Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hocking Valley--Down Memory Lane

by Abhijit Bora

It is a commendable idea and activity that our entire programme has been interspersed with cultural events from time to time. Yesterday (July 18th) was such a memorable day. We were guided on a trip around Hocking Valley and its picturesque surroundings and tourist places by the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council Tour Guide, Shawnee. We got to see the area’s rich history dating back to the thriving coal-mining days to the efforts of various organizations and institutions, including Hocking College, to revive the tourist interest in this area.

Throughout the day we had visited places like the Nelsonville town square with the oldest Tavern, in operation since the coal days and still very much in business. Also we saw the water fountain, the art galleries, the Haydenville Museum, Church, Payne Cemetary, and New Straitsville‘s Museum.

Other important highlights of the day included a stop by the Robinson’s Cave which unveiled the kind of struggle the early miners had to deal with for a better life. Further, the walking tour along with the Sunday Creek Water project was highly interesting, at least for me because I have also been involved in some similar kind of work back in my community.

Finally, the delicious outdoor dinner by the campsite at Burr Oak Lake was a marvelous finish to the half-a-day activity that enriched our experience in addition to energizing us for a new working week at the Scripps School of Journalism.

The opportunity has helped us in knowing quite a few things about this town’s past. And particularly for me, it has shown me a highly potential way of trying to develop places of tourism interest back in my home province in India where we do have a considerable number of such heritage sites, institutions which may become important tourism destinations – helping the local economy as well as exposing them to the world.

This is specially interesting because we are here not only for academic discourse and research. An insight into the cultural aspect of the country is also what we did have in mind. Being media educators and professionals, such cultural and historical exposure is highly welcome and desirable for all of us.

Shopping Spree
It is quite natural that whenever a person goes on a foreign visit, people back home – family members, friends, colleagues--do expect some gifts. So Saturday was the D-Day all of us, as all the roads lead to Easton Mall in Columbus.

Even though I am not much of a “shopper”, I also enjoyed the experience of joining the tide by going on a shopping jamboree along with the others. It was a good experience with so many shops, utility stores and others all within whistling distance from each other. The day was well-spent though the wallet has made a big complaint of not being its kind of day.

We had the ‘shopping time’ of the entire visit and lapped up everything in sight from computers to perfumes for dear ones and toys and video games for kids, testing the patience of Mary, Ed and Arman to the most possible extent.

Beer Festival
Claudia has already given you at least some idea about the various aspects of the Athens Brew Festival that concluded on Friday. Yes, like the Oktoberfest I also expected a whole line up of locally-grown beer varieties at discounted prices with lots of food, merry-making and dancing and singing.

Though I have never had an opportunity yet to visit Germany to see Oktoberfest, I have heard and read a lot about it leading to a kind of certain image in my mind. (Of course I have visited Germany in the literal sense of the term. That is, I waited for periods ranging from a few hours to almost twelve hours while transiting through the Frankfurt airport).

But, for me the most important bonus of the Brew festival evening on the concluding day was to have the pleasure of enjoying the company of Beauties of the earlier years – Bugattis, Model Ts, Mustangs, Harley Davidsons of vintage variety were lined in a show at the festival venue. This was quite a memorable experience for me and I could not resist a few snaps with them. I have a special interest in such vintage cars since childhood, becoming more pronounced nowadays maybe because of my own ‘soon-to-be-vintage’ age.

Another major highlight of the fest evening was the melodious and soothing singing of our very own professor from Scripps School which helped a lot in boosting the spirits of the visitors. Overall it was an enjoyable and memorable experience with the company of Ed along with Arman and family.

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