Up the ante on your summer now — through the eyes and experiences of the Northeast Ohio Parent staff. It’s our turn to choose some places to try for parents, by parents. From summer dining, stroller-friendly places, fresh food picks to celebrating a parent’s night out, there’s plenty of options for everyone.
Place to Learn About Safety
Angela Gartner, Editor
Firehouses around the region are great places for kids to learn about fire safety — and parents can learn something, too. If your boy or girl is interested in getting a close-up look at the different trucks or equipment, stop by your local fire station. There also are several annual “Touch-a-Truck” events. These provide kid-friendly interactions with all types of large vehicles, plus family entertainment and fun.
Relaxing local summer getaway for the family:
Brad Mitchell, Publisher
Life simplified. It’s a step back in time and likely the most stress-free vacation you can imagine. Since our kids were little, we’ve spent at least a week each summer at this picturesque cottage community on the Marblehead peninsula. While others may choose a thrilling day at Cedar Point, I prefer to walk the lakefront path, play shuffleboard, enjoy Patio Donuts and take in a free nightly show at Hoover auditorium. If you long for a real break from the fast-paced lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to, check out lakesideohio.com.
Denise Koeth, Managing Editor
We love the Towpath Trail — it’s smooth and wide, which is perfect for the pull-behind trailer in which our son rides. Some of our favorite stops are Brandywine Falls and Peninsula, Szalay’s Farm and the Mustill Store
Concerts in the Park:
Wade Oval Wednesdays, 10820 East Boulevard Cleveland, universitycircle.org
Kristen Kelly, Northeast Ohio Parent Blogger
Wednesday evenings through Aug. 26, Wade Oval is filled with music, dancing, food and family fun. University Circle from 6-9 p.m. Each week features a different band or family-friendly movie on select evenings.
Lock 3 and 4 in Downtown Akron, 200 S Main St, Akron. lock3live.com
Janyse Heidy, Sales Staff
My husband and I have enjoyed Bob Seger, Colin Ray, Journey, Bruce Springsteen, Eagles and too many cover bands to mention. We find the atmosphere very relaxing and family friendly. There are bounces and rock walls for kids most weekends. Fireworks from next door at the Akron Rubber Ducks entertain us as we listen to the many talented bands. A special treat is to go to the Peanut Shoppe before the show starts and select fresh roasted nuts or a soft serve yogurt. Lock 3, located on Main Street, and Lock 4, off of Bowery Street, provide free concerts through Sept. 2. Check schedule for details.
Place to Watch the Sunset:
Lakefront Lodge, 30525 Lakeshore Blvd, Willowick
Sherry Lundberg, Ad Production Manager
One of my family’s favorite things to do on a summer evening is go to Lakefront Lodge in Willowick and watch the sunset. This park overlooks Lake Erie and has beautiful unobstructed views. If we have the kids with us, we pick up ice cream or a pizza to eat while we wait. The park has picnic tables and swings; or you can bring your own chairs and blankets to enjoy the “show.” It is also a romantic place for couples.
Fresh Food Pick:
Monroe’s Orchard & Farm, 6313 Pioneer Trail, Hiram, pioneertrailorchard.com
Kristen Gough, contributor
Fresh, bright red strawberries line the rows of fields at Monroe’s Orchard & Farm. We like to spend the day filling our baskets with strawberries we picked ourselves and then gobbling up handfuls on our way home. With our leftovers, we make strawberry shortcake, strawberry smoothies, and chop some to freeze and eat once the weather turns cold again.
Stroller Friendly Fun:
Denise Koeth, Managing Editor
While you might not think noisy toddlers and the peaceful atmosphere of an art museum are a good mix, I’ve found both the Cleveland Museum of Art (11150 East Blvd., Cleveland, clevelandart.org) and the Akron Art Museum (1 S. High St., Akron, akronartmuseum.org) to be great destinations. The Akron Art Museum offers unique classes for children of all ages, including the “Art Babes” series for babies 18 months and younger. At the Cleveland Museum of Art, when my young son gets restless after a stroller ride through the galleries, I spend the rest of our visit in Studio Play, which has hands-on, interactive activities and a plethora of unique toys.
Scooter’s Dawg House 600 Blackbrook Rd, Mentor, scootersdawghouse.com
Angela Gartner, Editor
Whether you went to the pool or the local beaches around town — Headlands Beach or Fairport Harbor LakeFront Park — Scooter’s Dawg House in Mentor provides an array of fare for the whole family. There are more than 15 hotdog flavors on the menu from classic selections to speciality dogs. For those who don’t dig dogs, there’s a variety of sandwich options.
Top your picnic off with something sweet!
Frozen Dee Lite, 16508 US-422, Parkman
Marie Elium, Contributor
After checking out the ledges at Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park, drive a few miles west to one of the best frozen custard in Geauga County. Frozen Dee Lite is an ice cream stand and restaurant with a comfortable indoor eating area. Most people come for the custard, but the food is good, too. A Barnyard Burger, anyone?
Parent’s Night Out:
Sarah’s Vineyard, 1204 W Steels Corners Rd, Cuyahoga Falls, sarahsvineyardwinery.com
Chris Geer, Sales Staff
Located directly across from Blossom Music Center, Sarah’s Vineyard is a favorite spot for my wife and I to spend some adult time. (It’s also a great stop before a show at Blossom.) Its new open air structure provides a great rustic environment to taste wines while enjoying summer weather. You can bring your picnic basket or order one of Sarah’s wood-fired pizzas; there’s no chicken fingers on the menu here.