June 2014 Issue
Editor's Note: Rediscover Summer
Growing up, I spent a good portion of every summer outdoors. This is by no means a revolutionary concept. But in an era of Netflix, video games and other distractions that threaten to tether kids to the home Wi-Fi signal, it’s fair to say that the call of the wild has become a bit muted for some younger adventurers.
When I was a kid, my days were filled with pickup baseball games at a diamond that one of our neighbors had generously built or hiking with friends in the woods near my home. During my early teens, it was all about riding my bike to the public pool. I also spent one week every summer at Boy Scout camp.
Looking back, that annual getaway was invaluable in learning not only how to be self-reliant and responsible but also in discovering how to unplug from the constructed world we live in every day and connect with the natural one that is always speaking to us, even if we don’t realize it.
I had the opportunity to learn about things I otherwise wouldn’t have, such as archery and marksmanship. But it was the ability to more deeply understand the natural world around me that proved most satisfying.
I learned to identify plants by day and constellations by night. I can still tell the difference between a white and red oak, and my eye is always drawn to Orion in a clear and darkened sky.
One might think that sort of stuff can’t capture a teen’s attention, but the camp naturalists and scout leaders who shared the knowledge with us truly brought it alive. That human interaction is so much stronger than any book or manual could ever be. And best of all, it costs nothing but our time and attention.
That’s why when we started assembling ideas for this month’s cover story, we looked to Ohio State Parks and other natural areas throughout the state. There’s a bounty of reasonably priced lodging options and the wide-open spaces offer places for families to slow down, recharge, reconnect and learn from one another.
But we know that summer travelers also want a dose of civilization, so we sought out fantastic family-friendly deals at minor-league ballparks and great museums that offer access to historic and artistic treasures without asking for a dime at the door. Of course, you’re going to work up an appetite, so we rounded up 10 cool spots throughout Ohio that offer fun and reasonably priced meals.
We hope you find our guide useful during your travels. Most of all, we hope you enjoy the longest days of our year, no matter your destination or what part of summer speaks most to you.