Russ Jurg

Up, up, and away

During balloon season (mid-April to November), hot air balloonists take to the skies. Soaring across the patterns and shapes of the landscape, riders get a bird’s-eye view of Ohio.

Suttle upped her balloon game when she bought a balloon, became a commercial pilot, and competed in the U.S. Nationals. Out of 100 pilots, she placed 17th in the nation. Suttle, president of the Northeast Ohio Balloon Pilots Association, lives in Tuscarawas County with her husband, Paul, also a pilot. Through their company, Dreams Come True, they take people on an experience of a lifetime. “They get so excited. Our whole idea is to put smiles on people’s faces.”

Snap the Whip

All American

Louis Zona breathed a sigh of relief a couple of months ago when Snap the Whip safely returned to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown.

The Butler was the first museum built solely for works by American artists, and for decades, Butler family members augmented its collection with masterpieces such as Albert Bierstadt’s The Oregon Trail and Edward Hopper’s Pennsylvania Coal Town. After Joseph G. Butler III died in 1981, Zona was appointed director. At the time, he chaired Youngstown State University’s art department, but his association with the museum began in the early 1970s. “My dissertation was about museum operations, and I used the Butler for my lab,” says Zona. 

Cedar Point Beach

Lake Erie beach bucket list

Show of hands: After months of COVID confinement, who wants to lie on a beach towel beside a long stretch of sun-kissed water? Build sandcastles? Paddle around? Go for a long swim? Simply laze away a summer afternoon?

Cedar Point Beach, Sandusky

Cedar Point began with its beach in 1870, and today, the amusement park delivers dual fun-in-the-sun experiences: world-class rides plus a mile of smooth, white sand — all enhanced by splendid lake views and refreshing breezes. Open only to Cedar Point guests, the beach offers amenities and activities that range from lounging in an umbrella chair and snapping photos on its grand boardwalk to renting WaveRunners and parasailing high above the sand.  

Coney Island pool

Changing with the times

Coney Island, the iconic Cincinnati park, has a history of envisioning possibilities and changing with the times — times that have included two world wars, the Great Depression, floods, integration, and now two pandemics.

Coney Island has seen its share of transition during its long history. When James Parker bought a 20-acre apple orchard on the banks of the Ohio River east of Cincinnati in 1867, he planted the seeds of a summer-fun treasure. As the story goes, a few Cincinnati businessmen on horseback asked Parker to rent the orchard for a picnic and, smelling success, Parker added a dance hall, a bowling alley, and a carousel. 

The Box Hop

Skip the hotel

Hotels and campgrounds are perfectly fine places to stay, but travelers looking beyond the usual accommodations have some unusual options these days, thanks to entrepreneurial imagination and emerging technology.

Want to wake up on a blueberry farm? There’s a fine spot near Lake Erie. How about a 1950s railroad caboose? Check Athens. Prefer a tiny home, treehouse, or yurt? Search “Ohio” and “unique stays” to find exactly what you want, from castles to barns.

Hickory nuts

Food from the forest floor

After a long winter, the arrival of spring carpets Ohio with blankets of blossoms, festoons trees with brilliant buds, and sprinkles forest floors with spicebush splendor. 

The pandemic has made people take a closer look at the ground beneath them. 

“The pandemic gave native gardening another shot in the arm,” says Chris Chmiel, owner of Integration Acres outside of Albany in Athens County. “It’s a safe activity: Go out and do some foraging while social distancing.”

Wine flight at Fion

Sips and swings

Drinking and driving is never a wise idea, but there is a place in Ohio where it’s, dare we say, par for the course.

The unique destination, the brainchild of Mike and Stacy McVan, is surrounded by Ohio farmland near Huntsville. How did the couple — who live in the Columbus suburb of Dublin — hit upon the concept four years ago?

“We have relatives who own a winery in northwest Ohio,” Mike says. “We liked the idea … but decided we didn’t want to make the wine.” Instead, they aimed to open a place that would spotlight wines — and other libations — from around the globe.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland for kids

Cleveland’s wide variety of kid-friendly attractions, plus its affordability and easy access, equals an outstanding package of experiences for all ages. 

A Christmas Story House and Museum

Stroke the leg lamp like Ralphie did or crawl under the kitchen sink like Randy — or mimic any number of scenes from the iconic movie at the house where it was made. “There’s even Lifebuoy soap in the bathroom,” says owner Brian Jones.

Ohio accent map

Say what?

Do you say “crick” or “creek”? “Mom” or “mahm”? How about “wash” or “warsh”? Your answers can pinpoint which part of the state you’re from.

“Individual cities and areas develop their own ways of speaking,” Campbell-Kibler says. “Some small changes start locally and then spread, but other changes begin in, say, Toledo and do not happen anywhere else.”

Let’s take a closer look at how Ohioans speak. 

Ohio’s Midland accent

Read this sentence out loud: It will be a merry day when Mary agrees to marry John.

OhioHealth Fore Hope

Volunteering: Good for the soul

Volunteering is not only good for the community — it’s good for you, too. In fact, studies show the act of volunteering boosts physical and mental health and may even help you live longer. 

Get golfers back onto the links

Golfers living with the effects of a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or other neurological conditions can get back into the game, thanks to OhioHealth Fore Hope. The golf therapy program provides physical, cognitive, and social benefits, but it requires a helping hand, since balance is often an issue. Volunteers tee up golf balls, position putters, and perform other simple tasks that make a big difference.