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new jersey
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for Charlevoix, Michigan
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Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

My daughter is about to start her freshman year at THE Ohio State University. As school starts before Labor Day and she is going to be 600 miles from home, we are considering coming to Ohio for Labor Day weekend (we are assuming many kids will go home for the long weekend). We would like to explore south eastern or eastern Ohio. Does anyone have any suggestions of things to do in these areas? We have relatives in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo and have visited Cedar Point several times so those are not the areas we would like to visit this time. State parks with outdoor activities? Quaint towns with fun things to do? We would like to stay within 2 hours of Columbus. Many thanks for the suggestions.

Ideally, we would like to book cancelable reservations in the event she finds that other students stay at school for the weekend. We can simply cancel the reservation and let her enjoy her weekend. Thanks, Moms

P.S. We will be traveling with a 14 year old sister, 16 year old brother, 18 year old Buckeye and Mom and Dad.

Columbus, Ohio
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1. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Greetings. OH-IO

One suggestion is the Hocking Hills State Park area near Logan. It has many hiking trails (most easy) and a lot of natural beauty; Old Man's Cave in the most popular part of the park. There are several cabins and lodges in the area. I've personally stayed at Old Man's Cave Chalets and enjoyed it. I would not recommend the state park lodge however. http://www.hockinghills.com/

Marietta is a quant Ohio River town though it's been awhile since I've headed down there. http://www.mariettaohio.org/

Heading further east The Wilds is a wildlife preserve that's operated in conjunction (or something like that) with the Columbus Zoo. It's kind of far off the beaten path so you'll have a nice ride getting there. http://www.thewilds.org/

Ohio State will be moving to semesters for the first time so students will be on campus on Labor Day for fall term for the first time. It's hard to say whether students will leave town, but a university as big as OSU I'm sure plenty will stay in town.

The Buckeyes opening football game is that weekend. You may want to come visit anyways and take in the football game. It's an experience like no other even if you're not a sports fan. You'll have to hit a ticket web site for tickets or hit up some scalpers though. Make sure you see the band come on the field though.

Enjoy your visit.

Bay City, Michigan
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2. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

We are possibly headed to that area as part of a vacation Moms, and we plan on doing the Columbus Zoo and The Wilds. You may want to Google Roscoe Village-history, shopping, dining. Looks like a cute place to spend a couple hours.

Chillicothe, Ohio
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3. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

This will be the first time Ohio State has ever actually been in session prior to Labor Day (in recent memory anyway, due to the conversion to semesters from quarters). There's no saying if students will go home or not, really. If it's opening football weekend, then I would suspect many to stick around just for those festivities.

The Wilds, Hocking Hills, Tecumseh Outdoor drama in Chillicothe, canoeing, Amish Country (near Akron) and Pro-football Hall of Fame (in Canton), are all good suggestions. :-) If you opt for Hocking Hills, you could always rent a cabin for the family (most have outdoors hot tubs) and spend the weekend hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and visiting the area cute small towns (Logan, Nelsonville, Athens which is home to Ohio University, and Chillicothe).

new jersey
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4. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Thanks all for your responses. Because this is the first year OSU is on semesters, we are wondering about the long weekend. We are hopeful students will stay on campus, especially with an interstate football game/rivalry taking place that weekend. Hocking Hills sounds fantastic and right up our alley. We may also consider Athens as our daughter's friend from High School will be attending Ohio University and we can keep her company as well.

Buckmarko: We are looking forward to experiencing many OSU games. My husband and I are Michigan State alums and know the fun of Big 10 football games, tailgates, bands marching in, etc. Part of the reason our daughter pretty much limited her school selections to Big 10 schools is her experience enjoying MSU and Michigan games (half the family are alums of MSU and the other half Michigan) growing up. As a matter of fact, I grew up in East Lansing and my husband Ann Arbor. As children we both have fond memories of watching the schools' respective bands practice during the weekdays before the games. We are very excited for our daughter to enjoy these fun traditions as a Buckeye! We have several friends whose children attend Miami of Ohio so we may just opt for the game! We are also planning on the MSU v. OSU game in East Lansing this year as we understand the two schools may not play each other again in football during our daughter's four year tenure at OSU.

Thanks again for all the responses! Looking forward to getting to know this area of Ohio better over the next several years! Moms

P.S. Good to see you on this forum Tyme! Love the recommendations! Thank you!

Cleveland
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5. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Moms, if you decide to pass on September (I can't imagine a freshman football fan wanting to miss her first game weekend; make certain she knows how to get tickets and doesn't miss the very limited window for freshmen to buy student tickets), so perhaps plan to come for the tail-end of Leaf Turn in October.

There are a couple great seasonal attractions then, the Circleville Pumpkin Show and the All-American Quarter Horse Congress at the Ohio Expo Center, the largest single breed horse show in the world:

http://www.ofea.org/view.php?fest_id=56

http://www.oqha.com/aaqhc

The Hocking Hills are very popular for Leaf Turn, so make reservations far in advance.

The last day of the Tecumseh Outdoor Drama in Chillicothe is Sept. 1. Also in Chillicothe is Adena Mansion & Gardens.

http://www.tecumsehdrama.com/

If you visit the Hocking Hills, consider also stopping in Logan.

Zanesville is great fun with The Wilds, the "Y" bridge and Tom's Ice Cream Bowl (note the Campbell Soup Machine on the counter there), and more both in Zanesville and Muskingum County. The Wilds are well visited on cool days in the fall when animals are more active.

http://www.visitzanesville.com/

The Hocking Hills have a reportedly great zipline and there also is now one at The Wilds.

Here's a thread for Athens:

tripadvisor.com/…36749204

It sounds as if Ohio's National Natural Landmarks would particularly interest you. There are several in the Columbus area.

http://nature.nps.gov/nnl/state.cfm?State=OH

…wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Natural…

There are many very good Ohio state parks south and southeast of Columbus:

…state.oh.us/parks/…Default.aspx

West of Columbus, you might enjoy Yellow Springs (home of the famed liberal bastion of Antioch College), Glen Helen Natural Area (a National Natural Landmark), and John Bryan State Park.

Good planning!

new jersey
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6. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Thanks Trans! She already has her tickets. She was online the minute her "window" opened and bought for every home game. She is also buying away tickets for MSU and Penn State. Yes, she already understands that being a Buckeye means loving football and she plans to fully immerse herself in it fully!

I think we are likely to all come for the Miami game. It is just too much fun to miss! She also said she would like us to come but to not be offended if she is too busy with friends. It would make me very happy if she is too busy for us because that will mean the adjustment is going well.

Thanks for the October recommendations. I am sure we will take advantage of many of these opportunities. Moms

Cleveland
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7. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Moms, make certain you go to the Skull Session at St. John's Arena prior to the game. You often have to get there more than an hour before the pep rally begins in order to get a seat. It's free and a neat spectacle/ritual. I like the balcony seats.

Also, given your enjoyment of German/Hungarian food, consider making reservations for Schmidt's in German Village for Friday night. It will be jammed, but perhaps after 8 p.m., they will have an oompah band playing Buckeye songs, a unique experience. Don't expect Balaton-quality cuisine. The brats are my favorite there.

If you have to buy tickets at stubhub.com, etc., the Miami game will probably be an easier/cheaper ticket than a Big Ten game, but perhaps not, depending upon on how good Miami is expected to be this year. Some in-state fans don't enjoy visiting Ohio Stadium to watch their team being pummeled. A good Miami team might have a chance against Ohio State, which is adopting the spread offense and may have some transition problems in Urban Meyer's first year. After all, Toledo beat Michigan in the Big House a few years ago.

Check tradition here for more on the Skull Session and additional Buckeye football rituals:

http://www.coachurbanmeyer.com/

Cleveland
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8. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Wow, they've already had the freshman football ticket window open? Sounds like a way to limit ticket purchases by freshmen!

new jersey
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9. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

Yes, with the switch to semesters, the home game ticket lottery has already taken place and my daughter is the proud owner of tickets to all home games! The Skull Session sounds like so much fun and is a "must do" at least once. At Michigan State, the band practices before the game at a field in the middle of Circle Drive, across the Red Cedar River from Spartan Stadium. It is essentially a pep rally as well. They then march to the stadium past the iconic statue of Sparty for good luck. It is a ritual I treasured as a child, MSU student and now alum. Sounds like the Skull Session could be similarly meaningful.

We have eaten at Schmidt's before and enjoy it! I think we will like it best in the fall and winter because it is such heavy German food. I would love to see the live entertainment playing the fight song! You are quite correct Trans, it isn't nearly the quality of Balaton but it is very reminiscent of the kind of food one would find in a small German village. Hearty food served in a friendly atmosphere! Fun!

Cleveland
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10. Re: Things to do in Southeastern or Eastern Ohio

The Skull Session has evolved into a full-fledged pep rally. It's hardly a band practice any longer, moms. The band actually marches into St. John's Arena in a highly polished and exciting routine. Nothing involving the TBDBITL is happenstance any longer.

I also enjoy Schmidt's, but wanted to make certain that you didn't have high expectations.

It's amazing that your daughter has tickets to all home games as a freshman. She'll rapidly be converted from a Spartan to a hardcore Buckeye! Be tolerant as she insufferably gloats in the years ahead.