Weekend In: Cleveland

Despite its relative proximity to the southeast Michigan, I’ve never been to Cleveland before. Or, I don’t remember being there if I have ever been. Which I generally think is worse than not having been.

When the opportunity came to head down for the day, I was happy to ride along. I brought along the audio version of Andy Cohen’s “Most Talkative,” and after a leisurely breakfast, we were off. Metro-Detroit to Cleveland is a manageable three hours. On the way there, we took the lake-side route, avoiding tolls.

During this quick trip, there was only one clear goal. We were meeting up with a good friend of Lauren’s at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “around” lunch. It was a bright, sunny…. windy, freezing day along the lake shore. Which is precisely where the RRHOF is.

Parking couldn’t have been easier, with a structure at the adjacent Great Lakes Science Center. With a bit of time to burn, we harnessed our inner child and did some exploring.

More of a ‘hand-on-museum’, the Science Center offered kids the opportunity to interact with every exhibit. Admittedly, two grown ladies are not the audience for this place. This became extremely clear as the combined noise of “all the crap on the 3rd floor” had us rushing for the exit after one quick turn.

Lunch and more adult scenery beckoned and we made our way to the RRHOF. The restaurant offered few, but quality choices, and was not ridiculously priced. Which is always nice to see in museums. Perhaps because there is an entrance fee , there’s no need to rake you over at concession too. Thoughtful of them. We ate and waited, and soon friends arrived and our tour of the building began.

The layout of the RRHOF was not entirely easy to navigate. Several “half floors” and back-tracking stairs made it a bit confusing. The 5th and 6th floor special exhibit area featured a photo expo on Herb Ritts, which was outstanding. To my mind, more space could have been dedicated to this.

To me, the best parts of the museum were the engraved walls with each inductee’s signature, and the lowest level which contains wardrobe from notable acts. The meat dress is here, as are the tour costumes of many contemporary artists.

The final stop on the tour, and one which should not go without comment, was the store. A huge selection of vinyl records, tshirts, magnets and more take up nearly half of the first floor.

In total, we spent about six hours in Cleveland. This seems like just the right amount of time to do both museums. If you have kids, you’ll undoubtedly spend more time at the GLSC, but presumably less time at the HOF.

Day-cation

Earlier this summer, around the 4th of Juky holiday, I spent some time at my childhood home. I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Michigan has two parts, connected by a 5-mile bridge. The Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.  They call the Upper  — the U.P. They call the Lower — Michigan.)

Most of my large, extended family still lives in the area, or within a reasonable drive.  My drive is an unreasonable 8.5 hours.

The U.P. is a beautiful, remote place. At my dad’s house I literally have no cell phone reception. In 2015. But truly, so beautiful. Within its 16,377 square miles, there are:

  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
  • Coasts on three Great Lakes
  • Keweenaw National Historic Park
  • Ottawa National Forest
  • Hiawatha National Forest
  • Many National Wild and Scenic Rivers
  • Technically, Mackinaw Island is part of the U.P.
  • All but ONE of Michigan’s more than 300 waterfalls

During one day of my vacation home, a few of us took a few hours to explore. We set out into Wisconsin (it’s literally across the river; this is not far). We went to a small Mennonite grocery.  We had ice cream. Went went to Dave’s Falls.

view from the footbridge to the upper falls

 

Dave’s Falls is named in honor of a brave, industrious lumberjack who died at the falls trying to clear a log jam. It’s was gorgeous. And , clearly, the place mosquitos are born. Sweet. Jesus. But the rushing, copper-tinted water was breathtaking. Access to the falls and the small park are quintessentially U.P.: cheap, and on the honor system. Simply take an envelope out, rip off the validation tab for your windshield, insert your $3 and deposit the fee in the box.

The facilities are also U.P.-esque: gender specific outhouses and an old hand pump for water.  Someone had obviously been more successful than I was with it. The ground was wet, but I got nothing with my six or seven pumps.

The route to the falls was a bit difficult. As it was an unplanned stop, my flip flops proved less than desirable on the foot-worn, root-heavy path and smooth, uneven granite ledge.

In all, we spent about an hour laughing, exploring, listening, and slapping bugs.  It was a great stop, and I’m happy to check this U.P.-adjacent waterfall off my list!

Rapids at the bottom of the falls