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More than likely, if you've driven between historic Lebanon and Mason in Warren County, Ohio you've crossed the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad (LM&M Railroad) on at least one occasion. Rich in history, this railroad offers scenic train rides throughout Warren County on about 16 miles of track. Today, you can experience glimpses of the past while enjoying new family fun adventures on the LM&M Railroad!
You're sure to find many family fun opportunities on LM&M's 2012 schedule that are sure to please the whole family. The schedule kicks off with a popular attraction, the Easter Bunny Express. On this ride children will have the opportunity to visit with the Easter Bunny as well as take part in an Easter Egg Hunt and coloring contest at LM&M Junction. At just under two hours, this trip is the perfect ride for young children.
The Easter Bunny Express will be held over two spring weekends: March 31-April 1 and April 6-7 and takes passengers on a fun-filled 4.4 mile ride. Departure times are 10:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. For ticket information, be sure to contact LM&M Railroad early, because space is limited.
Can't make it on this ride? Not to worry, the LM&M Railroad runs all year long and features regular 1-hour train rides, a popular ride that takes passengers from the Lebanon Station to the Southwest Golf Ranch and back with no layover as well as many special character rides like The Cat in the Hat and Curious George rides in June & July and a Train Ride with Clifford in August. Be sure to check out their website for up-to-date info or to purchase tickets.
Long before the LM&M played host to these whimsical rides for children, it served as a commuter train, transporting workers between Cincinnati and Dayton in the late 1800's. With the construction of Cincinnati Union Terminal in 1931 and later, interstate highways, the LM&M was used less and less for the daily commute. According to Angela Krisanda, Marketing Manager at LM&M Railroad, "Some of the train cars were actual cars used in New Jersey and New York for public transportation at one time." Today, you will see both freight and passenger trains along the LM&M tracks.
Alongside the LM&M tracks, you have the opportunity to take in not only the beautiful Warren County countryside and natural wonders but also many historical landmarks like the old Schoolhouse, built in the 1800's and operated as a school until the 1890's, The Crossing Watchman's Tower and the Lebanon Railroad Station, built as a replica of the original Lebanon Victorian-style passenger station. Warren County is rich with history, and you will experience a taste of that along the LM&M Railroad.
In more recent years, LM&M Railroad achieved notoriety as a backdrop for a famous car chase scene in Milk Money, a 1994 film starring Melanie Griffith and Ed Harris.
LM&M Railroad is the perfect vacation destination to mix historical education and good old-fashioned fun, and it's a Warren County spot you won't want to miss. If you're looking for more great family fun while you're in town check out some of the other world-class attractions you'll find in Ohio's Largest Playground here!
The people have spoken, and on Wednesday, February 8th the winners of the Best of Warren County poll were honored in an awards ceremony at the Great Wolf Lodge Conference Center. Throughout the month of January the public sent nominations for their favorite local attractions to The Pulse-Journal. Thousands of votes were then cast for the finalist of 10 different categories including Best Hidden Gem, Best Festival, Best Burger and more.
The awards were designed to highlight some of the brightest features of Warren County not only for residents of the area, but also for out-of-town visitors looking to get a taste of local flavor. So when you visit us let this list of local favorites act as your tour guide to the can't miss spots in Warren County.
Best Burger: Quatman Cafe, Mason
Quatman Cafe, originally founded in 1966 in the Norwood neighborhood of Cincinnati, has brought its huge, tasty burgers north to a new location in Mason. Matt Imm, owner of Quatman Cafe said "We get fresh deliveries of meat everyday and like all our food, the burger is hand-made." It's this care and detail put into every burger and a devoted fan base that has Quatman Cafe topping the charts of the "Best Burger" category.
Best Festival: The Ohio Renaissance Festival
One of the largest festivals of its kind in the United States the Ohio Renaissance Festival gives visitors the unique opportunity to enjoy over 400 years of fun in a single weekend. Over 150 costumed characters welcome visitors to the 30-acre re-created 16th Century English Village and partake in nearly 100 daily shows from jousting matches to dueling sword shows. Visitors of all ages will be amused by the food, games and human-powered rides at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.
Best Dessert at a Local Restaurant: Ice Cream at Mr. Frosty
This ice cream stand in downtown Franklin, Ohio has been enjoyed by members of the community for more than 30 years. Tasty treats such as the Wildcat Twist, named for the local high school football team, and the footlong coney with chili and cheese are a few of the hometown favorites. So if you're in town on a hot summer night and need a quick cool-down, stop in and try the best dessert in Warren County.
Favorite Dish at a Local Restaurant: Pulled Pork from Porky Capone's
Having only been open for a year, Porky Capone's has quickly become a local favorite, due in large part to the fact that owner, Mark Groce, practically lives at the restaurant ensuring that his Southern style BBQ is always slow-cooked to perfection. Although he hates to choose favorites amongst his own culinary masterpieces, Groce admits that the pulled pork is one of his most popular dishes, evidenced by the number of votes it received from the public.
Best Hidden Gem: Irons Fruit Farms
This 4th generation farm is dedicated to providing farm fresh fruit including apples, cherries, pumpkins and peaches as well as delicious fresh-baked goods to the public. Throughout the year you can pick your own fruits and in the fall the farm offers many great seasonal activities including a corn maze, hayrides and a pumpkin patch. You can also find the Irons Fruit Farm folks at the annual Lebanon Country Applefest held every September.
Best Historical Site: The Golden Lamb
The Golden Lamb is recognized as the oldest continuously operating business in the State of Ohio, so it's fitting that it would win in this category. The Golden Lamb has also hosted many notables throughout history like 12 U.S. Presidents, including President Lincoln who stopped in town on his way from Illinois to the White House. You can also stop in the restaurant and have a drink where Charles Dickens once sat.
A Not-to-miss with Teenagers on Vacation: Ozone Zipline Adventures
This exhilarating ride through the canopy of the Little Miami River Valley will leave you breathless. Now offering 3 unique zipline tours, including one tour that crosses the Little Miami River at 250 feet in the air PLUS a Full Moon Night Zipping tour, Ozone Ziplines is the ultimate adventure for your teen. Not only will your teen test their nerves, but with a full staff of knowledgeable guides to accompany them they might even learn something about the 500 million year old fossils they're soaring over, the 2000 year old Native American Earthworks across the river at Fort Ancient or current environmental issues like water conservation and habitat loss.
Best Place to Create Winter Holiday Memories: The Christmas Ranch, Morrow
A whimsical place with 350,000 dancing Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music, the Christmas Ranch is one of the best places in Warren County to make Holiday memories with your family. Get your picture with Santa, take a night time wagon ride through the village and mark that special someone off your list with a gift from the Christmas Shop.
Congratulations to all of our 2011 Best of Warren County Winners! The competition was stiff and although these winners were voted the best this year, there are plenty of other great places to dine, shop and create lasting memories with your family in Warren County. Surf through our site to find other priceless gems you won't want to miss.
You don't have to travel far to find beautiful parks, serene campsites and natural wonders, and with the price of gas nearing $4.00 as well as skyrocketing airfare that's good news to travelers in the Midwest. With spots like Caesar's Creek State Park and Fort Ancient Archaeological Park, a National Historic Landmark, lovers of the outdoors will find the perfect family getaway, not far away in Ohio's Largest Playground.
Caesar Creek State Park
Caesar Creek is a Warren County park offering 7,900 acres for your family to enjoy several outdoor, recreational activities. Located just minutes from Waynesville, Ohio and with FREE admission to the park, families can easily access and explore the trails, lake, beaches and campgrounds of this natural gem.
Visitor's Center - The state of the art visitor center offers a wide variety of displays and presentations featuring exhibits on the area's cultural and natural history. The center also holds numerous special events throughout the year, click here to see what's upcoming.
Trails- Caesar Creek State Park boasts over 40 miles of trails including a 16 mile stretch of the Buckeye Trail passing through the park. Visitors can choose from a variety of hiking trails including 2 hiking only trails as well as 4 horse-back riding trails and 2 mountain biking trails that also allow hiking. These trails offer many overlooks of the scenic gorges and vistas that make Caesar Creek a naturally beautiful destination.
Camping- Three camping areas with over 200 camp sites are available with electricity and bathroom amenities in designated areas. With many pet-friendly sites available including 30 equestrian camp sites you and your entire family can enjoy the great outdoors with all the comforts of home Also, more Ohio camping sites are available along the Little Miami River at certain canoeing destinations. To make reservations for camp rentals and shelters, please click here or call 866-644-6727.
Fishing- Cast out and kick back with some of the best small-mouth and large-mouth bass fishing in the area. Anglers of all skill levels are welcome. Valid fishing licenses are required.
Picnicking- Four designated picnic areas equipped with tables, grills and drinking water are located throughout the park. Picnic areas can be reserved by contacting 866-644-6727.
Swimming- Mom and dad can catch some rays while the kids take a dip along the 1,300 foot public beach. Open during daylight hours with public changing rooms available, the beach at Caesar Creek makes for a great weekend escape.
Boating- The 2,830-acre lake is perfect for motor boats, fishing boats and kayaks. Visitors must register their own boats before operating on the lake. Rentals are also available upon request.
Pioneer Village - Enjoy a step back in time as you tour the historical Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village. Comprised of a collection of 15 original and replica pioneer cabins and other structures including a schoolhouse, carpenter shop and toll house the village is open year-round, however cabins can be toured only on special event weekends. During these special events reenactors demonstrate the tasks of daily life and offer a fun and interactive opportunity for children to learn about history and what life was like during pioneer times. Click here to find upcoming events.
Be sure to check out Fort Ancient on June 9-10 for a "Gathering of Four Directions". This event features educational programming about American Indian culture with dancing, drums, storytelling and much more!
Fort Ancient State Memorial, 6123 St Rt 350, Oregonia, Ohio 45054
For more information please visit www.fortancient.org.
When you stroll down the streets of Lebanon and drive through the hills of Warren County, you are in good company. Presidential company, that is! Lebanon, Ohio has been graced with a multitude of visits from Presidents dating back to as early as the 1800s. As we honor Presidents' Day this month, we thought it would be interesting to highlight many of Warren County's esteemed Presidential visitors through the years.
Perhaps one of the most beloved U.S. Presidents to visit Warren County was Abraham Lincoln. In 1862, President-elect Lincoln traveled through Warren County on his way from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. Historian John Zimkus wrote, "Being on the Little Miami Railroad, what is now the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail, Lincoln traveled the full length of Warren County." Another Lincoln connection to Warren County: his great uncle, John, lived on 181-acre farm between Lebanon and the community of Red Lion. John and his wife, Mary, are buried in Lebanon's Pioneer Cemetery, located just six blocks from the historic Golden Lamb Restaurant & Inn. Click here for Pioneer Cemetery Tours coming in May.
Known for main streets rich with antique shops, Lebanon has been host to numerous presidents on the campaign trail or passing through Ohio. Several presidents have also stayed at the Golden Lamb, Ohio's oldest hotel. While campaigning for the presidency in 1840, William Henry Harrison delivered a speech in Lebanon near what is now the Warren County fairgrounds. Two years later after Harrison's visit, Martin Van Buren, who lost his re-election bid to Harrison in 1840, traveled to Lebanon and visited the Golden Lamb on his way to Columbus.
The Golden Lamb has been a destination of many presidents since that time, and consequently has rooms named after several of these Presidential visitors. More recently, The Golden Lamb has been visited by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. As governor of California, Reagan visited in 1968 while campaigning for Congressman Buz Lukens. While George H. Bush was campaigning in the area in 1988, his wife, Barbara Bush, held a fundraising event in Lebanon and stayed overnight at The Golden Lamb. Their son, George W. Bush, visited The Golden Lamb in 2004. Of the 12 presidents who have visited The Golden Lamb, he is the only one to come while in office. Other presidents to visit and have rooms named after them include:
• John Quincy Adams: As the 6th U.S. President, Adams was one of only two presidents to visit Lebanon after his term in office. He arrived in Lebanon in 1843 on his way to Cincinnati.
• Ulysses S. Grant: Originally from Ohio, Grant, visited The Golden Lamb in his younger years (most likely in the 1820-30's). He served as the 18th U.S. President.
• Rutherford B. Hayes: When campaigning to be governor of Ohio, Hayes came to Lebanon in 1867. He was elected to be the 19th U.S. President eleven years later.
• James Garfield: Garfield, the 20th U.S. President, visited Lebanon in 1871 to give a political address at Washington Hall, two blocks away from The Golden Lamb.
• William McKinley: The last time McKinley came to Lebanon was in 1893 when running for re-election as governor of Ohio. He was the 25th U.S. President.
• William Howard Taft: In 1898, Taft, the 27th U.S. President, traveled to Lebanon to attend a funeral. He had dinner at The Golden Lamb during his visit.
• Warren G. Harding: Harding, the 29th U.S. President, spoke at the Lebanon Opera House in 1910 and again in 1914, subsequently serving in the U.S. Senate and six years later as president.
Get into the Presidential spirit this month and experience the rich history Warren County offers. You can check out additional opportunities in the area and get museum and historical site details by visiting Journey into the past.
Presidents' Day Shopping Sale: Cincinnati Premium Outlets
Charles Schulz might have said it best, "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, you might be thinking about something special you can do for or with your special Valentine. Whether it's sweet treats or a special outing, many local Warren County businesses offer tempting treats and deals that are certain to sweeten your Valentine's Day. For a complete list of upcoming events, see our events calendar, or keep reading to find a few ideas to make your Valentine's Day much sweeter including some romantic getaways in Ohio that will knock your socks off!
Main Street Sweets owner Vickie Larcomb says her Mason candy shop will cover just about anything in chocolate! Everything is made from scratch, including homemade flavored marshmallows dipped in chocolate, chocolate-covered strawberries and even Twinkie's dipped in chocolate! Family owned for five years, Main Street Sweets boasts all kinds of delectable creations, including a multitude of popcorn treats: caramel, chocolate, cherry flavored, etc. Main Street Sweets makes its own chocolate and is known for its heart-shaped Rice Crispy treats dipped in chocolate - perfect for Valentine's Day!
Family owned since 1970, Valley Vineyards in Morrow offers numerous ways to celebrate Valentine's Day. If fine wine and good food fit into your Valentine's Day plans, be sure to check out Valley Vineyards' offerings. On Wednesday, February 8, take part in Grand Tastings, a popular event that features great wine, wonderful food, good company and live music. This month's featured wines will be Valley Vineyards' Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. For just $25 per person and up to 22 wine samplings, this event is a tremendous time at a tremendous value. Reservations required (513-899-9022).
Join Valley Vineyards' Weekend Cookout on Saturday, February 11 for some relaxing, and romantic Valentine's Day fun with your special someone. Typically, weekend cookouts appeal to groups, but according to owner Joe Schuchter, on the Saturday before Valentine's Day, you will find mostly couples cooking their meals and sipping on wine. Reservations are requested. Price is $59 per couple with one bottle of wine (age 21 and over). Feel like staying in? Valley Vineyards re-released its popular pink-label Merlot just in time for Valentine's Day. This medium-bodied Merlot smells like cocoa and pairs wonderfully with chocolate. You can find it online or at Kroger and Remke-Biggs.
Known for its Texas Tortoise and Almond Toffee, Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory offers an extensive selection of assorted chocolates, creams and chocolate molds. The shop's famous Texas Tortoise is made from pecan halves covered in caramel and then dipped in both milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Joy Kossouji of Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory says that each batch of their Almond Toffee is made with 12 pounds of butter! The raw almonds are added to the chocolate mixture and cook in the batch as the toffee cools. "The entire shop smells delicious when we make that almond toffee," Kossouji says.
Other shop specialties include caramel bars (each one weighs 4-5 ounces), snack clusters (popcorn, pecans, raisins, coconut and chocolate), chocolate molds (all kinds of shapes including turtles, trains and planes for children), and white pretzel sundaes (white chocolate, pretzels and milk chocolate on top). Stop by Golden Turtle for one-of-a-kind, delectable treats for your Valentine.
These are all great ways to liven up your Valentine's Day in Warren County, but certainly the list is not exhaustive. For other great ideas for romantic dining check out our local favorites listings, or for more great packages see our vacation packages page.