Sometimes your timing is perfect, due solely to good luck. That was the case Sunday morning, when my friend Carmen and I took part in Take a Hike – Canal Basin Park. The weather could not have been better. It was warm, but not hot or humid. And for a real change of pace, it wasn’t raining.
The hike, a guided tour that’s really more of a stroll, was part of Cleveland History Days, a celebration that began Friday and runs through Sunday, June 30. Our group met outside the Flat Iron Cafe in Cleveland’s Flats and included stops along and near the Cuyahoga River. The city had just wrapped up its commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the last fire on the river the day before.
|Photo by Carmen Becker|
Old Glory near the Center Street Swing Bridge
We learned about the canals that people used in the 19th century to travel between Cleveland and other parts of Ohio. We also learned about plans for the Towpath Trail, sections of which have been constructed over the past several years. The final section, expected to be completed in 2020, will create a 101-mile towpath connecting Cleveland and New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County.
Two historic figures joined us during the tour: a former mayor and the wife of a man who is the namesake of a well-known Lake Erie island. Locals can probably guess who our visitors were, but I don’t want to give too much away because both characters’ appearances were surprises.
In addition, we found out that exciting plans are in the works for a building on the Sherwin-Williams property that once was a railroad station. Again, I don’t want to reveal too much now.
The 90-minute tour was a nice blend of past and future with time to appreciate the river and surrounding areas as they are today. There are lots of photo opps on this hike.
If you’re disappointed you missed it, I have good news. The Canal Basin Park hike is taking place again Sunday, June 30. Register at the link. Full disclosure: This tour and the others in the Take a Hike series are scheduled weekly between May and September. There was just something special about taking the tour during Cleveland History Days.
All Take a Hike tours are free, but donations are accepted and appreciated. I don’t know whether this is always the case, but when we gave our guide our donations at the end of Sunday’s tour, he gave each of us a coupon for half-price appetizers at the Flat Iron Cafe. Several of us went to the Flat Iron immediately afterward. Carmen and I each got pierogies — a plate of four is an appetizer there — to conclude our authentic Cleveland experience.