Features

Ohioans enjoy nighttime kayaking at High Rocks Adventure

After dark

As twilight comes, the rugged cliffs, crevices, and outcroppings at High Rocks Adventure add a sense of mystery to what’s already an adrenaline rush. 

Night rappels are trips into the unknown. “You can’t see the bottom of the cliff, so there’s a lot of trust needed,” says Kayce, a member of South Central Power Company. Sometimes, the trust pays off with even more thrill — one time during a solo rappel, with her headlight turned off, 
a screech owl’s wings brushed silently past her face.

Riding the Miller Ferry with Mitten Kitten was on Lindy Brown’s bucket list, as is evident in this ferry cool selfie.

Silver bullet

Wally Byam’s childhood was spent immersed in nature. He worked on a West Coast sheep farm, where he lived in a donkey-towed wagon that was outfitted with a stove, food, water, and just about everything else he could possibly need. 

Byam’s love of camping and the outdoors, combined with American ingenuity, resulted in a product that lasts for decades and is instantly recognizable around the world.

Perhaps best of all, it’s made in Ohio — Byam moved the production to Jackson Center in rural Shelby County right after World War II, and workers there build upward of 120 of the iconic silver bullets every week, all by hand.

Surfing lessons on the coast of the Great Miami River

Surf's up

Downtown Dayton is your typical urban Midwestern city, filled with blacktop and busy streets, high-rises, and noisy traffic.

But wait: There are also surfers, who are apt to be happily catching a wave out on the water.

River surfing is similar to ocean surfing, but instead of catching waves caused by the wind, it’s done on standing river waves created by flowing whitewater.

“It’s a rush,” says Shannon Thomas, a Dayton native and pro river surfer and paddleboarder. “Anyone who has surfed knows that special feeling you get when you’re on a wave. It’s amazing; very spiritual, very addictive.” 

The HardTackers, a sea shanty singing group

HardTackers: A decade-long journey of seafaring lore

Ohio is the only state in the union with a burgee flag — a shape usually associated with a boating organization.

Shanties date to the mid-1400s era of tall ships, when sailors’ work was grueling and labor-intensive. The rhythms of the call-and-response style of shanty songs helped the crew push and pull, hoisting sails and hauling lines in a synchronized effort. Often adapted from familiar folk tunes and ballads of the day, shanty lyrics were flavored with nautical terms and names of places the sailors had been — or hoped to see. ]

Cedar Point's Terrific Trio

'Round and 'Round

In the United States, the golden age of carousels lasted roughly from 1880 to 1925 and generated more than 3,000 of the enchantingly colorful and musical rides — of which only about 150 have survived.

Cedar Point’s Terrific Trio

Amusement parks often brag about possessing one classic carousel, so how special is it that Cedar Point owns three? Built in 1912, the Midway Carousel (shown at left) is Cedar Point’s oldest operating ride. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and offers 60 horses that are rare examples of master carver Daniel Muller’s handiwork.

Two offshoots growing from an old, decaying stump are all that’s left of the last living tree planted by Johnny Appleseed, which still occasionally produces fruit in Ashland County.

A slice of history

Tucked off County Road 658 in Ashland County, not far from the northward-flowing Vermillion River, a squat, knobby tree stump sits near a modest white farmhouse.

Folklore paints Johnny Appleseed as an eccentric nature lover, scattering apple seeds while wandering barefoot and wearing a tin pot as a hat. While he was a devout conservationist, he was also a calculating and successful orchardist whose passion sprang from a blend of religious devotion, humanitarianism, and strategic economic thought. 

National Flag plans to resume factory tours and reopen its on-site flag museum soon. Check the company website for updates.

Stars and Stripes forever

Ask Artie Schaller how many stars the American flag had in 1869, and he instantaneously answers, “Thirty-seven.” The question would stump most people, but Schaller has a distinct advantage: He grew up in a family business that’s one of the nation’s oldest flag manufacturers

Although National Flag produces more than a million flags and banners annually, it remains a small, customer-oriented business, with 21 employees. “They’ve been here an average of 17 years, and six have been with us more than 30 years,” says Schaller. Phone calls to the company are answered by a real person, and the public is welcome to walk into its factory building in Cincinnati’s West End and purchase flags at the front office’s service counter.

Russ Jurg

Up, up, and away

During balloon season (mid-April to November), hot air balloonists take to the skies. Soaring across the patterns and shapes of the landscape, riders get a bird’s-eye view of Ohio.

Suttle upped her balloon game when she bought a balloon, became a commercial pilot, and competed in the U.S. Nationals. Out of 100 pilots, she placed 17th in the nation. Suttle, president of the Northeast Ohio Balloon Pilots Association, lives in Tuscarawas County with her husband, Paul, also a pilot. Through their company, Dreams Come True, they take people on an experience of a lifetime. “They get so excited. Our whole idea is to put smiles on people’s faces.”

Snap the Whip

All American

Louis Zona breathed a sigh of relief a couple of months ago when Snap the Whip safely returned to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown.

The Butler was the first museum built solely for works by American artists, and for decades, Butler family members augmented its collection with masterpieces such as Albert Bierstadt’s The Oregon Trail and Edward Hopper’s Pennsylvania Coal Town. After Joseph G. Butler III died in 1981, Zona was appointed director. At the time, he chaired Youngstown State University’s art department, but his association with the museum began in the early 1970s. “My dissertation was about museum operations, and I used the Butler for my lab,” says Zona. 

Cedar Point Beach

Lake Erie beach bucket list

Show of hands: After months of COVID confinement, who wants to lie on a beach towel beside a long stretch of sun-kissed water? Build sandcastles? Paddle around? Go for a long swim? Simply laze away a summer afternoon?

Cedar Point Beach, Sandusky

Cedar Point began with its beach in 1870, and today, the amusement park delivers dual fun-in-the-sun experiences: world-class rides plus a mile of smooth, white sand — all enhanced by splendid lake views and refreshing breezes. Open only to Cedar Point guests, the beach offers amenities and activities that range from lounging in an umbrella chair and snapping photos on its grand boardwalk to renting WaveRunners and parasailing high above the sand.