It’s easy to see why Dickens Victorian Village is touted as one of the top Christmas activities in the entire state of Ohio. For years, I had wanted to visit Cambridge and experience the charm of the city. I didn’t realize that I’ve passed by the exit many times on the way to visit family in Pittsburgh or I would have stopped earlier.
My children, parents and I all bundled up, braved the cold and found joy as we strolled around the city streets. This experience far exceeded our expectations and we created unforgettable memories.
Dicken’s Victorian Village
Lined along the streets of Wheeling Avenue were 160 hand-made mannequins wearing real clothing representative of the Victorian Era. Volunteers from the community worked nearly year round on all the intricate details necessary to create these carefully crafted scenes. It truly was amazing to see the detail and variety on each one of these mannequins.
This was a unique walking tour, engaging to children and adults. At each lamp post was a different vignette depicting life in the past. There were representations of Dicken’s characters such as Scrooge, Marley, Tiny Tim as well as everyday townspeople; coal miners, school children, a town crier, photographer and more. At each scene, there was a plaque with information to learn more about what was happening. This provided opportunities for enriching conversations about life in the past and allowed my children to build a deeper appreciation for this time period.
Dicken’s Victorian Village Welcome Center
Located inside of a historic home was the Dickens Victorian Village Welcome Center. Upon entering, we were greeted by volunteers dressed in old fashioned clothing. They quickly rushed us over to a room with Victorian-styled pieces. My daughter’s eyes lit up with fascination as she tried on different outfits.
To fully immerse ourselves in the English culture, we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to participate in the English tradition of tea time. This was a highlight for my children as they marveled at the ornately decorated dining room and sampled finger sandwiches and desserts. We listened to personal stories that my parents shared about their childhood and pictured what it was like growing up in the past.
Trolley Ride & Carriage Ride
We boarded a trolley that drove around Cambridge. The guide on board told us information about the buildings we saw, the history of Cambridge and more about the Dickens Victorian Village. It was a nice overview of the city and allowed us the chance to scope out where we wanted to visit.
Later that evening, we climbed aboard another unique form of transportation: a horse-drawn carriage.
National Museum of Cambridge Glass
The town of Cambridge once had a factory from 1902-1958 that produced glassware. Many of these pieces are now housed in the National Museum of Cambridge Glass. Our guide, Cindy, was so knowledge about the different types of glass on display and what the pieces were used for during the time.
We watched a brief historic video about Cambridge Glass, dressed up like glassworkers and made rubbings from an etching piece once used by workers at Cambridge Glass.
Courthouse Light Show
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the historic courthouse transcended to modern day as it was the focal point for the light and sound show. Thousands of lights were synchronized to music and it truly was a sight to see.
Cambridge Performing Arts Centre
Throughout our trip, my children asked me at least a dozen times, “When are we going to see, You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out?” They were excited to watch one of their favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas Story come alive on stage. This play was performed by local actors at the Cambridge Performing Arts Centre and was an entertaining show.
Restaurants and Shops
While in Cambridge, we enjoyed delicious meals. On our first evening, we ate at Theo’s Restaurant. We were told my locals to save room for pie, so of course, we had to listen to that advice!
The next evening we enjoyed our meal at Guernsey Kitchen. We made sure to take notice of the original tin ceiling.
As we walked between our destinations, we stopped in local shops. It allowed us a chance to warm up and buy some gifts.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Cambridge
We had a lovely stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Cambridge. This hotel was brand new and the accommodations were very comfortable. When traveling, my kids love spending time at the pool. We made sure they had time to splash around and wear them out for the evening. In the morning we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast that was offered to guests.
This quick getaway provided time for us to step back in time, connect with one another and find joy in a new experience. I encourage you to visit Cambridge for yourself, as it truly was a wonderful time for our family.
For additional ideas on ways to enjoy the holiday season in Ohio, be sure to visit TourismOhio and check out the hashtag #HolidaysinOhio.