Cloudy but Beautiful Cuyahoga Valley

It’s been a great week out here in North Central Ohio. Even though I haven’t gone very far this week, I’ve been seeing a lot of cool things which I can share with you today. I also spent the entire weekend at the Little C Music Festival in Canton which was great. The weather has warmed up again, but the days are starting to get noticeably shorter. The first hints of fall are starting to show up in the natural world, with more obvious ones like pumpkins at the stores and Halloween shops opening in the man-made one. I love the fall and am very happy to welcome the cooler weather and beautiful changing colors. It means warm apple cider and campfires and that all of my favorite holidays are right around the corner. I’ve had a great summer, but I am definitely ready for the change of season.

My week started with a second great day in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I enjoyed a few walks in the park including out to Blue Hen Falls, one in The Ledges area and another through the Beaver Marsh. The weather was a bit overcast that day, but still made for some great photos. You can see all of my favorites from the two days I spent in the park in a post you’ll find HERE.

Hey Monea Performing at Little C

From Cuyahoga Valley, I headed south to Canton where I remained from Thursday to Monday. Most of the time I was there, I was either enjoying or recovering from the wonderful Little C Music Festival. The music was great and I really enjoyed meeting the bands and hanging out with old and new friends. You can read all about the experience HERE. I did also have the pleasure of attending a wonderful Fish Fry at Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, also in Canton. They do this event monthly except during summer and if you’re ever around for one it is definitely worth checking out. The food was great and everyone was very welcoming. I also really enjoyed a visit to Taggart’s which has been serving up ice cream in Canton since 1926. You really must try their signature “Bittner” dessert if you’re ever in town.

Tallmadge Church

Fully recovered from the weekend by Monday, I spent the entire day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, also in Canton. I really enjoyed my time there. It was very well organized and well executed. I didn’t think I would be there as long as I was, so was glad I got there early. I wrote all about my experience there along with the two other big attractions of the region, Cedar Point and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in a post you can find HERE.

Monday night I made my way north to Akron and spent most of the next day catching up on work I didn’t do over the weekend. I did get out to explore the city a bit, including a wonderful dinner at Luigi’s on North Main Street. This place has been dishing up delicious Italian food and pizza late into the night, seven days a week, since the year my parents were born. My favorite thing in the place, though, was the Chicago Coin Band Box (see what I’m talking about HERE) over the door. When someone played a song on the jukebox, the little curtain would open and little musicians played tiny instruments along with the tune. Apparently these were a hot item in the fifties, but I had never seen one before. It had me smiling from ear to ear. After dinner I went and had a quick beer at Annabelle’s on North Market St. and then called it a night. I stayed out in Tallmadge which had one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen in the whole state and apparently the oldest in continuous operation.

Mustill Store Museum

Wedsday I started the day at the Mustill Store Museum out at Lock 15. This small, free museum tells the story of Akron which formed in 1811 near the summit of the Erie and Ohio Canal (Akron gets its name from the Greek word for high point or summit). The Mustill family built a general store next to one of the busier locks and sold everything from food and liquor to household goods and supplies. This was a really neat look at what Akron was like in the early days and had a wonderful mural portraying the canals running through town.

I didn’t have much else on my agenda for today, so I asked the volunteers at the museum for recommendations on what to see and do around town. They sent to some really great places. First I went to the Northside Marketplace, which I absolutely loved. The Northside Marketplace bills itself as an “incubator for local start-up businesses”. It houses 35 vendors selling everything from cookies to T-shirts to artwork from small stalls set up around a central sitting area. There is a bar, an ice cream shop and even a bicycle shop in the Marketplace. I saw some great local products there, but my favorites came from Rubber City Clothing, where T-shirts were printed on-site and on-demand and bore intensely local messages and slogans. Just from the T-shirts I learned that in Akron they call their potato wedges “jojos”, and that the grass between the road and the sidewalk is referred to as the “devilstrip”. They’re also proud of their local history making rubber and tires. Most of the sections in the marketplace were unattended and you paid at a central cashier. This is such a cool idea and definitely worth a visit, even if just to look at the T-shirt logos.

Manual Scale at The Peanut Shoppe

From there I headed down to another recommended local institution - The Peanut Shoppe. Since 1933, this tiny place has been roasting and selling its own peanuts. It was a great little shop, where you can sample a bunch of different varieties of peanuts, other nuts, and assorted snacks and candies. I loved that their prices were clearly marked and you could get things in as small a quantity as 1/8 of a pound. I really felt like I’d stepped back in time when they measured my peanuts on a balance scale using a counterweight! This is a great spot and a must-see if you are ever in town.

Stan Hywet Hall

I rounded out the day with an amazing tour of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. This gorgeous 65 room Tudor Revival Manor House was built in 1915 and was home to the Seiberling family, who founded Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., until 1955. When F.A. Seiberling died, the building sat empty for two years. Then, in 1957, their children opened it for tours. The most remarkable thing about this house is that all of the furniture is original to the house and belonged to the Seiberling family down to the sheets on the beds and the clothes in the closets. I took a guided tour of the house ($18 with my AAA discount), which lasted two hours and was really fascinating. After the tour, I wandered the grounds and gardens for another hour. This was such a cool place and I’m really glad I went. I probably wouldn’t have if the volunteer at the Mustill Store hadn’t told me it was her favorite place in the whole world. When someone says that to me (and I could tell in her voice that she meant it), I almost felt like I couldn’t miss it. I’m glad I didn’t. I really liked Stan Hywet because unlike the Biltmore or Hearst Castle, this place felt like it was a home, not just a showroom for gaudy trinkets. It also reminded me a lot of what Intheoaks must have been like in its heyday (read that post HERE).

And now I’m at the Central Library here in Akron writing to you fine folks. After I hit the “Publish” button I think I’ll check out one of the local breweries for a pint or two.

This coming week, I need to get some more work done on my podcast. I’m planning on heading down through Amish Country to Mansfield and then starting to make my way north towards Toledo. From there, I’m heading south and out of Ohio towards Kentucky. I’m going to start asking for Kentucky recommendations soon, so if you’ve been there I’d love your advice. I hope you all have a great week out there. Enjoy the few sprinklings of summer that are left wherever you are and I’ll see you right back here, this time next week. Thanks as always for coming along for the ride.


My Tiny Spirit Animal - He Carries His Home Wherever He Goes