I recently saw a Facebook post from the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce linking to a Time.com story about how Wooster is a top place to live in Ohio. I saw the post, smiled and moved on, not bothering to click on the link. My reluctance to read the “story” was not because I didn’t want read about the city receiving yet another accolade, far from it. I didn’t want to spend much time with it because it wasn’t news. In other words, tell me something I don’t already know.
If you want to read the story, which was actually a paragraph, you can click here and scroll down. It is about top places to live in each state. Here is the paragraph about Wooster:
Perched between the bigger Ohio cities of Cleveland and Columbus, Wooster has become a vibrant “micro-city” in its own right, with a thriving culture and diverse economic opportunities. One key draw is Wooster’s academic activity. In addition to the College of Wooster, the town is home to two subsidiaries of Ohio State University: the Agricultural Technical Institute and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Wooster also has a strong job market—unemployment is low, and the average commute is a zippy 16 minutes—as well as a historic downtown with a host of shops and restaurants.
I first visited Wooster after meeting the former Wendi Breese, the founder of this blog and my wonderful wife since March 4, 1995. Wendi grew up in the quaint little village of Lodi, and when we would come up to visit, we often found ourselves traveling to Wooster. One of the restaurants we loved to frequent was When in Rome (you can read a related story here). Funny enough, we always hit the north end of town when coming to Wooster. Back in the early 1990s, I had no clue about the downtown area. I thought the north end was Wooster.
Fast-forward to the early 2000s. Wendi’s dad had become sick and had to quit driving a truck. She desperately wanted to be closer to the family. We were living about 3 hours away in Hillsboro, Ohio. I was an assistant editor for the Record Herald in nearby Washington Court House. I decided to call The Daily Record to see if there were any openings. Having worked at The News-Journal in Daytona Beach, Fla., I knew the only ones around at night were those working in the Sports department. I called the department and then-Sports editor Aaron Dorksen answered. We spoke briefly; he said he would put in a good word with the managing editor; and then we waited.
I don’t remember what happened next, but ultimately Jeanine Kendle (who was city editor at the time) and managing editor Lance White hired me. Wendi and I moved to the area in July 2003, and we have loved being here. Having grown up in and lived in larger cities (grew up outside Boston in Revere, Mass., lived in Little Rock, Ark., Jacksonville,Fla., Columbia, S.C., Daytona Beach, Fla., and Cincinnati), I loved what Wooster had to offer. It had just about everything you needed, and what it didn’t have you could get through a 45-minute ride to Akron or Cleveland.
Wendi and I have come to meet a lot of great people during our time here. The downtown area has continued to grow and thrive. It is truly a destination place. Wooster and Wayne County have a lot to offer. So, it was good to see outsiders validate what we know to be true. To show you how special this place we now call home is, I want to share below some of our favorite blog posts from Wendi’s Weekend Trips & Whatnot.
- Josh Krajcik was the first post to appear in Wendi’s blog with the Wooster tag. She reminisced about seeing one of his concerts during her birthday week. Check it out here.
- There’s a lot of fun things to do in Wooster, like participating in the Heart and Sole 5K, which you can read about here.
- The Wooster Arts Jazz Fest attracts a large crowd downtown every year (see here).
- Christmastime is special in Wooster. We had a chance to see the Kobilarcsik display before the family stopped doing it after decades, and we have enjoyed Window Wonderland downtown; it’s when Santa Claus comes to town. Wendi thinks Window Wonderland will become a tradition.
- The food scene is Wooster is awesome. The chefs at Certified Angus Beef are doing some incredible things (check out this event from a few years ago here); there is a lot happening downtown (read here); there are great places to eat like Rox Gastropub, C.W. Burgerstein’s (you have to get the wings!) and Gouda Bar & Grill. City Square Steakhouse is great, but we have never written about it. We need to remedy that soon.
- Wooster also has those down-home restaurants, the ones you would see on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, like The Parlor and The Hard Hat.
- There’s just so much to see and to do in Wooster, like take in a show at the Ohio Light Opera, visit one of the city’s many parks, grab some popcorn at Holcomb’s, stay at the St. Paul Hotel, or walk through Secrest Arboretum on the Wooster campus of the Ohio State University.
- We have written about so much more going on in Wooster. Feel free to scroll through the 16 pages of blog posts under the Wooster tag.
As you can see, it is nothing new that Wooster is a great place to live, work and play. It has twice been named a top hometown by Ohio magazine. And I, of course, agree.