Summer, picnics and playgrounds might be the first images that come to mind when thinking of metroparks and while that is so true of the Lorain County Metro Parks, there are many other options within this extensive and diverse system any time of the year.
Our base for a weekend of exploration of these remarkable assets of Lorain County was the newly opened Quarry Stone Bed and Breakfast in Amherst, once the capital of the Sandstone industry.
Our hostess actually volunteers with the Metro Parks system and was a wealth of information. We heeded her advice and discovered a few real treasures. Which parks did we enjoy? All of them that we visited, but here is a list of the most diverse:
Miller Nature Preserve – We planned our visit in time to see the gorgeous fall colors, but there is also a lovely conservatory with all sorts of interesting plants you can enjoy in any weather. Like most of the parks, this Avon park has special events and offers classes as well.
Cascade Park – Soon to be managed by the Metro Parks, the Black River Falls seem to be well-known by locals, but we had a little trouble finding them. We eventually found them thanks to the helpful staff at Hollstein who informed us that they were right behind the police station. The view was definitely worth the effort.
Wellington Reservation – In the far south of the county, the Wellington Reservation is very near Findley State Park, a favorite of ours. We were fortunate to visit when the paddle boats were still available – that’s usually in the warmer months. Not only did we get in some exercise, but we enjoyed the scenery as well. You can also enjoy nature any time of the year along the numerous trails throughout the park.
North Coast Inland Trail – A linear park that eventually will run from Toledo to Elyria, this park is ideal for cyclists, walkers and joggers. It’s flat, paved path passes through several communities including Kipton, where we saw one of the Patchwork Trails quilt squares and Oberlin, where we enjoyed its museums, Underground Railroad history and interesting eateries like The Feve.
No matter the season, the Lorain County Metro Parks have something for everyone. As one local told us she has learned so much through the park programs that she could survive anything. Get out there and take a hike or a class.