December 2006 Issue
Now's the perfect time to discover all that Akron and Summit County have to offer: museums, concerts and theater guaranteed to provide a sure cure for the winter blues, along with plenty of outdoor fun for those who can't get enough of the snowy seaso
Arts and sciences
Actors' Summit is known for staging professional theatrical productions created by Ohio artists. Just in time for the holidays, the musical "Christmas Survival Guide," on stage through December 23, is a comical look at the perils of the season. "QED," a fun-filled lesson in quantum electrodynamics, plays January 11 through 28. The classic drama, "Death of a Salesman" takes the stage February 15 through March 4.
Ready for dinner and a show? Head to Carousel Dinner Theatre, known for fine cuisine and first-rate productions. Grab your umbrella for "Singin' in the Rain," through January 6. Return to the groovy 1960s January 10 through February 24 with the "Beehive" musical revue, featuring songs made famous by The Supremes, Dusty Springfield and Tina Turner.
Set amid the woodland ambiance of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Weathervane Playhouse has staged more than 500 productions since it began in 1935. Next year's lineup includes Arthur Miller's dramatic "All My Sons" January 17 through February 4; the American Association of Community Theatre regional festival of works February 17 through 19; and Shakespeare's timeless love story, "Romeo and Juliet," February 20 through March 4.
When it comes to concerts and shows, the Akron Civic Theatre and E.J. Thomas Hall are two favorite destinations. E.J. Thomas hosts the State Ballet Theatre of Russia production of "Cinderella" on January 31; the Tony Award-winning Mel Brooks' musical, "The Producers," January 26 through 28; the energetic "Stomp," featuring every kind of percussion instrument imaginable February 2 and 3; and singer-songwriter Randy Newman and his tribute to Hollywood favorites February 18. The Akron Civic Theatre presents the silent film classic, "The Mark of Zorro," starring Douglas Fairbanks, accompanied by organist Christian Elliot performing on the mighty Wurlitzer organ February 10.
The Akron Symphony Orchestra is known for introducing audiences to new works and reacquainting them with old favorites. On January 20, the ensemble will present a classical series concert featuring works by Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Debussy. For "Gospel Meets Symphony" on February 17, the orchestra performs with the Akron Symphony Gospel Choir. Both concerts are at E. J. Thomas Hall.
Since 1887, the Tuesday Musical Arts Association has been dedicated to bringing renowned classical musicians to northeast Ohio. This season is no exception, as pianist Richard Goode performs classical and romantic music at E. J. Thomas Hall February 20. The Cleveland Orchestra, guest conducted by Alan Gilbert, plays Stravinsky, Mozart and Dvorak on March 25.
The Akron Art Museum is closed for renovation, but offers programs at other locations. Katie Wat, the museum's curator of exhibitions, will discuss "From Rembrandt to Rockwell: Artists' Portraits of Their Families" January 17 at the main branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library.
Summit Artspace showcases work by artists living, working or attending school in Summit, Portage and Medina counties, presenting a variety of exhibitions and demonstrations throughout the year. Upcoming activities include workshops exploring monoprints on gelatin plate December 2, acrylic still life painting from aerial views December 9 and felt art December 16. Through January 6, "Kaleidoscope 2006" spotlights works by members of Artists of the Rubber City, Women's Art League and Akron Society of Artists. Bang & Clatter Theatre Company takes center stage through December 23 with "The Long Christmas Ride Home," followed by Neil LaBute's "Fat Pig" January 12 through February 2.
Wondering how to occupy your time indoors this winter? Why not tap into your roots? The main branch of Akron-Summit County Public Library is offering a series of workshops to help you explore your family tree. "Getting Started in Family History," January 13 and February 13, presents an overview of the genealogical resources available, as well as tips for organizing research. "Finding Your Family in the Census," January 27 and February 27, demonstrates how to use this rich source to track your ancestors.
Renowned for its extensive costume and glass collections, the Kent State University Museum presents "Oscar de la Renta: American Elegance" through May 26, a retrospective of the creativity of this designer to the stars. "Object Lessons: Authenticity in African Art" is spotlighted through June 3.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame honors those who have made the world better through science and technology. Learn about the mysteries of motion and the machines that changed our lives by exploring "Fantastic Forces" through December 31. "Sub Zero Science," February 8 through 17, demonstrates how cold and snow are created. Inspired by the many inventors whose work began in the garage, "Tinker in the Garage," held during February and March, encourages kids to investigate, experiment, design, build and problem-solve.
Catch the spirit
Kick off the season by visiting Holidayfest at Lock 3. This year's festivities, with scheduled activities and events taking place between November 24 and February 19, includes an ice-skating rink; the Chriskindl Market through December 31, featuring hand-blown glass ornaments, wooden toys and candles; and the Hutzenstub, serving bratwurst, potato pancakes, soups and mulled wine. The Lock 3 live performance line-up includes the German Miner Band December 8, 9, 15 and 16, and a visit from Father Christmas December 18 through 24.
Don Drumm Studios is bursting with creativity this holiday season with "The Art of Giving." Visitors are guided through the elements of design -- shape, texture, size, line and color -- in fun and functional everyday art forms. From Don Drumm's new line of aluminum ornaments to Fields & Fields glass vases, there's something unique for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
Kids of all ages will enjoy the Actors' Summit production of "A Winnie-The-Pooh Christmas Tail" December 7 through 23.
Have a "Swingin' Christmas" December 4 and 11 at Carousel Dinner Theatre with Helen Welch and the Dave Banks Big Band, as they perform hits by Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler and other legendary divas. The beloved holiday "Breakfast With Santa" returns December 2, 9 and 16.
The Akron Civic Theatre presents the "Christmas Music Spectacular" December 8 through 10, a two-hour extravaganza of singing, dancing, toy soldiers, bagpipes and carolers. The magical musical "Tuba Christmas," featuring more than 600 tubas festooned with tinsel, garlands and lights, returns December 17.
Akron's magnificent Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is once again aglow in seasonal decorations. The estate's annual "Deck the Hall" December 8 through 23 and 26 through 30, is filled with holiday lighting displays, music and food.
The Akron Symphony Orchestra says season's greetings with its annual "Holiday Pops" concert conducted by Matthew Kraemer December 8 at E.J. Thomas Hall.
The Children's Ballet Theatre brings "The Nutcracker" to life throughout the month. The troupe is staging the Tchaikovsky ballet through December 3 at the Akron Civic Theatre, and hosts "Breakfast with Clara, The Nutcracker and Santa" on December 16 at the Spaghetti Warehouse. From December 8 through 23 and 26 through 30, the music room at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens will be filled with the sights and sounds of "The Nutcracker," performed in front of an enormous Christmas tree.
Have a "Snack With Santa" at the Akron Zoo December 9, 10, 16 and 17, followed by a holiday craft workshop and opportunities to feed the penguins.
Surrender to the romance of the rails this winter by hopping aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Weekends through December 17, "Mr. Jingeling's Holiday Express" features Santa's No. 1 elf hosting a party for children of all ages. Embark on a special "Christmas Tree Adventure" at Heritage Farms during the first two weekends of December. Participants will be able to cut their own fir or choose one already cut, and bring it back on the train.
Experience the magic of the holidays the way your ancestors might have. Hale Farm & Village recreates Ohio's Western Reserve region as it was during Civil War times. The village's guided lantern tours cast a special glow December 8, 9, 15, 16, 21 and 22. Make a present from the heart during a "Gifts From the Gatehouse" craft workshop December 3, 10 and 17.
What are you doing New Year's Eve? The place to be is First Night Akron, a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration of the arts. The December 31 festival includes dance and theater performances, visual-arts displays and hands-on activities for everyone. Nostalgic holiday department-store window displays at The Polsky and O'Neil's buildings add to the fun.
Unwind after the holidays on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The "Grape Escape Wine-Tasting Train" whisks passengers away January 27 with samplings of five choice wines and appetizers.
Each year, more than 3 million visitors commune with nature in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Covering 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River, the area is the perfect place to explore the great outdoors. Warm up to winter by taking a hike. Upcoming outings include 4- 5-, 6- or 7-mile weekend hikes at select locations December 3, 17, January 21, and February 4 and 18. Cross-country-skiing programs take place December 16 and 30, January 6, 13 and 27 and February 3 and 11. "Arts in the Park," February 16, features hand-on activities sure to spark your creativity. Music will be heard in the valley when King Wilkie shares his special bluegrass sound January 12.
Comprised of 8,666 acres, including 12 developed parks and a 33-mile hike and bike trail, Metro Parks Serving Summit County offers plenty of spots to get back to nature. Join in the annual "Audubon Bird Count" December 17 and do your part to help track bird populations. Squirrels aren't for the birds at the nature realm workshop January 7, where participants will make jar feeders and learn about the different kinds of squirrels that make Ohio home. "Heat Up the Night" by hiking Firestone Metro Park January 26. It's never too early to think spring, and the hydrangea workshop January 31 will help you get a head start on next year's garden. Prowl for owls on a night hike February 9 at the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm.
Northeast Ohio welcomes skiers to Boston Mills and Brandywine resorts with rates on lift tickets and rentals at Brandywine on Christmas Eve and special late-night hours New Year's Eve. Saturday Night Race Clinics January 13 at Brandywine and February 10 at Boston Mills are geared toward the advanced-intermediate to expert skier who would like to see what grand slalom and slalom techniques are all about.
Aladdin's Eatery in Hudson provides unique natural foods of the Middle East with menu options for vegetarians and vegans. Sip on a freshly prepared blended juice smoothie and indulge in the mujadara plate, a bed of steamed lentils and rice topped with Lebanese salata and garnished with toasted onions.
A Portage Lakes favorite, Anthe's is an Akron tradition offering superb American Continental cuisine. The bean soup, sourdough rolls and prime rib are favorites.
Bricco is Akron's spot for funky pizza and pasta dishes served in a casual atmosphere. Pizza toppings include such exotic options as goat cheese and kalamata olives, or try the penne with lobster meat, goat cheese and smoked Gouda.
Brubaker's Pub in downtown Akron offers an upscale pub experience topped off with such delicious menu options as a chicken cordon "bru" sandwich and delicious daily soup specials.
Stop by Buon Appetito Pizzeria, a charming Italian restaurant in Copley, for generous portions of pasta dinners, salads and wedding soup.
For freshly made fruit smoothies, hearty soups and other healthful sundries, drop by the Cali Juice bar on Hudson's First & Main.
Satisfy your next ice cream craving at Cold Stone Creamery in Akron with one of their signature Cold Stone Creations. The homemade, creamy product is made-to-order on a frozen granite stone with mix-ins of nuts, fruits and candy. Also try the shakes, smoothies and cakes.
Creative comfort foods are the specialty at Crave, located in downtown Akron. Relax in the posh yet comfortable interior and enjoy delicious entrees such as pan-seared, pumpkin-seed-crusted lamb chops or smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese.
Casually upscale yet family-friendly, D'Agnese's Tomato Grill offers everything from pasta and pizza to filet mignon and salmon Oscar.
Downtown Akron's Diamond Grille was established in 1934 and continues to serve both new and faithful customers. The restaurant is known for the ever-popular 16-ounce rib-eye longbone steak.
Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Akron offers the finest steaks, as well as a reserve list of more than 80 wines from some the world's best vineyards. Steaks are broiled at 1,600 degrees to seal in the juices and are served -- on request -- with peppercorn, Madeira and bearnaise sauces.
Gasoline Alley in Akron offers all of the usual deli classics, but coming out on top is Auntie Gail's steaming hot corn chowder.
For seafood and steak combined with live musical entertainment, check out the Grotto at Merriman in Merriman Valley. This hot nightspot also serves a gourmet buffet for Sunday brunch.
Hyde Park Grille of Akron offers a club-like atmosphere along with prime aged steaks and chops. The steaks are chargrilled in a 1,800 degree broiler to sear in flavor, lightly dusted with a special seasoning and topped with rich steak butter. Try the exclusive bone-in filet mignon or enjoy one of the fresh grilled fish selections, cold-water lobster tail or the jumbo shrimp saute.
The Ido Bar & Grill in Akron is known for offering the best "home cooking" in the area at prices that are hard to beat. Home of the famous Ido Burger, the restaurant also serves chef salads. Fresh seafood and steaks are also menu favorites.
The Inn at Turner's Mill in Hudson serves up fresh American cuisine and a menu that changes with the seasons. Signature items include slowly grilled meats, roasted chickens, fresh seafood and pasta.
Jillian's of downtown Akron serves up a Southwestern/American menu amid dance music and live rock and blues. The barbecue ribs are served with slaw, baked beans and fries.
For a Cajun menu with a touch of Irish flare, try Jimmy's CafÃ© in Cuyahoga Falls. The signature jambalaya is a spicy fusion of seafood, vegetables and rice.
Find elegant, upscale dining and a fantastic view of the Cuyahoga River at LeFever's River Grill in Cuyahoga Falls. Delectable entrees include pine-smoked duck salad and peppercorn-crusted strip steak.
If Italian is what you crave, Luigi's is the place to be. It's been offering freshly prepared Italian cuisine since 1949 and is still going strong. Indulge in a variety of salads, pizza and pasta, and signature Italian desserts.
Mexico City native, Marcela Arregui de McNeill has been serving up authentic Mexican fare at Marcelita's in Hudson since 1978. Dig into custom-made enchiladas and burritos and savor the unique flavor of the signature chile peppers used in the sauce.
The owners of Mavis Winkle's Irish Pub in Twinsburg have recreated the atmosphere and experience of an authentic Irish establishment. The menu offers such staples as corned beef, as well as steak, seafood, calamari and ribs.
Everything from the bread to pasta to potato chips and cheesecake is made from scratch at Moe's Restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls. The eclectic entrees, which change frequently, are listed on the blackboard in the dining area.
The Mustard Seed Market & CafÃ©, with locations in Montrose and Solon, is northeast Ohio's largest retailer of organic and natural food, and the cafÃ©s are known for excellent all-natural menus that include vegetarian and vegan options. Try the eggplant napoleon sautÃ©ed with herbed tomatoes or the pecan-crusted cod filet.
Located on the shores of Portage Lakes, the Olde Harbor Inn specializes in fresh seafood that will satisfy the most demanding palette. The lobster linguini, Chilean sea bass and caramelized salmon are just a few of the mouth-watering seafood entrees gracing the menu.
The Sheraton's renowned Piatto Novo in Cuyahoga Falls offers a stunning view of the Cuyahoga River and expertly prepared regional Italian cuisine. Fresh seafood is offered nightly as well as an extensive wine list and handmade dessert creations.
The Saffron Patch is Akron's place for authentic Indian dishes, elegant dÃ©cor and impeccable service. Indulge in the chicken tikka masala accompanied by tandoori-baked flatbread.
Enjoy a hearty Italian dinner in a stately historic home at Stancato's CafÃ© in Richfield.
Swenson's drive-in restaurants, with seven locations in the Akron area, offer nostalgic drive-in dinner experiences (there's no indoor seating). Stop by for traditional loaded double cheeseburgers and mile-high BLTs.
An innovative and seasonally fresh menu can be found at the Vue Restaurant and Lounge in historic downtown Hudson. Amid the modernized '40s supper club dÃ©cor, enjoy an extensive wine list and bistro, and such sinfully delicious entrees as rack of Australian lamb and roasted Chatham cod with clams and chorizo crushed potatoes.
High-quality pizza is just a phone call away thanks to Zeppe's Pizzeria of Hudson. Try the specialty pizzas with custom toppings or the freshly made pastas and calzones.