Above: Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park. Photo by OHventures.
Hocking Hills State Park (office)
19852 State Route 664 S
Logan, Ohio 43138
Hiking is the most primitive of all adventures. It plucks you from the everyday hustle and bustle of city and suburban life. The sea of concrete, the skyscraper jungle and the sounds of honking horns are replaced with flowing rivers, forests of greenery and the sounds of birds and other animals in nature. It's a breath of fresh air - both literally and figuratively - to get out and hike. And while there are many different types of hikes with different levels of difficulty and different scenery, the crown jewel of hiking in Ohio belongs to Hocking Hills State Park located in the Southeastern Ohio city of Logan in Hocking County.
Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders (Brass In Pocket, I'll Stand By You), hails from the great state of Ohio in the city of Akron. She even wrote a song referencing the city titled My City Was Gone. Her song Break Up The Concrete also pays tribute to Akron, and is the background music to this video montage she produced promoting the attractions and hot spots of the city.
Take a look at the film and mark down some of the locations she visits to make your "Day in Akron."
My personal Quick-List of The Top 9 Places To Check Out When Visiting Akron is listed below (some are not featured in the video above). Be on the lookout for more posts dedicated to Akron and focused on how to plan the perfect trip to the city (eventually, we may follow Chrissie on her exact route).
If you finally have built up the courage to go skydiving, there are a number of places in Ohio you can go to do it. I do not officially endorse any of the following locations, so be sure to read up on each one and do your homework. Take into consideration the price, testimonies and reputation of each skydiving location. In my personal experience skydiving, I went with a friend who had gone 80-plus times, so I trusted her assessment on the company.
Many people ask about the classes and courses you might have to take. If you are jumping tandem, like I did, then the instructions are minimal and same-day. Read up on each company to see how it all works. Keep in mind there is a weight limit (usually of about 240 lbs) and restrictions if you have heart conditions or are pregnant.
I love novelty restaurants, and Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace is the epitome of novelty. It's not a tacky kind of novelty, but a breath of fresh air to the downtown Columbus scene. It's located on 4th Avenue, where most other storefronts are vacant or dingy. Dirty Frank's boasts a bright yellow awning that begs you to come inside. It gives the area hope for a new vibrant nightlife (hey, it is open until 2AM, after all).
Skydiving: You've always thought about it. You've been dying to do it. It's on your bucket list. So why haven't you done it yet?! It's natural to have apprehensions about skydiving, so here are just a few tips that will make your experience so much better, and hopefully help you make the right decision!
1. TANDEM, TANDEM, TANDEM! If you have any sort of hesitation about trying skydiving, remember you don't have to jump out alone! Tandem skydiving is available for all first-time jumpers and helps immensely in giving you peace of mind that everything will be okay. Having an experienced jumper attached to your back allows you to sit back and enjoy the ride while he or she does all the work. Remember: the skydiving instructor wants to live just as much as you do!
When I was a little kid, I was extremely afraid of heights. Extremely. Deathly. I can remember being on top of the CN Tower in Toronto with my family and being afraid even at the fact that my brothers were too close to the edge. I remember being at an amusement park refusing to get on board any sort of roller coaster. Yet, somehow, my arm was twisted enough to get me on the park's Ferris Wheel where there were undoubtedly white knuckles the entire way around. I don't know what it was that filled me with so much fear when it came to heights. Perhaps it was simply being lifted high in the air, and therefore being lifted away from security and the comfort of being on safe, solid ground.
The possibilities of where to canoe in Ohio are plentiful. I can only attest to the following 2 locations from personal experience:
First, pictured above is a picture from a 2004 canoe trip to Walborn Resovoir Marina inAlliance. This type of canoeing is for the novice who wants a more relaxing experience. You rent a canoe and pay by the hour to navigate freely around an open body of water.
Hubbard, Ohio is a small city located near Youngstown and just minutes from the Pennsylvania border. It can boast of 5 golf courses and 15 bars which cater to just over 8,000 residents. A bit excessive, I will admit, but it's a fun town that I am proud to hail from.
Being right off of Interstate 80, and the last exit before heading into Pennsylvania (or first heading in Ohio), Hubbard is a pit-stop for many travelers and truck drivers alike. There is not one, not two, but three truck stops which are both eclectic and touristy. But if you take the time to travel further off the exit, there is much more to be seen beyond the truck stops.
Never underestimate the power of Mother Nature. She can provide more entertainment, adventure and excitement than any video game, television show, or toy store combined. She can also take you for unexpected twists and turns to remind you just how powerful she really is. She is an undeniable force and it's my ongoing goal in life to have a better relationship with her.
I'm a pretty outdoorsy guy. By that, I mean that I enjoy being outdoors, soaking in the sunlight, exploring nature and smelling the fresh open air. I don't consider myself a Bear Grylls-type (although he is one of my absolute idols) or even someone that could last all that long without a toothbrush on "Survivor" (although I'd jump on the opportunity to be on that show)! The "outdoorsy" in me is my semi-athleticism and sense of adventure.
If you plan on embarking on a great OHventure, you will likely find yourself using the great highway system Ohio boasts. Thankfully, getting around the state is rather easy, thanks to the fact that Ohio has the 4th largest interstate system with 6,700 lane miles!
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) provides many useful tools for travelers that I highly suggest you utilize when taking an OHventure.
Here are the top 3 tools ODOT offers:
1. Buckeye Traffic (click here): Pictured above, Buckeye Traffic provides travelers with real-time up-to-date traffic conditions across the state. The site has a number of options that can show current statistics regarding traffic speed, construction projects, weather conditions, road closures, and other road conditions (flooding, accidents, etc.). This is my go-to site in the winter when I need to know which roads have been plowed, and in the summer when construction is at its peak. State-of-the-art technologies including road sensors and live cameras make this site possible.
2. Interstate Exit Guide (click here): These handy .PDF documents list all restaurants, lodging, gas stations, etc. that exist nearby at each exit in the state. These are the things you'd see on the green signs before each exit while driving. This tool allows you to plan ahead. I have it printed out and always keep it in my glove compartment.
3. Know Before You Go: If you are a Twitter user (and why shouldn't you be?) then I highly recommend following all of the ODOT Twitter feeds. There are six feeds to follow, based on the major metropolitan and geographical areas in the state: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. Hopefully we will soon see Canton and Youngstown in the mix.
Keep these sites in your favorites and you're ready to hit the road!
When you think of an adventurous lifestyle, states like Colorado or California may initially pop into your head. But why not Ohio?! There is much more to our state than just football and amusement parks, and my goal is to delve deep and fill you in on all of the hidden (and not so hidden) gems that lay within the Buckeye state.
Other travel sites out there are either geared toward kid- and family-friendly outings, or trips to Amish country that will undoubtedly make you yawn. I refuse to settle with that, which is why I decided to create OHventures.
OHventures (a portmonteau of "Ohio" and "adventures" of course) will reveal the true thrills you can experience everywhere from Cincinnati to Marietta, Cleveland to Sandusky. No area of the state will be left behind. Following this blog will ensure that you are NEVER bored. That's my guarantee.
I am not an expert in the tourism industry. I am a young professional who has a thirst for everything fun and exciting. OHventures is my hobby, and is an outlet to express my passion for travel within the state.
The site will feature posts from me (as well as my friends and contacts) that will generally fit into one or more of the following categories:
Hiking, biking, canoeing, skiing, canoeing, rock climbing, and yes, even SKYDIVING are just some of many, many items you can scratch off of your Buckeye Bucket List!
And forget about McDonald's, Olive Garden and Dairy Queen. You deserve better. Ohio has amazing restaurants in every nook and cranny. How about Tony Packo's in Toledo, Vegiterranean in Akron, or The Youngstown Crab Company? OHventures will show you where the good eats are. Because, after all, our lives revolve around food!
We will touch on wineries, museums (those worthwhile of course), bars, parks, and oddities that you owe it to yourself to visit. Think places like The Candle Lab in Columbus, the famed Reformatory in Mansfield, and Ozone Zipline Adventures in Lebanon.
I'll also be offering my own personal travelogue entries, random thoughts, and fun and games to the site.
Throw your preconceived notions about Ohio out the window! Get out of your comfort zone and buck up for the time of your life.
While much of this probably goes without being said, I can't in good faith send you on the roads without a handy dandy list of essential items to have with you in the car on your drive through the Buckeye state!
1. Maps/Atlas:Since we live in a rather rural state, their are many "dead zones" that could leave you stranded if relying solely on a GPS system, especially if it is on a cell phone. Nothing beats good ol' fashioned maps! And you can get maps for free at various locations, including Ohio Department of Transportation's Map Request site.
2. Blanket: Throw a blanket in your trunk so you can throw it down for an impromptu picnic on the beaches of Lake Erie, or throw it on you for an unexpectedly cold night in the park. Mine is homemade from my friend Julia, and has come in handy quite often.
3. Jumper Cables: This is one of the number one items any car owner should have in case of an emergency. Learn how to properly use them in case your car battery should ever die. Study up on jumper cables at this eHow page.
4. Mad Libs: No matter what age you are, there is no denying that this classic word game can provide hours of fun and help the time pass on long car rides! You can find them cheap ($4 at Target or Barnes & Noble) or print some off for free at this Squidoo site.
5. First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is something we hope you don't have to use oftne (if at all) but it is a very smart thing to have for anything from small cuts and scrapes, to headaches or sprained ankles. They can be found at most convenience stores such as CVS or Rite Aid ranging from $10-$25. You could also create your own by taking an old tackle box or Ziploc bag and adding items like bandages, Neosporin, tweezers, and aspirin. Red Cross gives an extensive list of items to include here.
6. Frisbees: Obviously, you won't be missing all too much if you fail to have some frisbees on hand, but this is just a simple example of the types of "toys" to have on hand for your outdoor travels. Other suggestions are golf clubs, volleyballs, workout mats, or a kite.
7. Mixed CDs: The definitive must-have item for any road trip, mixed CDs (or cassettes if you are still chugging along in a car that doesn't play CDs...) provide sing-alongs and a good time for all passengers. Perhaps create a mix with Ohio-themed songs like "Cleveland Rocks," Bruce Springsteen's "Youngstown," and "Hang on Sloopy"!
8. Gas Can: For obvious reasons, you'd want to keep a gasoline can (empty of course) in your trunk in case of that distressing instance you might embarassingly run out of gas! It's happened to me before, but I don't want to talk about it :-).
9. Umbrella: Also for obvious reasons, you don't want to be caught in the rain. There is no such thing as a guaranteed sunny day in our soggy state of Ohio. Invest in a good umbrella and leave it in your car to avoid getting rained on!
10. Sunscreen: On the flip side, the sun can be deceiving in our state. So what may seem like a cloudy or snowy day can still mean enough sunlight to damage your skin! Visit the Skin Cancer Foundation to determine what sunscreen is best for your personal skin type.
11. Life Hammer: Years ago I received a Christmas gift from my Uncle Ray I found to be rather morbid. It is called a Life Hammer and is designed so you can bust open your car window in the event you go flying into a lake and need a quick getaway (for instance). I know, I know...scary sick thoughts. But as I know from losing family and friends in car accidents, I must say, it is better to be safe than sorry.
12. Tire Gauge: Ensuring that your tires are at the proper PSI is essential but often overlooked. Keeping the right amount of air in your tires can prevent flat tires and increase the miles per gallon your car gets! Our friends at eHow again explain how to check your pressure with a handheld tire gauge here.
13. Travel Journal: For me, this is not optional. Keep a pen and pad of paper (or better yet a leather bound journal of some sort) with you on every adventure so you can mark down all the fun moments you and your friends share on each of your trips. It may sound cheesy, but you'll be happy you had it years down the road!
OTHER ITEMS NOT PICTURED IN PHOTO ABOVE: car jack, cooler full of water and non-perishable snacks, motor oil, antifreeze, ice scraper (in winter), spare tire, cell phone charger, swiss army knife, flares.
Photo courtesy of OHventures. Yes, I really keep those things in my car...and you should too! What am I missing? Let me know!