just because we are country does not mean we don’t crave some city

while there are tons of things that we absolutely love about living in a small town, there are definitely times when we miss some of the qualities that the big city provides. this summer, we have been successful in finding a couple of our favorite spots right here in marion that provide us with the fun and classy ambiance that we have been searching for!

circa marion and rosa & rocco’s have not only topped our list of new loves, but they are quickly becoming our regular go-to’s for dinner, drinks, entertainment, and catching up with friends. the atmosphere that each of these places provides is exactly what we’ve been looking for! rosa & rocco’s has regular entertainment on thursday, friday, and saturday evenings and has an extensive italian menu, including some amazing desserts. the talented musicians in the rosa & rocco’s rotation create the perfect patio experience – you forget that you are in this little town of ours!

similarly, as soon as you walk into circa marion, you definitely feel like you have stepped off a small town street and into a new york city pub. we don’t know if it’s the exposed brick walls, the beautiful wood floors, the bar or if maybe it’s the sounds of frank sinatra playing in the background – but if you are looking for an adult alternative to the usual weekend hangouts, then circa might just be the perfect place for you to try.

how many times have you and your friends complained about there not being any place to go and or anything to do once the weekend arrives? you know you have, and so have we.  marion is what we make it, and we are choosing to make it fun – and to keep looking for and supporting these hidden gems once we find them.  so, if you find yourself in need of a night out in the big city, just think – you can find it here! you can keep up with both of these businesses on facebook and find them at the following locations:

rosa & rocco’s — 160 mcmahan blvd.

circa marion — 181 n. main st.


Race Brown performing at Rosa & Rocco’s


grave encounters

Gypsy Queens, mysterious rotating marble objects and U.S. presidents:
which one does not belong? I don’t know which one you guessed, but
you’re wrong – we just trick questioned you because each one of these
has something in common with one another.

The common thread? Each of these is a description of a supposedly
haunted site in our town. The Gypsy Queen’s grave (Saint Mary’s
Cemetery), the Merchant family ball (Marion Cemetery) and the Harding
Memorial – these are all sites that we visited to attempt to get to
the bottom of some of this supposed unfinished business.

We were unsuccessful in solving any mysteries, but we were super
successful in our mission to learn a little while also getting in a
good scare session…and scare is probably not the right word, but you
may get a little creeped out – especially if your mom also breaks the
news to you that she regularly played in these cemeteries as a child.

We first headed to Marion Cemetery, and it’s amazing to look at the
Merchant family ball and see where the marking of its original base
point is. It’s amazing because you shouldn’t be able to see it at all!
This site was also featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not in 1929 –
definitely one of our favorite lessons learned.

The Gypsy Queen’s grave is also amazing to see! People from all over
have come to leave jewelry and coins at her gravesite, and it’s said
that a group of gypsies travels through town once a year to pay their
respects to the woman and her child. We don’t know about you guys, but
we think the history in this town is pretty cool!

Last, but not least, is the Harding Memorial. You probably drive past
it all the time, so you feel like you’ve seen it, but you all need to
pull over sometime and walk around this wonderful piece of history! As
you approach the monument, you cannot even believe its size! This
thing is huge, and you begin to wonder whether you are in Washington
D.C. or Marion, Ohio. You cannot truly appreciate it until you have
seen it up close.

These are the things that seem so simple and so “marionish”, but we
completely take them for granted. We are so lucky to have as many
quirky, historical and interesting things to see and do for being such
a small town. We urge you all to go out one day and visit each of
these locations. You can even mark off these sites on your CVB Amazing
Treasures Map! It’s a great afternoon activity, although we decided
to take it the next level and head out in the evening when we could
really get our spook on. The choice is yours – happy hauntings!




“leapin’ lizards!”

who is young, talented and can wear a head of red curls like they’re the latest trend in hairstyles? ..and we’re flattered, but it’s not us. IT’S ANNIE! annie is the latest show being put on by the marion palace theatre, and we had the pleasure of attending it this past sunday.

this show, like every other production put on by the palace, did not disappoint! the cast was amazing, and you could tell that the time they have dedicated to participating in this show has been well-spent. annie will be on the palace stage for one more weekend – july 20 through july 22. call, stop in or visit marionpalace.org for more ticket and show information.

not only does the palace put on spectacular productions, but they also host events, show movies and support our local community. this is an excellent and historic site to take your kids to for a weekend show or movie – and not have to worry about spending a fortune! THE POPCORN AND CANDY WERE $1.50 AND UNDER, MY FRIENDS. now, after you have picked your jaw up off the floor from reading that fantastic news, we urge you to look into spending an afternoon or evening getting to know our local theatre a little better. we have our own broadway right here in our hometown, and when you may know a star or two in the show it can sometimes be better than seeing it anywhere else! so, after you may have had a “hard-knock” week at work, we suggest unwinding in a seat at the marion palace theatre this weekend – or any weekend to follow! it’s a marionish experience you won’t want to miss!

have you joined the mob?

what do charleston place, great impressions, paradise park miniature golf course and r&r greenhouse all have in common?  they are all just a few of the locally-owned businesses that have been featured in cash mobs – the latest trend designed to help fuel our local economy.  downtown marion, inc. and the marion young professionals have partnered to help promote small businesses in our community by taking part in this movement that has been proving successful in small towns all over the country.

twice a month, a particular SECRET local business is selected to be the cash mob location with an announced after-party location to follow. all cash mob participants meet at a designated location where the secret cash mob business is revealed and then “mobbed”.  each participant is asked to spend a minimum of $10 at the cash mob location. keeping the business a secret until mob time encourages people to try businesses that they may have passed on if they knew in advance. we can tell you that it has been eye-opening – it is really wonderful to have this opportunity to see what our community has to offer! there are businesses that we now think to visit that we didn’t really know much about before cash mobs. the after-parties are just as great! they take place at local establishments where the group can get food and drinks and have an opportunity to network and socialize. we have met so many new people who are also passionate and dedicated to helping support our local economy – so marionish!

to keep up with the cash mob schedule, you can “like” the marion young professionals and downtown marion, inc. pages on facebook – you can also contact karen herr at 740-382-2181 to be added to the Downtown Marion email blast list. for more information on marion young professionals, visit the website at www.marionyoungprofessionals.org.

celebrate summer!

when we think about why some of our favorite towns and cities have been deemed some our favorites there is typically one thing they all have in common – ARTS FESTIVALS! did you know that for something like twentyish years marion has had an arts festival called celebrate summer that happens right in our downtown? neither did we!

i, cara, attended celebrate summer on saturday, june 23rd, and i was completely overwhelmed with how much artistic and creative talent was on display by LOCAL PEOPLE! what would be even more amazing is if even more people became involved for next year’s event! if you are an artist, photographer, jewelry-maker, musician, foodie or anything artsy – this is a fantastic opportunity for you to put your work on display! there is even a beautiful vintage car show and so much more to experience at celebrate summer!

if you have never been to celebrate summer, then mark your calendar for the fourth saturday in june for the rest of your years – AND GO. and if you haven’t spent much time in downtown marion, then this summer is the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and take a look at what’s going on. check out the art studios (the guild), the shopping opportunities (charleston place, home again) and the great places to eat – did you know that the candy shack also serves lunch?! well, they do – and it’s fabulous.

you could easily spend a day exploring downtown marion. we promise that there is more to do than you think there is! not to mention, there are some wonderful people that are really working hard and taking pride in keeping downtown looking attractive – so while you’re visiting, take a moment to say thanks to all of the people you run into that are putting their hearts & passion into OUR downtown. maybe even ask what you can do to help – that would be pretty marionish!


cribs: marion edition

it is in the heart of our community, but you forget that it’s there. it’s local, but world-famous. it’s simple, but still beautiful. to most of us, it’s just another house that we drive by, but in its day, the home of president and florence harding was THE point of excitement in marion. yes, the exact same marion that we live in right now! how often do you really stop and think about how significant that is for our community? if you are like us, probably close to never.

when we heard about “marion days”, we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the celebrity home…FOR FREE. it’s kind of like a local episode of cribs…well maybe not cribs, but it was still extremely cool to tour the famous home and to think about the life that was lived there. imagine if the presidential candidate – future president of the united states – lived right around the corner from you today…how crazy would that be?!

since we hadn’t visited the home since probably about the time of elementary school, it was really interesting to go through it with a renewed, adult appreciation for what it truly means to marion. our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about all of the artifacts and intricacies that make the home so special. the visit truly made us feel a connection to the president that didn’t really exist before…and also a new sense of pride in one of the things our community is known for. from florence’s rose garden in the backyard to the famous front porch facing mt. vernon avenue, the harding home is a place you should definitely visit – especially if you are looking for new reasons to take pride in our community!

“marion days” are three selected dates that the harding home will be open for extended hours and offering FREE tours. the remaining two dates are july 13th & august 10th. tickets for “marion days” can be picked up at the marion area convention & visitors bureau as well as other various locations around town. we hope that you will put the harding home on your list of summer activities and help us rediscover our marion roots! and while we’re on the topic – take some time out to talk with and encourage the kids in your neighborhood! with positive influences and strong mentors, one of them could be a future presidential candidate…now THAT would be pretty marionish!





raising money the ride way

whether you consider yourself a biker or not, the brandy winfield memorial poker run is definitely an event for everyone. our favorite aspects? the fundraising and the eye-catching bikes…and by bikes, we also mean their owners. side note: when it comes to bikers – at least in our experience – it’s always the tougher the look, the bigger the teddy bear.

on june 2nd, under bright blue skies, over 500 sparkling, bad-ass bikes roared into the marion county fairgrounds to honor fallen officer brandy winfield and to raise money for various charities. after their ride, the group returned to the veterans memorial coliseum for a bbq and performance by local band – left of center.

this event takes place every summer, usually during the first weekend in june, and this something you need to put on your agenda for next year. it’s a great time and an even better cause! and by all means, forget a stuffed animal…hug a biker.

for more information on the poker run and to see which charities the event has served: www.brandywinfieldrun.org

for more about the music of left of center and upcoming shows: www.leftofcenterrocks.net











why don’t you wine about it?

if you’re going to whine on a friday night, then what better place to do it at then at a vineyard? word play. even better, IT’S A LOCAL VINEYARD. did you know that right here in marion county there is a business that makes their own wine? you may have known that, but did you know that they also hold an event once a month called flatbread friday? if the alliteration didn’t suck you right in, then the homemade brick oven flatbread pizzas and wine tasting will!

cara and i had the pleasure of attending may’s flatbread friday, and let me tell you.. i will be returning to that. shamrock vineyard is located in waldo and sits far off the road on a picturesque farm. van and emily creasap open up their property to you, so that you may enjoy their wine and a relaxing evening with a beautiful setting. a local band by the name of opossum and friends perfected the evening by performing live with their selection of folk and alternative music.

the turnout was great, but we hope for it to be even bigger and better next time. flatbread friday tip: DO NOT leave your headlights on – they will call you out on it and embarrass you all the way to your car. how marionish, am i right?

for all shamrock vineyard happenings visit http://www.shamrockvineyard.com.

to take a listen to a few of opossum and friends’ songs go on over to http://www.reverbnation.com/opossumsongs.


so here’s the deal…you might be thinking, “a blog about the cool & fun things to do in marion? this should be short.” and maybe it will be. it’s an experiment. however, we think that there actually ARE cool & fun things to do…it may just take a little looking, an open mind and a little creativity. now we’re no scientists, but we are definitely ready to put our theory to the test.

we are setting out this summer to prove that there are things that those of us in our 20s, 30s & 40s would want to do right here in the 43302. we are on the search for all things food-, drink-, music-, art-, culture-, and fun-related. we realize that these are things that one might not typically think of as being very “marionish,” but we are pretty sure they exist. and once we find them, we want to tell you!

your next thought may be, “who are these girls, and why do they care?” well, we are kelsey and cara stevens and we are sisters that happen to live right here in marion, ohio. that’s who we are, and that is why we care. we are using any free time that we have this summer to get up off the couch and go out on the town. we are sharing our experiences with you because, quite frankly, we are sick of hearing you and ourselves complain about there being nothing to do around “these parts”. it’s time to stop just sitting around talking about it, and time to get up and do something about it.

one of the great things is that it actually does take a bit of looking around – exploring and adventuring is what we like to call it – but there are things to do. free things. fun things. kid things. adult things. things. everywhere. dr. suess could write a book about this town. we hope that you follow us on our pursuits to put marion on the map. there is a “marionish” side to all of us that know this place as home, and it’s time to get out there and show it.