Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip to Cuyahoga Valley

September 1, 2012 2:00 PM

Cuyahoga, or crooked river in Mohawk, revolves around a river that spans from Cleveland to Akron. The Cuyahoga is the only national park in the state of Ohio, thanks to Hayward Kendall’s 430-acre donation of land to the state of Ohio back in the 1930s. He named the park after his mother, Virginia Kendall. In 1974, the residents feared the land would be taken over and the beauty lost, so then President Gerald Ford deemed it a national recreation area, thus saving the land. In 1985, the National Park Services added 47 acres of wetlands. Now, this park attracts thousands of visitors every year for getaways unlike any other. Whether it be hiking, biking, bird watching, camping, rafting, canoeing, kayaking or cave exploring, this beautiful land provides recreation for all.

Getting There

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Boston Store Visitor Center

1550 Boston Mills Road
Peninsula, OH 44264
(330) 657-2752
(800) 257-9477

Price: free

The Cuyahoga Valley Park is located between Cleveland and Akron. From Cleveland it is 22 miles and takes roughly 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland. By car, take I-77 south to exit 147 and turn left at the end of the exit onto Miller Road. Turn right onto OH-21/Brecksville Road. Then turn left on Snowville Road. Turn right onto Riverview Road and turn left onto Boston Mills Road. The visitor center is on the right into the parking lot. Amtrak also runs from Cleveland to the park.

Places to See

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Brandywine Falls

8176 Brandywine Road
Sagamore Hills, OH 44067
(330) 657-2752

Price: free

If you are a sucker for waterfalls, this is the hiking experience for you. Brandywine Falls offers the valley’s largest waterfall, a 65-foot wonder that is one of the area’s most popular attractions, especially in winter. The falls once powered the village and then later on industrial equipment. Today, this beautiful relaxing destination promises the perfect end to a short hike on a well-marked trail. The 65-foot waterfall will not be the only waterfall you will see on this hike, just the largest.

Related: The Best Scenic Drives Within 60 Miles of Cleveland

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Everett Road Covered Bridge

2370 Everett Road
Peninsula, OH 44264
(330) 657-2752

Price: free

Covered bridges are becoming a thing of the past; once popular, they’re now hard to come by. Cuyahoga Valley National Park features the only standing covered bridge left in Summit County. The brilliant red wooden bridge crosses over Furnace Run River and takes you back to simpler times. Respect the craftsmanship and preservation of this historic site by donating to the cause.

Related: Restrictions for Bald Eagle Nest at Park in Ohio

Where to Stay

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Stanford Hostel

6093 Stanford Road
Peninsula, OH 44264
(330) 657-2909 ext. 119

Price: from $50

Built in 1830 as a home, Stanford House recently underwent a $281,000 renovation and now provides nine rooms for visitors. It offers bunk beds, twin beds and a trundle bed. A minimum stay of two nights is required, and you may reserve one room or the whole house. Visitors may make their own food or a chef may be provided. Among many amenities, such as private bath rooms and a fire pit, the main floor of the house has been restored to its original beauty. The house is not air conditioned but ceiling fans and the ability to open windows provide comfort. Because the rooms are limited, reservations are required.

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The Inn at Brandywine Falls

8230 Brandywine Road
Sagamore Hills, OH 44067
(330) 467-1812

Prices: from $139

Built in 1848, this original estate overlooks the beautiful Brandywine waterfall. Brandywine Falls Inn provides six luxurious rooms that will take you back in history with its eclectic antiques and historic ambiance. Inn keepers Katie and George Hoy take pride in providing their guests with excellent service available at no other location. Private baths are available and gourmet food is provided. Relax in the spacious living room, read a good book in the library, or just relax listening to the soothing rush of the falls on the large porch. Reservations are required.


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Winking Lizard Tavern

6111 Quarry Lane
Independence, Ohio 44131
(216) 524-2226

Founded in 1983, this locally owned tavern takes pride in its food and guarantees greatness. A bit of a trip to the swamplands, enjoy award-winning ribs, chicken, wings, burgers and pizza, it’s guaranteed to have what your soul craves. This awesome eatery buys produce grown locally, and everything is homemade – never frozen.

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Russo’s Kitchen

4895 State Road
Peninsula, Ohio 44264
(330) 923-2665

For something a bit more elegant and swanky, Russo’s Kitchen offers European and Italian dishes that are guaranteed to please. Dine on Cajun entrees such as grilled crawfish and New Orleans barbecue shrimp — it’d be a shame to miss out on some of the best in the area. Reservations are requested but not required.

Danielle Coots has been writing since 1996. She has published short stories and articles in many publications. Danielle loves being active in the community and providing quality information regarding current and upcoming events in the Cleveland area. She will be covering topics of travel & outdoors. Her work can be found at