Who says you can't have fun and be environmentally friendly at the same time? Who says Ohio is a boring state that is only suitable to drive through on trips? Okay, perhaps I was the one saying those things for a while, but I have sincerely changed my mind! I did some research and discovered some fabulous and eco-friendly places to go in Ohio.
The point of a getaway is to get away from home and escape the pressure and monotony of everyday life. But in order to get away, one needs a means of transportation. Cars burn up gas and contaminate the air. How do you fix this? Well, you can convert your car to run on vegetable oil, or even water. You can even use discarded cooking oil from restaurants as fuel. With that accomplished, you can go on a road trip that is easier on the planet, your conscience, and eventually your wallet.
If you decide to fly, you may want to keep in mind that according to seatguru.com
, Continental Airlines received an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2008 for being the first carrier to use an environmentally friendly pretreatment on its aircraft. More information about eco-friendly flying is available at this article from seatguru.com
Ohio also has a bus charter service called Lakefront Lines which offers bus tours and a charter service. This saves travelers the hassle of driving and saves fuel by putting groups of people on one bus instead of dispersing them in separate cars.
After choosing your transportation, you may want to choose some destinations.
Ohio has the world's largest Amish population. There are hundreds of places to visit
in Amish country and you can create a customized plan. The Amish live life in an eco-friendly way. They forgo cars for horse-drawn buggies, do not use electricity, grow their own food and make their own clothing. Amish country is famous for homemade cheese, fudge and quilts. A visit there wouldn't be complete without a stop at a petting zoo and a ride on a horse-drawn buggy.
The heart of Amish country is Berlin, Ohio. This is the site of the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center, Shrock's Amish Farm, Heini's Bunker Hill Cheese Company, Dutch Heritage Woodcrafts, Gramma Fannie's Quilt Barn and Catalpa Trading Company and Old Fashioned Soda Fountain. After visiting these Amish attractions you can settle down for the night at an Amish style bed-and-breakfast.
Hit the beach
If relaxing at the beach is more your vacation style, you can head to Ohio's first summer resort, Geneva-on-the-Lake. Because the attractions in downtown Geneva are in walking distance of each other, you do not have to do much driving, if any. There is even an amusement park. You can connect with nature on the coast of Lake Erie or at Geneva State Park. To save money and reduce energy consumption, you can camp out in the state park. Continuing your environmental consideration, you can pick up some food at one of the farmers markets such as Spring Hill Orchards and Farm Market. If you decide not to camp out, there are luxury resorts to indulge at, such as the Lakehouse Inn and Winery.
Head to the city
If you want to head to the city, there is always Ohio's capital, Columbus. There you'll find a variety of attractions and experiential tours
. Columbus has concert venues, historical museums, art museums, specialty shops, restaurants and a zoo. Of course I only named some of the things this city has to offer
During my visit, I enjoyed an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art. I also ate at a fantastic Ethiopian restaurant where you can sit on the floor in a traditional manner. The area called Short North is a great place for teenagers and young adults to visit. I went to Easton Mall with my aunt and spent all day shopping. The city has several districts with many different atmospheres that any type of person can enjoy, as well as many free events. My day trip to Columbus made me want to transfer to Ohio State just to be near all the cool places and events. Researching everything else I missed makes me want to get up and go there right now.
My advice to my environmentally conscious friends: The zoo and aquarium can help foster your appreciation of Mother Nature's creatures. There are several natural and organic food shops and an upscale vegan restaurant called Firefly. Also, the city launched a campaign in 2005 called "Get Green Columbus" which has been working on green building, local food, energy efficiency, planting trees and raising awareness. Unless you don't like music, theatre, art, culture, food, shopping, sports, people, animals or history, you can find something to do and see in Columbus.
Cleveland is another prominent city in Ohio. I often visit the city, so I can say firsthand that it is really a fabulous place. I found a way to get there on the RTA from my house to save gas.
Some of the coolest places in Cleveland are The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Natural History Museum, Playhouse Square and Tower City Amphitheater.
The Rock Hall is full of music history and memorabilia. My favorite part of the Rock Hall is the display of costumes that were worn on stage by artists such as Britney Spears and David Bowie. The Cleveland Museum of Art has art from nearly every time period and genre. My favorite parts of the museum are the armory and the Egyptian section, which has some really cool sarcophagi. The Natural History Museum is a place where you can learn about nature and the history of the planet. I think the coolest thing is that they have the real Balto, taxidermied and on display. We almost had our prom there. I think that would have been off the hook because the dance floor was right next to a big stuffed lion and we would be eating in a room with a dinosaur. Instead we had our prom at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was still admittedly pretty awesome. I didn't feel like ruining my dress on the sweaty dance floor so my date and I toured the museum and even watched a movie in one of the theatres.
I have seen a few plays at the Cleveland Playhouse, which is a really lovely place. The ultimate was seeing Cats, which was a completely professional and mesmerizing performance. I went to some sporting events and a couple concerts at Tower City Amphitheatre and I was pretty impressed. Cleveland is usually a tour stop for a lot of major bands and there are always concerts going on. If they are not at Tower City, then they are at the House of Blues, Blossom Music Center, The Grog Shop, Severance Hall or the various bars, clubs and restaurants.
Cleveland is attempting to go "green" by improving the environment and reducing environmental impact in at least 75 ways
. The Burning River Fest is an annual event that showcases environmental education and practices. Visitor guides in Cleveland are even printed with soy-based inks. Cleveland is a lot like Columbus in that there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
I hope my highlights of just a few interesting places in Ohio has piqued your interest. (Even I find Ohio less boring after reading my blog! I feel like a public relations agent for the Ohio tourism board.) It's odd to think that I haven't even touched on half of the things you can do here. It is plain to see that you can take a green vacation anywhere!
Photos, from top:
Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Junior Sam
Cleveland Botanical Gardens: Eddie~S