Meditation and Mother Nature in NEO

Some of Northeast Ohio’s best-known spots are teeming with life: stadiums, arenas, beaches, college campuses, and more – for good reasons! Even still, there are moments when I like to get away from it all and meditate, read, or just enjoy some quiet time.

Thankfully, NEO is chock-full of places to fall in love with mother nature, get some R&R, or just center yourself. Whether you like to hike or want to lay out a cushion and focus on your breathing, NEO has a place for you.

Here are my top five places in NEO to read, meditate, or simply close my eyes:


Cascade Valley Metro Park

Cascade Valley Metro Park is a sprawling green space that residents of Summit County are so lucky to live near. Full of trails and boasting a breathtaking overlook, my favorite spot in the park is understated: the Signal Tree, which is steeped in legend. I recommend simply sitting on a bench under the tree for a quiet meditation. Close your eyes for a while and open them again – you’ll realize just how big the tree really is. See how it dwarfs the benches and fence underneath?


Oak Hill Trailhead

A true hidden gem in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this trail doesn’t seem to attract the foot traffic of other paths. Nothing but nature will disturb your eardrums because this area enjoys a complete lack of noise from nearby highways or busy streets. Halfway through the short Oak Hill trail, you’ll come across a pond with a surface still as glass. In late summer, it’s surrounded by a green forest and lush grass alongside the water. For anyone who longs for stillness, you’ll find it here.


Edgewater Park

I live near Edgewater Park in Cleveland, and my two favorite times to visit the beach are at sunrise and sunset in the summer. In the morning, it’s not uncommon to have the beach nearly to yourself. With a light breeze in my face and my feet buried in the sand, the surf can be calming like white noise. Those moments are the reason why I keep a beach towel in the trunk of my car.


Rockefeller Greenhouse

Winter is one of NEO’s most glorious seasons with gifts galore and sparkling lights, but sometimes the cold and gray leaves me aching for some greenery. Thank goodness for Rockefeller Greenhouse! Nestled above Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens, it’s a lush space kept warm even in the cold months. Imagine having your coat turned up against cold February weather only to shed it in the warmth of a tropical greenhouse. The banana tree is my favorite to photograph for Instagram, but a walk through here is the definition of soothing.


Black River Reservation

When it comes to fall color, you can close your eyes and point to any spot on a map of NEO – you’ll find beauty! One of my particular favorites is the Black River Reservation in Lorain County. The day when I visited, golden light filtered through the falling leaves and the spray of a gorgeous waterfall – magical! A great park for a walk on any sunny Saturday afternoon.

No matter the season in NEO, I can always find a way to reconnect and center in nature. People here cherish their natural spaces, and that’s just another reason why I love living in The Plus!

What favorite spots of yours would you add to this list?



Ryan Collins
Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins is a writer and traveler. Currently based in Lakewood, he has lived all across Northeast Ohio. A Kent State University alum, today, Ryan works in admission at Baldwin Wallace University. His work has been published by Cleveland Plus, Belt Magazine and in conjunction with Destination Cleveland. Learn more at