Catching up: Cuyahoga Falls National Park, Back to PA and other (Slightly) Exciting Adventures
August 25, 2016
Not sure what happened to the summer, but, poof, before we knew it, the summer is almost over and well, I think it’s safe to say we are woefully behind on our blog! Sort of like school; we took the summer off! Well, it’s back to blog time, so here goes what will hopefully be a quick catch up post.
Our first stop after Shipshewana was Berlin Center, Ohio, which happens to be the Thanksgiving capitol of Ohio. Who knew? (and who even knew such a thing existed!?) Not sure why it was deemed that, and we won’t be back there anytime around Thanksgiving to find out, so I guess we’ll never know.
We stayed Mill Creek Campground, at a COE park, and for the first time in our adventure, we had reserved a spot that we really couldn’t fit in, so luckily they had some walkup sites that were a lot better, and right across from the lake. Bonus! Our eventual site probably had some of the best sunsets of our travel so far, so that was appreciated for sure.
We stayed at this campground over the Fourth of July holiday, which up until the holiday, was fine. Once the holiday weekend arrived, so did the madness and chaos which has left us seriously contemplating our summer holiday trip planning. In the mountains...away from the masses...is at the top of our list for next year!!
Not only did they have a kid's carnival one day, they also had an ice cream cart!
All contributing to the Holiday chaos!!
So Berlin City is in between Youngstown and Akron, Ohio and not too far from Cleveland, so we knew we would be able to find something to keep us entertained! Greg had an install and I had some work to keep us busy for part of the time there, but we had some time to explore as well. After looking at a variety of things to do, we decided to hit Cuyahoga Falls National Park, which was just about an hour from where we were staying. The National Park service is celebrating 100 years this year and this is one of those parks that doesn’t get a lot of press, so we thought we’d spend a day checking it out and move on. We ultimately ended up going there on four separate days and really enjoyed the park.
Our first day, we stopped by the Boston Store Visitor’s Center and got some good information on the park—highlights, things to do, etc. The park preserves the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland and there were quite a few things to explore—trails, towpaths, waterfalls, wildlife, etc. The Towpath Trail follows the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Before the canal was built, Ohio was a sparsely settled wilderness where travel was difficult and getting crops to market was nearly impossible. The canal, built between 1825 and 1832, provided a successful transportation route from Cleveland, on Lake Erie, to Portsmouth, on the Ohio River.
Boston Visitor's Center
So our first day, we did a small hike to the Brandywine Falls, a 65-foot high falls which is the second highest falls in Ohio. It was about a mile and a half hike and fairly easy. The waterfall was really nice, although there is a major road/interstate built pretty close to it, so it sort of killed the “one with nature” vibe as you can hear the cars whizzing by.
We then drove to Beaver Marsh, which like the name suggests is wetland and designated as an 'Ohio Watchable Wildlife Area'. Unlike the name suggests, we didn’t see a beaver, but did see a few birds and turtles. Super easy walk, and the marsh was really cool. While not an action packed day, it was a great intro to the park, which led us back the following day to tackle the tow paths.
The marsh of Beaver's Marsh
No beavers, but we did see a green heron
Same bird, but neck expanded!
Turtle just hanging out....
And a few more....
And a blue heron....
The park had turned all of the towpaths into a nice bike/walking trail….about 20 or so miles of trails inside the park (and adjoins many more miles outside the park) and we decided that we’d bike part of the trail. What’s really nice is that you can park the car, bike to the top of the trail, and then catch the train back. But, unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed on the train, so we opted to forgo the train to bring smiles to people along the trail. Smiles? Well, we have this bike cube/basket thingy that we strap on to the back of Greg’s bike, and clip Hobie in and bike away. Hobie absolutely loves it and it seems to provide lots of smiles to others on the trail. I typically ride behind Greg and I catch people talking about that “cute” dog on the back of the bike, We both agree. Smiles all the way around!
It’s a great, fairly flat trail (perfect for novice bikers) so we tackled around 15 miles round trip on our first ride and then returned another day and rode around 20 miles.
Family photo after a long trail ride...
Making smiles (and of course Greg not smiling!)
As we stopped for lunch, we turned around and this was crossing the path. Yikes!!
We returned to the Park one last day see the Everett Covered Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge in Summit County. It’ is a replication as the original was destroyed in a flood in 1913 (repaired) and destroyed again during a storm in 1975. Hopefully the third time is the charm.
Everett Covered Bridge
We also did a hike to the Ledges Overlook. The loop is a 2.2 mile hike and is classified as moderate. It wasn’t too difficult, but did push the limits of my ankle and Greg’s knee a bit, but we both were careful not to go at it too hard.
Interesting rock formations
While Cuyahoga Falls National Park doesn’t really rival some of the National parks out west in beauty, it still had some nice features and its unique beauty--definitely worth exploring. (Four days was probably overkill, but we took it slow!!)
Well, that brings us to the Fourth (of July….yes, way behind!) and we headed into Cleveland to check out the West Side Market, recommended to us by Sherry Collins. Unfortunately, since it was a holiday, it was closed….so we hit a local brewery instead. Hey, life gives you lemons, gotta make some lemonade!!
We left Berlin Center and headed to Meadsville, Pa. Nothing much there, but Greg had an install. Meadville is close to Erie, but we were heading back in late August, so our highlight of the stop was some cool highway art.
This is all made with 'retired' road signs and surrounds
the Department of Transportation's office in Meadville.
More road sign art....very cool
We also stayed at Woodcock County Park, which was very peaceful and much appreciated after the chaos of Mill Creek.
No other rigs in sight!! Awesome quietness!!
And that brings us to our month back home in Pennsylvania. It was hectic, crazy and pretty much a blur. The first three weeks were consumed with annual doctor’s appointments, visits (and meals) with friends and family and work for both of us. Great visits and was really nice catching up with everyone…..although it seems we forgot we had a camera, as we didn’t take pics.
Our last week home was vacation with Greg’s family in Outer Banks. We rented a ginormous house (after our tiny house living, most houses are ginormous!!) and spent a week enjoying beach life and spending time with family. Prepping for the week was interesting as this was our first “vacation” sans RV. It really felt like we packed our whole house, and well, we did pack a lot of it for sure. We came to the conclusion it’s a lot easier taking your house with you!!
The whole Young clan at the beach
Greg with his brothers and father
After vacation, we did a quick stop in Wilkes Barre for an install and then we hit Erie, PA. After Erie, we will finally make it Michigan, where we’ll explore the state for around six weeks and then back to Indiana to pick up our furniture. Thanks for following along and hopefully we’re back on track with the blog.