The Rust Belt Travel Guide

Kelleys Island

I live in the Rust Belt.

There was a time when if you had asked me what I liked about living here, I would have said, "my family lives here."  Then I started exploring my home turf and learned that there's a lot more to the story.  It turns out that the rust belt is a pretty happening place.

The Moonville Tunnel

I've written a few posts about my "travels" but I wanted to have an all in one page of recommended places to go if you happen to find yourself in my part of the woods.  I'll keep this page updated as I continue to explore.

My rating system is: 

  • OMG drop everything and go here: 😻😻😻
  • Hella cool place that made my toes curl: 😻
  • Just a note that there's no 😻😻 rating.  We're in a world of 😻 (wow) or 😻😻😻 (mega wow)
  • No rating: it was cool enough to be worth my time to visit and then type the name and link to it, but I wouldn't make a special trip just to go out here.  It's most likely close to a 😻😻😻 or 😻 place.  For example, I went to Grand Rapids to see a Frank Lloyd Wright house, which was everything that I dreamed it would be.  I also visited Meijer Gardens and the President Ford Museum simply because they were there.  I had to rush through Meijer Gardens so I didn't get a proper appreciation for it - if I went back it might well be a 😻, but as it is it was just a place where I was happy enough to spend an hour.  I appreciated the President Ford museum, but it's not why I went to Grand Rapids.  So that's why FLW gets 😻😻😻 and Meijer and Ford have no rating.
  • Not mentioned: I've been to many more places than are on the list, so if it's not mentioned, the possibilities are (1) I haven't been there, (2) I've been there but it wasn't special enough to be worth typing the name or linking to it, or (3) I've been there and I hated it.  (3) is very rare and the only example I can think of is a historic mansion where the tour guide seemed annoyed that I showed up and gave me a long lecture on the town's historic connections to organized crime.  Basically she made me feel like the whole town should have been bulldozed and that I would have been better served by spending the day on the couch.
  • Eat at: I'm not big on eating out, so if I've listed a restaurant it's a really special place to me.


Lafayette - The Frank Lloyd Wright Samara House (my post here) 😻

Samara House


Champaign (my post here)

Allerton Park: miles upon miles of gorgeous sculpures



The view from the Riverboat Architecture Tour 


Kankakee - The Frank Lloyd Wright Bradley house (my post here)

Springfield -  The Frank Lloyd Wright Dana Thomas house (my post here) 😻


Detroit area

Grosse Ile Lighthouse

Grand Rapids (my post here)

Meyer May House

New York 

Buffalo (my post here)

Graycliff - FLW does Lake Erie


Lake Erie Wonders!!!!

Fairport Harbor Lighthouse & Museum

  • Headlands Beach State Park (#1 it's gorgeous, #2 I've gotten some great bird photos there, and #3 you can walk past the Fairport Harbor Breakaway Lighthouse, which is a private residence) 😻😻😻

The Fairport Harbor Breakaway Lighthouse as seen from the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse

The view from the Lorain Lighthouse

The Port Clinton Boathouse and Lighthouse
  • Marblehead Lighthouse (if you forced me to pick a favorite Lake Erie Lighthouse this would be it) 😻😻😻
The Marblehead Lightkeeper's Cottage


For a good time call the Goodtime I

The Put in Bay Lighthouse

North West Ohio 

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum
Fremont - Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum 😻😻😻  (I never would have guessed that I would be into presidential history before coming here)
Milan - Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum 😻 (seriously who knew that Edison was born in Ohio?  What else haven't they told us?????)


The Cooke Dorn House.  Simply put, it's my favorite historic house ever.


North East Ohio

Akron - Stan Hywet




William G. Mather Steamship

Mentor - President Garfield Home 😻😻😻




Central Ohio (heads up this is possibly the worst organized me Central Ohio means either "Columbus" or "the middle of no where"

Malabar Farm State Park (my post here) 😻😻😻

The Ohio State Reformatory (aka Shawshank Prison) 😻😻😻

Shawshank Prison - a place to get busy livin' or get busy dyin'

Warren G. Harding Presidential Site  😻

John & Annie Glen Museum

National Road and Zane Grey Museum

Moonville Tunnel 😻😻😻

Hocking Hills State Park

Columbus (my post here)

Springfield (I didn't identify any of the places by name but here is the post that I wrote about the trip)

The Hartman Rock Garden - when it's the 1930s and you've been laid off and have extra time on your hands...

Urbana - Champaign County Museum 😻 (my post here)

Urbana, Ohio is a good looking town
West Liberty

The Ohio Caverns.  Stalactites and Stalagmites and Oh My!

Yellow Springs (my post here)

The Yellow Springs at Glen Helen Nature Reserve

The waterfall at Indian Mound Reserve currently holds the #1 spot on my Favorite Rust Belt Waterfall list.

South East Ohio

Marietta (my post here, see also Blennerhasset Island in West Virginia)

Ontario, Canada

Point Pelee

Pelee Island Lighthouse


Presque Isle State Park

People - this is Pennsylvania!!!!!  View from the Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

The Erie Land Lighthouse.  It gets upstaged by the Presque Isle Lighthouse so the odds are that you will have it all to yourself.  Between the gorgeous views and the laid back, welcoming vibe, if you force me to pick a favorite Erie PA lighthouse, this is it.


Frank Lloyd Wright Stuff (these three sites are close to each other, somewhere south of Pittsburgh.  My post here)


West Virginia

Blennerhassett Island (my post here) 😻😻😻

Blennerhassett Island.  Aaron Burr slept here.

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