Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Things to Do When it Snows

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Things to Do When It Snows
by Joanna Wilson

Are you planning for a white Christmas?  I have my fingers crossed.  The snow, whenever it comes, will be here soon enough.  We asked out readers what are their favorites things do when it snows.  Here are the results:

The ice rink downtown at Lock 3.

1st place is a tie: Ice Skate at Lock 3/Read a Book

Clearly, some of you enjoy being outdoors and enjoying the benefits of the season while others look forward to avoiding the bitter cold and prefer to snuggle up and enrich their minds or escape the moment with a good read.  I love that the same number of people voted for both of these activities!

Joanna sledding at Cascade Valley's Oxbow area in North Akron.

2nd place: Sledding

This just so happens to be the activity I most look forward to enjoying when it snows.  I wrote a review last year about the best places in the Metro Parks to sled.  Click HERE to see that post again.

Boston Mills--photo courtesy of Krystal Sierra.

3rd place: Skiing at Boston Mills/Brandy Wine

Aren't we lucky to live so close to this ski complex?  Last winter, Akron Empire welcomed a guest blogger Krystal Sierra who shared her experiences at Boston Mills.  Click HERE to see what she wrote again.

Thanks again to everyone who voted.  Hopefully we'll have snow soon.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Burger

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Burger
by Brit Charek

We asked our readers to tell us their favorite things to do in the Empire, and you responded with amazing ideas-- some of our own old favorites, and some things new to us that we're excited to check out!

We've been rolling out the winners for the past few months-- Click HERE to see the categories we've already covered.

This time, we're announcing your favorite burger!

1. Swenson's

There's really no suprise here. Swenson's, who just celebrated the 75th anniversary of the opening of their first drive-in on South Hawkins this year, is an Akron institution! Over the years, they've expanded to seven locations all over the Empire and-- I'm particularly excited about this-- a food truck!!

Swenson's is most famous for their Galley Boy, which many readers voted for specifically. It's a double cheeseburger topped with two sauces: mayo-onion sauce and barbecue sauce, on a buttered and toasted bun topped with lettuce and tomato.

Even three readers voted for the veggie option, the Salad Boy! Although it might be the least healthy veggie burger in existence, add in one of their peanut butter milkshakes and you have one of my all-time favorite meals!

Check out Swenson's website or follow them on Facebook to learn more and find locations.

2. Stray Dog Cart

I was so excited to see Stray Dog Cart on the list! I wrote about them back in July of 2013-- click HERE to see that post again!

As the name implies, Stray Dog is known for their hot dogs, but the bright-colored carts that show up all over town carry hamburgers as well, and sometimes even pizzas!

The best way to find out where the carts are at each day is by following them on Facebook.

3. The Rail

Guest blogger Stacey wrote about The Rail back in 2012-- click HERE to see that post again!

The Rail is unique because they insist on only using beef farmed in Ohio, maintaining the balance between sustainability and great taste. To compliment that, they have a variety of local craft beers and even have a "Beer Exploration Society" where you can attend classes to taste and learn about the local brews.

Their flagship store is in Fairlawn, but they've also expanded to Canton and N. Olmsted. To learn more, visit their website.

Make sure to check back next week when we reveal more of your favorites!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Landmarks

Akron Empire Favorites: Favorite Akron Landmarks
by Joanna Wilson

You voted--and we heard you!  Last summer we asked our readers to identify their favorite landmarks in the greater-Akron area.  Here are the results:

The Gate Lodge at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

First place: Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Also the winner in our poll on Favorite Places to Take a Tour. Stan Hywet is the former home of F.A. Seiberling, the co-founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.  It is a favorite place for Akronites and out-of-town guests.  Stan Hywet's Gate Lodge is also a favorite landmark to those wishing to honor the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.  AA started right here in Akron and is known as one of the most powerful social movements of the twentieth century. Check out their website: StanHywet.org
Second place: Glendale Cemetery
The beauty of this landmark location, just on the other side of downtown, transcends its historic value as the final resting place of several Akron founders, industrialists, and former leaders.  Many people now visit Glendale to attend its popular public events held in the Great Meadow.  When was the last time you visited Glendale Cemetery?  For more information, check out their website: GlendaleAkron.com

Third place: The Towpath
The bike and hike trail along the historical Ohio & Erie Canal is a popular outdoor destination for locals.  Within the next few years, the entire 101 mile trail along the canal will be open from Cleveland to New Philadelphia.  The section of the trail through Akron and downtown is a natural wonder and open year round.  For more information about trailheads and historical stops along the towpath, check out the Summit Metro Parks website link HERE.

Sorry--the only photo I could find I had of the Signal Tree includes the cover of my book A IS FOR AKRON.  And, yes--I used my book to help me research these favorite Akron landmarks!

Honorable Mentions:
Another favorite landmark Akronites voted for includes the Signal Tree located in the Cascade Valley Chuckery area of the Summit Metro Parks.  The 300 year-old tree is believed to have been shaped by Native Americans looking to mark the area to assist persons passing by in locating the nearby river. 

Rotaynah continues to stand despite the harsh winters and insects of Akron.

And last but not least is Rotaynah, the wooden sculpture carved by artist Peter Toth.  This proud Native American landmark is located along West Market St. in front of the Judith Resnick Learning Center.  Do you have another favorite Native American landmark in Akron?

Thanks to everyone who voted.  Please check the complete list of Akron Empire Favorites found HERE.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Place to Tour

Akron Empire Favorites 2014: Favorite Place to Take a Tour
by Joanna Wilson

Thanks to everyone who shared their opinions with us this past summer.  We've been rolling out the winners one category at a time throughout the Fall.  Click HERE to see the categories we've already covered. Have you taken a tour in all of these places yet?

In the category of Favorite Place to Take a Tour:

3. The Akron Civic Theatre
Did you know they give free tours once a month?  Here's my experience when I took the Civic tour in 2012.  For more information about tours and their schedule, check out their website.

2.  The Akron Art Museum 
In addition to the permanent collection, there is a rotating schedule of traveling exhibits, visiting artists, and events.  There's always something fresh and new happening at the Art Museum.  Check out their website for what's going on now.

High Street entrance.

1.  Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
The former home of F.A. Seiberling, the co-founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, is a favorite place for Akronites and out-of-town guests.  Currently, they have their holiday lights and decorations on display.  Check out their website for more details about Stan Hywet and their tours.

The Great Hall in the Manor House at Stan Hywet.

Honorable Mentions include:

Hower House
The historical home of Akron industrialist John Henry Hower and his family has been turned into a museum and is owned by the University of Akron.  Click HERE to see the review of my tour of Hower House from 2013.

Hower House is located on Fir Hill, near the university.

John Brown House and Perkins Stone Mansion
These two neighboring properties in West Akron are historical homes as well.  Tours are available from the Summit County Historical Society.  Akron Empire was lucky enough to have a guest blogger share her experiences of touring these propertiesClick HERE to see Juniper Sage's essay on John Brown House and click HERE to see Juniper's essay on Perkins Stone Mansion.

Thanks again to everyone who voted!