One of the best Grand Rapids tours is a self-guided tour of the town of Grand Rapids and surrounding area. This town is set on the southern bank of the Maumee River. Many of the buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Front Street
17460 Sycamore Rd.
Grand Rapids, OH 43522
Front Street is located in the heart of Grand Rapids, not far from your Grand Rapid's Bed and Breakfast, and runs parallel to the river. It is a major attraction that must not be missed on your Grand Rapids tour. As you approach Front Street, you will see the Dominick Labino Historic Marker which is a tribute to the glass artist who also became an inventor of pure silica fiber, used on the Space Shuttle. Across the street is a small bungalow known as the English Gardens, which is open for tours. The Isaac Ludwig Mill is one of the first buildings you see as you turn onto Front Street. Although this is a working grain and saw mill, it has been restored and turned into a museum. This mill is an educational trip into the history of Grand Rapids. Keep walking and you will see the old railroad bridge built in 1920. Across the Bridge is Howard Cemetery, an historic cemetery from the 1800s.
Back on Front Street, you will see the log cabin, which is the official welcome site for visitors. You can pick up brochures, learn more about the history of the town, and tour the grounds. From the grounds, there is a scenic view of the Maumee River, with the dam in the distance. You can't miss the beautiful Bluebell Park on the right. This is a peaceful place for relaxing or taking pictures. As you continue your walk, you will see Mill House, a historic steam mill built around 1900. You will then find yourself walking through the downtown shopping district. There are two more parks to see, the Lincoln Street Park and the City Park. Across from the City Park is Town Hall, another historic building. The Front Street walk ends with the Huffman Ice House.
Southwest Corner: Mary Jane Thurston State Park
1466 State Rte. 65
McClure, OH 43534
Continue your Grand Rapids Tour in the Southwest corner of the town. You will see the Mary Jane Thurston State Park which is a beautiful place to spend the day. You could use one of the boat launches and spend the day on the river fishing and relaxing. You could have a picnic at one of the park shelters, and even go sledding in the winter. Continue West toward Lally's Marine, which is a full service marina. They will help you launch your boat and sell you just about any item you could need while on the river. This is a great way to spend the day before heading back to your Grand Rapid's Inn.
Second and Third Streets go right through the middle of town. As you stroll down these streets, you will see historic mansions such as the Kerr mansion, which is a Queen Anne brick home build in the 1880s. This home has many chimneys protruding from the roof and is a site to see. The house has a beautiful view of the river and Maumee Valley. It has been restored and is now a center of activities including a spa with daily exercises and nightly entertainment. There are many historic homes along this walk as well as shops and restaurants scattered through the middle of town.