Wednesday, November 17, 2010

West Side

I am a West-sider. Have I ever mentioned this? Likely not. I am from a lovely southwest suburb of Cleveland called Berea. I am proud of my hometown. It was after all, the grindstone capital of the world. It also proudly boasts Baldwin-Wallace College (my alma matter) with its superior conservatory, musical theater program and overall attentiveness to the student. Not a fan of the arts, we've got football too. Ever hear of Coach Tressel? Yep, the Tressel family is from Berea. Not a Buckeyes fan? Well Berea's got this team called the Cleveland Browns. Heeeeellllllo Hillis.

Cleveland is a fine city. As stated earlier, I am from the west. It seems in Cleveland the division between east and west is pretty stated. West-siders dislike venturing into places like Lyndhurst, and east-siders wouldn't be caught dead in Rocky River. Each respective "side" disdains the other. I don't know why, I don't question it. It's just the way it is. So with this awesome logic I am always proud to tout the fact that I am from the west side. But to be fair, Cleveland as a whole is a pretty kick ass place.

So, why is Cleveland so special. Lots of reasons. I'll give you a few gems.

1.) West Side Market: This market has been doing its thing since the 1840's! You want it, they got it. A trip to the market wouldn't be complete without some pizza bagels, homemade pierogis, a poppyseed roll and some smokies.

2.) Malls: So this might not appeal to everyone, but the west-side suburbs have the sweetest shopping. Though none of the west-side malls have a Saks or a Nordstroms, ( I can't afford that stuff anyhow) they basically have everything else. Southpark, Great Northern and Crocker Park are the stuffs that shopping dreams are made of. *sigh*

3.) The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: I LOVE the zoo. I have some amazing memories from the zoo. It's a fairly decent sized zoo that's just a good time to walk around. It's currently under some serious construction, (making way for a mighty big elephant habitat) but it's still sweet. They even has a Rainforest in it's own geodesic dome. It's 80 degrees year round in there, a nice pick me up in the middle of winter if I don't say so myself!

4.) A Christmas Story House: Interested in seeing "the soft glow of electric sex?" Yes ladies and gents, the movie A Christmas Story was indeed filmed in Cleveland. You can still see the house (as it's been restored to all its movie magic glory.) Most of the outdoor scenes were actually filmed either in downtown Cleveland at Public Square or in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.

5.) Beer: Yes folks, Cleveland has lots of beer. Local breweries include the GLBC, Cornerstone Brewing Co, Rocky River Brewing Co, The Brew Kettle, and Fat Head's Brewery just to name a few.

6.) Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River: So maybe the river did catch on fire once, but seriously the lake and the river make parts of Cleveland quite picturesque. There are cruise boats (with varying degrees of kitsch) that take you around and show you a good time, like the GoodTime III and the Nautica Queen. On the lake front is Cleveland Browns Stadium (watch out kickers, the wind can be wicked), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. Not to mention, it's a great place to be proposed to. :-)

7.) CMA: Just click on the link... it really speaks for itself.

So, I could keep going, but I'll stop. Cleveland is full of good times. The food scene is progressively getting super awesome. (Thanks Michael Symon.) There are fun neighborhoods and each suburb has a unique personality with something to offer.

Cleveland proper is a beautiful city with some fantastic examples of american architecture. There isn't a day of the year that wouldn't be a nice day to take a stroll around Cleveland, and I'll always stand by that statement.

The point: While I do like to simply exalt my hometown, there is a more specific reason for this blog. Yesterday I was lamenting my weight gain and general laziness when I did something a bit hastily. I busted out the debit card, got me to the internets and signed up for the Cleveland Half-Marathon, after all - the route does go through the west side. ;-)

I ran this morning. For the first time in a month.

Oh, and all you readers gearing up for Cleveland - hit me up as I can definitely promise to show you Cleveland's best!