The main purpose for our trip to Ohio was to explore Cuyahoga National Park south of Cleveland. It exceeded expectations. I read a 2020 article about it that raved about its diversity and we had to see it. It follows the course of the Cuyahoga River and being there reminded me about how this river literally combusted in 1969 as it flowed through Cleveland on its way to Lake Erie. It is much cleaner now, and the National Park was established in 1974 to honor the restoration effort.
Our goal on this luckily beautiful autumn day was to see the visitor center, walk across a covered bridge, access a waterfall and a wetland, ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, see the Cuyahoga River from several vantage points, and hike some trails. We accomplished most of these goals. The visitor center at Boston Mill was not one of the best, but this is offseason. The gift shop is separate and not near it. The covered bridge, the waterfall, and the wetland were our best experiences. We were disappointed not to ride the railroad, but it had been converted to a Christmas train, was making only one evening run per day, and was completely booked. The Cuyahoga flows through the entire park, and the trail along it goes all the way to Cleveland. This is quite a distance. We were on the trail to this industrial city but not for that long. This and other trails are the most used facilities in this national park.
We were lucky to meet a man named Ryan in a wonderful restaurant called Brubaker’s. Ryan was local, loved the park, and had hiked or biked most of its trails. He knew this park intimately but had never been to the visitor center or taken the trail all the way to Cleveland. Being a techie, he was able to articulate what he had experienced over time. Try Brubaker’s meatballs.
Ruth & I actually spent a lot of time talking to locals. Most of them were repeats to this park and were delighting in the fall weather. But when they heard that we were visiting from the state of Washington they wondered why we left such a gorgeous state to see this part of Ohio. We never felt this way.
Our best of the best were the quaint town of Peninsula, Brandywine Falls, Beaver Marsh where we saw lots of wildlife, and this park’s considerable access to the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath that reminded us of the Erie Canal we had experienced not all that long ago.