry Go Rounds of all time, Cedar Downs at Cedar Point. The Merry Go Round Museum has extensive exhibits on many aspects of carousels, but I suspect that I will find the hand-carving exhibits the most fascinating. (

Clark Gable Foundation: Being a devotee of classic film (my TV barely sees any other channel than Turner Classic Movies), I host classic film night at my library, each month choosing a great film to feature. Of course, Clark Gable is in the pantheon of great motion picture actors and his birthplace museum is so close by. You couldn’t keep me away! (

The Covered Bridges of Ashtabula County: Meryl Streep is nowhere to be found, but you will still enjoy traveling to see the 17 covered bridges in Ashtabula. Some of them are original and some of them are of new construction, but all of them bring you back to another period in time. This year’s Covered Bridge Festival will be held October 11-12, right at the height of Ohio’s autumn leaves splendor. (

Dennison Railroad Depot Museum: For many years my Boy Scout troop traveled past the derelict Dennison depot on our way to camps in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. Now fully restored, the depot houses exhibits on its history as a serviceman’s canteen during WW II, hosting over 1.3 million members of the armed services who were headed out to defend the country. Definitely a place to spend a patriotic American weekend this summer! (

Big Muskie: The Big Muskie is not a really large fish, but a coal mining dragline used for years in the hills of Southeastern Ohio. I saw it one time as a kid when it was in operation and found it unbelievable in its size and ability to change the contours of the earth’s surface. Today, the 460,000 pound bucket rests in the Miners’ Memorial Park near Caldwell where visitors can stand inside it for some great photo ops. (


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