Wheeling, West Virginia – The Christmas Edition
Wheeling, West Virginia – The Christmas Edition
My passengers gathered for a pre-departure, delicious buffet dinner and restful overnight at the Quality Inn, Woodstock.
After breakfast we loaded the motor coach (a capacity departure – 51) and started our journey. It was a very easy and quick border crossing at Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls plus we had the bonus of admiring the falls when we crossed the bridge.
Our morning break stop was at Cracker Barrel. The store was filled with Christmas goodies so many of my passengers and I took advantage of a bit of shopping time.
We enjoyed an Italian style luncheon at Olive Garden. This was a popular choice. The salad bowl was endless, chicken parm or shrimp entree and a choice of 2 lucious desserts. Needless to say by the time we finished our meal we were stuffed!
This is the first time I’ve had a group stay at the Oglebay Wilson Lodge in Wheeling. Many of my passengers reminisced about years ago when Wheeling was a mecca for country music fans – big name entertainers constantly performed at the Capital Theatre.
Wheeling, West Virgiinia is nestled cozily along the banks of the Ohio River.
I booked the luxury rooms at the lodge (they have 54 in this top category) and they were very impressive. The resort was decked out with stunning Christmas displays and many thousand lights inside and out. Some of our resort rooms faced the famous “Festival of Lights” display.
The Ballroom at the lodge was beautifully decorated for the season. We were the first ones to tackle the bountiful buffet – so many upmarket entrees to pick from – it was hard to decide. As we casually enjoyed our meal, a number of coach loads of passengers arrived and before long the ballroom was packed. We had an advantage since were staying at the lodge so we were the first to dine, where as the majority of others were just in for dinner/show and the Festival of Lights display.
After we finished our meal it was showtime. We were entertained by talented musicians and were very impressed with the glass harmonica segment of the show – a spinning musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction.
We were then met by a local guide who was lit up with Christmas lights. He boarded our coach as we drove through the “Festival of Lights” display – one for the most recognized displays in the USA.
Afterwards we gathered for hot chocolate, Christmas goodies and entertainment in a beautiful setting – a perk for those of us staying at the lodge.
The following day we toured Oglebay’s attractions, enjoyed lunch at Cracker Barrel and were met by the same eccentric guide who showed us the lights the night before for a tour of Wheeling. We were all impressed with this community located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Later we gathered for another exceptional meal at the lodge. Some of my passengers dressed for the festive evening.
Four of our passengers acted out the part of “Four Ladies Dancing” (Twelve Days of Christmas) just perfectly at the evening reception that followed. It was fun watching a family in the crowd who were all dressed in their Christmas pajamas – brownie points for the husband who looked so embarrassed when lodge guests clapped for them and starting taking pictures.
We departed the lodge after breakfast. Most of us took advantage of the omlette bar and ate too many breakfast sweets.
Our morning stop was in the charming town of Cambridge, Ohio. We were met by a local guide who took us back in time as we experienced their Dickens Victorian Village. As we strolled admiring over 150 Dickens characters we felt as though we were in Olde England.
Our overnight destination, Sugarcreek is also known as “The Little Switzerland of Ohio”. This small rural community is the “Gateway to Amish Country” and is famous for its Swiss Cheese. There is an abundance of things to see and do here.
We of course savored an Amish buffet feast, took in a Christmas musical, admired the town of Berlin and enjoyed a private dinner banquet in a Swiss Restaurant where the dessert cream puffs were heavenly.
The following morning after breakfast we grabbed last minute photos of the Christmas displays at our overnight hotel before loading the coach for our journey home.
During our travels I passed around massive size Donuts, freshly baked in an Amish kitchen.
Our farewell luncheon was a definite highlight – my passengers questioned how I found this perfect spot – it was decorated to the nines for the festive season. There was a big variety of entrees to choose from but I think everyone enjoyed the chef carved turkey the best – a delicious reminder that Christmas is around the corner.
We were warmly welcomed back into Canada – clearing customs in record time.
We were at our staring point in Woodstock at a decent hour, much appreciated by all.
My passengers loaded their cars with their Christmas Gift purchases and after hugs and kisses were on their way.
I’ve been fortunate to have celebrated Christmas for an extended time with many of you who have traveled with me literally across the world during this season. Christmas will be celebrated again when I host the upcoming Eastern Orthodox Christmas tour in Ukraine.
May the Christmas Season fill your homes with joy.
Merry Christmas to one and all!