Thursday, July 15, 2010

10 Reasons to Love Cleveland

TV3's Good Company asked us to come up with a quick list of 10 Things We Love about Cleveland. Easy, right? You bet.

Every month, the Cleveland Magazine is filled with things to love about our town, so the only problem was limiting it to 10 (we cheated a little and dropped in a few cameos of old faves). We take pride in bringing our readers what's new and interesting about the city -- or at least seeing old favorites in a new way. So, our list might surprise you -- but that's the point. Feel free to add your own, oft overlooked reasons to love Cleveland as well.

10. Accordion Museum — Every knows and loves the Rock Hall, but not as many know about Jack & Kathy White, whose love of the accordion, turned their Rocky River basement into the largest collection of accordions in the world (more than 450). Cleveland has a rich musical history with the accordion, where Frankie Yankovic was the polka king and in the 1920s and '30s, Cleveland was home to four accordion manufacturing companies. Polka not you kind of music? Hit the Beachland Ballroom or NightTown for great live gigs.

9. Jonathon Sawyer’s Crispy Chicken Wings Confit — We all love Michael Symon’s infectious laugh and his food, but Sawyer’s wings (and his Greenhouse Tavern) make us really smile.

8. Cleveland Museum of Art’s Chalk Festival — Coming up in mid September, the chalk festival is the perfect place to express yourself & a great excuse to see the museum’s new galleries. More than 40 are on view including the new East Wing. Or just make a day of it and hang out in University Circle.

7. Danielle DeBoe’s Made in the 216 Events — Proof that you can be creative and succeed in Cleveland. She had about 60 Cleveland-based designers at the June event and even timed them up with the Discover Gordon Square Days and Parade the Circle (you could take a trolley to University Circle and vice-a-versa) and partnered with Happy Dog (another thing we love — ½ off dogs during happy hour all month long) for after parties, etc.

6. We used to be rural. — Our proximity to farms gives us access to an abundance of farm-fresh delights, everything from the Chef’s Garden in Huron, where Farmer Jones ships his produce across the U.S. to some the country’s best restaurants, to Mackenzie’s Creamery in Hiram, where they make artisan goat cheese, to creative brews at Great Lakes Brewing Co., where locally grown pumpkins are used in the pumpkin ale. Yes, we have great farmers markets too.

5. Festivals that help us rediscover our town — Ingenuity Festival — annual festival of music, art and technology — is moving to the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge this September, to take inspiration from the architecture of the bridge and the fascinating ruins of the W. 25th subway station. Their preview party, Speakeasy 2.0, is July 23, next Friday night, in the bridge and subway. Also, the Burning River Fest, next weekend, July 24-25, at the old Coast Guard station at Whiskey Island, another underused landmark. Green living, bands, and Christmas in July: Christmas Ale.

4. Green City Blue Lake movement — Whether its our pursuit of wind energy and green manufacturing jobs or the efforts of Entrepreneurs for Sustainability or the push to add a special lane for bikes and pedestrians to the proposed Inner Belt Bridge, the shift in mentality from old industrial to looking at a more sustainable future for our town. And since we’re on the topic …

3. Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park — We’ve got a lake, a completely awesome body of water, enjoy it. The Fairport Harbor beach is smaller that Mentor Headlands or Bay Village’s Huntington Beach, but there’s an open water swimming lane, dog swimming area, kayak rentals and plenty of places for the kids to play.

2. Towpath Trail from Brecksville to Peninsula — Manageable distance (about 12 miles) with a lot of different terrain all squeezed in between. Stop about half way at the Boston store for and continue on to the finish for your reward at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula. Don’t overindulge though, you’ve got a 12 mile trek back.

1. Dan Gilbert — While we may not completely agree with his “open letter,” he expressed what we were all feeling in the wake of “The Decision.” And no one is going to question his will to win.

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