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Family Travels: Family Friendly Destinations - Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

When I think of vintage pertaining to my children, trains come to mind. My boys have loved trains ever since they were small. We surprised them with a train ride (their first) during our last trip to Hocking Hills. You can find the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville.

Within driving distance from Old Man's Cave, it is a delight not to be missed during your family vacation.

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At the train station. It's full of railway history.

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I love the Art Deco lighting in this passenger train.


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A Double Decker Passenger train that runs sometimes with the scenic railway.

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Hubby & Moi

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The engine after a switch, coming to attach to us to take us back.

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A retired school teacher now fully invested in trains volunteers his time with the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. He spent a lot of time talking with my oldest love about how the trains work, and pointing out historical facts along the way. This was his first year actually "going for the ride" as he's spent hundreds of personal hours working on the trains in the train yard.

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Getting ready for a tour of the engine.

Did you know that the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is a completely volunteer railway? Every person involved is a volunteer. This is not an easy job and requires many hours working in the train yard.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers many different types of train rides but you'll need to catch those on specific days. Go for a ride during the "Robbery Train" and participate in a gold hold up.

Ride back into history when our old-time train carries a “gold" shipment. The robbers of Smoke Rise Ranch are planning an attack with their horses and guns to rob the train of its gold and the passengers of their “play" money. This thrilling trip is fun for the entire family and one of our most popular trains.

They also have a caboose train, a 4th of July Fireworks Shuttle, a boo train, Santa train and a whole lot more.  

All rides depart from the Nelsonville Depot, located at 33 W. Canal Street on U.S. Route 33 in Nelsonville, Ohio. This is 56 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, from the I-70 intersection, and 13 miles north of Athens, Ohio.


Reservations may be made on-line through this website, by calling 740-753-9531, or by leaving a message at 800-967-7834. Reservations for groups of 20 or more, charter trains and school group trains may be also be arranged by calling 800-967-7834.

For complete information visit the Hocking Valley Train Website.


Truth in Review: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway did provide us with tickets in exchange for our review.  We were not paid for any contents of our review or required any certain text within the review. We speak truly from our hearts and hope that you and your family will gain trust from Vintage Indie Family Travels Column so that you may enjoy your vacations, and find the right place for you and your family to stay.  All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and not bought. Gabreial Wyatt, editor in chief.

Visit our Disclaimer/Disclosure Page for more info.

Vintage Indie Frugal Tips for Mamas! Mega Swag Bucks Day!

Hey everyone, I just wanted to remind you that today is Mega Swag Bucks Friday! I just received $15.00 worth of Amazon Gift Cards today and I'll use those gift cards to purchase organic coffee, books and tons of other Organic & Whole Living products at Amazon.

Swag Bucks is a free rewards system. The concept is easy, you just use the Swag Bucks tool bar or search engine or their home page like you would any other search engine to earn free Swag Bucks and in turn cash them in for gift cards to places like Amazon. Amazon is great for us because we love shopping for organics and groceries, school supplies, books and the like. We use our Swag Bucks for Amazon all of the time. I order our Amazing Grass for our smoothies, chia seeds and a lot more.  A $5.00 Amazon Gift Card is only 450 Swag Bucks and it doesn't take long to rack them up. 

Search & Win

Mega Swag Bucks details;

Friday's you can earn swag bucks in multiples of 50,100,200 or even 1,000 just for searching.

If you'd like to get started, head over to Swag Bucks to find out more details. It's free to sign up and no strings attached. I'm saving my bucks up for something big I'd like to buy at Amazon. What will you use your Swag Bucks for?

xoxox  ♥ Gabreial

(by the way the link up there is a referral link under my hubby's program, help me, help you)

The Daily Swank: Vintage Coolers

Did I ever tell you about the vintage red shiny cooler that I missed out on at a church rummage sale? Well, the sad part of the story is I missed out because I didn't buy it for 5 whole bucks! That was about four years ago. I'm still kicking myself for not getting it. It was a coca-cola cooler, in great condition.

 Have you ever done that? Found a great item you really like and then just decide not to get it? Then wish you had all the way home and the next day... silly.


You can find all of these great vintage coolers at Old Green Canoe. Don't stop with coolers at their shop though, they offer a ton of fabulous vintage finds.

Family Travels: Family Friendly Destinations - Ravenwood Castle Ohio Bed & Breakfast

Ravenwood Castle and Medieval Village Bed & Breakfast


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From the moment I spoke to owner Sue Maxwell, I knew our time at the Ravenwood Castle was going to be wonderful. Her voice alone tells how she really enjoys owning the castle and working with the guests.

Sue and her husband John traveled to London many times before opening up the castle Bed and Breakfast where they found true inspiration for the castle's decor. 


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Once our little family arrived at the castle on top of the hill, we were immediately greeted at the front door by Diane of guest services. Diane, has such a warm heart and made us feel right at home as soon as we stepped through the "drawbridge". 


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We ate dinner as soon as we arrived. It couldn't have been better timing as we were very hungry. The buffet included a gooey cheesy lasagna, chicken, mixed beans, and an out of this world broccoli pasta salad. Carol was the mastermind behind the delicious broccoli salad. It truly was my favorite part of the entire meal. I later found out Carol was the chef behind many of the dishes throughout our stay.

Overall, our first meal at Ravenwood was delicious and satisfying. The boys really enjoyed the yummy array of desserts.

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All of these little cottages are suites of sorts for you to stay in, if you'd rather not stay in the castle itself.

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We stayed in the Clock Tower. A loft cottage with a large upstairs bedroom and smaller downstairs living area with a futon for the boys. It was clean, quaint and cozy. The upstairs bed was so pillowy soft and comfortable, I slept like a baby.  The mini fridge helped keep our drinks cold and the jacuzzi tub was a nice addition to a long day of hiking.


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Life-sized chess and checkers set. The guys had a lot of fun with these.

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The Coach Tea Room is open May through October - Thursday through Sunday, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The menu features specialties typical of those found in British Tea Rooms.


You certainly don't want to miss breakfast, especially if Linda is in the kitchen making her homemade cinnamon rolls. Boy, are they gooey, warm, and so, so good! Linda was such a gem as is all of the staff at Ravenwood. She comes from many years of service at Ravenwood Castle, over thirteen! She's such a sweet lady! She also told me she was a hog farmer. A tried and true one at that, raising hogs with her family for the fair. A lady after my own heart, she raises them the proper way, without antibiotics and the other yuck of conventional farming.

You'll also find Kelly's smiling face in the kitchen filling up the morning coffee pots with fresh coffee and making sure your morning breakfast goes smoothly. Another long service member of the castle, having worked there for eleven years.

My favorite part was spending some time in the kitchen with all of the ladies at the castle and getting to know them. It was like being in the heart of my home. The saying, " The heart of the home is in the kitchen"  goes for the castle as well.

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"It's my turn to unlock the castle door!"

Of course my husband and boys enjoyed every meal right along with me, as well as the other aspects of the castle. The "knight and armor" theme throughout the main dining room was a hit with the boys. They also enjoyed spending time on the grounds, and the English garden.

We encourage you to check into the Ravenwood Castle while you're visiting the Hocking Hills area. It is definitely a fun and romantic place (if it's just the two of you) to stay.

Be sure to mention Vintage Indie's review when you book your stay (by phone only) at Ravenwood Castle to receive

10% off of your room.


Ravenwood Castle |  65666 Bethel Road  |  New Plymouth, Ohio 45654
800-477-1541 | Local: 740-596-2606


Truth in Review: Owner of Ravenwood Castle did provide us with accommodations in exchange for our review.  We were not paid for any contents of our review or required any certain text within the review. We speak truly from our hearts and hope that you and your family will gain trust from Vintage Indie Family Travels Column so that you may enjoy your vacations, and find the right place for you and your family to stay.  All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and not bought. Gabreial Wyatt, editor in chief.

Visit our Disclaimer/Disclousure Page for more info.

Organic & Whole Living: Raspberry Vanilla Cream - Frozen Dessert


Ingredients you will need for a double dessert:

4 Cups of Raspberry Sorbet. I used Trader Joe's brand, it has good ingredients and tastes yummy!

2 Boxes of Instant Vanilla Pudding I also used Trader Joe's Brand.

1 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Cups of cold milk

2 Pints of Fresh Raspberries

Sprigs of Mint


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Add the sorbet to your two lined loaf pans and return to the freezer to set up.

Meanwhile make your instant vanilla pudding according to the package directions and set aside.

Pour your heavy whipping cream into a well chilled bowl and begin to whip on medium to medium high speed with a hand blender or a mixer. (I miss my Kitchen-Aid mixer during times like these, maybe I'll get a replacement one some day)

When your cream has turned into soft peaks it is readed to be folded in gently to your vanilla pudding.

Remove your raspberry sorbet loaf pans from the freezer. Divide your pudding and cream mixture between the two pans.

Return to the freezer for 24-48 hours to harden.

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To Serve:

Top with fresh raspberries and a sprig of mint.

Warm a sharp knife to make slices.


xoxo Gabreial


Entertaining & Parties: Vintage Indie Style Drink & Dessert Table

I created this simple and small drink & dessert table for my sister's birthday party. 

Completely Vintage Indie style of course!

Jcoelyn's 24th Birthday 007

Pink French Swirl Glasses apart of my collection. Pink Pyrex bowl my collection.

Drinks courtesy of Trader Joe's Italian Blood Orange Soda, White Grapefruit Soda, Orange Cream Soda, Pink Paper Plates.

I ordered the green and white striped straws. The wood Canada Dry box is my new favorite find.

Blue Ball Glass Jars as vases, my favorite vase!


Jcoelyn's 24th Birthday 009

Borrowd Cake Plate and Cloche from my sweet mama. Easy ribbon decoration, tied silk ribbons onto a white painted dowel.


Family Travels: Family Friendly Destinations - Getaway Cabins S. Bloomingville, Ohio

Tucked away in what seems like the middle of nowhere you will find yourself amidst the wooden cabins of Getaway Cabins. Our home for three days was the quaint Spruce Moose. The long driveway into the woods brought out a feeling of excitement for the entire car as we passed trees, chipmunks, bunnies and even a wild turkey at one point during our trip.

Jennifer Mitchell and her husband purchased Getaway Cabins from the original owner and initially had over thirty properties. After some thought and a lot of consideration they decided to down size to focus and make thirteen of those properties top priority.

Checking-in to Getaway Cabins was a breeze. As you pull into Chapel Ridge you're welcomed by the hospitality of Jennifer Mitchell and staff, and Bear the sweet black labrador retriever. The check-in cabin is also a small store hosting local artists candles, coffee, and art creations. Entertainment included the fixings for s'mores, and a great selection of DVDs to check out while you're staying.

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Spruce Moose

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Seating for six.

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Cozy Living Room.

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Our favorite spot for a family game night.

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Bedroom mirrors the second bedroom.

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Very large yard for running & playing. Also a great firepit there to the left.

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Back Deck Sliding doors from both bedrooms.

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 Covered hot tub, very clean. This would be so much fun in the wintertime.

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Humming bird feeder and picnic shelter through the woods.

Spruce Moose is a two bedroom cabin that can sleep up to six. Two in the two bedrooms and two on the pullout sofa. This cabin is just right if you're headed to the Hocking Hills area to hike. Complete with a full kitchen, refrigerator, stove, microwave and coffee maker. It also is stocked with plates, silverware and pots and pans, although they could use updating. We don't use teflon in our home (especially when it is flaking) We used one aluminum pot for cooking everything. I would have been thrilled with the kitchen had it had better pots and pans.

Our boys thought the cabin was awesome. They enjoyed having their own room and enjoyed exploring in the backyard and woods. Next time, they said, they're bringing their ball and gloves.

 Spruce Moose had comfortable beds, a place for us to snuggle as a family,watch a movie and made for a great place to stay for our outdoor/hiking vacation. We also enjoyed the cozy living room area and coffee table for playing our newest family game Phase10. By the way have you ever played? It is addicting.

Our favorite part was the seclusion, the hot tub after a long day of hiking and the wonderful fire pit to make s'mores with our boys.

We hope you enjoyed this review of Spruce Moose and would consider staying with Getaway Cabins for your next Family Friendly vacation.

Check out many of the cabins Getaway Cabins has to offer and take 10% off of your stay when you mention this review here at Vintage Indie.

If you're looking for a special place to have a small intimate wedding. Getaway Cabins also offers Wedding and honeymoon packages.

Keep reading as I'll be back soon with photos from our trip and one of the most gorgeous places I've ever seen.


Truth in Review: Owner of Getaway Cabins did provide us with accommodations in exchange for our review.  We were not paid for any contents of our review or required any certain text within the review. We speak truly from our hearts and hope that you and your family will gain trust from Vintage Indie Family Travels Column so that you may enjoy your vacations, and find the right place for you and your family to stay.  All reviews posted by me are truthful in content and not bought. Gabreial Wyatt, editor in chief.

Visit our Disclaimer for more info.

Organic & Whole Living: Summer Side Dish Broccoli & Sundried Tomatoes

Summer is my ultimate favorite time of year to cook. I love veggies and the lighter side of summer meals. This is one of my favorite summer side dishes. I even make it for myself for lunch sometimes.

You will need:

2 Small Heads (or one large head) of Organic Broccoli. Broccoli is number 19 one the Environmental Working Groups Best to Worst in Pesticides List. Anything past the 10 mark I try to use organic and local.

3-4 T Chopped Sun-dried tomatoes packed in seasoning and olive oil.

1T of the sun-dried tomatoes oil.

Salt & Pepper to taste

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1. Steam Broccoli in a saute pan with a few tablespoons of water and a lid on.

2. Once the broccoli has softened, add 3-4 T of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, more or less if you'd like. I like a lot of them.

4. Once you've added the sun dried tomatoes to the saute pan continue to saute on med low for a few minutes. If you feel like you need to add a T of the sun-dried tomato oil, go ahead. Salt and pepper to taste. 

5. Saute until your desired doneness.

Of course you could sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over it, but I like to keep this as light as possible.

Serve warm. 



Teach Me: Home Educating Family Magazine & Yours Truly

As I approached the midnight hour last night while I was working on Vintage Indie's new look, I peered over at our counter to find my husband had brought in the mail and the latest issue of Home Educating Family Magazine. I am super excited about this issue. Not only because of the wonderful Todd Wilson and family who are the featured family in this issue, but my first article on Book Clubs is published there on page 72 & 73!

If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of the magazine I highly suggest you do so. I've often touted my love for their Yearly Planners, and their newest edition for the 2011-2012 school year doesn't disappoint. I'll be back with my highlights and review on those later.

Now, back to the magazine. Todd Wilson is such an inspiration to fathers and home school mothers.Check out this little video he did for Home Educating Family Magazine. I think you'll really enjoy it.



Aren't they sweet! Pick up a digital preview issue at Home Educating Family and find fabulous, inspiring articles to encourage, enrich and help you feel more confident in your homeschooling journey.

Plan Ahead Event: Boston Handmade July 30, 2011


Union Square, Somerville, MA: July 30, 3-7pm - The Somerville Arts Council and Boston Handmade present an ArtsUnion Event: The Boston Handmade Marketplace. More than 25 locally grown artists, artisans, and craftspeople will be showing and selling handmade jewelry, ceramics, textile art, handspun yarn, paper goods, hand blown glass, and more in Union Square (at the intersection of Washington, Prospect & Somerville Ave.) on Saturday, July 30, 2011, 3-7pm, with a rain date of Sunday, July 31.

Vintage Fashion Forward: Traven7

I'm swooning over these 1950s dresses. They remind me of one of my favorite childhood movies the original Parent Trap. Did anyone else like that one growing up?





Visit Traven7 over at Etsy to purchase any one of these lovely dresses.

Vintage Hot Spot Interview & Tour: Black Bear Vintage & Handmade Brooklyn, NY


Vintage Indie is pelased to welcome co owners Michelle Ferrara and Julia Duncan-Roitman with an inside look at their store Black Bear Vintage & Handmade.

When did you open? Is there a story about why you opened?
We opened in May of last year. Julia had been thinking about opening a store for  some time, and had already researched a lot of the logistics. We had talked about me doing some window displays for her, and then she asked me in late March if I wanted to come on board as a partner. I said I would think it over; she gave me the weekend to decide because she wanted to sign the lease! We decided to go for it -- we took the month of April to get the space ready and fill it with our initial inventory, some of which she already had. Pushing ourselves to open at the beginning of May was a ton of work, but definitely worth it!

Do you offer vintage or handmade items in your store?
Officially we're called Black Bear Vintage & Handmade, so you will find both vintage AND handmade items here. The clothing, shoes, belts and bags are mostly vintage. As far as handmade items, we carry jewelry, ceramics, greeting cards, pillows, candles, stuffed animals, art prints, and more! A lot of our handmade inventory is made my local artists.
Cat and Dog pillows, by our very own Julia Duncan-Roitman

What is your shop address?
469 16th Street, just off of Prospect Park West. 
Elephant and Owl pillows, illustrated, silkscreened and sewn by Alison Corrie

What are your hours?
12pm - 7pm Sunday through Friday, 11pm - 7pm Saturday
What are some of your favorite items?
We have some really great jewelry. Julia and I have definitely bought a few pieces for ourselves! Also, some of the vintage items we come across are outstanding. It's very hard not to buy them all, but we *try* to leave the best pieces for our customers. 
Cat totebag, by 1Aeon
What is it that you love about vintage & antiques?
First of all, the one-of-a-kind nature of vintage pieces is so fun -- you know no one else is going to have the same thing. Second, we both appreciate the design trends (not to mention the workmanship) of decades past. And it's always fun to mix modern pieces with vintage accessories, etc.

Is shopping indie and small businesses important to you? If so, why?
Yes -- we've both lived in Brooklyn for a long time, and have always tried to support the many small businesses in our neighborhoods. It's a big draw of living here, honestly. Also, we're both super crafty ladies, so we appreciate the high level of quality you get when something has been lovingly made by hand rather than churned out in mass quantities. But in order for those businesses to thrive, we all have to buy their products and services! So we try to support them whenever we can.
A special thank you to Michelle Ferrara and Julia Duncan-Roitman co-owners, Black Bear Vintage & Handmade for the interview and inside peek into their store. If you visit their shop, let them know you hear about them on Vintage Indie.