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Randall L. Schieber
Rich St. Bridge, Scioto River, Columbus Skyline
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Randall L. Schieber
Franklin Park Conservatory with James Turrell's "Light Raiment ll" lighting
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It’s good to get out and explore, but sometimes we miss the things that are at the tip of our noses. This summer we encourage you to look just beyond the 330 and discover something new at these destinations. Whether you are looking to enrich your senses through a cultural trip to Youngstown, learn more about Ohio history in Sandusky, or create memories with your family in Columbus, there is a lot to explore this summer.
Travel to the center of the state this summer with the whole family for a weekend to remember. Only a few hours from the Greater Akron Area, visitors to Columbus can check out a variety of activities.
Book lovers beware! The Book Loft of German Village is the kind of place that you can easily lose track of time in. This 32-room book store offers a vast array of books at bargain prices. As you leaf through novels, children’s books, and more, look around at the pre-Civil War era buildings that were once general stores, a saloon and a nickelodeon cinema. Combined to house the many books for sale there, this store has a little of everything. To learn more, visit www.bookloft.com.
After finding your favorite book, or two, or three, go outdoors and explore the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Experience exceptional plant collections, gardens, seasonal art- and nature-based exhibitions and more at this destination. The Conservatory is located on the 88-acre Franklin Park, near downtown Columbus. This location combines the beauty of many exotic plants with a sense of relaxation that allows you to simply enjoy your time outdoors. Learn more about this destination by visiting www.fpconservatory.org.
However, it can be quite toasty exploring gardens in the summer, so why not make your next stop involve ice cream? Satisfy your sweet tooth with a stop at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Founded by Jeni Britton Bauer in 2002, this ice cream is built from the ground up. There are no flavorings, chemical dyes or off-the-shelf ice cream mixes within this frozen treat. Instead your taste buds will be treated to a natural, hand-crafted ice cream. Whether or not it fits into your diet is up to you. Learn more about Jeni’s at www.jenis.com.
The Hocking Hills area has long been heralded as a gorgeous piece of nature in Ohio. If you love to hike, zipline, or just enjoy soaking in the environment around you, this could be the place for you. However, once your feet are aching from your full day of adventures, take some time to relax with a stay at the very unique Ravenwood Castle. Yes, we said castle. Nestled in the woods of Hocking Hills, this lodging definitely has a medieval flair. Guests can pick between lodgings within the castle itself or go for a more rustic feel at the Huntsman’s Hollow. The Huntsman’s Hollow features small cabins, set around a campfire on the grounds of the castle. Learn more about Ravenwood Castle at www.ravenwoodcastle.com.
Are you a history buff? If so, head west this summer and immerse yourself in the past. Begin your journey in Sandusky. The first thought that pops into the minds of many people when thinking of this lakeside destination is probably scream-inducing thrill rides. However, beyond the rollercoasters, mini golf and chain stores, there is a rich history waiting to be explored.
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in nearby Fremont, Ohio, is a one-stop shop for those who enjoy presidential history. Housing the presidential library, the home, museum, tomb and a 25-acre estate called Spiegel Grove, visitors enter through one of six sets of original White House gates. The exquisite home underwent a historically accurate restoration in 2012, with everything from the carpets and upholstery to the original wall colors being replicated as authentically as possible. To learn more about this destination, visit www.rbhayes.org.
Continue on your Ohio history tour with a visit to Thomas Edison’s Birthplace in Milan, Ohio. The famous inventor of the phonograph and the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Alva Edison lit up our world — literally. The museum highlights his humble origins and showcases many of his early inventions. Learn more by visiting www.tomedison.org.
After exploring the local museums, go into Sandusky itself for some delicious food. J. Bistro Downtown is a contemporary restaurant located in the Manhattan on Market building. This local eatery is elegant without feeling over the top. Their seasonal menu uses local produce and proteins when possible, including fresh produce from the Chef’s Garden. To learn more about J. Bistro Downtown, visit www.jbistrodowntown.com.
As you dive into the past, continue west from Sandusky to Toledo, the glass city. Known for their production of glass, Toledo has a strong history with the practical and beautiful material. In 2006, the Toledo Museum of Art added the postmodern Glass Pavilion to showcase their glass collection. The 74,000-square-foot building is a work of art itself, with all exterior and nearly all interior walls consisting of large panels of curved glass. The pavilion houses more than 5,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary. Learn more about this destination at www.toledomuseum.org/glass-pavilion.
Experience Youngstown’s cultural side this summer. Begin your trip at The Butler Institute of American Art. Founded in 1919 by Joseph G. Butler, Jr., this is the first museum of American Art. The building itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places making it the first thing to check out when visiting. Learn more and plan your visit at www.butlerart.com.
After touring the Butler Institute, head outdoors to the Mill Creek MetroParks. The picturesque landscaping places you in a tranquil mindset, allowing you to soak up the summer sun. One feature that you will want to check out is the Lanterman’s Mill. One of Mahoning County’s historic landmarks, the mill was built in 1845-46 by German Lanterman and Samuel Kimberly. The mill was restored in 1982-85 and still operates today. Tour Lanterman’s Mill and learn about early production of meal and flour, as well as smell the aroma of freshly ground grains. Learn more about Mill Creek MetroParks and Lanterman’s Mill at www.millcreekmetroparks.com.
Complete your cultural tour of Youngstown with a visit to a unique restaurant in the DeYor Performing Arts Center. With its glass enclosure, dining at Overture offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a feeling of alfresco dining all year round. The restaurant is open to the public Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offers a dinner menu prior to performances as well as a late night menu, with a variety of wine choices available to pair with your meal. During your visit, take a look around the building. Originally built in 1931 as the Warner Theatre, the space was renovated and became the home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra in 1969. It has since went through several more renovations over the years, including the Eleanor Beecher Flad Pavilion. Opened in 2006, this pavilion is actually named after the great-granddaughter of German Lanterman, of Lanterman’s Mill. Learn more by visiting www.youngstownsymphony.com.
Once you have enriched your senses with the cultural scene in Youngstown, take a side trip over to Pittsburgh. Tour two modern art museums that will stimulate those already culturally astute senses even more.
When thinking about modern art, it is hard not to picture soup cans and the brightly colored faces of pop culture icons. The Andy Warhol Museum includes 900 paintings, approximately 100 sculptures, more than 1,000 published unique prints and 4,000 photographs. Walking through the halls of this museum, you will get a feel for the range of Warhol’s works. To learn more, visit www.warholmuseum.org.
Continue your art tour at the Mattress Factory. Founded in 1977, this museum is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab that features site-specific art installations. If you are looking for a non-traditional museum experience, the Mattress Factory could be the stop for you. Learn more at www.mattress.org.