Here is your Fall in Northeast Ohio, so many fun and festive things to do!
Fall has finally arrived in Northeast Ohio. Mother Nature couldn’t seem to make up her mind during the last few weeks, but it seems those 80 degree days are finally gone until next summer. Enter Fall, my favorite time of the year, with it’s beautiful foliage, memories of Oktoberfest, and mild to intensely scary events. There’s still plenty to do outdoors while the nice weather persists: fall festivals, hiking, country road trips, and of course, Halloween fun! So grab the kids, leave your electronics at home, pack the car with lawn chairs, food, and drink, and spend some quality time together enjoying the beauty and wicked fun that is Ohio.
Although New England is often the first place people think of when you’re talking fall foliage, Northeast Ohio is just as beautiful in fall. There’s some great drives to admire, and you’ll be glad you brought those chairs and cooler with food and drink I mentioned, because you’re likely to find a picnic table with a beautiful view along the way. Here are a few special places to go and admire the beauty of the changing seasons:
Ohio’s only National Park is 33,000 acres of natural beauty, located between Cleveland an Akron. State Road 303 – which runs right through the park – is one of the best fall foliage drives in Ohio, bursting with a beautiful display of red, orange, yellow, and purple foliage. If driving is not your thing, there are plenty of trails where you can take in the natural beauty up close! (But you’ll need to wear a mask.) And while you’re there, check out the lovely waterfalls. Amazing, beautiful, and FREE! But take note: masks are required in the park, and Brandywine falls has no water or toilets at the moment, so take your water bottle (and a bathroom break) before you venture off to see the waterfalls.
If you like antiquing in the country, this is the driving tour for you! Located just south of Lake and Ashtabula counties, Geauga County is home to rolling hills, antique stores, picturesque farms, and Amish country. You can take SR 322 from Chagrin Falls all the way to Big Creek Park, where you’ll find the town of Mesopotamia on State Road 534 near State Road 322. You’ll find the oldest general store in the state, the End of the Commons General Store, chock full of Amish crafts, candy, cheese, housewares, and other fun and yummy things. From there, hop over to Middlefield to check out the Original Cheese Co-op, Mary Yoder's Amish Kitchen, and some some other great shops.
Another lovely place to venture for a colorful view is Lanterman’s Mill near Youngstown, Ohio. The mill was built in the mid-19th century on the Mahoning River, and is still active, grinding corn, what and buckwheat as in days of yore. This would be a great educational outing for kids, but again, leave those cell phones at home! Besides the 200-year-old mill, there’s an authentic covered bridge (take the sedan, not the SUV) with a beautiful waterfall where you can relax to the sounds of the flowing water. This location also has walking options: the East Gorge Walk or the West Gorge Trail, about a 2-mile loop, for an up-close, relaxing stroll to enjoy the vibrant colors of fall. What I really love is that at the gift shop, you can buy some of that flour ground at the mill along with awesome pancake mix and other goodies.
Oktoberfest has come and gone in September, but something tells me it’s supposed to be in October. Could it be the name? I find that realization a bit disturbing, but no real problem there, because Cleveland has a few Biergartens where you can have your own little Oktoberfest with friends. Following are two that will give you that ambiance of old Germany, complete with excellent beer and savory eats:
Voted “Best Beergarden” by Cleveland Scene, this neighborhood haunt has been around for over 100 years, has German roots, and is a great location for your private Oktoberfest. Guests rave about the Beergarden that makes you feel like you’re relaxing in your best friend’s back yard (in Germany, I presume)! The menu has popular German-style pairings for go with your favorite flight of beer. And I have to say that I love this quote from their website: “Entrance Location on Freeman Ave. You Are Not Lost, It Feels Like You Are Entering A Speakeasy”. That’s my kind of place!
It’s Hofbräuhaus Cleveland! Years ago, I was lucky to spend a summer night carousing with friends in Munich’s Hoftbräuhaus right in the city square. I’ll never forget those huge beer mugs and crazy, drunken Germans. Thus, I have a soft spot for our Hoftbräuhaus, modeled after the original, right here in Cleveland. You can don your best lederhosen for a night of fun at the as you dine on authentic Bavarian fare in their fabulous Biergarten. Who says Oktoberfest has to end in September? (Again, it still rattles me a bit to even say that!)
Saturday, October 16, 2021, 12:00 PM 7:30 PM
Coe Lake in Berea, Ohio
Sponsored by the City of Berea, take the whole family for a fun and festive day with inflatables, face painting, music, characters, a magic show, a mini pumpkin patch, food and beer vendors, fireworks and more! Best of all, this event is FREE and open to the public!
Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, 12505 County Rd. 99, Findlay, OH 45840
Fridays & Saturdays through October 29
The little ones will enjoy this non-scary, fun Halloween train ride for the whole family, from which you can enjoy fund Halloween decorations after dark. It’s quite affordable at $3 for adults and $2 for kids 12 and under.
Sunday, October 10 from 9am-5pm
The Woollybear festival is back! Dust off your Woolybear costume and come enjoy fun games, contests, music, and more at this beloved festival in downtown Vermilion. Roads close at 12:30pm so be sure to get there in the morning and stay all day! This year’s event is the first without beloved Fox 8 Meteorologist Dick Goddard, whose passion for helping animals was the driving force behind the festival. This is the largest outdoor festival in Ohio, with up to 100,000 people in attendance. Fun and FREE, but bring a little cash to shop the vendors and participate in the fun!
294 Pearl Rd., Brunswick, OH 44212
Friday-Sunday through October 31, 2021
Mapleside Farms has lots of fun family activities during the month of October! Enjoy LIVE entertainment with The Princess & The Pumpkin, performed by the Pumpkin Players. Get lost in the 7-acre Corn Maze, and hitch a ride on the Cow and Pig Trains for a tour, enjoy a scenic hayride, rocket down the longest slide in America, watch the Pig Races, and much more! There’s a different theme each weekend, so be sure to visit their website. Tickets are $13 on Fridays and $16 on Saturdays & Sundays. Seniors 55+ are $10, and age 2 and under are free.
Lake County History Center, 415 Riverside Drive, Painesville, OH 44077
There’s a lot of fun and really scary stuff going on at Lake County History Center this October. They all carry a fee, but are worth it for all of you history buffs and ghost hunters out there!
Sat, October 9, 2021, 4:00 – 8:00 PM
80-minute tours at 4:30pm and 5:30pm, with a rather frightful one at 6:30pm
Take a stroll through Painesville’s Evergreen Cemetery and meet some ghostly residents from the past who are eager to share their stories! This guided ghost walk among the tombstones has interesting tales of local lore and history as told by those who were there. All tours start at the cemetary, and organizers request that you please arrive 15 minutes prior to tour time. Tour prices are $18-$20.
Sat. October 16, 2021, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
If you’re worried about Covid, this is where you should take your kids to trick-or-treat without leaving your car! Bring the kids in costume for this FREE outdoor event. The family can admire the Halloween decorations while driving through to collect their Halloween loot. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) are collecting food donations for families in need during the event, so bring a few non-perishable food items to donate.
Oct. 7, 14, 21, and 28, 8:00 – 9:30 PM
Lake County History Center, 415 Riverside Drive, Painesville, OH
Take a ghostly tour through the former Lake County Poorhouse after dark, experiencing the shadowy scares and ghostly apparitions that are said to frequent this historic place. You’ll even visit some “off-limits” parts of the house some have heard strange sounds and have been touched by unseen hands as you listen to eerie tales of the past. Tickets are $25.
Nov 5 through 6, 2021, 9pm-1am
Have you ever wanted to be a Ghost Hunter? Then you won’t want to miss this scary event that takes place in the former county poorhouse that is still inhabited by some of the former residents. The former home to the injured, poor orphans, and even criminals may be found still lurking in the halls, and especially in the basement’s eerie cell block! The tour is led by experienced investigators, who will take to the museum’s “hot spots” of activity. Registration is from 8:30-8:45, with the tour beginning promptly at 9pm, so don’t be late! Bring a camera, flashlight, and your courage, along with any other equipment you like to capture your experience. This event is only for participants 18 and older, and you’ll need to sign a waiver of liability. There are only 40 tickets available, so get yours quickly because it’s sure to sell out.
Hopefully, you found some interesting places you’ll want to explore and events to experience from this list. So get outside and enjoy those last few warm days, because the cold of winter will be upon us way too soon!