Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Touristy Visit to Cleveland

After a year and a half, I went home to Cleveland, Ohio. As my Dad, a New Yorker says regarding his trips back to Queens, "It's like you never left".

In Cleveland, there are many places to go and people to see. My favorite and very much missed restaurant is Tommy's in Coventry. This is ideal for vegetarians and there is plenty for the carnivore. The milkshakes are to die for. After the birth of my niece last March, I didn't think I would ever enjoy a meal with both my mother and father but they are so easygoing about things. (Thanks)

Straight from the airport, we went to Tremont. I would say it is a gentrified area that is now eclectic where the old world meets the new. Art galleries, good restaurants and locally owned shops remain the draw there.

After reviewing "36 Hours in Cleveland" in the "Times", I wanted to try out a new restaurant by Case Western Reserve University called "L'Abatros". I love the atmosphere around Case Western. You are surrounded by the cultural part of Cleveland. There is that suggestion of intellect and scholarly sub-culture that you feel in Madison. The people are more "earthy" and the architecture, particularly the art museum and Severance Hall are easy on the eyes.

In fact, I find that when you travel (although I don't think I can count visiting home traveling) you tend to do things that remind you of home or of your routine.

L'Abatros was busy at 9:00 PM on a Saturday and this was with a reservation. An upscale American dining experience was not disappointing. I enjoyed the seasonal and fresh tasting salad with butternut squash, the goat cheese entree in a crock with fresh vegetables, the white pizza and their pasta of the day. (We shared all of the above).

I knew the Gauguin exhibit was currently on display at the Cleveland Art Museum and I wanted to make a point to see it before the last day. It was a perfect show. Not as overwhelming as some of the other exhibits, you learn about Gauguin's relationship with some other famous artists of his time as well as the story of the Volpini Exhibition (a little history on the Eiffel Tower - ooh-la-la!) Although I love Madison, our classic art museum is owned by the University and does not house such famous paintings as the Cleveland Museum of Art does. If you get to Cleveland, definitely go to their museums.

I was able to visit old friends and family. As you get closer to thirty, you realize the value of these people. It was so special to see each one of them. Even my almost 98 year old aunt, who I need to stay in better touch with.

The other great part of my visit was when my boyfriend wanted to watch old movies of my family and me. Starting in 1973, when my mom and dad were in their twenties, we watched through the decades of hair styles,puberty, bad clothes and beyond. It was really fun and it made me think a lot about my childhood.

After a year and a half of being away, there was so much to do and so little time. But what I came back to Madison with is this: I am lucky. Because I went home and saw my mom and dad. And other relatives with all of their little hangups. And it was so pleasant. And calm. We didn't have any turbulence. Which is so refreshing.

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