POTD: James A. Garfield Monument

Welcome to James A. Garfield Monument, built in remembrance of the 20th president of the United States. Today’s post is a brief history lesson. After a long career serving as a major general in the Union Army during the Civil War and as a congressman, Garfield was elected president in March, 1881. His term was cut short as he was assassinated months after taking office. However, born and raised on a farm near Cleveland, fellow Ohioans still pay their respects when they visit his tomb in Lake View Cemetery.


POTD: Realm of Gondor

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s post is a long overdue Photo of the Day. This one comes to you from a brisk early October afternoon in Cleveland, OH. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, if you ever have some time to kill in the area you can’t go wrong with a walk in the cemetery. Here, ornate stonework and stately mausoleums are in abundant supply. 

This plot in particular caught my eye, reminding me of the regal pale marble work of Gondorian architecture. As we passed, I couldn’t help feeling like we were entering the realm of the Dúnedain kings.  

POTD: Tower Guards and Fair Maidens

Despite only visiting Squire’s Castle in Ohio twice, I have yet to exhaust my supply of photos from those adventures. When you stumble across a medieval fortress in the woods, you must pose for the obligatory imitations of soldiers and nobility. In addition to fully immersing yourself in the historic scene, it also makes it impossible not to have a good time and a few laughs. So make sure to polish that imaginary armor and practice your princess wave next time you go for a walk in the woods. 

6 Things to do in Ohio

When you ask friends and neighbors for activities to do in Cleveland, Ohio you discover just how many of them grew up in the midwest. Unfortunately, most of them also end up scratching their heads and racking their brains for suitable midwestern vacation highlights. After a couple long weekends to Cleveland here is my list of inexpensive things to do in the area.

  • Cleveland Museum of Art – There is something for everyone here. My dad enjoyed the impressionist section featuring painters like Claude Monet while my mom enjoyed the realism and attention to detail in the European exhibit. I felt like a kid in a candy store when we arrived at a room dedicated entirely to medieval armor and weaponry. 
  • Coffee and Cake – There are a number of mouth watering bakeries in Historic Little Italy, each with its own specialty. For dessert one evening, we watched the woman behind the counter fill our fresh cannolis with the traditional ricotta filling. It was the freshest and tastiest cannoli I’ve ever had.
  • Take a Hike – The North Chagrin Reservation is a lovely place to immerse yourself in nature. The colors on the trees surrounding Squire’s Castle were just beginning to turn with the chill in the air. The wide green lawn stretching like a royal velvet carpet before the castle is also a fantastic place for people watching. In addition to the regular young families and friendly dog walkers, this is also a prime location to spot outdoor yoga, sword fighting and women in silky floral gowns for their wedding photos. 
  • Gelato – No matter what the weather, it is never too cold for gelato (or sorbetto). This frosty delicacy from Little Italy is an explosion of fruity flavors that call to mind hot summer days and crowded, cobbled European streets. 
  • Servants of Mary Shrine – Thousands of colored tiles make up the mosaic of the world’s largest likeness of Our Lady of Guadeloupe. Located on an idyllic farm, there’s a reverent hush over The Lake of Hope which Mary stands over in eternal prayer.
  • Ghost Walk – This is not Halloween specific. The cemeteries of Cleveland are as much an attraction to the area as the history and art museums. Each family plot and headstone is a work of art, from celtic crosses to warrior angels. I’d love to share a chat with the owners of the names on all those stones over a nice cup of tea. 

What are some of your favorite things to do in Ohio? We’re always looking for new adventures.

Look Up

It’s amazing what you notice when you look up. People tend to get caught up in the everyday stress and routine, glued to their phones, desks, computers, sofas. I’m guilty of it too. The hardest part of going out into the world is always making it to the front door. I hardly ever regret leaving my apartment in favor of activity and the possibility of making new friends but, for some reason, it’s one of the most difficult things to do. Of course, once I finally cross the threshold and begin to once again participate in life I always wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. The world is fascinating when you stop for a minute and let yourself soak it all in. Here are some things I noticed when I looked up during my recent visit to Little Italy in Ohio.

The Italian flag was everywhere! The red, white and green flew from nearly every porch, balcony and shop window. Even the turf at the park was colored to reflect the area’s Italian roots.

Christopher Columbus stood watch over the little park when we visited late one evening. 

Little Italy was in full bloom. The flag was hardly the only spot of color along the crowded street. 

The clearing of the bells of the Holy Rosary Church joyously declared mass in session throughout the day as people gathered to celebrate. Along the outer walls of church, small nooks house the likenesses of a few beloved saints. 

Even the parking lot guard rail was Italian, sporting a large red mustache.  

When was the last time you caught a glimpse of something that made you look up and smile?

POTD: Dolce Vita!

Sweet life! Not only is it a very apt description for a long weekend with my sister, eating our way through Little Italy. It is also the name of the restaurant where we enjoyed a feast of gnocchi and veal parmesan. Our outdoor table had the feel of a small cafe on a crowded cobbled street in Italy.

While we waited for our food one of the chefs came around to each table carrying a bowl of a fresh pasta to be sampled. We also patted the heads of a few friendly dogs meandering down the street and chatted with their owners. The loud speakers overhead belted Sinatra and Phantom of the Opera tunes in competition with the ones across the street. Conversation lulled when dinner arrived and we dug in and I surprised myself by not needing a box at the end of the meal. To top off the evening we toodled up the street in search of fresh cannolis but eventually decided on refreshing sorbetto instead. Life is very good.   

POTD: This Way to the Castle

I’m excited to say that I have now visited two of the great lakes. My sister and I spent the weekend savoring the flavors and atmosphere of Little Italy in Cleveland, just a short drive from Lake Erie. While sampling the local cuisine occupied most of our time, we were also on a mission to explore the great outdoors of Ohio. We decided to try the North Chagrin Reservation for our first outing and were not disappointed. One could spend hours getting lost in nature amid the winding wooded paths of the reservation. We spent the morning investigating offshoots along the trail although our interest was peaked when we began to see signs for Squire Castle.