One of Ohio’s most scenic small villages, Peninsula’s population of fewer than 600 residents can swell to several thousand people on any fair-weather day.
Wrapped in the bucolic Boston Township and the lush Cuyahoga Valley National Park, nature lovers are lured from miles around to rent bikes, go skiing, hike trails, ride a train or take a break in the quaint collection of stores and restaurants downtown.
The village and township are midway between Cleveland and Akron, on the Cuyahoga River and straddling state Route 303 in north central Summit County. Border communities are Cuyahoga Falls, Bath Township, Stow, Hudson, Boston Heights, Northfield Center Township, Sagamore Hills Township and Richfield Township.
The area was once a bustling stop on the Ohio & Erie Canal and the Valley Railroad. In the mid-19th century, the township and village were home to mills, stone quarries, boat yards and five hotels.
Today, the village is something of an artists’ colony, with many residents involved in painting, writing, photography, music, instrument-making, dance, drama, jewelry and crafts.
The village and township have more than 20 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. One notable building in the center of Peninsula is Bronson Memorial Church, a Gothic Revival-style building erected in 1835 with the hope of saving the souls of misbehaving canal boatmen.
Boston Township was named for Boston, Massachusetts. Starting in the 1970s, some folks started to spread rumors of hauntings, serial killers and chemical spills that lead to the area being called “Helltown,” though most of the folklore has been proven to be fiction.
Please note: As the area recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are altering their hours of operation. Be aware that the information reported in this list may change.
• Cuyahoga Valley National Park, sandwiched between the urban landscapes of Akron and Cleveland, is one of the most visited parks in the country, luring millions each year to its thick forests, rolling hills, open farmlands and the crooked Cuyahoga River. Picnic at the Virginia Kendall area, hike the popular Ledges trail through striking rock cliffs or start your exploration at the Boston Mill Visitor Center, 6947 Riverview Road, open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.nps.gov/cuva
• The national park’s Conservancy operates three gift shops in the area, all featuring snacks, T-shirts and souvenirs. Trail Mix Peninsula is at 1600 W. Mill St. near the train depot. Boston Store is at 1550 Boston Mills Road. And there is a store tucked into the Boston Mill Visitor Center. The stores are open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (though Boston Store closes in the offseason.)
• The Grand Army of the Republic Hall, located at Riverview Road and Main Street, used to be a service club for Civil War vets. The hall hosts the year-round Voices in the Valley concert series. This summer, because the hall is undergoing some renovation, the music events are being held on the green at the nearby Bronson Memorial Church, although the concerts will be moved into the hall during inclement weather. Advance tickets recommended. Visit www.peninsulahistory.org for the schedule. Next March, the hall will return to its in-person Civil War lecture series. For now, that series is being held online. Visit the website to register.
• Fisher’s Cafe & Pub, 1607 Main St., is a third-generation, family-owned eatery founded in 1958 on the site of a former Model T Ford dealership. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. The restaurant offers all-you-can-eat fish on Friday nights. It’s open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. www.fisherscafe.com
• Winking Lizard, 1615 Main St., opened in 1991 and is part of a homegrown Northeast Ohio chain. The eatery is known for its pub food, wings and Tour of Beers. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. Open daily at 11 a.m., closing at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. www.winkinglizard.com
• The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail comes through here, offering insights of nature and plenty of exercise. Runners, hikers and bikes are welcome. There are three available trailheads: Boston at 1508 Boston Mills Road, Lock 29 at 1648 Mill St., or the Beaver Marsh at 3801 Riverview Road.
• Peninsula Art Academy, 1600 W. Mill St., is a gallery staffed by local artists. In addition to selling their work, many also offer classes from calligraphy to jewelry making. Because it is a cooperative, hours may vary, but currently the store is generally open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Visit peninsulaartacademy.publishpath.com for a schedule of classes.
• River Light Gallery, 1663 Main St., is operated by a group of artists who want to sell their work in a “brick and mortar” storefront. Offerings include jewelry, glass, ceramic, paintings, sculptures and woodwork. The business is staffed by artist volunteers. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
• Century Cycles, 1621 Main St., rents bikes by the hour, including hybrid comfort bikes, electric bikes and even snow bikes. Open noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the rest of the week. Visit centurycycles.com and click on the Peninsula location.
• Pedego Peninsula, at 1593 Main St., is a new shop dealing in Pedego Electric Bikes. The store offers rentals in addition to sales and parts. The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. pedegopeninsula.com
• Deep Lock Quarry is a unique Summit Metroparks property at 5779 Riverview Road. Discarded millstones and 19th century building foundations are scattered along the moderate 1.4-mile trail, which leads through the forest and vistas of the Cuyahoga River to the former quarry site.
• The Crooked Kettle Popcorn Co., 1595 Main St., offers gourmet popcorn from traditional flavors like caramel and cheddar to Buffalo Breath and Siracha. The storefront is open noon to 5 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Follow Crooked Kettle Popcorn on Facebook for updates as well as mobile events: https://www.facebook.com/CrookedKettlePopcorn
• Boston Mills and Brandywine are ski areas owned by Vail Resorts. They also operate the Polar Blast Snow Tubing Park next to Brandywine. They are closed for the season, but bookmark their website at www.bmbw.com and check them out this winter.
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About Peninsula and Boston Township
Founded: Peninsula 1818; Boston Township 1806
Population: Peninsula 554; Boston Township 1,272
School and mascot: Woodridge Local School District, Bulldogs
Website: www.peninsulahistory.org; www.bostontownship.org