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.
During the days of antiquity, artisans often recorded major cultural and historical events on the sides of their intricate pots. Although books and computers took over most of the archiving duties, the practice of painting ceramics as a means of commemoration continues today. At Kiln Pottery, shelves of uncolored pieces await the inspiration of local artists and artists-to-be. After grabbing the necessary supplies, guests add their touch to one of the hundreds of available pieces, including platters, mugs, and bowls. Those interested in building their own creations can opt for a class in hand building clay or pottery wheel throwing. A series of workshops focuses on specific projects, such as fusing glass night-lights, weaving clay baskets, or exploring where ceramic babies come from. Sessions are open to kids and adults, and can be reserved for groups or parties.
Twenty-two years ago, Pam Burton counted herself as part of the population of people with two left feet. She struggled through every move during ballroom-dance classes and felt there must be another way to learn the moves. Not being the type of person to wait around for others to take the reins, she decided to reinvent ballroom-dance lessons so everyone—including that two-left-feet group—could easily understand how their feet were supposed to move.
The casual atmosphere inside 2 Left Feet Dance Studio finds students of all experience levels working through dance steps in a group, semi-private, or private setting. Once a month, people can test their newly acquired skills during a ballroom dance with pizza, pop, and a half-hour lesson.
At Bella Mia Hair Studio and Day Spa, the staff executes salon services and soothing spa treatments during daily appointments. Stylists trim locks and comb highlights into hair, while technicians trim and contour nails, and aestheticians beautify skin with soothing facials. Additionally, Bella Mia's skincare experts fight the signs of aging by smoothing Image Skincare Vital C around client's eyes cheeks, and neck. They also swaddle physiques in body wraps crafted from fresh seaweed and peppermint oil to detoxify and firm skin, while licensed massage therapists battle stress with relaxing massages. For regular pampering, clients can also take advantage of discounted massage and facial memberships.
Asian Sun Martial Arts and Fitness helps students cultivate a well-rounded self-defense system by providing instruction in tae kwon do, karate, kung fu, kickboxing, and certified Krav Maga. At the core of each class are fitness and self-defense. Instructors teach students of all fitness levels and who range from 2.5-year-olds to senior citizens. Asian Sun Marital Arts and Fitness' team of expert black belt instructors have also boosted the popularity of its Cardio Fit Kickboxing classes, which have sculpted lean, strong muscles for participants since 1994.
Peppermill Pub and Grill combines fabulous fare, delicious drinks, and wonderful WiFi to create an all-around accommodating and alliterative experience for diners. The restaurant's executive chef, John Wright, brings his 10 years of experience at the fine-dining restaurant Chez François in Vermilion to tempt your taste buds, serving up a full menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, daily entree specials, and lunch-buffet bites for those on the go. Start with a savory order of sausage-stuffed banana peppers coated with homemade tomato sauce and cheese ($8.99), or a serving of fresh spinach and artichoke dip with hand-cut tortilla chips ($8.99), before letting your teeth traverse the table to a main dish. Peppermill chicken primavera is a house specialty, with grilled chicken, spinach, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and kalamata olives tossed with herbed olive oil ($15.99). People who like to disguise their protein as a bun will enjoy the inside-out burger, sneaking American cheese, lettuce, and tomato between two quarter-pound beef patties ($8.29).