In 1880, the final fasteners and sleepers on the Valley Railway were tightened into place. It wouldn’t be long before a billowing cloud of steam announced the arrival of the first train running through the Cuyahoga Valley, a territory that had served as a passageway for foot traffic for thousands of years. Over the next century, the railway contributed to the growth of commerce between Akron and Cleveland, changing ownership multiple times, and transforming from a freight train, into a passenger train, back to a freight train, and finally into a UFO.
Now celebrating its 41st year of passenger-rail service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad transports sightseers over the historic rails through 33,000 acres of land owned by the National Park Service. With a year-round roster of trips, including wine- and beer-tasting excursions, passengers can set forth on morning, afternoon, and evening journeys that sweep past meadowlands, pinery, and rivers and give glimpses of native wildlife, such as fox, deer, bobcat mascots, and owls.
People who have played golf now that it's a notoriously challenging game, but for many living with disabilities, even getting to the first tee is a challenge and accomplishment. Edwin Shaw Challenge Golf Course was built in 1999 as part of the Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute to provide golf programs for people with disabilities, so it's designed with ease-of-access in mind. Features such as wheelchair-accessible paths and handrails on the tees make it accessible for everyone, including those recovering from strokes, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and amputations. While there are only three holes, each has three sets of tees so a full nine-hole round can be played. The facility is designed both disabled and able-bodied golfers of all ages with a 12-acre driving range, a practice green, and indoor hitting range.
In 1973, a fire decimated many of the lanes at Eastgate Pro-Bowl, erasing nearly 30 years of history at an alley that had hosted such professional bowlers as the great Earl Anthony. But just as pins grow back after every cataclysmic strike, Pro-Bowl's owners managed to convert the disaster into opportunity, renovating and reopening the facility as Eastgate Lanes. Today, the alley hosts open-bowling hours and leagues throughout the week, rounding out its automatic scoring with a game room and banquet hall. Each weekend, the staff dims the lights for Rock-N-Bowl sessions and karaoke parties, and at the full bar, six flat-panel HD television screens mask players' discussions as they share strategies for sneaking bites of opponents' nachos between frames.
All Fired Up!'s homey studio invites artists of all ages to participate in kiln-fired activities. Whether perusing the shelves laden with blank pottery or cutting and arranging colored glass to design their own plate, visitors get the chance to create personalized mementos and dishware. Classes let students try their hands at a pottery wheel, and kids' parties keep birthday guests distracted with painting while their parents wrap last-minute gifts.
Crowned the Best Irish Pub of 2010 by CityVoters, Brubaker's serves up an extensive menu of pub edibles alongside a lively atmosphere and TVs sporting the latest in athletic endeavors. Quiet nagging hunger mufflers with appetizers such as barbecue-chicken potato skins ($5.75) and the super pretzel with mustard, salsa, or nacho cheese ($2), or tongue-dive into a specialty dish, such as the chicken cordon "bru" ($6.75), the buffalo-chicken wrap ($5.50), or the mega dog ($4). Brubaker's burritos wrap various fillings in the fresh-baked arms of nine-inch tortillas and come in varietals such as the Popeye ($5.50), a hulkifying combination of spinach-artichoke dip, tomatoes, onions, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing. Brubaker's also offers a wide-ranging beer selection to indulge the fermented fantasies of Prohibition-era taste buds.
The Office provides enough delicious eats and drinks to stuff the belly’s briefcase to the buckle. Appetizers entice professional palates with sophisticated options—such as wasabi-stuffed shrimp cocktail and seared scallops with asparagus and mushrooms (both $10.95)—but also assuage simpler salivations with comforting pre-dinner fare such as wings ($7.95 per dozen), loaded Irish nachos ($8.95), and herb-and-parmesan fries ($4.95). Once your mouth is warmed and ready, direct its incisor specs to the entrees like temporally displaced Napoleonic soldiers toward a Russian teahouse. Bacon acts as the ambassador of turf-born protein on the otherwise surftacular plate of pan-seared salmon and lobster, which swims in a sea of tomato-compound butter ($17.95). The mushroom and swiss burger ($7.95) and flat-iron steak ($15.95), on the other hand, stand their ground as terra firma edibles. Lighter bites that are equally heavy on flavor include the mesclun salad, which is a fresh toss of strawberries, candied pecans, dried cherries, feta, and balsamic vinaigrette ($6.95 for a full).