Get Away

Get Away

Check Out 1,000 + Nativity Scenes in Kirtland

  Some of the nativities are so small they fit inside a walnut shell. One is made of crystals. A nativity from Kenya was created with salvaged Coke cans. Another is made entirely of 1830s square-head nails, representing Jesus. An especially moving nativity is constructed with bullet shells.  ...
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The Real Mayberry


If you watched any or all of the 249 episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” in the 1960s — or still catch reruns — consider a visit to Mount Airy, N.C. Griffith, who plays Sheriff Andy Taylor in the show, grew up in this small town and used it as a model for his series.


While the show exists only in reruns today, parts of the town are happily stuck in the past. Just six and a half hours down Interstate 77 you’ll find an entertaining getaway that makes the most of its connection to Barney, Aunt Bee, Opie and the rest of the gang.


Glimpses of the Past


During our visit, we slept in the retro, pragmatic and clean Mayberry Motor Inn at the edge of town. Keep in mind, this is a flashback to simpler times, and the motel appropriately small and historic. Rumor has it the owner sometimes dresses up as Aunt Bee while working the front desk.


The best start to visiting the town, after a good night’s sleep, is the Squad Car Ride. While we waited our turn in the Ford Galaxy (the fleet consists of ’62 ’63, ’64 and ’67 models) we checked out the replica of Wally’s Service Station.


Inside the historic corner building, we took turns posing in the jail cell and propping our feet on Andy’s desk. Definitely Facebook moments.


For our ride, we perched on the vinyl backseat and cranked down the old windows. Riding up and down the streets, we learned about the man and the show. We saw places that Andy Griffith/Andy Taylor frequented such as Floyd’s City Barber Shop and The Snappy Lunch.


After getting the lay of the land, we slid into a small booth at the 94-year-old The Snappy Lunch diner for North Carolina’s official pancake-battered pork chop sandwich.

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Happy Glampers

Style Under the Stars


By Traci McBride


If you haven’t stepped foot in a campground lately, you’re in for a surprise.


Elaborate tents with strings of solar lights. Fanciful campers with flowerpots and outdoor rugs at the doorways. Extravagant treehouses. Funky yurts.

You may drag along musty, stained sleeping bags and a package of hot dogs for a few nights under the stars, but your neighbors have upped the camping game: They’re glamping.


Outdoor Style


Camping lost its novelty for many of us with memories of miserable nights, too many bugs and ash-sprinkled food. The bugs are still there, but the rest has undergone a stylish transformation.


Glamping is getting away from it all while enjoying the luxuries of home. Are you a tent, RV or Airstream camper? Spice things up with practical, traditional yet supremely comfortable details that introduce color, patterns and simple amenities to your campsite. You’re a glamper.


Details Matter


You’ll sleep better and have more enthusiasm for hiking when you’ve rested on a queen-size blow-up mattress, having spent the evening listening to a waterproof battery-operated sound system after cooking a gourmet meal.


A portable kitchenette that includes a spice rack, paper towel holder and lantern pole makes food prep easy. You are more likely to get the grandkids to join you if they don’t have to lie on the hard ground and are still able to earn some tablet or cellphone time with a solar-powered charger. Download outdoor apps (such as SkyView and the Audubon Bird Guide) to enhance your hikes. Beautiful design plus practical functionality equals the ultimate glamping experience.


Products have certainly affected traditional camping. Battery-operated portable showers, solar chargers and battery-powered twinkle lights keep everyone clean and add a little romantic sparkle.

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Hocking Hills


Hocking Hills

Find Romance, an Adrenaline Buzz or a Family Connection

Andrea Coats and Chad Gordon made their first trip to Hocking Hills the year they met. Both divorced with teenaged children, they needed a romantic escape to focus on each other. A few days in the woods worked — the Medina couple has been together five years.

From time to time, the two return to Hocking Hills in the southeast part of the state, and plan to return again this summer to enjoy the romance of the picturesque region.

“We get a cabin by ourselves with a hot tub and grill. We grill steaks, sit in the hot tub and watch the hummingbirds around us,” Coats says. “It has beautiful woodland scenery, which makes it romantic. It’s a holding-hands, walking-around, being-alone kind of place. That’s my idea of romance. I like to be alone together.”

Gordon says, “We like it as a couple because the seclusion allows us to give full attention to each other. With immersion into nature and escape from urban, suburban and digital routines, it sounds cliché, but it’s like going back in time.”

Choose Your Own Adventure

Coats and Gordon found — and have nurtured — their romance in Hocking Hills. But there are plenty of other things to discover just a short car ride from Northeast Ohio.

With only two hotels in the area — a Holiday Inn Express and a Baymont — most of the accommodations are cabins and lodges. These are convenient for anything from couples’ getaways to family gatherings. While most options include hot tubs, some larger properties offer in-ground pools for swimming or ponds for fishing.

When visitors venture into public, it’s usually to one of the six separate areas that make up the 2,356 acres of Hocking Hills State Park.

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Fabulous Pittsburgh Eats


Fabulous Pittsburgh Food Finds

Drink (in a Church), Nosh (on a Walk) & Shop (Where the Chefs Do)

By Paris Wolfe

My parents are from Western Pennsylvania so I should know Pittsburgh. I know all about yinz, gutchies and gumband. I eat no-bake cookies and gobs. And before I was introduced to “Barney” on TV, I thought everyone said “red up” when they meant “clean up.”

Still, it took until this year before I devoted 24 hours playing in the Steel City. I went armed with my GPS to untangle the web of freeways and one-way city streets. The elegant Renaissance Pittsburgh — in the historic Fulton Building — was my headquarters for the Friday-Saturday stay and offered its own Pittsburgh-centric room touches.

We indulged in sampling of the city’s myriad food experiences. It’s culinary wealth has me eager to return.

Here’s where we went and what we did.

  1. Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Ave. (412-688-8200, We left downtown Cleveland at 3 p.m. Friday and, with stops, arrived at the church on time — 5:30 p.m. — to meet my cousin and her husband. After all, doesn’t everyone from Northeast Ohio have family in Pittsburgh?


The Church Brew Works opened in 1996 in a repurposed 1902 Catholic church. The owners maintained as much of the original structure as possible, including the hand-painted ceiling and the pews shortened for seating. The confessionals store alcohol, and the vibrant blue altar is used as brewing space. The building is one of a few repurposed Catholic churches that retains original stained glass windows.


The food and beer — note, two IPA offerings — are as worthy of admiration as the building.


  1. ’Burgh Bits and Bites Food Tours (412-901-7150, Sylvia McCoy is genius with food tours that sample the cultural anthropology of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
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A Two-Day Cleveland Vaycay – Rock, Art, Brews, and The Dead

Have you noticed? Cleveland is hot.

From innovative restaurants to historic areas and lively entertainment, the city is a great destination for people of all ages.

This summer will be especially busy as thousands arrive for the Republican National Convention in July.

Make some time to enjoy the city’s charm on your own or with visiting family and friends.

Destination Cleveland offers the following two-day itinerary to get you on your way.

Sure, a day or so isn’t much time, but it’s a good way to start. Enjoy.





1979 W. 25th St., Cleveland, 216-664-3387,

Built in 1912, the West Side Market is one of the largest indoor/outdoor markets in the country. This marketplace was once where turn-of-the-century immigrants found their native foods and spices.




(Year-round; schedule changes by season)

1790 Columbus Road, Cleveland, 216-771-4484,

This nationally recognized city sightseeing tour is a great way to tour the heart of the city. The 38-passenger streetcars cover more than 20 miles and 100 points of interest with facts and fun through narrated sightseeing tours. Specialty tours showcasing holiday lights, the stomping grounds of Eliot Ness, Lake View Cemetery and Little Italy also are offered throughout the year.




2516 Market Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-4404,

Great Lakes Brewing Company, composed of a brewery and brewpub, was the first microbrewery in the state of Ohio. The brewery has strong ties to the local community and showcases this commitment by naming its beers after local historical events, people and places. At the brewpub, guests of all ages can enjoy a memorable dining experience from start to finish, including its famous brats and pierogis.




1100 East 9th St., Cleveland, 216-781-7625,

The greatest stories and biggest names in rock ’n’ roll shine on at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum — which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015.

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Sweet Stays – Grab a Winter Reset With These Local Inns

You don’t have to go far to find the antidote to the winter doldrums. Here are three Northeast Ohio inns that pamper both body and soul. Gather with friends. Cuddle with a sweetheart. Indulge in a solo retreat. Any way you want to get away can be a luxurious respite. Close and cozy, consider a mini retreat at one (or all) of these terrific destinations and embrace winter — on your terms.

Red Maple Inn is a hybrid Inn/bed and breakfast, with a touch of Grandma’s house.

General Manager Gina Holk has everything covered. Drop your bags on the carpet and grab a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. You’re home, only better — you don’t have to clean your room. This 18-room rural getaway is like going to Grandma’s if she had rooms for all the cousins, local gifts to buy in her foyer and Jacuzzi tubs in each bathroom.

The Amish carpenter-built Red Maple Inn is warm and homey, yet refined and indulgent. You’ll feel comfortable cozying up in a tapestry chair in a sweater (dare we say Snuggie) in front of the fireplace and overlooking the snowy Amish countryside.

Don’t grow roots into the chair. You’ll want to tour the fourth-largest Amish settlement in the country. Call ahead for details and booking. Guide Robyn Morris loads guests into a white van, distributes a comfort package and trundles guests to a number of places, depending on the day.

Destinations may include an Amish schoolhouse, private homes, a cheese factory, interesting retail businesses and more. Dress warmly for cold days because heating tends to be primitive in Amish buildings. Bring cash because you’ll have an opportunity to purchase handcrafted goods such as cutting boards, jelly, cheese, quilted items and more. Venturing out on your own? Smaller shops may not take credit cards — no electricity, no cards.

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Lights! Camera! Action! Three (Nearby) Towns for a Holiday Trip Fix

Feed your Christmas spirit with holiday travel. Stuff a duffle and zip your puffy coat. Set Sirius radio to carols and ask Siri to map the destination. Find serious seasonal spirit nearby in Frankenmuth, Michigan, or Oglebay, West Virginia, or Ellicottville, New York. In less than two tanks of gas, you’ll be making new memories. If you have the flexibility, consider a midweek stay. There’s more availability, fewer crowds and better pricing.


Oglebay Resort – about 173 miles from Cleveland – is legendary for its Christmas lighting display. Northeast Ohioans sign up for popular bus tours

more than 300 acres along a six-mile drive. This year’s display will be lit Nov. 11 through Jan. 8.

Introduced in 1985, the Winter Festival of Lights is among the nation’s largest. Eighty displays include the Rainbow Tunnel and a 2,000-light Polyhedron Star. Close to 60 feet tall and spanning 50 feet in diameter, the Poinsettia Wreath and Candles is the festival’s tallest. A dramatic new light structure opens this month.

The resort is more than lights and Christmas: It’s a self-contained destination set on 1,700 acres full of recreational activities.

Wilson Lodge has 270 guestrooms, a spa, dining and more. Dining options range from cookouts to banquets to gourmet meals. Weather permitting, the

grounds offer golf, hiking and biking, and a 30-acre zoo, train ride, theater, glass museum, mansion museum and Environmental Education Center. And, of course, specialty shops that are a good place to find holiday gifts.

Guest rooms in the West Wing have been completely renovated, and an outdoor activity area with zipline and ropes course recently has been added.


Ellicettville, New  York – about 177 miles from Cleveland – is best known as the home of Holiday Valley ski resort. Off the slopes, a solid dusting of snow adds Christmas charm to this mini mecca of dining and retail.

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