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Stay close to home in Ohio to find something miles beyond

A zipline at sunset takes riders along the lake and through Geneva State Park for sunset views in Geneva-on-the-Lake via Lake Erie Canopy Tours. The Kids Adventure Tour has many of the same challenges as the zipline, but they’re closer to the ground. (Courtesy of The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake)

Changing your perspectives of the same old places makes you fall in love with Northeast Ohio all over again.

Possibilities abound in the serendipitous season of summer, with the closeness of everything an advantage when reality gives only a short break from the everyday. The totality of the beauty of Lake Erie sunsets, the parks with their trees and wineries and outdoor concerts on lawns and town squares is hard to match anywhere.

Discover that you don’t need to fly away to become engaged in your surroundings. Plan a day trip, a weekend or even longer to relax and get to know more about the close-by beyond.

Geneva-on-the-Lake

Walk the strip to take in old-time attractions like Skee-Ball, eat cotton candy and hot dogs, hit the beach, play at the oldest mini golf course in the country and take a spin in a go-kart. See the sunset from a zipline or challenge the kids to a pint-sized canopy tour. It all started with friends and automobile pioneers Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and Harvey Firestone, who enjoyed camping there more than a century ago. Their inventions made it possible to get away by car for weekends in the fresh lake breezes. And their descendants still come. Rental cottages and bed and breakfasts abound. Details: visitgenevaonthelake.com and lakeeriecanopytours.com.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad includes dinner trains among the two-hour trips it makes through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio's only national park, which covers 33,000 acres between Cleveland and Akron. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad includes dinner trains among the two-hour trips it makes through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio’s only national park, which covers 33,000 acres between Cleveland and Akron. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Most trips on this historic railway are two hours as the train follows the Ohio & Erie Canal through the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio’s only national park, along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron. Excursions include breakfast, fine dining, plus wine and ale tastings. Train cars are historic and range from luxurious to straightforward, and fares start at about $50 per person. Details: CVSR.org.

Step aboard scenic train to explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park and have dinner

Explore the island by rental golf cart to slow down in Put-in-Bay, where appreciation of Lake Erie is the goal. Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, in honor of War of 1812 naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, can be climbed for island views. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)
Explore the island by rental golf cart to slow down in Put-in-Bay, where appreciation of Lake Erie is the goal. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, in honor of War of 1812 naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry, can be climbed for island views. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)

Lake Erie Islands

Catch a ferry at Port Clinton to Kelleys Island and South Bass Island, home to the village of Put-in-Bay. Reservations are needed to take your car. Otherwise, getting around on the islands is by foot, rented golf cart or bicycle. Climb the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial at lively Put-in-Bay, with its bars, restaurants and winery. The monument pays tribute to the naval commander who won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Sleepier Kelleys Island, with its glacial grooves and natural sights even lets you follow bike paths in the woods. Details: shoresandislands.com.

Wooded trails on Kelleys Island can be explored via bike by those who bring them on the ferry or rent them on the island. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)
Wooded trails on Kelleys Island can be explored via bike by those who bring them on the ferry or rent them on the island. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)
The Tudor-style lodge at Punderson State Park, which is said to be haunted, overlooks a pretty lake where rental boats are available. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)
The Tudor-style lodge at Punderson State Park, which is said to be haunted, overlooks a pretty lake where rental boats are available. (Courtesy of Ohio the Heart of It All)

Cabins

Punderson State Park, in Geauga County, and Geneva State Park, in Ashtabula County, have cabins to rent for an idyllic getaway. Punderson, near Burton, has a lake with rental boats for canoeing and fishing, campgrounds, a golf course and many hiking trails. The lodge is in an old Tudor mansion (said to be haunted) with a swimming pool and restaurant. Those renting cabins, which are furnished and sleep six in two bedrooms, can access lodge facilities. Geneva State Park’s newer cabins are along Lake Erie’s shore and the lodge offers dining, indoor and outdoor pools and winery excursions. Details: ohiodnr.gov/go-and-do/plan-a-visit/cabins.

Anna Harden

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