If you are willing to walk a little bit, Toledo has several interesting neighborhoods close to design that offer a wide variety of 19th century building types. These areas aren't particularly gentrified - there is a real mix of social and economic classes living in them. Toeldo isn't a "pretty place" - just a honest one.
Bring the frisbee or the bikes and enjoy this beautiful metropark. There is a large playground for the children. The field in front of the playground is big and flat and would be good for a game of pick-up football, soccer, or flying a kite. There are plenty of picnic tables, so bring your lunch with you. Many walking trails in good condition wind through the park. My favorite is the Blue Trail. Take a detour from the blue trail boarwalk up the flight of stairs to the beautiful Manor House (once owned by the wealthy Stranahan Family who gave the land for the park). There is an enchanting garden behind the Manor House with two iron gazebos. Perfect place to take some family pictures or engagement pictures.
The park is the best in the fall where there is plenty of leaf crunching to do! Lots of joggers after work and lots of dogwalkers on weekends.
During winter for a week or so, all the rooms in the Manor House are decorated in high style for Christmas. Each room has a different theme. Really puts you in the Christmas Spirit - and it's free! Be sure to check out the model trains in the basement. Check the website for the events calendar to find out times for tours.
A new acquistion at the Public Library is this striking glass "piece" by Washington State glass artist Dale Chihuly. Entirely appropriate for a place known as "Glass City USA". I appreciate the fact that Toledo is a city that cares enough to invest in its public library - or at least it did so relatively recently. Libraries can actually be important centers for the communities in which they reside!!!
Fort Meigs is a reconstructiomn of the fort from that once guarded travel up and down the Maumee. It became the last of several forts to protect the overland/water route from Lake Erie to the Ohio River by way of the Wabash River in Indiana.
Initially, the British built Fort Miami overlooking the Maumee and supplied the local Indians with weapons and equipment to attack the American settlements of the Ohio Valley. From 1790-95, three Ameircan Armies marched this way to defeat the Indian and British threat. Finally at Fall Timbers, General Anthony Wayne ("Mad Anthony"), defeated the Miami Nation, just down river 2 miles (3.5 km). When the Miami's arrived at the British Fort, they found the gates closed.
Do you need to get back in touch - electronically - while you're travelling? Head over to Toledo's Public Library. It's a noble example of the genre. Many interesting details in and on the building, particularly the entrance lobby.
I guess you could describe the artistic style of these murals as "Soviet Heroic Realism" - except that they are in the heart of the heart of the USA. But really, these paintings are chariming in their own way. There's something fresh and innocent about these images that appeals to me. Very public-spirited.
Recently the Toledo Public Library opened a new building directly behind their depression-era headquarters. Linking the two buidlings is this striking and dramatic atrium. It seems like a great place to curl up with a good book.
We've always stayed at the State Park because it's open and relaxing. Everything is easily available and in the off season, there are no crowds. But the beaches are unguarded and can be closed. We've always found the wetlands to be more than enough to keep us busy. For more, see my Maumee State Park page.
The location where General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne defeated the Miami Indians in 1795, opening the Ohio Country to white settlement. The battle gets it's name from the scattered trees that formed a natural breastwork. Shortly before the battle, a tornado had swept through this area, cutting a pathway through the forest and building a natural fortress. Here, behind the fallen trees, the Miami's and their allies waited for the arrival of the American troops. In spite of the defensive works, the assault by the American troops was able to dislodge the warriors and send them fleeing down-river to the British at Fort Miami.
Next to the Ohio Turnpike (I-80 & 90) bridge over the Maumee is the defunct CSX high bridge. It's dates from a period when sails must have been common, because the center section is on a swivel to turn out of the way of a ship passing up or down river. Yet, the span stands well above the height of any ship on the lakes today. It would have been a tall mast that required this bridge to open.
This is way off the beaten track from Toledo. But it is worth the day if you go. Sauder village is a step back in time and a chance to see life in the 19th century, before electricity and electronics changed the world. You'll find more than a days worth of things to do, including some farm style cooking.
Located west of Wauseon on Ohio 2 (60 miles from Toledo). You'll have a drive in the country and a chance to see early american lifestyles. For details, see my Wauseon page or my Sauder Village travellogue