Asides

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.org, Ohio’s official tourism board website. They can give you Ideas on places to go and things to do.
    Also ohio.gov/tourism/ , 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 tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g28956-Ohio-Vacations.html
  • 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.

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. https://ohiofestivals.net 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.

ReMARKable Ohio! History

http://remarkableohio.org/

We talk about the history of this great state all the time. We visit many of it’s historical sites and see many places and every time we go somewhere new we look for the Historical Marker. Every time we learn something new. The information helps to put the area in to the overall larger historical picture. Yes, some of the plaques may be local, and the information may not seem relevant to the state as a whole, but it is the little things that add up to make the state the place it is today.

As the website states

“…Historical Marker program is administered by the Local History Services Department of the Ohio History Connection. Since 1957, the program has placed more than 1,700 markers that share our state’s history. Partnering with community sponsors, we help tell the unique stories of the people, places, things, or events that helped shape individual communities as well as Ohio and the nation. Approximately 20-30 new markers are accepted into the program each year.”

The Ohio Historical Marker program’s website is a great place to find information about the history of Ohio. Every maker is categorized, organized, and searchable. Every page has the text of the marker, photos of the marker in place, a relevant photos of the marker’s subject, and a map to the marker’s location. The site is a valuable tool for anyone doing research for a school project.  One can spend a while just seeings what in their area, or having a look at the strange things that have happened in Ohio.

 

Places to go on a long Summer Weekend – 2019

Summer is a great time to spend a long weekend in Ohio and visit all the great places. With Summer in full swing, we thought we would give a list of some of the great places to explore. The list also was a chance for us to highlight some of our original reviews of these great places.

Amusement Parks

Zoos

Parks and Historic Places

The Pioneers

This year in May a new book came out by the Pulitzer Prize winning historian, David McCullough. The Pioneers is a book about the settling of the Northwest Territory in Ohio. McCullough’s books can be very dense with historical facts and stories. Some of his books are best done as audiobooks, listened to while driving. If you want to do a themed trip, get The Pioneers on audiobook and go on a trip down the Ohio River.

Here is a map called the Ohio River Run. This map will give you some idea of places to visit while traveling down the Ohio River.

Two places to visit, that go along with the book The Pioneers are:

We hope this list of places gives some good ideas of how to spend  a long summer weekend in Ohio.

Updates! Updates! Updates!

RandomOhioReviews.com

After 10 years we finally have the address we want. This address will lead to the same page you are on, but is easier to remember.

We have also updated all our reviews to include more information and be easier to read.

Now all of our reviews include an address to the location we are reviewing. The address is linked to a Google map of the location. This means that with a simple click you can plan a trip to the site, or see how far away it is. We have also included links to the official website of most of the locations. With this you can find the official information on times, costs, and events of the locations. We want to make sure that you have the most up to date information on each place before going. Not much ruins a trip more than getting somewhere and finding out that it is closed on the day you went.

We hope this makes your enjoyment of the great state of Ohio and all the fun and interesting things to do in it easier.

The hills of Hocking County Region and what to do.

In the southwest corner of Ohio, about 1/4 of the way up the map is the region surrounding the county of Hocking. The county has less than 30,000 residents. The region is in a part of the state crisscrossed with back roads and no interstates. Yet despite it small size and out of the way location millions of people visit it each year. The big question is what do all these people do in Hocking County and the surrounding region?

Museums:
For such a lightly populated place the region has a large number of museums. From the small museum with a great point to the giant washboard and its museum and factory  How about the birthplace of a famous Civil War General, or a glass hot shop and museum. Like art? The region has many art museums too. A good list is available at http://www.explorehockinghills.com/things-to-do/indoor-activities/arts/museums/

Outdoor Activities:
Paddling on the Hocking River or Lake Logan is always a popular option. They even have a water jetpack adventure. Biking, both mountain and road, are a good way to get exercise. Golf, both mini and big, is offered in the region. The area is known for its large forested hills and state parks. Hiking and simply enjoying nature seems to a very popular.

Shopping:
The region does not have many large big box chain stores, but makes up for it in the many little art studios and mom and pop shops dotting the region. A quick search on the internet, or with the help of the friendly staff at the regional welcome centers, will bring up a large list of places to find that unique item or gift.

Free Stuff:
The amount of free stuff to do in the area will make it a sure draw for people from all over the state. We tried to put a list together but found this one covered more than we could even imagine. http://www.explorehockinghills.com/things-to-do/free-fun/

Or one could just visit  the State parks with ravines. They always seem to be a popular option.

Special thanks to Hocking Hills Tourism Association. Their Website is overflowing with things to do in the region. Their Welcome Centers are a must stop for the beginning of any tour of the area.

 

19 place to go in ’19

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, 19 places to see in 2019.

  1. John Glenn Museum – In the 50th year of the Apollo 11 moon landing we wanted to visit more of this new museum
  2. The Stuart & Mimi Rose Music Center at The Heights – A large music venue in Huber Heights. Seems to have a great line up each year.
  3. Fort Meigs – the site of a major battle of the war of 1812. Recreated to look like it did in William Henry Harrison’s time.
  4. Loveland Castle – A cool medieval castle in sw Ohio.
  5. Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum – The name says it all
  6. Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and Library – a collection and displays on the newspaper and magazine comic. Free!
  7. Ohio Theater – Columbus – They always have a good schedule.
  8. 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.
  9.  Riverboat Cruise (Cincinnati ) – Here are two places that offer riverboat cruises on the Ohio river. Both offer different cruises and tours. Queen City and BB Riverboats
  10. Pine Tree Barn, Wooster – a shop, barn, restaurant, and unique Ohio attraction all in one
  11. 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.
  12. Covered Bridge Pizza – Multiple locations of these pizza restaurants that are located in covered bridges.
  13. Toy and Plastic Brick Museum – Lego and toys and a museum, Yes please.
  14. 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.
  15. Glass Heritage Museum – Heritage and art all in one free location.
  16. Deer Creek State Park – A new place to hike and be outdoors.
  17. Sweetie Candy Company – Return to the Candy!
  18. A Street Fair in Ohio – So many to choose from.
  19. Sandy Ridge Reservation – scenic views and hiking trails