Fringe Benefits: Cleveland showcases just how much Cleveland indeed does rock! Not only is Cleveland the home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s chock full of culinary and beverage delights, hip walkable neighborhoods, charming parks, and an impressive nearby wine region.
Founded in 1796, the city’s waterfront location and the completion of a canal system in 1832 led to an economic boom. Cleveland was a bustling port city and an important manufacturing center. In the 1960s, Cleveland experienced economic hard times, but is now again a bustling city full of culture, vibrancy, and fun!
Katie begins her area tour in mid-summer at Geneva-on-the-Lake, a summer town known as Ohio’s first resort. Here, time has almost stopped in the 1950s. Strolling down the main strip with local Don “Woody” Woodward, we see charming food stands, mini golf, historic amusement rides, and one of the last remaining shooting galleries in the United States – built in the 1930s.
Nearby, we explore the covered bridges of Ashtabula County. It’s surprising to see so many historic wooden bridges, most built in the late 1800s.
Not far from Geneva-on-the-Lake, Katie goes wine tasting and exploring in Ohio Wine Country. For many years, farmers grew Concord grapes for juice, and have begun to transition to wine varieties and production in the past 50 years. Dozens of wineries now form a wine trail, serving lovely reds, whites, and ice wines – a sweet treat produced by allowing the grapes to freeze on the vine before pressing. Katie meets Tony Debevc of Debonne Vineyards and Gene Sigel of South River Vineyard for tours, tastings, and learning about the grape growing process.
Headed back towards Cleveland, we stop to visit the historic town of Chagrin Falls. Here’s you’ll find a historic popcorn shop, ice cream shops, unique and independent businesses, a historic hardware store and, of course, the town’s namesake, the Chagrin Waterfall. The classic Americana town is a great place for lunch and an afternoon stroll.
Back in Cleveland, Katie is honored to spend the day with the unofficial “mayor” of the Ohio City neighborhood, Sam McNulty. Sam is using beer to fuel neighborhood redevelopment and has helped to turn Ohio City into one of the hippest, most walkable areas of Cleveland. There’s dozen of craft breweries, restaurants, an urban farm, street musicians, and even a great hostel for fun, easy overnight lodging. The neighborhood’s own West Side Market, in business for more than 100 years, sells produce, meats, pasta and everything in between.
Check out the Cleveland episode to see why Cleveland Rocks!
For more information on Cleveland area lodging, dining and attractions, visit the Destination Guide.