From the June/July 2011 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine (scroll down below the images to read the text version of the article).
Every Day Fun - Travel Short List
30 Minutes from Cleveland
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Essential Experience: Cycle under a leafy green canopy beside the twisting Cuyahoga River on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath.
Your Perfect Day
8:30 a.m. After an increasingly rural drive south from the city, stop by the Countryside Farmers' Market (Saturday stalls open at 9 a.m.; cvcountryside.org), near the town of Peninsula. Pick up a croissant and lunch (locally made goat cheese and baguettes).
9:30 a.m. Park at the Peninsula Depot and Visitor Center, formerly a 19th-century train station, and grab a map of the canal system.
10:00 a.m. Rent bikes at nearby Century Cycles (1621 Main St., centurycycles.com; $8 per hour) and take a leisurely 13-mile ride north along the river.
11:30 a.m. Pull out the picnic fare at the damlike Lock 39, one of 16 antique locks that once controlled water levels along the canal.
12:50 p.m. Head back about a mile and a half to the Canal Visitor Center and hoist your bike onto the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad ($2). Take a load off while the train travels the length of the park, past meadows and forests.
1:10 p.m. Disembark at the Boston Mill Station and pedal north to Stanford Trail. Lock up your bike and hike the 1.75-mile trail that ends at the 60-foot Brandywine Falls, cascading over sandstone.
4:45 p.m. Ride 3 miles to return your wheels before closing time. Board the southbound train for a round-trip tour of this end of the park, through wetlands and farm fields. Watch for deer.
6:30 p.m. Toast your tour with a Great Lakes Brewing Company IPA beer at the nearby Winking Lizard Tavern (1615 N. Main St.; beers from $5.50).
Don't Forget: bug spray, windbreaker and athletic shoes
Extend the Trip: Listen to the rush of the falls at the 163-year-old Inn at Brandywine Falls. (8230 Brandywine Road, Sagamore Hills, innatbrandywinefalls.com; doubles from $139)
Our adventure guides: Mary Pat Doorley, park ranger, Cuyahoga Valley National Park; Doug Trattner, author of Moon Cleveland