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.
Lasers flash across a 4,000-square-foot arena. Bumper boats splash against each other in a 135,000-gallon lake. An elastic EuroBungy harness flings bouncers skyward for death-defying flips. These are just a few of the attractions and activities at Fun 'n' Stuff, where families can also fill their days by racing go-karts, climbing a rock wall, or gliding around a rink on rented roller skates. Guests who want to breathe in fresh air can putt through two 18-hole mini golf courses, whack balls in five hardball and four softball cages, and slide down a 24-foot inflatable slide. The littlest visitors play in a ball pit, whereas the Extreme Looping Bikes send older ones soaring through the air, just like the majestic eagle they rode to their middle-school graduation.
Movement Matters guides students through a muscle-toning medley of fitness classes including pole-dancing workouts held in a gym bedecked in kaleidoscopic hues and DJ-quality sound and lighting equipment. Alluring and enjoyable, pole dancing cultivates strength and litheness with exercise that tests the mettle of every muscle in the body. Those looking to foster flexibility and basic pole precision climb up during the Pole Fit session, which imparts the foundational grips of bar work and readies pupils for more difficult maneuvers on the pole, such as parallel parking. After students complete one instructed drop-in session, they can sharpen their skills during Open Pole, a free-for-all forum ideal for practicing lessons from previous classes and perfecting impressions of billowing flags.
Coffee-shop owner, barista, and coffee consultant Tony DiCorpo and his fellow bean specialists brew tantalizing coffee at Troubadour Coffee Roasters using fresh coffee beans imported directly from farms and cooperatives. They roast the beans on-site and make each mocha, espresso, and cappuccino to order. The team also acquaints curious coffee sippers with the art of crafting brews during hands-on tastings in the coffee roastery's full espresso bar. Geared toward everyone from home enthusiasts to professional baristas and coffee-shop owners, participants taste gourmet coffee samples as hosts explain their characteristics, such as their origin and flavor.
After 25 years as a loyal employee at North Woods Lanes, Mike Trachsel joined forces with his wife, Sandy, to buy the lanes he’d come to love. Together, they work hard to ensure that the place maintains the timeless charm it has cultivated over its 50-year-plus history. The years have not been without modern upgrades, however; these include automatic scoring, flat-screen TVs, and cosmic bowling. The alley also features a snack bar and a pro shop where players can purchase a new ball or a bowling bag.