Cuyahoga Valley Exploring
(in Partnership with the Ohio Railroader)
By Giles Kennedy
Family and Travel Columnist
From the days of the Ohio and Erie Canal to current day, Peninsula remains a trailhead for explorers of all ages.
Brandywine Falls has been a long time destination for hikers and explorers alike.
Boston Mills has been a point on the Ohio and Erie Canal; now a major trailhead for modern day adventurers.
We will break down key points to take in.
Founded in 1818, the Ohio and Erie Canal spearheaded the foundation. With early traffic between Lake Erie and the Ohio River; various crops and goods flowed by the locks in and around Peninsula, Boston (Mills) and Akron.
1888, the Cuyahoga Valley Railroad (later to be part of the Baltimore and Ohio) took over freight traffic along the shorelines of the mighty river.
Many industries, including stone quarries, lumber yards and light industry had called Peninsula home.
In 1972, B&O parent railroad Chessie System worked with Cuyahoga Valley Line (Grand dad of the current CVSR) to start scenic rail train rides. 1975 was their 1st regularly scheduled trip.
The National Park was actually officially became a National Recreation Area first in 1974. 26 years later; it officially became a National Park in 2000.
President Gerald Ford, while vacationing at nearby Boston Mills Ski Resort; signed it into existed late December 1974.
Years prior, local groups fought for a large rec area along the most scenic areas staring in Independence.This area would reach the way down to Peninsula and Boston Township, .
But as time grew, the Cuyahoga Valley Park area has centered around Peninsula. Blossom Music Center, Boston Mills Ski and many smaller local parks help the eco-tourism effort.
Just in the village alone; a rehabbed clipboard factory became the Village Art Gallery and NPS Trailhead Shop. The rebuilt Boston Depot now resides in the village. The former Boston Township Hall now houses the local library and history museum.
The list goes on.
With changing times, Peninsula has helped rebirth the old into the new.
The Ohio to Erie Towpath Trail, Fisher’s Cafe’ and Pub, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and many others add to the village’s attraction.
Fisher’s Pub is our choice for getting quality food from a long time locally owned eatery. It is on the main drag of Peninsula across from the Towpath Trail and the railroad.
Not far from Peninsula is the area known as Brandywine. Itself used to be a village in the 1810’s to the 1840’s. Now part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park; trails lead to the iconic falls.
Both the NPS and Summit Metro Parks have been stewards of this area. The Inn at Brandywine Falls is nearby. But what most folks take in is indeed, the hiking trails. These trails lead to one of the most beautiful falls in Ohio.
With its ski and sports resort to the left of the Cuyahoga River, NPS took no time in regenerating the Boston Mills Visitors Center. Currently the scenic railroad stop is being finished. But, the grand opening of the new Visitors Center (late October 2019); give hikers and visitors alike a great place to reboot.
You can find more info on the park and the railroad at these sites.
A more in depth article on the Scenic Railroad can be found at the Ohio Railroader website.