Odds and Ends Summer Wine Overview

To do something different and to acknowledge that summer (July 4th) has arrived, I have put together some wine sources (book and not book) for tourism, shopping, business, and general knowledge.  Returning readers may know that I looked at Roger Gentile’s Discovering Ohio Wines, which looked at all of these aspects of the grape industry from 20 years ago.  I discovered a few new resources that fill the gaps on modern wine making in Ohio and I have a business proposal at the end.  Enjoy the summer!

Seeing, drinking, and buying wine from the Winery:

Latimer, Patricia. Ohio Wine Country Excursions, Updated Edition. Akron, Ohio; Ringtaw Books, 2011.

Updated in 2011 (and printed by University of Akron’s Ringtaw Books imprint), Latimer has a concise overview of the wine industry in Ohio with information on 80 wineries.  The title would indicate that this is a travel guide, but I feel that the book covers the whole wine industry in Ohio and could be used as a reference source by a consumer at the liquor store and general geeks of the wine industry.   Continue reading



Ashar, Linda C. Sandusky: A Guide to Ohio’s North Coast Playground.  New York; Channel Lake, 2010.

I was initially surprised to see a nationally published guide for Sandusky published by the Tourist Town Guides series.  Does Sandusky, Ohio deserve to be canonized along Atlantic City, Myrtle Beach, and Niagara Falls?  Probably not.  But if you step back, Sandusky is the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) in the Lake Erie district, encompassing Cedar Point and having ferries to Bass Islands.

To be frank, Linda Ashar’s Sandusky (the book) is not about the city of Sandusky, but I like the idea.   Ashar covers the area of Vermillion to the east to the Lake Erie islands, with large sections on Cedar Point and the Bass Islands (this is a good guide for South Bass and Kelley’s Islands).  I think this sounds about right for the “Sandusky area”, as it is referred to in the text.  I would have felt cheated if there were trips to Tony Packos or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included.  Continue reading

The Great Ohio Roundabout

Traylor, Jeff and Nadine Disabato.  The Great Ohio Roundabout: A Circle Tour of Ohio Towns and Country Along Scenic and Historic Highways.  Monroeville, Ohio: King of the Road Press, 1998.

Here is a slightly older travel guide of Ohio that outlines a suggested motoring trip around Ohio.  The authors break their trip around Ohio into three sections: the 3-C Highway (SR 3), the Anthony Wayne Parkway (US 127 and SRs 119, 66, 424, and 24), and the North Coast Highway (SRs 2 and 163 and US 6).  Keen observers will note that this route does not cover all of Ohio (what about the southeast).  That said, if this book had covered all of Ohio it would no longer be a motoring tour, but just another travel guide.

If you follow this route you will start and end in Cleveland, but as the Traylors point out, you can easily start your journey from any point on the tour.  Total trip: 748 miles (with a few optional side trips detailed). Continue reading

Building Ohio

Ware, Jane. Building Ohio: A Traveler’s Guide to Ohio’s Rural Architecture. Wilmington, Ohio; Orange Frazer Press, 2002.

I have a rule of thumb about towns in Ohio. If the municipality had 10,000 residents in 1950, there will be a few amazing streets of Victorian houses near the town square. I call it the “10,000 Residents in 1950” rule. In reading over Jane Ware’s Building Ohio, I have another rule. If a city is the county seat, the courthouse will be distinctly located downtown, facing the square and making the place look nice(r). It is a little thing, but in seeing many government buildings (centers of our civilization) look like large sheds, the prominent old courthouse is something that makes Ohio and much of the Midwest desirable.

The rural volume is Building Ohio, goes along with an earlier architectural guidebook for the 8 largest cities in the state (the Urban guide). While there are some rural structures discussed, this guide focuses mostly on the small town and some slightly larger cities (Springfield, Hamilton, Mansfield, and Lima). The rural guide is unique in that I have not found anything to compare it to. Together with the urban guide, they are an unbeatable team.

Ware is good writer who has made a guide as opposed to a reference book. Continue reading

A History and Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway in Ohio

Buettner, Michael G. A History and Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway in Ohio.  Fourth Edition.  Lima, Ohio; [M.G. Buettner], 1998.

I came across this guide when searching for National Road/ U.S. 40 books related to Ohio [more on this in some future posting] in the CLEVNET catalog.  The joys of subject searches.

Originally conceived in 1912 as an outgrowth of the Good Roads Movement, the Lincoln Highway cut through many Ohio cities including Wooster, Mansfield, Delphos, and Van Wert on its way from Times Square in NYC to San Francisco.  A federal highway system was implemented in 1926 and today the general route of the Lincoln Highway through Ohio can be traced along U.S. Highway 30.

As the name indicates, A History and Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway in  Ohio, focuses on Ohio.  While reading through the guide, you do learn about the national Lincoln Highway, but the author’s intent is to outline the varying roads as designated Lincoln Highway between 1912 and 1928, and what remains of those roads today.  Buettner, president of The Ohio Lincoln Highway League, has done his research, focusing on historic maps, guidebooks of the time (Hobbs Guides and Automobile Blue Books), and good-old fashion newspaper research.

Along with a very detailed description of the route(s) through Ohio which focuses on locating remnants from the different incarnations of the road, the guide also includes odometer charts (both eastbound and westbound), many maps, and several interesting articles about very specific topics (one of note being a description of the concrete posts placed along the highway by Boy Scouts in 1928).  There are also a few political intrigues that are discussed.  Why did the Lincoln Highway skip Marion?

I don’t know if I would recommend this title to a casual reader, but if you have any interest in the Lincoln Highway or are planning on taking a trip on the Great Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway, do search out this title.  The compiled information included is quite impressive.

The Ohio Guide

Federal Writers’ Project. The Ohio Guide. New York; Oxford University Press, 1940 (1946 printing).

There is a good chance that your local library may have The Ohio Guide, which was compiled by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and originally published in 1940. This book is part of the American Guide Series, which ended up covering ALL 48 states along with many cities and regions. If so inclined, reading it should not be limited to historians and academics.

The Ohio Guide is broken up into three main parts; historical and cultural essays, articles about major cities (and Oxford, which is described as a typical Ohio college town), and 23 driving tours one could take (following the pre-Interstate national and state highways). There are also eight collections of photos, that come across now as propaganda of ideal communities. (My favorite being ‘The Farm’ and ‘In the Towns’).

Approaching its 70th birthday, The Ohio Guide is more of a historic document than textbook. Not a modern academic study, there are no citations for any of the information provided. Continue reading

Moon Cleveland

Trattner, Douglas. Moon Cleveland. Berkeley, California; Avalon Travel, 2009.

The Moon Handbook for Cleveland is somewhat of a landmark. That being, I am not familiar with any other national publisher who had designated Cleveland with its own travel guide. The other major Ohio cities (Cincinnati and Columbus) have received at least minimal coverage for book-buying travelers from out of state. Both Cincinnati and Columbus have had ongoing editions in the Insider’s Guide Series and the Day Trip Series (GPP Travel). But not so for Cleveland until now.

I will argue that the Moon Handbook is a different publication than the Insider’s Guide and Day Trip Series. The Insider’s Guide is a “travel” guide, but its premise is also relocation, which can take up about half the book. The Day Trip Series is designed not only for travelers, but very likely locals. Moon Cleveland is a strait travel guide that you would pick up in a bookstore in Seattle.

This begs the question why a city like Cleveland would even have a national publisher release a guide book. There are plenty of comprehensive Ohio travel guides (including a Moon Handbook: Ohio) that adequately cover the major things to do in and around Cleveland. I do not see Cleveland as a distinct travel destination, but with over two million residents in its metro area, there are always nomads passing through. Most of these people will want to do something. As a resident of Cleveland, I would hope there is something to do.

I will confess that I wanted to dislike Moon Cleveland. (Where is the map of Slavic Village?) But, it actually makes Cleveland seem bigger and more impressive. Trattner has compiled probably the best snapshot of Cleveland in 2009 that can be found in print. Yes, the major institutions will remain, but when you are focusing on an area as small as Cleveland, the restaurant and entertainment section is very detailed. Though I wouldn’t expect to see the Old Angle (in the neighborhood of Ohio City) in a guide book, it is probably a place I would send someone who is visiting.

Trattner’s food background is evident, but he does a good job overall from his “three days in Cleveland” (Ohio City, Downtown/Tremont, University Circle) to his background information (nice little blurb about Euclid Avenue and the Healthline bus). While I would have liked to see him dig more around the lesser known areas of Cleveland, I must remind myself that this is book for a traveler and not a resident.

I cannot tell you why Moon Cleveland was published, but I like it and I hope it meets sales expectations.

I am curious, do you think a city smaller than Cleveland, without a major tourist destination, could fill up over 200 pages in a travel guide? Is there a city or region in Ohio that is lacking a nationally published travel guide, and needs one?