Now in its 11th year, the Spring Drive-It Yourself Tour gives folks 25 reasons to be a tourist in their own backyard.
On Saturday, May 9, Destination Geauga will once again host this special event; so mark your calendar for a day of fun and exploration. To join in the fun, just pick up a list of the 25 participating locations, find a road trip buddy and start planning your daylong adventure.
This is your chance to see those hidden gems you’ve never had time to visit and find out what you’ve been missing. Or, play it safe and stop by your old favorites to take advantage of great sales and special activities. This year’s tour has seven brand new stops, as well as a host of favorites from previous Tours. The event begins at 10 a.m.; in order to be entered into the prize drawing, stamped maps must be turned in at the final stop by 3:45 p.m. With so many stops to see, participants’ biggest dilemma will be choosing which to fit into the allotted time.
It’s easy to participate; just choose a minimum of ten stops from the list of 25. When you visit a location, get your map stamped. While you’re there, you can take advantage of special activities, giveaways, sales, samples or demonstrations.
“Since the tour takes place a day prior to Mother’s Day,” remarked Lynda Nemeth, Destination Geauga Director, “there are several mother/daughter teams that do this every year as a tradition.” Past tour participant Lori Gorrell shared, “My daughter Brittany and I participated in the 2012 and 2013 tours. After we decided we were going to spend that day together, she turned it in to an ‘Amazing Race’ type of day,” Lori laughed. “We got together the night before and planned our route. It was a great way to spend an entire day with my college-age daughter…enjoying the county, shopping and eating!”
Participants can choose to visit the recently awarded Cleveland Hot List Winner The Nest in Chardon for unique home furnishings and decor, or the newly reopened Punderson Manor Lodge in Newbury for a peek into an estate room and the library. Visitors to the Sport Rack in Chardon will receive custom printing with the purchase of a t-shirt. Reba’s Second Look will be offering refreshments, door prizes and 10% off the purchase of furniture. At Richards Maple Products, visitors can enjoy a free ‘sap dog’ (a hot dog cooked in maple sap) and samples of other maple goodies.
Fifteen other locations will offer refreshments or samples — try tasty ribs at Blazin Bills in Burton or the Famous Fried Bologna Sandwich at the newly opened Bistro 608 at Grandview in Middlefield. Health-conscious shoppers can visit Kalle Naturals in Middlefield to sample alternatives to favorite snack foods and coffee. And in honor of Mother’s Day, there will be plenty of great deals, from antiques to housewares, crafts to outdoor furniture.
“I love talking with participants throughout the day, and at the Finale,” shared Ms. Nemeth, “I hear the same phrase at least 100 times that day: ‘I’ve drive past that place almost every day and have never stopped until today, I’m so glad I did!’ We love giving people that reason to stop!”
Returning tour stops include The Barn Treasures in Middlefield, Blazin Bills, Burton Log Cabin & Sugar Camp, The Craft Cupboard in Middlefield, Creekside Lawn Furniture in Middlefield, End of the Commons General Store in Mesopotamia, For the Birds Wildlife and More in Chardon, Fowlers Milling Company in Chardon, Geauga County Airport in Middlefield, Hershbergers’ Housewares in Middlefield, Kalle Naturals, Mulligans Pub in Burton, Punderson Manor Lodge, Reba’s Second Look in Middlefield, Richards Maple in Chardon, Sharon James Cellars in Newbury, Sirna’s Pizzeria in Auburn, and White House Chocolate in Burton.
New stops on the tour this year are Beth & Dawn’s Garage Sale in Middlefield, Bistro 608 at Grandview, The Nest, Special Hands Shoppe in Middlefield, Sport Rack, Valentine Antiques in Chardon, and West Geauga Plaza-Chesterland Floral. As in the past ten years, the event offers the opportunity to enjoy the day while shopping local and supporting Geauga County’s small businesses.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. The Grand Finale will be held indoors at the Middlefield Market Pavilion on Nauvoo Road at 3:45. Doors will open by 3 p.m. with vendors, entertainment, snacks, and a silent auction, with prize drawings beginning promptly at 4:00 p.m. To be eligible for the prize drawings, participants must turn in a tour map validated with at least ten stamps by 3:45 p.m. Prizes will include baskets and gift certificates from tour stops and area businesses.
To start planning your adventure on May 9, get a list of this year’s participating businesses here or call the Destination Geauga office at (440) 632-1538. You’ll spend a day exploring local treasures, find great deals, and maybe even win a prize!