As planned, we left for the West Side Market after a light breakfast at Urban Homestead, and arrived ready for some treats. The market is the kind of place that you wish was close to where you lived, as the array of fresh meat, vegetables, and produce is mind-boggling. We walked up and down a number of aisles, mesmerized by cuts of meat begging to hit the grill or griddle.
As I made my way towards the back end of the market and a cup of coffee, Joanna stopped to pick up our first pastry of the day, a Russian strudel with dense dough and flavorful fruit filling. Having arrived at City Roast Coffee and Tea, I noticed that they also sell crepes (Crepes de Luxe) and so reminiscent of our time in Paris with Bev, ordered a Ham and Gruyere Cheese savory to share with the girls, food we’d need to get us through out walking tour later that day.
Locating stairs to an upper balcony, we perched there with a great overhead view of the market, finished off the crepe, coffee and a Macaron or two that Bev had picked up.
Suitably fortified we left the market and drove the short distance to downtown Cleveland, double-parking on Euclid Ave. while Joanna ran into the offices of This is Cleveland for their Walk CLE brochure.
We then drove over to what is known as the Warehouse District and parked at a metered spot on the street and begin our tour. This is an area that embodies Cleveland’s heyday as a center for the iron, coal, railroad, and shipping industries that drove the cities prosperity in the mid-19th century.
Today, almost all of the buildings have been remodeled and repurposed as housing or mixed-used, retaining the external character of the original structure while no doubt modernizing the interior.
Next, our path took us down to the Lake Erie side district known as North Coast Harbor, which contains, along with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Great Lakes Science Center, First Energy Stadium (Home to the Cleveland Browns) Voinovich Park, the Steamship William Mather Museum (1925), and the U.S.S. Cod Submarine Memorial.
It was a beautiful warm day down by the lake and a couple of bottles of ice cold water purchased from a vendor in the park were a welcome relief.
Retracing our steps to the Civic Center by walking up 9th Street East and turning right onto Rockwell Avenue, we passed by the Federal Reserve Bank (1925), and the Cleveland Public Library to pause at the impressive Fountain of Eternal Life Statue.
Described as ‘peace arising from the flames of war’, it was commissioned in 1945 to memorialize Americans killed during WWII, but was not dedicated until 1964 and now also includes veterans from the Korean War.
Pushing on we stopped to admire the one remaining Arc Lamp; installed in 1890, it represents the first successful use of an electric street light system in the world.
Across the street stands Old Stone Church; dating back to 1853 it is the oldest church in the immediate area. Just blocks from the car, we returned to it before our meter expired and drove a few blocks east to park on Euclid Avenue, again on the street, to start the second part of our walking tour.
Our first stop was one half of two adjacent block long indoor malls, the 5th Street Arcades, constructed between 1898 and 1911. Populated with shops of different varieties, we exited out onto Superior Ave East and made a brief stop for ice cream at a shop that featured sandwiches as well.
We crossed the street to enter the Arcade constructed in 1890 and once known as the Crystal Palace.
At the time a forerunner to today’s indoor shopping malls, this five-story home to Hyatt Regency and a handful of shops and eateries features an ornate style that is stunning. It was a shame to note the many vacant storefronts as a venue this lovely should be fully utilized.
Crossing back we walked down East 4th Street, a pedestrian only brick street that features eclectic restaurants, a bowling alley, comedy club and a large music venue, making it a prime downtown entertainment destination. At this point, just a block or so from the car and having walked well over five miles in warm summer temperatures, we decided to call it a day and head back to the Urban Homestead.
Dinner that night would be a simple choice, given that we’d been eating out so much and couldn’t quite pick a restaurant that appealed to all of us. We settled on a large sausage and mushroom pizza and a salad delivered from Nunzio’s, a local spot not far from the house. This gave us the opportunity to relax a bit, drink a couple of cold beers and get packed for the next chapter in our adventure, Bev’s flight home and our run down to Pittsburgh for our bike tour.
Our week plus with Bev had flown by and we’d covered a lot of ground, reliving childhood memories (ours as well as Uncle Dales), crossing the state of Ohio, visiting a new place in Cleveland and finally getting to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We would completely switch gears in the next week and ride our bikes and I was sure that much of what we had done in the prior week would capture my thoughts as I put in many miles and long days on the bike.
The week also brought to mind how much knowledge we all tend to let slip by over the years as our older relatives pass away. I can recall my Grandma Cuba, and then my Mother, patiently telling us about this relation or that, how they were connected, what transpired of some significance in their lives. We’d just nod our heads thinking wondering why we’d need to know this as these story tellers would always be in our lives, wouldn’t they?
And then one goes, but still you don’t take the time to sit down with the ones remaining and ask them to describe their memories, to trace the bloodlines, you tell the tales. Before you know it, they are all gone and you’ve missed your opportunity. The power of the Internet can act as a backstop now, sites like Ancestry.Com providing powerful research tools for tracing your family’s history. But it’s just not the same as having recorded it from the source. So if you’ve got some old folks still around, take the time some day to ask them about those relatives now long gone. You may just start a dialogue that will bring you both great joys.
West Side Market: http://westsidemarket.org/
This is Cleveland: http://www.thisiscleveland.com/
Nunzio’s Pizza: http://nunziospizza.net/