August 2010 Issue
A Walk in the Park
With so many places to play, Canton and Stark County provide perfect outdoor excursions.
Calling all paddlers, peddlers and pedestrians! From trees and trails to beaches and boats, there are many great outdoor getaway options in Greater Canton and Stark County. Before the back-to-school frenzy hits, plan an outdoor adventure you’re sure to remember long after the sunny days start to fade. Of course, Canton’s got options to get out and play in the fall and winter as well, and these great locations give every type of visitor — from butterfly hunters to history buffs — plenty of reasons to keep coming back for more.
Clay’s Park Resort
A day at the beach — the sun, the sand and swimming — is one of summertime’s most welcome delights. A visit to Clay’s Park Resort in North Lawrence offers all that and more, without the planning and the price tag of some beach getaways. The park’s sand-bottom swimming lake features giant water slides, ring swings, zip lines and a shallow swimming area just for kids. Experienced lifeguards are on duty during swim time and mandatory safety rest breaks are enforced, to the tune of a collective groan from every kid on the beach.
The resort at Clay’s has amenities to delight both young and old, including a heated indoor pool and regular live entertainment at the recently remodeled Ralphie’s Sports Bar and Grill, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner along with ice cream sundaes and shakes.
Overnight camping is another popular option, available May 1 through Nov. 1. Campers have a choice of primitive sites with no hookups or sites with water and electricity for both tent and RV camping. There are also charming, log-type rental cabins with porches, fire rings and picnic tables that sleep four to six people.
Don’t miss the 38th annual Yankee Peddler Festival, held Sept. 11–12, 18–19 and 25–26. This celebration of pioneer crafts, music and food is one of the area’s biggest and most unique events. Enjoy traditional foods cooked over an open fire and shop for personalized crafts, like a wooden train that spells out your child’s name with alphabet-shaped cars. Special camping packages with discounted Yankee Peddler tickets are also available.
13190 Patterson St. N.W., 330/854-6691, 800/860-4FUN. clayspark.com
With more than 6,000 acres of parkland and 11 sites to choose from, The Stark County Park District has more hiking, biking, fishing, boating and horseback riding than you can shake a walking stick at. The parks’ events calendar is also full of fun things to do, including both the Canalway Classic 5K and family movie night on Aug. 14, a free introduction to fly fishing on Aug. 19 and a popular, annual fall festival with hayrides, campfires and a night hike at Petros Lake Park on Oct. 16.
Butterfly enthusiasts frequent Hartville’s David Fichtner Outdoor Education Center in hopes of spotting more than a dozen species of the winged wonders that make their homes along the Eagle Scout Trail. Monarchs, tiger swallowtails, viceroys and red admirals all live here, and markers that identify butterfly-attracting plants can help you find them.
Through the end of August, Stark Parks offers free Thursday-evening pontoon boat rides at Walborn Reservoir in Alliance. Reservations are necessary for the excursions and for pontoon rentals, which cost $20 per hour and include a captain and flotation devices. At the Walborn Reservoir Marina you can also rent motorboats, rowboats, canoes and kayaks on an hourly basis.
New in 2010 is an eagle viewing area, located at 13606 Marlboro Ave. N.E. Bring your binoculars and see if you can find the resident bald eagle couple — or any of their many offspring — nesting in the white pine trees.
Various locations, 330/477-3552. starkparks.com
Ohio & Erie Canalway
Most people know the 110-mile Ohio & Erie Canalway as a destination for hiking and biking along the Towpath Trail, but the 25-mile stretch that snakes through Stark County is rich with educational and historical treasures, too. The canalway is a designated National Heritage Area and the cities of Canal Fulton and Massillon were both important canal villages in the 1800s. In fact, when the canal opened in 1827, Massillon, then known as the “Wheat City,” became an important Ohio port. A visit to Crystal Springs Trailhead and Crystal Springs Bridge Park, located on Erie Avenue just north of Massillon, offers a relaxing afternoon of hiking and biking along the Tuscarawas River, where you can easily imagine canal boats floating by.
Also along the Towpath in Massillon is the Lake Avenue Trailhead, where you can rent bicycles for the day at Ernie’s Bike Shop, a destination for local bike enthusiasts since 1978. The shop sponsors group night rides from May through October — the next one is Aug. 7 at 8:35 p.m. — and if you’ve never ridden a bike on a wooded trail in the dark, it’s definitely an exciting experience. To keep riders safe, helmets, bike headlights and bike taillights are required for participation and an adult must accompany children. Visitors can also rent canoes at the Lake Avenue Trailhead, and Ernie’s offers both three- and six-mile night canoe trips that include a post-voyage campfire and snacks.
To see a historic lock and enjoy a picnic lunch, travel north to Lock 4 on Erie Avenue near Canal Fulton. This historic landmark, named simply because it is the fourth lock in Stark County, has plenty of parking and is a popular entrance to the canalway for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. It’s a beautiful area for autumn hikes and rides as well, and in the winter months, the Stark County portion of the towpath is open for cross-country skiing.
Various locations, ohioanderiecanalway.com
The St. Helena III and the Canalway Center
To experience a real canal boat in action, head to St. Helena Heritage Park in Canal Fulton for a ride aboard the horse-drawn St. Helena III
, one of only four working canal boats in Ohio. The boat was built between 1989 and 1990 and is a replica of a canal boat from a bygone era, giving visitors a feel for what canal travel was like.
Public rides depart from the Canal Fulton Canalway Center and last approximately one hour. Before you board, check out a 30-minute canal video at the center’s amphitheater to set the stage for your journey. Through Aug. 22, rides are available at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. In the spring and fall, rides are available on weekends only. The St. Helena III
can accommodate up to 60 passengers and is also available for private chartered events.
Another way to enjoy the St. Helena III
is on one of the many themed canal cruises held from June through the end of September. Bring the kids along on the vintage-style Root Beer Jamboree Cruise on Aug. 19, then find a babysitter and enjoy the Wine and Desserts Cruise, featuring wine samples from The Winery at Wolf Creek in Norton, on Sept. 16. For spooky floating fun, take a Ghostly Tales Cruise on Sept. 22, 23 or 30, and hear local authors and historians weave scary tales about historical hauntings.
123 Tuscarawas St. N.W., 330/854-6835. discovercanalfulton.com
Baylor Beach Park
Another town built by that canal, the Village of Navarre, is home to Baylor Beach Park, where kids and kids-at-heart come from all over to enjoy swimming, picnicking and camping. This fourth-generation, family-owned park features a two-acre swimming lake, sandy beaches, paddleboats, a 90-foot tube water slide, diving boards, “aquabikes (giant water tricycles),” “funyaks (lightweight boats paddled like kayaks)” and the ever-popular log roll.
Landlubbers like Baylor Beach, too, for its sand volleyball, basketball, horseshoes and 18 holes of miniature golf. The park is also a great place for group picnics and reunions, with four picnic shelters and a large pavilion that can be rented for groups from 50 to 700. RV camping is available May 1 through Oct. 15 and there are sites designed to accommodate a crowd. Families can also enjoy tent camping through Labor Day weekend and many travelers use Baylor Beach as a “home base” for exploring Ohio’s Amish Country.
8725 Manchester Ave. S.W., 330/767-3031, 888/9BAYLOR. baylorbeachpark.com
The Wilderness Center
After exploring Stark County’s beaches, parks and natural areas, head to The Wilderness Center in Wilmot, where families can enjoy bird walks, stronomy programs and planetarium shows. Along the center’s more than 10 miles of trails, you’ll see old-growth forest, prairies, ponds and wetlands. Little ones love the monthly nature-themed story time and kids of all ages — especially moms and dads — are sure to enjoy the center’s “music in nature” concert series. Hear old-timey Appalachian duets sung by Ann & Phil Case on Sept. 25 and gospel tunes by the Stockdale Family Band on Oct. 23.
Best of all, visits to The Wilderness Center’s interpretive center and grounds, along with much of the center’s family programming, are completely free. The nonprofit nature center was established in 1964 by a group of volunteers committed to the conservation of wetlands and forests. Today, The Wilderness Center Land Trust protects 2,922 acres. The center accepts donations, with proceeds funding conservation efforts and educational programming for school groups. There are also many membership options for individuals and families.
9877 Alabama Ave. S.W., 330/359-5235, 877/359-5235. wildernesscenter.org