´¯`•. December 27, 2016

Toledo Adventure: Itinerary and Information

I’m going to have to break this down into bite-size pieces… there’s just too much to write about!  It might be a whole week of posts, just to cover what we did/saw/learned in three days of travel.  But the best way to start off is gathering information, kind of like what I did.  (Although a LOT of this came to light as we went along!)

First, a little history.  Last year, we decided that we would take the three day weekend that Brian’s work gave us for X-mess (which we didn’t celebrate, anyhow), and go somewhere different and have an adventure.  We had so much fun in Indianapolis, that this year we decided to try it again, this time in Toledo.  It was… nowhere near as wonderful as Indianapolis had been, but it was amazing and incredible in different ways.  We’ll get to all of that, soon enough.

It’s kind of funny… whenever people asked us what we were doing for X-mess, and we said, “We’re going to TOLEDO!!”  They’d get this scrunchy, skeptical face and say, “Toledo!  Why would anyone want to go there?!”  It got to be comical, after a while.  Apparently people don’t really think ‘Toledo’ when they think of going on vacation.  Their loss!  There’s a TON to see/do in that town… so much so, that I’m pretty sure I’d need six vacations there to even scratch the surface.  We chose it because a) we’d never been, b) we knew nothing about it, and c) it was within a decent driving distance from our place.

I always draw up a plan of what we’re going to do, with prices and time allotment, on MSExcel.  Brian thinks this is funny, but it’s really very helpful in knowing what we’ll have time for.  It always gets rearranged and things get dropped/replaced, but having something to work from is always good.  Wanna see the Toledo itinerary?

toledo1

NoTe:  This is not what it looked like when we started.  It’s what it looks like, now.   I update it as we go, so I don’t forget what we did.  It’s… an anal thing.  But we’re very flexible with scheduling stuff.  Inevitably, there are always things there that we didn’t know about that just *can’t* be missed, you know!

Getting around Toledo was my biggest fear… it was totally unfounded.  Detroit is hell.  Chicago is terrifying.  Lansing (believe it or not) is misery – I despise Lansing.  But Toledo was very nice – everything is laid out in a grid, and there’s a loop of expressway around everything.  We had no troubles at all, with traveling around.  You just get on the loop, get off in the vicinity of your venue, and grid-it to the place you want to be.  Very, very simple.  We elected to stay outside of town in Maumee (by the airport), because it was near a lot of restaurants and right on I-475 (the loop), which would get us around to the different places very easily.

Our hotel actually sucked – the hot tub was down for maintenance, the dining room was gutted (eating areas were down the hall in two empty rooms), and the fridge in our room didn’t work, so I lost a lot of the food I’d brought.  But you deal, right?  Anyhow, with a family our size, it’s hard to find accommodations to fit us.  We put up with a lot if they can fit us.

Another problem we had was that we were coming in on X-mess Eve, and already things were closing down for the holidays.  Unlike Indianapolis, Toledo shuts down for the holidays… and beyond.  Just because they feel like it.  Which is counter-productive, because everyone and their BROTHER was antsy and didn’t want to stay home, but had nowhere to go… because it’s all closed.  Now, if you have and entire city with people with free time, you’d think smart venues would have things open, at least for reduced hours… but no.

For example, the zoo: the animals have to get fed, anyhow.  People are there working, regardless.  But it was closed.  Stupid… Indianapolis Zoo was open over the holidays – we’d gone and seen the dolphin show, lights, and animals on X-mess Day.  Not so Toledo.  (Which… didn’t matter, we couldn’t afford it, anyhow.  This year we swapped from zoo membership – that would’ve gotten us in free – to museum membership… which would’ve gotten us into Imagination Station free.   Except that it was closed for X-mess eve, X-mess day, and on Monday for no good reason whatsoever.  So screw everyone.)

There are a few things you need to know about Toledo:

  1.  Toledo is the ‘Glass City’.  Libbey Glass Co. was what really helped the town to flourish.  Libbey is the man who is behind the Toledo Museum of Art… and while Libby glass used to be amazingly gorgeous, beautifully pieces?  It’s not, now.  It’s plain, cheap, boring, and utilitarian.  Libbey does not give factory tours, nor do they have glass-blowing demonstrations at any of their locations.  Sucks to be you.  There is a Glass Pavilion with demonstrations and beautiful glassworks at the Art Museum… but with it only open  half-day on X-mess Eve, we didn’t get to go to it.  There’s also an outlet, but every review on-line says it’s cheaper to buy at Meijer and Walmart than at the outlet… which kind of defeats the purpose.  Not people friendly.
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  2. Toledo is RICH in architecture.  Twenty-five city blocks are included in the Old West End making it one of the largest collections of late Victorian (1880-1910) houses left standing in the United States.  The churches, the buildings downtown, even in the outlying neighborhoods!  It’s all just breathtaking.  Frank Lloyd Wright spent months img_0258-444x386(literally, months!) just walking the neighborhoods, stunned by the architecture.  Everything is stunningly beautiful and OLD.  It’s also mostly abandoned and in disrepair.  It’s a town in which you are awed… and inspired.  You see the possibilities, and wish for a wand with which to work a restorio spell to repair everything with a flick of the wrist.  Because it’s gorgeous, everywhere you look.  I jokingly told Brian that we needed to move there, just so I could wander and see everything… all of the houses, all of the shops, all of the beauty.  A week wouldn’t be enough time!
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  3.  Jeep has it’s big plant in Toledo.  You’ll see a TON of Jeeps – fancy, new models – being driven around town.  It tickles me that in the ‘Welcome to Ohio’ picture that I got?  There’s a Jeep in it – you’ll see tomorrow!  Not intentional.   For what it’s worth, Jeep does not give factory tours.  They tore down the old plant, and the museum with it.  There’s nothing for the public from Jeep, either.
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  4.  Toledo is the largest freshwater seaport in the world.  (Which… shouldn’t it be ‘lake port’?  I digress.)  There’s a HUGE seaport area on the south side of the river, including Ironville, the ‘town’ of factories and plants and industry.  It’s all closed to the public – you can’t see anything at all.  Toledo is NOT people-friendly, in any way, shape, or form.
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  5.   Time Zones and Distance.  Here’s something I NEVER thought about.  Toledo is three hours east of our house.  Both are in Eastern time zone.  This means that while it gets dark at 5pm in Michigan, it gets dark earlier in Toledo.  (I can’t even begin to think about people in Maine.  How can they stand it?!?!)  So daylight was at a serious deficit, for us.

Anyhow, that’s a lot.  But it’s a start, and kind of had to be talked about before I start with the photo-blogging of our trip!

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