Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we travel to Ohio, the Buckeye State, to see what trouble we can get into. Given the state gave out the first ever traffic ticket, though, we better tread carefully. Let’s do it:
Motto: “With God, all things are possible” – All things are always possible…
Food: For those with a sweet tooth, Ohio has a number of options. Most notably, Buckeyes (balls of peanut butter fudge dipped in chocolate) are popular throughout the state. With a portion of the peanut butter exposed, they resemble the nuts from buckeye trees, the State Tree of Ohio. Life Savers Candy and Chewing Gum were also invented there.
Drink: Gem Beverages has operated in Ohio since 1923. Their most popular brand is Ski, a citrus soda, which comes in regular, diet, cherry and tropical flavours. This category seems like a good place to also mention that the pop-top (pull-tab) drink can was invented in 1959, by Ohioan Ermal Fraze, as he looked for a better way to open beers.
Site to See: Cedar Point amusement park, in Sandusky, is the second oldest amusement park in the U.S. The park has been called ‘America’s Roller Coaster’ and contains 71 rides. It is the most visited seasonal theme park in the country. Cedar Point was awarded ‘Best Amusement Park in the World’ 16 years in a row (1997-2013) by Amusement Today.
Street: Euclid Avenue in Cleveland gained attention in the late 1800s and early 1900s for the wealthy families living along the route. With residents like John Rockefeller, the area became known as Millionaires’ Row and the beauty of the street earned it another nickname: The Showplace of America. There’s also a really neat three-way bridge in Zanesville, called the Y-Bridge.
TV Show: A number of good sitcoms are set in Ohio, including The Drew Carey Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Family Ties. Hit musical dramedy Glee also took place in the state. Of them all, The Drew Carey Show was probably my favourite, thanks to characters like Lewis and Oswald. Also, John Lithgow did an amazing job on 3rd Rock, while we can thank Family Ties for Michael J. Fox.
Movie: Did you know one of the greatest characters of the horror genre haunts Ohio… even its resident’s dreams? The A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which sees Freddy Krueger stalk his victims in their sleep, was created by Wes Craven, who was born in Cleveland. There are nine Elm Street films, along with a TV series, novels, comic books and other media.
Book/Author: As someone who grew up on this author’s work, I had to pick R.L. Stine for this category. His Goosebumps series introduced millions of kids to the concept of reading for fun, while his Fear Street series kept those kids, now as teenagers, interested in picking up a book. Stine’s countless novels have sold hundreds of millions of copies.
Fictional Character: The Hulk (real name Bruce Banner) is from Dayton. If I’m being honest, I was never really a fan of the character until Mark Ruffalo took over the role in The Avengers movies. The scene where he obliterates Loki by rag dolling him around is one of the best in any Marvel movie. Hulk SMASH, am I right!?
Fictional City: Coolsville is the hometown of Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Mystery Inc. gang. Sure, a lot of weird happenings occur in the town, but as long as the Mystery Machine is nearby, you know the case is about to be solved by some meddling kids and their dog. Interestingly, there is a real town in Ohio, named Coolville, after founder Simeon W. Cooley.
Actor/Actress: Paul Newman, star of movies such as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, and a Sip Advisor personal favourite Slap Shot, was born in Shaker Heights. Newman was nominated a number of times for the Best Actor Oscar, finally winning one for The Color of Money. His Newman’s Own food company donates all after-tax profits to charity.
Song: Ohio by The Black Keys is an ode to the state, with the group being formed in Akron. It was a bonus track on their album Brothers and contains lyrics such as “Get me home; Before, before I lose my mind. I need some space to let my; My tape rewind.” It should also be noted, Ohio has a State Rock Song, Hang On, Sloopy by The McCoys.
Band/Musician: Dave Grohl, frontman of the Foo Fighters and drummer for Nirvana before that, was born in Warren. While many famous people have a street named after them in their hometown, Grohl has an alley. Visitors to the landmark can find paintings and a sculpture of Grohl, as well as the world’s largest drumsticks. Grohl is said to visit the site on occasion.
People: Ohio is a capital of aviation. The Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur) were from Dayton, before moving to North Carolina and making the first successful motor-operated airplane flight. Also, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit earth, were born in Wapakoneta and Cambridge, respectively.
Animal: Smoky the Dog was a war dog, accompanying Corporal William A. Wynne, during World War II. Smoky’s efforts, running wires to help build an air base, saved about 250 soldiers from being exposed. After the war, Wynne and Smoky returned to Cleveland, where the dog became a national sensation, with her popularity reviving the Yorkshire Terrier breed.
Invention: High school friends from Cleveland, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, co-created comic book superhero Superman, with the character debuting in the first issue of Action Comics, in 1938. The rights to the character were sold for a mere $130, which was standard business in the industry at that time. While they were paid well by DC Comics afterwards, the duo regretted selling the copyright.
Crime: Ohio has had two sets of serial killer brothers terrorize the state. First, Anthony and Nathaniel Cook were incarcerated for raping and murdering at least nine white victims in Toledo, in racially-motivated crimes. Next, Gary and Thaddeus Lewingdon both received life sentences after committing 10 murders around the state, with robbery being their motive.
Law: It is illegal to get a fish drunk… but they make the best drinking buddies!
Sports Team: Ohio has many sports options spread across the state. Cleveland has three teams in the Indians (MLB), Browns (NFL) and Cavaliers (NBA), while Cincinnati has the Reds (MLB) and Bengals (NFL). Finally, there’s the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and the Ohio State University Buckeyes football program, which also plays out of Columbus.
Athlete: Ohio has a trio of GOATs (greatest of all-time). This includes golfer Jack Nicklaus, who won 117 tournaments, including a record 18 majors; MLB all-time hits leader Pete Rose, winner of three World Series; and basketball superstar LeBron James, with three NBA championships, each of which he was the Finals MVP for. Rose and James played most of their careers in their home state.
Famous Home: A Christmas Story House can be found in Cleveland. In 2004, entrepreneur Brian Jones purchased the home on eBay for $150,000 and restored it to how it looks in the film. Jones also bought the house across the street, turning it into a museum, featuring props from the movie, such as the family’s car and a Red Ryder BB gun. You can even book an overnight stay in the home.
Urban Legend: What was once known as Boston Township, is now dubbed Helltown, an area of Ohio rife with stories of paranormal activity, Satan worshippers, the supposed “end of the world” road and the mutant ‘Peninsula Python’. The legends resulted from Boston becoming a ghost town in the mid 1970’s, as government began creating the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Museum: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame can be found in Cleveland and Canton, respectively. How did they end up in Ohio? Well, Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed was the first to use the term rock and roll, while in 1920, Canton hosted a meeting between four Ohio-based football teams, founding what today is the NFL.
Firsts: Ohio has a lot of interesting firsts, including the original professional fire department and ambulance service, as well as the first police force to use a vehicle. The state also had the first concrete street and is where the first automobile was created. Cleveland was the first city lit by electricity and later had the first traffic signal system. Lastly, the first pro baseball team was the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
Company: Fast food restaurant Wendy’s was founded by Dave Thomas, in Columbus, in 1969. The chain, named after one of Thomas’ daughters, is now headquartered in Dublin, with their office located on Dave Thomas Boulevard. The restaurant is the third largest hamburger fast food chain in the world. Ohioans claim to have invented dipping fries into Frosty milkshakes.
Events: The Kent State Shootings, where National Guard members opened fire on unarmed student protestors, shocked the country. Four people were killed and nine wounded during the anti-Vietnam War rally. Criminal cases resulted in no convictions, while civil cases eventually resulted in a $675,000 settlement paid by the state to plaintiffs.
Miscellaneous: Ohio is known as “The Mother of Presidents”, given seven Commander-in-Chiefs have come from the state. This includes Ulysses S. Grant (18th President), Rutherford B. Hayes (19th President), James A. Garfield (20th President), Benjamin Harrison (23rd President), William McKinley (25th President), William H. Taft (27th President), and Warren G. Harding (29th President).
- 1 oz Irish Cream or Bourbon
- Top with Hot Chocolate
- 1/2 tsp of Melted Peanut Butter
- Garnish with Whipped Cream
This cocktail is meant to best replicate the Buckeyes dessert treats in liquid form. As for the debate between whether to use Irish Cream or Bourbon, I said to hell with it and used Peanut Butter Whiskey for even more of a peanut butter punch. A recipe variation I found uses two ounces of Coconut Rum and an ounce of Kahlua, instead. The beverage might be best enjoyed while tailgating before Ohio State Buckeyes football games.