Road Trip! Destination: Canton, Ohio
Canton, Ohio, might not have an NFL team, but it certainly is known for its football. The Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct a new hall of fame class Aug. 4 with four Pittsburgh connections: former Steelers cornerback Jack Butler and center Dermontti Dawson, and former University of Pittsburgh running back Curtis Martin of Allderdice High School and defensive end Chris Doleman.
But there is much more to explore in Canton than the stats of the world's best football players. Canton and Stark County have plenty of history with interesting museums and amazing monuments. It offers a vineyard full of robust wines and plenty of dining options.
"Canton and Stark County have enough exciting attractions to entertain you for a day or a week ... or longer," says John Kiste, executive director of Canton/Stark County Convention and Visitors' Bureau. Details: 800-552-6051 or www.visitcantonstark.com .
Since opening in 1963, millions of visitors have walked through the Pro Football Hall of Fame to pay tribute to the legendary heroes of professional football. The Hall of Fame located here because the American Professional Football Association, later named the NFL, was founded in Canton. The Canton Bulldogs were an early-day pro football power, and Canton citizens early in the 1960s launched a campaign to earn the site designation. A large expansion and renovation project is expected to be finished in time for the 50th anniversary in 2013. Square footage will increase from 85,000 square feet to 118,000. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is open daily, except Christmas. Tickets: $21; $17 for seniors; and $15 for ages 6-12. Details: 330-456-8207 or www.profootballhof.com .
Founded in 1995, and expanded several times since, the National First Ladies Library and Research Center is the only facility dedicated to the lives of America's first ladies. With ribbon-cuttings at every step of the way by former first ladies Rosalynn Carter (1998) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (1999), and the dedication of the newest facility in 2003 by first lady Laura Bush, this historical museum is a must-see. The library serves as a national resource for patrons from school children to serious scholars. Details: 330-452-0876 or www.firstladies.org .
The Canton Classic Car Museum, established by the late Marshall Belden Sr. in 1978, features 45 rare and unusual classic and special-interest automobiles. They are complemented by thousands of pieces of historical memorabilia and vintage toys from Tonka trucks to Hot Wheels. The museum has hundreds of vintage and classic advertising pieces from metal and porcelain signs to boxes, tins, containers and cans. Open daily. Details: 330-455-3603 or www.cantonclassiccar.org
A favorite son's resting place
The McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is a family-friendly history and science museum. It includes the McKinley Gallery, the Street of Shops, the Keller Gallery, Discover World, the Hoover-Price Planetarium, Ramsayer Research Library, and the new permanent exhibit, "The Stark County Story."
The McKinley National Monument, an architectural marvel worth exploring, is the final resting place for William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States. McKinley is Canton's favorite son. He was born in Niles, Ohio, but called Canton his home. The interior dome measures 50 feet in diameter and is 77 feet from the floor to the highest point. At the top is a red, white and blue skylight with 45 stars representing the 45 states in the Union at the time of McKinley's death in 1901.
The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum are a stone's throw away from the monument. They feature a miniature 1800s town, the largest collection of McKinley artifacts in the world, and a science museum and discovery center for children.
Tickets are $8; $7 for seniors; and $6 for ages 3-18. Details: 330-455-7043 or www.mckinleymuseum.org
Pleasures of wine and more
Gervasi Vineyard and Italian Bistro provide an orchestrated environment that appeals to all the senses by focusing on the pleasures of wine, food, atmosphere, tradition and service. It offers a memorable destination for wine lovers, diners, families, businesses and tourists. Wine varieties are among the best in Ohio, produced by wine experts. Details: 330-497-1000 or www.gervasivineyard.com .