A great adventure doesn’t have to be thousands of miles away it can be right in your home state.  We enjoyed a weekend in our home state of Ohio recently and found something fun for each of our family members to enjoy.

We started with a scenic drive north from Columbus to Cleveland.  We arrived to Cleveland after dark so the city skyline was lit up. We checked-in to our Hilton hotel downtown near the Cleveland Indians stadium.  Grabbed snacks and drinks for our kids, (10 and 13), and then headed out for a night on the town “alone” to see Big Head Todd and the Monsters at the Cleveland House of Blues.  The venue was just a short drive from our hotel and parking wasn’t too hard to find either.  We enjoyed a great show and reminisced about the good ole days.  Certain songs from BHTM bring us back.

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The next day we enjoyed a delightful american breakfast with our kids after a restful night and a dip in the pool.  We headed out on foot to the downtown area near the House of Blues and stopped in a few of the quaint shops along Euclid Avenue.  We also visited the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Cleveland’s Public Square. Our son, a military history buff, enjoyed the monument.  The monument is artfully done and is a history lesson worth checking out.  Afterwards we rode the free trolley service down to the lake and saw the science center, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame building and the Cleveland Brown’s stadium.

IMG_7896 Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

We picked up our car and drove to the Flatts District where the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is located in an old powerhouse building.  Our daughter dreams of scuba diving with sharks and hopes to be a marine biologist one day so this was quite the treat for her.  The tour starts in an area titled rivers, lakes and streams.  There is marine life from Lake Erie and rivers around the world.  Next stop is the weird and wonderful area where you can gaze up upon glowing jellyfish that live in the old coal tunnels. Then get ready for hands-on experiences in the coastal zone area.  Touch a sting ray and look upon eels and sharks.  They saved the best for last a 230,00 gallon tank featuring a “shark tunnel” as we walked through the underwater exhibit we saw 7-8 foot sharks, moray eels, sting rays and Goliath grouper.  The aquarium is small, but it houses a large variety of fascinating sea creatures.

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We left Cleveland and headed west towards Camp Perry and the Sandusky area for a stop at one of only two Civilian Marksmanship Programs (CMP) in the U.S.  E and our son are both interested in artillery and guns. The CMP is a U.S. government-chartered program that promotes firearms safety training and rifle practice for all qualified U.S. citizens with special emphasis on youth. Any U.S. citizen who is legally not prohibited from owning a firearm may purchase a military surplus rifle from the CMP, provided they are a member of a CMP affiliated club.  My boys had their sights set on a M1 Garand so we stopped in and picked one up for their collection.  As we were leaving the Camp Perry area we found an area dedicated to military tanks, our son’s favorite.  He got his photo taken with all five and was thrilled to stand next to a real Sherman tank.


While heading home we crossed over the frozen Lake Erie and along back roads with beautiful scenery and a few wine shops.  One in particular caught our attention so we stopped in to Hermes Winery.  It’s one of about 15 wineries in the area that grows their own grapes and staff a full-time wine maker.  We sampled a few and took home a few bottles to share with friends.

IMG_7982 Hermes Winery along Route 4

For dinner we got a recommendation from the locals at the winery, asking the locals has never steered us in the wrong direction.  We stopped in Bucyrus, OH at Baker’s Pizza & Sports Shack.  We even called our pizza in when we were about 10 minutes away.  So glad we did because in a small town like Bucyrus, Baker’s was a happening joint.  We stilled waited 45 minutes on a large pepperoni pizza.  Luckily it wasn’t an Ohio State football weekend or we would have never gotten our pizza.  Good pie by the way.

It’s weekends like this that our family remembers most.  I refer to them as whirlwind weekends.  Taking a path less followed and stopping along the way at random places of interest make the adventure something we always remember.



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