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I am always looking for new adventures or new places to check out so my calendar for this summer is quickly filling up with some great wine related activities! There are so many great gems around Northeast Ohio that trying to get everything on the schedule for the summer has been challenging. But here are my top 5 places / adventures that I “must do” before Fall arrives.

1) Board the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for one of their Grape Escape excursions. On select Saturday nights the train is loaded with food and wine and sets off for a 2-hour journey through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. While traveling through the park you will have the opportunity to sample 5 wines which are paired with a gourmet hors d’oeuvres. Check out www.cvsr.com for tickets!

2) Enjoy an evening at Merwin’s Wharf in downtown Cleveland. This newer restaurant is owned and run by the Cleveland Metroparks and sits right on the river’s bend of the Cuyahoga River. It’s the perfect spot to watch the barges navigate the river or to see other small ships out sailing. Visit www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Merwins-Wharf/ for their hours.

3) Attend a local wine festival. A few years ago there was only one wine festival in the area to attend – Vintage Ohio. Throughout this summer you can enjoy more than 20 wine festivals! Main Street Kent’s Art and Wine Festival is in June, Mantua’s Art on the Hill & Wine Tasting is in July and Vintage Ohio is in August. For a list of events check out www.localwineevents.com

4) Visit a new winery. The state of Ohio has a list of 18 new wineries that are scheduled to open in the next 4 months. With so many new wineries coming up I may need to take a weekend trip to visit all of them. Keep an eye on www.ohiowines.org for the list of wineries.

5) Participate in a wine themed 5K. The Vino and the Beasts series is coming to Geneva, Ohio this year and looks like it is going to be a great run with a great celebration of wine and food at the finish line. To register visit www.vinoandthebeasts.com.

This summer is going to fly by with so many great events so you better start planning your schedule now!

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.

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Amanda Conkol and her husband Chris are the owners of Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville, Ohio. Amanda’s passion for wine is evident in her weekly column “Notes From The Vineyard”, but that’s not all Amanda is passionate about. She maintains a full schedule raising twin daughters, working a day job consulting as an IT Project Manager and is the Girl Troop Leader for her daughters’ troop. When time allows Amanda loves to travel (especially to Disney World) and go for runs throughout Nelson Township.