As Dorothy once said, “there’s no place like home”. That’s why I was overjoyed to plan a tour for CTD travelers to my home state of Ohio showcasing my favorite attractions from The Buckeye State. I’ve personally built this eclectic itinerary with private tours, private meals, and even private attractions throughout Ohio’s beautiful cities and charming small towns. If you love exceptional local hotels, delicious food, and unique sites, this is the tour for you! I'll even be joining each trip for the welcome dinner to introduce you to Ohio! Come travel with CTD and see what makes my home state so special.
—Andrea Brooks, Incoming President at Country Travel Discoveries
DAY 1—WELCOME TO OHIO!
Your adventure begins in one of my favorite Ohio cities – Cincinnati. The “Queen City” is well known for many things, one of which is their uniquely flavored chili! Enjoy this Ohio specialty during our group welcome dinner. D
DAY 2—SIGN MUSEUM/MUSEUM OF U.S. AIR FORCE
This morning, your Tour Director will introduce you to Cincinnati as you stand high above the Ohio River at Eden Park Overlook, hidden away in the local Mount Adams neighborhood. Then it’s off to the American Sign Museum for a private tour through 100 years of neon sign history. A delicious lunch will be served today at The Golden Lamb, my family’s favorite restaurant and Ohio’s longest continually operating business. Throughout its 215-year history, The Golden Lamb has hosted notable guests including twelve U.S. Presidents, Neil Armstrong, and Mark Twain. After lunch, explore the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. My favorite aircrafts on display include the Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavour (which orbited the moon 74 times) and the Boeing 707 Air Force One where Lyndon Johnson took the Presidential Oath of Office beside Jackie Kennedy in 1963. The day ends with an overnight at the charming Mills Park Hotel in Yellow Springs. B, L
DAY 3—ANTHONY THOMAS CHOCOLATE/FRANKLIN PARK CONSERVATORY
It will be a joyful morning as you make your way to Columbus, my hometown. This vibrant capital city is home to the Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory and you’re in for a real treat – literally! I’ve secured a behind-the-scenes tour to see how they make their famous chocolate and peanut butter buckeyes. Then it’s off to the Franklin Park Conservatory to see one of the largest collections of Chihuly glass in the country intertwined with world-class horticultural and butterfly exhibits. This evening, stay at The Mount Vernon Grand Hotel, one of my favorite properties in Ohio. B, L
DAY 4—AGE OF STEAM/MCKINLEY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY/CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Calling all train buffs! This morning, travel to the Age of Steam Roundhouse to see the largest private collection of steam locomotives in the world along with a 115-foot turntable. I’ve planned this visit as a special nod to my friend Steve Uelner – CTD’s Founder and one of the biggest railroad buffs I know. Later, relish in a private lunch at the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum after we explore parts of the Memorial not on display to the public. Finish the day in Cuyahoga Valley National Park to see Brandywine Falls before staying at Akron’s downtown BLU-tique hotel. B, L, D
DAY 5—SHAWSHANK TOUR/MOTTS MILITARY MUSEUM
Venture to The Ohio State Reformatory today for a self-guided tour of the intact set of the 1994 classic, The Shawshank Redemption. Come walk through this 1800’s prison and see the filming locations of Andy’s cell block, the Warden’s office, and even Brooks’ apartment. Then you’re off to the eclectic Motts Military Museum in Groveport, one of my favorite museums in the entire country. This local gem was founded by Warren Motts’ personal collection of historic artifacts and includes a Higgins Boat from World War II. The museum is in possession of the largest collection of 9/11 memorabilia outside of New York, including a fire truck that was crushed from the World Trade Center collapse. B, L
DAY 6—SERPENT MOUND/JOHN RANKIN HOUSE
Today travel through the beautiful countryside to Serpent Mound State Memorial, a National Historic Landmark built by the ancient American Indian cultures of Ohio. The curator of this effigy mound (a mound in the shape of an animal) is privately opening just for our group! Then it’s off to the John Rankin House in Ripley for another private visit. Minister John Rankin, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, is famous for signaling to freedom seekers in Kentucky with a lantern to let them know it was safe to cross the Ohio River. This stop also includes my favorite view in Ohio – the Rankin home is on a three-hundred-foot-high hill that overlooks the Ohio River and it’s absolutely breathtaking. This evening, say goodbye to Ohio with a special farewell dinner. B, L, D
DAY 7—WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE/FAREWELL
This morning, travel to the heart of Cincinnati to visit the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. This location is the birthplace and childhood home of Howard Taft, the only person in history to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the United States. After learning about President Taft, journey home with treasured memories of The Buckeye State. B
Night 1: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Florence Airport, Cincinnati
Night 2: Mills Park Hotel, Yellow Springs
Night 3: The Mount Vernon Grand Hotel, Mt. Vernon
Night 4: BLU-tique Hotel, Akron
Night 5: Fairfield Inn & Suites, Chillicothe
Night 6: Hilton Garden Inn Midtown, Cincinnati
Jun 5-11, 2024
Oct 2-8, 2024
Price Per Person:
Pre/Post Tour Hotel:
Free airport shuttle or hotel parking
Welcome Dinner and meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Fees and tips for included attractions and meals
Luggage handling at most hotels
Free bottled water on coach
24-hour emergency call service
Our Welcome Dinner on Day 1 is at our hotel, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Florence Airport Cincinnati, starting at 6:30 p.m. We recommend scheduling your flight to arrive by 4:00 p.m.
Schedule your flight home to depart the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport any time after 1:00 p.m. on Day 7.
Airport Transportation / Vehicle Parking
Our starting hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The shuttle runs 24 hours a day, and is at the airport every 30 minutes. If you are driving to the starting hotel, they also offer complimentary parking for the duration of the tour.
Moderate walking is required to fully enjoy this tour. Some walking will also be on uneven paths.
Age of Steam Roundhouse, Franklin Park Conservatory, National Museum of US Air Force, and The Ohio State Reformatory have more intensive walking levels required. The National Museum of the US Air Force offers free scooter rental and they can be booked on-site. The Ohio State Reformatory is a one-way walk through the museum and includes multiple flights of stairs.
While walking canes are allowed, we are unable to accommodate travelers using other mobility devices, including walkers and wheelchairs.
June – high of 75°, low of 60°
October – high of 67°, low of 45°
Night 1: The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Florence Airport, Cincinnati includes a microwave, refrigerator, iron/ironing board, safe, hair dryer, flat-screen TV, indoor pool, fitness center, Wi-Fi, coffee in lobby.
Night 2: Mills Park Hotel, Yellow Springs has Luxury linens, custom Amish hand-crafted furniture, Wi-Fi, coffee maker, hair dryer, fitness room, gift shop, bike rental.
Night 3: The Mount Vernon Grand Hotel, Mt. Vernon has luxury linens, Aveda bath amenities, Keurig coffee maker, hair dryer, flat-screen TV, iron/ironing board, Wi-Fi, fitness center.
Night 4: BLU-tique Hotel, Akron has luxury linens, Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities, hair dryer, safe, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, fitness center.
Night 5: Fairfield Inn & Suites, Chillicothe includes hair dryer, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, indoor pool, fitness center.
Night 6: Hilton Garden Inn Midtown, Cincinnati includes hair dryer, refrigerator, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, indoor pool, fitness center, bike rental.
A total of three mailings are sent to assist you in preparing for your tour, including information sent upon receipt of your reservation.
Dress on tour is casual. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes and a raincoat/umbrella.
Please inform our staff if you have a peanut allergy, as our visit to the Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory will be a peanut facility.
Travel Protection Available?
Yes, see CountryTravelDiscoveries.com/TravelProtectionPlan.