Thursday, July 19, 2018

Martinsville Lavender Festival

Written by Dani and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger


1 year after starting the Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm, the first Lavender Festival was help.  10 years strong and 2018 had another successful festival season.


In our attempt to hit all of the Great 88 counties in Ohio, we have our first story from Clinton County.  Out amongst the country roads and farms in Martinsville, lies the Peaceful Acres Lavender Farm.  Annually, there is held a festival with music, activities and...lavender!!

Going into this festival, we had no expectations.   We had never been before and just happened to see it listed out on the internet somewhere.  Braving the hot, Ohio summer we drove from the comfort of our central Ohio home to the farm.

Within the grounds are several hiking paths.  From the parking area, it is a short walk to the main festival area.  Here you will see rows upon rows of different lavender plants.   Thankfully, the rows are marked and there is literature to explain the types, where they originate as well as how to harvest.

For a small fee, you can cut your own bunch of lavender, getting to take as much as you can fit within the confines of a wire pipe cleaner.

There is more too to do and see. Rescue birds shown below are there for you to interact with. There are also vendors, music, lavender themed food and drinks.   Education on the different kinds of lavender as well as workshops to craft items using lavender.

While not "large" by any means it is an interesting place to visit.     So, next June jump in the car and visit the lavender festival!!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Columbus Crew SC - 2018

Story and Photography by 
Andrew Livelsberger

Crew SC history direct from the source!

I have an awesome relationship with the group over at Midwest Photo Exchange.   They have always treated my professionally and backed up their sales.  So, I support them whenever I can.  Not only do I buy a lot of gear there, they have educational classes and workshops.  One of my favorites are their sports workshops.  I've been fortunate to have attended Columbus Clippers baseball as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey in the past.

I've always wanted to get access to a Columbus Crew game and as soon as Midwest Photo announced that they would be offering a workshop there, I jumped on the opportunity.

The workshops are great and I'll talk a little about them...however, they need to be experienced to be fully appreciated.  You are there about half a day.  For what I consider a reasonable fee, you get a top flight instructor (Scott Rovak - team photographer for a bunch of the pro St. Louis teams and much more for 34 years), support from awesome Midwest Photo staff and a sponsored camera company.  This event was sponsored by FujiFilm.  They brought along with them all of Fuji's top of the line gear for you to borrow and shoot with for the night if you wanted!!  Oh, yeah, and they feed you dinner and keep you hydrated as well.

I also wanted to give a shout out and kudos to Lara Page who was out Crew SC contact for the day.  During the tour of the stadium, she answered all of our questions and guided us through the whole match.  The Crew SC runs the matches with precision and everything is scheduled down to the second.  She kept us on point the whole time.

Here are some images taken during our tour:

Above is the flag post in the corner kick area

You can see the Columbus skyline to the right of the scoreboard

Balls stacked by the goal mouth for warm ups

This night, Crew SC went head to head with Real Salt Lake(RSL).   pretty close in the standings in their respective conferences.   RSL struggles on the road, so the advantage would be in Crew SC's favor tonight.

From our suite by the stage side goal, we were able to get some images of the teams warming up.

During opening ceremonies, a large flag was brought out and the American national anthem was sung.

Crew SC also honored our American veterans.  This Ohio Marine Corp veteran was given a crew SC scarf and a round of applause from the crowd, honoring his service to this country.

The starting XI huddled up just before kick off.

First goal of the night was relatively quick.  Penalty was assessed inside the box, and a penalty kick was given, which Zardes took advantage.    Putting Crew SC up 1-0.

Faking left, Zardes put the ball squarely into the right side net.
Celebrate the early lead!!

Columbus would add another goal in the first half as well.   RSL would muster up a mid second half goal, but the Crew SC defense would hold, giving them the win 2-1.

RSL keepers Rimando puts a goal kick deep into Crew SC territory

Crew SC Keeper Kempin stops a rocket from RSL

Rimando sacrifices his body to stop an attempt at goal.  He did take a cleat to the head, but was uninjured
Let us not forget the fabulous Crew SC fans!

There were 2 stoppages throughout the night.  Temperatures were 96F with heat indexes pushing into the low 100F range.

Finally, some of the Crew SC players stopped by to greet and talk with the fans.  Despite playing in high temperatures for 90+ minutes, they had smiles on their faces!

At this time, we do not know the future of the Columbus Crew.  As many know, the owner wants to move the team to Texas.  There are certain laws in place that state any Ohio teams that has used taxpayer money must allow for the team to be purchased and kept in state.  If no offer is made, then the team can be moved.  If you want more information on this, check out the Save The Crew website.

I for one hope that the Columbus Crew gets to stay and everyone has on opportunity to experience one of the most popular sports on the planet, right here in Central Ohio!  Whatever the future holds, I just know that I was fortunate to have this workshop and gain the access to cover this fast paced sport.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Whispering Cave

Written by Dani and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger

The newest area in the Hocking Hills State Park region, Whispering Cave Trail and Hemlock Bridge Trail take you 250+ feet down to the second largest cave feature in he park.  Once there, you will see a 105 foot waterfall.

From the beginning of Hemlock Bridge Trail, you'll start your decent.    There is a sign at the beginning preparing you for the hike.

Both new trails and the cave will get you about a 2.5 mile journey put and back.

Moderate difficulty?  Check
Good footwear?  Check
Plenty of steps?  Check

Still ready to go?  Trust'll want to make the journey.  The day we went, was just after a storm.  The rocks and paths were still a bit muddy, but footing was solid.   Just do yourself a favor and don't be in a hurry.  One, for safety reasons, but the others is to take in all the sights and sounds.

After the initial descent, the trail goes through some wooded areas and brings you to a series of steps.  Just before we descended the steps we could here a rather large woodpecker putting in some work!!

At the bottom of the steps, you follow the trail off to the right.  A short ways down you'll be treated to a large sandstone cliff face.

The image above shows a sign directing you.  Following the trail closest to the cliff face will take you to Whispering Cave.  It's roughly 0.3 miles from this location.

Here is a wider view of the cliff face.  You can get a good judge of the size of it from the couple to image right.

Following the path, you'll need to decent some rocks.  They are step like, so you have some good foot holds.  You'll then come to a set of stairs.  Descend those to get into the cave itself.

From there, you'll be able to cross through the cave and see if from the other side.  When we were there, we found this Cairn, a human made pile of rocks used for various purposes throughout history.

And, again, from the far side of Whispering Cave, looking back.