From the wonderful lakefront communities of the northeast like Geneva-on-the-Lake to the tiny Lake Erie islands like Put-In Bay, and from the bright lights of Cleveland to the natural wonders of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there is a lot to do in Northern Ohio. The three big mega-attractions, though, are definitely the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, and Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. I visited all three during my time in the area and thought I would jot down some thoughts on them for anyone who might come for a visit to one or more of these attractions in the future.
First and foremost, there are a lot of different ways to get tickets to these attractions, and the worst possible way seemed to be buying them at the ticket-window. Navigating the ticket buying process is a bit of a nightmare, but you definitely need to figure out how to buy your tickets in advance which will save you a considerable amount of money..
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Little C Music Festival in Canton, Ohio. While I have been to quite a few music festivals this year, this one was different because I got a peak behind the curtain. My old college friend Jason, who runs JLS Artist Management, was running the festival along with one of the bands he represents Hey Monea who are from Canton. It was really cool to see this festival from the inside and get to meet everyone involved, and I had a great time at the festival and hanging around in Canton.
The name “Little C” comes from the idea that Canton is often overlooked among the “Big Cs” of Ohio: Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. In recent years Canton has tried to reinvigorate itself from the inside and create more of a tourist draw with events like Little C Music Festival. While the Pro Football Hall of Fame is excellent and will always be a big draw, it’s great to see a town moving away from being a one trick pony…
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located in north-central Ohio between Cleveland and Akron, is a wonderful place to visit. There are several beautiful natural areas to see including The Ledges, a series of moss covered rock cliffs, and the Beaver Marsh, a restored wetland teeming with wildlife. Several beautiful waterfalls can be found within the park boundaries, most notably powerful Brandywine Falls and graceful Blue Hen Falls. Cuyahoga Valley National Park also preserves some wonderful history with a restored section of the Erie and Ohio Canal and excellent interpretations of canal life and travel. Some of the surrounding towns are full of charming buildings and make pleasant detours.
A friend of mine recently passed through Cuyahoga Valley National Park and commented to me that it wasn’t worthy of the National Park title. At first glance, I might have agreed with him but I really warmed up to the area during the two days I spent there. Having grown up in an east coast city…
It’s been a fairly quiet week out here on the road this week. After leading an exciting tour for my old tour company, I needed a little bit of time to relax and get back into the swing of things as I prepare for a busy fall season. It’s cooling down and I’m looking forward to fall colors and apple cider. While I spent a few days out in and around Sandusky, my week started and ended in the greater Cleveland area. Cleveland is definitely a city of neighborhoods, and while it hasn’t struck me as hard as Cincinnati did, it has grown on me. It seems there are little hidden secrets around every corner and I’ve only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.
I started my week with an evening in Chagrin Falls. Chagrin Falls is a charming village on the far outskirts of the Cleveland suburbs. It gets its name from the small but pleasant waterfall which flows right through the center of town. Surrounded by quaint shops and restaurants, I just enjoyed wandering around town and taking some photos…
South Bass Island is a tiny little 3.7 mile by 1.5 mile island which sits 3 miles off the coast of mainland Ohio and is surrounded by Lake Erie. I love islands and have lived on several in my life, and am particularly fond of those not connected by road. They are neat little pockets of culture and I always enjoy visiting them. Accessible by boat or air, South Bass Island is often called Put-In Bay, and has been referred to as the “Key West of Lake Erie”. While that may be a bit of a stretch, it is a really neat place with some great bars and restaurants and some interesting history. I enjoyed visiting the fascinating Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, which commemorates the naval battle for Lake Erie during the War of 1812. While I was there in the off-season and on a chilly and rainy Monday, I still had a really great time on the island and wanted to share these photos from my trip. While not as off-the-beaten-path as the trip you may remember I took to Daufuskie Island in South Carolina (read that story HERE), Put-In Bay is a really cool place and definitely one you should visit if you are in the area.
Geneva-on-the-Lake is a wonderful little resort town on the shores of Lake Erie in north-central Ohio. Local legend tells of early 20th century camping trips to the area by John D. Rockefeller, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford, but tourism had come to the area almost a century earlier. As industry started to spread along Lake Erie after Ohio became a state in 1803, a small fishing resort called Sturgeon Point House opened, catering to the local workers and to travelers passing through. Soon after the Civil War ended, a descendant of the founder of Sturgeon Point House opened a small picnic area overlooking the lake with a horse-drawn carousel as its main attraction. Soon, people were camping there too, and primitive cottages began to spring up. Originally catering mostly to the upper class, Geneva-on-the-Lake would transform into an affordable getaway for everyone in the first half of the 20th century with the spread of the automobile. Although the area declined in the seventies and eighties, it bounced back in the nineties and seemed to be doing really well when I visited recently. I loved the historic trail through town which told scandalous stories from yesteryear
Whew, I'm taking a deep breath. Sorry for the lack of content over the last few weeks. I've been out guiding a quick tour from New York to Miami for my old tour company. I had planned on getting a bunch of work done as I went, but running a tour is just always so all-consuming. Even with 12 years experience and being in a region I'm really comfortable and familiar with, there's just so much to do behind the scenes to keep a tour running smoothly and keep up with all the paperwork etc. And that's not even mentioning the 5,000+ miles I've driven in the last few weeks. It was awesome to be back in the driver's seat though, and it was a really good tour all around. But it's also good to be back on my own and back with my Shadow Catcher.
I met my group in Newark on a rainy Sunday morning and we set off to historic Philadelphia. Despite the rain, they kept their spirits up as I gave them a quick tour through Independence National Historical Park, pointing out some of the more important buildings and recounting stories of our Founding Fathers and their lives. We stopped into Carpenter's Hall, site of the First Continental Congress and also in to see the Liberty Bell. From there we headed out for cheesesteaks at Reading Terminal Market and a quick run up the "Rocky Steps" at the Philadelphis Museum of Art before departing the City of Brotherly Love…
My maternal grandfather died when I was just 3 years old. I have only the faintest memory of him, and it's likely those memories come more from old photos and home movies than anything else. I know the waves in my hair are his. I know he was a bombardier in the Pacific theater and served in Korea. I remember being a teenager and slipping on his old leather bomber jacket and loving the way it felt and the smell of the leather. I know that he worked at Sears after he retired from the Air Force and I kind of believe I remember visiting him there as a kid (this website was built at the library across the street from that old Sears building). Visiting my grandmother's house growing up, I spent a lot of time in his workshop building model cars and airplanes. I liked his tool collection and how everything seemed to have its place, and I always felt connected to him there. Outside of these few small things though, I really only knew one thing about him and about that side of my family which was the name of his hometown: Dillonvale, Ohio.
This has been an interesting week for me out here on the road. Not only have I covered a reasonable amount of ground and seen some great places, but I also spent time in the hometown of my grandfather (and his father). He died when I was just 3 years old, so I never really knew him or much about that side of my family, so it was fascinating to visit tiny Dillonvale, Ohio and walk where he walked and learn about where he grew up. I also visited my great-grandparents' grave while I was there and introduced myself. The week brought me from Columbus all the way back to the Ohio river, north to Lake Erie and down into Cleveland. The weather is turning cooler and overall, it's been a great week out here as usual.
Ah, State Fair! The mere mention of State Fair brings back so many fond memories from my childhood. Roasted corn on the cob, flying down the Giant Slide on a sack, cream puffs and little piglets were always the highlights for me. It was wonderful to be able to visit the Ohio State Fair in Columbus and relive some of those memories. It was great to see there are still hawkers selling shammies and cookware, and the guy who will guess your weight, age or birth month. I also loved visiting the crafts area and seeing the award winning dollhouses and quilts and muffins. State Fair was also my only real connection with agricultural life when I was a kid, and it was great to see farmers still sitting by their prized cattle and sheep. I also enjoyed the "butter cow", apparently a beloved local tradition. This year's was a recreation of one of my favorite holiday movies: A Christmas Story. Fairs are also fun to photograph as the colors are vivid and the patrons come in all shapes and sizes. I hope you enjoy these shots from the Ohio State Fair.
Through years of volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, Joe DeLoss had come to understand how difficult it often was for people who had been incarcerated or experienced homelessness to get back on their feet. Often all they needed was someone to give them an opportunity. When Joe started selling chicken from a pop-up location in 2014, he decided that a part of his business model would be to give people that second chance.. DeLoss now has three brick and mortar locations for his thriving restaurant Hot Chicken Takeover, and his mission to help people in need has continued to grow.
Washington Court House is a quiet town in Fayette County in central Ohio. From what I've read and heard, it's always been a quiet town - always, that is, except for one night in October of 1894. That night, a mob formed outside the courthouse in an attempt to lynch a prisoner being held there. Shots were fired and five men were killed. This incident has come to be known as the Washington Court House Riot of 1894.