Author: RandomOhio

Patterson Homestead Plaque

Patterson Homestead

1815 Brown St, Dayton, OH 45409

Before Ohio could become a state it needed residents. Before settlers would arrive there needed to be someone to explore the area and decide on a good place to settle. Along the Ohio river in what is now southwest Ohio that group was American Revolutionary War Col. Robert Patterson, Israel Ludlow, John Filson, and Matthias Denman. They bought a portion of land from the Symmes Purchase and founded the city of Losantiville, which was later renamed Cincinnati. After all his fighting and founding Patterson decided to settle down in the newly formed city of Dayton in 1804. He would stay there until his death in 1827. The homestead he left would go on to house 3 generations of his family, including John Patterson, the Industrialist and founder of NCR.

At one point the homestead covered 3 sq miles and was a major fixture of the city. The house is a small 2 story structure located on top of a hill. It has three rooms on each of its two floors. At the time of its construction it was adequate for it use. The majority of the family’s life would have been spent out on the large farm.  Over the years that farm became the University of Dayton, NCR national Headquarters, and many other places in the city.

Today the homestead is a museum and event center near the University of Dayton. The house is open once a month during most months of the year for a free open house and tours. Tours are given by well informed guides and only take an hour. The house is not much different than other historic homes of the era. While it is a simple home tour, the nearby Woodland Cemetery , where Robert Patterson and many of his family are buried, can make a full day of Dayton history.

Travel Tips for a new year

Planing a Summer trip? Looking for something to do over a long weekend? Hoping to get away from it all in the “Heart of it All”? Here are some classic tips and some new ideas for taking a trip in the great state of Ohio.

Choosing where to go:

  • Check out, Ohio’s official tourism board website. They can give you Ideas on places to go and things to do.
    Also , a more formal government site with information on regulations, links to official Ohio websites for almost anything one would want to do in state. A great resource to use after an activity has been decided on.
  • Go to the official Website of a location. They will have the best chance of having the correct information. if they are wrong then they will hear about it and correct it, or have to deal with the consequences. If a secondary site is not updated or simply had wrong information they have less of an incentive to correct it.
  • Be careful when visiting a review sites. Sites like yelp or tripadvisor are crowd sourced. While the crowd might give a general idea of a place, there is little to stop a lone person from messing with the score, or giving a misleading review.  As with anything think about the source. Read many, many of the reviews and then decide for yourself.
    That being said: Some of the sites do group together reviews nicely and can lead one to new and exciting places. Try
  • Your Local Library: They have information on a lot of stuff and places. Use them.
  • Staff in the area. Wait staff, People behind the counter at the gas station, almost any employee one meets usually live in the area they work in. They know the area and the hidden gems. Ask them about restaurant recommendations or other things to do. A lot of the time they will be glad to talk about there hometown.
  • Google Maps: Google maps has a feature that will let build a map and share it with other people. This is a great way to create an idea map. As you hear about a place put a pin in the map. After a while you can see what region has the most pins. It is simply a matter of narrowing it down to what can be done in the time allowed.  Google maps is also great for telling making a route. Somethings might seem out of the way, but become on the way when destinations are rearranged. It is free and fun to play with an imaginary itinerary.
  • Use Google street view to see what a place looks like. It has pictures of the street from outside of most Ohio destinations. It is easy to miss a place the first time going there. Harder to miss if you have seen what it looks like.

 Pre-trip Preparation:

  • Decide the amount of time available for the trip. Figure a guess at how many things can be done in that time. Map them. Drive times and other time sinks can take away precious time when too many things are planned. Leave room in a schedule to be safe and relaxed. Rushing from place to place does not make for a fun trip. It is better to skip a place and want to go back than to be rushed and hate everything.
  • Add an item to your list so that you can skip it. Getting up early, driving 2 hours to a destination and seeing everything in 1 hour, not the whole day planned, can be a real let down. Add a destination, or two, in case free time opens up. It is better to have a place to skip and want to go back to than to be disappointed in the whole trip.
  • Think about the last time you went to a similar place. What did you take you did not need? What did you not take but need. Plan accordingly.

On Trip Enjoyment:

  • Plans fall through. The best part of a trip is the taking of it. Don’t try to stick so close to a plan the it destroys your trip. At the same time do not forget your plan so much that everything falls apart. A good trip is free flowing. A good trip is planned. A great trip is a balance of both.
  • Pictures vs memories: The eternal debate. Is taking to many pictures and only remembering taking pictures and not what the pictures are of a bad thing? Is not taking any pictures and having nothing to remember the experience by worse? Think about the pictures you took last time, were they too many, not enough, or just right. The answer varies person by person.
  • Drink water and eat. Staying healthy is a big part of enjoying anything.
  • Learn something new.

These are just some suggestions that we use to plan a trip. As with any planning remember that no plan is fool proof. Allow for some adjustments. A website might say a location is open, but sometimes websites do not get updated regularly. Also take the time to be safe. No trip is worth not being safe and courteous to others.

Chihuly: Celebrating Nature at The Franklin Park Conservatory

1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203

The history of glass artwork at the Franklin Park is not as old as the building itself, but seems to have defined the conservatory. The glass house was built in 1895. About one hundred years later the building had a major overhaul and expansion for the AmeriFlora ’92 flower show. A decade later they had their first glass show. As their website states:

“The Conservatory was honored to be the second botanical garden in the world to host an exhibition by glass artist Dale Chihuly in 2003. Chihuly at the Conservatory had record-breaking attendance, and its success led a private, non-profit group, Friends of the Conservatory, to purchase most of the pieces in the exhibition as a permanent collection for the Conservatory. “

In 2009 they started to exhibit a few works of the master glass artist. Ever since the glass has been a part of the landscape, like the plants and water features. Not every piece is shown. While stunning the selections are so well placed that they do not overwhelm from the beauty of the natural exhibits.

The Chihuly: Celebrating Nature exhibit brings out every piece the Conservatory owns and a few on loan from Chihuly.  Some of the most famous works have even been configured for the show. For a long time visitor to the conservatory the display is amazing. The gardens come alive with new works. For a first time visitor the works can be quite distracting from the flowers.

The Conservatory is offering later nights most weekends in January and February, and most of March. These are the best times to go. They are only $3 more in addition to the regular admission, but give a whole another experience. Start with a visit to the Hot Shop. Here visitors can see glass art from start to finish in about 60 to 90 minutes, and later even make arrangements to purchase the art when it goes on sale in the gift shop. This is a great way to see how glass is shaped in to beautiful works. Next take a visit through the gardens and see the works. The exhibits are more than just glass and the provided pamphlet is a necessity to see every piece. After seeing the art take another lap to see the plants as the sun sets. The greenhouses are lit mostly by natural light and as the sun goes down the ambiance changes. At night the glass is the only thing lit up. The gardens become a whole different world.

Whether a fan of glass, gardens, or just grand old places the Chihuly: Celebrating Nature exhibit at the Franklin Park conservatory is a must see thing to do.

Tip: Now through March 3rd, 2020 the annual Orchid show will be on. This is a great time to go to the Conservatory.

20 place to go in 2020

For the last few years we have been doing a list of places to see in Ohio. This is our wish list of places to see for the year.  There is no order or ranking. So, we hope you enjoy, 20 places to see in 2020.

  1. Harding Museum and Monument – 100 years since his defeat of Daytonian James Cox for President
  2. John Glenn Museum and National Road Museum & Zane Grey Museum – 2 great museums right down the road from each other
  3. Loveland Castle – A cool medieval castle in sw Ohio.
  4. Mansfield -While known for the world-famous Ohio State Reformatory Museum, there are a lot of other museums and attractions in the area. This place is worth a weekend.
  5.  Riverboat Cruise (Cincinnati or Marietta) – Here are some places that offer riverboat cruises on the Ohio river. They offer different cruises and tours. Queen City,  BB Riverboats,  Valley Gem
  6. Mazza Museum – A museum dedicated to picture books.
  7. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (original location) and the North Market – Columbus – We love markets, we love ice cream. This is seems like the perfect combination.
  8. Covered Bridge Pizza – Multiple locations of these pizza restaurants that are located in covered bridges.
  9. Toy and Plastic Brick Museum – Lego and toys and a museum, Yes please.
  10. The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati – Cincinnati has great art, and somehow we missed last time in town. Also we want to see more of the great murals.
  11. AMA Motorcycle MuseumMuseum and Hall of Fame
  12. Ohio Railway Museum – Maybe to see the cool trains, maybe to ride the Ghost Trolley.
  13. Buffalo Jacks – Covington restaurant with a good selection of wild game.
  14. A local Festival – So many to choose from. is a great place to start looking
  15. Great Lakes Science Center – A large science museum by the lake.
  16. Cleveland Museum of Natural History – A famous museum with Balto, dinosaurs, and much more.
  17. America’s Packard Museum – A museum dedicated to the Packard
  18. Ludlow Falls – The falls might be hard to spot, but it sure would be an adventure to find it.

12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #12

Relax and plan for Next Year

2019 was a busy year for us at Random Ohio Reviews. We went all over the state to see and experience many great things. We saw what’s up at the Hall of Justice, Revisited an old, but always changing place, but didn’t get to see what the coast has become. Its okay to plan something and not do it. Be happy for the things you did do. Trying to hard to fulfill plans can make us miss the joy of the unexpected. We can always plan to go to the big 150th year of Cedar Point in 2020. We might not of planned it but We partied in the “Star City”, returned to the Amish country and a few other places (stay tuned for them), and had a good time overall. We hope it was a good year for you too.

After all the activity that was 2019 and the craziness that is the holidays, take sometime and relax. This is a good time of year to plan for the next year’s adventures. Try to go somewhere new, see something new, and just enjoy the new year. We know we will. We are going to… well we guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out.

Stay tuned for 2020….. it’s gonna be a big one.

12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #11


When the weather gets cold enough and the snow deep enough something fun and traditional is to take a trip to the “mountain.” While Ohio doesn’t any true mountains it is not in any way a flat state. From the foot hills of the east to the hills to the Glacial Moraines of the west, Ohio has plenty of areas to ride the snow. Many of them also offer tubbing. Here are just a few of Ohio’s ski options.

While they may or may not be open right now, the weather could change at any moment. Keep an eye on their websites for more information.

Mad River Mountain – Outside Columbus

Snow Trails – Mansfield

Boston Mills / Brandywine Ski Resort – Peninsula (between Akron and Cleveland)

Local Parks – Your area
Many local metro parks have ski areas. If you have your own skis and know how then check out your local parks for places to ski in your area.

12 days of Ohio Holidays – Day #9

Ice skating 

This time of year the weather finally starts to get cold enough long enough for Ice Skating rinks to open. Through out the state many places have great rinks. Here area few cool ideas in the major cities. Some of the places offer more than just skating. Try your hand at Broomball, Curling, or even a game of Hockey.

Dayton: Riverscape Metro Park –

Cincinnati: The Fountain Square –
King Island Winterfest –

Cleveland: Cleveland Foundation Ice Rink in Public Square –

Columbus: There are many options in the Capital city –

Toledo: One Seaskate – 

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #8

Winterfest at King’s Island

After a 12 year break this holiday tradition returned in 2017. The holiday event transforms the southwest Ohio amusement park into a winter wonderland. The traditional activities such as ice skating and horse drawn carriage have returned along with the transformation of the parks areas into wonderlands of there own. This time around a few more of the parks rides will be open. Of course the park has a nightly lighting ceremony (5:30pm) where Snoopy and friends light the iconic Eiffel Tower Christmas tree. This event is great for first timers or the crowd who remembers it from its 1990’s run.

Winterfest at King’s Island is one of the best theme park winter events in the United States. It won #2 in 2018. This year it was voted #3 in the nation.

12 Days of Ohio Holidays – Day #7

This is the time of year that the stores are filled with simple stocking stuffers and easy to grab gifts for friends and family.  For loved ones near-by this is fine. For friends or family that have moved out of Ohio, or who live in another state and wonder what’s so great about the great state of Ohio, a little more is needed. Here are a few suggestions (not a complete list add your own in comments below) for perfect way to wrap up Ohio.

We have organized our ideas into regional baskets. Pick and choose or add your own. These are just suggestions. If you have any more suggestions you can add them in the comments below.




  • Cincinnati Style Chili – A little bit thinner than the “other” styles of chili, this classic is known for its ability to turn spaghetti into a regional favorite. Everyone has their favorite place, and all are good.
  • Grippos – if they want barbecue chips they probably crave these.
    Mike-Sells – if they are from a little closer to Dayton these are the choice
  • Ester Price – Chocolates from Dayton
  • Boston Stoker Coffee – Don’t let the name fool you, it’s locally roasted coffee.


Amish Country: