It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. I suppose I’ve been a bit busy. Consumed with taking inventory of various big and small miscellaneous items, editing furniture, while getting lost in endless moving boxes and bubble wrap.
As I go through my moving list, scratching one thing off my long list at a time, this morning I woke up to the sound of a baritone ship’s horn a few miles away; alerting the bridge operator of its departure or arrival from the Cuyahoga river. This isn’t an unfamiliar sound to me, but it did stop me for a moment as I thought to myself, “I’m going to miss that sound when I’m gone.”
There are so many things I’m going to miss about Cleveland that it’s difficult to put them all into words, or build a list and rank each one of them. I have had countless revelations, life changing events and great writing experiences while living here. Leaving Cleveland feels like a small death in some ways. So writing this post is somewhat eulogistic. My eulogy will mostly be about all the incredible people I’ve met and become friends with while spending time here. I wish I could pick up everything I love and care about and transplant it to where I’m going. It’s a double-edge sword really – excited about a new adventure, but also sad to be moving on. What’s so ironic is that I’m moving home to my family and friends that I’ve known forever.
At the risk of sounding hokey, Cleveland has touched me deeply; leaving a footprint on my soul. I like to think that I’ve also left a positive impression on this city too. I think of all the ways Cleveland has unselfishly given to me. One of the greatest gifts has been participating in the TNR rescue program. Helping to stop the over-population of mew-meows, while also finding some of them great, forever homes. It’s been rewarding and as much as this has been a gift, I feel that I’ve also given something back too. As much as I lament sometimes about my own fabulous five, I love each fur ball, and I’m excited for them to travel across the country and live in a new, no-snow-on-the-ground-evah place.
After much thought, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least try and list some of my most favorite places of the CLE that fall into the I Will Miss You A lot Category. Some of these places will not come as a surprise for some of you readers who call Cleveland home, as I’m sure many people feel the same way I do:
The Cleveland Metroparks:
What more can I say other than the brilliant Emerald Necklace shines like a rare gem through every season, offering mile after mile of wandering paths through all things healing found in nature. For me, I worked out many heart aches, and job woes over the 12 years I’ve lived in the city. I think in some ways this park system makes up for all the bad weather Clevelanders suffer through, because it offers everyone free therapy to walk, run or bike off all that pent-up weather aggression. I ran my first 1/2 marathon through the Rocky River Reservation and discovered the true meaning of the phrase, “It’s always better to be on the road than to reach the Inn.” In other words, it’s the process of getting there, not the goal that matters most. I still frequent the park system on a regular basis and plan to do so up until I head west permanently.
The West Side Market:
I’m not going to regurgitate all the things that have already been printed about this incredible place. I do want to say that the market has been a go to place for me long before I even moved here. I used to come to Cleveland for business and friends took me there nearly 15 years’ ago now. I fell in love with the market and all its glory way back then. The market has evolved as I have, I suppose. There’s some new players doing business there, mixed in with the old schoolers too, which for me epitomizing Cleveland: the old is the constant backdrop against the newness and, albeit slow evolution of the city. A great example of that is John Black’s great grandfather was Guastavino, the architect that designed the beautiful tile that covers the ceiling and walls of the market. I remember telling John’s mom that her grandfather would be so proud to know the market is still a vibrant and much loved, viable place for many Clevelanders and tourists visiting the city. I think that made her smile. Today, I live within 1/2 mile from the market and sneak in and out there periodically during the early hours of the week. This magnificent place will continue to live in my heart.
The Literary Cafe:
I remember when I first moved to Tremont I thought the Literary Cafe was only for artists and long-standing locals. In other words, you had to know the secret password to gain admittance, or know someone that knew someone, kind of deal. My friend Melodie laughed at me when I told her this and said, “well, consider yourself invited and I know someone that knows someone.” Come to find out, Melodie went to drama college with Linda. Andy and Linda are two of my most favorite people on the planet. They’ve played host and hostess to the Pretentious Artists every Friday night, our well-attended Oscar parties on several frigid evenings in January and helped me with my Neve Black video series. They’ve also continued to inspire others with their amazing love for one another. What they’ve created and continue to create is a unique, and fun urban vibe that attracts interesting people, dynamic conversations that range in varied topics, and great drinks. Always entertaining and welcoming. If you’ve never been, you need to go and guess what? There is no secret password. Just tip your bartender well.
The Tremont Taphouse:
I moved to the other side of Tremont in the past year, and am exactly 1,000 steps (yes, I’ve counted) from my back slider to the front steps of this wondrous place. The food is amazing, the beer choices are incredible and the vibe is groovy and fun. The music is a little loud for my old-ass sometimes, but I’ve grown to appreciate it and find myself singing to the tunes most of the time – yeah, that’s the beer doing its thing. If you want a quieter setting, in the summertime one can meander outside to the patio and enjoy a cool sip and conversation with your fellow beer snob companions. I told John Black yesterday that I think we should open Tremont Taphouse West in North County SD. Sure, I’m headed into one of the largest micro-brew capitals of the world, but I’ve yet to find anything that’s like Tremont Taphouse, with the exception to a couple places in Europe. I will miss you IPA’s on tap within walking distance from home, and the many silly, rambunctious conversations had with great friends. You all know who you are.
The Velvet Tango Room:
I don’t visit the Tango Room as much as I’d like to. I will stop in for one last Lady In Red before I depart though. I think it’s a one-of-kind, special place that has provided me terrific characters for stories, many delightful cocktails and colorful, conversations. The service is impeccable and I feel like a movie star whenever I go in there.
I used to go here a lot early Sunday evenings for happy hour when I was working in real estate. I’d meet Melodie and we’d slowly ascend from the upper floor down two flights, until we were at Lake Erie level. The bar rotates soft lights of blue, green and gold. It’s lovely and comforting. There’s often a jazz pianist playing and it sets the mood from go, go, go to cool, cool, chill. I love this place because it reminds me of being in a submarine. Maribeth managers this fine establishment and she is top-notch. The food is outstanding. The service is wonderful. And oh yes…the view. There’s a full panoramic and breathtaking view of the lake from nearly every seat in the house.
What is about spending a day at the Cleveland Museum of Art, or coming from a great film and then slipping off to a gorgeous patio, where classic jazz fills my ears and the smell of cheese and wine fills my nostrils that’s so damned appealing to me? They actually have a Maitre Fromager – be still my heart. I think this place must speak to my French ancestry. The ambiance is wonderful. The food is supreme and the service is fantastic. Je t’aime, French Bistro.
Spynga Flows Cleveland:
Two of my dearest east side friends, Leanne and Lambert introduced me to Spynga Flows a few years ago, because I enjoy Spin and Yoga. Not too many places offer both, and it’s a fantastic method of exercise. I checked it out and fell in love with the place the very second I walked through the front door – you can feel the positive energy swirling around you, like angels of love and light. Carina, the owner has made this space and place nothing less than phenomenal. Many of the patrons have now become teachers, which keeps that positive energy flowing. I’m more of Spinner during the winter months, because while the summer months are here, I tend to grab my running shoes and go outside to get my sweat on, or jump on my bike and head to the WSM or the metro parks. Heh. I’m fortunate to call these Yogis my friends, so I get to spend time with them and experience all that positive goodness even if I can’t get to the studio.
The CIA’s Cinematheque:
Without question, this is one of the best film art houses I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I’ve had tears of happiness, joy and pain watching films here. I’ve learned so much about other cultures, while also learning a lot about myself. What a treat it is having this amazing place in the city and available to everyone.
I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a place or two on my listed favorites above, but I think what I want to stress from this
post eulogy is that what I’ll remember and will miss the most is each of you, and how you’ve touched and changed my life forever.
Saying Goodbye to Cleveland,