Here in the nation’s heartland, the sights, smells and tastes are as rich as our history. You don't need to look much further than the icons of Ohio to point yourself toward an unforgettable fall adventure.
Ohio has been called the “Mother of Modern Presidents” with seven former commanders-in-chief that call the state home. One of these is honored in the first presidential library and museum ever founded in the United States, the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont. Established in 1916, the library and museum contain artifacts from Hayes' personal and family life, and also reflect the Gilded Age in which he lived and how his Ohio background informed his presidency. All the library collections are open for public viewing with many publications geared toward Hayes' passions - genealogy and Ohio history. Also chronicled are his professional pursuits and the issues he faced as president including the aftermath of the Civil War on the southern United States, the struggles of the Native American tribes, the defeat of the Chinese Immigration Exclusion Act, civil service reform and the rights of black Americans. The museum site is made up of two facilities, the Hayes Museum and the Hayes Home, and spans over 52,640 square feet. With almost 19,000 artifacts, 1,785 of which are on permanent display, the exhibits and staff immerse visitors in Hayes' 19th-century life, as well as in Ohio's storied past. While tours of the museum portion are self-guided, docent-led tours of the home are available throughout the day. Visit www.rbhayes.org for more information.
While the buckeye was officially adopted as the state tree in 1953, ask any local why Ohio is called the “Buckeye State” and they just might direct you to the nearest candy shop. Inspired by the nut of the buckeye tree (and bearing a striking resemblance), these peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate have become an iconic Ohio treat. Fall is the perfect time to indulge at the 152,000-square foot Anthony-Thomas Chocolate Factory in Columbus. Here, you’ll see firsthand how these treats are created from beginning to delicious end. Take a stroll across the “catwalk” and get a look into the intricate, step-by-step process that goes into crafting these delectable sweets from the massive copper kettles to the pristine silver pipelines. The factory produces over 25,000 pounds of chocolate per shift. Of course, no tour would be complete without a stop into the gift shop to get a box of buckeyes to take home. For additional mouth-watering information, visit the chocolatier's site at www.anthony-thomas.com.
Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the Heritage Garden
at the Ohio Governor's Residence for a tranquil experience with the flora and fauna that color the state. The garden showcases Ohio's five “physiographic regions,” and highlights some of the state's foremost hybridizers and botanists. Here, you’ll experience everything from sand dunes that transport you to the shores of Lake Erie, to wetland and water plants, to a vegetable garden that demonstrates the vitality of Ohio agriculture. Keep your eyes peeled for the state wildflower, the large white trillium, found in every county in Ohio and in abundance on the garden grounds. Perhaps you'll even come across some of the state’s smallest, but most significant residents such as a cardinal, the state bird or a ladybug, the state insect. Everything in the garden comes together as a feast for the senses and a celebration of Ohio’s natural beauty. For more information about the Heritage Garden, and the rest of Ohio’s official state symbols, visit www.governorsresidence.ohio.gov.
In Ohio, there truly is “so much to discover.”