Date Archives: March 2018

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March
31

11 Things to do in Columbus in Spring 2018 | Festivals, Music + More!

The weather is warm, the flowers are blooming, and everything looks just a little more bright and colorful. Spring is in full swing in Columbus, and while we're tackling our latest spring cleaning chores and getting some sun on our faces, we're also looking forward to exploring our town during this gorgeous season. From concerts and productions to foodie events and floral showcases, there is so much going on in the area. So get out of the house and put a little spring in your step with these local events and seasonal attractions. Skip ahead to your preferred activity:

Springtime Celebrations

Blooms and Butterflies March-September See colorful butterflies take flight at the Franklin Park Conservatory! The exhibit is open from March until September, and patrons can visit at any time to see a diverse array of butterflies fluttering or basking on the plant life. Experts will be available to answer any questions you might have!  See the Columbus Park of Roses in Full Bloom Late May, Early June This Columbus gem welcomes locals and visitors alike year-round, completely free of charge. But while the gardens are gorgeous at all times, we've heard that the best time to visit is spring and early summer. The old garden roses, located in the Heritage Rose Garden, only bloom once a year — and late May is your chance to catch them! Don't miss it. The Opening of Pearl Market June 1 Spring marks the opening of local farmers' markets! While there are several great options around town, we are counting down the days until the opening of the Pearl Market in downtown Columbus. Hit the market every Tuesday and Friday starting June 1 to find locally grown produce, freshly baked goodies and hand-crafted trinkets.   

Festivals and Concerts

The East Meets West Festival at the Ohio Theatre May 9-13 A multi-media event like nothing you've ever seen before, the East Meets West Festival combines eastern and middle-eastern cultures and colors for a stunning performance. Come to hear a mix of symphony, Chinese opera, pantomiming and original videos. Rock on the Range May 18-20 It's no secret that Ohio is home to a thriving rock and roll culture, especially as home to the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Catch a taste of this culture at Rock on the Range, a three-day festival showcasing some of the biggest names in rock. This year's headliners include Alice in Chains, A Perfect Circle, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Tool and Godsmack. Columbus Asian Festival May 26-27 This free festival welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually, and continues to grow in popularity. Boasting sports, games, culture exhibits, delicious food, shopping, martial arts and stunning performances, the festival showcases the best of Asian culture and promotes the importance of diversity. Don't miss it! Columbus Arts Festival June 8-10 The Columbus Arts Festival has been a must-see event for more than 50 years, and it's no wonder why. It has been rated as one of the top festivals in the nation by several national publications, and includes interactive activities, performances, food & bevvies, and incredible work from local, national, and international artists alike. Catch it this June on the Scioto Mile.

Foodie Events

Jazz & Juleps May 11 Enjoy meandering through the German Village at this "garten" centric event, which will include gorgeous flowers and artistic garden accessories on display in the streets. While you're shopping, sip on unlimited juleps, nibble hors d'oeuvre, and listen to live music. Proceeds benefit the German Village Garten Club's projects and educational programs. Six One Pour: The Ohio Craft Beer Fest May 12 The 614 is home to a burgeoning craft beer scene. Come celebrate it at this hoppin' festival, which will unite more than 60 Ohio brewers to show their stuff. As the finale to craft beer week, the festival will include free-flowing beer from the tap (including the exclusive, collaborative brew, Confluence IPA), food and live music. The Short North Food Tour Ongoing The warming weather means patio season is finally upon us, and local food trucks will be coming out to show their stuff. Get a taste of springtime flavors by taking one of the Short North Food Tours & Walking Tours. The tours typically include six to seven stops, ranging from brunch options to popular lunch spots and food trucks. Regardless of the tour you choose, you'll be treated to a gorgeous walk, meetings with local food vendors, and a full rundown of the artistic Short North neighborhood.  

Sporting Events

 Photo courtesy of the Columbus Clippers' Facebook 

Attend a Soccer Match Ongoing While the Blue Jackets just finished off their season, you can catch our major league soccer team, the Columbus Crew SC, from March until October at the MAPFRE Stadium. Full schedule here. Catch a Baseball Game Ongoing If baseball is more your thing, take yourself out to the ball game to see the Columbus Clippers. Columbus' Triple-A team and affiliate of the Cleveland Indians plays regularly April through September at Huntington Park, which has been named the best ballpark in America. Make sure to take advantage of events and promotions throughout the season, including Monday Dime-a-Dog Nights, which kick off on May 21.
March
30

The 10 Best Public Golf Courses in Cincinnati, Mapped

Cincinnati's gently rolling terrain and wide-open land make it the perfect destination for golfers from all over the region to come and play a round of 18. The area is home to an assortment of high-quality, inexpensive public golf courses that cater to golf enthusiasts of all skill levels — each offering fun challenges, picturesque scenery and friendly staff members. Of course, there is no wrong answer when it comes to finding a good course in the area, but there are a few that stand apart from the rest. We've rounded up 10 golf courses in Cincinnati that are better than par. Whether you're a visitor looking to brush up on your game or a local looking for a fun day out on the green, we're sure you'll be scheduling your next tee time in no time.

Aston Oaks Golf Club

1 Aston Oaks Drive, North Bend Aston Oaks Golf Club is one of the area's most notoriously popular courses. The greens are fast and true, the obstacles are challenging (and yet, not unconquerable), and the course is always kept in great shape. Additionally, GPS on the carts helps speed up gameplay for an all-around smooth and hassle-free experience!

Blue Ash Golf Course

4040 Cooper Road, Blue Ash The greens at Blue Ash Golf Course are always in pristine condition and boast a unique variety of challenges — including speedy fairways, hills and water hazards! It's the perfect course for a casual afternoon game, and offers plenty of opportunities to practice those long putts. Additionally, the staff always receives stellar reviews and will go out of their way to make your round a memorable experience.

Hickory Woods Golf Course

1240 Hickory Woods Drive, Loveland

Photo courtesy of the Hickory Woods Golf Course

The Hickory Woods Golf Course caters to beginners and advanced golfers alike with its pristine fairways, intriguing layout and friendly staff. In fact, some have said that the staff's positive energy rubs off on the players as well, so the course provides an overall friendly vibe! Plus, if you're looking for refreshments after your round, there's no other course in Cincinnati that offers a better selection.

Hueston Woods Golf Course

5201 Lodge Road, College Corner Located smack dab in the heart of a heavily wooded state park, the Hueston Woods Golf Course offers a unique and delightful challenge for golfers. The course is located an hour's drive from the center of Cincinnati, but that drive is well worth it! Upon reaching the course, you'll find terrific and purely natural views, and fun obstacles spread across a generous 260 acres of land. The par 72-course has four sets of tees ranging from 5,251 to 7,044 yards, and the staff is happy to offer tips and tricks for playing your best round yet.

Legendary Run

915 East Legendary Run, Cincinnati Legendary Run aims to be the world's friendliest golf course, and due to the countless positive reviews, it seems to be successful in its goal! The course is set into the hillside and boasts gently undulating greens, picturesque scenery, and unique challenges suitable for any level. Choose your style of play or enjoy a variety — the front nine are more open and less challenging, while the back nine require pinpoint precision!

Miami Whitewater Forest Golf Course

8801 Mount Hope Road, Harrison Situated on the banks of scenic Whitewater Lake in western Hamilton County, this golf course is about as picturesque as it gets. Among the gently rolling fairways, you'll find lush trees and wildlife, and the links-style course provides a fun and challenging round for beginners and experts alike. After a round, fuel up with a drink or sandwich at the full service snack bar with a spacious outdoor patio!

Shaker Run Golf Club

1320 Golf Club Drive, Lebanon Located just north of Cincinnati in Lebanon, Ohio, Shaker Run Golf Club is well worth the short commute. Here, you'll find a 27-hole championship course with bentgrass fairways, challenging water hazards, sculpted bunkers and absolutely picturesque scenery. The course has hosted many notable events, including the Kroger Senior Tournament Qualifier, the Nike Miami Valley Tournament, the 1998 Ohio Amateur Championship, and the 205 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, but a round here is a must-try experience for both champions and beginners.

Sharon Woods Golf Course

11355 Swing Road, Cincinnati Opened by renowned golf professional Bobby Jones in 1938, the Sharon Woods Golf Course is a truly special course. It is the oldest of the seven courses operated by the Great Parks of Hamilton County, and has stood the test of time with its exquisitely maintained terrain, instructional programs, family events, competitions and unique layout. The clubhouse and patio area overlooks the #7 and #9 holes, and allows a space to enjoy a meal and refreshment after your round.

The Golf Course at Stonelick Hills

3144 Sherilyn Lane, Batavia No expense was spared in the construction of the course at Stonelick Hills. The pristine and challenging course is routed through heavily forested hills and scenic water features, and boasts bold bunkering that makes every shot a challenge. Though your attention might be occupied by the game, make sure to take a moment to look up and enjoy the scenery! You might even spot some wildlife.

Vineyard Golf Course

600 Nordyke Road, Cincinnati

Photo courtesy of the Great Parks of Hamilton County

Operated by Great Parks of Hamilton County, the Vineyard Golf Course has won many accolades for its excellent playing conditions, interesting course layout and top-notch customer service. In fact, it consistently ranks as a favorite for golfers in southern Ohio! Come experience the bentgrass fairways, lush greens and challenging holes for yourself, and see what all the fuss is about.

Enjoy your game!

March
29

Ohio-Based 16-Bit Bar + Arcade is a Dream Destination for Any Kid at Heart

Fun and silliness don't have to end after childhood — and 16-Bit proves that 100 times over. The bar, currently located in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, caters to all children at heart, gamers and science fiction fanatics with its immersive arcade experience. It goes above and beyond your typical themed bar, inviting locals and visitors alike to escape into a new world. Every weekend, the team celebrates something different in pop culture, whether it's something special that happened historically on a certain day or something happening currently, and molds the entire bar around that event. For instance, on Winona Ryder's birthday, the bar whips up Winona-themed drinks and throws up fun decorations. And on Star Trek nights, you might overhear a conversation or two in Klingon. Every time you step into 16-Bit, you are truly experiencing something new — and usually out of this world.   We spoke to Bob Berley and Kim Miller, who help manage the 16-Bit brand, to learn more about the history behind 16-Bit and the quirky, creative process that makes it so special.

The History

Troy Allen, an Ohio native and the owner and founder of 16-Bit, started pursuing this idea back in 2013 after encountering several arcades-bars in his travels. He decided that it was high time Columbus had an experience like this of its own. The bar was born under the banner of Rise Brands — the same company behind Pins Mechanical. Columbus was the first location to open, but the reception was so warm, the bar quickly expanded. "The reaction was extremely positive from all sorts of people," said Kim Miller, marketing director of Rise Brands. "We had incredible reactions from corporate people, from folks who had recently turned 21 and were looking for the next coolest bar, and from people who love to geek out over games. We did a lot better than we thought we would and that is what made it possible to open the next two locations so soon, as well as the Pins Mechanical concept." Troy is still very involved in 16-Bit, constantly coming up with new, wacky ideas for the brand.

The Creativity

Anyone who has stepped into 16-Bit at least once knows that it is not your typical bar experience, but what makes it special isn't the high quality cocktails, craft beer or modern space (although, those things certainly don't hurt). It's really about the dedication of the staff and the clientele. "It's hard to categorize us by ethnicity or age," said Bob Berley, brand manager for 16-Bit. "We run the entire gamut of 21 to 60 year olds, but they are all kids at heart. We really appeal to those who enjoy the gaming experience." "Even IF you're not into the gaming world, you can still go in and enjoy the vibe, people watch and interact with the community," added Kim. "It's a great place to be fully engaged."   On any given Saturday, each location welcomes an average of 500 to 600 people throughout the evening, all of whom are blown away by the dedication of the staff to create such a unique experience. 16-Bit doesn't hire its staff members based on bartending experience alone, but based on the candidates' passion for games and fun. They all work together to think up theme nights and ideas, often literally throwing a ton of pop culture ideas into a hat and just picking one (or a few) at random to execute. One product of this process was the recent Mario Kart event. "For our three-year anniversary, we actually purchased our own full-sized adult pedal carts and had them painted to look exactly like Mario Karts," said Bob. "We did chalk outlines for rainbow road and did time trials and all that. It's definitely one of the more absurd things we've done as of late." Of course, even when there isn't an event going on, there is plenty to do. Each location is outfitted with around 50 traditional and new arcade games, and the selection is always changing (you can find a current list on the 16-Bit website). The staff also equips each location with RetroPi, retrofitted consoles that allow guests to play hundreds of older games that look and feel just like the originals. People come back in week after week to challenge each other and beat their own high scores — it's all part of the magic.

What's New at 16-Bit?

There's always something new at 16-Bit! Make sure to check the calendar at your location for upcoming events and start planning your costume for the grand cosplay Halloween contest (last year, the prize was an original refurbished 80s bike from Stranger Things, so there's a lot on the line). And be on the lookout for two new locations opening in Indianapolis and Nashville later this year!  

All photos courtesy of 16-Bit Bar + Arcade

March
29

The Best Things to Do, Eat and Drink in the Short North Neighborhood

Photo courtesy Zoey Duan via the Short North Arts District Facebook page

Affectionately known as the "art and soul of Columbus," the Short North neighborhood is undoubtedly one of the most popular city destinations for locals and visitors alike. The area boasts a high concentration of galleries, delicious restaurants, craft breweries and theaters  — in fact, there are so many things to see, explore and taste, it can be difficult to decide what to experience first! We rounded up a list of the best things to do, the best things to eat and drink, and the best places to live in the Short North. Whether you're just stopping by for a short trip (no pun intended), or you're a local looking to experience something new in the area, make sure to check a few of these off of your list!

JUMP AHEAD:

What to Do | Where to Eat | Where to Drink | Where to Live

What to Do

See a Show with Short North Stage

Photo courtesy of Zeek Creative via Short North Stage

The Short North isn't just famous for its physical works of art — performing arts thrive in the neighborhood, too! Short North Stage, for instance, produces and performs shows weekly, ranging from Broadway classics to edgy musicals, and progressive one-act plays to cabarets. Find them at the Green Room, Ethel's Lounge or the Garden Theater. Picnic in Goodale Park Surrounded by the charming, 19th century homes of Victorian Village, Goodale Park is the oldest park in Columbus and among the oldest in the United States. The 40-acre space provides a haven for those looking to soak in the sunshine, play a little frisbee or enjoy a picnic, and you'll also find a playground, tennis courts, a park shelter and a pond-side gazebo. Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Public Art

Photo courtesy Zoey Duan via the Short North Arts District Facebook page

The Short North is filled with interesting sculptures, mixed media pieces and giant murals — including the famed Short North Gothic mural. Can you find them all? Take a peek at this guide to public artwork in the area. Take a Foodie Tour with Columbus Food Adventures There's no better way to see (and taste) the neighborhood! Take a leisurely stroll with a guide, who will take you to sample the flavors of the Short North at six to seven of its restaurants. Together, the tastings make up a complete lunch, and along the way, you will learn the colorful history of the area. Book a Pedal Wagon If you're familiar with the Short North (or any other downtown area, for that matter), you've probably seen the large, open-air pedal buses blasting fun music and rolling down the street. Groups of 15 people pedal the vehicle around the neighborhood, visiting the Short North's most notable landmarks, restaurants and local establishments. Go Shopping at a Boutique

Photo courtesy of Artisan Deluxe

Of Columbus' most notable boutiques, many of them are in the Short North neighborhood! Check out shops like Artisan Deluxe, Ladybird, Rowe Boutique, Kiln Mercantile, Red Giraffe Designs and Tigertree, and view our list of the 16 best boutiques in Columbus for additional shop-spiration. Embark on the Short North Gallery Tour The Short North is known for its art galleries, and this is the perfect chance to see them. On the first Saturday of every month, all of the local galleries open their doors to the public after hours, and the streets explode with performers, special events, food, drinks and fun. It's Columbus' favorite night of the month to celebrate art! Note: If you can't make it on the first Saturday, make sure to give yourself a self-guided tour of the local galleries — it's worth it.

Where to Eat

For Breakfast: Tasi Cafe Tasi Cafe is open for lunch and dinner (both delicious), but the all-day breakfast menu is what really draws us in the door. The menu features grab 'n' go items like croissant sandwiches, bagels and breakfast burritos, but you'll also find fancier items like biscuits and sausage gravy, cinnamon challah French toast and a steak skillet. For Dessert: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni's is not just a delightful Columbus ice cream shop — it's a local institution. Since August of 2007, Jeni's has been scooping happiness to hungry locals and visitors alike. Come by to sample the unique flavors, which range from light and fruity to rich and decadent. Flavors change depending on the season. For New American: The Pearl This polished tavern serves up scratch-made food, classically inspired cocktails, craft beer, and freshly shucked oysters in modern and cozy digs. The menu features globally inspired cuisine and changes depending on the season, but stop by any Thursday to enjoy oysters fried, baked or raw at $2 a pop. Bonus: Brunch here is also amazing. For Taco Tuesday: Bakersfield Short North

Photo courtesy of the Thunderdome Restaurant Group via Bakersfield Short North

Bakersfield Short North boasts a vibrant atmosphere, interesting Mexican street food and margaritas bigger than your face. Everything (down to the tortillas) is handmade for maximum flavor, and there are more than 100 tequilas and American whiskeys to choose from. For Burgers: Stack City Burger Bar Boasting a modern space and an enviable patio, Stack City Burger Bar is known as the gateway to the Short North, and draws in passersby with its fun decor and mouthwatering burgers! Keep it classic with the Big Stack City burger, which features American cheese, lettuce, special sauce and pickles. For Fried Chicken: The Eagle Short North

Photo courtesy of The Eagle Short North

This indoor and outdoor beer hall dishes up comfort classics, craft cocktails and (arguably) the best fried chicken in town. The restaurant starts with cage-free, all natural chicken, brines it, dredges it and drops it into custom-built fryers. The result is perfectly crispy and absolutely mouthwatering. Try it with the house-made hot honey! For Asian Fusion and Sushi: Lemongrass Fusion Come experience the traditional flavors of Asia with a contemporary twist! The menu includes sashimi, nigiri, sushi rolls, seafood entrées, delightful appetizers and so much more. Everything is designed to wow, but reviewers point out that the Lemongrass soup is a showstopper. For Locavore Cuisine: Brassica

Photo courtesy of Jodi Miller via Brassica

Brassica is one of the best healthy restaurants in Columbus, but also one of the most delicious. Stop in for creative and colorful fare that ranges from salads to sandwiches. Bonus: everything on the menu is sourced from local farms and purveyors! For Farm-to-Fork Flavors: The Table Dishes at The Table are inspired by flavors from all over the world, but the team works closely with local farmers and urban gardeners to bring you the freshest produce available. Additionally, the charcuterie and baked goods are all prepared in-house! Stop by for dinner every night of the week (aside from Monday) and brunch on the weekends. For Upscale Fare: The Guild House The Guild House is becoming the go-to destination for date night in Columbus, and once you see the atmosphere, we're sure you'll understand why. The large rustic wooden beams set against plush seating and glittering chandeliers make for a truly special space — and don't even get us started on the food.

Where to Drink

Brothers Drake Meadery

Photo courtesy of Brothers Drake Meadery

Brothers Drake Meadery allows you to learn the basics about mead and sample work in progress during its tours, which can be booked by appointment on any day of the week! Of course, you can stop by without an appointment to simply enjoy a glass and take in the atmosphere. North High Brewing North High Brewing features a rotating selection of at least 10 delicious beers on tap — all brewed on site! Come in to sip mainstays like the pale ale, the milk stout or the honey wheat lager. Wine on High

Photo courtesy of Wine on High

This wine bar and retail shop is not only one of our favorite places to pick up a bottle, it's also a great place for date night! This locally owned shop is home to more than 300 varietals of wine, all of which are available to enjoy by the glass, in a tasting or by the bottle. Pair your choice with a charcuterie board filled with artisan cheeses and meats. Service Bar At Service Bar, innovative cocktails are mixed with house-distilled spirits and served alongside delicious shareables. The space is a chic hipster haven, filled with gorgeous modern light fixtures and bold decor.

Where to Live

Looking to live in or near the Short North neighborhood? We don't blame you! Imagine being within walking distance to all of these attractions every day. Search for homes in the area by clicking here, or by contacting us today for more information!
March
23

The 8 Best Natural Swimming Holes Near Cincinnati

Cincinnati is a haven for outdoor adventuring in the summertime. There are ample opportunities for hiking, biking, camping and fishing — all within the city limits! But there is no doubt that swimming is one of the most popular activities among locals, because there is nothing quite like the feeling of cannonballing into a cold-water pool or swimming hole on a hot Ohio day. Of course, you could always go to a community pool or water park, but nearby lakes and creeks offer sandy shores, boating opportunities and plenty of aquatic real estate to splash around in. So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite natural swimming holes near Cincinnati. Let's jump right in!

East Fork State Park

Distance from Cincinnati: 35 minutes

Photo courtesy of the Ohio State Department of Parks and Watercraft

Boasting 4,870 acres of stunning natural scenery, East Fork is one of Ohio's largest state parks. Here, you'll find a great variety of recreational activities including horseback riding, boating, biking, hiking, fishing and (of course) swimming. Rugged hills and open meadows surround the lake and beach, making it a picturesque spot for a weekend getaway.

Williamstown Lake

Distance from Cincinnati: 49 minutes Located just over the state line in Grant County, Kentucky, Williamstown Lake is a public 333-acre body of water and popular summer gathering spot. When the sun is high, boat enthusiasts take to the lake for water skiing, lounging and cannonballing into the clear blue water.

Kincaid Lake State Park

Distance from Cincinnati: 49 minutes

Photo courtesy of Kincaid Lake State Park

Kincaid Lake is a great destination for camping, hiking, paddle boating and fishing with the whole family. Though the lake itself is restricted to boating only, there is a public swimming pool that overlooks the natural water. Jump in and enjoy the scenic views!

Caesar Creek

Distance from Cincinnati: 51 minutes Along a section of Caesar's Creek near the Little Miami River, you'll find ample hiking opportunities and plenty of trees to shade you from the summer sun. Make sure to wear your swimsuit because along the trail, there are dozens of clear, blue swimming holes perfect for a quick, cooling dip!

Hueston Woods State Park

Distance from Cincinnati: 56 minutes Hueston Woods State Park features a 1,500-foot sandy beach open to the public during the summer months. Visitors can enjoy a concession stand and bathhouse, a public swimming pool, and plenty of other interesting outdoor activities (including fossil hunting) in the park surrounding Acton Lake. If you'd like to extend your stay, there are lodging options and camping available!

Ludlow Creek

Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour, 9 minutes Ludlow Creek is home to a stunning, crystal clear waterfall — and this is where you'll find the best swimming. In fact, the spot has been a local favorite for decades! The falls are just a short walk from the main park in the Miami County town, Ludlow Falls, under the Route 48 bridge. Once you've arrived, enjoy lounging on the creek banks or take a refreshing dip under the falls!

Mineral Springs Lake

Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour 22 minutes People from all over the region flock to Mineral Springs Lake to soak in the fresh and enriching waters of the springs — but there is so much more to this area than just a lake. The farm resort offers an abundance of outdoor activities, gorgeous scenery, and great glamping amenities for families, couples and friend groups alike. The lake itself is surrounded by more than 5 miles of pristine shoreline, so don't forget your swimsuit and sunscreen!

Long's Retreat

Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour, 37 minutes For those looking for the complete summer package, get yourself to Long's retreat, where you can truly feel like you've escaped to summer camp. You'll find waterslides, beach swimming, a splash pad and much more on a 20-acre lake. And if you prefer to stay out of the water, there is also mini golf, go karts, a carousel, bounce houses and arcades. It's perfect for a family getaway!

Geronimo!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more local recommendations!
March
23

The 10 Best Family Photographers in Cleveland

Time flies by so quickly. In the blink of an eye, your little ones will be grown up, pursuing their careers and building families of their own. By capturing your family in a photo, you can stop time and relive some of these beautiful moments as often as you wish. But first, you'll need an incredible family photographer. We rounded up the best family photographers in Cleveland — each with a different personality, artistic style and story to tell. Whether you're looking to capture a romantic moment between you and your sweetheart, a photo of your newborn child, graduation images, or even portraits of your family pet, these talented artists are here to help!

Ashleigh Whitt Photography

Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Ashleigh Whitt Photography

Ashleigh realized her passion for photography while capturing pictures of her own family — her husband, son and pets. She quickly discovered her talent, and that she wanted to help create the same lasting memories for other families around Cleveland! Ashleigh specializes in newborn photography, maternity shots, family portraits and other special moments, and she is so friendly and easy to trust, it almost feels like you've made a new friend at the end of the shoot. Contact her to learn more.

Ashley Sasak Photography

Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Ashley Sasak Photography

Ashley Sasak uses natural light and neutral colors so that the people in the photo are truly the focus. You won't find an abundance of props or studio lighting in her images, and no stiff posing either. She is able to capture connections flawlessly, and is a master at making her clients feel comfortable in the setting! She specializes in newborn, maternity and fresh 48 photography, and will travel to your home or to the hospital based on your preference. Contact her for details.

Brittany Gidley Photography

Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Brittany Gidley Photography

For vibrant and truly unique photos captured on location or in the studio, you can't go wrong with Brittany Gidley Photography! Brittany is an expert at getting to know her clients before each shoot and providing them with photos that they will treasure for a lifetime. She graduated from Kent State University with a degree in nursing and practiced in the field for eight years, so she is no stranger to newborns! In her words, she can "create one heck of a fine art image out of a squishy little newborn baby," and after perusing her portfolio, we couldn't agree more! Contact her for details.

Carrie Hall Photography

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Photo courtesy of Carrie Hall Photography

Carrie Hall's photos are vibrant and filled with laughter! She is an expert at capturing families in their element, whether that's out getting ice cream at the local shop, or lounging together in their home. Her portfolio is broad, and includes engagements, weddings, maternity, newborns, families and senior portraits. She can do it all! Contact her for details.

Jennie Lennon Photography

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Photo courtesy of Jennie Lennon Photography

Jennie Lennon is a mother of two herself, so she understands the importance of capturing childhood memories through photos. She considers it an honor to provide a part of your family's history, and strives to make the process as fun and worry-free as she possibly can. Jennie will make sure to do her research on lighting and staging, and get to know her clients to ensure that she is prepared for the shoot — and the result is stunning, breezy photos that are worth cherishing. Contact her for more details.

Katherine Chambers Photography 

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Photo courtesy of Katherine Chambers Photography

Since starting her business in 1999, Katherine Chambers has had the honor of capturing thousands of Cleveland families in vibrantly colorful shots that will take your breath away. She is talented at creative studio photography as well as onsite photoshoots, and is proud to capture Clevelanders of all ages, from newborns to grandparents, at every stage in their lives. Contact her for more information.

Leigh Roth Photography

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Photo courtesy of Leigh Roth Photography

Leigh Roth Photography provides modern, crystal clear and colorful photos to the modern family. Leigh makes it her priority to get to know each family and make them feel at ease so the sessions are fun, not stuffy. After all, that's when the best moments are captured! Looking through the galleries, you can see real emotion, love and laughter, and these elements are what make an image worthy of a treasured position in your entryway. Contact her for pricing and additional information.

Molly Watson Photography

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Photo courtesy of Molly Watson Photography

Molly Watson Photography specializes in whimsical shots that seem to glow from the inside out. She started her career by capturing images of her own family, and has since taken thousands of photos to grow her portfolio! Along the way, she has gained a following of loyal clients who know that she's the best for the job — most likely due to her laid back attitude, professionalism and pure talent behind the lens. Contact her for more information.

Rachel Good Photography

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Photo courtesy of Rachel Good Photography

The photos in Rachel Good's portfolio speak for themselves, but if you still aren't convinced, then maybe the impressive lineup of awards will help sway you (among them: best maternity photographer, best wedding photographer, best newborn photographer… the list goes on)! Her images are fun, honest and filled with life. Contact her for details.

Thomas and Thomas Photography

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Photo courtesy of Thomas and Thomas Photography

Thomas and Thomas is not just a trusted photography company — it's a Cleveland institution. The business has been around for more than 30 years, specializing in senior portraits, children and families, videography, and more. The company is owned by Sarah and Amy, lifelong best friends who are passionate about what they do, and incredibly talented behind the camera. Don't believe us? Just take a peek at their portfolio. We hope you enjoy your photography session! Make sure to follow us on Instagram for more gorgeous photos, community inspiration, beautiful homes for sale and more.
March
23

The 18 Best Summer Camps Near Akron and Canton

We can hardly believe it, but summer is nearly upon us. And if you're a parent, you know that when the final bell rings, classes will be out for the season and your kiddo will suddenly be presented with a world of possibilities and endless free hours! Luckily, the fun and learning don't have to end when school does. There are plenty of summer camps in the Akron and Canton area to entertain your kids, provide them with fun new learning opportunities, and allow them the chance to make lasting friendships. Whether you have an animal lover, an inventor, an explorer, an artist or a mix of all of them, there is bound to be a summer camp nearby to pique his or her interest! Here are some of our favorites. For the Curious Ones

Old Trail School Summer Camp (S'Camp)

Who: Children ages 4-14 (varies depending on program) When: One-week sessions throughout the summer Where: 2315 Ira Road, Bath

Photo courtesy of Old Trail School

Old Trail School offers exciting opportunities for children of all ages with a variety of interests. Each camp program lasts for one week and is built around a special focus or theme, so you can truly customize your child's experience! There are more than 150 offerings throughout the summer, but regardless of the program you choose, you can expect your kiddo to spend a full week exploring, discovering, playing, learning and making new friends!

Civil War Camp For Kids at the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum

Who: Kids in grades 4-6 When: June 11-15 Where: 800 McKinley Monument Drive Northwest, Canton This camp allows kids to take a step back in time to experience the Civil War Era, complete with a swearing-in ceremony, tent building, drilling and marching, Civil War-themed snacks, a cavalry meeting and educational activities. Your child will have the time of his or her life, and might just learn a thing or two!

Dinosaur Adventure Camp

Who: Kids in grades K-8 When: June 18-22 Where: 2080 South Cleveland-Massillon Road, Copley Go back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth at this exciting local day camp. Campers will be divided into dinosaur-themed teams, and will be guided through different learning and creating stations each day. For the Animal Lovers

Bear Creek Stables Horseback Riding Day Camp

Who: Horse enthusiasts ages 8 and up When: One-week sessions July 11-15 Where: 3232 Downing Street Southwest, East Sparta For those who are absolutely wild about horses, Bear Creek Stables Horseback Riding Day Camp is a dream come true. Children ages eight and up are assigned a horse for the week, and during that time, they will be responsible for all aspects of the horse's care — feeding, cleaning the stall, grooming, tacking, and (of course) riding for one to three hours per day! 

ZooCamp

Who: Animal lovers ages 2-15 When: Dates throughout the summer Where: 505 Euclid Avenue, Akron Experience the exotic animals of the Akron Zoo up close and personal! ZooCamp includes a tour of the zoo, a chance to interact with animal keepers and zoo staff, educational animal encounters, a daily snack and a take-home craft.

Crown Point Summer Farm and Science Camp

Who: Children ages 7-11 When: One-week sessions available from June 11 through August 10 Where: 3220 Ira Road, Akron For 25 years, Crown Point's Summer Farm and Science Camp has delighted children with an interest in animals and farm life. Campers will have the chance to discover the natural cycle of life on a farm, hike and explore the land, follow their food from farm to plate (yes, there will be veggies), explore the onsite bee hives, play team-building games, create a farmers' market and get their hands dirty! It's a dream come true for a kid. For the Budding Athletes

Canton Parks and Recreation Youth Programs

Who: Budding athletes ages 4-18 (Varies depending on program) When: Varying dates throughout the summer Where: Various locations in Canton Whether your child is interested in skateboarding, softball, soccer, tennis or baseball, there is a program perfect for them with Canton Parks and Recreation. There are programs that extend throughout the season as well as one-week camps that cater to all ages and skill levels, so visit the website and get ready to surprise your kid with a summer of fun! For the Adventurers

Camp Frederick

Who: Children in grades K-12 (Must be at least 6 years old) When: One-week sessions in June and July Where: 6996 Millrock Road, Rogers Camp Frederick gives kids the chance to learn new skills and make lifelong friends — all while having the time of their lives! There will be creek stomping, hiking, crafting, games, team building, swimming, zip lining, camp songs and more every single week. No wonder kids choose to come back every year! Programs are offered to campers in grades K through 12, and kids are split up depending on age group.

Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center Summer Camp

Who: Kids entering grades 1-6 When: July 9-13, July 23-27 and July 30-August 3 Where: 3675 Oak Hill Road, Peninsula This camp offers your little adventurers the chance to explore 500 private acres of trails, meadows, ponds and woods in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. They will learn about biodiversity, play camp games, make crafts, and leave with memories to last a lifetime!

Camp Y-Noah

Who: Kids ages 6-16 When: Dates available June through August Where: 815 Mount Pleasant Road, Clinton So many adventures await your little ones at Camp Y-Noah, where overnight, equestrian, specialty and day camps are all available. If you have a Star Wars or Harry Potter fan in the family, consider one of the full-immersion options (which means all activities will be themed around that story) to give them a truly fantastic experience.

Akron Rotary Camp

Who: Children with disabilities ages 6-17 When: One-week sessions from June 10-August 3 Where: 4460 Rex Lake Drive, Akron Run by the YMCA, the Akron Rotary Camp is a place where children with disabilities can engage in programs that develop their self-confidence, independence and social skills — while enjoying all of the other fun parts of summer camp! They'll spend the days swimming, kayaking, crafting, singing, playing games and more, and at night they can hang out around the campfire with their fellow campers and new friends. There are several programs available, including overnight camps, day camps and even sibling camps.

Camp Tippecanoe

Who: Children ages 7-17 When: One and two-week sessions from June 17-August 4 Where: 81300 Stewart Road, Tippecanoe Located on 1,100 acres in Harrison County, YMCA Camp Tippecanoe is the perfect summer getaway for young adventurers. Campers will enjoy the waterfront on Clendening Lake, miles of hiking trails, fun activities and (most importantly) long-lasting friendships. The camp feels like a home away from home, which is perhaps why many campers choose to return year after year.   For the Inventors

Bricks 4 Kidz LEGO Camp

Who: Kids ages 5-13 When: June 18-22 and July 16-20 Where: 4871 South Main Street, Akron This camp is perfect for the kids who are wild about LEGOs, as it allows them to build things from the depths of their imaginations! Utilizing technic pieces such as gears, axles, motors and more, children will work in pairs to construct a variety of intricate models and creations of their own. The pace is fast, the atmosphere is fun, and there are plenty of games to keep the kids engaged.

TomTod Ideas Camp What If

Who: Kids leaving grades 5-8 When: June 11-15, June 25-29 or July 9-13 Where: Location varies depending on program There are three camps offered through TomTod Ideas, each of which is designed to encourage friendship, critical thinking and (most importantly) fun! Choose from an overnight summer camp in the wild near the Lake Erie Watershed, a day camp in downtown Canton packed with immersive experiences, or an overnight summer camp at Malone University.

Camp Invention

Who: Kids in grades K-6 When: Various dates depending on location (search here) Where: Multiple locations near Akron and Canton (search here)

Photo courtesy of Camp Invention

At Camp Invention, children are presented with fun, hands-on challenges from experienced local educators. The challenges are designed to be unique and exciting, and to encourage problem solving, teamwork and innovation. For the Artists

The Ohio Conservatory of Ballet Princess Camp

Who: Budding ballerinas ages 4-7 When: June 11-15 Where: 4858 South Main Street, Akron Your budding ballerina is sure to feel like a prince or princess at this fairytale-themed dance camp. They'll enjoy diving into ballet lessons, creating enchanting crafts and reading fun tales with their new friends! Space is limited, so sign up as soon as possible by contacting Megyn at mbostic4@kent.edu

Magical Theatre Company K.I.D. Camp

Who: Drama fans ages 7-17 When: July 9-20 Where: 555 Barber Road, Barberton Ohio K.I.D. Camp introduces and develops basic performing skills through classes in acting, singing and dancing. And while your child is practicing his or her art of choice, they are bound to make some cherishable memories and lasting friendships along the way! The camp will conclude with a performance on July 20 that the camper's family is welcome to attend.

Canton Museum of Art Summer Art Camp

Who: Artists between the ages of 6-14 When: One-week sessions between June 18 and July 13 Where: 1001 Market Avenue, Canton Play, imagine, discover and create at this popular summer art camp! Campers will have the chance to participate in a wide range of interactive, educational activities in the museum's classrooms and galleries. They'll explore drawing, painting, sculpture and so much more — and leave with a few pieces to proudly display around the house!
March
16

The 6 Best Neighborhoods in Columbus According to Walk Score

Though Columbus is the largest city in Ohio (boasting a population of nearly 900,000), it still maintains its friendly, small-town feel. It could be because of our incredible dining scene, our beautiful 19th-century homes or our stunning skyline, but Columbus residents typically feel lucky to live here — and are super friendly to boot! Though you can reach either end of the city by car fairly easily, we love interacting with the local culture and exploring fun neighborhoods via other forms of transportation. And if you're looking to buy in the city, walk score is definitely something to consider! Columbus has several desirable neighborhoods with very high walk scores, which means that they offer easy access to local attractions, delicious restaurants and other community gathering places. Here are some at the top of the list!

The Short North

Walk Score: 92

Photo courtesy of Zoey Duan via the Short North Alliance

Due to its high concentration of art galleries, music venues, boutiques, restaurants and the like, the Short North is sometimes fondly referred to as the "art and soul" of Columbus. Vibrant urban attractions abound in this area, so there is never a shortage of fun things to do and see. In fact, it's one of the areas most recommended for visitors — but out-of-towners often find themselves looking at the houses wondering what it would be like to live here. Find homes for sale in the Short North neighborhood.

What to do: Locals enjoy embarking on the Short North Gallery Hop on the first Saturday of every month, an open-air celebration that allows attendees to peruse galleries after hours, watch street performances, enjoy drink specials from local bars, and snack on delicious bites from nearby restaurants. Where to eat: Hit up the Eagle Short North for fried chicken and other Southern classics in an airy and modern beer hall. Other favorites of ours include The Table, which features farm-to-fork fare and craft cocktails, or Bakersfield Short North — a colorful spot for flavorful tacos and big-as-your-face margaritas.

German Village

Walk Score: 89

Photo courtesy of Larry Hamill Photography via the German Village Society

German Village is located in the heart of Columbus, but still feels like its worlds away. This is due to the German Village Society's efforts to maintain the historical feel of the neighborhood, the intricate architecture, and the idyllic urban gardens parks throughout the area. In fact, German Village is one of largest, privately funded historic districts in the country. Residents here are friendly — probably because they know how lucky they are to live here. Within walking distance, you'll find charming brick buildings, colorful shop fronts and lots of trees that provide shade to pedestrians. Find homes for sale in the German Village neighborhood. What to do: Get lost in the Book Loft, one of the nation's largest independent bookstores, or opt for a picnic in Schiller Park, which has served as the village center since the early 1800s. Where to eat: Local favorites include the Schmidt's (a large German beer hall), the Old Mohawk (a former speakeasy serving up New American fare), or the Thurman Cafe (a famed burger bar). Get a little taste of everything through Columbus Food Adventures, a local business offering a weekly food-centric tour of German Village from March through November.  

Italian Village

Walk Score: 86 Located right next to the Short North Art District, the Italian Village neighborhood was one of Columbus' first suburbs, and still houses several sites that have been listed on the National Register of Historic places. The Italian Village Society works to preserve the historical feel of the neighborhood while still maintaining upkeep to make the streets clean, bright and colorful. The space is a prime location for up-and-coming Columbus businesses, and is growing in popularity by the day. Find homes for sale in the Italian Village neighborhood. What to do: Visit St. John the Baptist Italian Catholic Church, a stunning structure built in 1898 that now serves as a distinguishing landmark for the neighborhood. Afterward, make sure to soak in the sun at Italian Village Park! Where to eat: The Market Italian Village is a must-see for anyone in the area. The modern space boasts authentic Italian fare, wood-fired pizza and a carefully curated wine list. Plus, the in-house restaurant allows patrons to grab ingredients to go! Also, don't miss Fox in the Snow Cafe — this might very well be the most Instagrammed coffee shops in the city, and you'll see why when you enter the shop.  

University District

Walk Score: 85

Photo courtesy of the University District

Situated in the vicinity of the Ohio State University (go Buckeyes!), the University neighborhood is naturally filled to the brim with college-friendly places — shops, bars, fun restaurants and sunny parks. And although there is a high density of students in the neighborhood, it's an ideal area for Columbus locals of all ages to call home. In fact, it's one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city! The proximity to campus allows for plentiful entertainment options, and most of them are within walking distance. What to do: Residents of this neighborhood have access to the premier nightlife scene on North High Street and proximity to Tuttle Park, a gorgeous riverfront area! Where to eat: Stop by Trism for light and delicious fare in colorful digs (and to experience one of the most Instagram-worthy restaurants in Columbus)!

Victorian Village

Walk Score: 83

Photo courtesy of Karen Lynch via Basi Italia

Neighboring the Short North Arts District, Victorian Village is an idyllic cluster of gorgeous 19th-century homes. The neighborhood surrounds Goodale Park, an expansive stretch of green space containing a playground, tennis courts, a serene pond and a gazebo. It's actually the oldest park in Columbus and among the oldest in the United States! Find homes in the Victorian Village neighborhood. What to do: Along with prime access to Goodale Park, residents of Victorian Village can enjoy being within walking distance to Columbus' vibrant arts district, a beautiful bike trail, and the Arena District. Where to eat: Just two block from the park, you'll find Basi Italia, which boasts seasonal Italian fare in a cozy space, and a tree-lined patio for the summer months! Additionally, North High Street is lined with restaurants on either side. You won't go hungry in this area!

Downtown

Walk Score: 82

This home is for sale at 110 N 3rd Street, Unit 604 | Listed by Meyer & Dial

In our humble opinion, Columbus has one of the most gorgeous skylines in the country. The buildings in the district skirt the Scioto river and the scenic Scioto mile, and house many of the regions most renowned businesses. The Arena District (home to the Nationwide Arena, Huntington Park and the LC Pavilion) sits on the northwest side of downtown, and offers a haven for locals to enjoy Ohio's thriving sports scene! Find homes in downtown Columbus. What to do: Catch a game in the arena district, meander down the Scioto Mile (don't miss the outdoor climbing wall), or duck into one of the area's discreet bars or coffee shops! Where to eat: Stop by Milestone 229 for modern American fare in an airy space with patio seating, or Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails for a laid-back atmosphere and comfort food!

Did your neighborhood make the list?

March
16

8 of the Most Luxurious Condos For Sale Right Now in Columbus

For those looking to enjoy city life to the fullest, a condo can be the best option. Sure, homes with white picket fences are appealing, and apartments are hassle-free, but owning a condo allows you to build equity in your space while enjoying a central location and upscale amenities — it's truly the best of both worlds! If you're perusing the market for the perfect urban home in downtown Columbus, stay tuned! We rounded up eight of the most luxurious condos on the market. Some are more affordable, some are more spacious, but all offer modern flooring and appliances, gorgeous views, and plenty of room to spread out. Happy shopping! 

A Luxury Unit in the Iconic LeVeque Tower

2 Beds | 2 Full Baths (1 Partial) | 2,913 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 50 W Broad Street, Unit 3601 | Listed by Meyer & Dial

This is your chance to own a unit in the iconic LeVeque Tower in the heart of downtown Columbus. The space comes outfitted with custom high-end finishes designed specifically for the residence, including marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, marble bathrooms, recessed and pendant lighting throughout, and more. You'll also enjoy spectacular views of the Scioto Mile, and easy access to the best downtown Columbus has to offer.  

Urban Dwelling and a High-End Lifestyle

2 Beds | 2 Full Baths (1 Partial) | 1,875 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 1 Miranova Place, Unit 1410 | Listed by Doug Green

If you're on the hunt for an urban dwelling that offers a high-end lifestyle, you'll want to take a look at 1 Miranova Place. This luxury residence on the 14th floor features beautiful hardwood floors, a magnificent view of the Columbus skyline, a custom re-designed kitchen with high-end cabinetry, a built-in espresso maker, and a temperature-controlled wine cooler! French doors connect the main living space to the master bedroom — a luxurious space with plush carpet and a glass wall.

A Chic Living Space in a New Building

2 Beds | 2 Baths | 1,155 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 1026 Pennsylvania Avenue | Listed by Meyer & Dial

This beautiful new building sits on a convenient location on Pennsylvania Avenue, and each unit offers high-end amenities. Expect hardwood floors, quartz countertops, a glass tile backsplash, a gas range and a custom dining table in the kitchen, double sinks and subway tile in the bathrooms, a large walk-in closet and ceiling fans in each bedroom, and a large outdoor balcony overlooking the scenic neighborhood! Residents will enjoy a private storage unit in the lower level and assigned parking for one car in a private lot.

A Stunning Unit on the 20th Floor

1 Bed | 2 Baths | 1,413 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 1 Miranova Place, Unit 2015 | Listed by Jody McCague 

The position of this gorgeous unit is enviable to say the least — the west-facing windows overlook the stunning Scioto river and provide remarkable views for miles! And as if that isn't enough, the home also boasts beautiful hardwood floors, an incredible master suite with balcony access and a private whirlpool tub, ample storage throughout, a modern kitchen with granite countertops and so much more. The building comes equipped with a pet area, a fitness facility, an outdoor pool and conference rooms — what more could you need?

An Industrial Chic Space

1 Bed | 1 Full Bath (1 Partial) | 1,184 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 223 N 4th Street, Unit 304 | Listed by Meyer & Dial

This loft space is perfect for those with a taste for a modern, industrial chic look. The unit includes exposed brick walls, reclaimed hickory floors, stainless steel appliances, cool black countertops and more — not to mention the abundant windows!  The unit is a one bedroom with more than 1,000 square feet to spread out, so you'll have plenty of space. Additionally, you'll be able to enjoy views of the surrounding cityscape, lots of natural light, out-of-unit storage space, elevator access, and an in-unit laundry.

A Condo in A League of Its Own

2 Beds | 2 Baths | 1,482 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 251 Daniel Burnham Square | Listed by Conley & Partners

Featuring fabulous views from a private balcony, this recently update end unit is in a league of its own. We are smitten with the kitchen, which boasts granite countertops, stainless appliances a glass tile backsplash and custom cabinetry (including wine storage shelving!). Residents will love the open living space with soaring ceilings, and the private whirlpool tub in the master suite.

An Unbeatable Loft in an Unbeatable Location

2 Beds | 2 Baths | 1,145 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 110 N 3rd Street, Unit 604 | Listed by Meyer & Dial

You couldn't ask for a better location for this meticulously maintained loft. It sits in the desirable Gay Street District in downtown Columbus within easy walking distance of Pine Mechanical, numerous restaurants and coffee shops, the Scioto Mile, the Arena District, and the Short North Arts District. This unit in particular boasts unobstructed views of the surrounding area from the enormous windows, and plenty of modern upgrades including hardwood floors, a breakfast bar extension in the kitchen, granite accents in both bathrooms, a gorgeous new rooftop terrace and more!

An Oversized Downtown Loft

1 Bed | 2 Baths | 1,136 Square Feet

This home is for sale at 110 N 3rd Street, Unit 610 | Listed by Meyer & Dial

Located in the same building as the above unit, this oversized one-bedroom space boasts two bathrooms and 1,136 square feet! There is plenty of space to create a home office if needed, and a separate owner's loft space that overlooks the main living area. Enjoy a soaring ceiling, north-facing windows, sweeping views of the city and high-end finishes, plus an on-site fitness center and a first-floor laundry room with washer and dryer included!

See These Condos In Person!

Contact us today for more information and to schedule a showing.
March
7

30 Free Things to Do in the Akron and Canton Area

Regardless of the season, the Akron and Canton area is bursting with fun things to do. Around here, you'll find some of the friendliest people in the country, an incredible dining scene, an abundance of interesting museums, talented local artists, plenty of outdoor opportunities, and more. And believe it or not, you can experience almost all of it without spending a cent! Instead of staying in to save money, grab the family and go explore this wonderful region. From concerts on the lawn to vibrant art exhibits, we rounded up 30 of the best things to do in the Akron and Canton area that are completely free! Turns out that having fun on a budget isn't so difficult after all.

For History Buffs

Visit the Akron Police Museum, which showcases the history of the local police department all the way back to the 19th century. You'll find old police uniforms, a 1965 police motorcycle, confiscated weapons, lots of photos, and plenty of interesting stories! Take a tour of the Magnolia Flouring Mills, a stunning five-story, 19th-century mill that preserves the history of rural Stark County. Having fun isn't hard when you have a library card! Visit the Akron Library and tuck into a good book.  Get spooked at Akron's Glendale Cemetery (or simply take in the history). The cemetery dates all the way back to 1839, and truly tells the story of the area! Walk the 108 steps to the top of the McKinley Presidential Monument.

Photo courtesy of the Troll Hole Museum

Visit the Troll Hole Museum, which boasts more than 20,000 troll items (including a Guinness World Record troll doll collection). Here, you'll learn everything about trolls, from ancient mythology to the modern dolls we're grown to know and love. Look for birds at the 703-acre Quail Hollow Park, located in Hartville. Grab your fishing pole and round up the family for one of the Stark Parks' summertime fishing derbies.

For Foodies

Take a 45-minute tour of the Harry London/Fannie May Factory, where you'll be able to sample Ohio's famed Buckeye candies made fresh, and surround yourself with the aroma of chocolate. Tours depart hourly Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm. Take a tour of a nearby winery! Gervasi Vineyard offers free public winery tours on Saturdays. And in case you want to make a day of it, here are some of the other best vineyards in the Akron and Canton area.

For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Photo courtesy of Summit Metro Parks

Visit one of the area's nearby Metro Parks, which feature wildlife viewing opportunities, bike paths, wildflowers, soccer fields and hiking trails. Play a round of disc golf at Arboretum Spiker Park or the Roscoe Ewing Park Disc Golf Course. Bike the 85-mile Towpath Trail through Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties (or at least part of it). Take advantage of the snowy weather in winter and go sledding! Here are the top 12 sledding hills in the area.

Photo courtesy of Summit Metro Parks

Get in touch with nature at the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, which boasts 104 acres of exhibits, live animals, trails and more.

For Lovers of the Arts

Visit Studio 2091, which is situated in a 200-year-old building and hosts an ever-changing mix of contemporary artwork. Visit the Kent State University Museum, a gorgeous example of architecture that houses abundant collections of influential fashion and artwork from all over the world. Venture back in time at the Hoover Historical Center — the boyhood home of Boss Hoover, the founder of the Hoover Company. Stroll down 4th Street in Massillon, a historic district featuring gorgeous, 19th century homes.

Courtesy of Akron Art Museum. Photography by Joe Levack/Studio Akron. 

Check out the galleries at the Akron Art Museum on Thursdays, when admission is completely free! The normal entry fee is $10. Sit in on the free, family-friendly concert series, Serenades in the Park. These shows will be performed all over Stark County by the Canton Symphony Orchestra from June to September. Tour the Canton Arts District, which boasts more than 30 art galleries, studios and specialty shops — plus a wide range of public street artwork and five live music venues! (And don't miss out on First Fridays, monthly celebrations featuring live music, performance and visual art events, delicious bites and more).

Photo courtesy of Bud Graham via Canal Fulton Glassworks

Marvel at the glass blowing demonstrations at Canal Fulton Glassworks, and then peruse the gorgeous work from local artisans. Visit the Canton Museum of Art on Thursdays! On this day of the week, admission is free from 10 am to 8 pm. View a free family-friendly movie at the Canton Palace Theatre on the first Friday of every month. You can find an updated list of events on the Facebook page. Volunteer for an incredible, local charity, or support your favorite theatre! Here are 22 Ohio causes worth supporting.

For Explorers

Check out the summer farmers' market at Lock 3 in the heart of downtown Akron, or simply visit the area for a game of bocce. During the winter, enjoy a 10,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink!

Photo courtesy of Ohio's Amish Country 

Admire the gorgeous scenery on the drive to Amish Country, and take some times to explore the traditional farms and shops. Tell spooky stories and visit these notoriously haunted sites in Ohio. There are 11 Ohio State Parks within a one-hour drive from Akron (including the famed Cuyahoga Valley National Park) and once a year, each of them offers free camping on a designated weekend! Plan ahead to snag a spot, and then check out these other incredible places to go camping in Ohio.

Have fun!

Looking for more local recommendations? Here's how to have a perfect day exploring Akron, Ohio.
March
2

14 Incredible Cleveland-Based Businesses Worth Supporting

Here in Cleveland, we have a strong sense of pride. We are grounded in life's most important treasures — family, good food and sports (go Cavs!) — and we know that our little slice of heaven on Lake Erie is something truly special. Our town is filled with makers and innovators that are putting us on the map as one of the best craft beer cities in the country, as well as a mecca for artists, foodies and adventurers. We like to support these entrepreneurs whenever we get the chance, so we rounded up our favorite local businesses in Cleveland. On this list, you'll find everything from charming boutiques to organic pet stores, and creative jewelers to expert pizza slingers. Their products are 100% Ohio, and 100% worth supporting.

Geiger's

Outdoor equipment and apparel Facebook | Instagram
Since 1932, Clevelanders have been coming to Geiger's for all of their outdoor apparel needs. Geiger's sells men's and women's clothing as well as footwear, gear for snow sports, cycling, hiking and more, and each store has a unique selection! The brand has now expanded to three locations in the Cleveland area, but continues to stick to its original business mantra — high quality, exceptional service and highly functional apparel. Perhaps that's why the company serves several generations of loyal customers!

Room Service

Housewares, apparel, gifts and artwork Facebook | Instagram Room Service, a charming independent boutique located in Ohio City, has everything that you could possibly need and more. You'll find exceptional gifts, homewares, trendy apparel, artwork, jewelry and more in an environment that truly stands apart from the rest! The shop is owned by artist and designer, Jennie Doran, who uses the space as an outlet for her creativity, and runs it alongside her husband, Andrew Worm.

Lake Erie Pet Food Co.

Pet supplies Facebook You do your best to eat healthy and take care of yourself, so why wouldn't you do the same for your pet? Lake Erie Pet Food Co. specializes in high-quality, locally made pet food that is delivered straight to your door. There is no corn, wheat, gluten or soy, no animal by-products, no GMOs, and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It's the freshest, healthiest and highest quality dry food you can get — and it's all made right here in Northeast Ohio!

Cleveland Street Glass

Jewelry Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Cleveland Street Glass

Who knew that something beautiful could come from a car break in? This local jeweler creates gorgeous pieces from auto glass swept right off the streets. Each piece is completely unique, and showcases the natural breaks and flaws in the glass. Automotive glass is a beautiful color all on its own, but when accented by gorgeous silver and gold settings, it takes on a completely new look. See our interview with owner, Deanna Dionne, here

LOCLE Box

Locally made gifts Facebook | Instagram Clevelanders have a lot of pride for our hometown, and we love sharing that enthusiasm whenever we get the chance! LOCLE Box makes it easy to spread the local love with people all over the country (and even the world). The gift boxes are filled with Ohio-made, artisan products, including treats, apparel, candles and more. Contact the owner (Deby) to customize your box to your preferences, and then send it off to a faraway family member as a reminder of home.

Cuyahoga Collective

Home goods and creative services Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Collective

To create the best living space, you need to surround yourself with things you love. Cuyahoga Collective embraces this mantra, offering home goods, apparel and artwork inspired by the Lake Erie coast. Many of the products sold in the store are created right here in Ohio, and the company also collaborates with local brands, offering copywriting, interior design, strategic services and more.

Old City Soda

Soda Facebook | Instagram

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Soda doesn't have to be packed with artificial flavors and preservatives, but unfortunately, that's what you'll typically find at the grocery store. At Old City Soda, however, they're doing things differently. These handcrafted sodas feature fresh-from-market produce and all-natural ingredients that are pressed by hand, carefully mixed, carbonated and bottled in small batches. Enjoy straight from the bottle, or incorporate into your favorite cocktail.

Old Brooklyn Cheese Company

Cheese Facebook | Instagram From mild cheese to stinky cheese, and soft buttery cheese to hard aged cheeses, cheese aficionados will find everything they need at the Old Brooklyn Cheese Company. The cheeses are made by Cleveland's own Michael Januska, who has gained inspiration and vast knowledge of the cheesemaking industry from his travels across Europe and his experience as a head chef in London. Stop by for an in-house tasting, settle down at a table to enjoy an artisanal cheese-focused sandwich, or pick up a charcuterie platter to go for your next party!

Cleveland Whiskey

Whiskey Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Cleveland Whiskey

Named "Whiskey Distillery Innovator of the Year," Cleveland Whiskey has won a total of 38 medals at competitions around the world. The distillery uses modern technology and transformative woods like sugar maple, apple, black cherry, hickory and more to completely alter the taste of it's barrel-aged bourbons. "No sugar, no syrup, no artificial flavor or color," said CEO Tom Lix. "All of the flavor comes from the wood."

Brewnuts

Donuts and craft beer Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Brewnuts

Brewnuts is a collaboration between two Cleveland locals, Shelley and John Pippin, who gave up their full-time jobs to pursue their passion for beer, donuts and their hometown. The shop is a combination of a charming corner bakery and your favorite happy hour spot, offering local craft brews alongside craft-beer-based, small batch donuts. The beer creates a rich flavor and texture in the donut — flavors that are then augmented by fun additions like fruity pebbles, coffee, bacon and more.

Malley's Chocolates

Chocolate Facebook | Instagram Malley's Chocolates is a family-owned and operated business now celebrating its third generation. The sweet shop is based right here in Cleveland, but has served customers both local and international for more than 80 years! Here you can find everything from chocolate covered marshmallows to hot fudge, and ice cream concoctions to brittle. All of the products are Ohio-made, and though there are now 23 storefronts across the region, Clevelanders have the opportunity to visit the charming spot on Madison Avenue where it all began.

CLE Urban Winery

Wine Facebook | Instagram CLE Urban Winery is an inviting, boutique winery located in the heart of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The shop celebrates its Cleveland roots by producing, selling and serving wines that honor our city in flavor and in brand — all made in house from high quality grapes. Settle down in the chic, cozy shop to sample a few of the whites and reds on hand, and perhaps take a bottle home with you!

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Craft beer Facebook | Instagram

Photo courtesy of Great Lakes Brewing Company

Great Lakes Brewing Company beer is now sold in stores and restaurants from coast to coast, but the renowned craft beer brand got its start right here in Cleveland! Irish brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway opened their operation in the historic Ohio City neighborhood in 1986 under tricky circumstances. Cleveland had just shuttered its last production brewery in the early 80s, the neighborhood was still up-and-coming, and the brothers themselves had limited brewing experience, but they turned to experts and passionate people to help make their dream a reality. Now more than two decades later, the Ohio brewery has an impressive stack of awards under its belt, a large fan base, and incredibly flavorful brews worth savoring. Come see what all the fuss is about!

Dante's Pizza

Pizza Facebook | Instagram Established in 1963, Dante's is a long-standing neighborhood favorite. Though the restaurant has switched ownership several times over the years, the pizza recipe has remained exactly the same, because, why fix something that isn't broken? Grab one of the specialty pizzas for a quick dinner or to share with friends! We are particularly fond of the White Garlic, smothered with a buttery garlic sauce, and the Pepperoni Feast, which features (you guessed it) layers and layers of pepperoni.

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March
2

The Story Behind Cleveland Street Glass, a Local Clevelander Turning Car Break Ins into Jewelry

A car break in is one of the most disheartening experiences someone can go through, but unfortunately, it's also one of the most common forms of burglary. In fact, hundreds of break ins are reported across the country every single day. Although this is not something that any of us like to go through, one Cleveland resident is working to create a silver lining out of the experience. Deanna Dionne, owner of Cleveland Street Glass, creates gorgeous, statement jewelry pieces from the leftover auto glass swept off of the streets, allowing the victim of a break in to reclaim their stolen property in the form of something pretty and wearable. We spoke to Deanna to get the full story.

How Cleveland Street Glass Got Its Start

Deanna moved from her home in Michigan to an artist loft in Cleveland three years ago on a whim. She knew she wanted a fresh start, and Cleveland, with its affordable housing, thriving creative atmosphere and friendly people, drew her in immediately — but she didn't have an easy start. "Within a week, my car was broken into," she said. Of course she didn't know it at the time, but break ins are a common occurrence in her neighborhood, and residents there have just accepted it as a normal part of life. "Over the next year I really started noticing the glass from break ins glittering on the streets," said Deanna. But the the idea to make this glass into jewelry didn't come to her immediately. She just noticed how pretty it looked shimmering in the sun while she was on her way to work some mornings, and she slowly started imagining how to turn the glass into art. "My first project was actually a giant glass bowl, but that project didn't last long. I think I made it about four inches into the bowl before deciding that it was going to be a waste of time." Eventually, she decided to make the glass into wearable jewelry instead — earrings, necklaces, bracelets and the like, officially launching her business at the Cleveland Flea in May of 2016. "It's definitely a process learning how to work with the glass and make it into jewelry," she said, "and I'm still learning, but it's fun to think of new ideas and new ways I can use the glass. " Deanna loves making necklaces in particular, but she sets aside one week per month to focus on her earrings. She finds that forcing herself to set aside that time spurs her creativity and helps her create new things that her customers will love!

The Process

Deanna encourages people to call her or message her on Instagram if their car is broken into, and she gets those calls about once a month. When she hears about one, she will try to get over to the scene as quickly as possible, or she'll ask the caller to gather a small bag of glass for her that she can pick up later. She then makes several pieces of jewelry from the donated pile and lets the victim of the break in pick something they like, giving them first dibs on a piece made from their car! "[A break in] is such a violation of your personal space and personal property," said Deanna. "What I find super gratifying is that I can take what was someone's property (their broken car window) and return that to them in a different form. I'm literally reclaiming that broken glass and adding value back to it. I find that really empowering." It's not just Deanna that feels this way. She finds that other people, when their cars get broken into, feel good that they can contribute something beautiful and create something special out of their bad situation. She loves how the local community has supported her in this venture — the experience has made her fall even more in love with Cleveland and the people here. "Everyone is very supportive," she explained. "This is a big experiment for me, and since people have responded super well, I kind of feel like I could do anything here! If you're a creative looking to start a brand, I think Cleveland is a wonderful place to do it."

Where to Find Cleveland Street Glass

This year she plans to ramp up her e-commerce on her website, where you can currently find several statement necklaces, everyday pieces and earring sets for purchase! Also look for her this year at pop-up events around town and at the Cleveland Flea, where she has her own booth for 2018. Find out more on her Facebook and Instagram pages, where she posts updates on new pieces and upcoming shows!

Contact Deanna

Deanna is always looking for local street glass to make her projects shine. If you happen to experience a car break in, send her a direct message via Facebook or Instagram to report it. You never know what she will be able to create from it! All photos courtesy of Cleveland Street Glass

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