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Uniquely Ohio

At these memorable Ohio shops, your group can DIY their own souvenirs.


Penn and Beech Candle Co.


Although lighting a candle may be a calming and soothing experience, making your own candle is a process often filled with laughter, light and fun. At least that’s the case at Penn and Beech Candle Co., Grandview Height’s own boutique candle and fragrance bar on Grandview Avenue. Guests are presented with a variety of vessels and a menu of more than 120 fragrances that they can narrow down — with the help of a scent specialist — and select from to compose their own scent before blending and pouring their custom candles. Visitors can choose a mixture of scents like “old books,” “burnt sugar” and “eucalyptus” or select one of the company’s recommended blends. The candles take roughly two hours to cool after being poured, which provides just enough time to walk next door to catch a bite to eat or a movie at the Grandview Theater and Drafthouse.

Great Lakes Popcorn

Port Clinton

There’s no need to branch out from classic buttered flavor, but with the more than 30 flavors at Great Lakes Popcorn, it’s a shame not to try something new. Visitors select from popular flavors like nutty vanilla butternut, peach, and bacon and cheese, or go discover a flavor like creamy dill, island mix or even Wild Walleye to sample its signature blend of Cajun spices. Great Lakes Popcorn has been popping fresh flavors since 2000 and continues to treat visitors with creative flavors and friendly customer service. Visitors are welcomed by the scent of warm frosted almonds and can watch the popcorn being made behind the counter before sampling a few options. Groups can create their own custom souvenirs by picking from the menu of flavors to create mixes like Root Beer Float, which is root beer popcorn and vanilla butternut popcorn, or Apple Pie, which is green apple popcorn with cinnamon popcorn.

Boardroom 46 


A veteran-owned business, Boardroom 46 adds a twist of color and creativity to “boardroom” workshops, which are actually held within the halls of a historic hotel ballroom. It’s among a crew of crafters that guests learn how to create a custom wood sign by using stencils, brushes and a bit of creativity. Boardroom 46 is a DIY paradise, where small groups can book instructor-led themed workshops or drop in and paint on Fridays and Saturdays; they can select from more than 50 designs. For a more intimate experience, private parties, where groups can sip and paint in an interactive and fun environment, are also an option. Tall porch signs are a favorite for Boardroom 46 regulars, but their on-site lasers give guests the option to create custom cutting boards, insulated tumblers or even ornaments for heirloom-worthy souvenirs or personalized gifts.

Hot Pots Pottery


Just 20 minutes from Canton near the Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Alliance, Hot Pots Pottery offers inspiration and space to create for up to 50 people at a time. Groups can book private sessions with any of the resident artists or reserve spaces for 10 or more people in any of the regular do-it-yourself classes to join in on the interactive group lessons. Participants can try candlemaking, piece together intricate mosaics, learn to cut wood decor with a 3D laser or paint pottery for a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Reservations are recommended for larger groups, and guests are encouraged to bring something to eat or drink — the studio is right next to Grinders Above and Beyond restaurant, which offers dine-in or take-out options — while they create their masterpieces.

Mission Oaks Garden


Walking the more than seven acres of manicured grounds at the Mission Oaks Garden is a memorable experience any day of the year, whether it’s a stroll through Conifer Grove or an exploration of the handmade hamlets of the Fairy Garden. Visitors are welcomed in from dusk to dawn every day throughout the year to bask in the beauty of the garden’s rare and unusual plants alongside stunning azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and more. Group tours of the garden are available upon request, but groups looking to roll up their sleeves and dig into a memorable experience are invited to take part in plant-themed workshops at the garden. Whether learning to make a personal fairy garden — complete with container, plants and fairies — or following a guided instruction on crafting an individualized holiday wreath, groups walk home with a one-of-a-kind keepsake to remember their time in this special place.