I’m suspicious of any activity that requires a signature on a liability waiver.
I’ve gone years, in fact, finding plenty of things to do that don’t require a waiver. I’m rethinking that. Northeast Ohio has had an indoor recreation boom recently, and the activities look like a lot of fun.
Trampolines, rope courses, climbing walls, indoor cycling. All are great winter-busting activities and don’t require layers of clothing and boots better than the ones I already own.
Here are a few places to try, either with some friends, alone (if you’re self-conscious) or with a grandkid or two.
Play: CLE is an indoor adventure park in Avon with the added bonus of serving both food and alcohol. It’s got a zip line, a rope course and a climbing wall. playcle.com
Sky Zone in Boston Heights offers an indoor trampoline park with ladders, climbing walls and other activities. skyzone.com
Zip City in Streetsboro has an indoor zip line, a trampoline park, a ropes course, a Ninja course and two Ninja laser mazes. zipcityusa.com
Ray’s Mountain Bike Park in Cleveland is open October through April. Don’t have a mountain bike? Rent one there. The course is user-friendly for folks of all skill levels. raysmtb.com
The Golf Dome in Chagrin Falls has an indoor driving range, mini golf and batting cages. thegolfdome.com
Get Air Cleveland in Middleburg Heights is just what it sounds like: a trampoline park with foam pits, trampoline walls and other indoor adventures. getaircleveland.com
Marie Elium fell off a mini-trampoline in middle school and hasn’t been on one since.
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....
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.
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.
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....
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....
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.
- Church Brew Works, 3525 Liberty Ave. (412-688-8200, churchbrew.com). 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.
- ’Burgh Bits and Bites Food Tours (412-901-7150, burghfoodtour.com). Sylvia McCoy is genius with food tours that sample the cultural anthropology of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.