Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Boating on Portage Lakes

Photo by OHventures

Portage Lakes State Park
5031 Manchester Road
Akron, Ohio 44319

Traditions are part of what make life so meaningful. Traditions give us both something to look back on and something to look forward to at the same time. They link us spiritually and physically together with people in our lives who are most important to us. No matter if traditions are daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly, they remain strong in our hearts and minds and, if taken seriously, are not optional, but rather necessary!

One of my favorite yearly traditions was started 3 years ago with some great friends of mine that live on Portage Lakes in Summit County. Every July, we find a weekend in which we all get together and go boating. We have a hearty breakfast, slather on sunscreen, pack the boat full of awesome summer foods like fruit salad and pasta salad, and head out onto the beautiful Portage Lakes. This includes 8 lakes that encompass over 2,000 acres!

We stop the boat in swim zones to hop out and cool down; we clench ourselves onto an innertube and go tubing in designated speed zones, watch the boat parade, gaze at the fireworks, and gawk at the majestic houses that line the lake. But most importantly, and most fun of all, we lay back and soak up each other's company; we soak up the sun, and we soak up the tradition.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kayaking Photo Blog

Who: You (and a partner if in a double kayak)
What: Kayaking
Where: See the Canoeing Locations in Ohio
When: Spring & Summer
Why: Improving upper body strength, refreshing, and challenging

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Franklin Park Conservatory

Photo by OHventures

Franklin Park Conservatory
1777 E. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43203
(614) 645-8733

Forget about lawn gnomes and tacky plastic flamingoes. The Franklin Park Conservatory added a whole new breed of garden ornaments to their greenhouse. Amidst trees and cacti lies a garden of glass. Towering to the ceiling, vibrant hand-blown glass in the shapes of plants and flowers are integrated with their real-life counterparts.

People from the beginning of gardening have always been interested in putting artwork in their gardens. This ranges from stone statues in the days of ancient Greece to today's residential backyards.

The Franklin Park Conservatory has taken this classical idea and pushed the envelope by putting artwork in a conventional botanical greenhouse.

The Conservatory, located at 1777 E. Broad Street, added Dale Chihuly's "Fiori" collection in 2006 and it has truly transformed the building, giving it a fresh and fun feel.

At the start of a tour of the Conservatory, visitors enter the Hot Shop, which is a room dedicated to explaining the process of glass blowing. On the wall are seven steps to the process that are demonstrated once a month during special programs at the Conservatory. During these programs, the floor is covered in graffiti, and examples of hand-blown glass are exhibited.

Melt Bar & Grilled

Photo by OHventures

Melt Bar & Grilled - West
14718 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 226-3699

Melt Bar & Grilled - East
13463 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 965-0988

I'll stop the world and Melt with you!

I admit, it was a bit cheesy to start this post about Cleveland's grilled cheese sensation "Melt Bar & Grilled" with a line from that tubular 80's song. And it was even more cheesy for me to describe it as "cheesy." But everyone loves cheese! Which is what makes "Melt" such a smashing (seemingly overnight) success! Melt has taken our favorite childhood food staple and revoluntionized it! What used to be nothing more than two pieces of Wonderbread, a slice of Kraft Singles American cheese, and a side some Campbell's tomato soup has now become an artform with dozens and dozens of creative, wacky and delicious fixings.

Melt is constantly packed. Your wait at any given time is surely a minimum of an hour. That's if you're lucky. I have attempted to go to Melt with a group of 8 and was slapped with a whopping 3 hour wait. I've heard horror stories of people waiting up to 5 hours to hook their tastebuds up with gooey goodness. But, to them, it's anything but a horror story. These folks clamor that the wait is 100% worth it. Not everyone has that kind of time on their hands (me included), and so heading to Melt takes some preparation. Just make sure you have a couple of hours carved out of your day and you should be set. The smaller your group, the more likely you'll get in quicker. My successful trip to Melt was with a group of 4 and we were able to snag some stools at the bar after just a few minutes of waiting! This was a win/win situation, because I feel eating at the bar is even more fun than at a table!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Boating Photo Blog

Who: You, a licensed boat operator, and several close friends
What: Boating
Where:These photos taken at Portage Lakes in Summit County. See ODNR's Ohio Boat Access Points
When: From Memorial Day - Labor Day
Why: Soaking up the sun, cooling off, and fulfilling your need for speed!
How: Make sure you or a friend have followed all of Ohio's regulations for registering a boat!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day Trip to Dayton

Dayton doesn't get the attention deserves, as it is so close to two titan Ohio cities of Columbus and Cincinnati. In fact, Dayton is approximately right between Cincinnati (I-75 N to I-675 N) and Columbus (I-70 W to I-675 S). But it certainly has a lot to offer and is worth setting aside a day to explore! It is a titan city in its own right, being the 6th largest in Ohio and the county seat of Montgomery County. The Miami River runs through Dayton and it is home to a major airport and two large universities, University of Dayton and Wright State University. It also is famously home to the Wright Brothers, who were the first to successfully fly an aircraft and appear on the Ohio state quarter for making Ohio the "Birthplace of Aviation."

I have been to Dayton only once before, and have driven through en route to Chicago. When there, I had not done the proper research to see what there was to do and see. Since being there, however, I have learned a great deal about places such as The Wright Patterson Airforce Base (listed below) that Dayton is home to, and I am looking forward to going back! So I put my good Twitter (and Words With Friends) buddy Leah Moon up to the task of helping to plan my upcoming trip, which will hopefully inspire other OHventurers to take a Day Trip to Dayton!

Mine & Leah's Quick-List of The Top 9 Places To Check Out When Visiting Dayton is listed below!

1. Carillon Park (1000 Carillon Boulevard): This is a gorgeous park complete with its own restaurant and a giant field, good for a picnic or throwing the football around. They’re also undergoing a lot of construction to provide even more amenities for visitors. It is also recognized as a National Historic Landmark since the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world's first practical airplane, is situated in the park. There is also a scenic passenger rail available to the public at certain times.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Park of Roses

Whetstone Park of Roses

3923 N High St
Columbus, OH 43214

The Whetstone Park of Roses has got to be THE best place to take someone you love. It is a very romantic location, even if you aren't all that romantic. It's so tranquil and picturesque, you forget you're in the state capitol! We are pretty lucky to have this place in Columbus. (Can you tell I like this place??)

The first couple of times I went to the Whetstone Park of Roses, I didn't get to see the roses! This is because I did not do my research and therefore did not know where in this MASSIVE park the roses actually were (plus, I was just riding on the bike trail, which is not quite near the rose garden). Once I finally saw where the roses were, my jaw dropped! I couldn't believe how beautiful this park was and what I had been missing!

When you arrive at the Whetstone Park of Roses, you will see a fishing pond, soccer fields, a portion of the Olentangy Bike Trail, and a building by the parking lot. To find the roses, go BEHIND the building (I am such a genius).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Top 5 Ohio Breweries

With more than 50 breweries scattered throughout Ohio, you definitely have plenty of places to choose from to set off on an imbibing OHventure!

I by no means am a big enough beer connossiour to have traveled to all of these breweries. However, I have been to a good amount of pretty awesome beer joints along the way, and I have compiled a handy-dandy list of my recommendations. The following businesses are NOT paying me to do this...I just truly believe these are some great breweries! Please feel free to comment with your favorite spots! Click here to get an extensive list of breweries (not an OHventures page).

1. Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland: Without a doubt, Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) is the most popular and well-known brewery in the state. People clamor year 'round for the infamous Christmas Ale that appears during the holiday season (and right now in July) and the sweet & dry Dortmunder Gold; and the self-deprecating Burning River Pale Ale with citrus and hints of pine are adored all year long. They even pay homage to famous Ohioans with their beer names, such as Commodore Perry IPA (he would be proud).

I'd be hard pressed to find beer drinking Ohioans who haven't tried and fell in love with GLBC beers. But, not all have been to the actual brewery. Take it from me: GO! You can see above that you can indulge in a crisp and refreshing sampler of all of the beers at GLBC by going to the brewery in Cleveland. You also can enjoy some good food (such as the savory pot roast) in the historic building in which the brew-pub is situated. You can enjoy private tastings, tours, and even brew schools! Many more awesome events take place here throughout the year as well. It's one for the Bucket List for sure!

Topiary Garden

Photo by OHventures

Topiary Garden
480 E Town St
Columbus, OH 43215

Want to see a painting come alive? You're in luck because in downtown Columbus, you can find The Topiary Garden, located in the Old Deaf School Park on Town Road. Here lies a real-life re-creation of Georges Seurat's famous post-impressionist painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

Think of it as if Edward Scissorhands got a hold of a bunch of hedge bushes and hacked away at them so they resembled the people and animals from the Seurat painting. it's a spectacular sight. It's truly as if you were sucked into the painting as you walk amongst the sculpted bushes. There is a photo posted of the painting for those who are unfamiliar so you can compare and contrast. It's best to see the bushes at their finest in spring, summer and early fall. I went there recently in November, however, and you can still see all of the figures pretty good.

This place would be the perfect setting if you wanted to grab a canvas and acryllics and do your own painting. Or, if you just would like to sit and read or draw, it is a picturesque and peaceful place to do so. You can truly get inspired by strolling through this park.

There is also a museum shop with restrooms, and items for sale such as garden books and other horticultural items.

At the very least, definitely swing by for a few minutes and take a walk through a 3-D painting!

Quick Park Specs: Gardens, Pond, Running