5 Things I Love About Cortland, Ohio
Cortland is a little community that sits on the eastern shore of Mosquito Lake. It started out as a small village with a quaint downtown, some churches, a school, a grist mill, and a few small businesses. Cortland began to grow after the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad came to town, and the village was incorporated in 1874. Today, many residents refer to Cortland as “Mayberry,” and if you’re looking for a place that exemplifies the phrase “small-town U.S.A.”, Cortland is it.
Mosquito Creek Lake and State Park
Mosquito Lake offers a little bit for everyone. As a reservoir, it provides drinking water for the City of Warren, but it also serves as an area of entertainment and recreation for visitors. The lake itself is used for fishing, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. The state park offers camping, hunting, disk golf, picnicking, a dog park, and trails for hiking, horses, mountain biking, and snowmobiles. There’s also a great new playground near the beach.
Cortland visitors and residents alike enjoy photographing life on the lake. Bird watchers are drawn to Mosquito, as there is a wide variety of birds in the park. In recent years, the big draw has been the growing bald eagle population. Sunsets from the eastern shore are jaw-dropping, and there is plenty of wildlife around to keep everyone entertained.
Trumbull County is known for its great food. When returning ‘home’ for a visit, many former residents hit up their favorite local restaurants. Cortland has two wonderful Italian restaurants that are part of Trumbull County Tourism’s Italian Food Trail. Brother’s Pizza has several local favorites, but their Italian sub sandwich stands out. Even if you don’t try their Italian, you’ll enjoy their homemade (every day) bread and crust. If you’re looking for a pizza recommendation, my favorite is their white pizza. Unlike most white pizzas that use banana peppers, Brother’s white pizza features a little bite with hot pepper and oil flair.
Speaking of pizza, Vasilio’s Italian Restaurant offers two local favorites: deep dish and “Old World” pizza. In addition, they offer a variety of specialty pizzas, traditional Italian dishes, and even breakfast! If you’re looking for a killer veggie pizza check out Pizza Joe’s and for the best pepperoni roll you’ll want to check out Cocca’s.
If you’d rather skip the pizza and pasta, perhaps you’d like to try some Mexican food at Cortland’s El Torero. They’re known for their great food and fantastic margarita pitchers that can be shared among friends. Top-Notch Diner and Four Star Diner both offer an All-American menu. Locals love these diners for their breakfasts and fish dinners. Finally, if you're looking to blow off some steam and watch the game, Iron House Bar and Grill offers a relaxed atmosphere with wing and drink specials.
Other than bordering Mosquito Lake State Park, Cortland offers several great parks. Eastlake Metro Park is part of The Trumbull County Metroparks system. It’s a 144-acre park that offers hiking, nature observation, sledding, and cross country skiing. Cortland City Parks offer a wide variety of activities. Pearl Park has basketball courts, a splash pad, a playground, and recreational fields. Willow Park offers tennis courts, pickleball, a skate park, a basketball court, walking trails, a playground, and baseball fields.
Cortland residents have a lot of community pride. As I mentioned before, Cortland is known for its “Mayberry” vibe. Residents are friendly and helpful. Neighborhoods are filled with well-maintained homes and nicely manicured yards. Residents are proud of their uniquely Cortland activities and events. Skating at the Cortland Roller Rink, supporting our local school kids in their athletic and academic events, as well as attending great local events like the Cortland Street Fair, Oktoberfest, and local food truck events.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived in Cortland your whole life or recently transplanted from out-of-state. There’s something about our little town that just feels like home. Maybe it’s the small-town feel or community pride. Perhaps it’s the low crime rate, outstanding safety forces, and great schools.
For me, Cortland feels like home because of the people. I love running into life-long friends at the grocery store or meeting someone new on a walk around town. Most people give a friendly wave as they walk or drive by and many say hello in passing.
While Cortland is small, it’s big enough to give you some anonymity, especially if you’re not from here. In most cases, you can choose how well-known you want to be. Those looking to leave their mark most certainly can make a splash here. It’s all up to you, come and see how Cortland feels like ‘home’ to you.