It may come as a surprise to some, but northern Ohio’s long summer season and rich soils make the Cleveland Plus region extremely well-suited for growing fine wines. The wineries in this video not only produce some of the area’s best, but also offer beautiful, unique venues for tasting and relaxing.
Vintners in northern Ohio produce grapes and make fantastic wine amid some of the country’s most scenic vistas… making Cleveland Plus an unexpected wine lover’s dream.
Need an island Getaway? Kelleys Island Venture Resort has what you need.
Located at 441 West Lakeshore Drive on Lake Erie’s beautiful Kelleys Island, Kelleys Island Venture resort boasts 31 luxury suites equipped with all the amenities of home and they’ll make your bed for you. In every room you’ll find refrigerators, microwaves, free internet access and more. A lakeside swimming pool offers spectacular views and a lakeside deck complete with grills, picnic tables and lounge chairs will get you into vacation mode in a heartbeat.
Kelleys Island Venture Resort is situated in a way that every suite provides a view of Lake Erie. Hang out at the pool, take a hike, grab a drink at a lakeside bar, catch at tan at the beach or just sit and enjoy your quiet surroundings.
– FC + CA
Jet skis, kayaks, boats, tubing, it’s summer in Cleveland Plus and time again to take to the lake. Get out there and bask in the heat, soak up some sun and get your fill of the Cleveland skyline all why fueling your adventurous side at Great Lakes Watersports.
Owned and operated family style, by Kevin and Melissa, Great Lakes Watersports is easy to get to and even easier to get addicted to. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, they offer several options in terms of rentals. Paddle your way through the river and out to the lake on a kayak or paddle board or get that adrenaline pumping aboard a jet ski or a miniature two person boat (just seeing this parked along shore made me want to own it. Watch the video to see it in action). Also available are tubes, waterskis and wakeboards.
Great Lakes Watersports is located at 1148 Main Avenue near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River on the West Bank near Shooters. They’re open daily from 11am to dusk, but will accommodate early or later arrivals if notified in advance. Hourly rentals vary based on equipment and include a life jacket and temporary Ohio Boaters License with the answering of a few questions (study up on Ohio’s water rules here).
For more information and to start planning your Great Lakes Watersports adventure on Lake Erie call 216.771.4386 or visit www.glwatersports.com. For more photos visit Positively Cleveland’s Flickr site here.
- CA + FC , follow us on twitter @positivelycleve
Desperate for an island escape this summer? Look no further than the Lake Erie Islands, just a 45 minute drive (and a 20 minute boat ride) west of Cleveland, Ohio.
This summer we made our way to Kelleys Island to discover the best ways to enjoy the island. Of the Lake Erie Islands, Kelleys is the most laid back, take-it-easy, sip a drink while soaking up some sun, appreciate nature, lose connection from the rest of the world kind of island. Those most excited to arrive are those who aren’t in the mood for a huge party. Unless it’s Island Fest weekend, in which case everyone gathers downtown for a high energy island celebration, Kelleys is great for a romantic escape, a family outing, a slow-going trip with friends or a solo getaway.
The largest American island in Lake Erie, Kelleys in its entirety is on the National Register of Historic Sites. From the glacial grooves to architecturally pleasing historic neighborhoods, there’s a lot to see and do. Popular activities include, in no particular order:
- Bird watching
- Bike riding (This is one of the best ways to tour the island. Plan stops at the Glacial Grooves and the Quarry.)
- Scuba diving
- Watching the sunset (or rise)
- Enjoying the view
- Sipping a Brandy Alexander from the Village Pump or a Bloody Mary at the Casino
- Putt-putt golf
Golf Carts are the preferred mode of transportation on the island and there are plenty of places to lay your head including B&Bs, cottage rentals and one resort style hotel situated on Lake Erie complete with views from every room.
For a more private stay make reservations (well in advance, we’re talking a year or so here) at A Water’s Edge Retreat Luxury Bed & Breakfast where guests enjoy daily gourmet breakfast, homemade breads and pastries, guaranteed relaxation and a home away from home (where you don’t have to make your bed, scrub the shower or cook for the kids). For a slightly faster pace, make reservations at Kelleys Island Venture Resort. This lakefront hotel holds 31 suites, each equipped with refrigerator, microwave, internet access and patios with lake views. Other amenities include a swimming pool, hot tub, children’s playground, corn-hole, bicycles, and lake-side picnic tables, lounge chairs and grills free for guests of Kelleys Island Venture Resort.
– CA + FC
From the glorious sunsets to the Cleveland skyline glittering at dusk, there’s nothing like a summer evening spent on the waters of Lake Erie. Whether you’re talking a party of two or 200, taking a ride on one of Northeast Ohio’s well-known cruise ships is a hallmark of the season and a highlight of a visit to the region.
What better way to follow up a day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame than with a quick walk to the neighboring dock where the Goodtime III— a Cleveland tradition for more than half a century–awaits? Long known for its guided sightseeing daytime trips, the Goodtime III offers nighttime weekend dinner and dance cruises that make for an ideal grown-up night out.
Want to dine on the water? Catch the Goodtime’s first evening departure and enjoy a full buffet while the sun dips to the west. Stick around, though. After dinner, the boat swings back to port to pick up guests for late night dancing on the lake, with a live band on the main deck and a disc jockey cranking out music on deck two. And from the two uppermost decks of the 1,000-passenger ship, take in the unparalleled scenery and summertime air.
Meanwhile, the Nautica Queen, based on the Cuyahoga River in the Flats District, fills its summer schedule with a variety of themed cruises, special events and family-friendly offshore fun.
Wednesdays, for instance, are tropical nights on the Queen, bringing the tastes and sounds of far-off seas and emerald islands to this corner of the Great Lakes, while Thursday nights are set aside for dinner and Dancing through the Decades, cruising through four musical eras just offshore from the city crowned “rock and roll” king.
The Nautica Queen is popular for their Mother’s Day or Father’s Day brunch cruise, making for a gift that’s sure to beat breakfast in bed or that box of personalized golf tees you had in mind. And wine lovers should make plans to spend at least one summer Friday on board for the Wine on the Water wine tasting and dinner cruise.
If you’re interested in a little Lake Erie lore, the Nautica Queen’s Friday “Legends of Lake Erie” lunch cruises are held from June through October, treating guests to tales of sunken treasure, ghost stories and shipwrecks galore.
Depending on weather and water conditions, both ships also offer tours along the winding mouth of the city’s crooked river, providing close-up views and passage beneath some of the amazing bridges connecting some of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods.
One sure-fire spectacular night on the lake, naturally, is the Fourth of July, when the offshore viewpoint of the city’s fireworks display offers an unparalleled experience of the extravaganza. As one-night-only events, of course, these trips book up fast. But if you’re in town for Independence Day, there’s simply no better seat for the show than one on the water.
– Submitted by John Booth, guest blogger
Kirtland is a place where nature, faith, and history coalesce. The Lake County community (about 22 miles east of Cleveland, five miles inland from Lake Erie) was the one-time headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and is still home to its first house of worship (the beautiful Kirtland Temple, completed in 1836). The village rekindles the spirit of the early American frontier using both living history (like Historic Kirtland, a meticulously restored and reconstructed 19th-century settlement) and Ohio’s pastoral resources (like the Holden Arboretum and the expansive Lake County Metroparks).
Kirtland is a place where you can travel back in time. Just try visiting the Kirtland Family History Center, a genealogy research facility located in the Kirtland LDS Church on Route 306, and make your time traveling adventures a personal one.
“The library is staffed by Latter-day Saints members and volunteers from the community – a few of whom have worked here some 20 years,” says Alan Rabe, Area Family History Advisor, responsible for overseeing Family History Centers in Northern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. “The Family History Center is associated with the largest collection of free genealogy information available, which can be found online at www.FamilySearch.org. You can locate the films you are interested in on this site at home and then order them in the Family History Center. That same site also has about 100 genealogy how-to video classes.”
When children imagine growing up, they may dream of becoming a dancer, a singer, a policeman or an astronaut – or maybe all four if they’re really ambitious. The Great Lakes Science Center is opening an exhibit that will give children and adults alike a chance to see what being an astronaut is really like.
The new Facing Mars exhibit, which runs Jan. 29 – Sept. 5, is a fun and educational journey to the exotic world of Mars. With 28 stimulating exhibits, visitors can become an astronaut for a day and experience what it’s like to walk on Mars at reduced gravity and discover the effects of motion sickness in the spinning chair. Not only can visitors explore the physical challenges of space travel, but also the psychological and scientific challenges.
A unique aspect of the exhibit is that it asks questions with no known answers, challenging visitors to think like astronauts and solve problems. In one visit, a guest will become a space surgeon, a planetary geologist and a spacecraft technician – with a spotlight on the real-life obstacles of sending humans to Mars.
The exhibition is a perfect fit with the NASA Glenn Visitor Center featuring 20 astronautic artifacts including shuttle and rocket models, a moon rock, a lunar lander model and more. And, with hundreds of more hand-on exhibits, daily demonstrations and themed traveling exhibits, the Great Lakes Science Center is wonderful place for kids and parents to explore.
You should know:
- The museum is located at 601 Erieside Avenue, right next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Cleveland
- The science center is open daily 10 am – 5pm
- Admission is $14.95 for adult non-members and $12.95 for children, which includes admission to all the other exhibits at the Great Lakes Science Center and NASA Glenn Visitor Center, or an OMNIMAX film. Admission is free on Tuesdays for all youth 18 and under when accompanied by an adult.
- While there, make sure to check out the Steamship William G. Mather Museum to tour a real 614-foot historic Great Lakes freighter set to reopen for the season in May.
- Discounted parking is available for guests in the attached 500-car garage
- For more information, visit www.glsc.org or call 216.694.2000.
Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, appropriately in the birthplace of rock and roll, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s the world’s first museum dedicated solely to rock, and one of Cleveland’s most popular tourist attractions, inviting thousands inside each year to share with them the great history of musical geniuses like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and The Supremes. Inside these glass walls, fans are immersed in the lives, dreams and legends of rock’s greatest contributors.
Impeccably designed by master architect I.M. Pei, the “house that rock built” mimics Pei’s design for the famous Louvre in Paris. Surrounded by a 65,000 square foot plaza where concerts are held during the summer and visitors may take a minute to admire Lake Erie and the surrounding Cleveland skyline, the pyramid shaped, glass front museum creates a picturesque vision. No matter the time of day, the impressive structure provides a feeling there’s something much larger inside than you or I.
Visitors are met with 55,000 square feet of exhibition space. Organized into categories and decades, the museum is easy to navigate and deserves a whole day, maybe more, if you can spare. The costume wing is my favorite along with the hand-written lyrics, personal belongings from another time and place that put you closer to the creative process behind some of rock’s most talked-about.
A gallery dedicated to the architects of rock and roll put into perspective the birth of rock and the genre’s rough journey to recognition and respect. Alan Freed, the man who coined the term “rock and roll” and introduced rhythm and blues on a white radio station is highlighted here along with Les Paul and the first electric guitar and Sam Phillip’s Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others made their first recordings.
At the top of the pyramid you’ll find the Hall of Fame Inductee Gallery. To be eligible for induction into this prestigious group, the artist must have released a record at least 25 years prior to the year of induction. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, “an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique” are all factors considered when inducting a musician, “but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.” So far there have been 25 induction ceremonies for a total of 605 inductees all of which you can learn more about through interactive displays and videos at the Rock Hall. Ceremonies are held every year, and are hosted in Cleveland every third year.
The story of the progression of rock and the roles it played in society is one we should all know and there’s no better place to learn about it than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors 65+, $13 for children ages 9-12 and free for children 8 and under. The museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm except Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s open late on Wednesdays until 9pm. To learn more visit www.rockhall.com. Take a photo tour here. – Submitted by C.A., video by F.C.
The cold of Cleveland brings out an unusually charming spirit to Northeast Ohio. During December and January, local vineyards trudge through the ice and snow of Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties, inspecting ripened grapes they’ve left to freeze on the vine. When the temperature is just right, the farmers pick and ferment these frozen bushels into Ohio’s sweetest winter libation–ice wine–which has become a hot commodity for Cleveland Plus vineyards.
“Ice wine is becoming increasingly popular as more and more customers discover what makes it special,” says Mary Jo Ferrante, owner of the Ferrante Winery in Geneva.
At the family-run winery of Ferrante, ice wine has provided a unique opportunity to create something as special as anything around the world. Its Vidal Blanc Ice Wine just received a gold medal at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition. And other area wineries like Farinacci, Laurello, St. Joseph and Chalet Debonne are attracting similar accolades.
“Year in and year out we do very well in international competitions with ice wine,” explains Ed Trebets, winemaker at Madison, Ohio’s Chalet Debonne, who also makes a great Vidal Blanc. “Our ice wine typically has aromas of ripe citrus fruit with hints of honey in the background.”
Ice wine is an especially sweet drink. It’s considered a dessert wine, typically enjoyed as an after-dinner treat or paired with a sweet food (something fancy like vanilla bean ice cream, Victoria sponge cake, or homemade Italian bread pudding). It’s actually a popular Canadian delicacy–75 percent of ice wine around the world comes from Canada–but local ice delights taste just as much as its Canadian counterparts. Plus, it’s considerably less expensive (about $30 a bottle compared to $50).
Still, it’s not necessarily about price. “People are attracted to ice wine because of the story that comes with each wine produced–the month in which it was picked, the weather conditions and the uniqueness of the product,” explains Trebets.
Cleveland wineries actually set aside select plots to make ice wine. They let the grapes hang until late December or early January, waiting for at least three consecutive days of 17 degree Fahrenheit or below temperatures. Generally, grapes contain a higher amount of water than sugars, so once the temperature drops below freezing point, the water in the grapes becomes frozen. This concentrates the sugars and, when pressed, produces pure flavor with natural sweets.
“The amount an ice wine grape gives off is approximately a fifth of the juice you would normally maintain from an unfrozen grape,” says Ferrante. “The amount we produce depends on the growing season. If we have a very warm season, we will generally have more grapes to work with.” In 2009, they produced 1,000 gallons of ice wine
You might think that’s not very much, especially with a growing demand for this unique drink with both newcomers and cork-and-bottle aficionados. But that’s the charm of a seasonal treat — the rare opportunity to indulge creates a uniquely special experience — making the appeal for each new batch of northern Ohio ice wine taste that much sweeter for Cleveland Plus wine makers. – Submitted by guest blogger, Keith Gribbins
Group outing destinations that appeal to a wide range of people and personalities are tough to come by, but Cedar Point near Sandusky – just a quick jaunt west along the Lake Erie coast from Cleveland – most definitely fits the bill. Voted Amusement Today’s World’s Best Amusement Park for a record-setting 12 straight years, Cedar Point offers its famous array of roller coasters along with beaches, waterparks and other family-friendly attractions that make it a truly one-of-a-kind place to visit.
With six places to stay, Cedar Point serves up 1,600 rooms and a wide variety of lodging possibilities. The classic and expansive beachfront Hotel Breakers, Sandcastle Suites, Camper Village and the cottages and cabins of Lighthouse Point are all nestled parkside on the Cedar Point peninsula, while Breakers Express and Castaway Bay, with its indoor year-round waterpark, sit just across the causeway.
For meetings and conventions, Hotel Breakers and Castaway Bay both include spacious ballrooms and smaller spaces for seminars and training programs. And, when the work’s done for the day, the Cedar Point midway is the perfect place to play.
“We are an amusement park first and foremost,” Cedar Point group sales director Tim Walsh notes. “We’ll customize what we have based on what a group is looking for.” And that can mean everything from arranging specific in-park meals to exclusive park access and ride times.
And if you’re group is the adventure-minded sort, in addition to its classic menu of coasters and thrill rides, Cedar Point added Shoot the Rapids in 2010. It’s a wild, 2,100-foot-long wild water ride boasting an 85-foot drop and all but guaranteeing a soaking good time. – Submitted by guest blogger John Booth