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Afloat in Ohio

Ohio is a patchwork quilt of verdant fields, woodlands, energized cities and charming towns connected not only by roads but also by water.

Cleveland Harbor.

Cleveland Harbor.

Courtesy of Discover Ohio

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Often called the heart of the Midwest, Ohio is a patchwork quilt of verdant fields, woodlands, energized cities and charming towns connected not only by roads but also by water. To the north, the state sits on the edge of Lake Erie, and along its southern and western borders, fronts the mighty Ohio River, with myriad lakes, rivers and streams in between. Festivals play a large part in the state’s celebration of its history, foods, culture and dedication to, well, having fun. For those who love spending summer days on the water, the Buckeye State calls us to come and play.

Stretching along the southern Lake Erie shoreline, Cleveland is a transformational city, merging the best of past and present. The Tower Center, built in 1930 and once the fourth tallest skyscraper in the world, buzzes with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. An exciting Waterfront District Plan will connect eight miles of lake frontage, adding many amenities and incorporating glittering icons the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center and Browns Stadium.

"Renewal through sustainability" is the credo of noted hometown chefs like Michael Symon and Jonathan Sawyer, and many re-emerging neighborhoods such as the Warehouse District and Tremont boast great restaurants and eclectic boutiques.

Tie up at Whiskey Island Marina on Cleveland’s west side, which has 90-feet of dockage and, on the weekend, live music, contests, dinner and dancing at the Sunset Grille.

Channel Park Marina has 10 transient slips, gasoline, diesel, pumpout, picnic areas, playground and showers.

E. 55th Marina, near the downtown’s North Coast Harbor, features 20 transient docks, water, electricity, a playground, restaurant and lounge as well as such special events as fishing competitions, pig roasts, clam bakes and seafood dinners.

There’s no formal marina, but enjoy the action at West Bank of the Flats, home to Shooters, an indoor/outdoor bar, restaurants and entertainment venue with docking at its riverfront patio.

You can’t miss Wade Oval Wednesdays, the free summer concert series at University Circle, a one-mile area chock full of attractions like the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Museum of Art, Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Dunham Tavern Museum and Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Foodies can get their fix at the sprawling West Side Market, dating back to the 1840s and the largest indoor/outdoor market in the world. An international smorgasbord of fresh produce, artisan cheeses, seafood and meats awaits.

Chef and Food Network star Mario Batali proclaimed the cassata cake sold at Corbo’s, a bakery in the Little Italy section of Cleveland, as the best he’s tasted in the U.S. This lively neighborhood is filled with outdoor cafes and scented with the rich smells of some really superb cooking.

Mark your calendars to watch the Flagship Niagara lead a flotilla of historic boats into the Port of Cleveland for the Tall Ship Festival starting on July 4. The four-day event will include youth sail training activities dockside and a the festival village where you can learn more about sailing, nautical products and services.

Visit nearby wineries by following the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail. Along the way, take time to stop at the Middlefield Cheese House, catch a ride on the AC & J Scenic Train Rides and see a play at Rabbit Run Theater, one of the few remaining old-fashioned barn theaters in the country.

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