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Ashtabula Ohio

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Ashtabula Harbor

Ashtabula Harbor District

(Courtesy of Discover Ohio)
Ashtabula Ohio lighthouse

Ashtabula Lighthouse

(courtesy of ODNR)
Ashtabula Harbor

Ashtabula Harbor

(© 2008 S. Mitchell)

Ashtabula, located along Lake Erie in the extreme northeast corner of the state, is a struggling working class city. Once filled with bustling factories and an active Great Lakes port, the city has languished as American manufacturing jobs headed overseas. Still, there are interesting aspects of the city, like its Western Reserve and Underground Railroad history, its charming harbor district, and its diverse array of tasty restaurants.

History:

Ashtabula, like most of northeastern Ohio was originally part of the Connecticut Western Reserve and many architectural examples of this era still exist. The town, founded in 1803, was also active in the Underground Railroad and helped hundreds of southern slaves escape across Lake Erie to Canada. The late 19th century brought an influx of Finnish and Italian immigrants to work on the ore freighters and at the docks. Ashtabula still retains many Italian and Finnish influences.

Demographics:

According to the 2000 census, Ashtabula has 19,124 residents, 84.69% of whom are white and 9.79% African-American. In addition, 41.9% of Ashtabula residents are married. The median age is 35 and the median household income is $27,354.

Restaurants in Ashtabula:

Ashtabula has a surprisingly diverse collection of restaurants for a town its size. Among the best at Hil-Mak's Seafood Restaurant (near the Harbor), Los Compadres Mexican Restaurant, Lakeway restaurant for home-cooked favorites, Alessandro's Italian Restaurant (on Lake Avenue), and Guyreino's Italian Deli.

Education:

Ashtabula students attend Ashtabula Area City Schools, which has one high school, two middle schools, four elementary schools, and a pre-school. In addition, there are several parochial schools, including Sts. John and Paul Catholic School. Ashtabula is also home to the Ashtabula campus of Kent State University.

Ashtabula Ohio Festivals:

Ashtabula is home to the Beach Glass Festival, held each June in the Harbor district, and the Wine and Walleye Festival, held there each August. In addition, the area is home to several stops on the covered bridge tour route during the September Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival.

Shopping:

Shopping in Ashtabula ranges from the predictable (but useful) Ashtabula Mall to the eclectic collection of art galleries and shops that line Bridge Street in the city's Harbor neighborhood. Among these are Defina's, Carlisle's, Beach Glass Jewelry Studio, Sandpiper Gallery, and The Silver Branch.

Attractions:

In addition to shopping on Bridge Street, Ashtabula offers a number of attractions. Among them are Hubbard House, once a stop on the Underground Railroad; the Maritime Museum, a wealth of exhibits about NE Ohio's seafaring past; and several of the county's covered bridges, including the longest such bridge in the United States.

Famous Residents:

Noted Ashtabula residents, past and present, include 19th century senators Benjamin Wade and Joshua Reed Giddings; Pulitizer-Prize-winning journalist, Connie Schultz; actress Danielle Nicholet; football coach, Urban Meyer; and watercolor artist Charles Burchfield.

Hotels near Ashtabula Ohio:

Hotels in and around Ashtabula include the Sleep Inn (check rates), Hampton Inn (check rates), and Holiday Inn Express (check rates), all located at Route 45 and I-90. The area also boasts a number of bed and breakfast inns, including the Michael Cahill Bed and Breakfast (check rates) in the Ashtabula Harbor neighborhood and the Gilded Swan, near downtown Ashtabula (check rates).

(updated 10-30-12)

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