Destination: Canton – Come for the Football, Stick Around to Play

Destination: Canton – Come for the Football, Stick Around to Play

A field trip to the Greater Canton area is more than the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s dining with a BFF, romancing a partner or shopping with your sister — or a combination of all three.

Spend a long day or make time for a weekend. This hall of fame city and its outskirts have plenty to discover. Take a ride south to Stark County and see for yourself that there is lots to do just an hour or so down the road.


Eat and Drink Canton

Bring your best buddy and take a bite out of Canton with Barbara Abbott, owner of Canton Food Tours. A former naturalist, Abbott has flipped her focus from explaining forest flora to exploring the urban jungle. She narrates a three-hour food tour — afternoon or evening — offering fun facts about the city as well as its art, architecture, history and dining scene. The walk is broken up by 20- to 25-minute stops in four different restaurants. At each location, a chef offers a signature small plate. The entire outing adds up to a hearty meal. Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday, April through November. They’re available year-round for groups of six or more. Learn more at 330-495-0929 or

If you’re interested in the brewery scene, check out one or all of the 11 craft brew experiences in the area. Leave your comfort zone and learn more about mead, a honey-based, low-alcohol artisan beverage.

Breweries include:

o Canton Brewing Company

o Fat Head’s Brewery

o Lockport Brewery

o Maize Valley

o Mucky Duck Brewery

o Muskellunge Brewing Company

o Paradigm Shift Brewery

o Royal Docks Brewing Company

o Sandy Spring Brewing Co.

o Shale Brewing Co.

o Gervasi Craft Beer

Meaderies include McAlpine Meadery and Meniru Meadery.

Shop Hartville

Learn why the small village of Hartville, just 12 miles north of Canton, has been a shopping destination for years. Then tie your best walking shoes and hit two separate locations: downtown Hartville for charming storefronts and Experience Hartville for Hartville Collectibles Gift Shop, Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market, Hartville Hardware and Hartville Tool. Plan your visit for a Thursday through Saturday when everything is open.

Experience Hartville is rooted in 1966 when Howard and Sarah Miller opened a small restaurant serving Mennonite-inspired homemade food. Today their Hartville Kitchen is part of a family-owned and -operated group of businesses.  

This is a place where shopping is measured by acre, not square foot. Hartville Marketplace & FleaMarket offers a three-acre, climate-controlled indoor space with permanent vendors and storefronts as well as 12 acres of temporary, outdoor vendor spaces. Can’t find what you want? Check out Hartville Hardware’s seven acres under one roof, including the Idea House design center, built inside the store.

Two miles away in the village of Hartville, you can shop for antiques, architectural salvage, art, upcycled furniture and kitchenware. Best Bib and Tucker carries a broad selection of consigned women’s clothing.

End the evenings at Maize Valley Winery, Craft Brewery and Farmers Market. You don’t have to rush home. The Comfort Suites, adjacent to Experience Hartville, is convenient for an overnight stay.

Romance Each Other

Start your romantic weekend in a suite — or entire villa — at Gervasi Vineyard. This isn’t just any winery, but a resort campus with six, four-suite villas and a farmhouse for rent as well as restaurants, an international winery, expansive gift shop and luxury event center. (The facility is adding a 24-room boutique hotel and a craft distillery.)

Once situated, stroll the brick walkways to become familiar with the developed space on the 55-acre former farm. If you arrive in the evening, go Italian at the upscale Bistro restaurant. It’s situated in a rustic, rebuilt “barn,” and the menu includes small and large plate portions for sharing.

In the morning, check out the Pro Football Hall of Fame and/or the First Ladies’ Museum. Then, squeeze in a little Hartville shopping. Return to The Crush House at Gervasi for a wine tasting and dinner. Wines are made both onsite and offsite to represent international styles and satisfy all palates. Craft beers and a full bar are also available.

Want to tap your artistic side? Visit the Canton Museum of Art downtown and take in the exhibit “Arden Riddle: Master of Mid-Century Design,” now through Oct. 28. Riddle was a master furniture designer and owned and operated Arden Riddle Furniture & Gallery in Akron for more than 50 years.

About the author

Paris Wolfe enjoys writing about interesting getaways as much as she does discovering them.

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