Sunday, January 31, 2016

Escape Room Downtown

Photos by Escape Room Downtown

203 Market Ave. S. Suite 200
Canton, OH 44702
(330) 844-1492

I think I am now slightly obsessed with the concept of "escape rooms" - small themed rooms where a group of individuals are locked inside and tasked with solving puzzles in order to escape. While I am usually posting about adventures that exercise the body, escape rooms exercise the mind. They bring people together to use their brains to accomplish the goal under the given time limit, which is a huge adrenaline rush!

After an unsuccessful attempt at the Trapped! Escape Room Cleveland, I am happy to report that my latest endeavor at the Escape Room Downtown in Canton had a much happier ending!

The Escape Room Downtown debuted in late 2015 and was immediately a hit! People have come from all over Stark County, the state of Ohio, and beyond to give the room a whirl! 

On January 16, we had a group of folks whose ages ranged from late 20s to early 60s: myself, my mom, my dad, my aunt, and my friends Tim, Zac, Greg, and Cass. Only Zac and I had previously ever done an escape room challenge (the aforementioned Cleveland room), which we failed. So we were all a bit skeptical of our abilities.

The Escape Room Downtown currently has one themed room: The Missing Detective's Office. It essentially is like the board game "Clue" brought to life, with a mix of Dick Tracy thrown in. The story revolves around a private investigator who goes missing, with suspicions of involvement of the Canton mob. Not only is the story line realistic and unique, the room itself is decked out in authentic props that are of the time period, and of course a lot of mind-bending puzzles. There's even live actors that interact with you at one point. It is incredibly well-done and detail-oriented, which our group certainly appreciated.

There were some really clever elements that were thrown into the mix, that made you think outside the box (literally), and not only unscramble codes and clues, but also use some tools in thoughtful ways to reveal more and bust out of the room!

I know that all sounds vague, but I don't want to give too much away to readers, as that would take away the fun and integrity of the game! All I can say is: use all the brain power you have available, and communicate with everyone in the room in order to get it all done. You only have 45 minutes to escape!

All of the folks in our group were on top of our game, because we were able to escape in an impressive time of 25:36, which the employees at Escape Room Downtown said was a very quick time, compared to other groups! We were able to take celebratory pictures (shown above) bragging about our accomplishment!

Soon, more rooms will be added to the Canton location, with different quests and themes! Reserve your room now to see if your group of detectives and sleuths can beat our group's time!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cleveland's "A Christmas Story" House

Photos by OHventures

A Christmas Story House & Museum
3159 W 11th Street
Cleveland, OH 44109
(216) 298-4919

Do you still have that Christmas itch? Did you find it hard to get into the holiday spirit due to the unusually warm winter Oho has had so far? Are you sad that all the festivities have come and gone so quickly?

Even though Christmas has technically passed, there is one place in Ohio where the sun never sets on Christmas: the “A Christmas Story” House & Museum located in the Tremont neighborhood in Cleveland.

Everyone is familiar with this insanely popular holiday film, in part due to the 24-hour marathon of the movie every Christmas season on TBS! Who could forget the film's central character, Ralphie - the boy who wanted nothing more for Christmas than a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, but was repeatedly denied of his request by Santa, his teacher, and his parents - all warning him by retorting, "you'll shoot your eye out!"

The movie is iconic in so many ways. The movie scared me into not swearing so that I didn't get my mouth washed out with a bar of red soap, and to this day I still get freaked out when I watch the "tongue stuck to a flagpole" scene.

You may recall me participating in the annual A Christmas Story Run around this time last year. This was a 5K with a finish line at the unmistakable yellow and green house (pictured above) that appeared in the 1983 cult classic movie. It's such a popular movie that hundreds and hundreds of people run each year, many dressed in pink bunny suits and evil elf costumes to represent the colorful cinematic characters.

Goofing around in the gift shop!

This Christmas season, I visited the house once again (this time not in any running attire) with my friend from Toledo, Steve. Steve is a huge movie buff and so I knew this would be right up his alley when he visited Cleveland. The A Christmas Story House is open all year-long, 7 days a week! So even if it's not Christmas time, you can still get a taste of the holidays. Admission is just $10 for adults, and it gives you entry to the house itself, as well as the museum located directly across the street.

Tickets are purchased in the gift shop (also across the street from the house), and tours run every half hour, beginning at 10:15 AM. Tickets never expire, so you can bring it back again and again in order to visit the house over and over! 

Steve in front of THE house!

Steve and I easily found free street parking, but nearby houses also charge small fees if the streets are filled. Be prepared for standing in line outside, because this place is super popular! We had to wait in line about 15-20 minutes, but this gave us time to pose for photos in front of the house, and hear a few tidbits of trivia from one of the tour guides who was on the porch.

It's A Major Award!

The house was used for filming all exterior shots of the movie (including when The Old Man put the infamous leg lamp in the front window, and the backyard scenes with Ralphie fighting the robbers and shooting his gun). However, interior shots were filmed on a sound stage. Therefore, the inside of the house is merely a replica of what the film contained. The leg lamps found inside are also replicas (in fact, the original no longer exists, as it was broken after filming). The furniture, props, and Christmas decorations are all recreated to make it look like Ralphie's house. It's fun to walk around and feel like you are in the movie. We had a kick posing with the BB gun and leg lamp!

Steve and I inside the A Christmas Story House

Immediately after our self-guided tour, we went to the museum across the street where we saw some really awesome memorabilia from A Christmas Story. This included actual costumes (such as the maroon winter coat worn by Ralphie's little brother), vehicles (like the fire truck that came to help during the flagpole scene), scripts, photos, and memorable props (such as a piece of the classroom chalkboard and the actual BB gun)!

Before we left, I of course had to buy a miniature leg lamp Christmas ornament (which was just $11, versus the $500 for a large leg-size leg lamp)! Our visit to this landmark was one for the books. It's great to have such an important piece of American pop culture right here in Cleveland, Ohio!