10 list of things to do in the
1. Hit the Beach. Two closeby Lake
Erie beaches await with picnic grounds, changing facilities, concessions,
lifeguards and plenty of parking. Lake MetroParks' Fairport Harbor Beach is
8 minutes away, a straight shot down Richmond Street. It also has kayak rentals
and a full calendar of activities. Headlands Beach State Park is west on Route 2
then north on Route 44, about 10 minutes away.
2. Antiquing. Head west on Mentor Avenue (Route 2) to Ye Olde Oaken
Bucket. Pick up a brochure with map detailing other closeby antiquing, including
several shops around the square in Burton, heart of Amish Country.
3. Amish Country. A half-hour southeast of here in Geauga
one of Ohio's largest concentrations of Amish — people who pursue an agrarian
lifestyle without automobiles, electricity and other trappings of modern life.
Follow side roads off Route 608 between Burton and Middlefield and you'll see
their one-room school houses, neat farms, and shops with quilts and handcrafted
wooden toys. Respect their beliefs and don't photograph them.
4. Wine Country. Ohio wines are making their mark in international
competitions and a dozen or so wineries within a half hour or so of here
participate in special events that include hot air balloon rallies to jazz and
folk festivals. Stop at their tasting rooms and sip their vintages, which often
can be paired with food from their kitchens. If you're a connoisseur, ask about
ice wine that can be made in only a few wine regions of the world —including
Ohio. Head east on I -90, exit south on Route 528 and follow the signs to a few
5. History. This part of Northeast Ohio was settled in the late 1700s as
part of the Western Reserve land grants made to folks in Connecticut. That's why
our town squares are reminiscent of New England. Learn more at Morley
just a few blocks walk from here, which has an entire section devoted to local
history. The Lake County Historical
Society, 10 minutes away and housed in the 1870 one-time county home, has a
museum, exhibits and pioneer village to explore.
Historic Kirtland is a restored village where Mormon church founder Joseph Smith
and his followers settled in the 1830s
6. Underground Railroad. During slavery years Northeast Ohio was a
destination for slaves seeking to escape to freedom across Lake Erie in Canada,
Many brave local abolitionists sheltered them in their cellars and took them
hidden beneath loads of hay to ships waiting along Lake Erie's shores. See
several stops on the Underground Railroad including one beneath the floors of a
former stagecoach stop in Unionville, on today's Lake and Ashtabula County
lines. Legend has it that tunnels ran to a fake grave in the cemetery across the
street where escaped slaves would exit in the dead of night.
7. Pick your own. Whether your tastes run
to fresh asparagus, just picked strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or
apples you can easily spend an afternoon picking your own produce, starting in
early May when the asparagus is ready. We like Secor Farms, just five miles
after the Route 2-Route 20 split in Perry Township, less than a half-hour east
markets. Lake Erie's moderating influence on the climate and
the rich loamy soils left when the glaciers retreated add up to wonderful
conditions for growing a lot more than grapes. Although large farms have given
way to development, many small growers and producers bring their eggs, lettuce,
berries, honey, tomatoes, and cheeses to market from May to October. Find
markets in Painesville on Thursday afternoons, in Willoughby on Saturday
mornings and on mid-summer Fridays in Mentor on the grounds of Lawnfield, one
time home of 20th U.S. President James A. Garfield.
9. James A. Garfield National Historic
Site. Garfield lived, taught and
preached in these parts and conducted his presidential campaign from the front
porch of this spacious home. Since the Garfield family lived there until just a
few decades ago, many of its furnishings are original. Garfield served as a
Civil War general and U.S. president all while being a family man. His wife
established the first-ever Presidential Library after his assassination death. A
tour of his home gives a great glimpse of the Victorian era in Ohio.
10. Hit the trails. Holden Arboretum, the nation's largest at 3,100
acres, and Lake MetroParks, offer hundreds of ways to explore nature, get
exercise, or go by bike or horseback. The park system's paved Greenway
for instance, begins just a few minutes from here and takes cyclists, bladers,
and strollers through the woods and meadows and even over a freeway along the
path of a one-time railroad.
Ask Debra and Tom about a Geneva-on-the-Lake, an old-time lakefront tourist
village little changed since the 1950s; a pair of local cooking schools, and the
world class museums and symphony a half hour west of here in