Ohio is beautiful. Yet it’s somehow easily overlooked.
Ask a random sampling of people to rank the states of the United States of America, from “most beautiful” to “least beautiful,” and I’d guess public opinion would relegate Ohio to the bottom third. Maybe even the bottom ten percent. Ohio doesn’t get many international tourists coming through, unless they’re on their way from New York to Chicago.
That being said, I’ve traveled through nineteen different states in the last few months. Many of these states are likely to land in the top third (or top ten percent) of public opinion. Still, I think there’s a legitimate argument to be made for Ohio hanging right in there with the best of them.
I was awed by the grandeur of Arizona’s Grand Canyon. But the view from the top of Ohio’s Lake Erie Bluffs is also fantastic in its own way. The lush, green, forest pushes right up to the edge of the sandy beach. The water seems as stretch as far and wide as any sea or ocean, but the waters were remarkably calm when I visited earlier this week.
The mountains of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico were truly breathtaking. And it’s true that Ohio has nothing even remotely similar, in the way of snow-capped mountains, or elk, or marmots, or big horn sheep. But who’s to say that an apple orchard buzzing with honey bees is any less wondrous, when you really stop to admire it? Both the Rocky Mountains and the orchards of Ohio are beautiful, in their own ways.
I often gush about my love for the Great Plains of South Dakota because I love their vastness and their emptiness. But there are places along the Buckeye Trail, right here in Ohio, where I can also find deep, soul-filling solitude along crooked rivers and in quiet caves.
Ohio is so green and verdant and busy and wild that it sets itself apart in its own way. It’s a beautiful place, and I’m glad to live here.
I know that there won’t be many people who read this post — and even among those who do read it, I don’t expect many attitudes to shift. But that’s fine. Just gives me more space for my own wanderings…