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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Itinerary: Lorain County History

Lorain County is truly an Ohio gem! As we prepare to produce our 2011 Adventure and Visitor Info Guide, we've decided to coordinate the timing with a suggested trip through Lorain County! Whether you are a life-long North Central Ohio resident or a welcomed out-of-state guest, we’ve prepared some day-trip and long weekend itineraries!

History buffs will find an abundance of interesting, significant Lorain County history. Start your tour in Elyria at the Lorain County Historical Society and Hickories Museum. The Hickories Museum is an 1895 mansion built by Arthur Garford, the Elyria industrialist who invented the padded bicycle seat. Exhibits highlight the home's original architecture and details the everyday life of an upper-class, early 20th century family.

From Smitty’s website
A lunchtime visit to Smitty’s Place  in Elyria is always a welcome treat!  A family tradition since 1934, Smitty's is renowned for their “Smitty Burger.” This local favorite has even drawn national attention with a visit from President Barack Obama!

From your stop at the Hickories Museum, venture to downtown Lorain's Black River Landing and Historical Society. Lorain‘s legacy is based on shipbuilding, steel and as a departure point for runaway slaves searching for freedom in Canada. The Lorain Underground Railroad Station 100 Monument stands along the banks of the Black River.  

While in downtown Lorain take some time to explore the Lorain Arts Council gallery on Broadway Avenue. Many talented local artists have their works on display such as, watercolor landscapes, photography and custom painted wooden eggs. Exhibits change frequently and highlight all areas of artistic media.  

A visit to Lorain would be remiss without a stop for brunch or lunch at Lakeview Park’s Rose Café.  This beautiful waterfront facility offers spectacular views of Lake Erie and the historic Lorain Lighthouse.  Lakeview Park also maintains a half-mile beach, garden pathways and a lawn-bowling green area. The historic rose garden, officially dedicated in 1932, now displays more than 2500 roses in 48 beds with connecting walkways and paths. Spend some time walking through this Lorain County Metroparks gem and you will see how this has become a favorite place!

The next stop on our historical tour takes us a bit south of Lorain toward Amherst. Along the way, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Lorain County  is a reflective stopping point. This monument honors the 98 Lorain County men who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam.

Photo: Jon Fobes
Shortly beyond the Veterans Memorial is the Amherst Historical Society and Sandstone Village. Take a step back in time and learn how Amherst became known as the “Sandstone Capital of the World.”  Explore the Chapel, Blacksmith Shop, Victorian House, One-room Schoolhouse and Stone Carver Workshop. The Octagonal Barn is an interesting and unique 19th century structure. The on-site Art Gallery highlights works by Neal Jenne, artist in residence, and other local artists. 

While in Amherst, restaurant choices include Hot Dog Heaven or Olde Town PizzaMoosehead Grill offers an extensive barbecue and dinner menu, along with daily specials. Don’t forget Kiedrowski's Bakery, no trip would be complete without a sampling of their world famous Snoogle or Paczki!

After a day of historical exploration, why not relax and unwind at a nearby winery? Paper Moon Vineyards, Vermilion Valley Vineyards and Matus Winery are all within a short distance of downtown Amherst. Each offers a variety of local and regional wine samples, impressive tasting rooms, evening entertainment and beautiful scenery! 

End your day of historical exploration with a stay at one of our nearby hotels or a luxurious and quaint bed and breakfast. Many of our bed and breakfasts are century homes featuring fascinating history of their own. Get some rest and be refreshed and ready for your next day’s journey...exploring the arts, culture and history in Oberlin! 

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