Somehow, this photo of a sleepy Lauren at an Ohio truck stop got lost in the shuffle of my close-in-proximity trip to Florida for Christmas. My bad, but the coffee wasn’t. I’ve rediscovered the cafe misto… fewer calories and lots of deliciousness in a cup than, say, a caramel brulee latte. What? That’s what I said too. Ohio is wise to have beautiful oases along the turnpike on the way to Cleveland, all equip with a Starbucks. Well played, Ohio.
It’s been awhile since I’ve travel blogged. You know, I mean, for REAL travel blogged.
I guess that’s probably because it’s been awhile since I travelled. A menacing schedule and many, many recent life changes have added up to a rather dry spell in the world explorations. However a number of mini-trips have shaped up this summer and so I’m once again stretching my traveling legs starting off with a weekend in Cleveland. This simple little road trip kind of blew me away and Cleveland proved itself as a new and surprising place that actually does, as they say, rock**
Or, I should say, Lakewood rocks.
Here’s the thing…. while I did make it into the city limits of Cleveland, it wasn’t the focus of the trip. On this approximately 36-hour vacay, Julie (my lady friend) and I stayed with friends in the charming suburb of Lakewood. Typically, charming and suburb are not two words that would ever share a sentence together, however Lakewood is a delightful walking town that purports big trees, chirping birds, unique old homes, and surprisingly the largest gay population per capita in the tri-state area.
Cleveland was all about friends, and food, and wine, and good conversation. It was a chance to escape from the chaos of life and the NATO summit in Chicago to slow down a little bit. Expecting something akin to Indianapolis, I found Cleveland to be a more progressive, unique, and hip experience than I ever could have anticipated (in other words, not at all like Indianapolis). Add to that good, honest, and honestly hip people and there’s not much else to report. I will, however, say that if ever in Cleveland, I have two off-the-beaten-path recommendations:
Be sure to make a stop in Tremont at either Prosperity Social Club or Lava Lounge. Better yet, visit both. Within a block from one another, these two establishments are locally owned and make for a great evening when packaged together. Steamed mussels and sangria at Prosperity were followed by a beautiful waldorf salad, mac and cheese, and a substantial wine list at Lava Lounge. Let it be known that Greg, our server, was hip, chillaxed, but simultaneously attentive and suave.
Good job, Greg. And good job, Cleveland.
** Apparently, Instagram, my new favorite iphone app, also rocks. I do believe that iphone photos come out infinitely hipper and better this way, as evidenced here.
An ominous sky hung over the Ohio turnpike on the return trip from Cleveland to Chicago. I was fairly hyper-caffenated already, but this being one of my last opportunities for a Starbucks before the Ohio state line made the stop imperative. I should add that I’d much rather pee in Ohio than in Indiana; the famed swing state is notorious, in my experience, for roadside rest cleanliness. No disappointment here, and since I was already 3 cups of coffee down from breakfast with friends I opted for the over-priced, but super delicious Iced Soy Chai. There were three lovely Midwestern Grannies running the floor – which made me rather giggle inside – and when I asked one of them what town I was in her reply was a confident “Well, you’re near Clyde, Ohio.” Well done, desolate rest stop at not-on-the-map-but-near-Clyde. Well done.