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Exploring Down Street Abandoned Tube Station

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to explore the disused Down Street tube station in Mayfair. Down Street is on a side road between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner, and the Piccadilly Line served this station. The station was not open for very long. It was opened in 1907 and shut its doors in 1932 due to lack of use. Its placement here was controversial because many people that lived in the area did not use public transport. Although it was closed in 1932, it had a new lease of life in 1939 as a secret headquarters for the railway board executivies during World War II. It is often referred to as "Churchill's Secret Bunker". The staff at TFL (Transport for London) are continuously researching and discovering how the station was used during the war times, but most of the government secrets are off limits currently and won't be accessibly by the public until 2040.

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The tube station is easy to notice because of its glossy tiles that identify it; in Down Street's case, the tiles are dark red. The large arched windows and wide doorways also identify it as a tube station, although one of the doorways has been bricked over while the other is home to a small shop.

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Upon arriving on the train/platform level, we were told about the station's use during World War II. The first bit of tunnel was sectioned off and became the area for typists. The walls were painted a mustard yellow colour, and we could see where the floor was levelled and the partition wall was added on one side. The side with the partition wall formed a room with an aisle down one side. The aisle was just large enough for a tea trolley (or a person to walk single-file). On this wall, there are directions to the Enquries and Committee Room, and there's "Way Out" signs in the same style on other walls. Before the room was a gas seal-off door, and there were several of these throughout the station. The rooms were all purpose-made, and the public was not aware of the secret bunker here.

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We were also shown the glow-in-the-dark strips along the lower part of the tunnel walls, which enable visitors to find their way in case the electricity is off.

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The next tunnel was also divided into rooms: offices and the committee room. One of the rooms here was where Churchill stayed during bombing raids. Throughout our tour, we were shown photographs on the wall of people inside these rooms, and we could identify where walls, lights, and clocks had been attached. In the photograph above, the placement of the table in the photograph is outlined on the floor. The aisleway would have been to the left, and the flooring also demonstrates how the rooms were broken up.

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Off of the meeting room, we were shown the toilets and bath facilities, which were located through a door that went up a staircase. These separate rooms were divided up with the facilities. Apparently the women had to kick up a fuss to have separate facilities. The furnishings were also top of the range. The next few photographs shows some of these rooms and what remains.

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Further down the hallway, we came to the section where we could see the tube train passing between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line. There were sections throughout the remainder of the tour where we could see the trains, separated by just a thin wall. We continued until we branched off into a separate tunnel where the exchange and switch board are located. These were located in two separate rooms. 

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The switch board has fine wooden panel, which we could see by shining a light to it.

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Opposite the switchboard is old-style tiling forming a very Art-Deco "Way Out" sign.

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We arrived at further rooms that were used by the executives. Some of these included the original lighting. Many of these rooms were painted grey over the mustard yellow. Someone suggested they may have been painted for preparations on tube evacuation teams or filming a submarine movie.

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A map of the layout of the rooms is also present.

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We were shown the executive rooms and the bedrooms, and we could see which rooms were fancier because they had wallpaper. After this, we were shown the kitchen and dining area.

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The new development and research suggests that the last part of the tour is exciting because it's the area at the back (by the air flow) that Churchill had asked to be purposed into his area. Rooms were created here with a toilet near the top of the step and a room on the left. The room had a phone line that went direct to the USA. They're not exactly sure who used these rooms, but it is clear that they are used by VIPs. A picture of the room is below, but there's actually another similar bricked-up wall a few steps down the tunnel. It's completely bricked up, but it probably has some significance. 

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On the other side of this area, we saw more yellow paint, and this is covering the original signage. "To The Trains" can be seen beneath the layer of paint.

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Also, the original signage showing the platform directions can also be seen here. Finsbury Park points to the left, and Hammersmith points to the right. Unfortunately, someone ruined the wall and lettering when they installed some ladders and pipework over the top of it.

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Next, we saw the lift shaft. My photographs did not come out because there was not enough room to see, and the lighting was not bright enough. On the other side of the lift shaft was the tile manufacturer name Simpson & Sons, who created the tiles. This is a rare find.

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Out of the lifts, the commuters would have been directed to the trains via this "To the Trains" sign.

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On street level, we received a booklet with more information about Down Street station.

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I would love to know more about this station and the history of it as it seems that there's still so much more to know that cannot become the public domain until 100 years are up. Unfortunately, by that time, the people who did work in the tunnels would no longer be able to talk about them.

For readers who have enjoyed this post, I have also visited additional disused and abandoned underground stations in London. I also have a couple of more trips to visit other ones coming up, so be sure to keep following me. Below are previous posts:

Paddock World War 2 Bunker
Aldwych Station
Euston Station Tunnels

Visiting Caerphilly Castle

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After touring The Royal Mint Exhibition, I decided to head over to one of the castles that I've not visited in order to tick it off my list: Caerphilly Castle. Caerphilly Castle, located in the village of Caerphilly just north of Cardiff, is a Norman castle that was built in the mid/late-1200s. It was Wales's largest castle and survived a siege and was the place where a king took refuge. The castle fell into disrepair in the 15th century with the lake being drained and stone robbed, but was taken over by a rich coal mining family in the late 1700s and repaired in more modern times. 

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The castle is surrounded by a moat with a bridge leading up to the gatehouse. The earth has been built up so the castle is on a hillside, and the perimeter of the earthworks can be walked around. The castle is located in the town centre, which is the other side of the earthworks.

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We walked walked across the bridge over the moat to get to the first gatehouse. Inside this inner area was the gift shop where we purchased our tickets and a statue of a red dragon. Some of the castle grounds could be accessed here, but in order to get to the main castle area, we had to walk across another bridge.

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On the left as we approached the gatehouse, we saw the leaning tower. The tower has been leaning since the 17th century. 

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After we entered the gatehouse, we decided to see what was inside. We passed through a few white-washed rooms, a garderobe, and some larger floors with large chimneys and an area with seating. We could also walk onto the old walls from the gatehouse. Below shows the interior of the castle yard, a view from one of the walls.

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After we explored that gatehouse, we walked to the end gatehouse. On the left is the Great Hall, but sadly this was closed for us because they were setting up for Macbeth. In fact, a lot of areas were off limits to us due to this play. It's a pity we could not see it because the Great Hall is the finest building in a castle.

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At the back side of the gatehouse, the defenses were stunning. This was a dead end with huge, thick walls.

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After walking through the gatehouse, I looked back to the opposite gatehouse that we explored earlier. The Great Hall is the building on the right.

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At the back gatehouse, we could climb for a view, and it had impressive interiors.

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We then walked the last of the walls. On one side of the walls, they re-constructed the wooden hoarding. This hoarding offered a little more protection. This is where the archers would be, and they could shoot through the small windows here. On the other side is the wall.

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After that, we had seen everything, so we headed out. In the main entrance, I said goodbye to the red dragon here. The ground was muddy, and goose poo was everywhere in the grass, so I didn't get a better photograph.

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The town of Caerphilly greeted us on the other side of the walls.

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The geese and ducks also greeted us on entry and exit of the castle grounds. 

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As the weather was so chilly, a hot chocolate bought from the shop opposite the castle grounds was in order.

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Have you ever visited Caerphilly Castle? Leave your comments.

The bloke and I visited The Royal Mint Experience yesterday and got to see and press our own one pound coin with the new design that will be circulated later in the year. The Royal Mint Experience only opened in May last year, so it's not even been open for tours for a year. I've previously done a tour of the US Mint in Colorado; there's also one in Philadelphia, PA. The experience is located at the site of the factory where all coins are made for UK circulation and for other countries. This post is about my experience.

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We arrived for the first tour of the day and had a wander around the factory, which is located near Cardiff in Wales. The building looks new and has coin-coloured panels (gold/silver/copper) along the front. At the front is one of the Shaun the Sheep charity statues that The Royal Mint made; the Gromit that they made is inside the building.

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Also inside the building is a classic MINI car covered with coins. 

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We had a few minutes to wander around the shop before the tour began. We were then ushered into a room with a short introduction video before being taken to the factory building to be shown some equipment and demonstrated how coins are made using the various bits of machinery. We were not allowed to take photographs here or anywhere inside the factory; we were allowed to take photographs at the museum in the original building later. 

The coins are made of mixed metals, and we were shown how they were given their 'edge' to prevent them from sticking together. We were then shown how the coins were struck with the designs using the moulds. The machines pressing them work very quickly and press using two tonnes of weight. After the discussion, we could watch some of the workers making/inspecting the coins. We could see coins fall out of the machinery into large boxes. We had to look at this from a distance. 

After looking through a couple of these windows, we went into another room where a pressing machine was waiting for us. The workers were controlling this, and we paid to press our own new pound coin. The new pound coins are going to be circulated later in the year, and they have several sides and two-tone colour. The problem was that the old pound coin was easy to copy, and many of them are fake. Workers had the blanks (unpressed coins) and put them into the machine one-by-one while we pressed a button for the machine to press two tonnes of weight onto the coin. The new pound coins have to be pressed twice. 

The different colour of material 'locks' in together due to the rim created along the edging of the coins, so they are two separate pieces. This is how the two-pound coin is made as well.

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After we struck the coin, we were ushered back into the original building where the tour resumed. This was the museum area, and it is self-guided. Photographs can be taken here. I have highlighted some of these bits below.

The first coint to be pressed at The Royal Mint (in the Tower of London) was the "Alfred the Great Silver Penny" (1). It was pressed at the time during Viking invasions. Isaac Newton was a warden at The Royal Mint for a few years, and he used science to make coins harder to be counterfeited. His name popped up in The Royal Mint Experience a few times, and we saw a medal produced with his likeness (2). The last coin to be pressed at The Royal Mint at Tower Hill before the factory moved to Wales was an image of the Tower Hill location (3), and it is on display. In 1934, Queen Mary had a tour of The Royal Mint when it was at Tower Hill, and she brought Elizabeth (now Queen) and her sister along. Their signatures are on display in the museum (4).

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1) Alred the Great silver penny; 2) Isaac Newton medal; 3) the last coin to be struck at The Royal Mint at Tower Hill; 4) The Royal Mint visitor book signed by Queen Mary and daughters Elizabeth and Margaret Rose

In 1968, The Royal Mint moved to Llantrisant in Wales. The production of coins had outgrown London, so it was moved to Wales due to support by a Welsh Member of Parliament. The new factory was created because of the introduction of the currency system that is now in use (instead of the old decimal system). On its opening day, Queen Elizabeth pressed the first coin (5). A lot of marketing went into getting people familiar with the new currency system (6 and 8). This year, we have a new design for the pound coin, and the design was inspired by 12-year old student David Pearce. A model of it is on display (7). 

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5) Queen Elizabeth pressed the first coin at Llantrisant; 6 and 8) Marketing to help with the new currency system; 7) The new one pound coin design

The Royal Mint also creates coins for other countries in the world, and we saw several of these on display. We also saw a coin that has been at the ocean for many years, sunk with a hoard of gold coins and recovered eventually. We also saw the moulds for the presses and learned about the oldest quality assurance in the history of the world: the gold and coin quality. This is conducted every year by the Goldsmith livery company. Samples of coins from all of the batches are kept for this process each year.

In addition to the coins, The Royal Mint Experience museum had a display dedicated to different medals, such as war and sporting medals. They made the medals for the Olympic Games in 2012.

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2012 Olympic Medal

After the experience, we went across the road where there is a pub/hotel that were having a carvery. We were really impressed with the food, and the carvery was very popular with local people too.

Have you been to The Royal Mint Experience yet or seen the new one pound coin? You can still visit and press your own coin. (Note that I booked the experience myself, so this is not endorsed by The Royal Mint.)

While I was in Nuremberg at the end of 2014, I visited the Albrecht Dürer house, located in the old part of town near the castle. Dürer was a painter, engraver, and printer who lived from the late 1400s until the mid 1500s. He spent time in Italy and knew famous Renaissance painters da Vinci and Raphael. His work was praised. 

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The Albrecht Dürer House in Nuremberg, Germany contains a gallery with a large selection of artwork from the artist, including some of his famous paintings. It is arranged in a gallery inside the house. The house also contains engravings, illustrations, and sketches that he made during his life. In addition, it includes personal possessions. The house itself has been left to what it would have been like during Dürer's life and time, and this also includes furniture. 

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One of the rooms at the top also has information about the style of work and how it was achieved. Although the audio guide can be listened to in English, none of the information boards had English text on them, including the interesting techniques room. There was also a section with different colours of jars that were mixed with the paint to achieve certain colours. (This was interesting, but it was in German only and I could not read it.)

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Nuremberg Castle

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A couple of years ago, I visited Nuremberg Castle. The castle is built on top of the large sandstone rock hill in Nuremberg, Germany. It is a medieval Imperial castle with castle walls; the walls have mostly been destroyed. The land that the castle occupies was occupied in 1000, but it was not until 1105 that the castle was mentioned in documents. During World War II, the castle was sadly damaged, and only the Sinwell Tower and double chapel prevented damage; the rest was rebuilt and reconstructed. 

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The chapel (which escaped the bomb damage) was in the first building that I visited, and it is constructed over two levels with impressive stonework.

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The signs at the castle were all in German, and there are guided tours but I cannot remember if these were in German only. The well room guide only spoke German, so information about the castle was scarace. Also, the staff here were miserable and rude, and I saw on Tripadvisor that others had the same problem. 

Besides protecting Nuremberg, the castle was also the place to visit for leisure and educational events. The moat was used as a training ground for crossbows, and it was also used as an observation point for viewing the stars as well as fireworks. 

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The interior of the castle has some information about the different eras in English, and it also displays many objects, but most of these did not include an English description. The mid-1800s was a time of uncertainty in Germany with many revolutions. Some of Germany wanted the great empire returned as in the medieval days.

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There were rooms dedicated to weaponry and armour, and other items were dedicated to living or religion, such as the two pieces above.

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The Deep Well was probably built at the same time as the castle, although it was only mentioned in the 14th century. The well is 47 meters deep into the castle's rock. There are guided "tours" in the well room throughout the day, but as I mentioned, these were in German only. The guide speaks, and then he cranks down the bucket with candles. A recorded video is shown on the wall behind with the walls of the well and the depth that it is at when it is traveling, as shown as a chart on the wall. We could gather around and look into the well, but wells are something I am not keen on, so I was happy enough to watch the video on the wall! Also located on this wall was a cabinet filled with items, and I assume that these items had fallen into the well at some point and were recovered.

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The Sinwell Tower is a large tower on the grounds of the castle. "Sinwell" is a German word that means "round". It was built in the late 13th century as a castle keep of the Imperial Castle. The viewing platform at the top looks over Nuremberg, and I took a lot of photographs.

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On the walk down from the top of the castle's rock, I also saw some excellent views. 

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Earlier this week, my parents and the bloke and I took a day trip to Oglebay Park Resort, which is located in Wheeling, West Virginia. When I was younger, I had heard so much about this light display from others. We never went to it because it was always rumoured to be very busy. We visited earlier in the week, and although it was busy, it was not too busy. The light display starts at 6:00pm, but we found that many of the lights were on earlier. There are about six miles of lights with some along the loop road and others down the road in another part of the resort. Some of the lights were also along the main highway that borders the park.

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We arrived earlier to avoid the crowds, and we wanted to take a look in the shops. Our first stop was to the glass shop, gift shop, and garden shop. There is also a glass museum and Oglebay Mansion museum here too. This area was decorated with lights in the shape of flowers. There was also a large nativity scene here, and this was decorated nicely. The shop in the garden house (Palm House) had a good view of the resort, and this can also be enjoyed outside.

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After getting more information about the Festival of Lights and shops, we went to a Christmas shop, which was a short drive down the road. We saw many deer in Oglebay Park. 

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Before it got really dark, we saw the most beautiful sunset.

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We spent about an hour driving around to see the beauitful lights. These were all created in different shapes and moved. We saw running deer, children having a snowball fight, a moving ferris wheel and carousel, a skiier, a train, and so much more. There are tours as well; a trolley located at the main lodge runs tours. There are also coaches that come in. Both of these options have a tour, and I believe that there is a tour on the radio that you can tune in to as well for more information about some of the lights. We didn't do this. 

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The Festival of Lights started in 1985, and it runs annually from early November until January 1st. To complete the tour, guests are asked to arrive for 6:00, but we found that the lights were being switched on earlier in most places, and they were being switched on just before dusk. I can imagine that weekends do get extremely busy.

One of the items on my list was to visit Clifton Mill, located near Springfield and Dayton, Ohio. I'd always seen photographs of Clifton Mill as it is very picturesque and used in a lot of photographs and calendars. I never knew where it was, but I happened to see it in a post about good Christmas lights to visit in various locations in Ohio. I convinced my parents and the bloke to have a day road trip with me in order to visit the mill for a meal and then to see the Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill.

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Clifton Mill was purchased by its current owners in 1988, and they put Christmas lights on the mill in 1989. Each year, the Christmas lights expanded to what it is today. It starts out at 6:00pm each night; the lights are turned on, and a light show begins the display with the covered bridge next to the mill becoming illuminated while being set to music. The rest of the grounds and the mill itself is illuminated with twinkling lights, some of them appearing to be moving water, and they light up the rocks along the creek below and the mill wheel. The photographs really do not do any justice as to how awesome and beautiful it looked.

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However, it's not all about the Christmas lights. We arrived at Clifton Mill near mid-day after a two-hour car journey. In the winter, the Clifton Mill restaurant is not open for dinner unless it is a Friday or Saturday night. Instead, we stopped in to have lunch. Their breakfast menu is available all day, and my mother and I opted for breakfast while the bloke and my father had the hamburger. My mother had French toast (which was tempting and delicious), but I had the buttermilk pancakes with blueberries. Both were served with Maple Syrup. The portion size of the pancakes was huge. Apparently, those who can finish the two massive and thick pancakes get a third for free. I could not even finish one of the pancakes; they were the largest pancakes I have ever seen! The pancakes are the signature dish and are delicious; they sell them in three flavours (buttermilk, buckwheat and cornflower), and the mixes are sold at their gift shop. The pancakes and French toast could be served with pecan-syrup bacon. This tasted so good that I ordered another two rashers.

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Raspberry lemonade

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Pancakes

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Blueberry pancakes

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French toast

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Hamburger

Also located next to the mill is an old gas station with a working pump, and this doubles as a museum. I believe that gas-related items can be seen at other times of the year, but in the winter, part of it is a toy museum. The other part of it is a Santa's room, but we did not visit that area. Santa climbs the chimney once every twenty minutes when the light show is on, and he waves to the crowd before descending back into his room. The building was only open during the light show.

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Gas station

The covered bridge was also closed and only open during the light show, so we could not enter it. We could see the replica model village, though, but a few buildings and items were covered and not running; they only came to life during the light show hours. Model diners, a drive-in theatre showing movie clips, a train, and other replica buildings were on display.

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After we ate our meals, we headed out to check out the village of Yellow Springs, which had the air of a university village. We went into a couple of shops before driving to Jersey Dairy, which is another attraction up the road from Clifton Mill. They have a nice gift shop, restaurant, and crazy golf course here. The main attraction is the ice cream. For the "flavour of the week", two scoops of ice cream are given for the price of one. The flavour was "Peppermint Stick", so I had this, and the ice cream was amongst the best that I've ever had. It tasted so good, and it was so creamy and smooth (with bits of peppermint here and there). 

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Peppermint stick ice cream from Young's Jersey Dairy

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Yellow Springs

After this, we drove back to the Interstate to have a wander for a couple of hours at the Central Ohio Antiques Centre. There are a few different antique malls here, and the one we visited was so huge that we did not even come close to seeing everything before we had to leave to go to Clifton Mill to see the Legendary Lights.

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We arrived at Clifton Mill when the doors opened at 5:00pm for the Legendary Lights. The first light show takes place at 6:00pm, which we did not realise at the time. Refreshments were being sold with pulled pork, hot dogs, pretzels, popcorn, sugar cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, and mulled cider on offer. I ordered a hot chocolate, mulled cider, cookie and popcorn to share while we sat by the window in the mill and waited before grabbing some good spots for the light show. The temperatures were freezing again, so we watched the light show and did not hang around too long. I wish that the snow had still been on the ground in order to justify the freezing temperatures, at least.

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I found the light show to be beautiful and recommend it. Do note that it is popular, and we visited on a Monday and it was still very busy. To see the lights, it costs $10.00 per person to enter the grounds. We found this a little steep when considering that the refreshments were also costly; it was $3.00 for one of those small styrafoam cups filled with hot chocolate or mulled wine. However, I do think that the maintenance and cost of installing the lights is very expensive. Also, make sure to get there early and grab a good spot to see the light show projected onto the covered bridge as there is not a lot of room. Unfortunately, they have boarded up the windows on the covered bridge and on the opposite side of the bridge so that you are unable to take any photographs in the prime locations and have to settle with an angle of the mill. I wish that we could have taken photographs from better angles, and this is my main criticism.

From the first of November until the beginning of January, the Courthouse Light Show takes place in Cambridge, Ohio. The light show is projected onto the courthouse and snychronised with Christmas music. The lights change colour and blink on and off to reveal different shapes, which relate to the music being played. Cambridge, Ohio also offers the Dickens Victorian Village figures on display along the main street and around the courthouse, and you may have seen my previous post about this: Dickens Victorian Village

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I previously went in 2009, and that was another very cold and wintery day with snow on the ground. That year, we opted to watch the display from the car. On cold days, the light show can be watched from the car while tuning into a particular radio station. However, I survived thirty minutes of the light show in the cold this year, along with another group of people who were there before we arrived. 

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The courthouse was built in 1881. The light show consists of over 55,000 lights and three 20-foot Christmas trees and 60 animated displays. Traditional, children's, and contemporary Christmas songs are played. There are four different light shows that are between 8 and 12 minutes long each. I watched half an hour of the show.

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Cambridge's Courthouse Light Show takes place daily from 5:30pm until 9:00pm. It plays until 11:00pm on its extended days, which include Thanksgiving day, Christmas day, Christmas eve, New Year's day, and New Year's eve. The courthouse is located on Wheeling Avenue, which is the main street through downtown Cambridge.

Last week, I visited the Dickens Victorian Village at Cambridge, Ohio. This is not too far from where my parents live. The last time we visited and walked around to see the statues was in 2009, and you can read my post about it here. The Dickens Victorian Village is an exhibit that has taken place since 2006 with local businessman Bob Ley creating the figures and dressing them in Victorian fashion; Ley's business was in men's clothing. The Dickens Victorian Village and the light show at the courthouse (I'll cover this in another post) draw crowds over Christmas, and we saw at least one bus in town on the day we visited. 

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There are now over 180 life-sized figures in 93 different scenes on the main street of Cambridge, and a bronze plaque next to each one gives interesting facts and information about Victorian life. Some of these are in shop windows, and others are out in the streets. Mimicking our 2009 visit, we had heavy snowfall the day before; we'd planned to visit that day but were snowed in so planned to go the following day. The snow was on the figures and over some of the bronze plaques. (We took care to walk the pavements/sidewalks as it was very cold the day we visited and any snow that had started to melt had turned to ice in places.) 

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Cambridge's main street has a lot to offer in terms of craft shops, coffee shops, supermarkets, specialist food shop, bakeries, antique shops, and restaurants. There's also an old-style theatre, and it had just finished a production of "A Chrostmas Story", based on the film. Cambridge is also known for its glassware with local companies Boyds (now closed) and Mosser glass. Some of the glass is sold in local stores or at its location a couple of minutes drive from the main street. It's also sold in the Discovery Center, where you can learn more about the Dickens Village. We did visit Mosser's and bought some nice glassware.

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We walked up and down the street so that we could see the figures and had a meal at Theo's restaurant, which is a popular and recommended restaurant on the main street. After getting warmed up, we headed back outside to catch the Courthouse Holiday Light Show, which I will post about later.

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Dickens Victorian Village runs from the first of November until the 2nd of January. For more information, visit their official website at http://www.dickensvictorianvillage.com. Worth a stop is Kennedy's Bakery, one of the best bakeries in the area. I love the Chinese tea cakes. Also do not forget to visit the antique shops (Penny Court) and Mosser's glassware (a short drive away), and stay for the light show on the courthouse in the middle of the main street; it starts at 5:30pm.

On Saturday, I went to the Christmas Cookie Tour of Inns in Ohio's Amish Country. This is an annual tour that involves visiting twelve inns/hotels that make part of the trail. Different hotels sign up every year, but hotels on past tours also sign up to generate interest. At each stop, visitors look at various rooms that the hotels have to offer, and the hotels and rooms are decorated for the holidays. Snacks and drinks are also available at each stop, and visitors pick up their free wrapped cookie at each. 

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The guide book that came with the ticket and contains information about the hotels on the route also contains a recipe for each cookie and information about the hotel. The theme for this year is "Songs in the Air, Christmas in My Heart" and is based on Christmas songs. I went on the tour a few years ago, and you can read about the 2013 Christmas Cookie Tour here. Continue reading to learn about this year's stops.

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The Barn Inn: The Barn Inn is located near Millersburg, Ohio. It is a restored barn and serves bed and breakfast and where stories about the Amish are told at breakfast time. The hotel was decorated for the holidays with the rooms decorated. Also decorated was the breakfast room, which had the tables set with festive decorations and cookies created in the shape of vintage Christmas cards out of edible paper. This year, a goat dressed in festive dress was also present and at the entrance of the hotel. The rooms and decor here are are traditional. (Cookie: Oreo Cheesecake)

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Guggisberg Swiss Inn: Guggisberg Swiss Inn, located near Charm, has 24 rooms and overlooks a valley. Horse and carriage rides are on offer, and breakfast is included. The inn resembles a Swiss chalet with high ceiling in the lobby, carved wooden cuckoo clock, and wooden bear. A few years ago, the hotel started a vineyard and creates its own wine, which can be sampled at the hotel. The rooms here are vintage-modern. (Cookie: Coffee Toffee Treasures)

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Berlin Resort: The Berlin Resort, located in Berlin, has 77 rooms and a swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre, cinema, golf green, and trail. The rooms have a modern feeling, and we were able to explore a couple of the different types of room, including the bridal suite. (Cookie: Monster Marshmallow)

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Comfort Suites: Comfort Suites is located in Berlin, Ohio. The hotel is a modern one with rooms that are decorated in a modern style. The lobby was decorated with a Christmas tree, and we got to see a couple of decorated rooms; blue was the colour used this year. (Cookie: Red Velvet Sugar)

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Berlin Grande Hotel: The Berlin Grande Hotel, located in Berlin, is a four-storey hotel with modern urban design. The rooms were decorated for Christmas with modern-but-traditional decor. One room was dedicated to the cardinal and decorated with imagery of the bird. (Cookie: Rudolph's Chocolate Cherry Bar)

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Carlisle Country Inn: The Carlisle Country Inn is located near Berlin and is a large house with seven rooms. Each room has its own unique style. The lobby has high ceilings, and a large tree and carol singers were amongst the decorations. (Cookie: Mocha Chip)

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Garden Gate Get-A-Way: The Garden Gate Get-A-Way is located near Millersburg, Ohio. It is one of the newer hotels on offer in the Amish country and features two single cabins and additional rooms in the main building. We were able to see inside one of the cabins. (Cookie: Heavenly Ginger)

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Oak Ridge Inn: Located in Walnut Creek, Ohio, is Oak Ridge Inn. Each room has a different wooden theme and colour. There are good views over the valley, and we were informed that the hotel is very popular. Due to limited parking, we parked at the Wallhouse Hotel and had a horse and carriage ride to the inn. The decor of the rooms vary, but they are traditional. Good views can be seen from some of the rooms. (Cookie: Chestnut Chocolate Chip)

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Carlisle Inn Walnut Creek: This hotel is located at Walnut Creek and was decorated nicely for the holidays with plenty of Christmas trees and festive decor in the rooms that were open to visit. Each room has its own design. The rooms featured are more traditional in design, and they offer good views. When we were leaving, they put a horse out front with a sleigh of gifts. The horse and carriage rides are located near the hotel (Cookie: Chocolate Raspberry)

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The Inn at Walnut Creek: This hotel, located near Walnut Creek, offers a selection of rooms in its main building or three larger jacuzzi rooms. The hotel is modern in style, and all rooms are on a single ground floor level. (Cookie: French Butter Madeleines)

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The Inn at Amish Door: This hotel is located in Wilmont, Ohio. On location is a large and popular Amish restaurant and shops. The accommodation is modern-traditional and the rooms were decorated well for the holidays. The lobby is beautiful with high ceilings and a large tree. (Cookie: Bell Linzer)

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Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek: Located in Sugarcreek and also close to another popular Amish restaurant is Carlisle Inn Sugarcreek. The rooms are modern-traditional and each have a balcony. Each room has a different style. (Cookie: Cinnamon Roll Sugar)

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For more information about the tour, visit http://www.christmascookietour.com.

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