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Published: May 18, 2020

Two women with car - travel

In 1979 when gas prices were high, Cleveland TV reporter Neil Zurcher started a travel series called “One Tank Trips,” featuring travel destinations that Northeast Ohioans could take on a single tank of gas.

Well today gas is cheap and public restrooms are scarce, so how about “One Potty-stop Trips?’’

Before heading out, pack accordingly for your “Responsible RestartOhio” outing. Along with face mask, hand sanitizer and wipes, a small roll of toilet paper might come in handy. (You just never know). Pack a light cooler (go easy on the liquids), maybe a blanket or folding chairs.

Ohio Rest Areas remain open, and state and metro parks are starting to open public restrooms. With indoor dining returning May 21, you’ll have opportunities to stop for a bite and a potty break.

With this evolving health crisis, things can change rapidly so before loading the car check your destination to make sure it is still open.

OK, now for the fun stuff.

That Great Lake in our Backyard

The Lake Erie shoreline offers lots of public access: From west to east, Marblehead Lighthouse State Park in Marblehead, Main Street Beach in Vermilion (with a stop afterwards at Romp’s Dairy Dock), Lakeview Park in Lorain, Huntington Beach in Bay Village and Edgewater Park in Cleveland. It’s still too cold to dip your feet in the water, but maybe warm enough for a picnic.

Thank goodness the birds aren’t sheltering in place. Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve in Huron features nearly 300 bird species, along with wildflowers and coastal wetlands. Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve in Huron is another popular birding destination – and not far from Pied Piper Drive In.  Magee Marsh east of Toledo is the warbler mecca, but unfortunately Magee Marsh is currently closed because of flooding and health concerns.

Much More Than a Cemetery

“For over 150 years, Lake View Cemetery has been a peaceful urban oasis. As we navigate these unprecedented times, our hope is that our grounds can provide our visitors and families with a safe outdoor space to be in nature,” according to its website.

The Wade Chapel and James A. Garfield Memorial are closed (along with public restrooms) but the grounds remain open. The cemetery’s 285 acres is home to collections of daffodils, wildflowers and plants and a tree canopy comprised of more than 10,000 trees, including seven Moses Cleaveland trees said to have been there when the city’s founder landed on the shore of the Cuyahoga River in 1796.

You can bring your leashed dog but cannot bike through the grounds.

If You’re Looking for a Bike Outing

Load up your bicycles and drive to Millersburg. The Holmes County Trail is a paved fairly flat bike ride that runs through scenic wetland areas, with birds, frogs, turtles and a few spots where you’ll see trees gnawed by beaver. The trail is shared by horse and buggy traffic, which is pleasant to see and hear – but you do need to be aware that that the side traveled by horses will have “road apples.” 

After your bike ride, you can order carryout from Boyd-Wurthmann Restaurant in Berlin (order before you leave Millersburg and it will be ready for pickup by the time you get to Berlin). They have awesome waffle-cut sweet potato fries and assorted homemade pies - hey after a bike ride you desire a treat. 

Recommended potty stops are BellStores Convenience Stores in Millersburg, Apple Creek and Berlin. The stores and restrooms are clean and modern. 

The May 4 Memorial at Kent State University

Events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the day that four students were killed and nine wounded in an anti-war protest were canceled, but you can visit the 2 ½-acre outdoor memorial overlooking the KSU commons where the protest took place. 

Constructed of carnelian granite, a stone associated with strength and time, the memorial is surrounded by 58,175 daffodils, the number of the country's losses in Vietnam. Engraved in the 70-ft wide plaza's stone threshold are the words: Inquire, Learn, Reflect.


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In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.