We took the long way, driving up to Erie and then trying to make it to Cleveland only using roads from which we could see the lake, because we like to present ourselves with arbitrary challenges to make our travels more interesting. This did not entirely work out. At a couple points we found ourselves on dirt roads that didn’t really go anywhere, and for ten memorable minutes we ended up semi-lost in a game reserve and I was convinced we were going to get accidentally shot by hunters. We stumbled across a town called Geneva on the Lake, which with all its arcades and knickknack shops and motorcycles and purveyors of hot dogs and nachos and pizza by the slice had me thinking for a moment that we had somehow accidentally driven to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. All in all, it was a pretty awesome drive and definitely more entertaining than the turnpike.
Once we finally reached Cleveland, we stayed in a gorgeous, old hotel downtown that was built in the 1890’s. Needless to say, it was a pretty amazing building. The ceilings were like twelve feet high and the windows were huge and tall and gave us a good view of downtown Cleveland, which actually has a lot a really neat old buildings. The hotel had a lounge filled with leather chairs and an ornate grandfather clock and dark wood accents and stained glass windows. It even had a billiards room all done up in red. I got a very strong The Shining vibe, and that isn’t a complaint. This is how old our hotel was: to get to our room, we had to go up an elevator to the second floor, turn right and right again, walk down a long arcade with a stunning glass ceiling, take another elevator up to the fourth floor, and make another right. They had to draw us a map at the front desk. It was like a treasure hunt and I loved it.
We would have seen more things in Cleveland, except Todd and I ended up spending way too much time in the Great Lakes Science Center since we’re huge dorks and also, essentially, children. My favorite thing was the laser harp. I want so badly now to start a band and play the laser harp, and I’m not even kidding at all. Todd enjoyed getting to fly a 6-foot-long remote control zeppelin. There was a curtained booth with photosensitive walls that would capture your shadow every time a flash went off, and I’m not going to lie, we made an inappropriate shadow pose and then ran away giggling. They also had a frog exhibit and that was very exciting because frogs come in crazy colors and sizes and I love their toes.
Anyway. The point is that the science museum is pretty much all we did in Cleveland, but it did not disappoint. The Steamship William G. Mather is part of the museum, and Todd was stoked to tour it because if you name anything that little boys stereotypically love, Todd loves it even more. This is especially true for boats. The Mather also just so happens to be the sister ship of the sunken Edmund Fitzgerald of Gordon Lightfoot fame, so that was kinda cool, too, and I was humming it in my head the whole time.
The moral of the story is: I wasn’t expecting Cleveland to be cool at all, mostly thanks to the Drew Carey Show, but I will gladly admit I was wrong. It wasn’t the best city I’ve ever visited by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a nice distraction for one weekend. I’m not going to say Cleveland Rocks, but I will say Cleveland Satisfies.
And here are some more satisfying pictures: