Finney: Doing better in ToledoWritten by Jordan Finney | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Imagine feeling bewildered by the phrase “Mud Hens,” suspecting that Cedar Point must be a popular nearby forest and asking someone to please spell “Tony Packo’s.” I spent my first couple of weeks in Toledo feeling just that way: an outsider yanked from my north Idaho roots and dropped in the heart of the Glass City. And I wasn’t confident that I would do well here.
Toledo perplexes newcomers. Its cultural pulse thrives off contrasts: ancient buildings and grandiose construction endeavors, a vibrant arts scene and an underdeveloped downtown. Its natives embark on a consistent Toledo-shaming campaign, insisting that the city is simply boring, yet share an “I’d never permanently leave the Lake Erie region” attitude.
Let me humbly suggest that there’s a reason so many of you eventually come back to Toledo, if you ever leave at all. The opportunity to compile this year’s “101 ways to spend 101 days in Northwest Ohio” special issue made it evident to me that the Lake Erie region has a whole lot more to offer than many of its own residents realize.
As a disclaimer, this list does not attempt to provide an exhaustive account of every activity in the region, or even most activities. It could easily be doubled or tripled, and serious points of interest would still be omitted. For a sample of the region’s bustle, just look at July. In addition to all of its ongoing activities, some upcoming events include several live music concerts, an African-American festival, the Glass City Rollers’ first away bout and the Toast of Ohio Wine Festival at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky.
I chose this particular 101 with the intention of accurately capturing a snapshot of local life. The list does attempt to give voice to a diverse litany of interests so that thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike will discover some new prospect worth trying. It has no particular order or ranking system and groups each of the 101 ways in a category for ease of reading.
Before you naysay it, read it. I am amazed at the flurry of fun going on around us: networking events like Instameet and EPIC Toledo Lunch n Leads, drive-in movies, frequent festivals and fairs, a whole host of historical sites and physical fitness studios … at least 101 ways to make you wish you were here.
Speaking of fun, I recently enjoyed meeting Toledoan Jenn Wenzke (her So Now luncheons are featured as No. 71 on the “101 ways” list). She’s a dynamic force with an optimistic outlook on life despite having been diagnosed with a disease that often kills its victims in less than five years. When I wrote her story for this week’s issue, and thought about it more deeply during the entire “101 ways” compilation process, I felt truly inspired by the way she looks at every idea as a new possibility, an opportunity to become a well-rounded human being.
We could all benefit from approaching life that way. Adopt a possibility-oriented perspective when we meet new people and square new ideas with our own principles and preferences. At worst, life would be more interesting and the daily grind more magical. At best, our entire lives would be saturated with curiosity, adventure, knowledge and happiness. Either way, we’d be doing better.
For what it is
During my first week of work for Toledo Free Press, I noticed a sign in the office that read “You will do better in Toledo.” I took it for granted, maybe even thought it seemed silly or trite. However, somewhere between living here, talking to Wenzke and finishing the final list, I have grown to love Toledo for what it is.
One of those signs is now displayed in my home. It serves as a visible reminder of the possibility-oriented perspective that Wenzke embodies, Toledo needs and I try to emulate when I read through “101 ways.” I hope you try it, too.
Toledo Free Press Staff Writer and Hillsdale College student Jordan Finney is project editor for “101 ways to spend 101 days in Northwest Ohio.” Email her at email@example.com.
What’s missing from “101 ways to spend 101 days in Northwest Ohio”? What should be included next year? Post your suggestions on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/toledofreepress) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: African American Festival, Cedar Point, drive-in movies, EPIC Toledo Lunch n Leads, Festivals, Instameet, Jenn Wenzke, Lake Erie, Merry-Go-Round Museum, Mud Hens, Sandusky, the Glass City Rollers, Toast of Ohio Wine Festival, Tony Packo's