Gas prices are high, airports are a hassle, and it’s just plain too hot out to hit the road for a long trip.
So instead of dealing with all that, Groveport Town Hall, 648 Main St., is offering an alternative – a "staycation" in the form of free travelogue slideshows and lectures featuring England and Israel as well as a star gazing event.
Kathy Simcox will present a travel slideshow and lecture on the political and religious history, as well as landscape, of England on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at Groveport Town Hall.
The approximately 45 to 60 minute presentation will feature information and images from Simcox’s 2007 trip to Devon and Cornwall as well as London, Kent, and Canterbury.
"I’ve always had a passion for the English Reformation (of the 16th century when King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church) and I’ve always loved England and wanted to visit there. It’s an amazing country," said Simcox, who holds a degree in psychology from Ohio University and a degree in religious studies from The Ohio State University.
Simcox will said the landscape around Devon and Cornwall is "stunningly beautiful." While there she visited Tintagel, which is purported to be the birthplace of the fabled King Arthur. She also saw the fishing village of Clovelly, which was established along a cliff by the sea in the 1300s.
"Clovelly is situated on the ocean and is surrounded by green and lush countryside," said Simcox. "It’s a typical fishing village, very quaint. The flowers there a unbelievably colorful."
Her trip to London included a stop at the Tower of London while Kent and Canterbury feature prominently in England’s rich religious history.
Simcox said the English people are "very friendly and willing to help" tourists. She also noted the subway, or "tube," in London is also easy to navigate.
She said her trip was a "very good experience."
"Travel broadens one’s horizons and reminds us there is a bigger world out there," said Simcox. "Other cultures are fascinating. Travel gives us a better understanding and opens us up to so many new worlds."
Madison Christian Church Pastor Paul Barnes will present a slideshow and lecture on the history, religion, culture, and landscape of Israel at Groveport Town Hall on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. The presentation will also include foods native to Israel.
Barnes travelled the length of Israel north and south in 2000 and 2007 and his talk will include images from both trips. It will feature information on Biblical sites such as the Sea of Galilee, the site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ baptizmal site, the waters where Jesus fished with his disciples, Jerusalem, Mount Calvary, and the garden tomb.
"The Sea of Galilee is beautiful," said Barnes. "Also, the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, is a natural amphitheater with perfect acoustics. You can see how Jesus was able to speak to hundreds there and how easily it would have been for them to hear Him."
Though the Middle East is a dangerous place, Barnes said he never felt threatened while in Israel.
"It’s amazing how safe you feel," said Barnes. "Everything is very secure."
He said the trips were a valuable learning experience.
"It’s a lesson in how to live in a culture that is surrounded so closely by the presence of its enemies," observed Barnes.
Out of this world
If your taste for travel is not Earth bound, then you may want to look skyward with Ohio State University instructor Matthias Dietrich on Aug. 15 at the Groveport Log House in Heritage Park, 551 Wirt Road.
This event starts at dark and Dietrich will bring telescope for viewing planets, stars, and other attractions in the night sky. Participants can join the star party and bring a telescope or binoculars for viewing as well.
"We’ll look at the moon, which will be close to full, as well as Jupiter and its moons," said Dietrich. "We’ll also see some young stars and look at the Milky Way. If it’s a clear sky, we’ll also see some dense star clusters."
Dietrich said astronomy can give people perspective.
"It’s quite impressive to go outside and get an idea of our position in the universe," said Dietrich.
In the event of cloudy weather, a Powerpoint presentation of the moon will be given inside the Log House. This event is for all ages.
For information on any of these events, call Jennifer Oestreicher Dietrich at (614) 836-3333.