Explore Small Town America in Northeast Ohio by taking a tour of the area’s towns and villages. Northeast Ohio is home to many attractive small towns and villages. These hidden gems, scattered throughout the area east of Cleveland, have not lost their old-fashioned charm and offer a unique experience to visitors who want to see a bit of what small town life was like before the influx of malls, superstores and urban sprawl.
For those who wish to explore Small Town America in Northeast Ohio, here are some places to visit.
Chagrin Falls in Cuyahoga County
Named for the scenic waterfall on the Chagrin River that serves as its centerpiece, Chagrin Falls is a picturesque village of just 4,000 residents. It is located 20 miles east of Cleveland and was first incorporated in 1844.
Chagrin Falls is home to historic homes and architecture, unique shops and restaurants, and a thriving arts community. The town green is a small triangular park with a wooden gazebo sitting at its center and is surrounded by the shops and restaurants of Main and Franklin Streets. Some shops of interest are the Fireside Bookshop, an independent bookshop selling books both new and used, White Magnolia, an upscale boutique with French flair, as well as numerous antique shops and art galleries.
Those looking for a place to eat and drink in Chagrin Falls will not be disappointed. There are many restaurants in the village including the 1950s styled Rick’s Cafe, the family diner Dinks, and the casual dining experiences at The Raintree and Gamekeepers Taverne, which is a Chagrin Falls institution boasting a lovely outdoor patio.
Visitors can see the falls by descending a wooden staircase near the bridge where there is an outlook. At the top of the falls is the popular Popcorn Shop, an old fashioned sweet shop selling ice cream, vintage candies and, of course, popcorn. A smaller man-made waterfall is across the street at Riverside Park, which is a perfect place to take a stroll and feed the ducks.
In June, Chagrin Fall hosts a popular arts festival at Riverside Park. There is a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in November and the village also holds an annual house and garden tour.
Chardon Village in Geauga County
While its outskirts have recently been infiltrated with superstores and fast food chains, the town center of Chardon still retains its old fashioned charm and character. Located in rural Geauga County, about 35 miles east of Cleveland, Chardon boasts a lovely town square with a picturesque white painted gazebo and a red brick courthouse which dates from 1869.
Although it is best known locally for the prodigious amount of snowfall it gets, Chardon offers visitors much more than picturesque winter scenes. The village square is surrounded by antique and gift shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. Chardon is home to Rosepointe Cottage, a popular gathering spot (especially for the ladies) that offers teas and English delicacies in elegant surroundings. For its more masculine visitors, Chardon Square also has a brew pub which brews its own beers and offers pub fare and plenty of sports on TV. Other restaurants in Chardon include the Bass Lake Tavern on South Street and Morgan’s Place on the square.
The old movie theater now hosts plays put on by the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild, as well as occasional first run films. In the summer, there are Friday night concerts on the square and a weekly Farmer’s Market. Chardon is well known for its annual Maple Festival, which takes place in the early spring, often coinciding with a snow storm.
Burton Village in Geauga County
Burton Village is home to the Geauga County Historical Society and the Geauga County Fairgrounds. This peaceful village of around 1,500 residents is surrounded by Amish country and has a quiet rural charm. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest settlement in the county and has a town square patterned after an English village green which is typical for the older towns and villages in the area.
Burton is proud of its history and holds annual events at its Century Village Museum, which is part of the Geauga County Historical Society. Century Village is a collection of homes, barns, village shops and a
schoolhouse dating from the 1800s set in rural parklands. The Village offers tours throughout the year and hosts special events such as the annual Antique Power and Steam Show and the Apple Butter Festival.
The village of Burton is also home to the Log Cabin, a working sugar house that produces maple candy all year round. The village center has numerous shops and restaurants, including the popular Belle’s American Grille.
Other Towns and Village in Northeast Ohio
These Northeastern Ohio towns and villages are also worth a visit. Madison is a small town located in Lake County with an English style village square and many historic homes and buildings. It celebrates its history every summer at the Madison Old Fashioned Days Festival which features games, horse shoe tossing and a carnival.
Geneva is located in the grape and wine producing area of Ashtabula County. Although officially a city, it has a cosy small town feel.
Fairport Harbor in Lake County is a charming little town located on the shores of Lake Erie with an old lighthouse and beachfront park. There are several good seafood restaurants in town.