My Town Destination: Cambridge, OH-Guernsey County
Trip Type: Day Trip
Date of Visit: 12/14/18
Town Ambassador/Contact: Debbie Robinson Phone: (740) 432-2022 firstname.lastname@example.org
Conveniently located off I-70 and Route 40 (National Road) in Northeastern Ohio is the charming town of Cambridge. Formally a frequent stop for travelers on the National Road, the town has formed a reputation as a great place to stop with it’s unique shops and classic staples. But in the last decade, Cambridge has truly come into its own with an event owned by all its citizens, the Dicken’s Victorian Village.
A Community Unites
The Dicken’s Victorian Village is an incredible story, not of the wonderful hand-made characters you see on the streets, nor for the beautiful lights and stories that add to the experience. The real story here are the countless volunteers that contribute to this effort, and their true civic pride and dedication to the city of Cambridge.
The Dicken’s Victorian Village was the brain child of local Bob Ley. It became what we see today from the work of several key volunteers, including then Cambridge business owner Jonett Haberfield, and Debbie Robinson (Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Bureau) to name a few. Make sure to check out Bob’s message on how this idea came to be here.
Bob and his dedicated volunteers and partners sparked a light in Cambridge that burns bright today. Their hard work has paid off from working the tourism and busing scenes, determined to bring folks from all over Ohio to see the unique attraction. The main idea consists of:
“scenes comprised of life-sized and handmade mannequins wearing real vintage clothing. The faces for each character have been individually sculpted and painted by local artists. Displays include engaging depictions of classic Dickens era scenes and figures such as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, the town crier, groups of carolers, a bucket brigade, lamplighters, school children, street peddlers, and Father Christmas, all posed in active scenes that appear frozen in time” (visitguernseycounty.com).
In order to make all this happen, contacts with schools, civic groups, government agencies, and local citizens all band together each year. Volunteers can help with anything from costume updates to guided tours. This past year there were over 300 volunteers who made the 94 outdoor scenes and 164 mannequins special for visitors. As you walk downtown, its easy to see how the entire town has embraced this now tradition. Everyone has their own featured specialty, and you truly get swept up in the Christmas spirit walking through shops and reading all the outdoor displays. I enjoyed my walk with a Dicken’s Delight! Also, make sure not to miss the Courthouse Holiday Music and Light Show, and Horse Drawn Carriage Rides to top off an enchanting and heart-warming evening.
Institutions, Small Town Charm, and History
It’s hard not to embrace the charm of Cambridge. In fact, the town is so idyllic that it was named one of the top 50 most charming towns by MSN, and one of seven “Hallmark Worthy Towns” by the Dayton Daily News.
There are several institutions that make Cambridge a great place to visit, or a quick stop in your travels. Kennedy’s Bakery, has been family owned and operated since 1925, and has been a full-line, sell out bakery since. This place is the real deal. Hand-made, passed down recipes, and a clientele that keeps coming back. You may come in for the tea cookies, but leave with several new favorite treats! Similarly, Theo’s Restaurant has been in operation since 1931, and is a local mainstay drawing regulars and visitors alike. They have great homemade food including made from scratch pies! If you want great service, great food, and a true Cambridge experience, Theo’s is the place to be.
A Perfect Mix of Old and New
Cambridge is a town that is growing and is in a state of revitalization. When the Interstates were built, there was a down swing in travelers who used to stop off the National Road. Now because of extensive communication from Cambridge institutions and agencies, it is becoming a destination because of its proximity to I-70, I-77, and Route 40. There are several new businesses building their reputation in Cambridge as well as organizations preserving the past.
McKenna’s Market is a unique story and collection of shops in Downtown Cambridge. McKenna’s is owned and operated by a local investor and his wife who wanted to see Cambridge come alive to what it is today. The Old world Market has Ohio made favorites, great wine, and the best deli in town. The dynamic duo also invested and restored buildings that now house more unique businesses in the McKenna family, including Guernsey Kitchen and Roscoe Farms Coffee House and Creamery.
Georgetown Vineyards is another family owned and operated business serving semi-sweet and dry wines. It’s a beautiful and unique experience as it overlooks downtown Cambridge. Here you can enjoy a fun to drive through the huge Greek Pillars as you head up the hill. You can also enhance your evening out by taking in a show at the historic Strand Theater, now operated by the Cambridge Performing Arts Centre.
Traditional Glass, New Markets
Another town staple is Mosser Glass. Started by Orie Mosser, Mosser Glass began when the Cambridge Glass Company closed in 1954. Mosser’s beauty and craftsmanship is known internationally, and you will want to take home everything in their showroom!
Mosser’s predecessor, the famed Cambridge Glass Company, was founded in 1873. Today, there are wonderful and interactive historical institutions dedicated to Cambridge Glass, and the historical preservation of Cambridge. The National Museum of Cambridge Glass, and the Guernsey County History Museum are two such institutions. These are not your typical museums. Both have vibrant volunteers, and fun interactive displays making the experience enjoyable and immersive. A favorite memory was a display at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass, where you can see all the Hollywood movie scenes that use the famed glass.
There is much more to Cambridge then can fit into this short article. It’s an incredible place of history, new development, and most importantly, a community that makes you feel at home. Make sure to check out future articles for more on Cambridge and Guernsey County.
MTT Antique and Market Finds
Great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets are familiar sights in small towns. This can also include Thrift Shops, Local Eats, and the like! Here are some great MTT Antique and Market Finds from Cambridge:
My Town Today has started a referral section of each article. It’s based on the fun of visiting a town, and finding out what town the majority of its citizens would recommend for My Town to visit next.
The referral for this entry is: Steubenville, OH. Stay tuned for My Town Today to pop up there soon.
A Few More Notables for Travel to Cambridge
Guernsey County Genealogical Society- Explore your family history!
Underground Cambridge– A town under a town!