Monday, November 30, 2015

Wellness Walk & Run Video

Tim Frankish of Infocus Studios LLC created an amazing video that captures the essence and excitement that took place during the Akron Wellness Walk & Run earlier this year on September 5. The video is a fantastic representation of the event, complete with action shots of the warm-up session, and views from inside the Wellness Trails. Take a look!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hiking At Quail Hollow State Park

Photos by OHventures

Quail Hollow State Park
13480 Congress Lake Avenue
Hartville, OH 44632

Quail Hollow State Park is a multi-functional park that has a variety of trails (14 miles total) accessible to handicapped individuals and experienced hikers alike. There is also a designated horse trail (5 miles) and mountain bike trail (4 miles). 

I have taken readers to Quail Hollow to go sled riding and for a photo shoot. Now, I encourage you to go to this Stark County state park to go hiking! My good pals Greg and Matt joined me one crisp November morning to head out on an expedition to Quail Hollow. We knew the trails offered here are relatively short and are moderate in length, so it would be a light and non-demanding trip. We had a goal of making a 4-5 mile hike, which we predicted would take us 2-3 hours, with stops.

Driving into the park entrance, we parked at the trail head for the Sedge Marsh. This short 1/4 mile section of trail is made out of boardwalks. We completed that quick loop and then hiked the Meadowlands (1 mile), followed by the Beaver Lodge Trail (1.5 miles). We accidentally happened upon a portion of the bridle trails, which I do not recommend (there were a lot of "land mines" along the way that didn't make for a great hike). When all was said and done, we met our goal by hiking 4.4 miles in 2.5 hours.

During our hike, we actually stumbled upon a geocache! This was really neat, since I had never seen one before, and especially neat since we weren't even trying to locate it using GPS, like those who participate in geocaching.

One of my favorite aspects of the park is the herb gardens and the Carriage House Nature Preserve, which has educational exhibits and interactive elements. It's a beautiful old house that the Tall-Grass Prairie Trail wraps around. In addition to hiking, biking, geocaching, sledding, and horseback riding, other activities at Quail Hollow include: fishing, camping, picnicking, cross country skiing, volleyball, basketball, and special events.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Peace, Love, & Little Donuts

Photo by OHventures

115 S. Prospect Ave.
Hartville, OH 44632
(330) 877-3043

While driving through the City of Hartville in Stark County one day, I happened across a small and colorful bakery that caught my eye with its tie-dye and peace symbols on the storefront. The name of the confectionery was Peace, Love, and Little Donuts - and with a name like that, it's hard to pass by without stopping in!

Talk about a place that is adventurous with its flavors! Inside this tiny donut shop were tiny little donuts in a not-so-tiny display case full of sugary goodness. It was sensory overload, with the rainbow of sprinkles, and the sweet aroma of chocolate, cinnamon, and other delights. My friends and I were flabbergasted by the impressive selection of traditional and obscure flavors and varieties.

As if the name of the joint didn't give it away, a bit of a hippie theme was going on, as evidenced by the donut categories: Groovy, Far Out, and Funkadelic.

Groovy Donuts included any donut topped with cinnamon and sugar, powdered sugar, cinnamon, honey, or maple sugar. Far Out Donuts are donuts with "far out" frosting, including vanilla, chocolate, maple, raspberry, strawberry, orange, banana, lemon, and mocha. 

Funkadelic Donuts are the ones that get the most attention, as they have "far out" frosting along with fun and exciting toppings that you'd be hardpressed to find at any other donut shop: Oreos, coconut, pretzels, marshmallows & graham cracker (s'mores), maple bacon, salted chocolate, M&Ms, Nestle Crunch, apple pie, blueberry French toast, strawberry shortcake, samoa, and the list goes on (and on and on)!

Each of us ordered a half dozen little itty bitty donuts to gorge on. Mine are all shown above, with the stand-out flavor being the Funkadelic Fruity Pebbles donut! That one definitely wins the award for most bizarre (but bizarre in a good way, of course).

Peace, Love, and Little Donuts is not just in Hartville. There are 4 other Ohio locations: Massillon, Canal Fulton, North Canton, and Cleveland. There are also 6 in Pittsburgh (where it started), one in Grove City, Pennsylvania, one in Oregon, and one in Florida. So, while it's not entirely exclusive to Ohio, we are definitely fortunate that this wild and adventurous bakery has a large presence in Stark and Cuyahoga Counties!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rhinegeist Brewery

Photos by OHventures

1910 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-1367

Rhinegeist is a brewery situated in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Over The Rhine in Cincinnati (which is located in Hamilton County). The name is in reference to The Rhine, which is a European River running in and along France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Early Cincinnati settlers believed that the Ohio River resembled The Rhine of Europe, and therefore named the neighborhood as such. 

The brewery's name "Rhinegeist" is German, and translates to mean "Ghost of the Rhine" in English. This was fitting, due to the fact that the large building in which the brewery is housed was once the Moerlin Bottling Plant, serving up beer from 1895 until prohibition in the 1920s. The new owners "resurrected" the building to make it once again a beer-making facility, in the skeleton of the former bottling plant. The first Rhinegeist beer was brewed in June 2013, and it has become one of the fastest growing breweries in the state.

The spooky name was also fitting due to the fact that we visited on Halloween day. The branding of the beer cans and bar taps has a ghostly/skeletal figure that makes it easily recognizable and memorable.

We learned about all of the history of Rhinegeist by taking a tour of the brewery. Free hour-long tours are offered at various times throughout the week. You can sign up online for priority placement, or sign up when you arrive at the tasting room. Typically, visitors have access to over 25,000 square feet of space, which composes only a fifth of the total square footage of Rhinegeist. The tour gave us an in-depth look into the other four-fifths of space in this gargantuan facility.

We were able to see some of the high-tech stainless steel tanks and other production aspects of the beer brewing process. There was also a great deal of office space (see the leather couch juxtaposed against the beer-making machinery above?), spacious events center, and some unfinished space that will soon be transformed to make Rhinegeist an even cooler spot to visit!

Stacks of barrel-aged beer lined the walls of the basement, right next to the new canning machine that will allow Rhinegeist to increase its production quantity. Down the hall from this was a gigantic freezer, which housed all of the canned beer, ready for distribution to local bars and stores. All Rhinegeist beer is self-distributed by their team so your beer will be fresher and tastier.

You can find these hop-filled cans at many locations in and around Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Kentucky (this list will soon grow). You can check out the Beer Finder to determine where you can get your hands (and lips) on some Rhinegeist for yourself!

We were able to bring glasses of Rhinegeist beer along with us on the tour, which was poured for us in the taproom. After the tour, we continued sipping and sampling the beers we had just learned about by ordering tasting flights. I opted to taste: Zen (a very balanced session pale ale), Homie (an American double imperial pale ale, on tap exclusively while we visited), Workhorse (my favorite of the day, a lager), and Panther (a chocolatey and robust porter).

Other featured beers include: Truth (IPA), Cougaer (blonde ale), Franz (Oktoberfest), Dad (a holiday beer that I have heard is amazing), Puma (pilsner), Pure Fury (hoppy pale ale), Hustle, and more. There are also "bombers" which are larger 22-ounce limited edition bottles. Two hard ciders are also available.

While you should definitely try finding the beers at a bar or store near you, nothing beats the atmosphere at Rhinegeist. The wide open interior is available to reserve for private events, or you can come anytime to play cornhole, ping pong, foosball, or watch a ball game - all while relaxing with some locally brewed booze. You are welcome to bring your own food in from other nearby restaurants, or (in warm months) head up to the brand new rooftop bar for amazing 360-degree views of Cincinnati in all of its glory.

Rhinegeist is waiting for you!