As spring quickly approaches, you might be wondering where to take a road trip, especially now that flying is discouraged. We have many great college towns to visit within and around Northeast Ohio that are perfect for a one- or two-day getaway! Especially if you have college students who are home for spring break or high school students who are just starting to explore where they’d like to apply, the Executive Arrangements team has plenty of recommendations. Here are just a few:
by Margy Judd
About 75 minutes south of Cleveland, Wooster offers a little bit of history and some eclectic charm, anchored by The College of Wooster. My sister lives in Ashland County, so Wooster isn’t far from her, and we’ve explored it quite a bit.
The downtown area has historic buildings clustered around a square and some restaurants and shops to poke in. I’ve eaten dinner at City Square Steakhouse and it was good, with wonderful ambience (in a late 1800s building that has been re-imagined a dozen times). Close by, you can find Blue Barn Winery. They have a schedule of musicians that play here while you sip your drink. Main Street Wooster has a list of all their restaurants if you want to give something else a try!
Browse Local Roots – a part farmers’ market, part local crafts – for plenty of goodies. Then take some time to check out Friendtique, a cute resale shop where all proceeds go to a local hospice. Or catch a (usually standing-room only) performance at the Ohio Light Opera at College of Wooster which uses Equity Actors and the talent comes in from all over, including NYC.
When the weather cooperates, hike in Wooster Memorial Park. Seacrest Arboretum & Gardens is open 365 days a year, but there’s more to do when the sun is shining. As a part of The Ohio State University’s extension campus, your visit can become a semi-educational field trip for those interested in learning more about gardening and plants in Northeast Ohio!
by Rebecca Ferlotti
Oberlin is less than an hour southwest of Cleveland; it was home to Ed Helms, Liz Phair, Lena Dunham, and Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) during their college years. This uber-artistic town’s pride and joy is the Allen Memorial Art Museum. Their recently-opened exhibitions include Monkeys, Apes, and Mr. Freer as well as Boredom Aesthetics: The Early Videos of Zhang Peili, which both run until July.
The Feve is most visitors’ go-to spot, and I can’t blame them. Any sandwich technically comes with a variety of options for sides, but really – get the tater tots. Other highly-praised places in town include Lorenzo’s Pizzeria, Slow Train Cafe, Blue Rooster Bakehouse, and Distro’s Bistro.
For some fresh air, stroll around Tappan Square and check out the Memorial Arch. This park – which is a National Historic Landmark – even has swings available if you want to bring the whole family. Oberlin College’s library also has an interesting background. James Richard Shimm, a rare book thief in the 1980s, attempted to steal 63 books from Oberlin’s collection; however, police found them in his room at the Oberlin Inn. All the books they found, which included some from other college and university libraries, were worth $30,000!
by Suzanne Dannemiller
Granville is a gorgeous, small, architecturally-renowned suburb of Columbus. It is absolutely beautiful and highly walkable. The Denison University campus is in the very center of town.
When we visit, our favorite place to stay is the Granville Inn – a charming, cozy spot. Other accommodations include the Historic Buxton Inn and The Broadway Guest House (if you’re looking for something more private).
While you’re in town, try SteamRoller Bagel Sandwiches (similar to Bagel & Deli near Miami University), Day Y Noche, or Moe’s Original BBQ. Grab some frozen custard at the original Whit’s location and catch a show and/or order a beer at Three Tigers Brewery. When you need a pick-me-up, River Road Coffeehouse has you covered.
Granville Farmers Market is open starting in May (May 2nd – October 31st this year) in the heart of the city at the entrance to Denison. My family hikes a lot, so we enjoy the Infirmary Mound Trail and TJ Evans Rail Trail, which starts at the train depot and extends 14.3 miles. I also love yoga, so I try to catch a class or two when I’m visiting at Granville Yoga. For shopping, my go-tos are Cedar & Thread, Green Velvet, and Everest Gear (the perfect place to pick up all of our outdoor gear).
There’s even more to do in and around Granville, especially since Columbus is less than an hour away. These are our favorites, though!
And Outside of Ohio: Ann Arbor
by Peg Furnas
Just outside of Northeast Ohio, there are cool college towns, too. Ann Arbor is one of them and is just under a three hour drive away! On an annual road trip with friends, we stayed in a vintage bungalow we found on Airbnb; there are loads of hotel options at every price point.
I encourage a stroll through the University of Michigan campus with a stop inside the Law Library; its chandeliers and ornate, vaulted ceilings take you back in time. Harry Potter filmmakers considered using this building as a filming location. Notable graduates include James Earl Jones, Madonna, Susan Orlean, and Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere author who lives in Shaker…look for the series coming out on Hulu next week!).
After your campus visit, grab lunch at Zingerman’s Deli, which is a local favorite. They offer a monthly special sandwich and a larger plate, plus French Toast Fridays. The line was very long when we arrived late afternoon, but it was worth the wait.
Ann Arbor’s Main Street has plenty to see as well, from cafes to coffeehouses and from music venues to art centers. There’s even a place with ping pong tables! If you’d prefer to cook for yourself, stop at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market.
What’s your favorite college town? Let us know in the comments!
The Executive Arrangements team has you covered from local recommendations to nearby, weekend road trips. We’re always on the lookout for experiences newcomers will adore! If you have any questions about our relocation services process, please feel free to contact us here or give us a call at 216.231.9311.