Summer has finally arrived, but with the constant rise of gas prices, many have been forced to scale down, if not cancel altogether, their plans for summer travel.
A drive across the country may be out, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to stay home.
"Ohio Road Trips," the latest book by Ohio author Neil Zurcher, provides more than enough local destinations to satisfy any family on a budget with an itch to explore.
Zurcher was the host of the popular "One Tank Trips," a travel segment for Fox Television in Cleveland for 25 years.
Though now retired from television, Zurcher has not lost his flare for travel. He has journeyed more than a million miles inside of Ohio and shows no signs of slowing down.
Through his travels, he has stumbled upon some of the most interesting, intriguing, entertaining, and some just plain weird destinations in our great state. In his new book, he shares them with you.
Zurcher only writes about people and places that he himself has visited.
According to Zurcher, his love for travel was cultivated at an early age. As the son of a traveling insurance salesman, Zurcher often accompanied his father on his trips.
"I think his enthusiasm for Ohio and all its beauty was passed along to me," said Zurcher.
Although his previous work in television has taken him outside of the Buckeye State, Zurcher has never lost his love for Ohio.
"Ohio offers the best of all the surrounding states," said Zurcher, "We have lakes, islands, plains, hills, rivers, countryside, great interesting cities and tons of history."
Zurcher went on to list historical facts about Ohio such as the birthplace of aviation, the home of the first man on the moon, and the well-known prehistoric "mysterious" mounds.
"I have never understood why anyone would want to go anyplace else without first seeing everything that Ohio has to offer," he continued, "This state offers something for everyone no matter what you’re looking for."
The book, which in 258 pages covers more than 500 Ohio destinations, serves up attractions such as flea markets and quaint cafes, natural wonders, bed and breakfasts, shopping destinations, historic landmarks, a museums displaying history, wax and even popcorn.
Eighty-one black and white photographs display some of the most intriguing stops.
"Ohio Road Trips" is the result of 27 years of travel. Zurcher commented that picking the attractions to be listed in his newest book was "very difficult to do."
He added that he tried to pick destinations that would be the most interesting to an entire family.
"When you come down to it, it was matter of my personal choice," said Zurcher.
When asked his favorite of all the stops in his book, Zurcher found himself torn. He named many popular Ohio locations and then summed it up with, "I like them all, no matter where it is in Ohio."
"I could be happy just about any place in Ohio," added Zurcher, "Because every time I travel, even to a place I have been many times, I always seem to find something new and interesting."
Zurcher also stressed that while many travel destinations in "Ohio Road Trips" highlight businesses, no one paid to appear in his book.
"The choices were made strictly on the basis of what I thought a family might enjoy."
Zurcher lives in Bay Village, Ohio with his wife, Bonnie. He has three children and four grandchildren and is currently hard at work on a memoir detailing stories of people he met during his 50 years as a journalist.
"Ohio Road Trips" is his fifth novel. Other titles by Zurcher include "Ohio Oddities" and
"Strange Tales from Ohio."
His current book is priced at $13.95 and is available at many Ohio bookstores, as well as from Amazon.com.