DescriptionMoses Cleaveland's 1796 discovery of a harbor in northeast Ohio on Lake Erie led to the settlement of Ashtabula, a major coal and iron port. In addition to its role as a manufacturing center, the city also is a waterfront resort and home to a 1,500-student regional campus of Kent State University.
Walnut Beach , on Lake Erie at Walnut Boulevard and Lake Avenue, is a municipal park with a white sand beach, tennis courts, a playground and picnic facilities; food is available. Lake Shore Park, northeast of Walnut Beach on SR 531, has a boat ramp, picnic area, playground and concessions. The parks close at dusk.
Nearby countryside offers opportunities for scenic drives visiting the county's covered bridges. In late August 2008 a dedication ceremony took place for the county's 17th bridge, which, at 613 feet, makes it the nation's longest covered bridge. The structure—Smolen-Gulf Bridge, Ashtabula County Highway 25—spans the Ashtabula River and was named for former Ashtabula County engineer and longtime covered bridge advocate John Smolen.
The 43-mile Western Reserve Greenway trail begins in Ashtabula and heads south to Warren. The trail offers opportunities for biking, hiking and horseback riding.
Self-guiding toursBrochures outlining Ashtabula County's scenic charms—five self-guiding driving tours featuring Western Reserve architecture, 18 covered bridges, more than 60 quilt barns and nearly two dozen wineries—are available from the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau in Austinburg. Quilt barns display colorful quilt patterns on barn exteriors for passersby to enjoy; they celebrate the area’s quilting and rural heritage.
ShoppingHistoric Ashtabula Harbor District , 5 miles north of I-90 on SR 11, then 1 mile west on SR 531, features specialty shops.