Thursday, June 2, 2011

Holy Toledo!

Photo by OHventures

Toledo is located in Lucas County, not far from Indiana, and is close to the border of that "Ugly State Up North" (that of which will not be named on this site). The Maumee River flows right through it and into the Maumee Bay, which is a part of Lake Erie. It is the fourth largest city in Ohio with a population of 651,409 (no I didn't count, Wikipedia told me!). Toledo is known as "The Glass City" which is due to the enormous amount of glass that was made here (duh) back in the hey-day. Because of this, the city has a rich history of both industry and art.

I have only traveled to Toledo on a few occasions in my lifetime so I have consulted my great college buddy Steve Shoffer, who will be the voice of reason for a great deal of this lovely post. Steve lives in the Village of Ottawa Hills, just minutes down the road from the University of Toledo. He said that while things may be spread out across the city, nothing is more than a 10-20 minute drive. This is what makes Toledo so great.

Steve and I have compiled a Quick-List of The Top 9 Places To Check Out When Visiting Toledo and we have it listed below. Be on the lookout for more posts dedicated to Toledo and focused on how to plan the perfect trip to The Glass City!

 Me giving a thumbs up on the Buckeye side and a hearty thumbs down on the Wolverine side!

1. Buckeye & Wolverine Shop (1412 Reynolds Rd., Maumee): Pictured above, the Buckeye & Wolverine Shop is a fun store that carries both Ohio State University and University of M!CH!G@N paraphernalia. Everything from jerseys to hats, baby onesies to ponchos. Because Toledo is so close to the state line, there is unfortunately a mixed crowd of fans in the area. Thankfully, the store is divided down the middle so you don't have to step foot in the blue & yellow side. Keep to the scarlet & gray and you'll be safe!

2. Wildwood Preserve Metropark (5100 W. Central Ave.): While Toledo has many metroparks, The Wildwood Preserve is Steve's favorite. He says he comes here often to utilize the many trails for walking, running, or biking. There are many open areas for throwing around the Frisbee or just relaxing in the grass. Charcoal grills and picnic tables are also provided so you can have a picnic. Steve noted that on the grounds is The Manor House, a former mansion with beautifully landscaped gardens.

3. Tony Packo's (Various Locations): When I went to Toledo to visit my friend Tim, all kept hearing about was Tony' Packo's. The place is a MUST for anyone visiting Toledo. Right when you walk in you will find out part of the reason: there are hot dog buns displayed throughout the restaurant that are signed by famous celebrities, politicians and other prominent figures that have been there to eat. Serving up delicious Hungarian-style chili dogs, chili, soups, and other fine foods, Tony Packo’s is both a tradition and a great home-style place to go.

4. Toledo Museum of Art (2445 Monroe Street): Considered one of the best art museums in the nation, the Toledo Museum of Art is where to go if you want to know the history of how "The Glass City" moniker came to be. The Glass Pavilion at the museum is breathtaking, as is the rest of the museum.

5. The Libbey Glass Factory Outlet Store (205 South Erie Street): And once you have stopped at the Glass Pavilion, keep up the glass theme and head here to this shop where there is a plethora of locally made glass items perfect for keepsakes, gifts, or decoration. Some of the items, such as the dinner plates and such, can get a bit pricey, but are definitely worth the splurge.

Photo by OHventures

6. International Park (22 Main Street): With an amazing view of the Toledo skyline (pictured above), International Park is most assuredly my favorite spot in the city. Also pictured at the beginning of this post, you can see that International Park is lined with flags from all of the sister cities across the world. The Docks are located here as well, which includes an enormous array of top notch bars, restaurants, and wine shops. The riverfront park also includes walking trails, volleyball courts, ships, and more!

7. Doc Watson's (1515 S. Byrne Rd.): Steve said that his favorite spot for nightlife is the bar and pub, Doc Watson's. Subtitled as "Flavorful Food & Spirtis," Doc Watson's often features live music on the weekends, and Steve says it has a very welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff. On top of that, it has great food and specials on shots, drinks and grub!

8. Barry Bagels (3301 W Central Ave): Another great Toledo food tradition is Barry Bagels, which hsa various locations in Northwest Ohio and, ahem, you-know-where. This deli-style restaurant is great to visit for any meal, especially for breakfast. The sandwiches are served on freshly made bagels or are also available on regular bread.

9. Fifth Third Field (406 Washington Street): During the baseball season, a great way to spend time in Toledo is to attend a Mud Hens baseball game. The Mud Hens are a minor league triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They are a beloved Toledo team, and people of lal ages can enjoy spending an evening at a game. The stadium has become a part of the downtown scene since being built in 2002.

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