We love Cleveland, and if you're not sure about that, just take a peek at how often we post pictures of the Cleveland skyline on Instagram. We're unstoppable! All the angles covered all the time!
But every once in awhile, we like to take advantage of Cleveland's proximity to other awesome places for a bit of a getaway. Because there's nothing quite like packing up the car real quick and getting out of dodge for a day or two to clear the mind and feel like you're really on vacation, even though you definitely can't afford that trip to the Bahamas. No worries, Northeast Ohio gives you plenty of options for a quick jaunt whether you're in the mood for thrills or a little nip and a nap. Here are some of our favorites.
The Mohican Treehouses
Just about 90 minutes away secluded near Mohican State Park is a destination your inner kid will love. Kevin Mooney has built two state-of-the-art treehouses — they've been featured all over the Travel Channel and elsewhere, if you didn't know — featuring fridges and showers and TVs, basically your dream from when you were 10 years old. The larger of the two sleeps four and the new(ish) smaller one sleeps two. Hot plates make cooking a breeze, luxurious decks (these are treehouses, after all) give you tree-top views and more peace and quiet than you'd ever want, and the complex also offers a series of regular cabins (boring by comparison, but awesome in their own right). Get more info at themohicancabins.com.
No rundown of the best day-trips would be complete without including Cedar Point, the entertainment and roller coaster capitol of the world. The GateKeeper is among the newer attractions if you haven't been in a couple of years, but the mainstays like Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster are the reasons roller coaster enthusiasts from around the world travel to Sandusky in droves. Of course, there's plenty of options for the family, with kiddie rides and water parks and all the usual carnival fun that will leave you thinking that one day is not nearly enough to enjoy every corner of the park. Plan your trip at cedarpoint.com.
A Lake Erie Fish Tale
So Cedar Point isn't the only reason to head west, young man. Head to Jolly Roger Seafood House in Port Clinton, for example, for the freshest catches from our Great Lake. The locals swear by it, and you will too. Or head over to the New Sandusky Fish Company, which proves the old adage that the more a seafood restaurant looks like a fish retailer, the better the seafood will be. And whether you're on the way out for a daylong adventure on the backroads or on you're way back, stop by Lemmy's in Huron, which won't win any décor awards, but will serve you a dynamite breakfast or lunch. You won't see many tourists here, which is sort of the point on a roadtrip like this.
So, they're not the Bahamas, but they are ours. A day (or two) at Kelleys Island or Put-in-Bay can instantly put you in vacation mode and it'll only take you a couple of hours to get there. While you're on Kelleys, stop by the Village Pump. It's one of those joints that seems to expand every time you turn your head, adding another room per year to accommodate swelling crowds. But sure enough, the fried perch basket, while pricey, is every bit as good as the regulars claim. Goat Soup and Whiskey at Put-in-Bay seems to validate the maxim that asserts the farther away from the main strip you go, the better the food and service. A half-mile from the harbor, the Goat is laid back, family friendly and committed to putting out quality fare. Get the perch tacos, flour tortillas stuffed with fresh-fried fish, cabbage slaw and house-made taco sauce. Cocktails here benefit from fresh-squeezed fruit juices, a rarity in these parts. Of course, no trip to the islands is without its share of depravity and booze. Post up at just about any local watering hole and take in the island atmosphere. Jet Express is just one way to get there. Get your itinerary and tickets at jet-express.com.
Sure, it's not a beach adventure, but the Buckeye capitol is flush with food, drink and fun and requires nothing but a short, two-hour jaunt down I-71. The Short North is loaded with bistros, shops and galleries, but do make it a point to stop by the Pearl for some fresh-shucked oysters and seafood, and then head over to Mouton for cocktails galore. Continue the booze train over at Middle West Spirits, which produces OYO vodka and whiskeys pumped out of the urban distillery with local ingredients. While away Saturday morning at the North Market, which is nothing like our West Side Market. Some 140 odd years in, the North Market packs vendors and small businesses in to a one-stop location for crowds wanting anything from ice cream to locally roasted java to artisanal cheeses to Ohio wines.