Located just off I-76 about a 30-minute drive from the school itself, the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Kent State University delivers on the chain’s reputation for comfort and convenience. During the day, light spills through the clean, modern guest rooms’ large windows onto crisp white linens, and desks and free WiFi make it easy to get work done despite the ever-present distraction of the flat-screen cable TVs’ power buttons. After a refreshing night’s sleep, all guests receive a hot buffet-style breakfast at the Express Start breakfast bar—calories which can be worked off at the onsite pool and fitness center. Besides the university, several easy daytrips beckon just minutes from the hotel, including the Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton and the Kent Bog State Nature Preserve, where visitors can walk a boardwalk trail through a dense strand of tamarack trees whispering juicy gossip from the Ice Age.
Red Maple Inn draws from the charm of its historic, Amish setting to embrace its guests in its 17 rooms, which pair televisions and private Jacuzzi-sporting bathrooms with rustic and handcrafted Amish furniture. Amid sofa beds and dignified desks, guests can cocoon themselves in cozy, plush covers wrapped between cherry and soft-oak king or queen beds. Six styles of rooms proffer varied picturesque views and several handy amenities, including a DVD player, shoe polisher, and a mustache sharpener. Red Maple nourishes groggy stomachs with a complimentary hot and hearty Amish breakfast at the start of each day, as well as complimentary wine and cheese Monday through Saturday. Those looking to get their fitness fix can burn calories with Red Maple's free weights, Ping-Pong table, and more in the fitness room.
Jim Cucuzza serves as both co-owner and chef at Bongiorno's Family Ristorante & Pizzeria, where he crafts traditional Southern Italian food in a casual, family friendly environment. Just because the dining room and heated outdoor patio welcome casually-dress patrons, though, doesn't mean the food isn't gourmet. In fact, one of the compliments Chef Cucuzza regularly receives is the suggestion that he should be baking dishes like his chicken and sausage arrabiatta in some swank New York hot spot. Occasionally, diners will quietly confess that his homemade gravy trumps even their grandma's recipe.
For guests who don't know where to start, Chef Cucuzza recommends checking out a few of the menu's hidden gems. His suggestions included the halibut romano—encrusted with a cheese and bread crumb coating soaked in lemon butter sauce—or the calamari steak appetizer, a hearty slice of squid sauteed in with homemade tomato sauce. Though Jim's favorites are seafood-focused, he promises that the menus "[have] something for everyone. Everything I cook is to order, [using] fresh ingredients."
And by everyone, he even means pint-sized diners. The chef puts together a children's menu featuring kid-friendly Italian favorites. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy a happy hour every Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., accompanied on Fridays by live music on the patio during warmer months.
Cuisine Type: Italain
Reservations: Not necessary
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11–25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: veal
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery / Take-out: Parking garage
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Relaxing music, a beverage bar, and walls painted in soothing tones jostle for the attention of clients as they walk through the doors of Sassi Nails Salon. At a pedicure or manicure workstation, technicians render nail treatments including shellac manicures, spa pedicures, and polish changes. The Sassi team pays particular attention to sanitization, holding themselves to the strict standards of the Ohio State board and the world’s most scrupulous mother-in-law—Harry Potter’s aunt, who they actually have on staff.
A lot of things can happen at a party or event, and Gotcha Photo Booths helps hosts to collect the evidence. The company’s event supervisors travel to venues, set up booths, and oversee all the ensuing shenanigans.
After accessorizing with props such as silly glasses or feather boas, partygoers pile into booths and strike poses for the camera—and for guests waiting outside, who can watch the action on a high-definition screen. Fifteen seconds later, booth occupants can collect duplicate strips of color or black-and-white photos. Hosts can personalize prints with the logo of their event or the crest of their favorite stonemasons’ guild. All photos are digitally stored and may be purchased by the host.
Photoriffic Memories dispatches professional hosts to parties throughout the area to help revelers capture the energy of their celebrations on black-and-white and color prints. Their open-style photo booths can occupy up to 20 people, who follow simple on-screen instructions before posing, using optional props, and expressively describing their favorite cheeses. The photo strips can be customized with a phrase befitting the celebration, and optional green screens allow hosts to add a theme to the printed shots. The company publishes all of the night's photos on its website, creating an online photo album from which guests can view or order prints.