Monday, September 26, 2016

BrewBoat Cleveland Photo Blog

Who: You and a party of up to 14 friends!
What: Part bike, part boat, and part bar: The BrewBoat Cleveland
When: May-October
Where: On the Cuyahoga River through the Cleveland Flats
Why: To enjoy some drinks with friends in a totally unique way!
How: Book a cruise before the time slots fill up!

Photos by OHventures

Saturday, September 17, 2016

5 Top Natural Spots in Ohio for Journaling

The following is a post written especially for OHventures by freelance tourism writer Susie Dent!

It doesn’t involve following a map to hunt down a Pokemon, and it doesn’t require an Oculus Rift headset, smartphone, or tablet. It’s called journaling and it’s the newest buzz among those wishing to be more organised, jot down their emotions, thoughts and experiences, and de-stress after a hard day. If you are visiting Ohio and you are a nature lover, these top spots are perfect for journaling in the midst of some of the most majestically beautiful areas Ohio has to dazzle you with!

1. Corkscrew Falls in Hocking Hills: There is something about the sound of flowing water that is conducive to expression and creativity, but Corkscrew Falls will also blow you away with its pristine beauty. A gentle waterfall is flanked by imposing rock formations covered in emerald green moss and the sensation is akin to having walked into a fairy tale. Hocking Hills comprises many gorges, rock shelters and cliffs, so there are countless areas to excite and inspire. Time spent in nature is said to reduce our stress levels and enhance our cognitive abilities, so this spot will undoubtedly help you pen some memorable pages.

Photo by Toledo Blade

2. The Lighthouse in Marblehead State Park: This romantic lighthouse is one of Lake Erie’s most photographed monuments and it is not hard to see why; it has stood proudly since 1822 and it is surrounded by gorgeous grassy areas that make perfect picnic grounds that are serene enough to get some writing done. The lighthouse has a rich history that merits discovery. Of its 15 keepers, two were actually women; they carefully lit the 13 oil lamps that provided all the light emitted by the beacon to guide countless sailors home. If you are into creative writing, you might make it a point to pen a short story or poem with this beacon as a protagonist; its beauty has certainly provided inspiration for historiographers and creative writers alike.

3. Oakes Quarry Park: Those who are into bird watching will love writing down the different bird species they encounter at Quarry Park. The park, riddles with cliffs, soft grassy spots and lakeside views, is another very tranquil spot to describe in writing. Other wildlife you may encounter at the park include the red fox, raccoon, and white-tailed deer. The park is home to numerous foot trails that lead to ancient limestone fossils. Recently, an impressive 8,000 trees were planted as part of the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund’s reforestation project so avail of their welcoming shade while you jot your thoughts down.

Photo by

4. Headlands Beach: Many writers claim that no natural setting sends their creative juices flowing quite as much as the sea. From time in memoriam, human beings have been mad about water and indeed, the sea helps instil the sense of mindfulness (‘being in the here and now’) which is so conducive to good writing. Headlands’ mile-long natural beach is the longest in the state and in addition to being an ideal spot for writing down your travel experiences, it is also perfect for swimming, picnicking or walking along trails. There are two trails to choose from: Buckeye Trail (1.5 miles long) and Fishing Trail (Just 0.4 miles in length). In the winter time, visitors enjoy activities such as sledding and cross-country skiing.

Photo by OHventures

5. King Crystal Caverns: Those who love to write while feeling embraced by natural wonders should head for King Crystal Caverns, formed thousands of years ago by an underground river that made its way peacefully through the limestone, causing the formation of vast passageways and other gorgeous formations. The caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites in a plethora of shapes and sizes. Although the exact age of the caverns are unknown, the Columbus Grey Limestone in which the caverns are carved are estimated to date back an impressive 400 million years. The most ancient crystal found on site is around 250,000 years old. The caverns are known for their incredible color, which range from brown to orange, red and even blue. The formations often look like ribbons blowing gracefully in the wind, making the caverns another oft photographed wonder.

Pedal & Party With BrewBoat Cleveland

Photos by OHventures

Part bike, part boat, and part bar, the BrewBoat in Cleveland is a one-of-a-kind experience that will guarantee to be a hit for you and your adventure-and-beer-loving friends.When trying to find a perfect birthday gift for some family members who "have it all," I decided to get creative and book a reservation aboard the BrewBoat!

This is Ohio's first and only pedal-powered paddle-wheel party boat, which launched Memorial Day weekend of this year. The boat is 31-feet long with 10 seats for pedalers and four additional seats for passengers who opt to not pedal (we took turns, so no one felt left out). Yes, the boat is human-powered, which means you get a bit of a workout mixed in while you drink. It's like the Pedal Wagons of Columbus and Cincinnati, but on water instead of on the streets!

I reserved 10 seats for our 2-hour cruise this August (the other 4 were already booked, so we would be on board with a few new friends). Each ticket was $35 plus tax, and the trip required you to BYOB. When you arrive at the launch site, located on Whiskey Island in the heart of Cleveland, you are able to purchase cold brews at the convenience store found at the dock.

Most of us brought our own favorite beers from home (each person is permitted to bring no more than 36 oz. or beer, or 18 oz. of wine for themselves). There are convenience coolers of ice located right in the middle of the bar, so you can keep your drinks chilled and readily available during your excursion (no need to bring your own coolers).

Our group consisted of myself, my brother and his wife, my parents, my aunt, and my friends Zac, Kyla, Ben, and Emily. As mentioned, we were joined by 4 other folks who booked at the same time as us. Also on board was the Captain (Katie), and a driver, both of whom were extremely fun and personable. 

We disembarked from the marina at 5 PM and pedaled down the Cuyagoga River. As we pedaled, we were able to gawk at the gorgeous Cleveland skyline against the bright blue skies, and take in the sights of the revitalized riverfronts of the Cleveland Flats. We floated by notable hot spots, such as the Nautica Pavilion, the Music Box Supper Club, Alley Cat Oyster Bar, and more. We shared the waterway with kayakers, jet skiiers, paddle boarders,, and other seafaring folks out enjoying the fantastic weather and exciting scenery. There was so much to see and to soak in on our cruise!

At one point, the driver challenged us to try and work together to pedal as fast as we could in order to beat the record speed. After pedaling and pedaling, we ultimately did not come close to setting a new record, but we had a blast trying! It was also a blast plugging our iPods in and choosing the music we listened to along the way. It was a nice added feature. One downside, however, is that there is no bathroom on board the boat (which doesn't take long to figure out). So, it is a good thing that the ride is not much longer than 2 hours, and that we had a cap on how many drinks we could bring with us. 

Food is also allowed on board (anything from snacks to pizzas to cold cuts!), however, we were planning to eat dinner at one of the restaurants in the Flats after the ride, so we did not have any food on board with us.

All in all, our experience on the BrewBoat CLE was extremely positive. We are glad to have had the chance to book a ride, since slots fill up fast! The season ends on October 1, but they are already taking reservations for 2017. Captain Katie told me that while they currently have just one boat, it is their hope to soon have more boats in order to meet the demands of the public. Until then, make sure to make a reservation far in advance to ensure you get the time you want. The BrewBoat is perfect for bachelor or bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations (like ours), or just an excuse to get together and enjoy the beauty of the Cuyahoga River and downtown Cleveland in a fresh, new way!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lake Milton State Park

Photos by OHventures

Lake Milton State Park
16801 Mahoning Avenue
Lake Milton, OH 44429
(330) 654-4989

I've driven both eastbound and westbound on I-76 countless times over the past 15 years, always gazing at the beautiful crystal clear waters of Lake Milton, on the edge of Mahoning and Portage Counties. There is rarely a time I drive by in the spring or summer that the lake is not peppered with dozens - if not, hundreds - of outdoor enthusiasts

Most of the people I see at Lake Milton State Park are actually ON the water. The lake (truly, a reservoir, impounded by a dam in 1913), is the clear centerpiece of the park, sizing up at 1,685 acres. Unlimited horsepower is permitted on the lake, so it is not uncommon to see motorboats whizzing by, toting water skiers, wake boarders, and the like. 

Fishing is also a favorite at Lake Milton, with a large variety of fish found in the waters: walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch, white bass and muskellung.

Since I decided to stop on a whim one blazing hot August day without a boat or fishing gear, I opted to enjoy the shores of Lake Milton. With my dog in tote (always a plus when a park is dog friendly), we walked along the edge of the water, interacting with other dogs, and soaking in the scenery (I particularly like the small black and white lighthouse found at one of the picnic areas). There is a designated swimming area (where dogs are NOT allowed), but alas I didn't have a swimsuit. The best I could do is dip my feet in (next time, I will come prepared).

There are plenty of picnic tables, pavilions, and a gazebo that can be used for parties or just for sitting and relaxing (learn about making shelter reservations here).

There's a 1.25 mile easy nature trail located by the park office (at the address listed above). Additionally, you can hunt in designated areas, or enjoy the basketball and volleyball courts. In the winter, ice fishing, snow mobiling, and cross country skiing are popular. 

Looks like a new trip to Lake Milton State Park will certainly be in my future very soon.