Northeast Ohio road trips have much to offer

Published 10:05 pm Saturday, November 7, 2009

It’s road trip season! I’m hitting the highways en route to the “Firelands” of northeastern Ohio.

The motivations for this journey are the Fabulous Food Show, high school football playoffs, an old-time hardware store plus a clambake.

Plus, I’ve added a couple of shopping stops too.

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The Firelands or Sufferers’ Lands tract was located at the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now the U.S. state of Ohio.

The land was set aside for residents of the Connecticut towns of Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, and Ridgefield who lost their homes in 1779 and 1781 due to fires set by British forces during the American Revolutionary War.

Originally referred to as the “Fire Lands” (two words), it is now spelled as one word, “Firelands.”

This heritage is one reason why clambakes are popular and held all over northern Ohio in the fall. Another reason is just that they’re a tasty treat. Who wouldn’t love some clams, chicken, corn on the corn and a bowl of chowder!

Travelling north to the shores of Lake Erie in the late fall means that the convertible stays garaged and I’ll be cruising in the PT Cruiser.

This field study trip is scheduled to depart on November 13-17. There are a couple of routes that I could travel but a quick Net search indicates that I-64 East to Charleston W.Va. then I-77 North is the one.

One intermediate stop is Kidron and Lehman’s Hardware store ( This place is a throwback to the pioneer and farming homesteads prior to the use of electricity.

Started in the 1950s to cater to the local Amish community, it now features thousands of items and is a living history museum. It is well worth a visit to wander around but be sure to sample some of the home delicacies in their country café.

Time permitting, you may want to venture over to Wooster’s Everything Rubbermaid store ( housed in a restored 120-year-old four floor building.

Located on the historic downtown square the store truly represents its name — Everything Rubbermaid — by offering the largest assortment of Rubbermaid products anywhere in the world.

With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good. And nowhere is this truer than at The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Café.

Located 13 miles from Wooster over in Orrville, you discover the J.M. Smucker Company Store and Café. Originally opened in 1999 and recently expanded and renovated it is now twice its original size.

It retains its classic timber frame barn structure and is the premier showcase for The J.M. Smucker Company’s entire family of brands.

Stocked up and well fed it is now time to head the Cruiser north and overnight in the Greater Cleveland area and prepare for the Fabulous Food Show (

This show returns to Cleveland’s I-X Center on November 13-15, 2009. The event features appearances by celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations by local chefs, wine and food tastings, and lots more to interest Northeast Ohio food lovers.

This year’s Celebrity chef line-up for the show included the Food Network’s Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, and Cleveland’s own Iron Chef Michael Symon. Audience members will be able to watch these chefs perform live in the 1500-seat Main Kitchen Theater.

Each guest will be able to attend at least one of the six or seven daily celebrity events.

In addition to the celebrity chefs, a number of prominent local chefs will host cooking demonstrations at the 2009 show. Restaurants offering samples of their fare include Ohio City’s Flying Fig and Heck’s Cafe, Tremont’s Grumpy’s Cafe, and West Park Station.

The Grand Tasting Pavilion will be hosted by the Cleveland Wine School.

This area features more than 250 wines as well as spirits and beers from around the world. The pavilion includes a Wine Shop where visitors can buy wine and beer, an International Wine Bar for tastings, and a Wine Theater.

A $10 passport entitles visitors to a crystal souvenir tasting glass, six one-ounce tastings, and a tasting booklet for notes.

Additional sampling tickets will be available for purchase.

There is plenty more to see and do when you’re in the area.

For suggested itineraries and attractions call the Greater Cleveland Tourism office at 800-321-1001 or visit

Since your drive takes you south coast to north coast, why not check out the state’s tourism office and see what is allow your route.

To get the latest tourism information you can call 1-800-BUCKEYE or click on