Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jeni's Ice Creams

Jeni's Ice Creams
59 Spruce St
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 228-9960

Whoever "Jeni" is, she must be rolling in the dough.

Jeni's Ice Creams is a goldmine. There is constantly a line out the door no matter what hour of the day or what time of the year (the beauty is Jeni's is open in the winter and late night)!

The long line (which is totally worth it by the way) could be sped up a bit, but the employees graciously encourage you to try any and every flavor you want with a free baby spoon sized sample! The flavors of ice cream are so unique that you can't NOT try most of them.

The signature flavors you can't pass up are Salty Caramel (I gather it to be the most popular...a perfect mix of sweet and salty), Queen City Cayenne (intriguing with a spicy kick to it that sticks with you), and The Buckeye State (if you're a true Ohioan - er, Buckeye - you'll induldge in this peanut butter and chocolate pasttime). And if you're in the mood for sorbet, you owe it to yourself to try Cherry Lambic, which is made with real alcohol! ;-)

Biking Is Therapeutic

I am no biking expert. I don't have the right equipment, the right clothes, the right etiquette, the right anything really. A huge part of OHventures is to encourage average, everyday people to get out and be active. Don't let the fancy bike riders out there get in your way of hopping on a bike and going for a leisurely ride through town. Do remember, though, to get a helmet at the very least.

Stop making excuses, find a bike somewhere - anywhere - and hit up the trails in Ohio!

A couple of years ago I received an old bike from a friend. It had no tires, and was about to be taken to Good Will. Even though it looked pretty decrepid, it couldn't have come at a better time. Unbeknownst to me, this bike became an amazing gift. With new tires thrown on, and the help of a friend to deliver it to me, I had in my hands a simple yet energizing gem.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day Service Speech

 The following is a speech I gave on Memorial Day in 2003 at town square in my hometown. I uncovered it to put on my blog to pay respect on Memorial Day, as the message resonates year after year.

Good morning. Earlier this month, I took a trip to New York City along with approximately 50 of my peers. One of the most surreal experiences for myself on the trip and probably over the course of my entire life was witnessing the vast, dismal nothingness where the World Trade Center stood less than two years ago. Most everyone stopped in their tracks to peer through the fence and reflect on their lives, all while attempting to piece together the horrid events that took place at that very spot in which they were standing.

It was in all honesty an extremely difficult task to comprehend these events. In just hours, thousands of people died for our country. And this very day is set aside for people of their stature, who have died for our country in times of war. We are to memorialize those who have stood proudly for America, not in vain, but out of passion and dignity.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring On A Budget

Gas prices are sky high. You can't travel throughout the state like I keep telling you to. But you still want to be active? Here are 10 "Spring on a Budget" activities to get you started until these pesky fuel prices settle back down again.

1. Go for a Hike: As I defined hiking in my previous entry on hiking, "we walk because we have to, but we hike because we want to." Hiking doesn't just have to be in Hocking Hills, as we wrote about. There are 75 State Parks scattered throughout Ohio, and hundreds of Metroparks. And if you can't get to any of those, just make up your own "urban hike" around your neighborhood! Hiking is a fantastic and FREE OHventure you can do anytime of the year, especially in the Spring when everything is blooming and getting green again!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 Great Ohio Bike Trails

1. Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route: The video above from our pals at Discover Ohio and the Ohio News Network speaks for itself when it comes to the Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route in Lorain County. Riding along the shores of Lake Erie makes this one of the most scenic and interesting bike paths in the state. The path starts in Vermillion at Mill Hollow Park and heads east 22.5 miles to Avon Lake. It is part of the greater biking site, the Lake Erie Coastal Bike Trail (a mammoth path that contains over 300 miles of multi-purpose trails).

Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route offers a much less intimidating route than the Lake Erie Coastal Bike Trail as a whole. It is perfect for visiting wineries and the quaint Northern Ohio towns such as Oberlin, Sheffield Lake, and Avon.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bike To Work Challenge

Albeit a mostly rainy and dreary week (and past 3 months) here in Columbus and central Ohio, many dedicated bicyclists are hitting the road to take part in the Central Ohio Bike to Work Challenge. I will admit that I am not one of those uberbicyclists and therefore I did wait out the rain before participating. But, I participated nonetheless!

I joined my work's "team" which sadly only consists of 11 people (there are about 1,000 employees). Due to very long commutes I imagine some of my coworkers have I will give them a pass. I live about 2 miles from work, which is about a 30 minute bike ride. Not too shabby. I swear that sometimes in the past, when riding my bike to or especially from work, it was a much shorter commute than when I drove. Pretty intense, but true. Biking brings up my spirits for so many reasons.

We all know that biking to work reduces your carbon footprint, however, I will be upfront in saying that that is not at all the motivation I have to participate in the Bike to Work Challenge. It sounds shallow, but I am just being honest. Of course I want what's best for our environment, but the following are the more motivating reasons I have participated:

1. Biking puts me in a good mindframe. It clears my mind and lifts my spirits. It transports me back to my childhood and is a great anti-depressant for me!

2) Biking is a good workout. If you know me, you know I love fitness. Biking allows me to get my cardio and work out my legs (my most dreaded body group to work on in the gym) all while getting me to work! Exercise gets me going and ready to tackle the day!

3) Biking saves me money. Not only are gas prices through the roof, but often times, working downtown often requires that one pays for a parking spot each day (or pay for a ride on the bus). By biking to work, I do not have to pay to park in the City Center garage. Plus, I save a few cents on gas!

4) Biking gets me outdoors. I have a job where I am tucked away in an office and don't get to see the light of day much. Biking gets me out with fresh air and natural sunlight...two things I don't get enough of!

So there you have it. These are reasons I chose to participate this week, and on many days throughout the spring, summer and fall. During those seasons I usually ride to work at least once a week. I encourage you to do the same. You can visit the following link to learn about the Bike to Work Challenge and resources on how to get started riding in the big city.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where To Parasail in Ohio

Memorial Day is right around the corner, which means it's time for you to plan your parasailing trip in Ohio! A lot of people are not aware of the opportunities that lay within Ohio for this unique activity, but below are two locations that exist where you can parasail  & mark it off of your bucket list! And while you're at it, be sure to read about the time I went parasailing!

North Coast Parasail and Water Sports
1 Cedar Point Dr.
Sandusky, OH 44870
(419) 627-2279

Put-In-Bay Parasail
Downtown Put-In-Bay Boardwalk
South Bass Island, Ohio 43456
(419) 285-3703
$75/person, $20 for a photo disc

Keep in mind that a very similar extreme activity, paragliding, also exists. This is the on-land equivalent of parasailing. We will be sure to post updates with how you can paraglide if parasailing is too far for you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Brothers Drake Meadery

Ohio's one and only meadery is Brothers Drake Meadery in Columbus.

It being National Wine Month (and unofficially Wine Week on OHventures), I was tempted to stop by the newly established Brothers Drake Meadery located just a few short minutes away from my home in Columbus, essentially on the corner of 5th Avenue and High Street. While OHventures tries to cover the entire state, and not just my homestead of Columbus, Brothers Drake Meadery was an absolute must, being that there are virtually NO other meaderies located in the state of Ohio! While the "Brothers Drake" (Woody and Eric, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with on my visit) have been producing mead in Ohio since 2004, it wasn't until a few short months ago that they opened the meadery to the public for tastings, tours, and what has become a regular hangout for some.

Come Parasail Away!

Me with my friend Anna parasailing in 2008.

Parasailing: It's the happy medium between the ultra-extreme skydiving and the ultra-lowkey sailing. It's getting towed behind a motorboat while attached to a long cord and hanging from a specialized parachute. It's really an exhilerating activity that's both low risk and relatively low cost.

On a clear day, when winds are calm enough (yet not too calm), parasailing companies operate all over the world, including on Lake Erie. Some offer just one person, but more powerful boats can offer rides for two or three people. Going with someone makes the ride all the more fun, so you have someone to talk to while you're up there in the air.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wine Tasting Photo Blog

Who: You and your friends who are 21 & up!
What: Wine Tasting
When: Any time of the year, day or night!
Where: 100+ spots in Ohio, including our 5 favorites
Why: Tasty, relaxing, and picturesque!

Wines at Camelot Cellars in Columbus

Monday, May 9, 2011

Top 5 Wine Spots in Ohio

Did you know that there are over 100 different wineries in Ohio?!

It may be hard to believe, but it is true! I by no means am a big enough wino to have traveled to even a fraction of these spots. However, I have been to a good amount of pretty awesome wine spots along the way, and I have compiled a handy-dandy list of my recommendations. By no means are the following businesses paying me to do this...I just truly believe these are some great joints! Please feel free to comment with your favorite spots!

The Wine Garden at Heineman's Winery on Put-In-Bay. (Photo Credit)

1. Heineman's Winery & Crystal Cave, Put-In-Bay: This has got to be my favorite winery I have been to in Ohio. It's not by any means fancy like those I've been to in Napa Valley, California or other parts of Ohio. It reminds me of a tiny home in the suburbs with a backyard full of picnic tables. It's very quaint, very cheap and very "Ohio." Yet despite that, it also has some of the best wine around. This is due to Put-In-Bay's rich island soil that helps grow some of the highest quality grapes in the state. Daily tours are offered 11AM - 5PM daily in which you get complimentary samples of wine. The Pink Catawba is one of the most popular wines. I suggest you get a bottle of that and some of the others to stock up on, since getting to Put-In-Bay is not the easiest of trips.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wine Tasting in Ohio?!

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery in Geneva, OH in Ashtabula County.
Photo by OHventures.

 May is National Wine Month!

Wine has a long, rich history dating back to the ancient Greek and Roman times in 4500 BC with our favorite party animals Dionysus and Bacchus, respectively. Okay, so I had to do a little bit of Wikipedia-ing just to confirm these facts...let's just say wine has been around for a long-ass time. And, if it has been able to survive thousands of years and make its way to almost every corner of the Earth...including our lil' ol' state of Ohio...then, it must have a lot of street cred and worth trying!

Where To Hike in Hocking Hills

Since hiking will be a very common feature on OHventures, our "Where To" will grow as we cover more areas. For now, you can see the map for Hocking Hills State Park, with a list of the different trails below:

Hocking Hills State Park (office)
19852 State Route 664 S
Logan, Ohio 43138

Ash Cave
From Logan  - Take State Route 93 south to State Route 56
0.5 Miles, 40-45 Minutes, Rugged

Cedar Falls
From Logan  - Take State Route 664 to State Route 374
0.5 Miles, 40 Minutes, Rugged, One of Largest Falls in Hocking Hills

Old Man's Cave
From Logan - Take 664 South 12 miles to park
1 Mile, 1 Hour, Connected to Ash Cave & Cedar Falls on 6 Mile Trail

Cantwell Cliffs
From Logan - Take State Route 33 north toward Lancaster and then to SR 374
1 Mile, 1-1.5 Hours (Not hiked by OHventures)

Rock House
From Logan - Take State Route 374 past Old Man's Cave
0.5 Miles, 30-45 Minutes (Not Hiked by OHventures)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hiking Essentials

Ready to get out and go hiking in Hocking Hills or any other of Ohio's great paths? Before you do, check below to make sure you have these essential items. They are loosely based on the Ten Essentials, which were created in the 1930s by hiking club The Mountaineers. Be mindful that the list we provide below is for rather leisurely and beginner trails that are not meant to be overnight trips.

1. Walking Stick: One of my all time favorite items I own is the hand carved walking stick my dad made for me. It means so much to me because my father spent so much time and attention on it PLUS it is really useful. Some people don't realize, but walking sticks are extremely effective! When hiking, a walking stick can provide extra leverage, disperse your weight, keep your balance, limit strain and energy depletion, check for depth of water or mud, and, in rare cases, serve as a weapon!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ohio Statehouse

The Ohio Statehouse is commonly known as "The People's House," so you owe it to yourself to make a trip!

I do a lot of work in this building, and have for 4 years, so I sometimes get desensitized by its beauty. But let it be known, The Ohio Statehouse is absolutely gorgeous and was named as one of THE best Statehouses in the country, and I can tell you why!