Cleveland: A Surprisingly Pleasant Escape

Take a stroll on a sunny afternoon in Wade Park at the University Circle in Cleveland, and you’ll be treated to a stunningly beautiful site – especially as you enter from Euclid Avenue.

Created by Cleveland industrialists in the heyday of steel manufacturing, the park offers a bucolic ground to wander with Chester Beach’s Fountain of the Waters and other graceful statues that evoke the enchantment of a Maxfield Parrish vintage illustration.

Don’t miss the 1928 bronze statuary sundial by Frank Jirouch: Night Passing the Earth to Day as it sits across from the museum at Wade Lagoon. Cleveland is thoroughly splendid this time of year under a coat of immaculate snow on a sunny afternoon. The Cleveland Museum of Art has recently undergone a major renovation and commands a visit from anyone passionate about the Arts.

Not only does the Museum host an impressive collection of antique works from Egypt, Asia and Europe, but its 20th-century collection is rich with major pieces from Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Mangold, and Sol De Witt, among others. I also enjoyed the bold photographic collection with contemporary masters such as Robert Heinecken and Hans Peter Feldmann. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in the winter in the heart of the Midwest.

Take a drive through the sprawling city along the wide boulevards of Superior or 9th Street. You’ll enjoy a special peace when driving in a city unencumbered with yellow cabs and frantic drivers. For dinner, there’s no better place than Johnny’s in downtown Cleveland.

A favorite among discerning locals, it offers Italian and American classics in a stylish environment. I recommend the South African Rock Twin lobster tails or the Romano Crusted lamb Chops

It’s delightful to stay at the serene, airy Hilton Garden Inn at East Village Mayfield outside the urban bustle. The snow was falling in large thick flakes as I arrived yet the open spacious lobby was cozy and relaxing. A tray of freshly baked, delicious cookies and hot tea were available in the sitting area and made the lobby feel comforting and home-like. My spacious suite was elegant and super-clean with a separate area equipped with a pull out couch. The room contained a king-size bed and a large Herman Miller Ergonome desk with a fine reading light. Enjoy a high definition 32 “ flat screen TV in both your room and the foyer. Rooms offer an mp3 player/clock radio, microwave oven and coffee maker, and there’s a hospitality center at the hotel too.

In the morning, you’re treated to a copious buffet of fresh fruit, breads, pastries and all the classic staples of an American breakfast. You can also order freshly made omelettes stuffed with any ingredients you want. The modern dining room is next to the entrance hall and benefits from amazing light shining through large, grand windows. It makes for a very relaxing and open atmosphere. The hotel is equipped with event rooms, computer centers, laundry facilities, a gym and a swimming pool. The sense of tranquility I experienced at the Garden Inn is part of the reason my stay in Cleveland was so restful and invigorating.

Another reason to visit Cleveland is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, a must-see for any rock fan.

Then I drove west of Cleveland to visit the remarkable President Hayes House in Fremont – a restored 19th century splendor. Ohio is a fascinating state; the endless fields and hills undulating on the horizon make for an exhilarating journey with charming small towns and quaint antique shops all along. Only about 10 hours from New York by car, it’s an excursion you’ll always remember.

For more information on the Hilton Garden Inn, visit:

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