Even though Cleveland boasts a lakefront where you’ll find space exploration and rock and roll side-by-side, it’s just as easy to steep yourself and your group in the century-old traditions, history and architecture of the city’s houses of worship, many of which offer guided tours for breathtaking and intimate views of their intricate majesty.
Downtown’s iconic Old Stone Church boasts not only four Louis C. Tiffany stained-glass creations overlooking Public Square, but a gorgeous 18-foot window created by another famed glass artisan, John La Farge.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral’s gothic limestone exterior has been a landmark on historic Euclid Avenue since 1907, and a visit to the 114-year-old Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus in Slavic Village will inspire awe not just at its stunning sanctuary, but at its resilience and role in shaping Cleveland’s Polish-American community.
The Temple-Tifereth Israel’s Temple at University Circle houses a nationally-renowned Museum of Religious Art with more than 1,000 pieces of Judaica and Jewish art, representing one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections.
And, with so many churches to consider, if scheduling your own visits feels overwhelming, there’s also the option of letting the popular Trolley Tours of Cleveland handle the driving. Lolly the Trolley offers a day-long “Steeples and Spires” group tour of a half-dozen Cleveland churches, including the 13-domed St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the 157-year-old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. – Submitted by guest blogger John Booth
You might not figure that a place with a steeltown reputation spends much time thinking green, but thanks to regional environmental and sustainability initiatives across Cleveland Plus, spending time enjoying Northeast Ohio can appeal to your eco-friendly side, too.
A quartet of Cleveland hotels – the Crowne Plaza, the Hyatt Regency at the Arcade, the Radisson Gateway and the InterContinental – have all taken steps from using more efficient light bulbs to unplugging unused extras like room refrigerators and hair dryers to ditching aerosol cleaners. And guests can do their part if they’d like by opting for fewer linen and towel changes. Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky is the first – and only – hotel chain to have all its US properties Green Seal™ certified and this family-friendly waterpark resort goes to great lengths to be environmentally conscious.
Getting around is greener, too, with the RTA Healthline’s hybrid buses and 1,500 new trees along the newly-polished Euclid corridor connecting Public Square with the East Side.
Catching an Indians game at Progressive Field? You’re not the only one soaking up the rays: An array of upper deck solar panels provides enough electricity to run the stadium’s 400 televisions. And the stadium’s recycling habits date all the way back to Opening Day of 1994, continuously expanding to the tune of 150 tons of recycled material in 2009. The Tribe has also turned to using environmentally-friendly items like plastic cups and cutlery based not on petroleum but on compostable materials like corn starch and sugar cane.
Head over to East Fourth Street’s Greenhouse Tavern for a mouthwatering meal that includes sustainability as a major not-so-secret ingredient. Founder and chef Jonathon Sawyer and his wife Amelia embraced the importance of local foods and low-impact restaurant operations from the start, putting their restaurant in a refurbished building and using recycled and repurposed materials and furnishings every place they could.
And when it comes to food, Jonathon has long believed that the closer a kitchen is to its farms, the better the dishes it will serve. That’s why you’ll find a menu rich in local fare from Northeast Ohio farms that cuts down on costs and carbon without carving away an iota of flavor.
Turns out that in Cleveland Plus, being green can be as easy as dinner, a night out and a stay downtown. –Submitted by guest blogger John Booth
On Tues., Dec. 1, I attended the Sprout Connections launch event at The Club at Key Center (inside the Marriott downtown). It’s a new group and co-founder Diana Greenberg invited me to it. The idea is to get Cleveland professioansl to meeting and mingle for business, social reasons, dating and philanthropy. The philanthropy part this particular night came in the form of a donation of 10% of the evening’s proceeds to Cleveland Foodbank.
Perhaps because I am in public relations and marketing and most of my job entails talking to complete strangers, mixers aren’t usually my thing. However, I was curious about the group and a friend of mine is hoping to shift the focus of her career a bit, so I thought it would good for us to go together. We crossed Public Square with its brilliant new holiday 500K LED points of light (an irrelevant fact, but something that made us happy that night) and headed for Sprout Connections.
The group has luncheons, speakers and volunteer events lined up for their calendar, but the launch was a tried-and-true mixer with a scavenger hunt if you needed an excuse to talk to someone. The room filled up pretty quickly and I met insurance salesmen, small business owners, nonprofit employees and a publisher. I recognized about a fourth of the folks, running into one of my favorite photographers, some folks from the marketing committee of Cleveland International Film Festival and a few people from civic organizations. Overall, the group was unabashedly outgoing . . . although that may have had something to do with the complimentary mistletoe margarita each received with his/her admission.
If you’re looking to meet new people or “sprout new connections,” this does seem like a good place to start. For a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.sproutconnections.com. (And, of course, they’re on Facebook and LinkedIn.) –Submitted by SF
Downtown Cleveland became a winter wonderland on Saturday for Winterfest 2008 on Public Square. The party started at 10am and culminated with the annual Christmas parade at 6pm. This year, the parade’s Grand Marshall was Rosalynn Sumners, 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist in Women’s ice skating. And, Cleveland’s very own Michael Stanley served as this year’s emcee. There were a wide array of activities including ice sculpting on East Fourth Street, Christmas choirs at the Old Stone Church and the Cleveland Public Library, and of course, the annual tree lighting on Public Square. As always, Santa was very busy–making appearances at various locations including the Arcade, the Hard Rock Cafe and the Positively Cleveland Visitors Center. The festivities ended with an impressive fireworks display lighting up the winter night.
On Tuesday, October 7, the Positively Cleveland Visitors Center welcomed its 9,999th and 10,000th visitors. The unsuspecting Bruce Probst of Melbourne and David Wallace of New Castle, Australia were greeted by Tami Brown, VP of Marketing, and Visitor Center Supervisor, Joyce Noss, who presented them with a gift basket of Cleveland Plus memorabilia. Among the many “goodies,” the gift basket included a Cleveland Plus Pass, a new multi-attraction card giving access to ten major attractions and other valuable traveler discounts in the region.”
If you’ve never been to John Q’s, I highly recommend you try it out next time you’re looking to have a good meal. It’s right in downtown Cleveland on Public Square. The atmosphere is lovely and the staff is friendly and accommodating. I’ve been to John Q’s on many special occasions and the experience never fails to impress. From graduations to birthdays, my family has spent many evenings recognizing our greatest accomplishments there.
We recently went to celebrate a birthday. We made reservations for Friday night. Our table was ready when we got there and our server was on her toes all night (even though she had a party of 12 people just ordering drinks when we sat down). The steak and seafood was heavenly and the wine list offers a little bit of everything. Plenty of food comes with each meal, usually a salad and a side and we never leave hungry or unsatisfied. For us it’s no longer just a place to eat, it’s tradition. –CA
This past week I had some Italian friends in town, so of course I put my money where my mouth is and tried to show them that Cleveland is full of interesting things to do. We were disappointed, but not for lack of activities—with all there was to see and do, we actually ran out of time. We spent three days out sightseeing, shopping and museum-hopping and didn’t even fit in one-third of all the things I would have liked us to have done.
On Wednesday we went to University Circle to visit the newly-reopened art museum, then dashed over to the botanical garden for a delightful trip through Madagascar, Costa Rica and the outdoor gardens. (By the by, if you museum hop in University Circle, present your admission ticket from one museum at another and get a $2 discount!) We finished up that day with a stop inside the Frank Gehry-designed Peter B. Lewis building, and then recuperated with mochas at Arabica, a local coffee shop.
Thursday was our shopping day, starting off at funky Coventry in Cleveland Heights. City Buddha, Record Revolution and Big Fun did not disappoint. Next we went for a melt-in-your-mouth lunch at the Melting Pot and took in the sights and stores of Legacy Village in Lyndhurst. By the time we finished with all those stores we barely had time to tour the shops down the street in La Place across from Beachwood Place and take a peek at the incredible delicacies at the White Flower Cake Shoppe. That evening I was proud to take my friends to Nighttown, a neighborhood joint with an Irish soul and world-class jazz. We indulged in flourless chocolate cake and watched the jazz trio work the crowd like the pros they were.
Friday was the big downtown day. We headed to Tower City on the rapid with plans to do a quick tour of the building and the downtown area, then head over to the Great Lakes Science Center for an afternoon of interactive exhibits. We never made it inside the museum—Cleveland itself proved too distracting. First, there were all the cute shops in Tower City. Chic et Mode enticed me to buy a watch, the Hard Rock Café enticed my friends to see Jimi Hendrix’s purple velvet pants, and the guitars placed all around the mall beckoned us to come and take a picture with them. We then headed out to Public Square where we admired the architecture of the Old Stone Church, and reveled in the cool marble hallways of the Cleveland Public Library. As we meandered over towards North Coast Harbor, one friend said to me, “Cleveland is so big!” I informed her that Cleveland is actually about half the size of her home city. She was incredulous and concluded that everything here just felt big.
We got our first good view of the lake walking down West 3rd Street, heading towards Browns Stadium. Although it’s not an afternoon in Cleveland without running into diehard fans of the Indians, the Cavs or the Browns, we didn’t know the Browns were holding an open practice that afternoon. When we reached the stadium there were throngs of people decked out in brown and orange, along with food, games and live entertainment. From the edge of Browns Stadium, the view of the science center was gorgeous, the glowing white of museum and wind turbine silhouetted against the blue sky and blue lake. I was thrilled that my friends would have this picture of Cleveland in their mind. I also thought it was a shame that my Cleveland friends don’t have the same picture. Hopefully, with my newfound appreciation of all there is to do and see here (plus 475 Cleveland photos courtesy of my friends), I can help change that. –LB