Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Trip Back in Time to Historic Summit County

This trip is somewhat of a sentimental journey for me. When I was a little girl my mother would drive by this home and say “your cousin lives there right there across from that mansion and she is friends with one of the children”. Well, needless to say all I wanted to do was call my cousin up and see what she could tell me about this house and who had grown up there. It was the most beautiful home I had ever seen coming from a small town. It was grand.

As I grew older I realized that it was open to the public for tours. It took me 19 years to finally take the tour of the home that I always said I would own one day (not sure what day I meant) and it left me with a “Gatsby” magical feeling. The family of this home played such an important role in our NE Ohio history. When you think of Akron Ohio you have to think about the rubber industry and how it changed all our lives and this family was very much apart of Akron's rubber industry.
(Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet)

So, your first stop is to Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Akron, Ohio. It is considered one of the best Tudor revival homes in United States. Built 1912 – 1915 by the Seiberling family its grandeur is well worth a day trip. The gardens are maintained by a grounds crew and the tour is very interesting. (I had the distinct pleasure on one of my visits to have a grandchild give the tour, great perspective on the home). I don’t want to spoil the tour by telling you additional facts so this is all I will say about this home. To find out additional information and about special home events see 714 North Portage Path, Akron, Ohio 330-836-5533

Stan Hywet usually opens @10am to 6pm. Times do vary so please refer to their website linked above. After a morning/early afternoon tour of the home and gardens I tend to find I need nourishment. A wonderful local stop that will take you back in time is Swenson's. Swenson's is an old fashioned drive thru located approx. 10 west minutes from the mansion. (40 S Hawkins Ave. Akron). These old fashioned hamburgers have been pleasing area palettes for many years. I seem to prefer the traditional Galley Burger and side order of those wonderful onion rings along with the house drink a Californian.

For your third stop since you are in the neighborhood I would suggest stopping at West Point Market on 1711 W. Market Street and right around the corner from Swensons. You will find a unique selection of foods. From premium wines to Belgian chocolates to a various selection of imported foods that you are going to be glad your belly is full from Swensons. But my motto is there is always room for chocolate.

Now we are off to our next stop which is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Depending on the day there is always something happening in the park. There are two links I review for the days activities: Day In the Valley and Cuyahoga Valley National As I head north from Stan Hywet on Akron Peninsula Road I like to look at the carved Indian in the Valley and walk the strip of shops in the small town of Peninsula. They have a wonderful old fashioned bookstore I always seem to find myself spending a few minutes in. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Rail Road has a stop in Peninsula and offers special events on the train certain evenings. Check out

My final stop before heading for a nice dinner is Brandywine Falls. Nestled on Brandywine Road in northern Summit County, Sagamore Hills. Decking takes you down to the falls for a wonderful view and photo session. Truly a NE Ohio gem. To tired to go home? There is a B & B right next door to the falls as well as another 5 minutes from the falls. Both are charming B&B's. See our Accomodations page for additional motels/hotels and B&B's.

For dinner I would suggest the Courtyard in Brecksville, Casa DÁngelo's in Macedonia or Guisseppe's in Northfield Center. All establishments are within 15 city minutes from the Falls and offer a wonderful selection of appetizing dishes. If you want sandwiches to steak try The Courtyard. For pasta go to Casa DÁngelos or Guisseppe's.