February Archives




Get Your Steps In February

Hey #FitBit, are you struggling to get your steps in February? How about your stairs?

The new 155 Fort Hill Stairs ascend from the valley floor to stunning clifftop views above the east and west branches of the Rocky River amidst five miles of gorgeous trails and a fabulous nature center.

After significant movement of the shale cliff alongside the steps near the Rocky River Nature Center at Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, the original 135 steps were removed for the safety of visitors. Following the process of removal, construction of 155 new stairs began last spring. The design and engineering challenges of building the stairs required geotechnical guidance, and resulted in the use of 294,000 pounds of concrete – drilling to depths of 18 feet.

“The connection that visitors have to the Fort Hill Stairs is truly remarkable, and their support for this project has been overwhelming,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. “Understanding the value of this asset to the community and entire park district, we set out to not only reconstruct the stairs but to enhance the experience for visitors.”

This iconic landmark is one of the most picturesque locations in the “Emerald Necklace” (the nickname for Cleveland’s Metroparks system because it wraps around the city like a necklace). In addition to growing the stair count by 20 steps, they are fifty percent wider, measuring six feet across. Total investment for the project was $450,000, which includes design and construction costs.

With five miles of scenic nature trails surrounding the Rocky River Nature Center, the stairs not only offer spectacular views but first-class recreational opportunities.

“This is another great opportunity to enhance our partnership with Cleveland Metroparks and to encourage people to stay active and enjoy one of this region’s most beautiful parks,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD.

For more information on Cleveland Metroparks trails for walking, hiking, biking, running and horseback riding download Cleveland Metroparks Trails App available through Google Play or the Apple App store.

If you need to get your steps in for your #FitBit challenge, you’ll reach new heights at the Fort Hill Stairs.

Star Wars and the Power of Costume

Iconic costumes from “a galaxy far, far away” are presented in the Smithsonian traveling exhibition Star Wars™ and the Power of Costume. The exhibition will open at Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) on May 25, 2017. Advance tickets will go on sale February 6th.

Pulled from the collection of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Star Wars and the Power of Costume is a partnership of the museum, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and Lucasfilm . George Lucas imagined and created a fantastical world filled with dynamic characters who told the timeless story of the hero’s journey. The costumes shaped the identities of these now famous characters, from the menacing black mask of Darth Vader and the gilded suit of C-3PO, to the lavish royal gowns of Queen Amidala and the iconic bikini worn by Princess Leia.

“Craftsmanship and artistry in costume design are valued creative components in the Star Wars saga,” said Lucas. “The detailed precision of a design can be as bold a measure of storytelling as words on a page, leading to truths at the core of a character, situation or shared history. From initial concept drawings to complex physical constructions, the costumes featured in this exhibition serve to further define crucial aspects of worlds created to move, educate and entertain us – to inspire the imagination.”

Presenting 60 of the finest hand-crafted costumes from the first seven Star Wars films, the exhibition uncovers the challenges, the intricate processes and the remarkable artistry of Lucas, the concept artists and costume designers. The costumes reflect an eclectic mix of cultural, historical and mythical sources that add rich texture to the story. Through nine presentational “chapters” – Introduction: Dressing a Galaxy; Jedi versus Sith: Form, Function and Design; Concept and Design for Royalty and Beyond; Symbolism and Military Power; Outlaws and Outsiders; All Corners of the Galaxy: The Galactic Senate; After the Throne: Padmé’s Journey; Darth Vader: Iconic Villain; and Droid™ Design – visitors will explore the creative process from Lucas’s vision through concept drawings by artists such as Ralph McQuarrie and Iain McCaig, to the final costume designs of John Mollo and Trisha Biggar, among others.

Costumes include:

  • Monk-like robes of Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker
  • Intimidating suit and complex breathing apparatus of Darth Vader
  • Military-influenced uniforms of the Imperial Stormtrooper, Senate Guard and TIE Fighter Pilot
  • Yak hair and mohair costume of Chewbacca
  • Intergalactic outfits of Senators Bail Organa, Mon Mothma and Mas Amedda
  • Fierce armor of mercenary bounty hunters Jango Fett, Boba Fett and Zam Wesell
  • Elaborately detailed gowns of Queen Amidala, Queen Jamillia and their handmaidens

Short films in Star Wars and the Power of Costume provide a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and include interviews with artists, designers and actors. The visitor experience will be enhanced by digital interactives featuring sketches, photographs and notes that capture the creative team’s inspiration and vision.

“Costumes not only fill out the lush and captivating Star Wars galaxy, they tell a story,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “Whether they chart the evolution of a character or identify good and evil or that murky space in between, each costume is a thoughtful piece that drives the story forward. We’re excited to bring this exhibition to Cincinnati show the process behind costume development and to showcase the talents and inspiration of those involved in that process.”

Star Wars and the Power of Costume is the third exhibition on which SITES has collaborated with Lucasfilm. Previous projects were Star Wars: The Magic of Myth and Star Wars: The Art of the Starfighter.

Star Wars and the Power of Costume opens May 25, 2017 at Cincinnati Museum Center. Advance tickets will go on sale February 6. For more information visit www.cincymuseum.org/star-wars.

Lake Erie Canopy Tours

The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake is pleased to announce the addition of a new attraction on the shores of Lake Erie. Lake Erie Canopy Tours, a zip line course featuring both a guided canopy tour and a self-guided challenge course for adults, as well as a kid’s challenge course, will open summer 2017. Located just west of The Lodge in Geneva State Park with a spectacular view of Lake Erie, the aerial adventure park is the result of a unique partnership between Ashtabula County, Delaware North and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Lake Erie Canopy Tours project will encompass 25 acres of Geneva State Park on property closest to The Lodge. In light of the Lodge’s easy accessibility for visitors from Ohio and nearby states, Ashtabula County expects to see a rise in day trip visitors. Special overnight packages will be offered for those interested in a getaway experience at The Lodge or its adjacent 25 two-bedroom cottages, which were added last year.  The cottages have been popular among families and couples, as well as group gatherings from reunions to weddings.

“The addition of Lake Erie Canopy Tours will take the Ohio Wine Country tourism experience to new heights. Those staying overnight at The Lodge will be able to enjoy the many activities available at one of the premier resorts on the shores of Lake Erie,” said Eric Frantz, General Manager, The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. “Outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the region will be able to get away from it all without having to drive a great distance to find their next Ohio adventure.”

The adult canopy tour will offer a guided experience complete with zip lines and aerial bridges connecting platforms in trees and towers. Riders will be harnessed for maximum safety. The adult challenge course will offer more adventurous riders a thrilling experience, with a continuous belay system used for safety. Youngsters will enjoy their own kid’s challenge course.

Construction will begin spring 2017, with a slated completion date of mid-summer 2017, and the attraction will remain open through October. Reservations will be available for mobile and online purchase, and at a staffed welcome center. Watch for details on sunset tours and more.

Lake Erie Canopy Tours will be designed, engineered and constructed by Skyline Ziplines, which has designed and operated world class ziplines, challenge towers and suspension bridges throughout the U.S.

Located at 4888 North Broadway (State Highway 534) in Geneva-on-the-Lake, The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake features 109 finely appointed guest rooms (the majority with lake views) and 25 two-bedroom cottages; Horizons Restaurant, an upscale restaurant with a striking octagonal dining room and al fresco dining – all with a breathtaking view of Lake Erie; a lounge with a rectangular bar; and amenities that include a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pool and gift shop. The Lodge entrance is located one mile north of Geneva State Park, on the left. For room reservations, call 866-442-9765 or visit www.TheLodgeAtGeneva.com. For Horizons reservations, call 440-466-7100, then press 2.

Formally A Country Girl

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She sells you dreams. Or at least the one and only dress for a fairy tale evening. And the enchanting setting for a princess’ ball.

“I never imagined that such a beautiful place would be out in the middle of nowhere,” have been the words rolling out of dropped jaws for years by women visiting Hilltop Event Center.

By word of mouth, mostly, Southern Ohio girls whisper about where they got their gown for homecoming, prom, and their wedding. But never too loudly because you know, it’s a secret you only tell your closest friend. ….Read more….

Click here to read the rest of the story

Hot Eats & Cool Stays

The Spot Restaurant in Sidney Ohio

Enjoy our guide.
Hopefully you find something that hits the spot!

Ohio has some very cool getaways anytime of year featuring unique, interesting and unusual lodging from bed and breakfasts to inns and cabins. And the same is true for your dining pleasure. Ohio has restaurants and eateries to please any foodie looking for something new, different or just plain off the wall.

Click the following to find something that hits the spot for you!

Hot Eats

&

Cool Stays

If you have a suggestion to add to our out-of-the-norm lodging and dining guides, please contact us.

KitchenAid Video

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Visit Before You Go Ohio Travel
VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Grab your popcorn and enjoy a virtual tour of the KitchenAid™ Experience. Spend a couple of minutes and visit before you go take a tour the KitchenAid™ factory in Greenville, Ohio or enjoy a cooking demonstration and shop at the KitchenAid™ store in the historic downtown setting where there’s also a small museum of KitchenAid™ through the decades.

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African Safari is a Standout!

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African Safari Wildlife Park: This drive through wildlife park in Port Clinton is an experience like none other in Ohio. This standout has been creating fantastic memories for families generation after generation. The 100 acre preserve allows you to watch and feed animals from your car. Animals include zebras, giraffes, elk, bison, ankoles and their enormous horns sticking straight out plus many others. There’s even a walk-through safari where you will see a shite alligator among other animals. In addition, there are opportunities to ride a camel, pet a kangaroo, rabbits and hand-feed a giraffe. Other fun includes pig races, gem mining and educational animal programs. Click here for more information

This award recognizes Ohio’s standouts in tourism. More details about the award and all award recipients are at ohiotraveler.com/standouts-in-ohio-tourism/.

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Little Free Libraries

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Little Free Libraries Popping Up In Ohio

Traveling around Ohio, I run into the darndest things sometimes.

On a trip along the North Coast, I cruised old familiar streets and saw something I had never seen before. I pulled to the side of Lakewood Drive at the corner of Overlook Road in Avon Lake, Ohio and walked up to a little wooden box with glass front standing on a post. The sign said, “Little Free Library.” Inside was a collection of books urging anyone to “take a book, return a book.”

Anyone can share a book or checkout a book to read. The concept is to promote literacy, especially in neighborhoods where people cannot easily get to the public library. Let’s face it, in today’s day and age, many people are now reading books digitally. Affluent communities are likely to have digital libraries of their own and shelves of printed books they plan to donate while other communities wish they had better access to more books.

The first Little Free Library was created in 2009 by Todd Bol. He built a miniature schoolhouse for his mom – a former teacher and avid reader – living in Wisconsin. He placed it atop a post in her front yard and packed it with books. It advertised, “Free Books.”

And a movement was born.

Since then, “little free libraries” have taken the world by storm. They are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia and elsewhere. The artwork and craftsmanship that goes into each unique little library is worthy of its own picture book.

This novel idea is opening the world of literacy in hard-to-reach places and therefore opens incredible opportunities for kids that may have not otherwise come to love the stories so many of us cherish. However, as you may imagine, these beautiful boxes sometimes become targets of vandals. Fortunately, the heart behind the construction of each Free Little Library has the love and determination to outlast and perhaps even win over such ill-guided kids.

Nancy and Richard Kamps built and rebuilt the Little Free Library that caught my attention in Avon Lake. After there’s was vandalized the first time, the policeman that came to take the report ended up coming back and donating books to get it going again.

It’s easy to get started if you want to create a Little Free Library legally and safely. Visitwww.LittleFreeLibrary.org to learn how you may open horizons for those who may be less fortunate than you.

By Frank R. Satullo, The OhioTraveler