Today I sit in Northeast Ohio as we encounter the land that is (at least for a day) snOHIO. The entire state of Ohio will be grey and wintry and nasty, but I have taken today to think about all of the blue sky memories I have of the state I love. I’ve titled this blog post “Ohio is For Lovers,” a name I stole from a very emo Hawthorne Heights song (Middletown, OH natives), and I’ve titled it as such, because I want to reflect on all of the top reasons I have come to love Ohio in my almost 28 years on earth.
In my 28 years on God’s creation I have lived in Ohio for all but 3 months. I spent a 3 month period of time living in the Appalachian mountains on the border of Kentucky and Virginia when I was 19 years old, but besides that I’ve been in the Heart of it All the entire time. The way I want to do this countdown is by having one reason I love the state of Ohio for every house/apartment I’ve lived in.
Last week I was with my friends Chris and Ally, and my wife Whitney, and the question was asked “How many houses have you lived in.” Here are the streets I can remember living on in my lifetime and the cities in the state of Ohio I’ve lived in….
- Huber Heights: Brandt Pike and Nebraska Ave.
- Miamisburg: Orchard Hill, Carole St., Old Main St., (one street name I can’t remember) Dorsett Woods Ct., Arboridge Ln., another place across the river I can’t remember by Bear Elementary School, and I think that might be it???
- Cedarville: I lived in Brock Hall, then on 42 in a big crappy house, and on Church St.
- Solon, OH: I lived in Solon Park apartments
- Twinsburg, OH.: Castaway Cove, Meadowood Blvd.
- Aurora, OH: Hawthorn Apartments and Herrington Lane
- Chagrin Falls, OH: Root Road
- Springboro, OH: Weidner Road
This means from the houses I can remember living in I have lived in 19 different places in 28 years-LOL! That means I’ve moved almost every year I’ve been alive. I’ve lived in 7 of our state’s 88 counties. I’ve lived in Northeast, OH and Southwest, OH. I’ve spent time all over this amazing state. So, here are my top 19 reasons why I love Ohio ranked in order from 19-1.
19. Harmon Field in Miamisburg- I basically grew up at this place. It was an old field and it needed replace so new memories could be made for new generations, but man Harmon was special to me growing up. I used to walk to practice knock some skulls for a while, and then walk home to play Madden. This place was truly special on a Friday night with the men lined up along the fence, and the stands packed. If I were to drive by there today I’d probably be overwhelmed with emotions due to the nostalgia. I loved Harmon Field.
18. Cleveland Metro Parks– The metro parks system in Cleveland is amazing (I’m including Cuyahoga National Park in this). I asked my wife to be my girlfriend at one, and also asked her to marry me at Squaw Rock in Solon, so this place holds an extra valuable place in my life.
17. Hamburger Wagon in Miamisburg– If you are from Miamisburg then you understand the significance of this place, and if not then you probably just think we’re a bunch of rednecks. Hamburger Wagon is a wagon where burgers are bought and sold (with cash only) in the circle in downtown Miamisburg and it’s been this way since the Great Dayton Flood of 1913. For over 100 years Miamisburgers have flocked to the Wagon to eat burgers and they are delicious.
16. Bogart’s in Cincinnati– I basically went here for a show on a monthly basis from about 2005-2011. This was the place where the top bands of the post hardcore, emo, metal, hardcore era all came to play, and I was fortunate to be able to see all of my favorite bands from that era play there. I think it was in 2009 that Brand New played there and I unfortunately had to miss the show, but I’ve seen many top acts at this venue just like many from the Northern Kentucky, Southeast Indiana, and Southern Ohio areas have.
15. Playhouse Square in Cleveland– This place is elegant and classy. The gigantic chandelier in the middle of the plaza is a sight to behold. I’m not really a big theater guy, however, I’ll admit this is as good of a date spot for dinner and a show as you’re going to find in the state of Ohio.
14. Cleveland Museum of Art– This is apparently the number 2 ranked art museum in the United States right now and it’s free! You can go here and see Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Andy Warhol, and even original Salvador Dali. You don’t have to be a fan of art to appreciate the wonderful collection at a place like this.
13. Fountain Square in Cincinnati– This is the city center of Cincy and many of us Southern Ohioans have had a great time here for things like “Taste of Cincinnati.” The hustle and bustle of the area is charming and shows off the character of the Queen City.
12. Cincinnati Bengals– My friend, Tyler, and his Dad invited me to nearly every home game from 2004-2009 and I went to nearly all of them. During that time I got to see Chad Johnson, Carson Palmer, Takeo Spikes, TJ Housh (however you spell it), the late Christ Henry, Rudi Johnson, and so many others. I fell in love with the Bengals during this time. I’ll admit I’m having a hard time with the ownership these days, but Marvin is gone and things could be looking up for us. I’ve loved getting to watch Dunlap and Atkins in recent years, and I believe AJ Green is one of the best receivers (if not the best) in the history of Cincinnati. I hope for a turnaround soon.
11. Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton– Ohio is an excellent football state and Canton is a big part of the reason. We are fortunate to have the best football museum in the entire world right here in our home state. The Hall of Fame game is a great attraction and it’s really amazing that the best of the best come to little Canton, OH every year for the induction ceremonies. Football royalty like Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith, Laurence Taylor, Anthony Munoz, and so many others are all memorialized in Canton, which is only a short drive from Cleveland, Akron, or Columbus.
10. The Ohio River- Some people might not understand why this is on my list when considering how nasty the river can look in parts, however, when I was a kid I used to go down to the river in the summers to stay in my grandparents trailer along the river. We would fish, ski, and tube on the Ohio River right next to big ol’ barges. It wasn’t the world’s most popular vacation spot, but I was a kid and I didn’t care. I have some fun memories from being down at the Ohio River. The town along the river we used to go to was in Ripley- a small town East of Cincinnati.
9. Dixie Drive-In- Dayton- We used to go here as kids and high school students and have a great time. Again, this spot isn’t for everyone, it might be a little “rough” for those not used to the Dayton scene, but I always have loved it and never failed to have a great time. It got extra fun in High School when I bought a pickup truck, and when we went to Dixie we would build a bed in the back of my truck and sit there as a group watching movies for hours on end.
8. Skyline– If you aren’t from the Cincinnati area then odds are you don’t like Skyline… That’s fine your opinion is just wrong. Skyline is awesome and now that I live in Northeast Ohio I really miss it. I actually first heard the Gospel of Jesus in Skyline and accepted Christ as my Savior in the Skyline by the Dayton Mall, so this place holds an even more precious place in my heart than most of my favorite eateries.
7. Geauga Lake/Sea World in Aurora– When I was 4-7 my family lived in Reminderville for a few years, and this was only 5 minutes from Geauga Lake/Sea World. I remember going to see Shamu back in the 90’s and being splashed by the boat show as I sat in the front row. I remember going to Geauga Lake and eating cotton candy with my sister. I even remember attending “Cleveland Indians” day at the park back in 1996 when the Indians were really good (with Ramirez, Thome, Alomar, etc.) This spot was awesome and it’s terrible to drive by there today and see what it’s turned into.
6. Kings Island in Mason– I think I spent as much time hanging out at Kings Island as a kid than anywhere else besides sports practice. Me and my friends would go down to Kings Island at every single chance we would get from about 2000-2008. I’ll never forget my first time on The Beast, or the Son of the Beast, or the Outer Limits, or Face Off. I loved the Vortex, and the Drop Zone, and Congo Falls, and even the water park was awesome! Some of my best childhood memories are from this place, but none better than eating blue ice cream and eating Larosa’s pizza.
5. Air Force Museum in Dayton– If you have not been here then you have to go. They have so much history in this place it’s actually quite incredible. You can see a few different presidents’ Air Force One’s, a space shuttle, B-52 bombers, and all kinds of stuff. This museum documents flight all the way from the Wright Brothers (Dayton natives) through WWI, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and all the way up until today.
4. Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame– I love rock music and I love this place. This is my favorite museum I’ve ever been to. If you love music then take some time to go to Cleveland and check this place out. I’d say you could spend an entire day here and walk through music history tracing the roots of rock n’ roll back to the 1800’s, and then going through the early eras of rock n’ roll, then to the Elvis era, then the Beatles and contemporaries, then 70’s rock, and 80’s rock, and now we are at a time when 90’s rock is beginning to be commemorated there which is exciting for me because I love Nirvana/Alice n’ Chains/Pearl Jam.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes– I’ve seen every game since David Boston was playing that’s how much I love the football Buckeyes. We are really fortunate to have a University like Ohio State right in the middle of our state, and we are also fortunate to have had a great football team to cheer for almost every season dating back to the John Cooper era. In my lifetime I’ve been able to watch Eddie George, James Lauranitis, AJ Hawk, Mike Nugent, Troy Smith, Craig Krenzel, Braxton Miller, Terrelle Pryor, Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Dwayne Haskins, Beanie Wells, Brian Hartline, and the list just goes on and on and on. We even had a few years in the mid 2000’s of basketball excellence under Thad Matta! Plus, we have the “Best Damn Band in the Land,” we’re privileged to have the Buckeyes here in Ohio.
2. Hocking Hills in Logan and surrounding areas– Hocking Hills is the prettiest place I’ve seen in Ohio. I’ve been all over this great state and seen many beautiful landscapes but nothing like the caves and woods you will find when you visit Hocking Hills. In my opinion, Ash Cave is the best part of Hocking Hills, but you also shouldn’t miss Old Man’s Cave, Conkles Hollow, Cedar Falls, Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs, and so much more! If you visit here I definitely suggest renting a private cabin and making at least a weekend out of it. This could easily be a 3-4 day trip
- Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati! I was 12 years old when Great American opened up and I’ve visited this park about 100 times since. I love the Cincinnati Reds, and I love that they built a ball park the right way. This place is timeless and extraordinarily classy for a ball park. We are so fortunate to have such an awesome stadium in our state now we need to get a great team to watch in this park too! We’ve been fortunate enough to see some great players here like Votto, Bruce, Cueto, and Scooter, but just imagine how awesome GABP would be deep in the playoffs on a Friday night. My favorite memory here was seeing the Reds in the playoffs. We went to Holy Grail before the game, watched up in the nosebleeds and then went back to the Holy Grail afterwards, all the while the streets were flooded with Reds fans and the atmosphere was second to none.
Ohio is awesome for so many reasons and if I left your favorite off the list don’t be mad at me-this is just the list of the best of the best- shoot me a comment if there’s another place you’d like all my readers to know about and they’ll be able to read your comment below this article. Now, I hope everybody enjoys snOHIO for the rest of the day!