There's more to Presidents Day than just a day off and sales on sheets and towel sets.
Northeast Ohio actually has a pretty rich history when it comes to the White House and American history. And many of these historic sites are just a short drive away.
TourismOhio, along with the Ohio History Connection, has launched the Ohio Presidential Trail on Trails.Ohio.org. There are 13 official stops on the trail at homes, libraries, museums and monuments that celebrate the eight U.S. presidents who hailed from Ohio.
Area stops include Hiram College, where President James Garfield once held court and met his wife.
The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum and McKinley National Memorial in Canton are another stop, along with the nearby National First Ladies’ Library.
The Cleveland area lays claim to the Garfield Memorial at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor and the James A. Garfield Birthplace in Moreland Hills.
The remaining Ohio sites on the trail include:
William Henry Harrison Tomb in North Bend.
William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati.
U.S. Grant Birthplace in Point Pleasant.
U.S. Grant Boyhood Home & Schoolhouse in Georgetown.
Warren G. Harding Home & Memorial in Marion.
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum in Fremont.
National McKinley Birthplace Memorial & McKinley Birthplace Home in Niles.
The trail joins others around the state which celebrate everything from ice cream, doughnuts, wine and beer to arts and culture. There are now more than 65 entries on the Ohio Adventure Trails map on Trails.Ohio.org.
“Given the enthusiasm around Ohio Adventure Trails, we saw an opportunity to partner with the Ohio History Connection to showcase Ohio’s amazing collection of presidential sites,” said Matt MacLaren, director of TourismOhio, in a prepared statement. “Presidential sites are perfect places to visit with children, friends and family because there is so much history to enjoy and learn together strengthening personal connections across generations.”
Canton tourism officials hope the trail will be popular year-round and not just on Presidents Day.
“We are excited to be a part of this new presidential trail,” said Kim Kenney, executive director of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. “It is our hope that visitors to Ohio will make it a point to visit all of our fellow presidential sites when planning their next vacation.”
To mark Presidents Day on Monday there are special events planned at area attractions.
The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum will celebrate with activities throughout the day including gallery focus tours celebrating McKinley. Guests will have a chance to meet with a re-enactor at noon and 2 p.m. and there will be planetarium shows throughout the day. The museum is at 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW in Canton.
The Akron Zoo is offering free admission Monday for Presidents Day. The Summit County Historical Society will be at the zoo with activities for kids. Parking is $3.
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood is also offering free admission Monday. There will be crafts and activities and the special exhibition "Israel: Then & Now," which features presidents including Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. From 1 to 2 p.m., visitors can meet with presidential re-enactors and have a kosher cookie. The museum is at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood.
The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland is hosting a Curiosity Carnival! Saturday through Monday with hands-on activities and science demonstrations that are included with regular admission. There will be "Strange Science" and "Electric Madness" shows and a "Launch into Space" engineering challenge in the Wintergarden atrium. Alternative energy sources will be explored at "Energy Investigator," where guests can build a wind turbine fan and test it on a motor to see how much electricity it can generate.
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.