The February 2024 Edition ©

A Couples’ Oasis in Winter

Enjoy A Romantic Getaway in Medina County

February stands like a warm, love-filled beacon in the middle of an otherwise chilly, snow-covered landscape across Ohio. Shake off that cabin fever and plan a memorable (and affordable) couples’ getaway. One of the best places for couples to celebrate this lovely mid-winter gift is Medina County, where you can enjoy everything from an intimate dinner to trying your hand at axe throwing.

Start with a romantic dinner for two at one of the many local restaurants in Medina County. The Farmer’s Table in Medina offers everything from gourmet small plates and shareables to a 16-ounce Ohio strip steak. If you want something with a view, visit The Oaks in Chippewa Lake. This unique lakeside dining experience with a cozy fire will add to the romance. Or Get cozy at The Vue, a quaint local spot in historic downtown Wadsworth, with a selection of seasonal fare and craft cocktails to satisfy any craving.

You and your sweetie can also refine your Paul Bunyan chops at TimberBeast axe throwing in Medina. The indoor venue offers beer and wine and has leagues for throwing stars, knives, hatchets, and big axes. Or let your artistic abilities shine at Brush Tips art studio in Wadsworth. Choose one of their specialty craft nights or an adult paint-n-sip where you can bring snacks and adult beverages.

A visit to a winery or brewery can foster a warm glow. You’ll find distinctive wine and bourbons at Amy’s Arbors in Valley City and Unwined in Wadsworth. The High & Low Winery in Medina features tasting rooms, two cozy fireplaces, and a full-service bistro. Share a pint with your sweetie at Ignite Brewing Company in Brunswick. It’s a fun environment with a selection of delicious local craft brews.

And don’t forget Spa time – celebrate the day being pampered with your significant other; you owe it to yourself! Embrace Salon and Spa in Brunswick offers deep tissue and hot stone massages, facials, skincare treatments, and more. Nature’s Touch Massage and Wellness Center in Medina, OH, offers relaxation and therapeutic massages, deep tissue and hot stone massages, sports, and recovery massages.

Looking for a cozy spot to celebrate the holiday and recharge your batteries? Brookshore Cottage, a B&B at Chippewa Lake, features luxurious rooms and first-rate accommodations. Or choose one of the cozy rooms of Medina’s Spitzer House, a Victorian Bed and Breakfast in downtown Medina.

While in Medina County, check out the calendar of events – including the renowned 30th Annual Medina Ice Festival happening February 16 – 19, 2024, in the Historic Medina Square. Wonder at the expertly carved ice sculptures of your favorite winter characters and stick around for the live carving competition.

Medina County is perfect for spending a fun-filled or relaxing weekend with your significant other. Escape the everyday shuffle and plan your visit at VisitMedinaCounty.com.

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Around the World in Ohio

Where in the Ohio/World Are We?

While traveling around the world in Ohio, we discovered places like Athens, Berlin, and Dublin. That’s Athens, Berlin, and Dublin, Ohio, not Greece, Germany, and Ireland. But we’ll tell you about both anyway, as well as Lebanon, Ohio versus Lebanon; Milan, Ohio versus Milan, Italy; Moscow, Ohio versus Moscow, Russia; and Toledo, Ohio versus Toledo, Spain.

Athens, Ohio vs. Athens, Greece

Berlin, Ohio vs. Berlin, Germany

Dublin, Ohio vs. Dublin, Ireland

Lebanon, Ohio vs. Lebanon

Milan, Ohio Vs. Milan, Italy

Moscow, Ohio vs. Moscow, Russia

Toledo, Ohio vs Toledo, Spain

Where will our worldly Ohio travel take us next?

Stay tuned to OhioTraveler’s Social Media Channels.

Best Date Night Destinations in Ohio

At Romantic Adventure Getaways
You’ll discover the Best Date Night

The first overnight escape room combined with a luxury resort in the country is housed in a Scooby Doo Mansion full of mysteries and the largest bed in Ohio, among many other delights.

Romantic Adventure Getaways, a mini resort 54 miles Northeast of Columbus, Ohio, strives to become one of Ohio’s most romantic getaway locations for your date night fun.  This 1840s brick mansion is the first ever to combine the secret passages, trap doors, tunnels, and slides of a Scooby Doo Mansion with clues & riddles from an escape room with the luxury experiences found at resorts. The results are private Hollywood decor suites that have a choose-your-own-adventure feel, which leads couples on a night of amazing adventure.

Touted as one of the “Best Date Nights Ever!”, this action-packed experience has guests entering the lobby of a mansion that holds three private themed suites with a code they are sent.  The magic begins once they find their private suite and enter another code!  Following the clues and riddles presented, couples work together to find hidden entrances to numerous rooms inside their private suite that soon becomes their pampered oasis of pleasure.

There are three suites to choose from:  The King Louis XIV Suite, The Genie Romance Suite, and Paradise Lost.

Each suite is themed with music, lighting, and ambient décor, along with gadgets and gizmos that make furniture pieces come alive and open passageways and reveal secrets.  The King Louis Suite boasts the Versaille Bed, the largest bed in Ohio.  In the headboard is a James Bond briefcase containing riddles and clues that, when solved, make the bed interactive and present presents.   It also contains the Prom Night Room queued with a couple’s wedding or favorite song that they have to dance to reveal the next experience.

The Genie Romance Suite has a flying carpet bed that actually flies when guests release a magic lever.   This suite contains the Chocolate Fundue Room, The Cupping Therapy Room, The Karaoke Room, and The Flying Carpet Selfie Challenge.  Its tub is designed to make massive mounds of bubbles, allowing guests to get lost in “A Whole New World” of bubbly fun!

Paradise Lost, which opens in June, has guests going on an Indiana Jones quest full of challenges that lead to these rooms:  The Amazon Butterfly Massage Chair Forest, The Ionic Foot Detox Tiki Room, The Pottery Room (guests take home pottery they make), The Waterfall Love Vow Alter where couples write and read their admirations to each other and The Jungle Bed chalked full of surprises including the legendary Purring Tiger 2000 (it promises to make you laugh when you find it!).

The immersion provided by the themed suites allows guests to easily forget about the day-to-day routine and become focused on one another as the clues and riddles force them to connect to get to their next luxury experience.

Couples typically drive two to three hours for their stay and plan their trip in advance with reservations to one of the top steakhouses in the country, the Alcove. They arrive precisely at 5 pm and then experience a few rooms, get fancied up, walk to the restaurant, and then return to unravel the rest of the surprises in store for them.

Being the first overnight escape room combined with a luxury resort in the country, guests are booking well in advance.  Some suites are sold out on weekends.  Booking in advance is highly recommended.

To check dates and learn more about this epic overnight adventure of relaxation and fun, please visit https://romanticadventuregetaways.com/.

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Best Places In Ohio To See The Eclipse

The best places to see the total solar eclipse in Ohio
are marked on the map above, with red being the best,
followed by orange and then yellow. 

The Total Solar Eclipse in Ohio will be on April 8, 2024, from approximately 3:08 PM (totality may last up to several minutes starting at approximately 3:10 PM). Click here to see the zones of the Ohio Solar Eclipse.

According to greatamericaneclipse.com, most Ohioans may expect to see the total eclipse last up to several minutes, beginning around 3:10 PM. The range of the eclipse’s totality spans over 110 miles. The area for best viewing is from the western edge of the state from Defiance to Hamilton to the northern edge of the state in Toledo and over to the Eastern edge of the state in the northern Youngstown area.

The longest time for Ohio’s solar eclipse totality is expected from Greenville to Avon Lake, spanning 3 minutes and 52 seconds to 3 minutes and 58 seconds. Other cities in the longer ranges of totality include Wapakoneta, Marion, Celina, Sidney, Lima, Sandusky, Tiffin, Norwalk, Bellefontaine, Troy, etc.

The moon’s total eclipse of the sun is one of the greatest shows in nature. Be sure to secure proper eclipse eyewear well ahead of time for safe viewing. Also, beware, since the range for the total eclipse spans much of Ohio, eclipse day cloud cover may force mass traffic to areas of Ohio where the eclipse may be best seen as the weather reveals itself on eclipse day.

This Edition’s Featured Sponsors

Our featured sponsors of the month: 

Ohio Caverns
America’s Most Colorful Caverns

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Freedom Hill

Atop Freedom Hill sits a small home with a big history.

The modest red brick house was built in 1825 and became one of the most active stops along the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves. After the dangerous crossing of the Ohio River, they lie in wait for the signal – a candle shining in the window.

Then came the strenuous ascent up the steep hillside. When feet finally hit the steps to the home, many collapsed in exhaustion and joy before rising one more time for the sprint to the door.

Abolitionist and Reverand John Rankin, his wife, and thirteen children never lost a “passenger” along their trek of the line. Over the years, the Underground Railroad’s dedicated “Rankin Conductors” cared for more than 2,000 “passengers” who secretly stayed at their house.

The novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe cites an incredible story of a lady pushing her child across the thin river ice. She was desperate to get to the Rankin’s little house on the big hill. Her treacherous journey met face-to-face with a slave hunter waiting for her on the Ohio side. But her determination so moved him that he let her pass.

Although Ohio was a free state, crossing the river didn’t make slaves suddenly free. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 meant runaway slaves could be apprehended in free states and returned to slavery. The Underground Railroad had to get its “passengers” into Canada.

The Rankin House has been restored to authentically reflect the time the family lived in it, helping to help folks find freedom. Yet, the original floorboards weren’t touched because they were in great shape. The tour is about 30 minutes, but the time spent on that historic hillside taking in the sprawling view or hiking down to the river is as long as you like.

Click here to plan your visit.

Romantic Ohio Getaways

This is your romantic Ohio getaway connection. If you’re looking to create sparks with someone, here are some romantic places to go for dining out, sipping wine, and getting a place to stay.

Getaways for an interesting stay

Dining options out of the ordinary

Wineries worth a toast

These links provide unique restaurants, wonderful wineries, and interesting lodging options to enjoy together with that special someone in your life.

Spring Break in Death Valley

Around the spring equinox, Death Valley comes alive. But don’t expect to find huge crowds at the popular jaunts. Set out to explore the Racetrack Playa and its mysterious sailing stones, and paths may cross with one or two other souls, but that’s it.

Early spring heats up enough to feel that Death Valley vibe; otherwise, what’s the point? Granted, it’s far from its recorded record as the hottest place on the planet. It’s only about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, so day-trippers come and go. The popular stops along a scenic byway will have their share of vehicles, yet it’s no problem finding a parking space, unlike most national parks and monuments. Traffic between the hot spots is sparse.

An ideal itinerary is spread over a three-night stay. That enables daylong treks to further out places few brave to go. The park covers 3.4 million acres and is the largest in the continental states. Warnings galore scare most people enough not to consider venturing far from Furnace Creek, the closest thing to civilization. Rough non-paved terrain frequently ruins plans when tires are slashed open by sharp-edged lava rocks. And if it’s a rental car, guess what? Most don’t even have a spare tire anymore, not even a donut! Death in Death Valley is something to consider! …Click here for the rest of the story and many more photos…


for the rest of the story
and more photos

Motel California

Enjoy the latest story from the blog,
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

Welcome to the Motel California

We left Redwood National Park for a lesser-traveled wonder called Lava Beds National Monument. It was one of those Herculean driving days.

For a bit, we left California and were in Oregon. I stopped to gas up. When I popped out and pumped my gas, an attendant rushed over to me in a fuss and exclaimed, “You can’t do that!”


“$15,000 fine for pumping your own gas in Oregon!” he said seriously.


It didn’t seem like he was pulling my leg, so I could only take him at his word. It turns out it’s true not only there but also in New Jersey.

Once we were back in the land of self-serve, I noticed a peculiar topography. It looked like the hillside all along the roadway was lava rock.

Eventually, we were in no man’s land. And when I say no man’s land, that means only one place to stay (that we could find), and it wasn’t in any brochure, on GPS, on any travel website, or in the Triple-A database. The Triple-A advisor even advised against it. But I wanted to be close to the gate by opening because our itinerary had a full day drive to and from this geological wonder. There was only one such place. Their basic website described it as an old hunting lodge dating back to the Great Depression. I booked it. It was the closest (and by closest, I mean only) place I could find near the entrance to Lava Beds National Monument.

On a desolate road, the sun finally handing the sky over to the moon, we closed in on our destination.

I saw the lodge on a hill as we passed a strip of about six rooms encased in cinder block walls just off the roadway.

I joked to the kids, “Hey, wanna stay there?”

They laughed uncomfortably, looking at the site, creepy-perfect for a horror movie.

I went to check in while the family stayed in the vehicle. Up at the house, a.k.a. lodge, hanging on from the 1930s, I entered a long and dimly lit hallway.

I found the “office” inside an old bedroom. I was relieved that the manager’s name wasn’t Norman Bates. The live-in lady manager said she didn’t think we’d make it. I thought to myself, the night is still young.

“Follow me to your room.”

And by room, I mean out of the lodge house and down the hill to the strip of about six rooms encased in drab cinder block walls on the side of the road.

She carried an old, metal, square floor fan. That was our “air conditioning.”

Had I known of any other accommodations or thought we could get away with sleeping under the stars without fear of ever being seen again, I would have run back to the car and high-tailed it out of there.

Inside were two beds (single and double), old carpet, and drab cinder block walls on the inside as well. The bathroom came with a huge wolf spider. The back window was unlocked. I promptly locked it and set a booby trap consisting of things that would fall over and make lots of noise if anyone came through it that night.

“Can you help me with your son’s cot?” the manager asked.

I followed her to a nearby shed to retrieve the cot. This was after she offered the alternative: a mattress on the floor.

We were so doggone tired; I asked my wife if we should sleep in the car.

“For all this place has going against it, I will say it’s clean,” my wife whispered as we set up the cot.

The manager exited the front slab of cement when I called from behind, “We still need a room key.”

She laughed over her shoulder as her gait quickened.

“A room key? I mean, where ya gonna go!”

I stood dumbfounded.

A vision of Norman Bates to the sound of Hotel California danced in my head.

“Maybe we should sleep in the car,” I said.

“Oh my, this bed is so comfortable,” were my wife’s last words just before snoring in chorus with the kids.

I decided to take the first watch in my mind, thinking back to my Army days. I sat on a plastic chair on the concrete slab outside our door. Leaning back, I took note of the seven holes that had been filled in the door. What were they if they weren’t bullet holes?

Dead silence.

That night was the soundest sleep I had had in years.

With the cinder block in the rear-view mirror, we entered Lava Beds National Monument and enjoyed the time of our lives spelunking on our own.

The park was like nothing we’d ever seen. On the surface, it was nothing more than endless high desert nothingness all the way to the base of the mountains, which were way in the distance. But beneath the desert floor were over 700 caves, and dozens waited for explorers like us – completely unprepared and raring to get lost. Well, we had a map, flashlights, extra batteries, as suggested by a ranger, and water.

We could drive up to and enter a wide array of lava-carved caves. They had names like Blue Grotto, Golden Dome, Catacombs, Labyrinth, and Skull Cave. No guides, no lights, no nothing, just you and a pitch-black subterranean adventure. We hadn’t seen another soul anywhere for a long time.


I became brazen in my quest for excitement and pried my body through tight crevices or slid down lava tubes that were sure to lead to the bowels of a monster’s lair. The caves began to echo with, “Don’t go in there, Dad!”, “You’re on your own!”, “Let’s get out of this one!”, “What’s that sound?”, “BATS!”, “I’m scared!” and “Wow! Check that out!”

When we left, I felt like a kid protesting, “Do we have to go?” I wanted to keep exploring. It was the most fun I’d had in a long time.

This wasn’t your ordinary national park or monument. It had hardly any visitors and was in the middle of nowhere. The southbound road we took, leaving the park, was listed as unpaved. But its surface was ancient, crumbly blacktop. It looked like a thin airstrip that had been bombed. And I mean carpet bombed! We went under 10 miles per hour, snaking around depressions and mounds of loose, pulverized blacktop chunks.

There had to be a better way to go! I kept thinking about the time this was costing us and the power drive ahead of us to get to Yosemite. We had stayed well beyond our plans, exploring the lava tubes. Briefly, I thought of turning back to stay another night at the Motel California. Instead, I sped up to 15 miles per hour to hightail it out of there.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun! 

Click here to read more
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

Drive-Thru Dad

Enjoy the latest story from the blog,
“Wrong Turns Write Life”

Am I known to exhibit some anxiety or impatience from time to time? Perhaps.

Certainly, my flare-ups happen when I’m at a fast-food drive-thru. Not when I’m alone and not when I only have one passenger. But put my whole family in a vehicle where I’m Johnny-on-the-spot having to relay their indecisiveness to the poor soul behind the drive-thru speaker, I may need to medicate!

I try to prep the fam ahead of time. We’re pulling into McDonald’s, so know what you want!

As I look at the “split screen” in front of me and the rear-view mirror, too, deciding which of the two drive-thru lanes will beat out the next guy, I hear, “I can’t see the menu, Dad.”

This one is probably fair most of the time. You’d think places could angle that thing for the approaching cars to decide before pulling in front of the speaker to order. And what is it with Chick-fil-A? They always have people walking the drive-thru lane taking your order well before you can see the menu, expecting me to have memorized it or something.

“It’s okay, Mr., I have it here,” and then they proceed to rattle off combo 1 through XYZ, verbally, as if they’re helping me!

My self-awareness has me reading what I wrote so far and asking my wife, “Whattaya call a male Karen?”

“I think it’s a Ken.”

Okay, let’s get back to the drive-thru lane with my whole family in tow.

“We’re next. Be prepared,” I say.

“I may need a minute, Dad. I need to read the menu on my phone. Unlike you, I would normally not stop at McDonald’s.”

I defend the greasy spoon by saying something like, “They have salads,” even though it won’t get ordered.”

“I’ll need a minute. You guys go first.”

The other kid is a lock: Burger, fries, and a coke. You’d think that’s a good thing, but it just means we’ll get to the rest of the passengers faster.

By the way, this is just about the only place where I can order a Coke, and the reply isn’t, “Pepsi, Okay?”

I don’t know what happened in the cola wars, but Pepsi is king in the restaurant world, it seems. And I actually do prefer Coca-Cola.

Sidebar. Years ago, when I lived in Europe, if you ordered Coke, the server would ask, “What kind?”


“What kind of Coke would you like: Sprite, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Root beer…”

So, Coke there is the same as saying pop here. Well, that’s another thing: when we moved from Northern Ohio to Southern Ohio, pop became a foreign word. Pop is soda in these parts.

After years of growing up as southern Ohioans, I asked my teen kids at one point, “Do you say pop or soda?”

I felt like a failed dad when they said, “Soda.”

And to add insult to injury, they made fun of me for saying POP!

Oh, the divide. After all, it started with unified soda pop.

Anyway, after the first kid relayed what I already knew, I blurted out my order, knowing my wife was having trouble deciding between two things and really wanted to ask the drive-thru worker which one they would prefer. My order is something spicy. It’s why I always have Tums in the glove box.

Meanwhile, cars are ten deep behind me, putting some pressure and urgency on the situation.

I try to move the situation along with a couple of finger snaps and a “C’mon, hurry up,” to no avail.

My wife orders in piecemeal. By piecemeal, I mean she pauses mid-sentence, so I look at the drive-thru speaker, say part of an order, and then pause to hear the “Have it your way” details, which usually have a question or two. It’s like pulling teeth. I feel like I sound like someone who has an attention deficit disorder, and I want to explain it’s not me, dude.

I tell the drive-thru person I have one more order to relay. I usually try to say something humorous if the process is somewhat of a doozy.

“Dad, move your head. I need to see the menu.”

“I thought you had it on your phone.”

“They’re different.”

I feel like Chevy Chase losing his shit in one of the National Lampoon Vacation movies.


“Forget it. I’m not hungry.”

I’m finally done.

Or am I?

As I go to pull forward…

“Wait! Can I just get some water?”


Then, the pleading with the universe began. Two cars in front of us were inevitably told, “Please pull up, we’ll bring your food out shortly.”

Sidebar: I mentioned at the outset that my flare-ups happen when I’m at a fast-food drive-thru. Not when I’m alone and not when I only have one passenger. But that’s not entirely true. When it’s just me and my wife, and I get to the Starbucks pay window, she suddenly remembers something and scrambles to open her phone to the app so she can get points or something. As I wait, my card in one hand and her phone in the other, the drive-thru worker appears just in time for my wife’s phone to go to sleep. So, I’m like, wait a minute, as I hand the phone back to my wife, she wakes it up, hands it to me, and I hand it to the worker, smiling uncomfortably.

I digress.

Anyway, they had our entire order ready! Oh, the little victories.

I pulled into a spot so my wife could dole out the grub.

“Oh, honey, they forgot…”

And, of course, even though I’m the driver, I don’t even bother asking anyone else to get out anymore because the answer will be, “I’m cocooned in … I’m buried here … It would be easier for you,” or something along those lines. Besides, I’m probably going inside to use the restroom anyway.

I open the door. As soon as one foot hits the ground, six hands appear in the window holding trash from the last stop, “While you’re out, can you throw this away.”

My short wick in a drive-thru has earned me the nickname “Drive-thru Dad.”

And they all think that’s funny!

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun! 

Click here to read more
“Wrong Turns Write Life”