May 2006 Issue
Discover Ohio Week
Discover Ohio Week, May 13 through May 21, 2006, is a special celebration of the unique and fascinating travel opportunities awaiting visitors in the Buckeye State. Held in conjunction with the Travel Industry Association of America's See America Week, Ohio's event focuses on in-state treasures such as the Ohio River and Lake Erie shores, Amish Country, the Hocking Hills, historic sites, city attractions and more. In addition to the sampling of tours in these pages, more hints for Ohio travel adventures can be found at www.DiscoverOhio.com.
Ohioans take pride in the amazing variety of unique destinations that reside in every corner of the state. Residents and visitors alike can make the most of attractions that can only be found here: Cedar Point in Sandusky is the world's top-ranked theme park; Ohio is home to the largest Amish community anywhere; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame make their homes here; and Playhouse Square in Cleveland is the second largest performing arts center in the nation.
From the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra to the historic villages in Columbus to Cincinnati's National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, there are intriguing experiences to be had from the shores of Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Of course, Ohio's natural beauty is a main attraction. The largest arboretum in the country, Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, is a great destination for lovers of the outdoors, and the park systems throughout the state are filled with opportunities for recreation. You may also explore the Hocking Hills or the artisan boutiques in Appalachia - these are just the beginning of what visitors will find when touring Ohio's eclectic communities both large and small.
With all the exciting events and options for travel within the state of Ohio, it can be hard to know where to begin. The following itineraries are some great places to start exploring. Visit www.DiscoverOhio.com for more information on unique attractions, opportunities for cultural enrichment and tips for seeking out family fun.
Ohio has the world's largest Amish community, where visitors are transported back in time to a simpler era. Families visiting Ohio's Amish counties of Holmes, Tuscarawas and Geauga can experience new interactive opportunities, including working alongside an Amish farmer, dining with a family and participating in a sing-along.
Take Interstate 77 toward Dover and New Philadelphia, exit at Bolivar and continue a short distance into Zoar Village.
Historic Zoar Village was founded in 1817 by a group of about 200 German Separatists seeking escape from religious persecution. Today, Zoar is a community of approximately 75 families living in homes built as early as 1817. Many of the original homes have been preserved or restored, as have the many buildings and museums maintained by the Ohio Historical Society. Take a walking tour of this fascinating village. www.ohiohistory.org/places/zoar
Travel next to Dover for a visit to the workshop of a master wood carverat the Warther Carvings Museum. Ernest "Mooney" Warther turned his joy of carving wood and ivory into creations that the Smithsonian Institution has called "priceless works of art." Mooney lived in a time when steam locomotives were king, so many of his carvings are steam locomotives made of walnut wood, ebony and ivory. The perfection and mechanizing of his steam locomotives earned him the title of World's Master Carver in the 1920s. Warther's carvings go beyond trains to include canes for presidents and dignitaries, a working replica of a steel mill where he once worked, and the famous Pliers Tree with 511 interconnected working pliers. The carvings combined with the story of the Warther family make Warther's a special museum to visit. www.warthers.com
Travel along State Route 39 to Sugarcreek and into Ohio's remarkable Amish area. Sugar Creek is called Ohio's "Little Switzerland" and features delightful mechanical murals on its storefronts and Swiss-style architecture. www.sugarcreek ohio.org
As visitors continue along State Route 39 to Walnut Creek they enter another era in the heart of Amish Country. Somewhere along the road, the world slows down. While in this region, visitors experience life among the Amish. Buggies traverse the highways, and the culture of this simple lifestyle permeates the landscape. Just outside Berlin, stop at the Amish and Mennonite Center to get an overview of the lifestyle and beliefs of these people.
Stay overnight in one of the quaint bed and breakfasts situated among the scenic hills and valleys.
Begin the day with a breakfast buffet at a traditional Amish restaurant, where the hearty homemade favorites are plentiful.
Spend the morning shopping in the Amish villages of Berlin, Walnut Creek and Millersburg. Here, find such authentic Amish goods as quilts, wood items, freshly made cheese and one-of-a-kind antiques. Lehman's Hardware offers a unique experience - everything available in the store operates without electricity, and they're happy to ship items home for the visitor's convenience. www.lehmans.com
Depending on the day of the week, visitors can immerse themselves in the Amish culture by attending a real auction. Auctions are a regular part of the workweek, where guests and residents alike can bid on animals and farm crops, produce, flea market items and baked goods.
Schrock's Amish Farm and Village is a great place to experience the Amish lifestyle. Enjoy guided tours of the Main House and Grandpa's House, a slide presentation of "The Amish Way," buggy rides, and quilt, oak and leather shops. www.amish-r-us.com
Visitors wishing to personally experience the Amish way of life can work alongside an Amish farmer, dine with an Amish family and hear stories of the challenges and triumphs of living among "The English."
When the stay in Amish Country is over (many travelers stay for weeks rather than just days), visitors can take U.S. Route 62 all the way into Columbus, or they can connect with roads leading to Ohio's other major highways. Amish Country is just a two-hour drive from Columbus, Cleveland and the Ohio River to the south.
For more information about traveling in Amish Country, visit www.HolmesCountyChamber.com; www.NEOhioTravel.com; www.VisitCantonOhio.com..
Ohio is home to a great number of inventors, including Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison and W.H. Hoover - creator of the vacuum cleaner. On this trip, visitors will explore the inventive spirit of the Wright Brothers, and Ohio's role as "The Birthplace of Aviation."
If the trip is timed just right, visitors can catch the spectacular Vectren Dayton Air Show. In 2006, the Blue Angels will headline a full slate of aerobatic flight teams, aerospace displays and activities ideal for flight fans. The event will be held July 29â€“30 at the Dayton International Airport. Cleveland has its own spectacle, the Cleveland National Air Show, that will be held September 2â€“4, 2006, in downtown Cleveland.
Make the first stop at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Here, tour the Wright Bicycle Company, the bicycle shop where Orville and Wilbur Wright researched and built the world's first power-driven heavier-than-air machine capable of flight. The area also features several historical stops, including the home of noted African-American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. www.nps.gov/daav, www.ohio history.org
Spend the remainder of the day at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base and its variety of high-flying attractions. The National Museum of the United States Air Force is a must-see for any aviation buff. The museum holds more than 300 aircraft representing all eras of flight, from the Wright Brothers to the Space Age. Several significant military and U.S. political aircraft are on display.
The facility also houses the National Aviation Hall of Fame. This area showcases the significant achievements of astronauts, pilots and aviation visionaries. While at the base, be sure to stop at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field. www.wpafb.af.mil/museum, www.nationalaviation.org
In the evening, travel back into downtown Dayton to enjoy a symphony or play at the renowned Schuster Center. Baseball fans can get in the game and cheer on the Dayton Dragons. Or make a night of it with dinner at one of the restaurants in the restored Oregon District and enjoy drinks and dancing at any of the nearby nightspots. www.schustercenter.org, www.daytondragons.com.
Dayton also has a remarkable arts community; the Dayton Art Institute is recognized as one of the best art museums of its size in the country.
Begin the day at the Carillon Historical Park. This facility, located just outside downtown Dayton, celebrates the legacy of invention, transportation and pioneer life in Ohio. In Wright Hall, visitors can see the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the third powered machine constructed by the Wright brothers and considered the world's first practical airplane. www.carillonpark.org
Next, travel about one hour north on I-75 to Wapakoneta and the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum. This facility takes visitors on a journey through aviation and aerospace history, chronicling the story of space flight. Become immersed in the space experience through interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations. www.ohiohistory.org/places/armstron
From here, travelers can discover a number of attractions:
Head north to Toledo and entertain the family at the diverse Toledo Zoo, the new Glass Pavilion (opening in August) at the highly acclaimed Toledo Museum of Art and historical sites such as Fort Meigs. Toledo is famous for its food, and Tony Packo's leads the way in providing a unique dining experience.
Follow I-75 and State Route 12 to Sandusky. Here, speed-seekers can feel the sensation of zero gravity aboard Cedar Point's thrill rides. While in the area, visit the Lake Erie Islands. Put-In-Bay is perfect for those seeking an island getaway that's filled with recreation and fun, including the world's longest bar. Kelleys Island offers unique natural geological formations and a state park. www.cedarpoint.com, www.coastalohio.com, www.sanduskycounty.org
Take U.S. Route 30 east about two hours to Canton, and continue the search for aviation-themed attractions at the MAPS Military Museum. Featuring hands-on displays, artifacts, uniforms and aircraft, the museum also displays military aircraft under restoration and flying aircraft. Visitors have the opportunity to sit in a rare Mig-17 Russian fighter. The MAPS Military Museum includes a large gift shop, and is motor coach friendly with handicap access. All tours are guided. www.mapsair museum.org
For more information about visiting Dayton and Greene County, log on to www.DaytonCVB.com; www.Greene CountyOhio.org.
Cleveland offers travelers interested in the arts and culture an array of spectacular destinations all within a short distance of one another. This is ideal for those seeking a dazzling long weekend or short getaway.
Begin the trip in University Circle and uncover an extraordinary cultural district. The concentration of institutions in one beautiful square mile is one of the world's most impressive. The Circle offers the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Severance Hall - home of the Cleveland Orchestra - and ethnic-focused performing arts facilities such as Karamu House. www.universitycircle.org
The evening calls for dinner in the very hip Warehouse District or along Euclid Avenue at the new House of Blues or Pickwick and Frolic Restaurant and Club. Spend the rest of the night on the town at some of the nightclubs that abound in the Warehouse District. Sip a fabulous martini, fine wine or frothy beer at Cleveland's best hot spots after the symphony or a professional baseball or football game.
Wake up to breakfast at the hotel or start the day off right with breakfast at the Hard Rock CafÃ©. Then, take a guided tour on Lake Erie aboard the Goodtime III, Majestic or the Nautica Queen, or enjoy a relaxing ride on Trolley Tours through Cleveland's marvelous, eclectic neighborhoods.
Enjoy lunch while taking in views of the lake, with seagulls soaring overhead and boats in the harbor, at any one of the restaurants in The Flats. After lunch, take a tour of music history at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where visitors can discover their inner rock star. www.rockhall.com
When the sun begins to set, bask in the live musical entertainment at the Tower City Amphitheater or Scene Pavilion - both conveniently located in The Flats. Or, travel south of Cleveland into the beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a concert at Blossom Music Center, the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra and other great live performances. www.towercityamphitheater.com, www.hob.com/scenepavilion, www.hob.com/venues/concerts/blossom
Before departing the Cleveland area, visitors should get out to explore its quaint towns outside the city. Just east of Cleveland is Chagrin Falls, a charming small town complete with a rushing waterfall right in the center of town on Main Street. Shop in the unique boutiques and dine at a restaurant overlooking the falls. www.chagrin-falls.org
From there, visitors have a variety of choices:
Head north along Lake Erie to experience the Wine Trail, which leads to wineries, covered bridges and small towns that dot the shoreline from Cleveland to Ashtabula. www.ohiowines.org, www.visitashtabulacounty.com
Driving south along I-77, travelers will soon come to Akron, home of the spec-tacular Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Just a bit farther south is Canton, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where America's best football players are honored.
Take the family a few more miles south along I-77 into Holmes County to Ohio's Amish region for a truly unique experience that includes mingling with Amish farmers and tradesmen and dining on hearty Amish-style food. www.visitakron-summit.org, www.VisitCantonOhio.com, www.holmescountychamber.com
Heading west along Lake Erie will bring travelers to Toledo and the famed Toledo Art Museum, home of the Glass House, opening in August 2006. Ohio is a leader in glass production and the Toledo Museum of Art features a breathtaking display of art glass. www.toledoohionow.com
For more information about traveling to the Cleveland area, visit www.TravelCleveland.com.
Ohio played a major role in the history of the Underground Railroad, when an estimated 60,000 slaves fled the South and were "conducted" by a network of abolitionist supporters across the brief expanse of the Ohio River to escape slavery.
Neither underground, nor a railroad, the Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses and hiding places established around 1780. One of the first free "stations" of the North that escaping slaves encountered - mostly under the cover of night and guided by the North Star - Cincinnati and the surrounding area have many historical sites significant to the Underground Railroad.
Make the first stop at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in downtown Cincinnati. Learn about the struggle for freedom of slaves escaping from the South to the "free North" during the 1800s. The Center contains many artifacts from the Underground Railroad, including an authentic slave pen as one of its centerpiece exhibits, and also recognizes the ongoing fight for freedom that takes place to this day. www.freedomcenter.org
Next, visit the historic home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the American classic novel about human rights, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Legend has it that when U.S. President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe, he said to her, "So you're the little lady who started this great big war," referring to the Civil War. This property is open only certain days of the week, so check ahead. www.ohiohistory.org/places/stowe.
Cincinnati is one of the great cultural cities in the Midwest. During the late afternoon and evening hours, explore the spectacular new Contemporary Arts Center or enjoy a touring show at one of many venues, including the Aronoff Center for the Arts. www.cincyusa.com
Start the day by traveling southeast along the majestic Ohio River toward Ripley. On the way, make a stop at the Ulysses S. Grant birthplace in Point Pleasant.
Ripley is a cornerstone of the Underground Railroad effort in Ohio. Two properties still stand today as beacons of freedom. The Rankin House is the home of John Rankin, who is reputed to have been one of Ohio's first and most active "conductors" on the Underground Railroad. In addition, he wrote Letters on American Slavery, first published in book form in 1826, which was among the first clearly articulated antislavery views printed west of the Appalachians. By the 1830s, Letters on American Slavery had become standard reading for abolitionists all over the United States. From 1822 to 1865, Rankin, along with his wife and children, assisted hundreds of escaping slaves in their trek to freedom. Located on the Ohio River, John Rankin's home (and Ripley, Ohio, in general) was considered one of the first stations on this route of the Underground Railroad. It was here that Harriet Beecher Stowe heard the escaping slave's story that became the basis for part of her famous work, Uncle Tom's Cabin. www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/underground/oh3.htm
The John P. Parker House tells the story of Parker (1827â€“1900), a freed African-American inventor who served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. It's said that his father was a wealthy white man; his mother was a slave. Parker spent the first 18 years of his life as a slave, earning a reputation as a troublemaker. In 1845, he purchased his freedom. It was in Ripley, a hotbed of abolitionist activity, that his work on the Underground Railroad began and flourished. By his own count, he helped more than 400 slaves to freedom. "A more fearless creature never lived," said the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune shortly after his death. "He gloried in danger. He would go boldly over into the enemy's camp and filch the fugitives to freedom.'' www.johnpparkerhouse.org
A visit to both of these houses gives visitors a truly unique insight into the tremendous struggle for freedom that took place in Ohio.
Travel back to Cincinnati and take in one of Cincinnati's remarkable museums, such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Museum Center or the Taft Museum of Art. All have renowned permanent displays and intriguing traveling exhibits.
When evening falls, enjoy fine cuisine at a restaurant overlooking the Ohio River. Several Cincinnati area spots offer riverside dining and views of the dazzling downtown.
For more information about visiting Cincinnati, log on to www.cincinnati usa.com.
Travel north to Warren County and the charming towns of Lebanon and Waynesville, and explore the Underground Railroad history of Springboro.
The small town of Lebanon is home to Ohio's oldest inn, the Golden Lamb. Presidents through the ages have stayed here, and it retains its historical charm to this day. Take a stroll through Lebanon and enjoy the Americana ambiance. Travel next to Waynesville - the antiques capital of the Midwest. This village boasts the look and feel of another era, with historical buildings and many boutiques and antiques shops lining the streets.
A bit farther north is Springboro, an important stop along the Underground Railroad. Springboro was home to peace-loving Quakers, and this influence has been credited as the driving force in the village's participation in freeing slaves. Abolitionists hung quilts in the windows to signal slaves to bypass or to come in for safety. While in town, visit the Null Log House, built in 1799.
More information about traveling in Warren County can be found at www.ohio4fun.org.
To learn more about Ohio's part in the Underground Railroad and to discover other trails to take from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, log on to www.DiscoverOhio.com.