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Get Up! Our Favorite Ohio Rock Climbing Gyms

Sometimes you gotta get up to get down…you know what we’re talking about. Rock climbing! From the outside in, what looks like a pretty easy activity is actually pretty tough and an unreal workout. Oh and yes, it’s awesome fun, too.

While us Ohio residents certainly have it good in the summertime, winters can be a bit, how do we say, testing? Luckily, indoor rock climbing keeps you inside where it’s warm and cozy. That being said, bring something you can sweat in, because it’s truly exercise like none other.

On the Rocks Elyria, OH — First and foremost, the staff here is incredible. Always looking out for you and jumping at teachable moments, you can tell these folks really enjoy their job. Which also makes On the Rocks the ideal place for those just learning how to climb. That being said, experienced climbers will also find difficult routes as well (up to v-12). “With over 8,000 square feet of climbing wall space our climbing gym offers bouldering, 10 auto belays, top-rope, and lead climbing with an adjustable training wall.”

Photo Credit: On the Rocks Facebook Page

Vertical Adventures Columbus, OH — Aptly named, the climbing options here are virtually endless. While we’ve only visited once, we were so blown away that it has to be on this list. Personal training gym? Check. Yoga? Check. Adaptive friendly climbing? Check. Again, awesome staff who did an excellent job at explaining climbing techniques to us noobs. Oh and did we mention, we’re pretty sure you can eat off the ground here…it’s that clean. Whoever’s overseeing the maintenance of this place deserves an award. If you’re like us and get really excited about new sports, be sure to visit the pro shop to dial in some new gear. Only bad thing about VA…we don’t live close enough.

Photo Credit: Vertical Adventures Facebook Page

Paddle & Climb Sandusky, OH — As you can probably guess by the name of this spot, there’s a few things going on here. A blend of outdoor retail shop, surf shop, climbing wall and paddle shop, there’s a lot to uncover. While it’s important to note this isn’t a typical climbing gym like the others, their 32′ auto-belay wall has eight different routes and is still very fun for all ages and ability levels. However, we love this place for way more than just the wall. The relaxed surf shop vibe here drew us in right away. In one day we were able to stay in the beautiful Sky Loft AirBnb upstairs, which has a climbing wall viewing area, rent paddle boards & kayaks, take a golf cart out to explore Sandusky and then snag some stylish threads on the way out. Did we mention it’s also steps from the water? One word: Sunsets. Wait, wait…one more thing. There’s also an organic smoothie and eats joint in the back called The Maca Root that serves mouth-watering avocado toast amongst other earthy treats. Okay, now we’re done. Although we’re sure they’ll add something else cool moments after we post this.

Photo Credit: Paddle & Climb Facebook Page

Nosotros Cleveland, OH — For an intro, we’re going to defer to what’s written on their website…because it’s super cool and they use the word “rad.” “Nosotros is a rad nonprofit rock gym that uses rock holds to heal households by providing time, money & service to those in need.” How cool is that? Climbing for a cause is a pretty sweet way to ascend. With two spots, one in Lakewood and a brand new location in downtown Cleveland, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to check this place out. Did we mention you can lift weights there, too? Pump up, climb up and chill out. These guys really have cultivated a stellar culture, one you definitely want to be a part of.

Photo Credit: Nosotros Facebook Page

Cleveland Rock Gym Euclid, OH — To say this place is vast is an understatement. A ton of options including top-rope, a top notch inverted climbing wall, moon wall and bouldering (You can also join a bouldering league if you’re so inclined. Get it?). While this gym doesn’t have a brand new, squeaky clean feel that some others do, it more than makes up for it with an energy and vibe that you can’t manufacture. Old school couches and picnic tables scattered throughout make for a relaxing, comfy experience…and are perfect for splaying out in to rest your tired Gumby arms. To round it out, the staff was very helpful and chill – Even going as far as climbing with us to show us the way. One tip, be sure to plug the address in to your GPS as this hidden gem can be notoriously hard to find. (21200 St Clair Ave #B3, Euclid, OH 44117)

Photo Credit: Cleveland Rock Gym Facebook Page

Welp, that about does it. While we’re sure there’s some other excellent rock gyms across Ohio, these are the ones we’ve come across and love. Have another recommendation? Let us know in the comments! Rock on, climber friends.

Be Your Own Baron at Squire’s Castle in Willoughby Hills, Ohio

It’s Always Ohio is movin’ on up! A special thanks goes out Wendy Koile, our first ever guest blogger. Below you’ll find an detailed account of Wendy getting medieval in Ohio…or wait, wrong time period.  Getting baronial?  Anyway, below you’ll find Wendy’s awesome blog post about Squire’s Castle in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. Enjoy!

A few miles southeast of the hustle and bustle of inner-city Cleveland, stands an unexpected, yet charming structure.  Quietly tucked just within the tree line of the North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, the shell of an impressive castle peers out under the thick leaves of the woodland, leaving many visitors enchanted by its existence.  However, as park goers stroll through the vacant rooms, they not only are draw to the physical beauty of the edifice, but also to the lingering sensation of a forgotten possibility tinged with just a hint of sadness.  In fact, Squires Castle does indeed represent both a loved and hated, century old dream. 

In the 1890’s, British born- turned Cleveland business oil tycoon, Fergus B. Squire initiated construction on his newly purchased 525 acres of woodsy land near present day Willoughby Hills. Although he owned a mansion on Euclid Ave, often referred to as Millionaire’s Row, Squire yearned for the English countryside where he had spent his childhood.  Now a husband and father of two, he wished for his family to experience the delights of living close to nature. 

Squire’s dream was to build a manor house, or small castle, for his family to use a retreat from city-life. By 1897, the still existing building was completed and was originally to act as the gatehouse and caretakers’ home.  According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History the estate was enhanced by adding “groves of trees, ponds, bridges, and a gravel roadway.”  It was near this time, however, that the construction came to an abrupt halt. 

Recorded account suggests that Squire encountered problems finding material and competent laborers to complete the main house. Yet most believed the glitch in the plan was that young Mrs. Squire did not take to the residence. She had always been a city girl at heart, and the sound of creatures rustling through the backyard was not her idea of a relaxing retreat.  And to top it off, Fergus loved hunting and proudly displayed throughout the house the heads of many beasts.

Sadly, Squire visited the estate only a few more times as a camping retreat with his daughter.  In 1908, he sold the property to developers and built a mansion in nearby Willowick.  1925, the Cleveland Park Board took possession of the land and building, filling the basement and removing the second floor.  As the small castle sat vacant, vandals looted the building of its lead glass windows, decorative adornments, and any other traces of the original owner. 

To add insult to injury, creepy ghost stories and urban legends sometimes overshadowed the factual history of Squire’s Castle.  The tales usually centered around the death of Mrs. Squire and her supposed tragic fall down castle steps.  Due to her untimely death, she allegedly still haunts the family’s retreat home to this day.  Disappointedly to local ghost hunters, record indicate that Mrs. Squire died a natural death in a Cleveland hospital.  

Ghost hunting or not, today guests are free to walk through the castle and hike the woods stretching out far behind.  Simple blueprints of the original estate design are displayed throughout the building detailing each room and its function.  The arched doorways and glassless windows allow the wind to quietly sweep through while carrying the long-forgotten vision of a dreamlike castle along with it. 

The Holy Grail of Theatre: Sandusky Hosts Broadway Production, Spamalot

Full disclosure, musicals and theatre are not our forte. Did you notice how we spelled “theatre?” We heard that’s the proper way to do it.  All of that being said, some productions get us dancing and we love us some Spamalot. Adapted from the hysterical 1975 film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this parody of the Arthurian legend has left many a crowd in stitches. Lucky for the folks in and around Sandusky, they now have the chance to join the aforementioned galley of laughter.

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Credit: Sandusky State Theatre

If you’ve been following along with It’s Always Ohio, you’ll know that we’re quite fond of Sandusky, Ohio and it seems like the revival of this old town continues to flourish. A Broadway musical? That’s big. For those who haven’t seen this original film this musical is based off of, well, I blow my nose at you! Trust us, you’ll get it later. But seriously, it’s one hilarious movie and the Broadway musical version is just as funny.

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Sandusky State Theatre Facebook

Aside from the actual show, the Sandusky State Theatre is something to behold in its own right.  A striking and beautiful historic landmark, the State, as locals refer to it, has been around since 1928 and is currently on track to be completely renovated for it’s 100th anniversary in 2028.

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Sandusky State Theatre Facebook

If it was us, we’d go ahead a book tickets for the show on Wednesday, Nov. 21st, so that we could hit up Volstead Bar for a proper old fashioned before the show. Just a suggestion. From there you could visit a number of fantastic restaurants around the area for post-show supper. Shore House Tavern, OH Taco and Crush Wine Bar are a few of our favorites.  Make a little night of it! All jokes aside, this is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss. Snag up some tickets before they’re gone, we heard they’re going fast. See you in Sandusky!

21687456_1675296602503298_8996168711295964590_nTickets range from $35-$68 and are available for purchase through the Sandusky State Theatre website here. Spamalot is presented by the Firelands Regional Medical Center.

Trade Plants, Meet Friends, Have Fun at the Barnes Nursery Houseplant Swap

A Peace Lily for a fern. How about a spider plant for a Zanzibar Gem? Or maybe you’re the Devil’s Ivy type? Whichever way you roll, chances are someone this weekend at the Barnes Nursery Houseplant Swap will show up with something green that you’ve just got to get your hands on. Us? We’re more of the succulent type.

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Now if you’ve never traveled to a plant swap before, you need to. So you’ll be a little green, no big deal. See what we did there? (Insert Laugh Here). Those boring old plants you’ve been staring at for the last two years might just spruce someone else’s house right up and vice versa. You’ve been warned however, it’s very easy to walk out of these things with a truck load of foliage.  Next thing you know your front room will be looking like a scene from Jurassic Park…although we’re not sure that’s a bad thing.  As long as it’s from the original, JP1, those new ones are ridiculous.

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Barnes Nursery, the folks behind this particular houseplant swap, have a pretty sweet setup as well. Located on 3511 West Cleveland Rd. on the outskirts of Huron, Ohio, their Huron Garden Center is stocked up with tons of greenery and super cool Fall goods. If you’ve got time, be sure to take a stroll through Sheldon’s Marsh Nature Preserve on the way out — An ideal spot for a crisp, autumn walk that’ll eventually lead you to the idyllic shores of Lake Erie.

Back to the swap. This Saturday, October 27th from 12pm – 4pm, the Barnes Nursery Houseplant Swap has zero entry free, but asks you to show up with at least one or several pest-free rooted indoor houseplants, either potted or bare root. You’ll also be rewarded with tasty vittles in the form of brick oven pizza, wine and craft beer. Sounds good to us, let’s have a plant party! RSVP details below — Head on down a bit.

Barnes

To RSVP to the swap, visit the Barnes Facebook pageBarnes Nursery’s website or call (419)-433-5525. Catch ya there fellow green thumbs.

Taco Takeover: The Best Taco Joints in Ohio

We’ve noticed, you’ve noticed, the whole midwest has noticed — It seems like tacos are taking over the food scene and that’s perfectly fine because we happen to love them.  Sweet, salty, savory, fresh, cheesy, melty…folks are doing everything you can imagine in a corn tortilla these days.  And with this delicious Mexican creation on the rise, we thought it’d only be fitting to give praise to these foldable morsels of heaven by etching out a list of our favorite tacos joints across Ohio.

Taco Bell — Everywhere — Just kidding! Admit it, you just got so upset for a second. Okay, let’s get serious.

Guerra’s Crazy TacoSpringfield — The gentleman behind this spot grows his own herbs and peppers and touts that “fresh” is of the utmost importance. You can certainly tell.  If you want to send your tastebuds on an epic journey, try the shrimp tacos or brisket smoked in house.

Guerra’s Crazy Taco Facebook

CondadoColumbus — Two words, Bubba Kush. Don’t let the odd name fool you, just like the rest of the tacos on the menu here, it’s legit.  It comes with a “Peezler” shell, which is a hard shell and soft shell combined, smoked cheddar, pulled pork, jicama, onions, pineapple salsa and jackfruit BBQ sauce.  Try and recite that entire line without getting all slobbery…impossible.  They also have a location in Pittsburgh, but we don’t care about that.

Condado’s Tacos Facebook

OH TacoSandusky — Oh, so you want a view of the Great Lakes while you’re munching on a delightful beer battered tilapia taco?  Well look at that, we’ve found a place for you! Albeit fairly new to the restaurant scene, OH Taco more than makes up for its young age with superb authentic Mexican street tacos and a unique atmosphere.  Connected to the wonderful boutique-style Hotel Kilbourne and its lobby bar dubbed Moseley’s, patrons here have more than enough choices of venue to go around.  Vegetarian?  Try the portabello taco with fire roasted poblano peppers for an explosion of south of the border flavor. Did we mention there’s a rooftop bar, too?

OH Taco Facebook

MomochoCleveland — With one in Lakewood and one in Ohio City, east side Clevelanders have it good…really good. This funky spot focuses on “Mod Mex” cuisine and does it well, and the particular part of that culinary style we’re interested in is the taquitos, or rolled tacos.  All taquitos come with five soft corn tortillas, whether it’s the outrageously tasty coffee + chili ancho braised brisket or the beef tongue pastrami.  Worried about that second one? Don’t be, it’s so good it’ll make you forget you’re eating tongue. Wash it all down with one of their signature flavored margaritas — We like to go for the Red Bell Pepper.

Momocho Facebook

Los Gauchos — Columbus — If you’re lucky enough to have already happened upon this local’s spot, then you also already know that the taco el pastor here is northing short of life changing. And if you haven’t found this place yet, go. Go now!  A perfect combination of slow-cooked marinated pork, cilantro, pineapple and onions served on two soft corn tortillas…you can’t see it, but the “s” on our keyboard has a little bit of drool on it.  Los Guachos has two locations, one in Columbus and another in Gahanna.

Los Guachos Facebook

MazuntaCincinnati — Steak? Fish? Pork? It really doesn’t matter what taco you decide to have at this place, they’re all melt-in-your-mouth good.  Just for extra measure though, try the pork tacos served with cotija cheese…absolutely ridiculous.  This small joint has a beach vibe that’s unlike anything you’ve most likely seen in the states and really makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Oaxaca.  On top of all of the goods, prices are very affordable.  Make sure to try the horchata, fresh chips and salsa bar as well.  You know what? Try everything, you won’t be disappointed.

Mazunte Facebook

Casa Nueva Restaurant & CantinaAthens — It’s true we have a soft spot of Athens and Casa falls right in line with what’s so good about this little southern Ohio town.  It’s just different.  Different and spectacular.  Owned by the workers, the foundation of this restaurant is vastly different from most — Want to leave a tip? They’ll take it, but instead of going in their pocket, it will be donated to a local Athens organization.  Make sure you come hungry though because the food here is abundant and the tacos are usually large. Also, keep the number of margaritas you have to a few, as they’re not your average. Wink, wink, they’re strong.  If you can swing it, stop in on a Wednesday, order the puerco pibil and then watch everyone look at you like you’re a local.

Casa Nueva Facebook

Have a favorite taco spot you think should be on this list?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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Lake Erie is for Wine Lovers

When thinking about wine in all it’s grapey magnificence, you can’t help but think about legendary regions of the country like Napa Valley or Sonoma, California…maybe even all the way across the pond in Bordeaux, France.  And that’s all well and good, but Ohio in it’s own right, has some really good wine, too.

The weather, mostly due to the fresh waters of Lake Erie, make this unique area of the country ideal for growing grapes.  While we’ve found that the sweeter wines tend to take precedence in the Heart of it All, the range of wines available is still quite impressive.  In turn, places like the Firelands Winery have been around for almost 140 years.  Did you see how we snuck that old Ohio tourism slogan in there? Course you did.

Since the first cellar of this historic winery was built in 1880, Firelands Winery has been taking advantage of this unique environment and harvesting their fruit from a place that enjoys a 200 day frost-free growing season, the Isle of St. George on the western basin of Lake Erie.  Our favorite? The Gewurztraminer — A sweet white with a passion fruit flavor and rose petal aroma.  Wow, we remembered how to spell it and took notes. Look at us!

Firelands Winery Facebook

And it’s not just Firelands that has been benefitting from this latitude and longitude.  In 1888 a man from Baden-Baden Germany (Say that three times fast), an area of that country known for it’s rich viticultural history, founded Heinemans Winery.  Located in the village of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, it has been producing fine wines for over 100 years.

As a bonus, especially if you go this weekend before it closes for the year, you can take a look at the Crystal Cave, the world’s largest geode.  Random we know, but awesome nonetheless. I mean where else are you going to see a three foot crystal?

Tasting tip: Go for the Lake Erie Pink Catawba pictured below.  It’s sweet, light pink in color as the name suggests and very easy to drink.  Just be careful, a bottle between two people goes down very quickly.  And by be careful, we mean order two bottles.

Since we’re focusing on wine, we’d be remiss not to mention one of our favorite island events, the Put-in-Bay Island Wine Festival.  Hop on the Miller Ferry on Saturday, October 7 and for just $6 you will get into the festival with a souvenir wine glass. Combine that with a $14/RT ferry ticket and you’re looking at a meager $20 total — Budget travel day! Of course to sample the more than 200 wines that are there, you’ll have to cough up $1 per ticket…how much is completely up to you, ya boozehound.

Heineman’s Winery Facebook

You can tell wine connoisseurs are starting to take notice of the region as well.  In the last decade newer wineries have been popping up like, well, grapes.  Quarry Hill Winery sits perched 834 feet above Berlin Heights, Ohio while the Paper Moon Vineyards nests in the historic harbor town of Vermillion, Ohio.

Quarry Hill Winery Facebook Page

While in Vermillion, be sure to visit the ludicrously delicious Wine Vault. With a newly renovated menu that’s focused more on a tapas style, it’s a refreshing style of nourishment. Try the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, lobster bisque and delicious cheese plates.  Not sure while we’re giving you ideas of what to order, all of it is tremendous. You’ll see.

Wine Vault Facebook Page

So next time you’d like to hit the wine trail, skip the expensive plane tickets and head north.  France and California will always be there.

Have some other recommendations regarding wineries around Lake Erie? Let us know in the comment section or by tweeting @itsalwaysohio!

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These 8 Pizza Places in Ohio Will Melt Your Buds

These circular, sometimes square or rectangular cheesy pies from heaven are what we imagine the ancient Greek gods would eat.  Or wait, maybe Italian gods.  You understand what we’re getting at.  Pizza is life, which is why we’re here to give you our suggestions when it comes to finding this wonderful sustenance in the state of Ohio.

Cameo PizzaSandusky – Family owned and operated since 1936, this iconic Sandusky, Ohio establishment has been making pizza their way for a long, long time.  Talk to anyone from this boating town about pizza and you’ll immediately be inundated about why pizza should be cut in strips and not triangles — That’s Cameo’s doing.  Recently updated with an outdoor patio, new front facade and upstairs area called TopSide, Cameo is truly a staple on the north coast. Whether you’re riding rollercoasters at Cedar Point, island hopping or just cruising around Sandusky, it’s a must-visit. Need a place to stay? Check out one of our favorites, the rooftop-bar-equipped Hotel Kilbourne.

Cameo Pizza Facebook

Avalanche PizzaAthens – Turn around and head far south to the home of Ohio University and you’ll find Avalanche Pizza, which is home to some phenomenal creations like the Veggie Garden and the K-2.  Really want to go big? Try the pizza that won “Best Pizza in the USA” at the World Pizza Championship in Saggiamore, Italy — The Godzilla.

Avalanche Pizza Facebook

Harvest PizzariaColumbus – While this operation has three spots all around Columbus, we’ve only tried Harvest right next to Curio, a high-end cocktail bar we also thoroughly enjoyed. Striving to use only the finest, locally sourced ingredients, Harvest puts out some unbelievably tasty pies.  Somehow both crispy and chewy, yet thin enough to hold all of the toppings, their crust is the real deal — Almost positive you could eat it with zero toppings.  Please however, add toppings.  Three words: Ohio Double Bacon.

Harvest Pizzeria Facebook

Coccia HouseWooster – Upon first glance, the Coccia House looks like a personal residence masquerading as a restaurant and that’s because, well, it is. Back in 1958, Domenica “Minnie” Coccia did just that, turned her home into an Italian restaurant. This old school gem, aside from a few additions, hasn’t changed much and that’s a great thing. Truth be told, this place is so cool that the pizza tasting fantastic was just a bonus — And if you don’t believe us, this stuff is so good, they have shipped it all over the world to places like Papa New Guinea and Iraq.  Want to look like a Wooster local?  Order the Pepperoni Bread that’s not on the menu.

Coccia House Facebook

A TavolaCincinnati – This innovative, communal gathering spot meant to replicate an Italian Trattoria started in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and has since then expanded to the suburbs in Madeira, and that’s for good reason: This place is just cool.  From the atmosphere and vibe to the thing that we’re here to talk about, pizza.  I mean, the pizza oven apparently came from Naples, Italy, so there’s that.  Do we even need to say more? Seriously though, it’s quite possible the best Neapolitan Thin Crust Pizza we’ve ever had, and that’s something.

A Tavola Pizza Facebook

Frosty BarPut-in-Bay – There’s something about pizza on an island, we’ll admit that.  Simply, yet delicious, the pizza at Frosty Bar isn’t going to knock your socks off the first time you have it, but we’ll guarantee you’ll want more.  Perhaps that’s partly because of our affinity for this island, but it’s mostly about the sweet, tomatoey goodness that’s stealthily hidden underneath a thick of layer of melty cheese. Is there better pizza around? Maybe. Is any of that pizza on Put-in-Bay? Probably not. Need to get over to the island on a budget? Check out the Miller Ferry where the R/T tickets are a mere $14.

Frosty Bar Facebook

Scotti’s Italian EateryCleveland – We’re going to keep this short, mainly because we’re still out of breath from attacking the Meat Lover’s pizza here.  Ready for this?  A huge piece of pie with pepperoni, ham, salami, bacon, chicken sausage, meatballs, house Italian sausage and ridiculously thin sheets of prosciutto. Game. Set. Match. Scotti’s – 1. It’s Always Ohio – 0.

Scotti’s Italian Eatery Facebook

Marion’s PizzaDayton – For 52 years, Marion’s has been firing out delicious, handmade pizza.  With nine locations, this Dayton staple has expanded, yet stayed true to its values by serving the same “Dayton-style” thin crust pizza that’s cut into squares, instead of slices. Lightly cheesed, heavy on the toppings and just the perfect sized square so that you can just keep popping them in your mouth. Feeling a bit wild? Try their Super Cheese…it’s exactly what you’re imagining.

Marion’s Pizza Facebook

As we say, listing our favorites is always tough because there are so many choices out there. We could’ve easily thrown Bar Cento in Cleveland on there or even thrown a shout out to the legendary Myle’s Pizza in Bowling Green — R.I.P.

Have a favorite pizza place in Ohio that you think is the best? Let us know!

 

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5 Things in Ohio She’ll Love on Mother’s Day

It’s pretty simple, you owe a lot to your mother.  It’s not really up for debate, she was the one who created you — Literally.  And that’s no offense to dad, because clearly he played a very important role, but let’s be honest…she had it a little bit tougher don’t you think?  It’s for this reason among a litany of others that you should probably think about doing something special this Sunday.  Luckily for all us Ohio residents, there’s no shortage of fun and unique things to do.  While there’s way, way more than five, we’re going to give you just a few of the activities we like best.

Annual Mother’s Day Tea at The Culinary Vegetable Institute — If you haven’t already been, Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to visit this Ohio gem.  Highly renowned chef’s from all over the world gather here to focus on how they can benefit from the unique, sustainable vegetables grown right here in Ohio.  What’s that mean?  Super tasty food is what we’re guessing and that’s awesome because mom loves food and when you take her to the serene setting of the Chef’s Garden, she’ll love you forever (Even though she already does).  At the Mother’s Day Tea event you’ll sip on sumptuous tea while enjoying a lavish spread of decadent sweets and savory offering with a contemporary twist amidst a rustic, springtime decor.  Enjoy!

Culinary Vegetable Institute Facebook

Take the Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay for a Day — Our affinity for Put-in-Bay has already been well documented, which is precisely why we think you should take your mother there.  She’ll not only appreciate a tasty lunch at the Reel Bar or maybe even a quick adult beverage at the Round House, but really enjoy the zen-like ride aboard the Miller Ferry on the way over.  At about 20 minutes long, it’s the perfect time to chart your own course for the day and chat about how much you appreciate everything she does.  Pro Mom Tip: Grab a golf cart from E’s after sauntering up the hill and head out out Scheef Park for some alternate island perspective.

Explore the New Hiking Trails at Hocking Hills State Park — From up north at Put-in-Bay to down south at Hocking Hills, we’re all over the place and we know it.  It’s fine though, just hop in the car and drive…nowhere in Ohio is that far.  Especially when we’re talking about this place because it’s 100% worth this trip.  They’ve also just opened a two new beautiful trail systems, something they haven’t done in 50 years.  One of which will take you to the second-largest cave in Ohio.  So you can help navigate your way to the freshly cut trails when you arrive, look for the names Whispering Cave and Hemlock — the two new monikers for the bridge trails connecting to the Old Man Trail System. Since we let you in on this cool news, all we ask is that you take pictures and share with us.  Sound good?  Perfect.

Unplug and Create Scented Soy Candles at Manitou Candle Co. — So, this place is seriously cool and your mom will not just like it, she’ll love it.  This mellow, yet somehow vibrant space in the Columbia Tusculum neighborhood of Cincinnati is the perfect spot to shut off your phone and just do something different.  Not only will your learn the art of making scented soy candles at Manitou, but leave with some really unique tangible memories.  Learn well and smell good my friends.

Manitou Candles Facebook

Explore a Small Town — Honestly, this one is tough because Ohio is chock full of really unique small towns.  So instead of focusing on just one, we’ll rattle off a few.  Yellow Springs is easily one of our favorites and it’s not just because Dave Chapelle lives there.  This cute town has a super mellow, almost hippy vibe that we really dig.  Stroll downtown and visit Dark Star Books, Dino’s Coffee Shop or the Yellow Springs Brewery.  Next up, Wooster.  We’ve talked about this one before, but it’s definitely worth a revisit.  Bustling with energy and what seems like a new restaurant opening every few months, this charming town is perfect for a day visit with mom.  Our recommendations?  Lunch at the newly renovated Spoon Market & Deli followed up by coffee and Hungarian pastries at Tulipan.  If you feel like you need more time, stay in lavish quarters of the St. Paul Hotel, which just added new four new rooms for added vacancy.  And last but not least, Oberlin.  Of course you kind of have to hit up the Frank Lloyd House, because it’s the Frank Lloyd House.  You’re going to want to grab your bike as well — Oberlin’s numerous bike trails lend perfectly to this mode of transportation. Where to eat?  Try the Italian Hash N’ Eggs for brunch or The Feve Burger with pickled jalapeno at The Feve.  Anything that’s pickled is fantastic.  You can take that to the bank.

Spoon Market and Deli Facebook

Have something you’d like to add to this list?  Let us know!

PS. We love you mom.

Beer Class is the Best Class – Beer Exploration Society at Ohio Beer Garden

Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz afterwards.  However, we do have two questions for you.  Do you like beer and do you like learning about beer?  If you’ve answered yes to both of those, then Ohio Beer Garden’s Beer Exploration Society is for you.

Speaking of beer, it’s no mystery that we at It’s Always Ohio like beer…and in fact, we like learning about beer.  The Rail and Ohio Beer Garden have this sweet little class dubbed the “Beer Exploration Society,” which is exactly as it sounds.  Top breweries from around Ohio come in, produce an awesome lineup of new beers, pour them for everyone and then chat about what makes them so tasty.

The Rail Facebook

One session has us particularly fired up this month and that’s because one of our favorites, Market Garden Brewery, is rolling in to the Ohio Beer Garden on April 19th with a ton of awesome brews.  They’ll be featuring Hellamango IPA, Prosperity Wheat, Citramax IPA and Progress Pilsner.

Ohio Beer Garden Facebook

We’re not sure about you, but we’re getting a little thirsty just looking at those bottles.  If you’ve never been to a Beer Class yet, the cost is a meager $12/person and with that you get plenty of beer tasters and appetizers to go along.  The easiest way to book a seat is by calling (440) – 979 – 1001.

If you can’t make it to the Ohio Beer Garden on April 19th for Market Garden, there are three others you can meander to:

  • Beer Exploration Society at The Rail Strongsville – Jackie O’s Brewery
    • Thursday, April, 20th @ 6:00 pm
  • Beer Exploration Society at The Rail Canton – Columbus Brewing Co.
    • Thursday, April 27th @ 6:00 pm & 7:30 pm
  • Beer Exploration Society at The Rail Fairlawn – Four String Brewing Co.
    • Thursday,  April 27th @ 7:00 pm

Ohio Beer Garden Facebook

For more information you can visit www.therailburger.com or www.ohiobeergarden.com.  You can follow along on Twitter @TheRailBurger & @ohiobeergarden.  Side note: Looking for a ridiculously tasty Certified Angus all-Ohio steak? Check out City Square Steakhouse, their sister restaurant in Wooster, Ohio.

Cheers!

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