You have to explain that Ohio isn’t West Virginia.

Come every election season, Ohio gets thrown up as a key battleground state. This much is true. What isn’t true is that the entire state is a battleground. The only corners of the state trying to pull us back into various bygone centuries are in southern Ohio. Needless to say we northerners get a little frustrated when the coasts overwhelmingly paint the entire state as some conservative backwater when the north, specially Cuyahoga County, basically gave President Obama both of his victories. And when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the country, we were issuing marriage licenses practically seconds after Justice Kennedy proclaimed, “so it be ordered.”

When you see a hill, you’re not sure what to do.

Appalachia Ohio and southwestern Ohio were naturally blessed with an interesting topography. The rolling hills of Cincinnati have formed some of the coolest urban neighborhoods in the country. Hocking Hills Park might be the most beautiful natural landscape in the entire state. Northern Ohio, however, is as flat as a pancake. Show us the path of least resistance, please.

You’re a regular national park visitor.

Okay, this applies mostly to Cleveland/Akron rather than Toledo. But in between the two former Rust Belt juggernauts is one of the most popular national parks in the country — Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It’s also just about the only place in the north where we can find a decent hill to hike.

You have one of the world’s largest bodies of fresh water nearby.

Northern Ohio traces the southern coast of Lake Erie. Despite what you may have heard, it’s not a cesspool of toxic waste. At least not the whole thing. Sure, Toledo has its issues and we thought putting a power plant nearby was a good idea. But it still gives us some pretty mesmerizing sunsets.

You knew the Black Keys before they were the Black Keys.

Akron-proud.

You knew LeBron James before he was MVP LeBron James.

Again, Akron-proud.

You know true sports pain.

Cincinnati likes to try and lump themselves into the mix of sports pain misery with Cleveland. Maybe some people don’t remember the last time the Queen City won a national championship, but that also probably means they’re a teenager because the Cincinnati Reds won the World Series in 1990. The last time for Cleveland? 1964. And even then there was a separate professional football league going on. So sorry I can’t empathize with Cincinnati teenagers who can’t recall a sports championship when we’re reaching the point of people living full lives without seeing a Cleveland victory.

You know what a train looks like.

Cleveland is the only city in the entire state with any kind of rail transportation. Cincinnati is working on it and Columbus remains the sad emoticon of the country with the unfortunate distinction as the largest city in the United States without rail. Not that the south is to blame. The state’s Department of Transportation is arguably one of the most masochistic in the country.

You know what Paul McCartney looks like in person…

…along with a whole slew of international rock stars because of their routine visits to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland.

You know what Tony Packo’s is.

And you’ve seen the Burt Reynolds autographed hotdog bun.

Your prom weekend was at Cedar Point.

Or you just generally grew up with weekends at the world’s greatest amusement park.

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