So, we Fantastics go to Ohio more than your typical East Coasters and the reason is this: grandparents. Once in awhile the Fantastic grandchildren get to hang in the Cleveland suburbs- they experience houses built in the 20th century, sample the life of lawns, driveways, and strip malls, and witness the teenage stomping grounds of their vagabond mother. We have found excellent things to do in the area that we will now share with our loyal readers. A-hem, loyal readers, I give you… northeast Ohio.
Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Its GREAT lake, after all, right? So, this lake is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, and while it may be is famous for catching on fire due to pollution in 1969, it is much cleaner these days, it has sand and its own tide/surf report, and this guy walked across it to Canada one winter when it was frozen.
Fairport Harbor’s historic lighthouse, the kids heading into the lake
This trip, we enjoyed swimming at Fairport Harbor. We actually tried to go to an excellent YMCA outdoor pool nearby but balked at the entrance fee – close to $50 for me+offspring. It’s worth mentioning here that if you are a Y member, as we used to be, you could go there for free, and you could enjoy the water slide, toddler pool, and climbing wall rather than leading your crying, disappointed children back to the parking lot, but alas we let our membership lapse so we headed to the beach. They charge by the car at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park Beach and that charge, my friends, was $3.00. It is only $2.00 if you are a resident! What can you get for $2-$3 these days I ask!
Really and Truly by some dunes, Truly flying a kite
The park has lifeguards, playgrounds, a roped-off swimming area, and nice landscaping with sand dunes and small trees. There’s even an institution that calls itself a Yacht Club nearby. Its not the ocean, but it is surprisingly ocean-like in atmosphere in a small-town Ohio kind of way.
Lake Metroparks System
Lake County, and Ohio in general, has a park system that is truly splendiferous. We went to Beaty Landing which had a nice path, many birds, and some riverfront land where there are nesting eagles at times!
looking out from the viewing platform at Beaty(L), Cleverly and Truly on the path
There is also a bike trail nearby called the Greenway Corridor. It is no Greater Allegheny Passage like we enjoyed last year on a bike-camp trip, but it is nicely re-purposed from the old Baltimore-Ohio Railway line and it is a great start.
Penitentary Glen is another nice park in the area. It has a great name, referencing the gorge terrain which they say, like jail, is easy to get into and hard to get out of! There is a wildlife rehab and education center here, along with beautiful grounds, paths, and the lovely gorge.
Cleverly on a butterfly bench, Really as an eagle egg, Fiercely in beekeeper garb, and a resident hawk
So we were just beginning our ill-fated trip to the YMCA pool when we went past the Concord Fire Dept and Historical Society, which also happens to be the site of my first-place performance at the frog jumping contest circa 1982 (feel free to name drop me to impress your friends). We saw a few antique cars parked in a field and strangely, we heard pipe organ music, like what you would hear on an old-fashioned carousel. What could it be?
Well, it was the Happiest Music on Earth, of which Dr. Ron Bop is happy to explain its pleasing effects on the human nervous system. We had stumbled on to the Mid-America Band Organ Rally at the Lake County History Center. What luck! So we checked out what we could from the road because again with the budget and all, but I just love that this really happens.