Tag Archives: Stone Gables Bed & Breakfast

CLEVELAND: What’s New ???

3 Jun

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We’re in Cleveland for the weekend; our home base, Stone Gables Bed and Breakfast is nestled in the vibrant, charming, historic Ohio City neighborhood. A group of young entrepreneurs have given new life to the area now known as Hingetown in Ohio City. It’s a familiar story, vacant old buildings are restored and repurposed, new businesses move in and flourish, elevating the quality of life, which in turn attracts new residents and visitors. We’re on 29th Street in the midst of  a sun-drenched Saturday, the old Ohio City Firehouse building is buzzing with activity, people sit at picnic tables on the patio drinking cold beverages, dog walkers greet one another as they pass, bicycles whiz by. We step into the air-conditioned space of Urban Orchid, a floral and gift boutique. The place smells amazing, like Gardenia, fresh-cut flowers have been arranged into colorful centerpieces for a reception that will take place later in the evening. Cleveland goods such as t-shirts and cards as well as gift items created by local artists are available for purchase.

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Just around the corner of the firehouse is Rising Star Coffee Roasters, this was the first business to take a foothold on the block. Inside the line moves swiftly, the guy in front of me has the highest praise for the coffee and the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie–who am I to argue? Standing at a high-top table we have our cold brew coffee and cookie, both are excellent, never doubt a local. Back outside we cross the street to the Striebinger building with businesses on the street level and apartments on the second level. We wander in and out of each space, long and narrow interiors are accented by exposed brick and Edison bulbs. Glass storefronts allow sunlight to wash in giving shops an open, airy feel. Beet Juice Bar is doing a brisk business selling cold-pressed juice, I love the drop tin ceiling in Cleveland Tea Revival, the lunch crowd has started to arrive at Juke Box. Harness Cycle is a spinning studio that also sells cool work-out gear, pet owners make their way to Ohio City Dog Haven. This little district has the feel of a small village integrated right into the neighborhood, it’s wonderful.

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Heading west in the Jeep, we stumble upon the Madison Arts District on, what else, Madison Ave in Lakewood. We both spot the sign at the same time, Kris manages to turn around and park us in front of a quirky, vintage, antique, Mid Century shop called Googie Style. Googie is that modern, futuristic, atomic, car-culturish, bright-colored, starburst, anything goes style found from the 40’s to the 60’s. Inside we meet Margaret, one of the owners, she’s awesome. She points out some of the more unusual pieces, shares stories of great finds as we take in the fun and funky collection of items. Sure there’s the great mid-century design furniture, beautiful glass and copper sculptures, but there’s also a jack-a-lope, masks and a framed painting of parrots. With names of other shops in the area and a school to check out, we’re off.

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First the school, Lakewood High School on Franklin is home to Viktor Schreckengost’s 1954 sculpture, Johnny Appleseed. A native of Ohio, Schreckengost attended the Cleveland School of the Arts, designed the Jazz Bowl for Eleanor Roosevelt, taught industrial design and was a bicycle designer for Murray, Sears and others. The sculpture is kitchy-cool and definitely worth a look. Back on Madison we drop in and out of several antique shops. Great 70’s kitchenware, Corning Ware had some far out patterns, mushroom canisters were all the rage, ahhh, the memories… The Good Goat Gallery is a great place to stop and browse, the art ranges from fine to fun. Kris and I wander, we find it all quite attractive, dolls have amazing faces, paintings use bright colors, some of it is humorous, some solemn, much of it puts me in the mind of Latin America. The gallery is gearing up for a big show called Six Degrees of Vincent, Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria will be there for the opening, looks like an awesome show!

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We are having lunch at Barrio, Cleveland’s own taco house serving up specialty tacos, tequila and whiskey. We are seated on the patio, pencils and menu pads stand in a metal bin on our table, our server brings us icy cold glasses of water and explains the ordering process. We’re hungry, too hungry to create our own tacos from the vast list of available ingredients, so we go with El Jefe’s Selecciones, we ask our server to bring us the first four on the list. Munching on still-warm chips and flavorful salsa our basket of tacos arrives. We each take two, eat half and switch, thank goodness for the roll of napkins in the basket. The Vegan Stoner is a soft shell with grilled peppers, onions, portobello, corn salsa, pickled veggies and a herb vinaigrette, delicious. El Jefe is a hard shell, wrapped in a soft shell and stuffed with queso, chorizo, chicken, corn salsa, smoked cheddar, lettuce, chipolte honey sauce, wow, a great combo of flavors and textures. El Puerco is the combo soft and hard shell with white cheese, pulled pork, queso fresco, chipolte honey, salsa roja, lettuce and tomato, so good! The Spicy Sapanaro is spicy, but not so hot that it’s hard to eat. Here we have the soft and hard shell, cheese, chorizo, chicken, queso fresco, salsa roja and secret sauce, yum! I can see why Barrio is such a local favorite.

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Refreshed and re-energized we drive into downtown Cleveland to check out Heinen’s on 9th and Euclid. This gorgeous building, designed by George B Post, opened in 1908 as the Cleveland Trust Building. The building was occupied by Cleveland Trust, then Ameri Trust and finally Society Corp until the 1990’s. Today Cleveland’s oldest family-owned grocery chain, Heinen’s operates out of this iconic domed structure. The exterior is richly detailed with carvings and columns, one look and you know it was an important building in its day.

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Inside, your eyes are immediately drawn to the elaborate, beautiful glass dome. A ring of super-ornate plaster covered in gold leaf caps arches and more columns, illuminated rosettes are magnificent, a stunning railing runs the perimeter of the mezzanine level, hand painted murals peek out between arches, plaster details are heavy. Cafe tables fill the circular ground floor, grab a coffee, something from the bakery or a meal at one of the counters. The mezzanine level offers wine tasting, a huge selection of bottles and beer. From here the overall view is spectacular; above, the murals, dome and all of its details, below, the patterned marble floor, the stairway is pretty snazzy too. Aisles are located in the space beyond the dome for all your grocery needs.

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We make one last stop on our way back to our room, there’s a new ice cream shop on Bridge Street we want to check out. Mason’s Creamery is housed in a tiny Mid Century building with a covered patio that looks like it has always been a neighborhood ice cream shop. Folks are gathered along the freezer staring into five-gallon drums of frozen deliciousness; tasting is encouraged and everyone seems to be doing their part. Along with the usual suspects, Mason’s offers flavors like popcorn, Cleveland Whiskey, butterscotch and Paw Paw. Flavors are made in-house in small batches, today there are about a dozen to choose from. I taste and I taste, it’s the dark chocolate I like the best, Kris goes with the Roasted Peanut, they add a drizzle of strawberry for that peanut butter and jelly combo. We eat our dessert sitting at a small table, it’s fun to watch people try the different flavors, the line continually repopulates. It has been a day of fun and new discoveries in a place so familiar to us. There’s still tomorrow………..

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Ohio Outdoors……

24 Oct


We are staying at Stone Gables Bed and Breakfast in Cleveland OH, having filled up on a wonderful breakfast prepared by Richard, we are ready for a day of adventure. Traveling east of Cleveland we arrive at The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, it is our first visit, I can hardly wait to check it out. Holden Arboretum was started in 1931, a bequest from Albert Fairchild Holden created as a memorial for his oldest daughter Elizabeth who died of scarlet fever at the age of 12. The arboretum is a collection of woody plants that are labeled, cataloged and mapped; here you will find cultivated gardens, forest trails, woodlands and 20 miles of hiking trails covering the 3,500 acres. Directly behind the visitor’s center lies the Butterfly Garden, carefully trimmed grass pathways lead past beds bursting with Purple Coneflowers, Black Eyed Susans, Sedum and more. Crossing a footbridge we stop halfway and watch as water passes over stacked  rock creating a shallow waterfall. Foster Pond, thick with lilypads, is surrounded by plantings of late blooming perennials, daylilies and Trumpet Vine; bees and butterflies are everywhere. I overhear talk of a Tram Tour and discover there are still two seats available for the next tour.  Making our way over to the tram we pass one beautiful bed after another; Hibiscus wear blooms the size of dinner plates,  yellow Coreopsis, purple Bee Balm and Cardinal Flowers add bright splashes of color.


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We board the tiny white tram with three other visitors, the total capacity of the golf-cart-like vehicle is six, making for a very personal tour; the trail is hard-packed, used by pedestrians and trams alike. Traveling past mature trees our friendly, knowledgeable guide stops off and on telling us interesting facts, we glide past Ponderosa Pines, a wildflower garden and Blueberry Pond, its glass-like surface reflecting the nearby scenery. The grounds are breathtaking; lush green grass, ponds, pines, carefully placed benches invite guests to linger and relax. Off to the side a patch of Jewelweed is in full bloom, our guide invites a member of our group to carefully pinch off a seed pod for the rest of us to see. She instructs him to place the pod in the palm of his hand, then tap the pod, all of us jump when the pod explodes sending seeds into the air, appropriately, the plant’s nickname is Touch-Me-Not!  Approaching the Rhododendron Discovery Garden, we are greeted by the Noreb Tree Allee, lined with Paperbark Hazels, Swamp White Oaks, American Elms and Flowering Dogwoods, this place must be incredible in the Spring. Two huge granite acorns welcome us, we cross through a gate, past a pretty pergola into the collection of Rhododendrons and Azaleas, here again a springtime visit would be ideal. Corning Lake is home to tall reeds, cattails and Heron, a large turtle is resting in the grass. In one hour the tram leads us through all of Holden’s highlights, it is really the best way to become acquainted with the grounds.


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Driving south, we stop in the tiny town of Burton for lunch at a cafe. Fed and refreshed we arrive at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park to do some hiking. The day-use park is made up of 167 acres of rugged cliffs, four scenic hiking trails and diverse plant life. The park lies near one of the highest points of the state; a popular vacation spot, the state of Ohio created the Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park in 1949, preserving it for future generations. Rock formations found here are among the few outcrops in northern Ohio still exposed to view. The incredible sandstone cliff formations are a result of erosion; wind, water freezing-thawing, wore away at the softer rock layers. Large blocks of rock called slump blocks fell away, leaving the more resistant layers to form ledges. Rocks lay jumbled about, moss in a variety of shades and patterns covers the surface. At the trail head we choose the Red trail, it is the most difficult of the four, also the most interesting.

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Red dots are spray-painted on trunks of trees, sides of rocks, leading us over dirt trails, rock stairs and fresh puddles. We descend the narrow space between two rock formations, the temperature drops noticeably, tiny white pebbles have worn smooth and are embedded into the rock. Trees are perched along the top edges, their roots exposed, clinging to each crevice. In shady areas ferns such as Christmas and Maidenhair grow wild, I read that in Spring Trillium are found in abundance, even the rare Red Trillium can be found here. We follow red dots catching a glimpse of a squirrel here and there, many songbirds can be found in the park. We are very low in elevation when we arrive at Fat Man’s Peril, here we have to duck down and squeeze between the rock surfaces, it’s dark too. The trail is loaded with places with names like Devil’s Icebox, Indian Pass, Old Maid’s Kitchen, posted signs urge us to stay on our path saying “Dangerous cliffs, stay on marked trails only”, good advice. Slowly we make our way back up, the leafy canopy above providing refuge from the heat. Back at the trail head we follow a trail leading us in the opposite direction, the ground is covered in fallen leaves year round making for slippery stepping at times. Reaching the boardwalk, we follow it around to a waterfall, today it is merely a fine spray of water passing over the rock face, the volume varies with the season. Speaking of waterfalls, we have one more place to visit.

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Chagrin Falls is one of those darling little towns that look like a set for a Hallmark movie. The Chagrin River runs right through the center of town, baskets of flowers cascade over the railing along the river, a fountain trickles in a tiny park riverside, the buildings themselves are quaint brick structures. The historic little village, an affluent suburb of Cleveland, is only 2.14 sq. miles, in it we find Greek Revival homes from the very early days, Italianate houses from the 1870’s, Queen Anne’s from the 1890’s and bungalows from the 20th century, they all look equally comfortable in their setting. The sky has become dark, we head directly for the falls before the clouds open up. An elevated wooden deck leads us down to the Chagrin Falls where the powerful river flows steadily over rocks, white water landing in the river below. Visitors pose for pictures, the scenery is lovely. On the opposite side of the water from us a large restaurant takes advantage of the spectacular view with lots of windows and a covered deck. It begins to rain, we quickly make our way to The Popcorn Shop on Main Street.

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Businesses in town consist of specialty shops, art and antique stores, home goods, clothing stores and restaurants. The Popcorn Shop is one of those places you have to visit when you are in town, decked out in red, white and blue, the building is charming, built in 1875 it originally was the retail end for the adjoining flour mill. Sometime in the 1940’s it became a popcorn shop which also served homemade ice cream and candy, and so it is today. I love their caramel corn, it is simply the best, Kris is more of an ice cream type guy, he orders a waffle cone with a peanut butter ice cream that is truly to die for! The harder it rains the more crowded the shop becomes, until at last it lets up. We take the opportunity to stroll Main Street, every shop displays  gorgeous urns stuffed with annuals, the scent of Petunias carried on the breeze. The town is quaint, walkable, picturesque, a great side trip when you are visiting Cleveland.

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Roadtrip Cleveland: The Greater Cleveland Aquarium

16 Jun


Under the blue umbrella sky we started our drive south and east; destination Cleveland.  We love Cleveland, seriously, this town is highly underrated. Each time we visit we find more and more reasons to come back. Since we were here last, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium had opened, so that was the first place we went when we arrived in town. Located in the historic  FirstEnergy Powerhouse on the west bank of the flats, they have even turned the old coal mining tunnels into underwater displays; what a cool way to re-use a 100-year-old building! We paid for our tickets and started to look around.  The fish are all colorful; yellow angelfish, pink starfish, giant seahorses and clownfish with their whimsical stripes. Displays are eye-catching,  the Coral Reef, amazing! With over 35 tanks the variety of fish runs the gamut from Ohio game fish to alligators, octopus and sharks and rays of the Florida Keys. One area features an 11,000 gallon “touch tank”;  pet a horseshoe crab, sea urchin, sea cucumber, maybe even a shark or stingray. Then we made it to the Sea Tube, WOW, this is definitely the main attraction; an acrylic underwater tunnel that allows you a fascinating  walk-through experience. Home to over 18 sharks, fish and sting rays, you are surrounded by sea life. The tunnel goes on for over 150 feet; sharks swim overhead and alongside as you walk, schools of fish seemingly avoid the shark’s path, stingrays look as if they are flying as opposed to swimming. It’s peaceful and relaxing, it’s the place folks tend to linger. With the temperatures rising outside it was a great respite inside, cool and refreshing , just like a dip in the ocean.

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Cleveland is loaded with great districts, we ventured over to Ohio City for lunch. With many options available we selected La Petit Triangle Cafe; drawn in by its charming sidewalk seating we chose a table in the shade. This is one of those great neighborhood hang-outs; diners and staff all seem to know each other. Menu offerings are definitely French influenced, along with breakfast, lunch and dinner they also serve espresso, wine and other alcoholic beverages. We wanted something cool and refreshing, we chose the Triangle Salad; crisp greens, chevre, walnuts and dried cranberries topped off with a raspberry vinaigrette. For a sandwich the Pan Bagna had a winning combination of ham, swiss, tomato, artichoke, spinach and olive tapenade all piled atop a crisp and chewy French baguette, sounds good doesn’t it? It was! The iced tea of the day was a pomegranate green tea, so nice on a summer day. The funny thing was our waitress remembered us from last time we ate there, she said, aren’t you guys from Detroit? Now that’s some memory. She was actually headed to Detroit for the weekend….the electronic music festival, so we gave her a few tips and she did the same for us.

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Just a short drive from the restaurant, we thought we’d check into our room next. As always, we booked a room at Stone Gables Bed and Breakfast; we have been coming here for years, our favorite place to stay in Cleveland. The accommodations and location suit us perfectly; just a couple of blocks from Lake Erie and close to Westside Market and good restaurants it’s no wonder we keep coming back. I read about a new ice cream place that opened recently in the Gordon Square Arts District, so we took a drive over. The district runs up and down Detroit Street from West 58th to West 73rd; home the Cleveland Public Theatre, the newly restored Capitol Theatre, public art, cafes and funky independent shops this area has really come to life. Before we did anything else we had to find Sweet Moses; named after the city’s founder Moses Cleaveland, we had heard only good things about it, now I know why…Walk in the door and you will find yourself in an old-time soda fountain and treat shop. The space has been completely transformed with an authentic Bastion-Blessings soda fountain; framed in 16 feet of Tennessee marble with bar stools and vintage tables with wrought iron chairs it is a step back in time. The ice cream is all homemade along with hot fudge and caramel toppings, toffee, fudge and nut brittle’s, it’s a sweet-lovers dream come true. We had a seat at the counter and ordered a double chocolate malt made with the Belgian Chocolate ice cream, you know what, it would be worth the drive to go get one right now…it’s that good. With a wonderful real chocolate taste it was the perfect proportion of ice cream and malted milk, blended until still thick but not lumpy; large enough to share, it was fantastic! Served with a topping of fresh whipped cream that came from a chrome-like nozzle that pulled out of the soda fountain itself, it was fun to watch them make up orders as we indulged in our malt. Along with sundaes, cones, malts and shakes they also do old-fashioned phosphates and sodas made with carbonated water…..they even make their own root beer.  If I lived in Cleveland this would be a dangerous place for me. Time to walk off some of those calories; walking down Detroit we saw a sign on a corner directing us down a side street to a shop called Artful Living. Following the arrow we made our way in, what a great place; beautiful items for your home, jewelry, artwork and more. I found a pair of earrings I loved so I paid for them then immediately put them on. Little places like this seem to be popping up in the district. After a walk up and back ,taking our time to browse interesting shops, we went back to the room for a little rest and relaxation.

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Tremont is located on a bluff that overlooks the bend in the Cuyahoga River and provides excellent views of downtown, oh, and it has tons of restaurants, really good restaurants. One fine example would be Lolita, which is where we had dinner. Located on Literary Ave, this is one of Michael Symons early restaurants. Always busy, we were lucky enough to get a table right away, one of the advantages of having a late dinner. Service has always been impeccable and this time was no different. We had an appetizer of roasted dates; bacon wrapped with almonds chiles and parsley, they were outstanding. For our entrée the Olive Pizza sounded good; olives, mozzarella, Fresno chiles and oregano it was a nice combo of salty and spicy. One of the days side dishes was a polenta, I’m thinking it was made with cream cheese, it was so good.

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There was one more place we wanted to check out before the  night was over; The Prosperity Social Club. Opened in 2005, the original barroom building has stood in this spot on Starkweather Ave since 1938. The decor is vintage; from the stunning Art Deco bar and chestnut walls to the super-cool beer light fixtures, all are welcome here. There’s a wood burning fireplace and a game room that features an old-fashioned bowling machine, pool table and vintage board games. Along with a full service bar they also serve micro-brews and a tavern-style food menu, it is truly a neighborhood gem. There were two open seats at the bar, perfect. We ordered our drinks then kicked back. We met a nice couple from the area and ended up chatting with them for a while, how nice. We have always found Clevelanders to be friendly and fun to talk to, afterall Detroit and Cleveland have shared many of the same ups and downs through the decades; looks to me like both places are on the ups.

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