By PEGGY COURTNEY
Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau
FREMONT – Drum roll please … and the winner of this year’s Ohio Magazine Best Hometown is … Fremont, Ohio. In June, the City of Fremont, Downtown Fremont Inc. and the Sandusky County Convention and Visitors Bureau were all notified that Fremont was a finalist in Ohio Magazine’s 14th annual “Best Hometown” search and that several staff members from the publication were coming to town to do a site visit. The three organizations came together to plan a day-long itinerary filled with attractions, restaurants, history and some historic homes.
“We had about two weeks to plan and execute an itinerary,” stated Sandusky County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Peggy Courtney. “The first itinerary we came up with would have probably needed a 10-hour day to complete. We had to trim it down to a manageable size which was difficult because of all of the amazing things Fremont has to offer.”
The group rented a limo bus for the day while local historian Tom Hoffert narrated the tour. Stops included the site of the Battle of Fort Stephenson at Birchard Public Library, the Historic Sandusky County Jail and Dungeon, the Fremont Reservoir where Kayakingohio.com had kayakers on the water, the observation deck at the old Ballville dam, the Tackle Box II, Peninsular Farms where the first white settlers to Ohio lived, Kohler’s 818 Club, The Garrison, Elroy’s and Scarpetta’s restaurants, Coco Beans Candy and Cupcakes, Thingamajigs, Pottery Perfection and the Hayes Presidential Library and Museums. The afternoon concluded with visits to the homes of Michael Free (owner of the Dillon House, one of Fremont’s finest Victorian-era homes) and the home of Greg and Mary Kuns who have developed the Historic Birchard District.
To determine the honorees, Ohio Magazine solicited nominations and conducted site visits across the state. The editors evaluated the nominees in six different categories – Community Spirit, Education, Entertainment, Health and Safety, Business Environment and Culture and Heritage. The magazine awards five cities in Ohio with the Best Hometown distinction annually. Other winners include Gallipolis, Hamilton, Hartville and Newark.
Some of the unique things that Fremont and Sandusky County have to offer locals and visitors alike besides those mentioned above is a newly formed Historic Barn Mural Trail Driving Tour brought to you by the Sandusky County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Barn Artist Scott Hagan, eagle cruises on the Sandusky River where guests have seen over 60 eagles on a single excursion, Ohio’s largest railroad museum at Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, the 9/11 – Public Safety Service Memorial in Gibsonburg and some of the best walleye and white bass fishing in the state.
To plan a visit of Fremont and Sandusky County, visit sanduskycounty.org or call the Visitor Bureau at 419-332-4470 for the 2019 Sandusky County Visitor Guide.