Ohio  is a state in the Midwest region of the USA. The state has natural boundaries to the north (Lake Erie) and to the south (Ohio River) and is bordered by the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.The terrain is generally flat in the northwestern parts due to ancient glaciers, and gradually gets hillier as one heads east and southeast toward the Allegheny and Appalachian mountain ranges. Aside from a Great Lake (Erie) and a major navigable river (Ohio), the State of Ohio offers a national park (Cuyahoga Valley), a national forest (Wayne) and a bundle of islands on Lake Erie.
Comprised of 88 counties, Ohio can be roughly characterized as having 5 regions:
- Mid-Ohio - flat agricultural land surrounding the State capital, Columbus.
- Northeast Ohio (NEO), also known as "Greater Cleveland" - rolling wooded foothills from the Allegheny Mountain range subside as they approach Lake Erie (definition of NEO includes 13 counties and 4.5 million people).
- Northwest Ohio - flat agricultural land surrounding Toledo and stretching into Indiana to the west and Michigan to the north.
- Southeast Ohio - very hilly, coal-mining country in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, rolling into Pennsylvania and West Virginia and including the Wayne National Forest.
- Southwest Ohio - hilly areas approaching the Ohio River, surrounding Cincinnati and rolling into Kentucky.
- Cincinnati - regional hub of 2 million residents, the "Queen City" is home to the Bengals and Reds.
- Cleveland - regional hub of 3 million residents, the "Rock and Roll Capital of the World" and home to one of the five richest collections of arts and culture institutions in the US.
- Columbus - the State capital and regional hub of 1.6 million residents
The Beaches of Cleveland - Edgewater Park
The state is 35th in geographic size, yet 7th in population (11,459,011 residents in 2004 according to the US Census Bureau). Ohio's nickname is "The Heart of It All", purportedly because of its geographic form (kind of heart-shaped), its central location to the densely populated areas of the US, its mosaic of big commercial cities, small towns, industry and farmland, and its critical role in "America's Heartland" (which can refer to the Midwest agricultural sector and the Great Lakes industrial base).
Ohio is also the birthplace of lot of things, including:
- The Mother of US Presidents: Ulysses Grant (18th, born in Point Pleasant), Rutherford Hayes (19th, Delaware), James Garfield (20th, Orange), Benjamin Harrison (23rd, North Bend), William McKinley (25th, Niles), William Taft (27th, Cincinnati), and Warren Harding (29th, Corsica/Blooming Grove). William Henry Harrison (9th), born in Virginia but settled (and buried) in North Bend, Ohio, is also claimed as one of Ohio's own.
- The Birthplace of Aviation - Orville and Wilbur Wright lived in Dayton and owned a bicycle shop where they invented the first airplane, which they tested and validated in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (which claims to be "First in Flight").
- NASA Astronauts - home to 24 astronauts, most notably John Glenn and Neil Armstrong.
- Rock 'n Roll Capitol and the first rock concert (Cleveland, which boasts the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum).
- More inventions than can be listed (although Inventure Place - the National Inventors Hall of Fame has seen to that), but they include substantial innovations in the fields of automotives, aviation, aerospace, rail, shipping, petroleum, polymers and advanced materials, electricity, electronics, medical and healthcare to name a few.
- Professional (American) Football (The Canton Bulldogs, whose city boasts the Professional Football Hall of Fame) as well as birthplace or home to a number of the most innovative and renowned coaches of the sport (Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Don Shula, Ara Parseghian).
- Major League Baseball (The Cincinnati Reds (Red Stockings)) was the first team and 6 of the 8 original MLB teams (which included the Cleveland Indians (under different name)) were financed by wealthy Cleveland industrialists.
- Great American Sports Legends, including Olympian Jesse Owens (Cleveland), John Heisman - namesake of NCAA Football Award (Cleveland), Cy Young - namesake of Major League Baseball Pitching Awards (New Philadelphia/Dover area), and the Cradle of Coaches Plaza, Miami University in Oxford.
Tributes to many of the above claims to fame are scattered throughout the State of Ohio.
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is a hub of Continental Airlines.
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is actually located across the Ohio River in Kentucky and is a hub of Delta Airlines.
- Port Columbus International Airport (CMH)
- James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY)
- Akron Canton Regional Airport (CAK)
- Toledo Express Airport (TOL)
The State of Ohio is served by the following interstate highways:
- I-70 splits the state in half, linking Columbus, Dayton and Springfield beyond Pennsylvania to the east and beyond Indiana to the west.
- I-71 connects the three big cities, starting in Cleveland and running southwest through Columbus and Cincinnati, then beyond Kentucky.
- I-75 runs along the western part of the state, serving Cincinnati and Toledo and connecting them to Michigan to the north and beyond Kentucky to the south.
- I-76 serving Akron and Youngstown and connecting to Pennsylvania to the east.
- I-77 starts in Cleveland and runs south through Akron, Canton, New Philadelphia and Marietta and continues beyond West Virginia.
- I-80 is the Ohio Turnpike (a toll road) that runs across the northern part of the state, serving Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Youngstown (where I-80 and I-76 criss cross) and beyond Pennsylvania to the east and Indiana to the west.
- I-90 also serves the far northern part of the state, including Cleveland and Toledo, merges with the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) for a stretch and continues beyond Pennsylvania to the east and Indiana to the west.
Amtrak serves Alliance, Bryan, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Elyria, Hamilton, Sandusky and Toledo.
Many boaters utilize the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and their connection points as a travel route. There are many marinas and public boat ramps available for this purpose. Also, the Great Lakes Cruising Company and the American Canadian Caribbean Line provide cruises that include Cleveland on the itineria. There are also steamboat and cruise options connecting points along Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Most points within Ohio are easily accessible by auto with longest distances across the state of about 300 miles and less than 5 hours in driving time. For instance, driving from Cleveland-to-Columbus and Columbus-to-Cincinnati via I-71 takes about 2 hours (give or take 15 minutes). The larger cities in the state all have public mass transit systems.
If you want to string together an itinery of all things Ohio, below are some themes that can guide you throughout the Buckeye State.
Aerospace & Aviation
- Armstrong Air & Space Museum (Wapakoneta)
- Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum (Cleveland) - Located in Cleveland's University Circle cultural neighborhood, this fascinating museum is home to a variety of vehicles, including several examples of early 20th century Cleveland-made cars. Highlights include one of the first Deloreans, a Winston Bullet 2 racing car, and several former presidential limousines.
- NASA Glenn Research Center (Cleveland)
- Wright Patterson Air Force Base (Dayton)
- Wright Brothers' Bicycle Shop (Dayton)
Battle Grounds and Monuments
- Battle of Fallen Timbers, small park contains a monument honoring Major General Anthony Wayne as well as smaller monuments to the soldiers and Native Americans who died in the battle. 5100 West Central Avenue, Toledo, OH 43615, 419-535-3050 or 1-800-860-0149.
- Big Bottom, 3-acre park is the site of a 1791 battle between Ohio Company settlers and Delaware and Wyandot Tribes.
- Fort Harmar in Marietta. The stockade was located on the Ohio River and the Muskingum River.
- Fort Recovery In 1791, Miami Indians defeated General Arthur St. Clair's forces at this site along the Wabash River. One Fort Site Street, Ft. Recovery, OH 45846-9314, 419-375-4649 or 1-800-283-8920.
- Schoenbrunn Village in New Philadelphia. The Moravian church founded Schoenbrunn ("beautiful spring") in 1772 as a mission to the Delaware Indians. The settlement grew to include 60 dwellings and more than 300 inhabitants who drew up Ohio's first civil code and built its first Christian church and schoolhouse. The reconstructed village includes 17 log buildings, gardens, the original mission cemetery, and a museum and visitor center. Call for information at 330-339-3636 or 1-800-752-2711.
American Revolutionary War, Fort Laurens State Memorial, located in Bolivar (Tuscarawas County) on County Road 102 about 1/2 mile south of State Route 212. Exit I-77 at State Route 212, 330-874-2059 or 1-800-283-8914. Built in 1778 in an ill-fated campaign to attack the British at Detroit, a park commemorates the location and an outline of the fort remains along with archaeological artifacts.
War of 1812
- Fort Amanda near Wapakoneta. Call for information at 1-800-283-8713.
- Fort Meigs (reconstructed) in Perrysburg was built on the Maumee River in 1813 under the command of William Henry Harrison (the 9th President of the US) and was instrumental in protecting northwest Ohio and Indiana from British invasion.
- Fort Stephenson' in Sandusky was the location of another decisive victory over the British, forcing them to retreat to Canada.
- Indian Mill in Sandusky, the restored three-story structure replaces the original one-story building that the U.S. government built in 1820 to reward the loyalty of local Wyandot Indians during the War of 1812. 108 East Wyandot Avenue, Upper Sandusky 43351, 419-294-3349 or 1-800-600-7147.
- Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. In the Battle of Lake Erie, Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry led a fleet of 9 ships in a major victory over the British.
Civil War (Ohio was a Union State)
- Buffington Island (Meigs County) commemorated by a 4-acre park with a monument made of broken Ohio glacial boulders; and Salineville (also known as New Lisbon or Wellsville) located in Columbiana County. Both battles in Ohio were won by the Union Ohio Company.
- Ohioans (including several who later became US Presidents) were also instrumental in Civil War battles throughout the US. In the Ohio Statehouse (Columbus), a monument, These Are My Jewels, memorializes 7 Ohioans who played key roles in the Civil War: Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, Edwin M. Stanton, James A. Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, Salmon P. Chase, and William Tecumseh Sherman.
- Custer Monument is a bronze statue on the site of George Armstrong Custer's birthplace (Harrison County), 46320 Cadiz-Junction Road, Hopedale, OH 43976, 740-945-6415.
- The McCook House is located on the west side of the public square in Carrollton in Carroll County, 330-627-3345 or 1-800-600-7172. McCook family contributed 9 soldiers including 5 generals to the Union cause.
Native American Archeaology & Burial Grounds
- Flint Ridge State Memorial, contains quarry pits where all of the ancient people of Ohio came to get flint for tools and weapons, especially the Hopewell. 7091 Brownsville Road, S.E., Glenford, OH 43739, 740-787-2476 or 1-800-283-8707.
- Fort Ancient includes a museum containing 9000 sq. ft. of exhibits focusing on 15,000 years of American Indian history in the Ohio Valley. 6123 St Rt. 350, Oregonia, Ohio 45054, 513-932-4421 or 1-800-283-8904.
- Fort Hill State Memorial is a nature preserve containing one of the best preserved Indian (Hopewell) hilltop enclosures in North America. 13614 Fort Hill Road, Hillsboro, OH 45133, 937-588-3221 or 1-800-283-8905.
- Inscription Rock on the south shore of Kelleys Island, is marked with prehistoric Indian pictographs. Call for information at 419-797-4530.
- Miamisburg Mound, Adena conical burial mound. 101 North First Street, Miamisburg, OH 45342, 937-866-4532.
- Newark Earthworks State Memorial largest system of connected geometric earthworks, built by Hopewell 2 millenia ago. 99 Cooper Avenue, Newark, OH 43055, 740-344-1919 or 1-800-600-7178.
- Seip Mound Hopewell burial mound in Chillicothe. Call for information at 614-297-2630 or 1-800-686-1535.
- Serpent Burial Adena burial mound shaped like an uncoiling snake. 3850 State Route 73, Peebles, OH 45660, 937-587-2796 or 1-800-752-2757.
- Schoenbrunn Village is located on SR-259 in New Philadelphia / Zoar, in Tuscarawas County. It can be easily accessed off of I-77, exit 81, approximately 4 miles southeast. Schoenbrunn is a preserved missionary village built by the Moravian Christian sect to convert Delaware Native Americans. Open September 6, 2005 - May 26, 2006, We-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su 12PM-5PM, admission fees, adults $7, children 6-12 $3, children under 6 free. Phone: +1 800 752-2711 or +1 330 339-3636.
- Shrum Mound Adena conical burial mound in Columbus. Call for information at 614-297-2630 or 1-800-686-1535.
Underground Railroad Sites
- Underground Railroad Freedom Center Cincinnati
- Home of Abolitionist John Brown, 550 Copley Rd., +1 330 535-1120. The famous abolitionist called Akron his home from where he launched his fight to free slaves including the Harper’s Ferry raid in 1859.
- Haines House Underground Railroad Museum, 186 West Market St., Alliance, 330 829-4668.
- The Rankin House was an important stop on the Underground Railroad in southern Ohio through which many slaves escaped from the South to freedom, off of State Route 52 at the northeast edge of Ripley in Brown County, 937-392-1627 or 1-800-752-2705.
- The Stowe House, residence of Harriett Beecher Stowe where she learned about the evils of slavery which inspired her book, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Cultural and educational center which promotes black history. 2950 Gilbert Avenue, State Route 3, U.S. 22, Cincinnati, OH 45214, 513-632-5100.
- The State of Ohio has outlined 12 itineries for discovering Black History in Ohio, .
U.S. Presidential Libraries and Monuments
Ohio is known as The Mother of Presidents, having been home to eight.
- James Garfield Cabin Moreland Hills (formerly part of Orange Township). Garfield Home - Lawnfield Mentor. Garfield Memorial in Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland.
- Ulysses S. Grant Birthplace is a restored one-story, three-room cottage, which was built in 1817, in Point Pleasant, in Clermont County, just off of U.S. Route 52 about five miles east of New Richmond. telephone +1 513 553-4911. Grant Boyhood Home is located 219 East Grant Avenue in Georgetown, in Brown County, and Grant Schoolhouse located at 508 South Water Street, two blocks south of State Route 125, in Georgetown.
- Warren G. Harding Home Marion, Ohio, the restored house, built in 1891, contains original furnishings. The Presidential Library was renovated in 2005. 380 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Marion, OH 43302, telephone +1 740 387-9630 or +1 800 600-6894. Harding Tomb set in ten acres of landscaped grounds, is similar in appearance to a round Greek temple, Vernon Heights Blvd., Marion.
- Benjamin Harrison, Harrison Hall at Miami University in Oxford. You can head over to Indiana to see his presidential museum, but his remains are entombed in North Bend, Ohio.
- William Henry Harrison tomb and monument on Mt. Nebo in North Bend contains the remains of William Henry Harrison, located on Cliff Road west off U.S. Route 50. He was born in Virginia, later became the governmental overseer of the Old Northwest Territory, which included Ohio, and ultimately, settled in and campaigned from North Bend after the War of 1812.
- Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center contains the Hayes residence, a library and museum, and the tomb of the president and his wife Lucy Webb Hayes. Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420, telephone +1 419 332-2081 or +1 800 998-7737.
- William McKinley, Presidential Library and Memorial, , 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, telephone +1 330 455-7043, fax +1 330 455-1137.
- William Taft, William Howard Taft Home and National Historic Site, 2038 Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati, telephone +1 513 684-3262, fax +1 513 684-3627.
- Behind every great man is a great woman. So, pay homage to the Presidents' wives at the First Ladies National Historic Site, 205 & 331 Market Ave. S, telephone +1 330 452-0876, victorian family home of US Presidential First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley now serves as an educational center on the subject of contributions by the wives of US Presidents and other women with significant roles in historical US politics.
Hall of Fame and Museum Tour
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
- Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Cleveland - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located on Cleveland's downtown harborfront, near the USS Cod submarine and the Great Lakes Science Center. The museum houses an incredible array of permanent and temporary exhibits, including rooms full of costumes, interactive music exhibits, and hand-written lyrics by artists and producers from the early days of Rock and Roll to the present. The museum's many temporary exhibits have highlighted the work of such artists as Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and Elvis.
- Inventure Place - National Inventors Hall of Fame Akron
- Professional (American) Football Hall of Fame Canton
Lake Erie Tour Route and Lighthouses
- Go back to the mainland and see the shoreline. The drive (or boat ride) around Lake Erie takes you through the Working Waterfronts around Buffalo NY, Cleveland OH, Detroit MI, Erie PA, Toledo, OH, and southern Ontario is intermingled with beautiful preservations of flora and fauna as well as the history of North America's first westward expansion, the Northwest Territory.
- Al-Bi Winery Company
- Broad Run Cheesehouse & Swiss Heritage Winery, Tuscarawas County
- Dankorona Winery, Aurora
- Firelands Winery
- Flint Ridge Vineyard
- Harmony Hill Vineyards and Estate Winery
- Jilbert Winery, Valley City
- Kinkead Ridge
- Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery, just east of Hartville.
- Markko Vineyards (Conneaut; www.markko.com)
- Shamrock Vineyard
- Winery at Versailles
- Woodstone Creek Winery & Distillery
- Virant Family Winery, Inc.
Universities and College Towns
Among the large number of institutions of higher learning in the state are:
- Antioch University Yellow Springs
- Baldwin-Wallace College Berea
- Bowling Green State University Bowling Green
- Case Western Reserve University Cleveland
- Cleveland State University
- College of Wooster Wooster
- John Carroll University University Heights
- Kent State University Kent
- Kenyon College Gambier
- Miami University Oxford
- Oberlin College Oberlin
- Ohio State University Columbus
- Ohio University Athens
- Ohio Wesleyan University Delaware
- University of Akron
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Toledo
- Wilberforce University Wilberforce
- Wittenberg University Springfield
- Xavier University Cincinnati
Not only are there great places to dine and things to eat throughout Ohio, but these cuisines, several of which define American Food, were born in Ohio:
- Ballpark/Stadium Mustard the popular brown mustard comes from Cleveland Ohio.
- Banana Split invented in Columbus in 1904 by Letty Lally.
- Chewing Gum the first U.S. patent was issued in 1869 to William Semple of Mount Vernon.
- Hamburgers invented by the Menches brothers of Akron.
- Hot Dogs, while obviously descending from the global sausage family and much debate exists about naming the American treat, the first frankfurter wrapped in a bun (a "Hot Dog") was invented by Harry M. Stevens of Niles in 1904.
- Ice Cream Cones the cornucopia ice cream cone was also invented by the Menches.
- Lifesavers Candies invented in 1912 by Clarence Crane of Cleveland (also the father of famous American poet Hart Crane).
- Maple Syrup go to Geauga County in Northeast Ohio, the Village of Burton is the heart of maple country.
- Roasted Buckeyes where else would you go for this delicious snack but the Buckeye State?
- Salisbury Steak created by and named for Clevelander Dr. James H. Salisbury who desired to perfect the meat curing process (you can pay homage to him at Lakeview Cemetery near University Circle). Just ask the Menches brothers who must claim, "It's just a fancy hamburger covered in gravy."
- Skyline Chili comes from Cincinnati.
When in America, eat as the Ohioans do!
- Great Lakes Brewery the restaurant is in the Ohio City district of Cleveland. The microbrews are available at many bars, restaurants and grocery stores. The restaurant has gunshots in its walls from Eliot Ness, the former Cleveland Chief of Police, and the FBI man who busted the mob in the early 20th century.
- Located north of Sandusky (between Cleveland and Toledo), a group of picturesque and festive islands in Lake Erie are accessible via ferry. In addition to several Ohio State Parks] located on the islands, there is plenty to do including wineries, restaurants, bars, marinas and beaches.
- Along the southern shore of Lake Erie are a large number of public beaches. The largest natural sand beach in Ohio, Headlands Beach State Park, is located east of Cleveland, in Mentor. Cleveland Lakefront State Park also includes a large beach at its Edgewater Park, just west of downtown Cleveland. Many other beaches are available throughout Northern Ohio, including Huntington Beach, Euclid Beach and Fairport Harbor.
- Lake Erie Circle Tour. Once you've had enough of the amusement parks and fishing venues, just follow the shoreline via the Lake Erie Circle Tour. The drive (or boat ride) takes you through the Working Waterfronts around Buffalo NY, Cleveland OH, Detroit MI, Erie PA, Toledo, OH, and southern Ontario is intermingled with beautiful preservations of flora and fauna as well as the history of North America's first westward expansion, the Old Northwest Territory.
Park Systems and Lodging
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Located south of Cleveland, this park follows the course of the Cuyahoga River and the historic Ohio & Erie Canal between Cleveland and Akron. A number of mills, stores and older buildings are preserved here. The Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad, with train cars from the 1940's and 1950's also runs through the park. Pick up the train on the northern end of the line in Valley View near Thornburg Station (8111 Rockside Road), a mixed use retail, restaurant and office complex sitting between the river and canal.
- Wayne National Forest. Plan your iterneria around these romantic and scenic routes:
- Covered Bridge Scenic Byway, .
- Ohio River Scenic Byway, .
- Ohio State Parks, the Ohio park system includes 73 parks providing venues for a variety of outdoor activities. Included among these are 9 large reservations with a variety of lodges, diverse by architectural style, decor and age.
- Burr Oak - state park abuts the Wayne National Forest.
- Deer Creek - just southwest of Columbus.
- Geneva - On America's North Coast, a lake front lodge and conference center in Geneva-on-the-Lake, east of Cleveland.
- Hueston Woods - just north of Oxford and Miami University.
- Maumee Bay - On America's North Coast, a lake front lodge and conference center in Oregon, east of Toledo.
- Mohican - in Mid-Ohio east of I-71, in the picturesque Mohican River Valley.
- Punderson - charming Tudor style lodge in the Western Reserve, just east of Cleveland.
- Salt Fork - in Ohio's largest state park located in southeastern Ohio.
- Shawnee - on the northern banks of the Ohio River.
Amish - Ohio is home to one of the largest Amish communities located in Holmes County About 60 miles south of Cleveland, and 60 miles North of Columbus. The Amish is a religious group that traditionally refuses to use modern conveniences like electricity and the automobile. They also dress modestly in dark colored clothing and bonets and rimed hats. You'll see Amish in this part of Ohio riding in their horse drawn buggies. Many Amish themed shops and restaurants cater to tourists.
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