Ohio is the state where I spent most of my time growing up and couldn't wait to get away from. And I did... for awhile. But I found myself back here, only a few miles away from where I dreamed of escape years ago.
Only this time, I like it. The Cleveland area really does have a ton of amenities, like an incredible Metroparks system and the Ohio and Erie Canal towpath trail that I've built my latest novel around. I live on an acre and a half of land and build fires in my backyard and grow a lot of my summer vegetables. The neighboring community of Willoughby is an historical area complete with its own ghost tour. Traveling a little further from home, I can easily visit Amish country (Holmes County), Ohio State University and the state capitol (Columbus), incredible ziplining (Hocking Hills and The Wilds in Muskingum County), great wineries (Geneva), Cedar Point (Sandusky) and good skiing (Peek 'n Peak and Holiday Valley: western NY--less than two hours away).
|Biking in Amish country.|
|Overnight with friends at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.|
|A pig race at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus.|
|Ziplining at The Wilds, a roaming zoo in Cumberland, Ohio|
|Lock 4 on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga National Park.|
|Feeling no pain at the Harpersfield Winery in Geneva.|
|Cedar Point in Sandusky.|
|Annual Christmas family ski trip in western NY.|
Turns out, when I thought I hated Cleveland as a kid, I really hated the lack of freedom and overabundance of parental rules placed on me. I wanted and needed to be on my own.
Today, Ohio stands for the life I've built in a state that has been good to me. And for the family I've created here. Wherever you end up--home really is a state of mind. Anyplace will work once you start making memories and laying down roots.
Do you live in your dream location? Have you made it your home yet?