Friday, July 15, 2011

Cleveland Rocks!

No, seriously, it does! There is so much to do and see here. We had our first visitor right away. My best friend Katie came in to visit over the 4th of July and even with just over a week under our belts we were able to entertain her the whole weekend showing her our newest favorite spots. We took in a fireworks show at Crocker Park which was one of the most amazing shows any of us had seen. They shot fireworks off the four corners of the roof of an outdoor mall. We were so close we were getting rained on with cardboard pieces and ashes. Rob’s parents are heading out at the end of July and we are excited to show them everything we love about Cleveland.

Things we love so far:

Westside Market – a year round indoor/outdoor market that sells every culinary item you could imagine. Produce, meats, breads, pastas, meats, desserts (amazing canolis!), hummus, herbs, nuts, mushrooms, you name it and there is a booth selling it! There is even a stand called the Pierogie Palace which Robbie can’t wait to try.

Lakewood Park – Gorgeous view of the city skyline and a small brick walkway right on the lake. Great ark with a huge play area for kids that reminds me of the wooden park in Pella where we went to college.

Melt Bar and Grilled – This restaurant is amazing! They have gourmet grilled cheese with unusual combinations. For example, the Jalepeno Popper which is a grilled sandwich with jalepeno poppers and cream cheese between two giant pieces of battered and fried bread, the Godfather which is lasagne grilled between two sliced of garlic toast, the Gyro Melt, the Parmageddon with pierogis grilled inside it, and our current favorite, the Smokey Russian which has turkey, saurkraut, smoked Gouda and a russian dressing. You are guaranteed a wait but it is so worth every minute!

Tremont Neighborhood – An artsy area of town with great coffee shops, Ukranian churches, art stores, and pastry shops like A Cookie and a Cupcake (which Katie and I quickly tested out – yum!). Also, the church and reception hall from the movie Deer Hunter are in this area along with Ralphie’s house from the movie A Christmas Story.

Coventry Street – A street that has unique shops and restaurants in the downtown Cleveland area. Shopping for women with clothing boutiques and home stores and for guys with the store Big Fun. Big Fun is a store that has toys from the 70’s and 80’s primarily like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Smurfs, Popples, My Little Ponies, etc.

Metro Park System – This park has 100 miles of trails that run right next to the Rocky River. It is almost completely untouched so the trees and wildlife are amazing to look at. It is also referred to as the valley since it sinks below the city. Enormous bridges are vaulted in the sky to take Cleveland traffic over the park.

West Park Neighborhood/Kamm’s Corner – The neighborhood we live in is adorable. Tree lined streets with small brick homes. Children out riding bikes and playing baseball in the front yard with their dads. Ice cream trucks going by and postmen who stop each morning to say hello.

Malley’s Chocolate and Ice Cream Shop – Here they sell everything you could ever want covered in chocolate! They have an adorable soda fountain counter where you can order old-fashioned ice cream desserts with a homemade fudge sauce topping.

Marc’s – Do you need a patio umbrella, bathroom rug, and some lettuce? Go to Marc’s! The most random grocery store ever but their prices are amazing and so inexpensive compared to everything else in the area. It’s somewhat of a mixed bag (like a TJ Maxx some items they buy in excess from other stores and sell it at a reduced cost) but it’s always interesting!

Cleveland and Lakewood Libraries - Free internet and awesome reading programs for adults and kids (even reading to your newborn counts!). When Bella gets here there is a weekly activity, reading programs where you get free tickets to the zoo at the end, and even free lunch for kids every day of the week. The library might become our new second home!

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