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Q: Travel tips: From Chicago to Buffalo ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Travel tips: From Chicago to Buffalo
Category: Sports and Recreation
Asked by: alik-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 02 Aug 2003 09:07 PDT
Expires: 01 Sep 2003 09:07 PDT
Question ID: 238167
We shall be driving from Chicago to Buffalo in mid September,2-3 days.
All tips will be appreciated:best scenic route, nice motels,
intersting "off-broadway"
places and cmmunities, craft and antique special shops, flea markets,
nature and view, etc
Subject: Re: Travel tips: From Chicago to Buffalo
Answered By: omnivorous-ga on 06 Aug 2003 11:53 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Alik --

Let’s start with some basic route information, as that may help with
planning the major stops.  Then I’ll cover some sights to see and
hotels will follow along.  To give you some background here: I’m
originally from northern Ohio; went to school in northern Indiana; and
lived in Chicago for two decades, so I know the area well.  Two other
Google Answers researchers who live in the area, Missy-GA and
Luciaphile-GA, were also very helpful in providing information.


Here are some distances:
Chicago-Toledo: 244 miles
Toledo-Cleveland: 119 miles
Cleveland-Buffalo: 191 miles

About half the route is covered by the Indiana and Ohio turnpikes,
which are fast, well-maintained toll roads.  They’re an excellent
option for leaving Chicago and getting you to a first stop.  Once you
arrive around South Bend, U.S. 20 or U.S. 6 (a little further south)
take you through farm country at a more leisurely pace.

From Port Clinton, OH east to Cleveland, OH 2 is a fast freeway, which
eventually connects to I-90 and continues as a freeway through
Pennsylvania.  I-90 continues in New York and to Buffalo as a toll
Indiana has some interesting spots, as you’ll see below, but most of
what you’re traversing is flat farm country – at least until you get
to Lake Erie.

Then the farm country doesn’t go away, but you have Cedar Point just
east of Toledo and the interesting and historically significant Bass
Islands near Sandusky.  The terrain stays flat until the east side of
Cleveland, where it starts getting a little hillier.  Still, staying
along the southern shore of Lake Erie, you’ll find it pretty flat.


South Bend is only about 72 miles into Indiana on the toll road.  It
has Notre Dame and the Golden Dome is visible from the road.  Because
it has this famous football college, it also has:
College Football Hall of Fame

Many of us know that Studebaker produced stylish cars (as well as the
Nash).  But Studebaker's history started with the production of
Conestoga wagons, then continued with the production of autos in South
Bend into the middle of the 20th century:
Studebaker National Museum

South Bend is also easily accessible by train from Chicago, as the
South Shore Line runs into town from Chicago.  As such, it’s an
interesting weekend trip from the Windy City.

Elkhart is just east of South Bend and has a large collection of
Norman Rockwell lithographs, as well as Grandma Moses paintings, at:
Midwest Museum of American Art

Elkhart also has the Ruthmere Mansion, a beaux-arts home that is in
the National Register of Historic Places.  It is open for tour

One of the interesting aspects of the area that you're traveling is
that there are a number of Amish communities across northern Ohio and
northern Indiana, which means that you'll find Amish shops and
antiques in the area.  There are Amish populations continuing as you
head east, including the area around Burton, OH, east of Cleveland. 
But about 110 miles into Indiana, you'll find Middlebury and
Shipshewana.  Middlebury has an excellent Amish restaurant that I've
been to:
Das Dutchman Essenhaus

And Shipshewana has a museum dedicated to the lives Amish and
Mennonite people:
Mennonite Anabaptist Interpretive Center

The Toledo area is a logical place to spend the night, being almost
the halfway point.  Cedar Point is a popular amusement park, with
lodging at the park and nearby.  It’s so popular that you’ll find
hotel advertising links in the area if you do a Google search for the
Cedar Point

For antiquing in Toledo, a fellow researcher recommends Toledo’s
Warehouse District because the architecture is beautiful: 

She also recommends: 
The Toledo Zoo 

The Toledo Museum of Art, particularly if you are fond of Egyptian

COSI - The Center Of Science and Industry 

And lunch at Tony Packo's is "a must":

But you can stay in the general area as far south as Bowling Green,
which is an agricultural and college town, or a little further east in
the Port Clinton and Sandusky area.  Port Clinton is nice because it
has access to the Bass Islands and the Perry’s Monument, a large
lighthouse and memorial that is visible from dozens of miles away
because of it’s 352’ height:

Perry’s Monument

The Bass Islands are known for their fishing, but also for the glacial
moraine that shows the work of the last Ice Age on the Great Lakes

The next lively spot on the trip is Cleveland, which like Chicago is a
city of distinct neighborhoods.  Where Chicago is ringed by Forest
Preserve District parks, in Cleveland the Metropark System has created
what’s referred to locally as the "Emerald Necklace."  The parks have
a number of highlights, from very bike-able roads to local oddities
like Squire’s Castle or the Ohio & Erie Canal or the zoo:
Cleveland Metroparks

Squire’s Castle

Ohio & Erie Canal

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cleveland, unlike Chicago, but more like most Great Lakes industrial
cities, kept its industry along the lakefront and river.  However,
with the decline of steel and metalworking industries, it’s
redeveloped the industrial Flats into a popular entertainment area:

The Avenue at Tower City Center on the Public Square has your usual
collection of shopping but is worth visiting for the Leap Frog
Fountain, special laminar-flow fountains that don’t have a normal pool
like, for example, Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain:

Nearby in downtown are Jacobs Field, home of the Cleveland Indians;
the Great Lakes Science Center; the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; the West
Side Market (great for neighborhood flavor); and a number of other
activities.   An excellent book which I ran across while doing this
research is "City Profiles, USA– A Traveler’s Guide to Major U.S. &
Canadian Cities," published by Omnigraphics, Detroit, MI.  It offers a
quick overview of hotels, sports, restaurants, attractions and
shopping and is probably on the reference shelf of a nearby library:
"City Profiles, USA"

For some offbeat areas, the Coventry area in Cleveland Heights (this
researcher’s home town) is highly recommended.  It’s a suburban
community not far from Case-Western Reserve University and has a
variety of shops and restaurants along Coventry Road.  James Garfield
are both buried nearby in Lakeside Cemetery – and if you find a REALLY
knowledgeable local, they can point out the house in which Ness lived
after leaving Chicago.

Further out on the east side are communities that display the New
England flavor of the Western Reserve, which was once part of the
state of Connecticut.  In particular, Chagrin Falls has distinctive
New England architecture and excellent antique shops.  The drive from
Beachwood to Chagrin Falls is beautiful.  When you top the hill going
into Chagrin Falls (there’s a stop sign just before you do), do it at
about 5 mph – it heightens the drama.
Main Street Chagrin Falls Merchants

Burton, OH, just east of Chagrin Falls is another center of Amish
life.  There are a number of B&Bs and stores here will carry many
local products made from maple syrup:
Century Village Museum & Country Store

We could leave you in Cleveland forever, but have to get you to
Buffalo sometime!

Erie, PA is a little more than 90 miles from Cleveland; Buffalo
another 100 miles.

You’ll see wineries starting around Sandusky and they continue through
Pennsylvania and into western New York:
Mazza Vineyards

Heritage Wine Cellar
12162 E. Main Road
North East, PA

In New York, near Buffalo, East Aurora is an antiquing center and
center of the
Roycroft Movement:
Roycroft Inn

East Aurora, NY

ON the other end of the scale from old, is Fisher-Price, the toy
company that’s headquartered in East Aurora.  The local toy museum
includes a wide range or their products and history:

Once in Buffalo, a fellow researcher reports that the best dining is
in the funky Elmwood strip; also on Hertel Avenue in the city.

I hope that this gives you enough to start with!

Google search strategies:
Activities + "northern Indiana"
Amish + antiques + Ohio (or Indiana)
Cleveland + "The Flats"
Coventry + "Cleveland Heights"

Discovering the Omnigraphics book also gave me a number of references
for helping answer this question.

Bon voyage,


Request for Answer Clarification by alik-ga on 07 Aug 2003 23:35 PDT
Thanks a lot. It seems there is nothing very spectacular scenery-wise.
May be it is better to fly this lap and spend the time around up-state
New-York where we have never been before?

Clarification of Answer by omnivorous-ga on 08 Aug 2003 00:10 PDT
Alik -- 

Even I, a native Buckeye, could not argue with your contention that
it's not a particularly scenic route unless you enjoy farm country. 
Still, the area around Port Clinton and the Bass Islands is pretty
interesting and you'll be traveling while it's still high summertime -
but the crowds are gone.

The answer to your question really lies in what the Chicgo-Buffalo
airfares are -- and what one or two items would make this a very
special trip.

Best regards,

alik-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
a "professional" answer

Subject: Re: Travel tips: From Chicago to Buffalo
From: luciaphile-ga on 06 Aug 2003 13:14 PDT
If you're going to be in the Buffalo area on a weekend, there is a
very good antiques mall/flea market that runs on Sundays. It's out in
Clarence, NY (on Main Street/Route 5).

There are also some very good antique shops in the
Westfield/Chautauqua area (I-90 Westfield exit). Westfield has a
number of shops and in nearby Sherman, NY, there's an excellent place
called Chase's Antiques (only open on Saturdays unless you're a

Have fun on your trip!

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