OK people - Cleveland isn't so bad. I promise to never say negative things about it again. I dedicate this entry to the highlights of the city that I have enjoyed, through the years. My Cleveland.
Before I do this. I want you to know that I take full responsibility for the choices I have made. When I woke up on a Thursday in April of 2004, and decided to leave Boston, that was my decision, and I chose to go back to Cleveland. I do not blame anyone for the path I have taken, except myself.
Cleveland felt very calm when I came back from Boston. I could finally look people in the eye again. Clevelanders are generally friendly and outgoing. In fact, I recall going to a movie once, and sitting next to a mother/daughter, and getting to know them before the movie started. There are plenty of cities where you just don't do that. A lot of people are welcoming and you can make friends pretty easily there.
My favorite thing about Cleveland is the lack of traffic. There is never any planning that needs to take place before you get groceries or leave work. No sitting at a bar for one drink, until 7:30, to wait until the cars clear the highway. It makes life so much easier. I used to say that when I sat in traffic for forty five minutes, each way, I lost an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back. This is the truth. You won't be wasting away your life driving around my old town.
The other wonderful feature of this city is that it is so reasonable. As a real estate agent, I would tell out of towners that you could probably buy your "dream home," (depending on what your taste is...) for under $400K. How many other places can you do that? Even though the housing market is what it is, Cleveland has always had reasonable housing. My New York side of the fam can't get over the prices there.
I always utilized the Metroparks system, taking my dog there for a hike in the fall, winter, spring, and summer, and have also enjoyed many Saturday morning runs along the Chagrin River. In the fall, driving along Chagrin River Road was one of my favorite rides. It's simply gorgeous. The Metroparks exist throughout the entire city of Cleveland, and there are so many things you can do there. Besides running and hiking, I have cross country skied, sledded, read, waded in the river, and watched teenagers partake in illegal activities....
Believe it or not, Cleveland does have a fair amount of culture. I always made an effort to see the traveling exhibits at the art museum. This art museum is better than a lot that I have been to. They get some really famous exhibits. Most recently, I saw the "Arms and Armour" show. I learned all about jousting and the history of knights - something I missed out in in elementary school.... (I probably wasn't paying attention).
I am not much of a horticulturist, and I have a HORRIBLE green thumb, but walking through the Botanical Garden is pleasurable. Just this past year, I went there probably three times. If nothing else, it makes me appreciate flowers, and plants, and I can actually label some plants when I see them now, which I never cared about before.
I could go on about the culture I have experienced. I am not going to lie and say I have been to every museum, but come to think of it, I have. I even went to the History Museum when I had the day off. The Science Museum has a great Omnimax. I still want to see "Everest." The last film I saw there was about cave diving. Of course, there is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Did you know the rumor is that "We Built this City" is about putting the Hall of Fame in Cleveland?
There really is plenty to do in Cleveland, and it has its' perks. Check out Little Italy, or Slavic Village, go shopping at the Farmer's Market in Shaker Square, or drive about 40 miles outside of the city, and visit Amish Country. Make a little day trip out of it, while gas prices are descending, thanks to the financial crisis. Supply and demand, man.
Cleveland, I really do love ya!