You can do this There’s no time like the present to explore all Ohio has to offer

Art Weber

        Getting away isn’t as easy as it was just six months ago.
        With COVID-19 lurking out there comes an understandable reluctance, if not an outright imperative to stay close to home.
        Still, it’s been months and, for many of us, the walls are closing in.
        Thank goodness for area community parks, Metroparks, and other natural areas where trails and some facilities have welcomed users craving safe ways to get out throughout this ongoing ordeal.
        Summer’s well underway, fall is on the horizon, and it seems every step toward normalcy is countered by a step back. All things considered, collectively, we’ve done a fairly good job of rolling with the so-called new normal.             But we all need a release; a relief; a safe way to get away, if only for a day.
        Getting away for just a day or, if you’re comfortable with finding a place to stay, an overnight or two is very doable without leaving Ohio. There are so many great things to experience right here, and it’s a good bet that most Ohioans haven’t fully explored their own state.
        If you need ideas, is a great place to start. The website is loaded with Ohio travel ideas, destinations, guides and booklets.
        A good place to start is looking over an unbelievable number of “trails” for finding and enjoying everything from ice cream and sweets, to vineyards and breweries, to natural wonders and covered bridges.
        You can start close to home with the Lake Erie Coastal (driving) Trail which, as the name implies, stretches east to west along the lakeshore from Toledo to the Ohio-Pennsylvania line. Do it all or use it as inspiration to explore a few highlights.
        Sandusky has a Historic Painted Barn Trail, and if the time is right, you’re not far from the Lake Erie Coastal Trail of Terror, which is filled with Halloween fun. Bowling Green has a Brew Trail, and the Ohio Historic Theaters’ Trail swings through our area for the Maumee Indoor Theater. Put-in-Bay has a Foodie Trail.
        For three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Tannenbaum Trail east of Cleveland starts with picking up a small Christmas tree followed by additional stops that each add an ornament to decorate it. There are trails for Amish Country, Hocking Hills shops, and tours to create on your own.
        Do them on foot, bike, or in your vehicle. Take on a subject. If you think you’ve seen all of Ohio’s state parks and forests, check out the state’s nature preserves. Extraordinarily beautiful, laced with trails, but typically without amenities other than a small parking area. Count such treasures as Clifton Gorge, Lake Katherine, Goll Woods, Conkles Hollow and Dysart Woods among the long list of 137 preserves. So, it will take a while to find them all.
        And when you’re done with those, there are historic and prehistoric sites, dozens of Metroparks, museums and wildlife areas galore.
        Ohio is loaded. There’s enough right here to last a lifetime of adventure, discovery and exploration. Do it on day trips, long weekends – or however you prefer.
        There’s no time like the present to get started. Remember your masks and social distancing. Plan ahead, be aware what’s open and what’s not, what’s comfortable for you.
        You can do this.


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