Monday, September 27, 2004

Cleveland Rocks

Last week, I was on vacation, and I spent a few days in Cleveland. Nice town. Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch an Indians game, unless you count 2 innings I watched on TV tuesday night. The timing was wrong to catch a game at the Jake, which is something I really wanted to do.

At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised. Cleveland isn't a premier vacation destination, but we had a great time there. We stayed at a bed and breakfast that was just across the street from Lake Erie, and Edgewater State Park. We walked along the beach and it was great. The beach (and park) was clean, there were a lot of boats out on the lake, and the sun was setting. Postcard moment.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was well worth the afternoon. Just the fact that they had most of Les Paul's experiments was cool enough in itself. The amount of cool stuff they have is staggering.

Also, we had a lot of nice, decadent meals. They have what they call the Warehouse district, which has all kinds of restaurants, notably, the Cleveland Chop House, which was probably the best meal I've had in 3 or 4 years. Grilled portobello mushrooms, a tin of old-style cornbread, and a new york strip done exactly how I like 'em. Outstanding.

I'm not a big traveler, but I have some preferences in my 2 or 3 day getaways, which are almost necessary stress relief. I like bed and breakfasts. I've had better experiences with them than with chain hotels. Their price is usually comparable. The service is far superior. Our innkeeper gave us hints and advice that you'd be unlikely to ever get from a 22 year old bored front desk worker at a Holiday Inn Express. The room is usually nicer as well.

Also, I like mid-sized midwestern cities like Cleveland and Indy. They're usually small enough that you can get where you want to go with a minimum of hassle. Everything in Cleveland was easy and quick to get to. Also, the people are friendly and helpful. We asked a woman to take our picture, and not only did she actually help us with that, she also took pictures with her camera and volunteered to email them to us, gave us advice on other sights to see, and generally talked to us for half an hour. That wasn't the only example of that kind of behavior. We struck up conversations almost at will whenever we wanted a nudge in the right direction. You find this is most midwestern cities. Indy, St Louis, Cinci. We're hoping to make it to KC, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Memphis, and Nashville in the near future. Of course next year, we're planning on a Niagara Falls/Cooperston trip. I hope we can pull it off. If we do that, I'll have a very detailed report.

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