Hale Farm & Village
One of the many excursions, which can last from less than an hour to more than three, takes passengers to Hale Farm and Village. This town-size living-history museum, celebrating the crafts and trades of the mid-19th century, re-creates the society of Wheatfield Township circa 1848.
Residents in period garb welcome visitors to an earlier era. During your tour of the property's 40 buildings, you'll hear townspeople sharing gossip about each other, and you'll learn about basket-making and candle-dipping. You might even overhear the matriarch, Mrs. Hadley, giving an etiquette lesson to one of the day's visiting school classes (some 38,000 area students take field trips to Hale Farm annually).
Near the village at the southern end of the park, the open-air amphitheater of the Blossom Music Center presents performances ranging from the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra to the likes of the heavy-metal Ozzfest. The nearby Porthouse Theatre stages professional productions in the round.
Golfers have their choice of four courses, including a par-3 option. During the winter, skiers can select between the two resorts, Brandywine and Boston Mills.
Antiques shoppers appreciate the selection in the boutiques of Peninsula (population: 700), a community nestled into the center of the park. Drivers should watch their speedometers, as the town vigilantly enforces its speed limit.
The combination of historic and natural preservation fulfills the mission of one of the park's founders, Ohio Congressman John F. Seiberling, who introduced the bill that established Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in 1974.
"We will never see the land as our ancestors did," he wrote. "But we can understand what made it beautiful and why they lived and died to preserve it."