Orlando, Hilton Head, Charleston… Ashtabula?

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Staff Picks for Easy Summer Roadtrips

With summer just around the corner, vacation is on everyone’s mind. Outerbanks, Myrtle Beach, Ocean City.… But do we really need to go that far away (and spend that much money) just for a little R&R? We asked the WhiteSpace staff for suggestions on favorite getaways a little closer to home.

Ashtabula Harbor

Every summer (for as long as she can remember), Annie’s family has rented a cottage in Ashtabula, OH, a port town where the Ashtabula River meets Lake Erie. Its historic harbor area was once a highly trafficked stop on the Underground Railroad, but now the town is known more for its fun artsy events like the annual Beach Glass Festival (June 24-25, 2017), antique shops and used book sales. While there’s plenty to do, Annie’s family spends most of its time with the other 20 grandkids (yikes!) at the normally quiet, secluded beach. (Refer to photo above!) One drawback to consider, the Bascule Lift Bridge goes up every half hour, so you may get stuck waiting and have to sit back and simply watch all the fishing boats, yachts and sail boats float on by.…

Downtown Cleveland

Sometimes the best getaway is somewhere you don’t have to spend the night (especially when you have fur babies at home). That’s exactly why Samantha’s staycation pick is a day visit to the 216. She likes to hit up a Cavs or Indians game. Try a few hands at the JACK Casino. And then end the perfect day with an “aMAZing” margarita – or two – at the fun and festive Zócalo Tequilería in the heart of the East Fourth district. Since it’s all within walking distance, Sam’s number one recommendation? Wear comfortable shoes!

Ohio University

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You don’t need a kid in college to enjoy Ohio University, according to Heather. Just seven miles from Athens, OH, is the scenic Strouds Run State Park, popular for picnicking, hiking, boating and mountain biking. Or stay closer to campus and “have fun just hanging out” on Court Street amidst all the bars, restaurants, clothing boutiques and coffee shops and soak in the college town vibe. One place you don’t want to miss is Jackie O’s – an experimental brewery specializing in neo-traditional brewing techniques. And pretty fab food, too!

Inn the Garden Bed & Breakfast

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Looking for a romantic weekend trip for two? Derek suggests the historic Inn the Garden B&B in the quaint village of Lexington, MI. A four-and-a-half-hour drive from Akron (maybe longer if you stop and check out the lighthouses along the way), the B&B features a cozy library, comfortable guest rooms with fireplaces and private baths, as well as good food and hospitality. Inn the Garden is just a short walk to village shops and restaurants – like the Lexington Brewing Company – and the Lexington Harbor on beautiful Lake Huron.

Presque Isle State Park

Enjoy sandy toes and a sun-kissed nose when you visit Presque Isle, a 3,112-acre state park four miles west of Erie, PA. A state park, really? As Denise tells it, Presque Isle sure doesn’t feel like one. The state’s only shoreline, Presque Isle boasts long stretches of beautiful beach areas where you can almost (if you try really hard) smell salt in the air. Even so, it’s not the beach that makes this a favorite destination for Denise. It’s memories of kayaking there with family. The lagoons at Presque Isle remain unexplored for many of the park’s 4 million annual visitors. Only kayaks, canoes, rowboats and paddleboats are allowed in lagoons, so break out a rental from the Presque Isle Canoe and Boat Livery. And, once you’ve worked up an appetite with all that paddling, mosey on over to MiScuzi for authentic Italian cuisine. Its seafood dishes “rival Tuscany.”

Downtown Pittsburgh

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Well, nothing compares to a weekend in the Steel City for Eric Jacobs. It always starts with a visit to Olive or Twist, Pitt’s version of Chop & Swizzle. Aaaahhh, so many delish martinis to choose from: Olive or Twist with Death’s Door Gin, a creamy Strawberry Shortcake, or maybe even the Chocolate Pretzel. Next stop is the Six Penn Kitchen, a casual bistro in the cultural district, where Eric goes for the short ribs. And then you can walk it all off along the river, where there’s always some action – from public performances to huge festivals. The best time of year, though? “Fourth of July, definitely.” The city does it right – shoots fireworks right off the point and offers free parking! Yeah!

Kelleys Island

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What’s my favorite one-tank trip? The obvious choice would be Kelleys Island, OH, where my parents have lived for almost two decades. One step onto the ferry and it’s like you’re boarding for a different country. And you practically are with the close proximity of Canada’s Pelee Island. The best part of Kelleys, though, is its fido-friendly culture. Nothing beats a day at the beach with your furry friend!

Somewhere in Ohio that I’ve always wanted to go? How about the Treehouses near Mohican State Park?! These one-of-a-kind authentic up-high houses, designed and built by world-renowned tree house designer Pete Nelson, sleep up to four guests. Mohican has four to choose from, each one more amazing than the last. Someday...

What about you? Where do you go for a quick escape? Do you like the hustle and bustle? Or prefer the off-beaten path? Please share here!

 

 

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