metropark

Blossom Center for the Performing Arts and Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Blossom – http://www.livenation.com/venue/blossom-music-center-tickets

Cuyahoga Valley National Park – http://www.nps.gov/CUVA/index.htm

Blossom Center for the Performing Arts is located in Cuyahoga Falls outside of Cleveland. It is an outdoor amphitheater that hosts concerts and is the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. Blossom’s pavilion section seats 5,700 people, with space for about 13,500 more on the lawn.  Blossom is a great place to see the orchestra and more upscale productions, but has does not always receive favorable reviews for rock concerts. The are many options to what to see at the Blossom, so one should go to the Blossom first before deciding the place is a waste of time. The best seats are under the pavilion (no worries about rain), but expect to pay more than a lawn seat.

The Blossom Music Center for the Performing Arts is located inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This park was first established as a national recreation area in 1974 by President Ford and designated a national park on October 11, 2000. The park was established because many people in the area wanted to prevent urban sprawl from taking over the land.

There are many things to do inside the park. Some of them include backpacking, bicycling, bird watching, camping, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, golfing, picnicking, horseback riding, train riding, and winter sports.  There are also Ranger led events all year long. Now this is something for everyone.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates 12 months a year and offers transportation in the park. This is a great way to not have to drive in parts of the park. One wanting to ride the railroad should first visit http://www.cvsr.com/. This will give a good idea of prices and where to board the train. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates outside of the park also, so definitely visit their site to figure out which city to board in so you are on the right train trip that goes through the park.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a national park is hiking and Cuyahoga does not let down. Cuyahoga has over 125 miles of hiking trails. A portion of Ohio’s Buckeye Trail also passes through the park. There is a trail for everyone at the park. One trail of mention is the Towpath Trail. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is nearly level and accessible to all visitors. The trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.  You can walk or bike on what used to have mule pulled canal boats on it.

The park offers campsites and even offers a small bed and breakfast. The park is also located between Cleveland and Akron Ohio, so those two cities also have hotels and so do many of the cities in between. Lodging in or around the park is not a problem.

One can spend the day hiking then seeing a concert at Blossom Music Center. The Blossom Center for the Performing Arts and Cuyahoga Valley National Park are two great places in Northeast Ohio not to be missed.

Five Rivers Metro Parks

Link: http://www.metroparks.org/

The Five Rivers Metro Parks are located in and around Dayton, Ohio and Montgomery County. The parks are more than what one would expect from outdoor recreation. Here is a list of a few of the activities: hiking, boating, cycling, rock climbing, general fitness, horseback riding, gardening, bird watching, plant observing, and more. The metro park system has three types of parks, urban parks, natural area parks, and garden parks. The park system is more than just standard parks, but a system of parks, trails, bike paths, and rivers.

The parks are free of charge to a long period of time during the day. Here is a highlight of some of the parks:

Cox Arboretum:  The 189-acre facility is a place for visitors to escape among trees, shrubs, specialty gardens, mature forests, and prairies. Cox’s hosts many educational programs throughout the year. It is located in the middle of the South Dayton area near the Dayton Mall. Cox is easily accessed and can be enjoyed in a few hours or most of the day. Cox’s has many plant species to look at. It also hosts an annual butterfly house in the summer. Cox is great for the young and old because many of the trails are paved or not on a great incline. Cox is the perfect place to go on a warm summer evening to look at the flowers.

Germantown MetroPark: The park is located twenty minutes from Dayton. Germantown MetroPark is the most diverse and significant natural area managed by MetroParks. It is a hiker’s paradise with over 15.9 miles of wooded trails for walking and hiking. The park also allows group camping for organizations involved in environment activities. The park has wooded areas, prairies, streams, and creeks. The Twin Valley Backpacking Trail is also accessible from the park and connects it to Twin Creek Metro Park.

Carriage Hill MetroPark: A recreation of a 19th century farm. This park has animals, buildings, and a history center all telling the story of what life was like over 100 years ago. The farm has many programs over the year all educating visitors on how to live like the 19th century. Most weekends the farm has costumed reenactors. Along with the Farm are miles of hiking trails and a horse center with miles of  riding trails.

There is something for everyone to do: go downtown to Riverscape and watch the fountain in the summer, canoe at Eastwood Metropark, cross country ski at Englewood Metropark, horseback ride at Carriage Hill Metropark, mountain bike at Huffman Metropark, or look at the beautiful flowers at Alluwood Garden Metropark. The Metropark system has something for every age group, ability level, interest, and experience. The Fiver Rivers Metropark system is one of the best in the state of Ohio.