by Jodi Bird
Bring on the holiday season with a trip to Cambridge, Ohio. The Dickens Victorian Village and the Guernsey County Courthouse’s light show are just two of the many wonderful things to enjoy during your visit.
We spent an entire day (10 hours) in Cambridge and we were on the move the entire time. It was such a fun filled day with so much diversity. This town of 11,000 people has a great Ohio heritage. The historical downtown area is filled with boutiques, restaurants and of course the Dickens characters.
Coffee and Pastries
Kennedy’s has been serving delicious and adorable pastries for generations. They offer your tried-and-true as well as unique, seasonal treats. Stop in and grab your favorite and then head a few doors down and enjoy your snack with a great cup of coffee at Ladders Coffee Bar. This coffee shop has original stamped tin ceilings, cozy seating, and a great atmosphere to sit, talk and relax.
Kennedy’s Bakery 1025 Wheeling Ave. Cambridge, Ohio
Ladders Coffee Bar 953 Wheeling Ave. Cambridge, Ohio
Plan Your Day
After filling your belly, head down to the Guernsey County Visitors Center (627 Wheeling Ave) and Dickens Victorian Village Welcome Center (open on Fridays and Saturdays 10:00am – 6:00pm) to plan your day. City maps and various brochures will help you navigate and optimize your time.
Both places offer step-by-step visuals of how the Dickens characters are created and put together. The Welcome Center offers a great place for family pictures and shopping. You can purchase Victorian era hats for $5!
Interested in Cambridge’s history? Hopping on the trolley and being given a guided tour is one of the best ways to learn a lot about Cambridge that you might not normally have found out about. The ride is an hour long and is extremely informative. The trolley will take you up on mansion hill and tell you about the beautiful homes built over 100 years ago.
Trolleys runs on the hour. You can purchase your tickets inside the Dickens Victorian Village Welcome Center (647 Wheeling Ave). The trolley is available on December 12th and 19th from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Tickets are $10.
Cambridge is a great town to stroll through and do some holiday shopping. Both sides of the street offer multiple boutiques with a great assortment of merchandise. Supporting locally owned businesses is so important.
Dickens Victorian Village
While walking along the downtown sidewalks, you will encounter 86 different scenes depicting life in England during Queen Victoria’s reign. They are all quite charming, dressed in real clothes from that time. By reading the short descriptions on each scene, you will learn about many various aspects of the Victorian era: games, traditions, culture, economics.
A few fun facts:
- The average life of a mannequin’s head is seven years.
- This is the 15th year for the Dickens Victorian Village
- The vocational school in nearby Buffalo makes the wooden frames
- Over 200 volunteers are needed to make this event happen
- It will be hard to decide which one is your favorite!
Volunteer Opportunity: If you would like to help, contact the Visitors Center. Help is needed throughout the year to not only set up, but to disassemble, mend and repair.
Just like Kennedy’s, Theo’s is a time-honored restaurant. Opening in 1931, it is known for their Coney Dogs, Fish n Chips, and pies. Oh, the pies! If you’re too full after your delicious, homemade meal, you might want to consider taking a pie home to enjoy.
Theo’s 632 Wheeling Ave. Cambridge, Ohio
Cambridge is home to two remarkably interesting museums. The Guernsey County Historical Museum is full of wonderful displays throughout their 16 room home. A tour guide will show you the miniature coal mine, the war room, a one room schoolhouse and so much more. This is a great place for adults and kids alike to learn about, not just Guernsey County, but Ohio history as well.
Be sure to notice the mile marker out front. Originally located all along the National Road, Route 40, these markers note how far from the beginning point in Cumberland as well as the distance to the next big cities. There is also a marker in front of the courthouse.
Guernsey County Historical Museum 218 N. 8th St. Cambridge, Ohio
Glass production was huge all over Ohio from the turn of the century until around the 1950s. Cambridge was no exception. The National Museum of Cambridge Glass has an extensive display of many of the pieces that were hand blown and created throughout those decades. A short video starts off your tour, giving you insight into just how much work went into making the exquisite glass pieces. From there, you’ll be guided through the glass making process. You’ll learn about the displayed pieces which are in chronological order, given the opportunity to make rubbings from the etchings tiles and taught how to identify Cambridge Glass.
Cambridge Glass can be purchased as well as glass ornaments made from recycled pieces of Cambridge Glass. These ornaments serve as a fundraiser for the museum.
Volunteer Opportunity: The museum is always in need of volunteers regardless of how much time you can give. Contact the museum for more information.
National Museum of Cambridge Glass 136 S. 9th St. Cambridge, Ohio
Guernsey County Courthouse Light Show
Come early to get a seat on one of the benches in front of the courthouse or bring your own chair. Layer up and bring a blanket because once the show starts, you’ll want to stay for the entire hour, if not longer. Synchronized to music, this light show is fantastic! The front of the courthouse springs into life at 5:30pm with tens of thousands of lights put into action. The show runs until 9:00pm every night through January 1st.
- More than 2000 control circuits are used during each presentation
- The computer-controlled circuits operate in 1/4th of a second increments
- One song is sung by the Cambridge area grade school
- 15,000 lights outline the 1881 courthouse
- Over 55,000 lights are used to create the show
- There are three, 23’ Christmas trees that become part of the light show
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
Hearing the nostalgic clopping hooves going down the street takes you back to a slower time when riding to Grandma’s house for eggnog was the highlight of the season. If you visit Cambridge on the weekends, you can sit back and enjoy a ride around town in the beautiful white carriages pulled by horses. The city has a whole different glow once the sun goes down and the streetlights come on, highlighting the Dickens scenes. Riding around in the carriage adds to the magic.
A small shed is set up on 8th Street, across from the courthouse. Tickets can be purchased here on Friday and Saturdays from 5-9:00pm, weather dependent.
Holiday Traditions in Cambridge
Wow! What a fun day and a great holiday tradition. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic experience in Cambridge. Feel free to comment below what your favorite memory was from your day.
Upcoming events include:
Victorian Tea (12-12-20 @ 1:00pm)
Dickens Christmas Candlelight Walk (12-19-2020 @ 6:00pm)
For more details visit www.dickensvictorianvillagecom or call 740-421-4956
I would like to thank the Cambridge/Guernsey County VCB for a fantastic day. As with all of my trips, the experiences and opinions are my own.