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Put-in-Bay’s First Music Festival Looks Awesome and You Should Go

Once in a while you’ll find two things that go together to form a perfect, harmonious balance otherwise unseen in ordinary combinations.  Ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, Jordan and Pippen…we all know the classics.  One such marriage, one we consider to be among the classics, is Put-in-Bay, Ohio and music.  The two have always worked together, delighting locals and visitors alike with tunes from fantastic bands hailing from all across the country.  This is why when we found out that the already live music-laden island will be putting on the inaugural Put-in-Bay Music Festival, we were stoked.

Some of the best parts about the festival?  Just a $7 ticket on the Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay gets you in and once you’re in, the fest takes place in front of one of the most picturesque backdrops on all of South Bass Island — Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial.

In true Perry’s Victory style, the Put-in-Bay Music Festival is all about two other things that go very well together, peace and music.

Seven stellar bands will perform including the Flyin’ Jays, Emily Keener from The Voice, MC Bob Gatewood, JP and the Chatfield Boys, Mo ‘Mojo, Strung Like a Horse and the Floorwalkers. Legendary performer Pat Dailey just recently agreed to perform his new song during the day-long festival.

The music line up is tentatively set (times are approximate and subject to change):

11:15am – Flyin’ Jays

12:15pm – Emily Keener

1:15pm – Bob Gatewood

2:00pm – JP and the Chatfield Boys

3:15pm – Mo ‘Mojo

4:15pm – Pat Dailey

5:00pm – Strung Like a Horse

6:45pm – Floorwalkers

Free music workshops will be given during the day. Mo ‘Mojo will give a workshop on zydeco dance, and a second on drumming. Islander Dick McCarthy will also give two workshops on playing the ukulele, one for beginners and a second for those with some experience. There will also be a “Guitar Hero” competition in the workshop tent.  There will also be two cornhole tournaments, so bring your “A” game.

To plan your island visit to the June 10 Put-in-Bay Music Festival check out the following websites; pibmusicfest.com, millerferry.com, & visitputinbay.com.

Want more music? Toby Keith is performing at Put-in-Bay on Thursday, August 31.  Thats right, Toby Keith. Well played PIB, well played.  More details soon…

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Free Ride to Put-in-Bay? Miller Ferry Salutes Active Military & Veterans

As if there wasn’t enough reason to take a trip over to Put-in-Bay already, Miller Ferry is saluting the U.S. military by offering up a pretty sweet deal.  And by pretty sweet, we mean FREE!  Active U.S. Military Personnel and American Veterans are invited to ride aboard Miller Ferry at no charge Saturday, May 27 through Memorial Day, May 29.  Miller Ferry asks that Military Personnel and Veterans identify themselves at the ticket booth to obtain free passenger ferry passage.

After getting over to the island without paying a dime, the savings continue.  While we’d like to give a nice description of each place that’s giving a discount, we’re going to be completely honest here, we don’t have enough time and you’d stop reading — It’s so, so many places.  So instead, we’ll just list them. Below are valid from:

Saturday, May 27 through Memorial Monday, May 29

Boardwalk Main & Upper Deck 10% off any food item (does not include alcohol).
Cameo Pizza $2.00 off a large and $1.00 off a medium pizza.
Candy Bar 10% discount.
Carriage House Gift Shop 20% discount.
Chicken Patio $5.00 off a chicken dinner.
Country House Gifts 10% discount.
Dairy Isle
10% off any food item.
E’s Golf Carts
 $5.00 off daily cart rental.
Heineman’s Winery 50% off combo tours. Pay only $4.00 for a winery tour, cave tour and a glass of wine or juice.
Hooligan’s 10% off any food item (does not include alcohol) .
Island Bike & Cart Rental $5.00 off daily golf cart rental.
J.F. Walleye’s (Middle Bass Island) 50% off vacation rentals, golf cart rental and breakfast buffet.
Lime Kiln Bus free transportation & $1.00 off for adult family members.
Miller Ferry free transportation to Put-in-Bay or Middle Bass Island.
Park Hotel Golf Cart Rental $5.00 off cart rental (day rate only).
Pasquale’s Cafe 25% off mean (does not include alcohol).
Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center free admission to Perry’s Cave & $1.00 off for adult family members.
Put-in-Bay Brewing Company Free souvenir pint glass with any purchase.
Put-in-Bay Surf Shop 25% discount.
Put-in-Bay Tour Train free tour & $1.00 off for adult family members.
Reel Bar 20% off total food bill (does not include alcohol).
T & J’s Smokehouse 15% total off food bill (does not include alcohol).
The Bucket Shop 10% discount.
The Butterfly House free admission & $1.00 off for adult family members.
The Keys 10% off any food item (does not include alcohol).

Memorial Day Only – Monday, May 29

Boardwalk Main & Upper Deck Free bowl (one) of lobster bisque.
Mossbacks
 50% off any food item.

We were right, right?  So many discounts.  For more information visit www.millerferry.com. We’ll see you on the island!

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.

Sandusky, Ohio Has a Boutique Hotel? 

We’re just as surprised as you.  If you had the chance to read our “Sandusky is Shedding the Rust and Quietly Becoming Awesome” post, you’d have seen that we technically knew it was coming, so I guess we can’t be all that surprised.  It’s just that seeing it in person and talking about it are two very different things. This is the kind of stuff you see in larger, hipper towns like Austin, Texas or Cleveland, not Sandusky, Ohio.  We’re not talking a Red Roof Inn right off the highway.  We’re talking about a legitimate local hotel opened by legitimate locals.  But then again, Sandusky really is becoming awesome.  Or better yet, it IS awesome.

The Hotel Kilbourne is the product of two local visionaries by the name of Ryan Whaley and Nikki Lloyd.  The couple’s ideas first came together in the form of a 1930’s themed speakeasy just down the street from the hotel dubbed Volstead Bar.  Specializing in booze forward old school cocktails, the joint is definitely something usually reserved for larger cities, much like the aforementioned hotel.

front-of-hotel-kilbourne

So, first things first.  You’re probably wondering where the name came from and the answer is quite interesting.  Hector Kilbourne, a Freemason and the surveyor who created the original plat of Sandusky in 1816 back when the town was called Portland, laid out the streets to form the Masonic emblem.  If you’ve ever spent much time driving around Sandusky, he’s the one to blame for all the weird angles.  Thanks Hector.  Onto the hotel itself.

Located in the center of Sandusky’s entertainment district, The Hotel Kilbourne is ideally situated just steps away from the city’s best amenities.  See a show at the beautiful Sandusky State Theatre, pop into Small City Taphouse for some sushi and craft beer or slide into hearth tavern for a wood fired pizza.  Or you could just walk around and take let your eyeballs feast on stuff like this…

freighter-sandusky-ohio

The hotel itself is comprised of nine modern, deluxe rooms.  Visitors staying the night will have their choice of a luxury city view, luxury lake view or penthouse suite.  Along with boasting a spacious living area, the penthouse suite has a nifty Murphy bed that folds up into the wall, making it a unique room perfect for hosting small events as well.

room-poster-hotel-kilbourne

This place is seriously cool and you get that sense when you walk into he lobby.  Simple with clean lines everywhere, yet elegant enough to know you’re in for a luxurious stay.  The cucumber infused water is a nice touch as well.

A lot of the facets built into the hotel rooms were meant not only to create a unique space, but preserve the historic integrity that’s so important to many of those who grew up around the area.  Like these beams for example, which have been kept during the gutting process and repurposed inside a few of the rooms.

beam-hotel-kilbourne-ohio

Now to the bathrooms, which if you’re like me, have to be solid.  You’ll first notice the size, which is more than ample.  Beautiful tiled floors lead into showers that are big enough to fit a party of 10.  Quit snickering, we’re not insinuating anything.  They’re just very spacious.  The showers also come equipped with rain style shower heads, which unfortunately, is going to run you about $150 and a trip to Home Depot when you immediately realize it’s missing from your personal bathroom.

bathroom-hotel-kilbourne

rain-shower-head-kilbourneMore bathroom stuff, because we like bathroom stuff — This place has Molton Brown soaps.  If you’ve never heard of them, it’s pretty much body cleansing heaven.  Blended in England, it’s clear these folks like smelling good and lucky for visitor’s of the Hotel Kilbourne, you’ll come out smelling like Tom Brady.

Oh yes, did we mention this place had two bars?  One of them being a rooftop scenario?  On the lobby floor through one set of glass doors you’ll find Moseley’s Public House.  A great spot with and small patio and glass doors that supply patrons with a panoramic view of Jackson Street Pier on Sandusky Bay.  We dig the vibe in there as well —  Upscale enough that you feel like you’re fairly important, but just mellow enough so you watch an Indians game and not feel like you need turn up your nose.  A carefully thought out selection of wines fits perfectly next to a few select cocktails and of course all of the assumed accoutrements of a nicely stocked lounge.

moseleys-public-house

While the lobby bar is open seven days of a week, Moseley’s Rooftop Bar is only Friday – Sunday, weather dependent and usually closes around ten to not wake the tenants, so be swift on your fourth floor voyage.  Once you’re up there however, the place offers up a spectacular view of Sandusky Bay and the surrounding Lake Erie region.  Be sure to grab yourself a Modelo Especial on draught, as they’re only $3.00.

rooftop

So if you need a good night’s sleep before hitting Put-in-Bay, staying for a Cedar Point weekend or just simply just in town for a drink, check this place out.  You’ll see just exactly why we’re so stoked on Sandusky, Ohio.

Fall Getaways – These Small Ohio Lake Erie Towns Have Some Serious Color

While it’s true places like The Catskills in New York and The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee have some truly legendary fall foliage, Ohio’s certainly no slouch when it comes to proudly displaying autumn’s complexion.  Whether it’s the rolling reds of Hocking Hills, the searing oranges of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park or the blazing yellows of Wooster’s tree lined streets, we Ohioans have it pretty good.

That being said, sometimes it’s nice to venture a little off-the-beaten path to a few lesser-known locales.  A few spots where the tepid waters of Lake Erie provide the perfect canvas for fall’s burst of chroma. Or just maybe, if you’re feeling wild, even put an island in your life.  So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at some small towns on Lake Erie who’s true colors may surprise you a bit.

Huron, Ohio:  Just past the edge of Sandusky in the town of Huron, Ohio, the contiguous wetlands of Sheldon’s Marsh State Nature Preserve are most frequented during the spring, due large in part to a bird migration that attracts nearly 300 species.  However, that’s not why we’re here.  We’re here because of this…look below.  A one-mile paved trail will take you to Lake Erie’s edge and hopefully, if you time it right, give you this type of photo opp.

Huron, Ohio - Sheldon's Marsh State Park Nature Preserve
Walking Path @ Sheldon’s Marsh

Local’s Tip: If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat and don’t mind driving an extra five minutes, try the Sand Bar.  It may look like an unassuming diner, but the food is terrific and the service is excellent. Go for the pizza.

A bit further up the lakeshore in Huron, Ohio
A bit further up the lakeshore in Huron, Ohio

Sandusky, Ohio: The renaissance-minded town not only has Cedar Point, home of the extremely popular Halloweekends, but a downtown historic district that is seriously booming and a ton of lookout points to scope the beautiful fall colors surrounding Sandusky Bay.  This particular spot, and yes we could’ve picked a better photo that actually showed leave’s color (the sunset is worth it don’t you think?), is called Shoreline Park.

An early fall sunset at Shoreline Park in Sandusky, Ohio
An early fall sunset at Shoreline Park in Sandusky, Ohio

Local’s Tip: Sandusky’s restaurant and bar scene has exploded over the last 5-7 years, which is great news for anyone visiting for the night.  Try the Volstead Bar for a 30’s style speakeasy cocktail or Small City Taphouse for authentic Vietnamese Cuisine, sushi and 50+ beers on tap.  Looking to stay overnight?  Hotel Kilbourne, a 9-room luxury boutique hotel, just opened and features Sandusky’s first-ever rooftop bar, Moseley’s Public House.

Moseley's Public House & Rooftop Bar @ Hotel Kilbourne
Moseley’s Public House & Rooftop Bar @ Hotel Kilbourne

Vermilion, Ohio: This quaint harbor town sits directly on Lake Erie and the Vermilion River, making it ideal for boaters and almost feels New Englandly.  Don’t bother looking that up, it’s not a word.  Vermilion’s waterborne location also makes it an awesome spot for scoping fall colors — Everything downtown is also within walking distance.  So park your car, pop down to Main St. Beach and start snapping photos.

On the Vermilion River
On the Vermilion River

Local’s Tip:  Woodstock Cafe, a colorful spot focused on local sustainability, is a great place to grab a coffee and gourmet sandwich — Great selection of craft beer as well, if you’re into that sort of thing.  We are.

Standing on Main Street Beach in Vermilion, Ohio
Standing on Main Street Beach in Vermilion, Ohio

Put-in-Bay, Ohio:  Yes, this legendary island is home to a bevy of taverns and pubs, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Put-in-Bay has a sneaky good outdoorsy side and is absolutely beautiful pretty much any time of the year, especially in the fall.  Combine this unique location on the western basin of Lake Erie with events like the Island Wine Festival and Put-in-Bay Oktoberfest and boom, there’s no reason you shouldn’t go.

Photo courtesy of Miller Ferry Facebook Page
Photo courtesy of Miller Ferry Facebook Page

Travel Tip:  The Miller Ferry, the easiest and most affordable transportation to the islands, is just $14 RT per person.  You should probably take your dog too, since they ride for free.  You’re welcome Fido.

Photo Courtesy of Miller Ferry Facebook Page
Photo Courtesy of Miller Ferry Facebook Page

Marblehead, Ohio: On your way to the Miller Ferry, you should probably stop off to see one of Lake Erie’s most iconic landmarks.  Marblehead Lighthouse is not only the region’s most photographed spots, but is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the United States side of the Great Lakes.  From the rocky headlands of Marblehead Peninsula you can look out and see Kelleys Island, Put-in-Bay and the rollercoaster-laden skyline of Cedar Point.  And while the Lighthouse gets a lot of the attention, the town of Marblehead itself is gorgeous.

Local’s Tip:  If you’re looking to spend the night or even just visit a unique winery, the Redfern Inn at Rocky Point Winery is the perfect spot.  Guests here have access to bicycles, a private lounge on the grounds of the winery and several fires pits with gorgeous views of the lake.

Marblehead Lighthouse
Marblehead Lighthouse

Have another Lake Erie town you’d like to add?  We know there’s more, these just happen to be the one’s we frequented last year.

9 Ohio Instagram Users That Will Make You Drool

It’s right here we usually like to include a little set up for the story, but not this time.  It’s right to to the meat and potatoes.  Quick word of warning however, do not read this on an empty stomach.  It’s like that feeling you get when you’ve chewed gum whilst hungry multiplied by 43.

@clefoodies — Food Tour Curator Tricia McCune is all about eating/supporting local and lucky for her, Cleveland has a ton of eclectic options.  And lucky for us, she makes all those options look ridiculously good.

CleFoodies

@smashingtoledo — First off all, it’s one of the best Instagram food related names ever.  Who doesn’t love to smash food now and again?  Or for that matter, smash food all the time.  Mouth watering tamales, pastrami piled so high you can’t see over it.  Keep smashing guys.  We’ll  keep following.

smashingtoledo

@cincyeats — While we do like smashing food, sometimes we like to take our time, clean up after ourselves and make appropriate use of our napkins.  These clean, crisp, neatly procured photos of food make us want to head right down to the Queen City for a proper meal.  Maybe finish things off with a nice beer from Rhinegeist.

cincyeats

@therailburger — Can’t.  Stop.  Looking.  At.  Burgers.  No seriously, it’s hard.  We have a cheesy soft spot for meticulously crafted burgers.  Plus The Rail is All-Ohio, all at the time and we like that because we are too.

TheRailBurger

@jenisicecreams — Anyone who uses “superlative” ingredients to make ice cream is alright in our book.  Honestly though, there’s ice cream and then there’s ice cream.  Jeni’s is clearly the latter if you get our drift.  Atlantic Beach Pie — Sweet cream ice cream swirled with homemade lemon pudding and buttery saltine cracker gravel.  Just stop it.

JenisIceCreams

@catawbaislandorchard — You don’t need to be American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz to find this place, although I guess it helps because they were just there.  Owner Nikolai Blumensaadt and his crew are almost as good at taking pictures as they are at creating tasty, eclectic dishes.  Word on the street is he’s opened two more adjoining restaurants as well.  Portage Room at The Island House and Lago Mexican Kitchen.  Yeah, we’re pretty stoked.

CatawbaIslandOrchard

@frostedandfried — You had us at frosted.  You kept us at fried.  This dreamy Instagram account isn’t exactly for health nuts, but then again if you don’t like a doughnut right next to your chicken wings that what are we doing here?

frostedandfried

@meltbargrilled — You know what makes food taste good?  Cheese.  You know what makes pictures look good?  Cheese.  Heads up, don’t lick the screen in hopes of tasting said cheese.  It doesn’t work, we tried.

MeltBarGrilled

@theporkchopshop — Holy meats. From Cinnamon Chipotle Bacon to Barbacoa Chops, these Westside Market Butcher Babes are as well versed in pigs as Lebron James is in dunking on Golden State Warriors.  This Instagram page is truly beautiful…vegans, stay away at all costs.

theporkchopshop

We know there’s a huge amount of other saliva inducing Instagram accounts out there in Ohio, so if you have one mind please feel free to share!

General Patton’s Historic Personal Yacht Coming to Put-in-Bay, Ohio July 4th Weekend

 

Those looking for a once in a lifetime ride aboard an iconic  vessel need look no further than Lake Erie.  This Fourth of July weekend the stunning schooner When and If, General Patton’s personal yacht, will tie up at Put-in-Bay where it will be available for day sails Friday, July 1 – Monday, July 4.

When and If @ Sunset

 

The When and If will dock at the C-Dock outer wall in Put-in-Bay harbor and hold approximately 4 sails per day, ending with a fireworks sail the night of the island’s spectacular pyrotechnics display.

At 63 feet and 5 inches in length, the John Alden designed schooner was built in 1939 for then Colonel General George S. Patton and his wife, Bea.  With another world war looming on the horizon, Patton’s plan was to sail the schooner should he survive his service abroad, then stating “When the war is over, and if I live through it, Bea and I are going to sail her around the world.”

When and If on a Clear Day

Long after the General’s untimely death in 1945, the When and If sailed on and was maintained in impeccable condition, remaining in the Patton family until 1972 until it was gifted to the Landmark school in Massachusetts where she was the centerpiece of a sail training program for dyslexic children.

Crew WorkingAfter a bad storm drove her onto the rocks causing severe damage, albeit not structural, the When and If passed back into private ownership and was painstakingly rebuilt — However it wasn’t until 17 years later in 2012 when the schooner was fully returned to all her glory.

Day Sails will last approximately 90 minutes and cost $65/person, apart from the Fireworks Sail on July, 4th which will cost $150/person.

The historic schooner yacht When and If will arrive at Put-in-Bay on Friday, July 1, 2016.  For additional information When and If Aerialplease visit the event’s FaceBook page or purchase tickets through TicketFly.

For the quickest and most affordable transportation to the islands visit www.millerferry.com.

6 Ohio Burgers That Will Melt Your Tastebuds Right Off

(Fair warning, there’s a Game of Thrones spoiler below.  In a burger article though? I know, weird).

Okay okay, they won’t actually melt your tastebuds off, but they will leave a lasting impression on them.  Supremely glorious in all their beefy splendor, these carefully crafted creations will have you kneeling to the Burgered God…I apologize for that, ever since Jon Snow was resurrected Game of Thrones references just kind of slip right out.

In all seriousness though, Ohio’s burger game is strong and these six are no exception.  They’re actually at the top of that game.

 

The RailCleveland/Akron

Lamb Burger

It’s not like you have to say much after looking at this photo, but try to imagine the feeling you’d get if the Cleveland Browns won the Super Bowl.  That’s pretty much what the first bite feels like. You know what I’m talking about Browns fans.  The Rail traded up for a first round pick on this one and didn’t select Johnny Football, but more like Russell Wilson.  50/50 all-Ohio lamb, fresh mozzarella, cucumber dill sauce, sautéed peppers & onions, lettuce and tomato — A perfect balance of succulent, sweet and cool.

One of the best parts about The Rail?  You can rest assured almost everything you’re munching on comes from Ohio.  Beer included.  Extra tip: Mike Mariola, owner of said establishment, has another delectable spot in Wooster, Ohio called City Square Steakhouse.  Melt-in-your-mouth type of steak situation.  Seriously.

(Update) – If you enjoy a nice craft beer and let’s be honest, one can’t have enough places to slug down hoppy beverages, check out the Ohio Beer Garden.  Their monthly Beer Exploration Society meetings bring in Ohio brewers that shell out fresh information and beer.  Pro tip: Snag the pretzel bites with your beer, you won’t regret it.

The Rail Lamb Burger
Photo Courtesy of The Rail

Manny’s Sports TavernSandusky

Beer Cheese Burger

Cedar Point, Put-in-Bay, Lake Erie.  All great reasons to make your way to Ohio’s north coast, but I’ve found another.  Cruising north on Rt. 250 just after Kalahari on your left you’ll come across an unassuming building stamped “Manny’s Sports Tavern.”  Do yourself a favor, pull off the road and walk in.  To be fair all of their food is fantastic; however, their burgers are off the charts, particularly the Beer Cheese Burger.  Reserved as a special, this delightfully cheesy beef bomb is all about timing.  Although I bet they might make it for you if you ask nicely.  One can hope.

Beer cheese, bacon and fried portobello mushrooms is all I have to say.  Mic drop.

Manny's Beer Cheese
Manny’s Beer Cheese Burger

The Thurman Cafe – Columbus

Thurman Burger

After careful consideration I decided not to include a photo of the Thurman Burger, it’s simply too dangerous.  This meaty monstrosity may just ruin your dinner, following day’s breakfast and lunch solely by catching a glimpse on the intranets.  Almost world renowned at this point, the description reads like a short novel.  Bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers, 12-ounce burger, bacon, cheddar, another 12-ounce burger, sautéed mushrooms & onions, ham, mozzarella & American cheese and a top bun.  Okay my fingers are tired.  Just a heads up, make sure to split this work of art with at least one other person.  Or two, or three.  You get the gist.

ThurmanCafe
Photo Courtesy of Thurman Cafe FaceBook Page

Voltzy’s Root Beer Stande – Dayton

Hog Burger

“You going to stand there all day?” is what you might hear if the owner Rick Volz deems your burger order procedure sub-par.  Slinging insults and jokes as if he owns the place, the colorful proprietor cooks every burger to perfection himself and after tasting one, you’ll see why his slights are worth taking.  While the sliders are certainly on the burger bucket list, not to mention perfect traveling companions, The Hog deserves some kind of sparkly cheese crown.  20 ounces with double cheese and double onions, there’s a good chance that this thing will punch whatever vegetables you have in your stomach right in the mouth.

There would be a photo to accompany this, but I was afraid to take my phone out for fear of getting kicked out.  Just teasing, it was a long time ago and I still had a flip phone.  Google it!

 

G & R Tavern – Waldo

Bologna Sandwich

Let’s address it right off the bat.  You are all correct, this is not a burger.  But you know what?  It sure resembles one and that’s good enough for me.  They might as well call it a Bologna Burger, because that’s precisely what it is.  This rule breaker has burger written all over it.  3/4 inch thick bologna that looks like it came from an overzealous butcher, melty monterey jack cheese, sweet pickles and onion make this G &R’s opus.  A garlicky production brought down to us from the cosmos meant to achieve one sole purpose: Satisfaction.  Okay, maybe indigestion too.  But it’s oh so worth it.

G&R Bologna
Photo Courtesy of G & R FaceBook Page

Terry’s Turf Club – Cincinnati

Apparently All of Them

Honestly I’ve never been here, but that’s not going to stop me from putting Terry’s on my list because it’s on good authority that this place has the absolute juiciest, most savory burgers in Cincinnati.  A bewildered, food crazy friend who frequents Cincy recently said this over the phone fresh off a visit. “I’m dead serious, it’s ridiculous.  Imagine a unicorn and a cow had a baby and that baby was a burger.  And that burger was covered in edible diamonds.”  Oddly enough the edible diamond part was the only thing I found weird.

Anyhow, the burger in question was one with a burgundy mushroom sauce and swiss cheese.  Needless to say a trip to Cincy is in my near future.  He also mentioned there’s a lot of neon signs and that it’s a dive bar.  Bonus.

Terry's Turf Club
Photo Courtesy of Terry’s Turf Club FaceBook Page

No doubt I’ve missed a ton and even had to omit some other burgers that are amazing, but if you have any suggestions please share below or on Twitter @ItsAlwaysOhio.

Hey Fellas, Here’s a Few Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

No doubt you’ve seen a few Valentines’s Day posts pop up in your FaceBook feed a month or two ago, yet dismissed them with a procrastination that’s unfortunately present in most of us.  This is precisely why I decided to come up with a few ideas four measly days before because let’s face it, we’ve all waited until now anyway.

Fly by the seat of your pants and road trip to an event

Chocolate Daze 2016 — Wooster, Ohio

Celebrate your last minute creativity and pop on down to Wooster, Ohio for their 10th annual Chocolate Daze.  Since this event runs from Friday, February 12 to Saturday, February 13, you’ll really have to beat feet.  The event showcases 25+ merchants offering up confectionary specials during their regular business hours.  And as a bonus you get to explore the streets of Wooster, which are undeniably sweet.

DTWoo
Credit Main Street Wooster

Columbus Symphony — Columbus, Ohio

Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to involve chocolate and wine.  How about the tasty tunes of a Los Angeles-based Journey tribute band collaborating with the Columbus Symphony?  Time-defying power ballads are always romantic, especially “Faithfully.”  Showtime is 8:00 pm on Saturday and tickets range from $25 – $68.

 

Dinner with a twist or just a very good dinner

Punch Bowl Social Club — Cleveland, Ohio

Playing games together can be really romantic.  Leaning over your loved one while you gently direct the pool cue in the right direction or taking ahold of a bowling ball at the same time during a moment on the lanes — yikes, it’s getting hot in here.  The Punch Bowl offers billiards, bowling, ping pong, old school arcade games, board games, darts and shuffleboard.  Combine that with a locally sourced, organic ingredient driven menu at the GastroDiner and you’re looking at a date night hit.

B & B Riverboat Cruise — Cincinnati, Ohio

It’s tough to find something more romantic than a Valentine’s Day riverboat cruise on the Ohio River.  Like the folks at B & B say, let the captain be your cupid.  While I don’t usually condone buffets, the menu includes chocolate short ribs, which I’m thinking can’t be bad.  Act quickly though as Sunday is the last weekend boat available.  Total price for two is around $110.

Riverboat
Credit B&B Riverboat FaceBook

The Orchard — Port Clinton, Ohio

Much fresher than your old pickup lines, one thing will stand out here: ingredients.  One of the best new restaurants in the area, The Orchard creatively prepares phenomenal dishes that are focused on natural and locally grown ingredients.  Visit their FaceBook page to check out their long list of Valentine’s Day specials, which span the length of the entire weekend.  I’ll put my money on the lobster-stuffed portabella mushrooms.  Make sure to check out there tremendous specialty cocktails as well.

Orchard
Credit The Orchard FaceBook Page

The Rail — North Olmsted, Fairlawn & Canton, Ohio

A burger and a beer may not seem like the most romantic thing ever, but c’mon, their burger of the month is called The Heartbreaker — A blend of Ohio beef & Ohio andouille sausage topped with sweet roasted red pepper cream cheese spread, lettuce and tomato.  Then of course you must wash it down with a rare Cincinnati beer, which are cameoed on tap for the special month-long FeBREWary event.  Painstakingly focused on all things Ohio, it makes perfect sense to celebrate Valentine’s Day Ohio-style here.  Plus, who want’s to dress up anyway?  Just one more suggestion, try the Truth IPA from Rhinegeist.

Burgers W:BackgroundLogo
Credit The Rail

Go outside-of-the-box

Chocolate & Beer Valentine’s Day 5K & 10K — Dayton, Ohio

Now this one could go one of two ways.  It’s either “Wow, that’s such an ridiculously unique and fun idea,” or “Wow, you’re dumb.  Let’s go eat somewhere and get chocolate afterward.”  But of course you know whether or not your significant other is a beer drinker/runner, so it’ll most likely be a fairly educated decision.  The race does come with a box of locally made Kilwin’s chocolates and a cold beer, so that makes it quite a bit more enticing.  The 10K starts at 3:00 pm and the 5K starts at 3:15 pm.  There’s also a costume contest so be sure to dress up and then head over to Brixx Ice Company for the afterparty.

 

The old standby

Tre Sorelle Cioccolato — Sandusky, Ohio

There’s a reason chocolate is the unrivaled Valentine’s Day king and Tre Sorelle is the perfect example why.  Consistently ranked very high among the Ohio confectioner elite, these ladies really turn out the tasty truffles.  Alliteration aside, I’m serious, these things are unbelievable.  Merlot.  Apple Pie.  Raspberry Champagne.  Ice Wine.  Take your pick, you will not be disappointed.  Or just go for the chocolate-dipped strawberries, because those always work.

Tres

Is there a place in Ohio that just has be on this list?  Please share below, on Twitter @ItsAlwaysOhio or on FaceBook!

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