On our road trip to Canada we passed through Ohio and saw what a captivating state it is. It is a region filled with a thriving arts and cultural scene. It is also overflowing with large cities which contain distinctive neighborhoods and small towns rich in history.
So, for our next adventure, we went to Cincinnati, Cleveland, Bass Island, Akron and Canton. In Canton we attended a film festival, so we did not have a chance to see the sights such as the NFL Hall of Fame or the William McKinney Monument. We did however enjoy several nights in the majestic Palace Theatre.
My favorite in the group is Cincinnati, a beautiful city brimming with vintage charm. The town is perched on a geological feature known as the Cincinnati Arch. The landscape was carved by glaciers so the whole city is filled with sharp ravines, wide flood plains and concealed hollows.
We stayed in the picturesque area of Mount Adams and enjoyed panoramic views of the Ohio River and the shores of Kentucky. Cincinnati is defined by its 52 distinctive neighborhoods. In addition to Mount Adams, my favorites are Over the Rhine and Riverfront.
Mount Adams was a wonderful surprise with its dramatic clifftop views, and vintage main street district which is humming with great dining and boutique shopping. Don’t miss the tasty cocktails and live music at The Blind Lemon. If you like Thai food and Sushi Teak Thai Cuisine has both.
The whole neighborhood is extremely walkable but it is definitely about the views! A number of the streets are still brick and not concrete due to the residents passion for preservation. We stayed in a wonderful Airbnb home built in 1865 and beautifully restored. It has memorable views of the Ohio River from its decks and living space. (see a Room with a View) Don’t miss the botanical garden and the art museum located here.
Over the Rhine is filled with 19th century buildings. A streetcar runs through the north end of the district to the downtown riverfront. It joins the Findlay Market one of Ohio’s oldest continuously operating public market. It is a food and shopping attraction. Then onto the soccer stadium and the Cincinnati Music Hall. Among the many craft breweries here is the Rhinegeist which features a scenic rooftop terrace.
Don’t miss the historic railway station full of amazing murals.
We moved onto Cleveland where you can enjoy the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland Zoo to experience some outdoor spaces which are fun and educational for kids and adults alike. Do not miss the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Museum which honors the most influential people in the music industry, or the Cleveland Museum of Art. Both places are ideal especially if the weather turns rainy, cold or hot! Don’t miss the Monet, Courbet and Cezanne paintings in the art museum. The Westside Market was established in 1840. It is Cleveland’s oldest publicly owned open-air market. The West Side Market was resurrected and reopened to the public in 1912. This market houses food stalls selling ready-to-eat items, and gift type food items. It has been highlighted on the Travel Channel and Food Network.
We found a unique apartment, in the historic Water Street Apartments Building (See a Room with a View) located downtown overlooking Progressive Field (where the Cleveland Guardians—formerly the Cleveland Indians—play). There is also a unique drive following Riverbend Street which offers excellent views of the city from the banks of the Cuyahoga River. Don’t miss “The Flats” which is loaded with great restaurants and unique hotels.
We drove around Lake View Cemetery, a lovely and peaceful site with many unforgettable monuments. President James Garfield and John D. Rockefeller are buried there. Adjacent the cemetery is Cleveland’s romantic Little Italy where we enjoyed a hearty lasagna, capped by robustly red wine. See TripAdvisor for the review.
South Bass Island
For a daytrip out of Cleveland you might want to head to Put
-in-Bay in Lake Erie. Take a relaxing ferry ride to Put-in-Bay a village on South Bass Island and enjoy the scenic water views, shopping and great restaurants there. There is plenty to see here as you move about the island in golf carts or just take a tram ride. You can also bring your car on the ferry too. Don’t miss the historical Perry Peace Memorial commemorating the 1812 Battle of Lake Erie. There is a wine festival here in the fall. It is a great getaway from urban life. One our way back to Cleveland we stopped in Catawba Island at The Orchard Bar & Table restaurant and sat outside. We thoroughly enjoyed the fresh food from this local farm and winery.
On our drive to Canton, we passed through Akron. What started as a simple stopover turned into a full day seeing the sights. We were pleasantly surprised by all of the history here. One of the most peaceful spots is the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Each of the gardens at Stan Hywet provides its own buoyant quality and vintage past . My personal favorite is the English Garden, conceived by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman. She was a landscape innovator of her time. It is one of her few gardens open to the public. It was restored in the 1990s. The striking colors of this garden change with the seasons. Warren Manning was the primary landscape designer for the grounds and this property. These gardens represent one of the finest remaining examples of Mr. Manning’s private work in the United States.
While in town we stopped at The John Brown House and The Simon Perkins Stone Mansion. Both of these historical sights are worth a stop. John Brown (1800–1859), one of the most prominent figures in the abolitionist movement, and his family rented a house from Colonel Simon Perkins in Akron between 1844 and 1854. There is also the beautiful historic Glendale Cemetery. The founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Frank R Seiberling and Quaker Oats founder Ferdinand Schumacher are both interred there.
Our next stop was Canton for the film festival. The city too is a historical gem with a great downtown center. Unfortunately we only had time to drive around. We thoroughly enjoyed the film festival in this beautifully restored Art Deco Palace Theater. There is an appealing Asian Fusion Restaurant located next door called the Basil Asian Bistro (See my review on TripAdvisor).
Ohio is full of unique cities and towns and is well worth a visit. The area I have included is just a small sampling of what the state has to offer. You will be surprised at all of the history here as well as the well preserved large urban cities.