Summer in Ohio is such a limited time that most of us prefer to enjoy the great outdoors and the scenic beauty of our state. If the adventurer in you craves new challenges, head for the latest attraction at Hocking Hills. Or take the quick drive to Sippo Lake to enjoy quiet time on the water in a rented boat. Then there are the growing number of Ohio wineries luring visitors with their latest vintage. Consider putting some of these summer hot spots on your calendar:
If it’s cutting-edge action you’re seeking this summer, consider a trip to the Hocking Hills, where you can be among the first to take a wild ride on the first zip line canopy tour in the Midwest.
These 10 high wires traverse four sky bridges followed by rappelling back to ground level at the finish. The Hocking Hills pros hook you into a harness, then to a wire, and off you go, soaring from ground zero to 70 feet above the ground, glimpsing treetops and wildlife. A helmet-cam captures your experience.
It all begins with a 1.5-mile nature trail walk. The four sky bridges provide rest between fast-moving views of the Hocking River, a 300-year-old sycamore tree and dramatic rock and cliff formations.
Cost is $75 per person and participants must weigh 70 pounds or more.
10714 Jackson St. Rockbridge, OH 43149
Test your nautical skills at the Stark County Park District’s Sippo Lake Marina, at 5300 Tyner St. NW in Perry Township.
Five new electric-motor fishing boats will be in the 108-acre lake this year.
Weekend rates for county residents are $10 per hour. Weekend county-resident rates for two-person canoes and two-or four-person pedal boats are $5 per hour. Sippo also offers a pontoon cruise, including a captain, that seats up to nine people for $20 an hour on weekends. Pontoon reservations are required. The other boats are rented on a first-come, first-served basis.
Weekday rates are lower.
Current marina hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. From May 23 through Sept. 1, weekend hours will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
5300 Tyner St. NW, Perry Township
And don’t forget that Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia opens on Memorial Day weekend.
Truly a family destination, the park offers a charming selection of nonscary carnival rides, among them an antique carousel, a Ferris wheel and a mini-coaster.
Here’s the best part. Ride tickets are 75 cents each, even less if you buy a pack of 10 for $6.
Hours are 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Tuscora also has three outdoor swimming pools — Olympic-size, diving and kiddie — open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission is $2 for students, $4 for adults.
161 Tuscora Ave., New Philadelphia, OH 44663
ICE CREAM MEANS SUMMER IS NEAR
Back in 1957, Kenny Zuercher built the Dalton Dari-ette, a square, spare little building at the intersection of Routes 30 and Route 94, known as Mill Street in Dalton. Business was brisk, and it didn’t skip a beat when Orrville dairy farmer Dick Kohler and his family bought it in 1960.
Twenty years later, Dick’s son David took the reins. After that, another Orrville resident, Donna Dale Davis, bought it in 1988 and sold it to her now-48-year-old son, Dan Davis, and his wife, Lori, in 2000.
Chocolate, vanilla and twist soft-serve cones are standard, along with a weekly flavor special. A 6-ounce cone is $1.60; 8-ounce, $1.85, and a 10-ounce, $2.15. Davis also serves eight flavors of Ruggles hard ice cream.
Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week now through the first week of October.
240 Mill St., Dalton, OH 44618
If you are in Holmes County between Walnut Creek and Sugarcreek, there is no valid reason to pass by Walnut Creek Cheese.
Look for the hitching posts lined with horses and buggies, and you’re there. The cheese house is so much more — kind of a superstore for neighboring Amish and the area’s many tourists. Hardly anyone leaves without a towering hand-dipped ice cream or frozen custard cone — 45 flavors made there. Kiddie cones are $1.85. Admirably large single dips are $2.50, while double
dips — go for it — are $3.
Store hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
2809 state Route 39, Walnut Creek, OH 44687
Other off-the-beaten-path ice cream purveyors to try include the friendly Amish man who delights Hartville Flea Market browsers with his steam-powered ice cream crank.
Daniel Miller and his family arrive early on those days and set up operations at the end of the south pavilion.
Hartville MarketPlace Executive Director Myron Coblentz said Miller and his family have regular customers seeking out their homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Occasionally, he adds a blackberry flavor.
Miller usually makes it a point to attend the flea market on Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day.
1289 Edison St. NW, Hartville, OH 44632
DINING AL FRESCO
The Winery at Wolf Creek offers vistas rivaling European settings. Now through December, the winery is open Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 9 p.m. Cheese plates and other light offerings are available, but visitors often bring their own picnic food.
2637 S. Cleveland-Massillon Rd., Norton, OH 44203
At Viking Vineyards & Winery, the tasting room provides soothing music and light refreshments along with its featured vintages. Warm weather lures visitors to the outside deck overlooking two lakes.
Now through December, hours are 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; noon to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 1 to 8 p.m.,
268 Old Forge Rd., Kent, OH 44240
Rainbow Hills Vineyards recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. From the first week of June until the last week in September, the winery is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Sundays. On Fridays and Saturdays, popular steak cookouts keep the place jumping until 9 p.m.
26349 Township Road 251, Newcomerstown, OH 43832