Geauga County is named for a Native American word meaning "raccoon" but has it's share of deer, wild turkeys, Canadian geese, coyotes and of late an occasional bear. It is a quick trip from the downtown streets of Cleveland to the rural farmland of Geauga County.
In 2013 Geauga County was named the healthiest county in Ohio by the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin and is the second wealthiest county in per capita income in Ohio. The topography of the county is mostly rolling woodlands in the western part of the county that flattens out to more farmland in the eastern part. Population density is also highest in the western part and lower in the eastern. The county park system is extensive with nearly 9500 acres in 19 different parks consisting of 56 miles of trails with 12 miles being bridle trails. In addition there is approximately 21 miles of bike trails in and around the Chardon area. The new YMCA provides a way to exercise especially during the winter months with a pool, basketball court and weight room. For winter sports fans there is a ski resort and an ice skating rink. There are 9 golf courses located throughout the county with a variety of challenges for varied skilled golfers. The golfing season lasts from mid-April until the end of October.
Since it is a rural farm area there are a number of pick your own fruit farms for strawberries in June, red and black raspberries and blueberries in July and apples in September and October. Numerous stands are located throughout the county for fresh vegetable when in season particularly for sweet corn. A flour mill still exists where various grains are ground between two millstones as was done at this site 175 years ago. Geauga County it the largest maple syrup producer in Ohio which ranks 5th nationwide. With the rural nature of Geauga county it is no wonder the county also has the oldest fair in Ohio. The glorious Geauga County Fair is held Labor Day weeken and consists of 13,000 agricultural displays. Attendance in 2013 was a shade under 200,000 which is not bad for a county that has less than 100,000 inhabitants.
One of the largest concentration of Amish is centered in Middlefield. Noted for their large families and good work ethic they strive on being self sufficient. When not tending their farms they find employment with the men building houses and the women cleaning them. They are also good craftsmen building furniture or making quilts and own and operate various businesses. They also find employment at non-Amish local businesses again centered around the Middlefield area. Only allowed to drive a horse and buggy they rely on non-Amish to transport them in cars and vans to their places of employment if a buggy would not be expedient. Care must be taken when driving in the Middlefield area since the black buggies can be out well before sunrise and well after sunset.
Geauga County is known for maple syrup. On Sundays in March when maple syrup is in season, there are pancake breakfasts in Burton, Parkman, and other places, which are reasonably priced and very good. In addition during lent there are several churches that put on fish frys that are also good and reasonably priced.
Geauga County is in the heart of Ohio's "Snowbelt", an area which sees huge amounts of "lake effect" snowfall in winter from Lake Erie. The snowbelt can get pounded with a foot or more of snow, while 20 miles to the south they get nothing. In the snowbelt they're used to the snow, so large snowfalls that cause towns in other places to shut down are normal in Geauga County, and business often continues as usual. Be careful driving in winter, especially if you're not from an area that sees much snow, as the weather can change quickly.
Additionally when driving in Geauga County, keep on the lookout for deer, farm equipment, and Amish buggies. Accidents involving buggies can be fatal, so watch out.