7 Things to Love About Kent
Midwest is best, and Kent is even better.
By Grace Leuenberger | Project Manager + Designer
“You’re moving where?”
Around this time last year, I sat several of my friends down to let them know I had taken a job with a design studio in Kent, Ohio and would be moving in a few months. The looks on their faces were similar to that of when you get a bad haircut and show up to first period at school the next day and must confront your friends with your new ‘do. As confusion and a touch of horror flashed across my friends’ faces, I assured them that, “I’m excited!” when internally I too wondered if moving away from Nashville to a town in Ohio (not exactly the flashiest state to move to) I’d spent only three hours in was actually a good choice.
A few months later on a warm May morning, I drove to Kent in my parents’ minivan to move into my apartment and begin Day 1 at as a Kentite. As my days in Kent have gone from 1 to 280, this town has become home. The beauty of Kent and the friendliness of its people have won me over, and because of the photos I post Instagram (see some below!), have won over my skeptical friends who wondered why I was moving here, too!
If you’ve never been to Kent and are anywhere nearby, come on over. We’ve even got a city guide of spots to visit in Kent, or you’ve got eight city guides named Nate, Alex, Katey, Ryan, Bethany, Gabe, Grace, and Cait waiting to show you around our town. In the meantime, here’s a list of seven things I (Grace) love the most about living in Kent — where Each + Every and I call home!
1. Haymaker Farmers’ Market
Every Saturday morning in the spring, summer, and fall, the sound of a live bluegrass band mixing with the conversation of customers and vendors grows louder and louder as I walk a couple blocks towards Kent’s Haymaker Farmers’ Market. Dozens of tables and tents are piled high with locally grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers as well as preserves, syrup and honey, home and craft goods, meat and dairy products, and a variety of other items. Adults carry baskets and push strollers, kids hold popsicles and their dog’s leash, and I hold a shopping list I almost never abide by. It’s fun, the selection is diverse (and delicious), and the vendors have begun to feel like friends.
2. Bike Path
Running right through Kent is the Portage Hike and Bike trail, a network of paved paths that serve as a key east-west link between the major trail systems in Northeast Ohio. The trail is green and lush in the summer, colorful and crunchy in the fall, and, well…quite snowy in the winter (this is Northeast Ohio, after all!) Having grown up in an area without access to paved paths for hiking or biking has made me really appreciate this trail. If you’re passing through Kent on the trail, be sure to stop at Franklin Mills Riveredge Park and enjoy a scenic view of Kent and the Cuyahoga river!
3. Coffee shops
Having lived in both Pittsburgh and Nashville, I can say with confidence that I’ve found my favorite cups of coffee right here in Kent! Right on North Water Street where our studio is located are two great little shops — Scribbles and Bent Tree — which boast warm and welcoming environments to sit and sip. Now all we need is a local donut shop to set up a bakery on our street and we’ll be all set for even better mornings!
Did I know that Ohio had a National Park before I moved to Ohio? I regret to admit that I did not! Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of America’s newest National Parks (designated as such in 2000) and contains over 100 waterfalls in addition to many miles of scenic trails and towpaths. Ledges is a popular trail, and for good reason — it’s pretty darn cool looking! I took a snowy hike right before the holidays on the Tree Farm Trail which runs adjacent to a working Christmas tree farm. I felt like the star of a Hallmark Channel movie during the hike and hope to make a return visit very soon!
5. Festivals and street events
Shortly after moving to Kent, I learned that this town loves its festivals! Whether it’s a winter chocolate walk, Heritage Fest, Art in the Park, Wizardly World of Kent, Kent Dog Days of Summer, Oktoberfest, or a variety of music-related events, there always seems to be something celebratory happening in Kent. Each + Every even got in on the festival fun by helping host Kent Better Block, a one-day event that celebrated the history of North Water Street and highlighted what potential our neighborhood holds.
6. Big Trash Pickup Day
This is an odd thing to list as one of my favorite things about Kent, but it truly is! Each spring, the City of Kent has a weeklong “big trash” pickup program that allows residents to put large pieces of furniture or other irregular items out for collection. I found several pieces of antique wood furniture that residents no longer wanted and ended up being able to refinish them alongside my mom, who taught me the art of reclaiming and restoring furniture. I can’t wait to find new treasures during this spring’s pickup week!
7. Kent’s Character
Settled in 1805, Kent is town full of rich history and beautiful, historical homes. Kent’s nickname is “Tree City,” and a quick walk around town will take you through neighborhoods lined with charming bungalows, elegant Victorians, and colorful Craftsman-style homes on tree-lined streets. Kent’s neighborhoods are unique, quirky, and welcoming — just like its people! Adding to its character is the town’s presence of black squirrels which were introduced to the town in the sixties by Kent State University’s head groundskeeper at the time.
My one year anniversary of deciding to move to Kent is right around the corner, and that something I’m happy to celebrate. I can’t wait for the days that lie ahead here in Kent to continue to enjoy all the wonderful things and people that are here, too.