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.
**How did Vintage House Café begin?**
_As a family venture. We started as a restaurant, then added a patio, tearoom, and gift shop. Not only do we offer a large selection of loose-leaf tea, but my son is a glass artist and we sell his blown glass art work._ **Aside from owner, what role do you play in the restaurant?**
_I always enjoyed baking, so I create all the desserts._ **Tell us a little about the head chef.**
_Chef Grant Urmston is a native Clevelander, whose passion for culinary arts began at a young age. His passion grew over the years, and he further developed his skills at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. With career stops that included New York, Boston, and Las Vegas, Grant has brought a more traditional Italian and Mediterranean flair to the menu, all while trying to focus more on fresh and local products._ **What inspires you to take such a hands-on role in the restaurant?**
_I love being here and our customers make me smile._
Since 1946, John Christ Winery has been a destination for locals and tourists alike, who stroll across the verdant property and sip samples of the many wines made onsite. The Kopf family took over day-to-day operations in the early 1990s, and continue to welcome visitors to the rustic tasting room decorated with Americana memorabilia and plenty of windows to let in natural light. Taking a seat at a table or sidling up to the bar, visitors can sip samples of the red, white, and perpetually embarrassed blush varietals.
Rated one of the top haunted houses in Ohio by Funtober and BloodyDisgusting, The Fear Experience will leave anyone quaking in its gruesome halls. The experience is split across four haunted houses, each filled with Hollywood-quality sets and trained actors whose only goal in life is to frighten you. Wander through the Zombie Uprising where zombies appear around every corner, then creep over to the abandoned mental facility where criminally insane patients have just disposed of their doctors and await fresh victims?you. If that's not enough, the Centralia County Fair and Circus are give your feet reason to bolt with the promise of evil clowns, chainsaws, and a freak show. But The Fear Experience has one more trick: the Buried Alive coffin ride immerses groups in a motion simulator with sounds, scents, and special effects designed to make you feel like you're stuck six feet under.
Though it's probably an awful place to live,
makes an excellent place to visit to slake the thirst for holiday scares. The little town of terror boasts five different haunted attractions, four of them fully enclosed, themed haunted-house experiences. Human evils run rampant within the walls of Cellblock 13??a prison and asylum now run by its inmates??and The Butcher Barn, where more than a few cannibals are penned up. Psych Manor still echoes with the horror of its now-deceased residents, who roam the hallways as terrifying specters. Wicked Clowns in 4-D brings those brave enough to enter face to face with psychedelic, psychotic clowns who can presumably also time travel.
The final attraction isn't bound within the dark, cramped hallways of a haunted house. Zombie Hunt 3-D requires participants to arm themselves with paintball guns, then head into the field and forest to hunt down the undead before they themselves become the prey.
Hannah and Gord Mitchell purchased their 52-acre farm more than 40 years ago, dreaming of slowly transforming the property into a winery. But their careers took them away from their homestead for a while, so it wasn't until 1991 that they first successfully established vines on their land. Yet when they did, the soil and plants got on well and the Mitchells soon found themselves with 35 acres of noble grape varieties, including chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon. Both their fruit and budget ripened, and in 2003 they finally began to build their own wine-making facilities. At the top of the list? A barrel-aging cellar and a 6,700-square-foot event patio.
Today, the winery holds regular property tours and tastings for visitors who want to try Sprucewood's wines. Situated along the shores of Lake Erie, the grounds also make a stunning venue for weddings and more casual picnics on the shore, many of which are regularly hosted by the Mitchells themselves.