South of Wooster, Ohio
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The Midwestern state of Ohio covers around 116,000 square kilometres and has about 11.5 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populous and densely populated states in the country. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus, though both Cleveland and Cincinnati have larger metropolitan areas. Ohio became the US' 17th state on 1 March, 1803. It borders a number of states and also Ontario, Canada. Much of the north forms a coastline along Lake Erie and there are numerous seaports to be found here. Ohio is not one of the highlights of a visit to the US, though it's within reach of a lot of other interesting states, cities and parks.
To the north, Lake Erie gives Ohio 502 kilometres of coastline, which allows for numerous seaports. Ohio's southern border is defined by the Ohio River, and much of the northern border is defined by Lake Erie. Ohio's neighbors are Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Ontario, Canada, to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.
Much of Ohio features glaciated plains, with an exceptionally flat area in the northwest being known as the Great Black Swamp. This glaciated region in the northwest and central state is bordered to the east and southeast first by a belt known as the glaciated Allegheny Plateau, and then by another belt known as the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. Most of Ohio is of low relief, but the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau features rugged hills and forests. Significant rivers within the state include the Cuyahoga River, Great Miami River, Maumee River, Muskingum River, and Scioto River. The rivers in the northern part of the state drain into the northern Atlantic Ocean via Lake Erie and the St. Lawrence River, and the rivers in the southern part of the state drain into the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio River and then the Mississippi.
- Northwest Ohio - flat agricultural land surrounding Toledo and stretching into Indiana to the west and Michigan to the north.
- Northeast Ohio (NEO) (also known as "Greater Cleveland") - rolling wooded foothills from the Allegheny Mountain range subside as they approach Lake Erie (definition of NEO includes 13 counties and 4.5 million people).
- Mid-Ohio - flat agricultural land surrounding the State capital, Columbus.
- Southwest Ohio - hilly areas approaching the Ohio River, surrounding Cincinnati and rolling into Kentucky.
- Southeast Ohio - very hilly, coal-mining country in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, rolling into Pennsylvania and West Virginia and including the Wayne National Forest.
- Akron - the County Seat of Summit County, was formerly known as the Rubber Capital, and has successfully made the transition from the world's tire manufacturing hub to its high-tech Polymers Research Center, now referred to as the is the Polymer Capital. It is also the home of the All-American Soap Box Derby.
- Canton - home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Cincinnati - regional hub of 3 million residents (Cincinnati Metro and Dayton Metro), the "Queen City" is home to the Bengals and Reds. Cincinnati was the first boom town in the United States, and it's Over-the-Rhine district is the largest National Historic District in the United States.
- Cleveland, You'll see why "Cleveland Rocks" after a visit to the birthplace of rock-n-roll in Northeast Ohio. But it doesn't end there, Cleveland is also known for its vivacious art scene, major sporting events and wide range of culturally diverse foods.
- Columbus, the state's capital.
- Dayton - a mid-sized city famous for being the home of the Wright Brothers, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton International Peace Museum. Dayton can be a wonderfully charming place to visit.
- Toledo - "The Glass City" is home to the Toledo Mud Hens Baseball team, a world class art museum, as well as a nationally ranked zoo and the famous Tony Packo's Cafe.
- Yellow Springs
Sights and Activities
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a great place to relive the greatest moments in rock history at the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Legendary memorabilia fills the halls, from Tina Turner to Jimi Hendrix. The Rock Hall also features special art exhibits, concerts and music classes.
- Cedar Point Amusement Park and Resort in Sandusky, Ohio's Cedar Point is famous for its roller coasters, many towering over 200 feet tall. There are over 150 rides to choose from, including 17 roller coasters (holding more than any other park on the planet), and three of them make the top 10 list of "best steel roller coaster in the world."
- Theatre can be seen in Cleveland's PlayhouseSquare District.
- Lake Erie - Sport fishing, swimming, jetskiing, parasailing, boating and scuba diving are just some of the things you can do at one of the five Great Lakes.
- The Historic Warehouse District - If you're looking for nightlife, this downtown hot spot is Cleveland's very first neighborhood and the place to spend an evening if you're looking to go "bar/club hopping." Also a nice selection of restaurants in the area to start your night off right.
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame - Football fans unite and reminisce through the history of your favorite athletes and teams in Canton.
- Professional Sports games are easy to catch from Football to Baseball.
Events and Festivals
- New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
- St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
- Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
- Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
- Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
- Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
- Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.
- Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
The climate of Ohio is a humid continental climate throughout most of the state except in the extreme southern counties of Ohio's Bluegrass region section which are located on the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate and Upland South region of the United States. Summers are typically hot and humid throughout the state, while winters generally range from cool to cold. Precipitation in Ohio is moderate year-round. Severe weather is not uncommon in the state, although there are typically fewer tornado reports in Ohio than in states located in what is known as the Tornado Alley. Severe lake effect snowstorms are also not uncommon on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, which is located in an area designated as the Snowbelt.
The highest recorded temperature was 45 °C, near Gallipolis on July 21, 1934. The lowest recorded temperature was -39 °C, at Milligan on February 10, 1899, during the Great Blizzard of 1899.
1. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is the main gateway to the city of Cincinnati and the main gateway to the state. It mainly has domestic flights and some international connections to Canada and the Caribbean.
To/from the airport
Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) has provides a route from the Airport to Downtown Cincinnati, and rental cars, parking places (short-term and long-term) and taxis are all widely available at the airport.
2. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is about 9 miles (14 kilometres) from the central business district of Cleveland. It mainly has domestic flights, though international connections include Cancun, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Toronto and Montreal.
To/from the airport
- Public Transport: the airport is connected to the Cleveland Rapid Transit system. Passengers can board Red Line trains at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (RTA Rapid Transit station) airport terminal. During late night/early morning hours, service is provided by bus #75 from Hopkins to Downtown Cleveland.
- Car: the rental cars are available, but at a distance from the airport and a relatively high cost. Taxis ply the route between the airport and downtown Cleveland as well.
A number of trains operate to and from Ohio, mainly en route between New York and Chicago.
The State of Ohio is served by the following interstate highways:
- I-70 splits the state in half, linking Columbus, Dayton and Springfield beyond Pennsylvania to the east and beyond Indiana to the west.
- I-71 connects the three big cities, starting in Cleveland and running southwest through Columbus and Cincinnati, then beyond Kentucky.
- I-75 runs along the western part of the state, serving Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo and connecting them to Michigan to the north and beyond Kentucky to the south.
- I-76 serving Akron and Youngstown and connecting to Pennsylvania to the east.
- I-77 starts in Cleveland and runs south through Akron, Canton, New Philadelphia and Marietta and continues beyond West Virginia.
- I-80 is the Ohio Turnpike (a toll road) that runs across the northern part of the state, serving Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Youngstown (where I-80 and I-76 criss cross) and beyond Pennsylvania to the east and Indiana to the west.
- I-90 also serves the far northern part of the state, including Cleveland and Toledo, merges with the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) for a stretch and continues beyond Pennsylvania to the east and Indiana to the west.
Many boaters utilize the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and their connection points as a travel route. There are many marinas and public boat ramps available for this purpose. Also, the Great Lakes Cruising Company and the American Canadian Caribbean Line provide cruises that include Cleveland on the itineria. There are also steamboat and cruise options connecting points along Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Ohio has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.
- The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority - The RTA makes it easy to get around Cleveland and 58 surrounding municipalities by bus/rapid transit system for just $1.75 each way.
- Greyhound connects over 25 of Ohio's cities. The following cities have a dedicated Greyhound station: Akron, Ashtabula, Athens, Cambridge, Canton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Dover, Elyria, Findlay, Kenton, Lima, Mansfield, Maple Heights, Marietta, Marion, Sandusky, Springfield, Toledo, Van Wert, West Salem, Wooster, Youngstown, Zanesville.
- The West Side Market is a major landmark and culinary enthusiasts dream. Your options are endless with over 180 vendors selling fresh eats from cultures across the world.
Ohio's liquor laws are somewhere in the middle in terms of restrictions. Beer, wine, and liquor (42 proof and under) can be found in many stores. It can be sold until 1 AM (some stores don't have the permit to sell some or all types of the alcohol on Sundays). Hard liquor can be purchased at state liquor agencies (some of which are found in grocery stores). These stores also sell wine, beer, soda, mixers, etc. and have an earlier closing time.
Two provisions may affect purchases of alcohol for personal off-premises consumption. First, it must be sold to you by an employee above the legal drinking age of 21, which can sometimes mean the cashier will have to go find someone who can, and if you're at a convenience store with no other employee available, you're out of luck. Second, it must be carried out of the store in a bag that conceals it, even if it's a single.
Like all other states, Ohio vigorously enforces its drunken-driving law. It is also illegal to carry an open container of an alcoholic beverage in an automobile's passenger compartment regardless of who is consuming it. And anyone carrying a firearm, even lawfully, while under the influence can expect to face a charge of using weapons while intoxicated, which can be a felony.
- Ohio Wine Producers Association - Vineyards across the state offer delicious wine tastings and breathtaking tours of their wineries and countrysides. Geneva, Ohio is an especially popular destination for wine lovers.
- Great Lakes Brewing- Local beer, made in Cleveland and available throughout the state. Huge year long and seasonal variety.
Hotel and Motel Chains
There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include: