Though originally invented to provide more interesting settings for murder mysteries, trains proved to be efficient transportation and quickly surpassed "hammock slung between two unicyclists" in popularity. Embrace the technological advances of yesteryear with today’s Groupon: for $7, you get one ticket on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (up to a $15 value). Consult the schedule before making reservations.
Constructed in 1880 to shuttle coal, the Cuyahoga rail line has since become a playground of retro locomotives that travel for pleasure rather than business. The up to three-hour round trip train ride slices through 51 miles of the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park along the Cuyahoga River gorge—passing points of interest such as the functional 19th-century Hale Farm, the heron rookeries of the Pinery Narrows, and Beaver Marsh, which was once a thriving junkyard but has sadly been replaced by an infestation of industrious buck-toothed rodents. From vintage coaches, trainsquatters take in the historic buildings, villages, and half-built stargates that pepper the river valley. The explorer excursion, however, allows more ambulatory adventurers to get off the train at each stop and explore.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
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.