Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Tom Walton


Toledo a great cruise stop, but there’s this sinking feeling



The Blade/Lori King
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Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This is your cruise director. Thank you for joining me in the forward lounge for today’s port briefing. I trust you are enjoying your five-day cruise of the Great Lakes aboard the S.S. Blue Horizon.

I’m glad everybody had such a wonderful time ashore yesterday in Buffalo. Today is a sea day, as we sail west across Lake Erie on our way to the city known for so many years as the Glass Capital of the World, Toledo, Ohio.

What a wonderful day and evening we have in store for you tomorrow in Toledo. I hope you stopped by the excursion desk to pick up a shore tour order form. Let me review your many wonderful options as we explore this beautiful city at Lake Erie’s western end.

First, notice at the top of the form a can’t-miss attraction, the Toledo Museum of Art. TMA, as it is known, is truly a world-class institution, home to some of the world’s most precious works of art, including a spectacular glass collection. This is an all-day adventure, so wear comfortable walking shoes. Lunch is provided.

If beautiful music is your preference, you are in luck. The Toledo Symphony Orchestra, one of the finest regional orchestras in the land, will be performing tomorrow evening at the elegant Peristyle at the art museum. We hope you like Beethoven.

If you and the kids love animals, you’ll find some of the most exotic species in the world at the famous Toledo Zoo. The Arctic Encounter and Africa! exhibits, and even a salt-water crocodile are tremendous crowd pleasers.

We also have timed our visit to coincide with a home game of the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field, chosen as the best minor league ballpark in America by Newsweek magazine. Our group will be treated to a buffet at The Roost, and one lucky passenger will be invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Any golfers on board? Toledo is home to many wonderful courses, including the internationally known Inverness Club. Play 18 of the toughest and most beautiful holes of golf you’ll ever see as the guest of a club member.

If public links are more to your liking, you might opt to play at Maumee Bay State Park’s golf course on the shores of Lake Erie, a short drive from where the Blue Horizon will be moored for the day and night.

Toledo is a perfect stop for a Great Lakes cruise because of its rich maritime tradition. American and foreign vessels call at Toledo every shipping season. No doubt you will see some of these ships as we enter Toledo’s harbor.

One tour will take you to International Park on the east bank of the Maumee River, and to Promenade Park on the west bank. The vistas on either side are stunning.

Also on the west bank is the nearly complete National Museum of the Great Lakes, which promises to be spectacular.

Horticulture your thing? Consider our tour of the floral displays at Toledo Botanical Garden and Toledo’s beautiful Metroparks.

Ever wondered how automobiles are built? Join your tour group for a visit to the Toledo Jeep plant. You’ll put on a hard hat and goggles and watch in wonderment as highly skilled workers assemble Jeep Wranglers in a carefully choreographed ballet at this state-of-the-art manufacturing plant.

Eager to sample some shore food? Sign up for our Toledo by Night dinner tour. We offer two options. First, Mancy’s Steak House is a Toledo tradition. Second, try the original Tony Packo’s in East Toledo, a funky hot-dog joint made famous by Toledoan Jamie Farr in the hit TV series M*A*S*H. You might even be asked to sign a bun for the wall.

Passengers who feel especially adventurous can sign up for an all-day visit by motor coach to Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world, in nearby Sandusky.

If shopping is at the top of your list, we’ll be escorting a group to the Libbey Glass outlet just a few blocks south of downtown. Toledo is still a glass center, a place where names such as Libbey-Owens-Ford, Owens-Illinois, and Owens Corning hold revered places in Toledo‘s manufacturing history.

Weather permitting, you can visit the University of Toledo’s Ritter Planetarium and Observatory for a tour and lecture about the night sky. If you’re a gambler, odds are you’ll like Hollywood Casino Toledo. The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system is nationally respected.

Um, hold on a second. Captain’s calling from the bridge.

Oh, no. C’mon, sir. You can’t be serious. Yes, sir. I’ll tell them.

Folks, I don’t know how to break it to you. Toledo has decided it doesn’t want us. Some problem with the port authority. Good grief. Put your money away. We thought it was all arranged.

Let’s see. Can I tell you about Detroit? It’s a much quicker briefing.

Thomas Walton is the retired editor and vice president of The Blade. His column appears every other Monday. His commentary, “Life As We Know It,” can be heard each Monday at 5:44 p.m. on WGTE-FM 91.

Contact him at: twalton@theblade.com

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