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Millersburg’s Victorian House and Museum

Few homes spark as much curiosity and fascination for so many different reasons as Millersburg’s Victorian House and Museum, located right in the heart of Ohio’s largest Amish settlement.

The 28-room restored Queen Anne style mansion, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places, demonstrates startling architectural beauty while containing intriguing historical items that rekindle the region’s earlier years. The home has appeared on HGTV and in Victorian Homes Magazine.

The old mansion not only becomes a focal point of Millersburg’s popular Halloween activities, but its reputation for housing year-round spirits also has captivated people who are interested in the paranormal.

And, during the Christmas season, the Victorian House wears its most dazzling and festive dress of the year. Every room is cheerfully decorated, with a Christmas tree gracing just about every room.

The home was built by wealthy industrialist L.H. Brightman, whose company, Brightman Manufacturing Co., made steel shafting used for the transmission of power in the U.S and abroad. Brightman’s factory was located in Millersburg until it moved to Shelby, Ohio around 1903. In 1906, the home was purchased by a group of physicians who made it into a sanitarium, which may help to explain some of the remaining “occupants.”

The museum inside the mansion is packed with historical items, including baseball uniforms, dresses, old photographs, musical instruments and strange medical equipment dating back to the 1800s.

On Saturday, October 28, the Victorian House will hold a spooky Ghost Walk during which visitors might catch a glimpse of one of the mansion’s “residents.” Visitors at all times of the year have revealed strange experiences, particularly on the home’s third floor.

The Grand Opening of Holidays at the Mansion will be held on Saturday, November 18, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Then, through the end of the year, Holiday Tours will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays, and 1:00 to 8:00 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays.

At the end of your visit, be sure to sample some of Downtown Millersburg’s diverse selections of food — and perhaps some spirits of another kind. When many Amish Country towns are shutting down for the evening, Millersburg is just getting started.

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Holmes County is the place to see autumn leaves in Ohio

Jiuzhaigou Valley, China; Moscow, Russia; Kyoto, Japan; Transylvania, Romania; and Holmes County, Ohio. These vastly different global destinations share something in common: They are all among the world’s Top 10 Places to See Autumn Leaves, according to the National Geographic book, Four Seasons of Travel.

That’s why thousands of tourists set their sights on Holmes County every autumn to view nature’s canvas of spectacularly colored rolling hills, which provide a backdrop to farmers harvesting fields of pumpkins, gourds and plenty of other crops.

In Holmes County, National Geographic says, “maple, oak and the iconic state tree, the buckeye, hang over narrow roads that meander through wavy fields of corn,” and invites guests to “drive under the boughs of bright reds and yellows, sharing the road with horse-drawn carriages of the Old Order Amish and stopping at roadside farm stands along the way.”

When the weather is right, onlookers can stand on the porch of French Ridge Vineyards, in Killbuck, and see 14 miles of vibrant foliage.

At the end of a day of sightseeing in the crisp fall air, visitors have the chance to sit and relax in the charming pubs and restaurants of Historic Downtown Millersburg.

While many quaint Amish Country towns are shutting down for the evening, Millersburg’s eateries are gearing up with selections that range from barbecue to Angus burgers to pizza — and a large selection of local and regional wine and beer.

Friendly pubs, which offer live evening entertainment, particularly on the weekends, beckon tourists to return — new friends and interesting people can be found to chat with almost anywhere you go.

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Boo in the Burg: Millersburg scares up Halloween fun

Millersburg will be a spooky place to be during Halloween weekend.

Starting on Friday, October 27, victims, er, visitors will descend on downtown Millersburg to take eerie tours into creepy buildings and venues of the paranormal. And, of course, there will be plenty of local wine and cheese to enjoy.

On Saturday evening, Boo in the Burg, one of Historical Downtown Millersburg’s most popular annual events, will feature tours of historic buildings like the old jail and its ominous underground tunnel through which notorious prisoners were escorted from their cells to the courthouse across the street.

The foundation of the jail is made partially from tombstones. Nobody seems to know how or why they were used — nor what happened to the bones that once were buried beneath them.

Just behind the courthouse, Ohio Wine Tasting will feature tastes of local wineries and vineyards from around the state. And you may need a glass or two after — or before — your ghostly tour. A Holmes County cheese-tasting event to raise funding for Every Woman’s House — a domestic violence shelter — also will be held behind the courthouse. Live music will help to drown out the groans the squeals coming from the town’s haunted buildings.

Victorian House is, perhaps, the area’s most famous gathering place for spirits of the past. The 28-room Queen Anne mansion is the frequent focus of paranormal groups from all over the country, and has been featured on television. You might meet some of the resident ghosts during the Ghost Walk at the Victorian House on Friday and Saturday, October 27-28.

Tickets for the Boo in the Burg tours, scheduled on October 28 between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m., sell out fast. They go on sale at the Millersburg Hotel, at 35 West Jackson Street, in October.

Separate tickets will be offered on site for the Ohio Wine Tasting, to be held October 28, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Donations are requested to attend the cheese tasting.

To complete the weird weekend, many Millersburg hotels and eateries will be hosting Halloween parties and other special events. Millersburg’s pubs are always a place to meet new friends and interesting people — on this weekend, they may be more interesting than usual.

Special room rates will make it even more thrilling to spend the weekend in Millersburg. While you’re here, be sure to get started on your holiday shopping at the town’s many quaint shops.

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