Every year I visit the great state of Ohio, also known as The Buckeye State. My mission is typically to enjoy a full day of football fandom with my dad by starting off with some tailgating, tasty fare and craft beverages (or hot cocoa with a splash of excitement) and then heading up to ‘the Shoe’ @TheOhioStateUniversity for a seriously riveting game.

This year, we explored much more of Ohio than we normally do, given my Grandfather made it on the trip. He, like his sister and brother-in-law, is an OSU alumni and member of “@TBDBITL” (meaning, The Best Damn Band In The Land.) He grew up in the small town of Genoa, currently home to just over 2,000 people.

Downtown Genoa, Ohio

Genoa, Ohio

Making the journey was the obvious choice – but not before grabbing a bite. On the way, we stopped at the infamous Toledo based Hungarian eatery you might know as @TonyPacko’s where we got our fill of original hot dogs, their famous hot pickles and strudel (ahem… more than a bite).

Toledo’s Glass City Skyway | Toledo, Ohio

The feast was absolutely delectable and as you might imagine – filling. The hot dog was juicy and covered with incredible chili and a large helping of cheese – which I’m never opposed to. Those largely sliced hot pickles were an unexpected, yet pleasant surprise with some welcomed heat and a touch of sweetness. Not that it’s needed, but the hot dogs do come with a side, and I decided to try out the German potatoes. I don’t regret it. They’re a bit on the sweet side for me, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Let’s not forget about the strudel… Perfectly flakey and soft with amazing cherry filling. To be honest, this disappeared from my plate in record time. Pshhhhh… I don’t miss a beat.

Tony Packo's in Toledo, Ohio

Tony Packo’s Cusinine | Tony Packo’s in Toledo, Ohio

Interestingly enough, the walls are adorned with framed hot dog buns signed by famous celebs, actors, politicians, you name it. There’s a gift shop that sells those famous pickles and some other clutch gifts your friends would love. Everyone who works here is super friendly – all smiles and a welcoming convo right when you walk in. It’s almost like your neighborhood family-friendly sports bar with unique (AND delicious) non-bar food.

Inside Tony Packo's

Inside Tony Packo’s

Once we rolled ourselves back into the car, we were back on our journey to Genoa. After 4 hours of captivating stories to pass by the time spent on the road, we arrived in the charming town making our first stop at the family buckeye tree. After all, Ohio is known as The Buckeye State. What would be a better first stop?

Buckeyes from The Buckeye State

Buckeyes from the Family Tree

Among some of the stops were The Quarry, a beautiful place surrounded by buckeye trees where families and children could spend their time in the summer swimming without a care in the world. We also stopped at the historic Genoa Town Hall which can be found on Main Street in downtown Genoa.

The Quarry

The Quarry | Genoa, Ohio


Genoa Town Hall

Genoa Town Hall | Genoa, Ohio


Historic Genoa Town Hall

Historic Genoa Town Hall | Genoa, Ohio

Once we said our goodbyes to this quaint, cute little town, we decided to call it a day and headed back to Columbus in preparation for the big game. A day tailgating is a day well spent – and Ohio fans sure know how to tailgate. We’re talking generators powering up big screens & satellites for pre-game news (I’m pretty sure I saw an 8×6 foot screen & projector accompanied by standing speakers for surround sound), giant tents filled with people waiting for their freshly grilled burgers and hot dogs and ongoing games of cornhole and flip cup.

Ohio State Fans | The Buckeye State

Ohio State Fans | The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Ohio State games are always captivating. The camaraderie of the fans, bonding over the emotion of each play and the skill, integrity and passion of the players is what I admire the most. That’s what The Buckeye State is all about.

Game Day | The Buckeye State

Game Day

And just when you think it can’t get any better, TBDBITL comes to play for you in the stands. I can almost guarantee you the tunes coming out of those instruments won’t just be a generic game day melody, oh no… They’ll bust out songs from Journey and 90’s rock bands. What’s more, their halftime show is the best you’ll ever see – period. Not only is there the flawless Ohio script to kick off the game, but the thoughtfully curated theme and formations for their halftime show is what makes them TBDBITL. What other band in the country can flawlessly play Thriller and can not only form into the shape of the late, great Michael Jackson, but also make him moonwalk? Bar none.

TBDBITL making a cameo in the stands | The Buckeye State

TBDBITL making a cameo in the stands

Plan your trip to The Buckeye State in October to experience perfect football weather and an extra special treat from mother nature – the incredibly beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves. If you have time, check out the trail at Olentangy River for the most beautiful walk or bike ride in all of Columbus. Be on the look out for part 2 of this blog when I travel through Northern Ohio – it’s for nature lovers!

Tell us what your favorite place to travel is in the comments! If we go, we’ll give you a shout out! Like what you see? Follow @PlaneAmbition on instagramtwitterfacebook and pinterest for more!

Want to read more? Check out my most recent waterfall jaunt.