Even the next block over can be an adventure - Troublesome Creek that winds through Hindman, Kentucky is where my adventure began

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yon: Amazing Race Elimination Station

The Amazing Race's Elimination Station may not give one a million dollars, but its brand of vacation time is sweet. Sure, what a shame to not win the dough, but how can staying at a hacienda or luxury guest house in another country be a failure? How can that not make a person feel a little pleased? I'd be pleased. I'd be pleased to even get on the Amazing Race. It's not easy.

This season's Amazing Race eliminated teams were sent to a resort location in Mexico to await for the winning team to get the big hurrahs, applause and the wealth. At this point in the airing of this season's episodes, two teams have made it to the elimination station so far--a married couple who were high school sweethearts and a grandmother and grandaughter. The grandmother is 71 which is a big plug for anyone who is an older traveler looking for an unusual adventure. Both teams are a pleasure to watch. Up beat.

Now they can enjoy each other's company and soak in the nuances of one place instead of barreling in a frenzy through a bit of the world, probably not remember specifics all that well--kind of like getting married and inviting oodles of guests. The experience is a blur.

As far as the beauty of the Elimination Station goes, when do we get a chance in life to hang out in a gorgeous house and day trip on someone else's dime? Soak it in losing teams; soak it in.

To see the Elimination Station, click here. I wonder who will end up here next?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yon: Cleveland's a miserable city? Hardly

This past week Forbes list of miserable cities came out. Cleveland is # 1. Seriously? Harumph!

Did the writer of this article ever go to Cleveland? Yeah, yeah, so what if Cleveland has been referred to as "Mistake on the Lake" in its past. But there is so much more in Cleveland than the Browns' abysmal showing in the football arena and the Indians lackluster attempts at baseball.

Cleveland fills out the quality of majestic grandness---if you ignore the fact that on the weekend much of downtown looks abandoned. Euclid Ave. is so sad to walk down then. There are such gorgeous building facades but no one around to enjoy them.

I know this because a few years ago, I thought it would be a swell idea to do a six-mile walking tour taking in downtown Cleveland with my husband and two kids. One of them still in a stroller. We started and ended at Tower City. Why the walk? Cleveland had been named as one the top 10 cities for walking and I wanted to find out why. Turns out, the distinction has to do with the number of walking paths through the metropark nicknamed the "Emerald Necklace"--or something like that. Downtown has nothing to do with it.

Still, Cleveland is an eye candy feast if you like architecture. Consider all that Cleveland has to offer and you'll find plenty of reasons not to be misearble if you go there.

Here are 10 of them.

1.  Terrific food--whether you're aim is elegant eats  or ethnic fare there is plenty to satisfy. Cleveland is an artist's palate in the culinary arts. Michael Symon's restaurant Lolita in the Tremont District and Sokolowski's Univerersity Inn, also in Tremont, are two suggestions on the spectrum from elegant to ethnic. Sokolowski's, opened in 1923 has authentic Polish fare. This is a perfect place for families who are hungry. Very hungry. I had pizza and more at Lolita.

2. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--Head here with at least a half a day to spend. I've been here several times and never grow bored. The building is magnificient. Taking in the music at the listening station is a treat. It's odd to see how some of ones life has already made it into a museum as having historic significance.

3. Great Lakes Science Center--Quite well done and splashy in its offerings. Stellar exhibits come here from time to time. It's next door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

4. A trip on the Goodtime III, the tour boat that heads up the Cuyahoga River. This is an excellent way to hear about Cleveland's history while learning about the various bridges made to move in order to let ships pass through.

5. Cleveland Museum of Art--I can't say enough just how wonderful this museum is. Recently rennovated, the museum showcases some of the very best of our world's art. Plus, the main museum is free. There is admission to special exhibits.

6. Like the art museum, Cleveland Botanical Gardens is located at University Circle, the part of Cleveland that was once home to Cleveland's weathy folk.The botanical garden has a  green house that is a perfect respite from any weather that might be happening outside.

7. Westside Market--Yum, yum and yum. This historic market is a jewel of a building as well as housing a visual and taste bud delight. We've spent hours here tasting various foods that had their beginnings in other parts  the world.

8. Lake Erie--Come on. How can you not be in awe of this magnificient body of water? I've never taken a boat ride out on the lake, but it is on my things to do list. For those of you who like to scuba dive, you can scuba dive in the lake as well.

9. Terminal Tower at Tower City--This used to be the 2nd tallest building in the world before Sears Tower surpassed its height. The atrium is a gorgeous tribute to Art Deco.

10. Murray Hill, also referred to as Little Italy--For anyone interested in galleries and interesting shops, Murray Hill is a concentration of fun and unusual places to browse and buy.

Photo 1: laszlo-photo
Photo 2: edseloh
Photo 3: Yvonne in Willowick, Ohio
Photo 4: dougtone

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yon: Adriana Trigiani, featured speaker at the Thurber House

If there's one writer who is an expert at hither and yon, it's Adriana Trigiani. I inhaled Big Stone Gap and headed straight to its sequels.

As a person with roots in Appalachia, I could easily switch in my mother's hometown with Trigiani's creation.

Her version of Appalachia is a refreshing change from the fare that usually gets the press. You know--the broken down cars and refrigerators outside in the yard version.

Tonight, Columbus, Ohio book lovers are getting a treat thanks to the Thurber House. Trigiani is the featured speaker as part of the Thurber House's Evening with Author's Series.

Somewhere in between the years I spent living in Taiwan, India and back in Ohio, Trigiani has been busy writing. The woman churns out books. My word, I have a lot of reading to do!

Meeting her will be a welcome reprieve from these days of socked in from the snow.

hither: Snow makes traveling difficult

When sidestreets look more like the grooves of the tracks of a kiddie ride at an amusement park, there isn't much point in trying to go far. Eating, though, can call one to points beyond the front door. That's what happened at our house.

Yesterday, come dinner time, we headed to a charity event where we ate spaghetti for a cause. The proceeds will send high schoolers to Louisiana in March to help rehab houses.

This photo is from last year's big snow. I imagine that Greg Phelp's art car looks the same this year. If you're ever in Columbus, Ohio look for it. Phelp's car frequents ComFest and Hot Times has been in the Doo Dah Parade. Plus, Phelps drives it wherever he goes. [photo by That Car]