A Traveler's Perspective on Hometown Ohio

A little over a year ago, my wife Linda and I read about a new tour put together by Andrea Brooks (the then-new president of CTD) throughout her home state, Ohio. I grew up and went to college in southwest Ohio. What was intriguing for me was a chance to see sites I had not been to for 50 years, and to visit towns whose names I had heard of, but never had the chance to visit.

Oh, first, I’m Terry Wright, my wife is Linda, and we are from Waco, Texas, both retired and in our mid-seventies. She retired 11 years ago from the Distributor Sales side of a national company that manufactured Aircraft Batteries. I retired 7 years ago from the administrative side (Financial Aid) from the four-year university in Waco. This was our 7th CTD trip. (We had a couple on this trip that have been on 40!)

Day 2

We started the Tour with a wonderful view looking at the Ohio River down across over into KY.

Ohio Bridge

Nestled in one of the factory warehouse districts of Cincinnati, is the American Sign Museum, with examples of commercial signs dating from 1870.

After an outstanding lunch, we were off to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. While the CTD catalog names a couple specific exhibits, this museum has 1,120,000 sq ft of indoor space to explore so it’s helpful to do your feet a favor and research before arriving.

Yes, the aircraft below is the one Johnson took the oath of office in. You can walk through the aircraft that returned JFK to Washington D.C. from Dallas and see where the bulkhead was cut to accommodate the casket. Please note that the Presidential Aircraft Exhibit is at the very back of the Museum- it’s worth the walk though!

Day 3

The next day we were off to Columbus where our first stop was the Anthony Candy Company known for their Buckeyes- the state tree and mascot of Ohio State University. The one below sadly would not fit in our suitcase and was a little out of our price range.

Then off to the Franklin Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and their $5 million collection of Chihuly Glass. This collection of 18 glass pieces is the largest installation of a private collection in a botanical garden. Also featured is an awesome Butterfly room.

And keeping with the glass theme, we stopped in Newark, just outside of Columbus at the Heisey Glass Museum. Heisey produces glass products for homes in an array of colors and styles.

Also in Newark, the home of the former Longaberger Corporation, based on their Medium Basket.

We spent the night at Mt. Vernon where the First Friday Festival unfolded outside our hotel window on the square. A car show, live band, food trucks, and vendors gave us the chance to stretch our legs and explore.

Day 4

What do you do when you build a collection of steam locomotives? You build an 18-stall roundhouse in Sugarcreek to store and shield them from the weather! Here we were walking back around the trackside after viewing the engines.

We learned how these engines were built depending on their intended use (passenger vs. freight, mountains vs. flat etc.). As is often the case on CTD trips, we found the museum developed from one man’s passion, and caught the attention of others in the community.

Next, we were off to Canton to visit the McKinney Memorial and the McKinney Library and Museum. Besides the President, the Museum also highlighted Canton and the County. It includes the street of shops, the Ohio Erie Canal, and more.

While Ohio has National Sites, there is only one National Park, located south of Cleveland, and it’s the Cuyahoga Valley. It incorporates a river that a little over 50 years ago had a reputation of catching on fire.

Day 5

We started today at the Ohio Reformatory in Mansfield- the site of the “Shawshank Redemption” movie. This building was intentionally designed to look like a European Castle to raise the spirits and reform the young men here.

Then, we were off to Groveport to visit the Motts Military Museum where Warren Mott, collector, curator, historian, and military photographer provided us with running commentary of the collection, starting with the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm. Stay close to the guide, he has an intensive, detailed, and passionate story for every piece on display!

Day 6

Day six started with a visit to Serpent Mound, part of the Ohio History Connection. A National Historic Landmark built by Ancient Indian Cultures of Ohio and studied by Harvard Educators who arranged for the purchase of the land in 1886 for preservation.

Our next stop was at the John Rankin home in Ripley. John Rankin was a conductor on the Underground Railroad. His story provided Harriett Beacher Stowe with some of the background that became Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The home, perched above the river and town, is one of the best documented and most active stations of the Railroad. Over 2,000 slaves passed through the property starting their journey

We then headed back to Cincinnati for our final evening, stopping at a Grater’s Scoop Shop on the way. Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip is their Signature flavor and a must-try.

Day 7

The morning was filled with a visit to the childhood home of William Howard Taft. The visitor’s center next door did an excellent job of telling the families’ stories.

If you have not traveled with (CTD), be prepared for a couple of things. 1) traveling with them is like a smorgasbord- you will get to see and sample the popular attractions, but you’ll also see hidden gems unknown to many; these could be the highlight of the trip for you! 2) You will likely hear at least once during the tour that someone could have driven themselves, however, they are glad they didn’t because they have enjoyed not having to find exits, parking, hotels, and follow directions, etc. 3) We spent a pre-night in Ohio to see a couple of extra stops that aren’t on the itinerary like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Pro Football (NFL) Hall of Fame. CTD can assist you with booking pre or post-nights to continue your exploration. We then headed home excited for our next trip with CTD!

CTD Traveler 

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