Sunday, July 14, 2019

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

There's no way we could go to Cleveland without visiting the nearby Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We drove through the entire Park and to be perfectly honest, I couldn't quite figure out why this was a National Park. There didn't seem to be anything overly special about the Park, no great views, although I do imagine it would be quite beautiful in the fall with the changing leaves. Regardless, we went through the Park and a stop at the visitors center gave us our answer: because of the historical value of the canal from Lake Erie to the Valley. It is quite an interesting story.

We did a quick hike to Brandywine Falls and that was the extent of our visit, but it was just perfect. If we were residents or spending a good deal of time in Cleveland, I imagine we'd take advantage of the bike path that runs from Cleveland through the Park.

The minis had a harder time than Mom and Dad waking up in the mornings throughout our entire trip. Breakfast at the hotel gave us fuel for our morning hiking around the Park.

The Visitors Center gave us a history lesson on Cuyahoga Valley and it's importance to the state.

Representing the National Parks in our shirts from Parks Project. I have on a Cuyahoga Valley shirt, Hubs has one that has all the Parks names on it (on the bag), H has an Everglades shirt, Max has Shenandoah, and Elizabeth has her favorite, Yellowstone. I LOVE these shirts. I bought the kid's shirts big so they could wear them longer. Shirts are $40 each, but the money goes to support the Parks.

Even though we forewarned them, the minis were disappointed this wasn't a waterfall they could play in. In fact, there's no way to reach the bottom of the falls. The trails go mid-way through the falls and on top of the falls.

We had an adventure trying to find this sign! It's a thing for us to get pictures in front of National Park signs (although, later in the trip we would abandon this "thing" for our sanity), but this sign was kind of in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to a quick Googel search and a National Parks chat room we found it!

After our quick visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we settled in for our five hour drive to southern West Virginia. As we drove through southern Ohio the hills became bigger and bigger until they were gorgeous mountains. This was one of my favorite drives throughout our entire 17 day trip.

Hiking and long-ish drives requires pizza and a movie in the hotel room upon arrival. We tried local Gino's Pizza. The minis loved it!

Mom and Dad has to unpack our car. When we came back into the room we found all three minis laughing and "hiding" from us. 

I booked our stays (this particular stay was done through Hotwire) back in spring and I honestly forgot where we were staying. I snagged the addresses from our calendar for GPS purposes and ignored the rest. Hubs told the kids earlier in the afternoon we were staying at a Holiday Inn in Oak Hill, West Virginia. The minis were soooo excited because we've never stayed in a Holiday Inn before. They've seen a fair amount of Holiday Inn commercials and apparently it was a thing they wanted to do. Well, when we pulled into the parking lot, we were met with disappointed exclamations "hey, this isn't Holiday Inn!! It's Holiday Lodge!" Ooops, Hubs messed up good. Despite their disappointment, they happily snuggled on the pull out couch to watch a movie before bed.

I knew going on a long trip like this would require downtime for all of us. We had several evenings like this: busy days, relaxing nights. My travel planning skills must be getting better because this worked out perfectly and kept us happy and going the entire 17 days.