Of course, it is people and relationships that matter most. But this post is about stuff that is unique to Toledo, stuff that I value for one reason or another, that I will miss as we make our move to North Carolina. So here my list, in no particular order:
Wildwood Metropark – is a gorgeous piece of land donated to the Toledo Metropark System by a prominent Toledo family, the Stranahans, of Champion Spark Plug wealth. It is part of a globally distinct ecosystem, the oak savannah, which has been designated by the Nature Conservancy, a renowned conservation organization, as “One of the 200 Last Great Places on Earth.” It is the most used of Toledo’s parks. I have walked, run, biked, rollerbladed, picnicked, and walked the dog through this park on countless occasions, sometimes with others, and sometimes in peaceful solitude. I will miss it!
Olander Park – is a much smaller, but lovely part of the park system. It has a pond at it’s center with a mile long walking path around it, perfect for walking and running. I particularly love it because of the annual triathlon that is centered there. I was a participant for many years. The pond provides the best swim of any triathlon I have ever run, and the race attracts athletes from all over the country because the bike course is flat, and the run course is partly shaded through nice neighborhoods, making it ideal for setting PR’s. It was a big part of my life for many years.
Bike trails – Toledo has two very nice ones, part of the national rails-to-trails movement that converted abandoned railways into trails to be used by people. The trail from the University of Toledo out to Sylvania is 6 miles long, making a pleasant 12 mile out-and-back on a bike, 15 miles if you start and end at my house. The other trail is in nearby Monclova township, longer and more rural. We incorporate that on our longer rides.
BikeWorks and Wersell’s – Since I wrote so much about biking, I may as well add my favorite local bike shops here. They qualify as “beautiful places” because I consider road bikes to be works of functional art. They are beautiful to me! I could hang one on the wall of our living room. Seriously!
The Toledo Museum of Art – I have visited many museums in my life, all over the world. I have to say that Toledo’s museum stands up there with the best of them. The permanent collections are great, and it is also alive with important expositions of global treasures, and with educational programs that reach out to young and old alike. It is really something to be proud of.
An honorable mention goes to the Toledo Symphony, which has it’s main venue within the museum campus. I am not much of a symphony goer, but when I have gone over the years, I have been impressed with the quality of the musicians and performances.
Toledo Zoo – This is the same way. A wonderful zoo for a city the size of Toledo. I loved it as a child, and loved taking my kids to it years later. The zoo also has a small outdoor amphitheater that brings in great musical performers during the summer months. I have seen Stevie Nicks, Hall and Oates, and Earth Wind & Fire there just in the last year or two.
The Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic – is an annual stop of the LPGA tour. Princess Gail and I go every year. It is simply awesome watching these women play! The golf course at Highland Meadows is a favorite for many of these athletes, so we get to see the top names year after year.
An honorable mention goes to the Toledo Mudhens. I don’t do baseball, but the Mudhens have been doing great, and the new stadium downtown has been a huge hit.
And this is long enough for Part 1. More Toledo stuff later.