1-2-3 Weekend: Toledo, Ohio

by  Betsy Mikel | Aug 19, 2011
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo, Ohio / Mshake/iStock

Toledo grew from humble trading post beginnings to become a hub for glass-making (at the turn of the 19th century) and the auto industry, in the ‘50s. That industrial success ultimately shaped the city’s arts and entertainment culture. As a Midwestern town with an extensive park system, several outdoor attractions, and proximity to Cedar Point (the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World”), a summer weekend here is best enjoyed outdoors. We’ve put together a perfect 1-2-3 Weekend – 1 hotel, 2 restaurants, and 3 things to do – to showcase Toledo’s top end-of-summer offerings.

1 - Hotel

The Casey-Pomeroy House Bed & Breakfast was built in 1870 and is located in Toledo’s Vistula Historic District. The 14,000-square foot Victorian-era “Grande Dame of Toledo” has undergone massive renovations since it was purchased by the current owners in 2003. The bed and breakfast has four guest rooms, each with period furniture and amenities such as a 6-foot Roman soaking tub and a 35-square-foot shower. Each room features a cable-enabled, DVD-ready flat screen TV and full access to the kitchen. Guests looking to unwind may book on-site massages.

2 - Restaurants

When Oliver House opened in 1859, it was Toledo’s finest hotel, with 171 rooms boasting running water and gas lighting. This pre-Civil War building is now home to a variety of contemporary restaurants, including two brew pubs, a cafe, a bakery, a steak house, a bar, and a microbrewery. Choose from casual menus at The Maumee Bay Brew Pub or Mutz, grab drinks at Rockwell's Lounge or The Maumee Bay Brew Company, or enjoy a fine dining experience at Rockwell's. Diners might even have the chance to meet “The Captain,” a ghost in full uniform who is believed to be from the Spanish-American War, when The Oliver House served as a medical center for the wounded.

The Hungarian hot dog is a Toledo tradition, all thanks to Tony Packos. Until Packos, the son of Hungarian immigrants, invented the hot dog topped with mustard, diced onions, secret sauce, and chili toppings, the Hungarian sausage did not exist. Jamie Farr, a native of Toledo and the actor who played Corporal Max Klinger on M*A*S*H* even worked his love of Packos into an episode, and the scriptwriters liked it so much they wrote it into subsequent storylines. The Tony Packos menu includes favorites such as chili cheese fries, fried pickles, and a M*A*S*H-inspired Bunker Buster Combo. And don’t miss the wall of celebrity autographed plastic hot dog buns!

3 – Things to Do

Cedar Point is just an hour’s drive outside of Toledo, in Sandusky, OH, and is one of the country’s top-rated amusement parks. As the second-oldest such park in the country, Cedar Point houses more roller coasters and rides than any other park in the world, including the 420-foot-tall, 120-mph Top Thrill Dragster. Since the park opened as a public beach in 1870, it’s become a summertime destination for Midwest families and roller coaster enthusiasts. Navigating these 364 acres is definitely worth a whole day; entertainment includes the Soak Citywater park, Good Time Theatre, golf and go-karts at Challenge City, and the 75 rides at the park itself.

Feeling lucky and looking for something different to enjoy the last few days of summer? Your best bet is Raceway Park. Enjoy live harness races on Saturdays and Sundays from April to October. Sundays are dollar days; $1 admission, sodas, beer, hot dogs, and programs. The park also simulcasts other thoroughbred and harness races, so there’s always an opportunity to wager on something.

The Toledo Botanical Garden is free and open daily, and the end of the summer is the perfect time to visit. Jazz in the Garden runs every Thursday until September 8, and outdoor yoga is in session every Monday through the end of September. Both serious and amateur nature enthusiasts will enjoy walking through more than 60 acres of gardens and plants. Picnic lunches are welcome, too!

Getting There:
It’s best to access and enjoy Toledo by car. It’s 250 miles from Chicago (a 4.5-hour drive), 230 miles from Indianapolis (a 4-hour drive), and 100 miles from Cleveland (a 2-hour drive)

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