Rubber made the industrial town of Akron, Ohio, located 35 mi/55 km south of Cleveland. Visitors once were able to learn about the history and technology of the stretchy stuff at the Goodyear World of Rubber, but the museum closed in August 2009.
But there are plenty of other things to see in Akron. At the very least, be sure to see the Akron Zoo (featuring animals of the Americas) and the enchanting Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens (a Tudor-style mansion and beautifully landscaped grounds with both Japanese and English gardens).
Inventure Place, a sail-like structure that is home to the National Inventor's Hall of Fame, provides a fascinating look into the minds and inventions that have advanced mankind. The Akron Art Museum, housed in a restored post office, maintains a good collection of 20th-century American art.
Hale Farm is an authentic restoration village with several buildings from the first half of the 1800s, and Quaker Square (as in Quaker Oats) offers shopping and dining in a renovated grain elevator. Akron makes for a pleasant day trip from Cleveland.
If you're looking for outdoor fun, try Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, about 5 mi/8 km northeast of Akron near Brecksville. In an expanse of land containing forests, valleys and stretches of the old Ohio & Erie Canal, this park is a good place for picnicking, hiking, cycling, auto tours, horseback riding, fishing, golfing and swimming in summer; cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding and tobogganing in winter.
The outstanding Brandywine Falls are a highlight of the recreation area. Farther east near Youngstown, Mill Creek Park is a municipal park with its own gorge, waterfalls, rose garden and a restored gristmill. The park's Gorge Trail is a good hiking route.
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