Ohio activities

Tall ships festivals are scheduled at two Lake Erie ports this summer: Cleveland in July and Erie, Pennsylvania, in August.

Tall ships

On Sept. 10, 1813, a few miles northwest of the Bass Islands on Lake Erie, a David-versus-Goliath confrontation pitted the fledgling United States Navy against a fleet of mighty British warships during the War of 1812.

Shortly after the cannon smoke cleared, Perry scrawled what has since become a famous note on the back of an envelope to send to his commanding officer, Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison (who would, of course, go on to become the ninth president of the United States):  

Dear General: We have met the enemy and they are ours.

A rusting old Ferris wheel.

Ghost parks

Theme parks never really die.

Amusement parks in Ohio date as far back as the mid-1800s. In fact, Cedar Point originally opened as a public beach in 1870. Kings Island, while celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, traces its origins to nearby Coney Island, which also opened originally in 1870.

The 'Lake Lady'

Gone fishing

If you’re an angler, at least once during your lifetime you must experience the unique, majestic beauty of a Lake Erie sunrise.

“I enjoy teaching people, male or female, young or old, the sport of walleye and yellow perch fishing on Lake Erie’s Western Basin,” she says. “I probably average about 100 guiding trips per year, from the islands east to Huron, depending on where the fish are biting.”

Bob Hope chats with Indians players during his time as co-owner of the team (photo courtesy of the Cleveland Guardians).

Rise of the Guardians

When the Cleveland Indians changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians last year, the rebrand was more than a tribute to the stalwart, Art Deco-style statues — known as the “Guardians of Traffic” — that grace the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field.

Born Leslie Townes Hope in a London suburb in 1903, Bob Hope was the fifth of the seven sons of English stonecutter William Henry “Harry” Hope and his wife, Avis. Harry brought his family to Cleveland in 1908, and in the early 1930s, he helped create the “Guardians of Traffic” for the city’s Lorain-Carnegie Bridge. After extensive repairs were completed in 1983, it was rechristened the Hope Memorial Bridge because of Harry’s work on the now-iconic “Guardians.”  

Funny cars are one of the crowd favorites at Dragway 42.

Wanna drag?

Jeff Gates, a tool and die maker from Republic, was hoping to introduce his 1965 Ford Ranchero to the world during Thursday Night Thunder on this fine evening at Dragway 42 in the Wayne County village of West Salem. The car, however, had other ideas.

When asked if he couldn’t just drop it off at a local garage and have them repair it, the veteran racer laughs. 

“No, this is the fun part,” he says. “At least most of the time, so long as you get to run them every now and then. I just enjoy building this stuff.”

Clifton Mill

Chasing waterfalls

There’s nothing quite like a waterfall, where a stream plunges over a precipice with a roar and a sense of seemingly eternal beauty that’s sought after by generation after generation.

Clifton Mill

75 Water Street, Clifton

Two waterfalls on the Little Miami River have powered Clifton Mill, which sits on the gorge, for more than 220 years. The mill is the largest of the 47 remaining gristmills in the nation. The best view of the mill and falls is from a covered bridge spanning the river. It’s an easy trek and a popular tourist attraction in addition to the restaurant and gift shop housed in the mill (see photo background in the above gallery).

Clifton Gorge 

State Nature Preserve

The Paxton Theatre in Bainbridge is a traditional halfway point for country stars traveling from Nashville to the East Coast — one reason the theater’s Paint Valley Jamboree has been going strong for 55 years.

Country home

A small village in southern Ohio may seem like an unlikely country music hot spot, but Bainbridge, population 3,000, boasts a tradition rivaled only by the country music capital of the world.

Today, the jamboree continues to draw from a reservoir of talent to play alongside its house band, the Original Jam Band.

Still, as musical tastes change, Koehl and his team have a tricky balancing act: trying to preserve the history, traditions, and nostalgia of the jamboree, while also trying to bring in a younger audience.

If you meander too far off the trail, you may find yourself on the edge of a drop of hundreds of feet.

High point

High ground is challenging to find in Ohio. Alaskans, with their towering Denali, or even Arkansans, with their Ozarks, probably chuckle at the thought of our “high spots.” 

Each time of year offers something different. Winter is a solitude of quiet and barren beauty. Spring is a time of reawakening and colorful songbirds. Summertime cloaks the hills in emerald beauty and wildflower bouquets. And autumn? Stake out a spot and watch the trees covering the valley alight in flaming oranges, crimson reds, and crisp rusts.

Highlights for Children founder Garry Meyers reads the magazine to his grandchildren.

Fun with a purpose

When Garry and Carolyn Meyers created Highlights for Children in 1946, they did so with the belief that children have an innate ability to think and learn and create and that they should be encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings.

Highlights' 75th Anniversary Edition

Highlights, based in Columbus, recently celebrated its 75th year of “fun with a purpose”— presenting opportunities for parents to “lean in and listen” to encourage curiosity and self-confidence. 

Ohio Literary Trail logo

Bookish byway

Ohio’s writers, poets, authors, and musicians have left lasting impressions on Supreme Court judges, inspired presidents, and moved the entire nation to change its opinion.

The trail showcases more than 70 landmarks, including historical buildings, libraries, and markers, as well as festivals that commemorate Ohio’s literary contributions. The publication took the form of a printed map for the first several decades of its existence. In 2020, the trail went online, where it now features an interactive map that divides the state into five regions. Each section of the site contains links and information about the destinations within the region.