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December 2011
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Making Spirits Bright
Ohio lights up the holidays.

This is the season for tradition, for twinkling lights, festive songs and sweet treats. It seems no matter where you are in Ohio, there’s a special event waiting to brighten your day in the midst of the winter chill. 
As homes throughout the state are adorned with color and light, one “house” in Akron stands out: The Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, the historic Manor and estate of Goodyear Tire and Rubber founder F.A. Seiberling. This grand Tudor Revival home and the magnificent grounds date to the early 1900s; today, it’s a National Historic Landmark and an accredited museum. There’s no better time to feast your eyes on its grandeur than during December’s “Deck the Hall” event, which runs through December 30, 2011. The grounds come to life with animatronics displays, special musical entertainment and holiday treats like gingerbread and cider. During your self-guided tour, you’ll encounter scenes from Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz, behold the elegant 20-foot Christmas tree and see a painstakingly-constructed Lego replica of the Manor House. The estate features sweeping views of the Cuyahoga Valley, a 550-foot Birch alee with more than 100 distinctive gray trees, English and Japanese gardens, a palatial glass Conservatory and a thatch-roofed gate lodge. The home itself has 65 rooms, 18 of which are bedrooms, and 23 bathrooms. There are 23 fireplaces and elaborate, hand-carved woodwork throughout. See how one of America’s great tycoons of the Industrial Age and his family lived. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is open April through December. Get additional information at
Downtown Cincinnati is the cool place to be all winter long, as the U.S. Bank Ice Rink at Fountain Square is in full gear. Weekends through Christmas Eve, you can take a spin with Santa himself. On New Year’s Eve, have a “blast” during the annual celebration that includes free skating, music, refreshments and fireworks. For rink hours and other details, go to
Satisfy your appetite for fun during the holidays by heading to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for the annual WinterShow, through December 31, 2011. The event also serves as a showcase for the 2011 Gingerbread Competition where you’ll see the city’s “most magical gingerbread houses,” fashioned in all shapes and sizes by craftsmen of every description. Prizes are awarded in a variety of categories: Family and Children (under 18 years), Adult (18 and older) and Professional. There’s even a non-competitive Arts and Culture category. Entries take center stage at the 10-acre institution that was founded in 1930. During the holidays, the 20 gardens are enhanced by all manner of trimmings including a floral carpet, holiday trees and cacti and a contemporary menorah. There’s also live musical entertainment, delicious treats and shopping for last-minute gifts. For more information, go to
In the weeks ahead, make plans to have some Ohio-style holiday fun. The state’s foremost attractions, all wrapped in twinkling lights, are sure to make your season bright.


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