February Archives

Northeast Ohio Cheese

Northeast Ohio is the heart of the cheese wheel! Great cheese shops and houses with delicious varieties abound. But know this; nothing is more untrue than the saying, “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” Be sure to visit Guggisberg, Heini’s, Middlefield, Shisler’s, and others. Each one is a treat!

Formerly a Northeastern Ohioan, I’ve been playing house in Southwest Ohio for over 20 years now. Holidays and special occasions mean trekking up I-71 from Cincinnati to Cleveland to see the rest of the family. My daughter was in from Washington, D.C., and shared that her friends are amazed that she’s never been to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn. I had to admit that I had never been either. She laughed and said something to the effect of, “Some OhioTraveler you are.”

Well, I couldn’t let that stand. I saw the billboard and counted the miles. Exiting, my daughter perked up, noticing this was no ordinary pitstop. As we rolled into the parking lot, we rattled my son’s cocoon to tell him to get ready to get out. It was cold, snowy, and quite crowded. It was a novel place, quaint and grand at the same time, attracting locals and travelers alike.

We spent much longer browsing and shopping than we ever thought we would. Even the college-age son was impressed, and that doesn’t happen often. Our basket turned into baskets. In them went Amish country jams, local honey, and home-smoked meats.

Oh, my goodness, homemade chocolates and fudge, too!

It’s a good thing this was the holiday season, so we didn’t have to barter with a weight-weary conscience. Anything goes until the New Year!

My daughter started blurting out strange words like “Charcuterie” and pairing the cheese varieties we selected. My eyes glazed over until my attention turned to the history of this cheese establishment dating back to 1978.

It’s the tale of two grandpas. Grandpa Yarman came on the scene a little over a hundred years ago. After selling his prized portable RCA radio for his first wheel of Ohio Swiss cheese, he fell in love and opened his own cheese house in West Salem, Ohio. But Grandpa’s Cheesebarn in Ashland, Ohio, was started by Yarman’s daughter Vera and her husband, known as Grandpa Baum, along with their daughter and son-in-law. The generational handing of the baton created the family tradition of seeking the best cheese makers around. And today, two additional locations are in Norton and the Summit Mall in Fairlawn.

Grandpa’s Cheesebarn’s collection of 120 kinds of cheese features varieties produced by small local Amish farms and nearby Holmes County cheese makers. They also import from Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Holland, and elsewhere.

Just as we were ringing up the grocery list that we didn’t know we had, my daughter exclaimed, “Now let’s go over to the other building where there’s a café and CHOCOLATE.

Plan a trip to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties Chocolates at https://www.grandpascheesebarn.com/. And as the sign says, “Savor the Experience.” We did!

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

Mt Adams Bar & Grill

Mt Adams Bar & Grill in Cincinnati
was the first drinking establishment in Ohio
to obtain a liquor license post Prohibition

Let me tell you about the historic Mt Adams Bar & Grill in photos, the back of the menu, a couple of selections from the menu, and a plaque on the brick wall outside.

The Back of the Menu 

“The Mt Adams Bar & Grill backbar reputedly came out of a speakeasy owned by the infamous Cincinnati bootlegger, George Remus. Speakeasys were illegal bars operated during the Prohibition of alcohol decreed in 1919 by the 18th Amendment to our Constitution. Remus, a Chicago criminal attorney, moved to Cincinnati and bought a distillery to produce legally bonded whiskey for medicinal purposes by prescription only. Not surprisingly, a great of Remus’ whiskey found its way into speakeasys. At the height of his success, he employed 3,000 people and $20,000,000 in bribes to local police and officials. His success brought him $45,000,000 in profits and the unwelcome attention of federal agents. Scheduled for trial, he gave his diamond collection to his wife. For unknown reasons, she promptly filed for divorce, but in a diabolical twist, just two hours before the trial was scheduled to begin, Remus tracked her down in Eden Park and killed her. He pled guilty due to insanity, spent three months in a state mental hospital, afterwhich he was found sane and released.

Prohibition was repealed in 1933 with the passage of the 21st Amendment and the Bar & Grill in it’s present location was the first drinking establishment in Ohio to obtain a liquor license.” 

A Plaque on the Brick Wall Outside

“When Prohibition ended, Mt. Adams Bar served the second drink in Cincinnati at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 6, 1933 to the Mayor of the Queen City, Russell Wilson.”

A Couple of Selections from the Menu

OMG, try this appetizer: Fried Jalapeno Ravioli. It’s to die for!

“It’s a ravioli filled with chopped jalapeno peppers and ricotta cheese. Fried to a golden brown and served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.”

And for a sandwich, try the Southwestern Chicken. “It’s fresh chicken breast marinated in their special sauce and grilled to perfection. Topped with sour cream, green taco sauce, pepper jack cheese, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, and served on a grilled buttercrust bread.” 

A trip here will also whet your appetite for culture and history. Mt. Adams is a legendary Cincinnati neighborhood built on a steep hillside. Much of it was once part of the Nicholas Longworth Vineyard, which developed the Catawba grape from which America’s first champagne was produced. Also rooted in Mt. Adams’ story are the world-renown Rookwood Pottery and the first public observatory in the western hemisphere—Cincinnati Observatory.

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

Ohio’s Mystery Rocks

Forgive me, but I must start by sharing a song I couldn’t stop singing to my wife’s embarrassment as we hiked, searching for spherical geological wonders. It goes like this…

“I believe in sphericals
Where you from,
You sexy thing.”


As in the song, You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate

The optimism from the funky ‘70s song must have put good mojo into the universe because we went from disappointment to a garden of perfectly rounded stones.

Anyway, these miracle/spherical rocks look like they could be dinosaur eggs. Some mistake them for cannonballs or meteorites. Others imagine stone-chiseled Death Stars crashing into Earth.

But these mystery rocks are over 300 million years in the making.

What caused these geologic irregularities to take on such spherical forms, often in perfect balls (“Where you from, you sexy thing”)?

Like an egg, the peculiar rocks had an organic nucleus. Nobody is certain, but the prevailing theory is this. When sea creatures (preceding dinosaurs, by the way) from the Devonian Period died, they had sunk to the seafloor. At the time, Ohio was covered by the sea. Minerals cemented to it layer after layer filling in the porous surface. The forming rock may have slowly rolled from time to time along the ocean floor, smoothing it as it grew, becoming what is now termed – concretion.

When Ohio shale beds erode, concretions protrude from cliffsides and creek beds. These phenomena are in scenic clusters at Highbanks Metro Park just north of Columbus. Imagine the layers of shale as pages of a book. Then imagine placing a rock in the middle of the book and compressing it. The pages warp around the rock. This is how the eroding shale beds look when a concretion surfaces again. The contrast is astounding. Such geological time capsules may or may not have a fossil at the center. Usually, anything organic at the core likely dissolved, leaving a void.

Explore Dripping Rock Trail from the nature center at 9466 Columbus Pike in Lewis Center, Ohio. The hike ascends high cliffs. Follow the woodpecker trail markers for a time. When the trail comes to a “T,” go left over a footbridge. A map there shows a dotted hiking trail to pick up on the other side of the bridge. The hiking trail isn’t marked, so trust where you may see evidence of a dirt trailhead that’ll snake back to hug the creek bed. Follow the creek until concretions make themselves known. If the water is high, many of them may remain hidden.

Enjoy the hunt for Ohio’s mystery stones. Or enjoy this song by Hot Chocolate.

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

First Black Sports Superstar

Anyone can remember the first time that they rode a bicycle independently, and with that memory, the freedom they felt running through their hair.

Black Americans felt the liberating feeling on a bike like no other in the late 1890s – the golden age of bicycles.

But nobody rode a bicycle like Marshall Taylor. Over 120 years later, Taylor is still recognized as the earliest and most extraordinary pioneering black athlete in American sports history.

Taylor was so fast on a bicycle that his nicknames included “The Ebony Wonder,” “Whirlwind,” and “Black Cyclone.” And a time when black Americans felt liberated riding them.

Bicycle advancements made racing them the thing to do.

Taylor rode like the wind, making him the target of bigoted competition. Flimsy excuses were used to ban him from races. But he never let racism or death threats stop him. His first professional race was at Madison Square Garden, where his motivation outpaced all others to the point that he lapped the entire field.

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, cycling was the most popular sport in the world. And with that, Taylor proceeded to become a world champion and the first black sports superstar in American history.

Several years later, today’s pinnacle of bicycle racing – the Tour de France – began in 1904.

Taylor’s story and others are preserved at The Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen, Ohio.

Medieval Ohio

Our first glimpse of Ohio’s Medieval castle came quite unexpectedly. Our family was canoeing along the Little Miami River near Cincinnati. We pulled up on a sandbar to take a break and go for a quick walk along the wood line.

The kids yelled, “Look, a castle!”

After a few, Ya-ya, whatevers, the seriousness in their voices made my wife and I curious enough to go have a look-see for ourselves. And there it was – a Medieval castle … in Ohio!  …Click here for the rest of the story and many more photos.

For The Rest of The Story
and Lots of Photos

Flower Power: Flora in Fashion

Flower Power: Flora in Fashion opens at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster on February 4, 2023, showcasing humankind’s relationship with our natural environment in an exhibition of historic flower-patterned clothing.

Explore humankind’s relationship with nature through the clothes we wear. Historic dresses, jewelry, shoes, hats, and other flower-patterned apparel appear in the Upper Gallery. It’s complemented by Botany in Buttons, a display of collectibles from the comprehensive Ann W. Rudolph Button Collection in the Lower Gallery.

Flower Power: Flora in Fashion displays women’s garments, shoes, and accessories drawn from the Historic Costumes and Textiles Collection at the Ohio State University. All of the items in the exhibition feature flower-inspired designs or plant-based materials and highlight the age-old connection between plants and clothing.

“The natural world has been an inspiration for clothing and textile designs since humans started decorating textiles and wearing clothes across cultures and geographies,” said Exhibition Curator Gayle Strege, who also serves as curator of the Historic Costumes and Textiles Collection at the Ohio State University. “Floral designs are timeless and universal, and plant materials play a large role in our production and ornamentation of cloth and clothing.”

The exhibition features fashion designs across the range of 20th- century art movements, including naturalism, modernism, abstract art, and pop art. The garments and accessories also display a range of the era’s textile techniques, notably supplemental warp, woven warp print, and embroidery. In addition to featuring floral patterns, the items in Flower Power are made of cotton, linen, hemp, jute, pineapple, raffia, palm leaves, tree bark, and other botanicals.

Among the garments in Flower Power: Flora in Fashion is a white floral lace dress worn by Ladybird Johnson, wife of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1971 at her birthday party at the Argyle Club in San Antonio, Texas. Also in the exhibition are several dresses and accessories from the Lancaster area, including some worn by the former residents of the Reese-Peters House – the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio’s home, two lavishly beaded 1930s-era purses, and a garment with exquisite Caribbean lacebark. A pillbox-style hat worn in the 1960s by Annie Glenn, wife of Ohio senator John Glenn, will also make an appearance.

Running concurrently with Flower Power is Botany in Buttons. The exhibition features hundreds of items from the Ann W. Rudolph Button Collection, a comprehensive collection of historic buttons and related artifacts within the Ohio State University Historic Costumes and Textiles Collection. Visitors can enjoy the floral designs of hundreds of buttons made of glass, metal, ceramic, bamboo, vegetable ivory (tagua nut), and other media. Also included are ceramic buttons made in Satsuma, Japan, a city known for its fine ceramics, and some with Royal Copenhagen and Crown Staffordshire maker’s marks.

The public is invited to events associated with Flower Power: Flora in Fashion:

  • Curator Talk with Gayle Strege, curator of the Ohio State University Historical Costumes & Textiles Collection, Sun., Feb. 5, at 2 p.m.
  • Button Bugs – Young hands will be busy turning buttons into bugs of their own design. Instructor Lisa Schorr, director of art education at the Wendel Center for Art Education, offers learners expert guidance. Meanwhile, adults can visit our exhibit of buttons in the lower-level gallery. Saturday, March 4. 1-2 p.m. $10.00. For ages 5-9.
  • Silk Scarf – Ignite your sense of design and indulge in your own favorite colors to create a unique scarf. Not sure what your style is? Don’t worry; instructor Lisa Schorr will guide you through.  Saturday, March 25, noon-2 p.m. $35/$30. For ages 15-adult.
  • Flower Arranging with Bluegreen Gardens – A colorful assortment of fresh-grown American flowers is your canvas as you design a fresh flower arrangement inspired by a piece in Flower Power: Flora in Fashion. Instructor: Elizabeth Fox Zawislak, owner of Bluegreen Gardens in Lancaster. Saturday, April 8, 1:30- 3 p.m. $60, all materials provided. For ages 14 & up.
  • Tataki Zome – Color your world with the ancient Japanese art of tataki zome, or “flower pounding,” gently hammering dyes from flowers and plants to create designs on fabric and paper. Tataki zome is a safe, easy, and environmentally friendly way to make vibrant art from the colorful beauty of botanicals. Saturday, April 15, noon-2 p.m. $35/$30. For ages 15-adult.

All programs and classes will occur at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio’s Wendel Center for Art Education. For more information, visit www.decartsohio.org or call 740-681-1423.

Lake County Taco Trail 

As home to nearly two dozen unique, authentic Mexican restaurants, Lake County is the go-to place for taco lovers. The Lake County Taco Trail has been created to spread the word about the numerous remarkable Mexican restaurants throughout the area and showcase it as a destination for a unique culinary adventure.

Remarkable Lake County has created a digital Taco Trail passport that can be easily downloaded on a smartphone to earn points for visiting participating restaurants along the Taco Trail. One visit to a restaurant will earn diners 100 points, which can be accumulated and redeemed for Taco Trail swag. After 12 unique restaurant visits, passport holders will earn 1,200 points and will get an “It’s Tuesday Somewhere” T-shirt featuring the custom Lake County Taco Trail logo. With 450 points pass holder can get a Taco Trail shot glass and, for 250 points, a Taco Trail bottle opener keychain.

These restaurants feature authentic Mexican cuisine ranging from tortas to sopes to pozole and drinks such as horchata and flavorful margaritas. Still, the focus is on the amazing specialty tacos featured at each restaurant.

“Our goal is to encourage visitors to try at least one of these restaurants while they’re exploring Lake County,” Executive Director of Remarkable Lake County Neil Stein said. “We strongly believe that the quality and uniqueness of the authentic Mexican restaurants in our area, and the friendly, welcoming people who own and manage these small businesses, should be celebrated and shared with visitors and locals alike.”

To start your journey on the Lake County Taco Trail, visit ElCaminoDeTacos.com and download the passport to your mobile phone. Then, go to any one of the 23 restaurants on the Taco Trail and simply “Check In” on your passport to earn points.

Magical Winter in Amish Country

We get it, Ohio is not your top destination in the winter season but hear me out. Where else can you enjoy the comforts of home with all the fun of a vacation. Winter blues can get anyone in a funk, so brush off that stink with a weekend away.

Rolling hills covered in snow with horses dashing in the snow sounds like the winter wonderland fantasy, that is what you can expect when you travel to Holmes County Ohio. Winter here is magical with the snow and imagination and innocence of those that live here. Winter is embraced for all that it brings to the area, comfort foods, spirits, quilts, and time to reflect on what matters most.

Lodging can be the most exciting part of planning your adventure in Amish Country, do you want a rustic cabin in the woods, a unique lodging experience, luxurious hotel, or quaint cottage escape. What other winter wonderland provides you with the wide variety of lodging options?

Let’s start with the rustic cabins and lodges in the area, not only do we have a variety of sizes and locations scattered across the region, but each exquisite location offers you the chance to rekindle or create romance. Amish Country Lodging offers guests small intimate cabins with rainfall showers, romantic fireplaces, and private outdoor hot tubs. Imagine toasting to the new year outside in the middle of a snow shower in the warm hot tub watching the snowflakes melt on your nose.  Donna’s Premier Lodging prides itself on being the area’s destination for romance. Jacuzzi tubs in the shape of a heart, bottles of champagne on ice and decadent chocolate covered strawberries can be waiting on you and your sweetie.

Wanting that cabin, but bringing the whole family? Sojourner’s Lodge and Log Cabin Suites and Ethan’s Retreat in the Woods both offer larger accommodations. Sojourner’s offers hiking trails, ponds, and astounding views in all seasons. Picture waking up to fresh snow and from the windows you can watch a herd of whitetail deer walking and grazing past you. Nature enthusiasts may want to head about five minutes down the road to visit The Wilderness Center, where kids and adults can learn more about our native plants and animals. This massive center has indoor PlayScape for the kiddos to burn off some energy and they also offer a variety of classes to give your explorers some insight to plants, dinosaurs, animals, and the solar system. Who says learning can not be part of vacations? Ethan’s Retreat is for those looking to tuck away in the hills, offering a fully furnished place to relax, unwind, and hit pause on life. Here the only care is what are you cooking. The hot tub and cozy cabin create an oasis and mountain-like retreat for those who may need to escape the world for a bit.

Have your own RV and want to park awhile, we have many locations here who offer hookups all year round. Evergreen RV Resort Park offers hookups and amenities to make all travelers happy. Having an indoor arcade, saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna, and laundry facility you can escape the tightness without unhooking from the truck. In the winter you may also run into the local Amish as Evergreen allows them to do wash in the facility and many locals take advantage of the opportunity.

Maybe you seek an experience when you travel, what could be more exciting than allowing the trees to rock you to sleep or see if Tiny living is really a new way to live. Pine Cove Treehouses give you the chance to explore Amish Country with a bird’s eye view. Don’t think of this like your childhood Treefort, this breathtaking accommodation has all the luxuries of a hotel room while creating an experience we know you will not forget.

If swinging from the trees is not on your bucket list, what about staying in a Tiny Home? Tiny Stays Berlin has two different places for you to kick back and enjoy the life. We can not get over how they were able to fit so much into each of these all while creating a creative oasis that would convince any critic on how tiny living is not a trend. From the full bathtub with rain shower head, projection screens and free-standing outdoor sauna and firepit, Amish Country Scandinavian vibes for the win.

Luxurious five-star accommodations are not just in the city, Holmes County Ohio is home to some amazing resorts who have that hometown hospitality we pride ourselves on. The Inn at Honey Run for instance is something you would not expect to be tucked away outside of Millersburg or Berlin. The Inn is a boutique adult-only resort, represents a truly private experience set within 56 acres of breathtaking landscape and complete tranquility. The intimate and peaceful atmosphere creates an environment of total relaxation and provides the ideal retreat from the stresses of everyday life. The property is also home to the Holmes County Open Air Art Museum and Tarragon. The Museum is an outdoor art exhibit that sits on trails carefully carved through the grounds. It connects art and nature in ways that you never expected, and if you are lucky sometimes you can find the owner walking around sharing the vision, he had for this. Tarragon is an experience for any food critic. The seasonal menu the Chef creates for you are sensational and often gathered within the grounds of the Inn.

Located within Berlin you will find The Berlin Grande, Berlin Resort, and The Berlin Encore. These lodging options allow you the freedom to step out on the town exploring our plethora of retail shops and attractions while being able to pop back into the hotel to freshen up before heading to dinner and an evening show. Did you know that we offer two different evening shows here in Amish Country? The Amish Country Theater offers family fun comedy, think Amish Heehaw and the Ohio Star Theater is more of a theatrical performance with Broadway productions and special musical appearances.

Maybe you want something that falls in between the closeness of town and tucked away, then Carlisle Inns (Walnut Creek and Sugarcreek) or The Amish Door are for you. The Carlisle Inns leave you in awe the moment you walk in with the lavish lobbies and common areas. Grab a good book and head to the study where the cozy leather chairs create a booklover’s paradise. The Amish Door located outside of town, but on the state, route offers guests that resort style experience with an onsite restaurant with comfort foods and spirits. Host to many events ranging from musical performances to princess teas, you can be sure to encounter some type of entertainment while staying with them.

Have I sparked an interest on where you can stay in Ohio Amish Country during the winter? I haven’t even scratched the surface of relaxation and comfort hidden here. Spend a day or two exploring our local wines and brewery. Taste the season through our culinary masterpieces leaving you wanting to get that to go box every time. Here we slow down, soak it all in, and pour ourselves into what makes us a great place to visit any time of the year. Plan your next adventure at https://www.visitamishcountry.com/.

By Shannon Carter

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Ohio’s Great Indoors

Hey, Ohio, get out to the great indoors of “The Buckeye State”
and beat the winter blahs!

Click the following for nearly 200 possibilities for winter daytrip fun.

Museums and Halls of Fame

Art Museums and Galleries

Historical Museums

Planes, Trains, Auto and Maritime Museums

Ohio has everything from the biggies such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Football Hall of Fame and a variety of art museums to the iconic tributes to The Wright Brothers and Annie Oakley to the oddities featuring trolls, pencil sharpeners and cardboard boats.

Now, go see something you never imagined before with Ohio’s great indoors!

Herbal Cocktail Trail

Celebrates Seasonal Libations

Visit Gahanna’s popular Herbal Cocktail Trail returns with seasonal herb-infused libations to continue inspiring more happy hours, date nights, and gatherings with friends.

Born from Gahanna’s official status as the Herb Capital of Ohio, the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, also known as Visit Gahanna, originally launched the Herbal Cocktail Trail in 2017, making it the first themed cocktail trail in the state. For the winter season, Visit Gahanna has tapped the city’s herbal roots again and enlisted six of Gahanna’s signature restaurants, distilleries, and bars to create mouthwatering new seasonal cocktails that live up to the city’s Herb Capital title. 

Now through the end of March, six Gahanna establishments will feature a distinctly unique set of winter cocktails, all inspired by seasonal herbs and ingredients. Participants who complete the Herbal Cocktail Trail will score a new prize this year: a flask boasting their “Herbal Cocktail Trailblazer” status. Earn an Herbal Cocktail Trailblazer Flask simply by visiting all six partner restaurants and pubs and purchasing a signature herbal cocktail.  

Participation in the Herbal Cocktail Trail is easy. Pick up a passport, available at any partner business, the Gahanna Visitor Center, 167 Mill St., and the Ohio Herb Center, 110 Mill St., and start planning your unique Trail experience. Receive a passport sticker for each of the signature herbal cocktails purchased at the partner businesses. Once Herbal Cocktail Trail participants receive six stamps at any one or more of the libation stations, they can bring their passports to the Gahanna Visitor Center, Monday-Friday, call for hours, and redeem them for a branded flask. 

The featured partners and cocktails for the Winter Herbal Cocktail Trail are: 

101 Beer Kitchen | 397 Stoneridge Ln., Gahanna
Cocktail: Blackberry Thyme Burro
Ingredients: Blackberry and thyme muddled with El Jimador Gold and topped with Ginger Beer. Garnished with a fresh thyme sprig. 

 * * *

Barrel & Boar Creekside | 121 Mill St., Gahanna
Cocktail: Honey-Kissed Cosmo
Ingredients: Ruby Red Vodka, Honey Simple Syrup, and Cranberry Juice. Garnished with a fresh sprig of Rosemary.

* * * 

Arepazo | 93 North High St., Gahanna
Cocktail:  Apple & Gin Autumn Cocktail
Ingredients: Gin, apple cider, lime juice, Honey Simple Syrup, and a dash of cinnamon. Garnished with a thyme sprig and apple slices.

* * * 

Wyandotte Winery | 101 Mill St., Gahanna
Cocktail: Mulled Apple Wine
Ingredients: 100% Apple Hill wine, infused with wonderful warm spices, and served warm in a mug.

 * * *

Nostalgia Brewing | 81 Mill St., Gahanna
Cocktail: Hot Toddy Ruxpin
A blend of High Bank Whiskey War, Lemon, Honey, and a touch of cinnamon. This is sure to warm your soul and become your best friend.

Edison Brewing Company | 785 Science Blvd., Gahanna
Cocktail: Spiced Plum Old Fashioned
Ingredients: Bulleit Bourbon, Szechuan Peppercorn & Plum Simple Syrup, Angostura Bitters. 

*Signature cocktails are subject to change at the discretion of the partner business. Please drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive. Learn more by visiting VisitGahanna.com or calling (614) 418-9114.

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The Thought Drawer

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler

Click: Available Here

Traveling isn’t just a geographic journey. It’s also a voyage for the mind. Over the past 15 years, I’ve pulled off the roads of Ohio, and nationwide, to jot a thought down in a moment of inspiration. Then, it was tossed in the glove box, and eventually a drawer. In my new book, The Thought Drawer, I share these mindful moments ranging from one line to several paragraphs.

About the Book:

The Thought Drawer is a collection of thoughts, poems, and short stories about life. Over a 15 year period, as a midlife father, when inspiration struck me at the oddest moments, I’d jot a thought down on a piece of paper or type it on the computer and print it out. Sometimes I’d share it with others, sometimes not. All of it gathered into a stack of loose papers on a shelf and was finally shoved into a drawer. I kept adding to it. This is a collection of those thoughts. My purpose for this book is to merely share this trove of one human’s perspective. Maybe it will help someone. These raw reflections were sparked by conversations, arguments, and readings. Others seemed to drop from the sky into my mind, unannounced.

Click to get your paperback or ebook copy

Some excerpts have been shared in a column on Social Media and OhioTraveler.com titled The Sunday Drive.

Axe Throwing Across Ohio

Axe throwing across Ohio is a fun time for everyone to enjoy as long as you’re 15-years-old or older. There are as many female participants as there are male. Depending on the venue, guests may bring or buy drinks and snacks for their 1 ½ – 2 hours in an axe-throwing lane. Each person creates their own axe related name tag and is placed on a team, together, which may include members of another participating group. Group names are decided, and then instructions and practice throwing follows. Once everyone has thrown, several competitions begin. These pit one team against another, and then ultimately, it’s every lumberjack for themself to see who is best. Axe throwing is fun for date nights, family time, friends’ gatherings, team building, or parties. Admission to these Ohio axe throwing places is approximately $35/person.

Reservations are encouraged and may be made by phone or online at the following sites:

Cincinnati Axe Throwing at Class Axe
(Map It) 4814 Peter Place B in West Chester, Ohio

Cincinnati Urban Axes
(Map It) 2010 Elm St. in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland Axe Throwing at Class Axe
(Map It) 9000 Bank St. in Valley View, Ohio

Columbus Axe Throwing
click here
(Map It) 6124 Busch Blvd. in Columbus, Ohio

The Dueling Axes
(Map It) 309 S. 4th St. in Columbus, Ohio

Rhine Haus Bier Hall
(Map It) 40 N Phelps St. in Downtown Youngstown

Southern Ohio Axe Throwing
(Map It) 1 Nancy Wilson Way in Chillicothe, Ohio

TimberBeast Axe Throwing
click here
(Map It) 2524 Medina Rd. in Medina, Ohio

Wild Axe Throwing
(Map It) 3251 Seajay Dr. in Beavercreek, Ohio


Summer Under Glass This Winter

Tired of winter? Want to smell flowers? Touch a butterfly? Maybe even perspire a bit? Then you need to head to Ohio’s tropical attractions in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse is an 18,000 square foot, crystalline conservatory – the only one of its kind.  Open year-round, the Glasshouse is home to two of the world’s most exotic, fragile and unique environments:  the spiny desert of Madagascar and the lush, butterfly-filled cloud forest of Costa Rica.

Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus offers beautiful and diverse climates including an arid Desert, a tropical Rainforest, a cool Himalayan Mountain, and a lush Pacific Island Water Garden. The Conservatory owns a signature collection of Dale Chihuly glass artwork.

Krohn Conservatory is one of Cincinnati’s treasures. It features Bonsai, Conservatory, Orchid, Tropical and Perennial gardens and nature collections. The total collection represents more than 1,000 different species of plants from rainforests to deserts.

The Best of Northern Ohio


Greatest Amusement Park on the Planet

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio was rated the top park in the world for 16 years but has recently been ranked the 2nd best by readers of Amusement Today. Cedar Point is also dubbed the roller-coaster capital of the world.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The city where the phrase “rock & roll” was coined beat out New York, San Francisco, Memphis and Chicago to enshrine the greatest rock stars in history. Its unique architecture has been recognized the world over.

World’s Largest “Amish Country”

Amish Country in Ohio’s Holmes and Wayne Counties is the largest concentration of Amish communities anywhere on the globe. The rolling country roads are dotted with horses and buggies. Many Amish shops offer homemade food and handcrafted furniture.

Top-10 Food Scene in the Country

Travel+Leisure readers ranked Cleveland as the seventh top-ranked food city in America within the past few years rating it ahead of staples like New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles and Chicago. Foodies now flock to “The Land”.

Largest Performing Arts Center Outside NYC

Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio is a historic theatre district with incredible architecture inside and out which hosts over 1,000 events annually. It even has the world’s first and largest outdoor chandelier giving it a one-of-a-kind feel.

National Christmas Lure Year-Round

Ohio’s North Pole is where Hollywood meets Christmas year-round. Castle Noel is the world’s largest privately held collection of Christmas movie props and costumes. A Christmas Story House has just about everything from the classic movie, A Christmas Story.

Top-10 Orchestra in the World

The Cleveland Orchestra is consistently ranked as one of the top-10 orchestras in the world and has remained as such for decades. It is renown as one of the Big Five American orchestras. Performing across continents, its home is the revered Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio, where the National Football League was born. Every year, it renews itself as the football capital with the induction ceremony to enshrine a new class of the game’s legends. The interactive museum tells the history of America’s #1 professional sport.

Island Life (no sharks)

The Lake Erie Islands in Ohio are lively with summer fun. Regular ferries take people from the mainland to bicycle havens like Kelley’s Island where it’s a little more kicked back. But the summer-long party is at Put-In-Bay located at South Bass Island. Sailing and fishing charters abound.

A National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of only 58 national parks. Between Akron and Cleveland, it offers an array of outdoor activities for every season. Three of its unique gems are the cascading Brandywine Falls, The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

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.

Lake Erie Canopy Tours

The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake 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. 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 encompasses 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 may be available 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 offers a guided experience complete with zip lines and aerial bridges connecting platforms in trees and towers. Riders are harnessed for maximum safety. The adult challenge course offers the more adventurous riders a thrilling experience, with a continuous belay system used for safety. Youngsters enjoy their own kid’s challenge course.

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 click here. For Horizons reservations, call 440-466-7100, then press 2.

African Safari is a Standout!


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/.


Little Free Libraries


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

Ohio’s Art Town

Zanesville Art Colony A Major Draw

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler

It’s all in the vibe. The atmosphere of the Zanesville, Ohio art scene is vibrant and friendly at every corner. Dozens of hand-painted street banners hang from light poles throughout downtown promoting its art community. As they should, considering the town was once the center of the pottery industry.

This town has always been creative. Going over its storied Y-bridge will reveal that. Its history is as rich as the clay deposits in the region. Now, Zanesville is in the midst of a renaissance driven primarily by the  Artist Colony of Zanesville (ArtCoz).

“I drove through Zanesville years ago on my way home to New Orleans. The character of the architecture drew me back to open my studio,” said Larry Zink, a painter and the owner of Larry Zink Studio and Gallery.

Zink pulled an antique bottle of Zane Club Whiskey from his pocket. It had the same emblem as the outside wall of the Paul Emory Studio and Gallery across the alley parking lot. The building was a saloon in 1910, where they made and served the local brand he had in hand.  …Click here to read more.