We haven’t had a family vacation in a long time!
We’d heard that Cleveland was a great place to visit and it’s far enough away that we needed to stay a few days. The kids were involved in planning what they wanted to see and do.
We drove from Dayton to Cleveland for a five-day trip to see some museums and Lake Erie.
We direct-rented a little 3-bedroom house a block or so away from Headlands Beach State Park.
It smelled like wet dog when we arrived, even with an air purifier running.
I had to sprinkle essential oils on tissues and place them around the house and crack the bathroom window for a while to get rid of the smell. I developed an ear infection that I really don’t know if it had to do with any allergies in the house or not.
The decor was confusing: industrial shabby chic lake cottage vibes. We assume they bought a rundown house, gutted it, and remodeled as cheaply as possible for a rental income. I loathe open shelving.
The kitchen/dining room was nice and it was funny to have the same dining table that we own at home! We were excited to have a gas stove. The sofa was comfy. The beds were comfy.
I really do try not to be picky. We like renting houses or apartments for our larger family so we can eat breakfast and sometimes dinner instead of dining out every meal. It’s cheaper and more convenient than hotels for us.
The refrigerator had a water/ice dispenser, but the filter sensor was flashing red and we had no ice. There was a Brita pitcher inside the fridge. We bought ice.
All the drinkware was plastic except for tiny ceramic coffee mugs. There was not a serving platter at all. There was no foil, and only one dish tab for the dishwasher. We bought some.
There were only 1.5 bathroom tissue rolls in each of the two bathrooms for five people for five nights. We had to go buy more. It’s not a huge deal and maybe this is expected? But for the price of the rental, I would expect more.
We stopped in Mt. Vernon to see the fountain!
Everyone seems to rave about this fountain in all my Ohio travel groups.
I mean, it’s super cute, but so much smaller than I expected, and not worth driving too far out of the way for. We snapped a few photos and drove on to our destination.
The little town didn’t have much and we moved on.
We stopped at Das Schnitzel Haus in Parma for a very late lunch/early dinner. Wow, is that a great place! Best German food we’ve had since leaving Europe. They brew their own beer across the street at Schnitz Ale Brewery and offer bar foods there. They were out of the Kölsch, but the Hefeweizen and Pilsner were lovely.
I don’t have a single picture of the food. It was amazing and we scarfed it all down!
We checked out our rental house and ran to Meijer to stock up on a few things, like actual drinking glasses and some food items we didn’t bring in our coolers.
We walked along the beach, looking for neat rocks and glass.
We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
This is where Tori really wanted to go. Honestly, the rest of us didn’t much care about it.
We parked in the garage at the Great Lakes Science Museum.
I think it’s pricey, loud and bright. It got very crowded about halfway through for us, and I’m glad we were able to quickly finish up our tour.
One of the escalators is very narrow and shallow and I had an anxiety attack going up to the 4th floor to see the Pink Floyd Wall.
There are some nice history exhibits and famous items.
Elvis and The Beatles have huge areas with info about how they changed the music industry.
One of the Cleveland signs is right behind the Rock Hall and it has a lovely city backdrop.
We walked downtown to see some sites.
It was so hot and sunny that day, more than any other day of our trip!
We ate a late lunch at Geraci’s Slice Shop.
This was the only thing my son really wanted to do.
I imagine the pizza is best fresh. There are pizzas in a window and they heat up a slice like at a mall from the 1980’s. We showed up about 2 PM, so it was ok.
They have two free table top video games!
We stopped at Heinen’s and bought some steaks to cook for dinner.
It’s a very nice local grocery chain. I wish Dayton had some better quality stores!
Cleveland Main Library has a very fun Floral Immersive Exhibition by British Artist Rebecca Louise Law. We surprised our artist Akantha with a stop and to enjoy the air conditioning.
We were exhausted after walking in the city in the heat. Everything took so much longer than I expected.
We went to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
This was the main event for Akantha, but Tori and I love art museums too.
I looked up online lots of reviews and expectations for how long it would take and most said a couple hours. I don’t know what people do in art museums, but we were there for a looooong time. This place is huge!
Lots of Asian and African art, as well as some lovely Byzantine, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern pieces.
We ate an early dinner at Guarino’s and they let us dine on their lovely patio – even though we didn’t have a reservation!
Free valet parking. It’s the oldest restaurant in Cleveland. Lovely service – they didn’t even rush us. It was delicious! The best Italian food I’ve had since leaving Europe.
Alex got chicken piccata. Tori and I got two veal dishes and shared. Akantha got lasagna. Aaron got ravioli.
Great cocktails. Great salad and soup.
The proscuitto wrapped shrimp appetizer is divine. We got emotional about it.
We got gelato at Rosso. It was ok. No cones, only cups.
We drove through Lake View Cemetery.
It’s very lovely and easy to navigate. Signs point to the main sites and they’re available on online maps.
We thought these deer were statues until one licked his nose. Wow.
It was along day and we did everything on my list!
We drove to see the longest covered bridge. I guess we should’ve packed lunches and done a bridge tour.
It was hot and there were lots of wasps flying around.
We drove through the strip at Geneva-on-the-Lake. I’m sure I’m going to hurt some feelings, but that place was awful.
We counted two axe throwing bars, a gun range, several 21+ night clubs, and a Nazi biker bar. There was one little arcade with Eddie’s and a DQ. There were two gravel-covered paid parking lots. Lots of little slummy motels and tiny cabins. We didn’t think it was worth it to stop and eat at Eddie’s.
The beach was small and crowded. We didn’t check out the Lodge and I’ve never been able to make a reservation for our large family; they’re always booked and very expensive anyway.
We were very disappointed since everyone seems to rave about how cute Geneva is. We weren’t very impressed with any of the lake towns we saw. Maybe the ones between Cleveland and Toledo are better?
We stopped at Sam’s Club for burger patties and grilled those for dinner and later walked along Headlands Beach and found a ton of glass after a storm!
The water was receded more tonight and we could walk on soft sand barefooted. It was a lovely evening.
It was pouring rain when we woke up.
Aaron didn’t want to go fishing and Alex was very disappointed.
We went to the Cleveland Aquarium.
It was actually delightful even though they’re all teens. We all still do love zoos and aquariums.
We got to have the most adorable little shrimp crawl all over our hands.
The aquarium was super cute, in the old Foundry building.
Just when we thought we were maybe halfway through, there were sharks, then the gift shop. It was small, but we had fun.
We drove to West Side Market and got some lovely pasties and pies at an Irish vendor for lunch. I bought some sausage, figs, and mangos to bring home.
We walked to see the Guardians at Hope Bridge.
The Guardians symbolize progress in transportation. Each Guardian holds a different vehicle in its hands: a hay wagon, a covered wagon, a stagecoach, and a 1930s-era automobile, as well as four types of motorized trucks used for construction.
My husband and son drove to see some some other Cleveland signs, The Christmas Story house (and bought a leg lamp Xmas ornament), and went to the Guardians and Blue Jays baseball game.
Akantha didn’t want to do any of that and Tori decided to stay with us. We were a little disappointed we didn’t get to see the house or game.
I took my other two kids out to dinner at Brennan’s in Fairport Harbor. They don’t have to advertise. It was lovely.
Overall, this wasn’t our best or most memorable trip.
It’s getting difficult traveling with teens who have so many different preferences and interests – even when I make sure each one has a day and tour they prefer.
We are not all that impressed with Ohio, but we keep exploring.
Linking up: Randomosity, Eclectic Red Barn, Artsy Fartsy Mama, Gay NYC Dad, Life Tales Books, Perfectly Imperfect, Growing Garden, Joanne Viola, Fluster Buster, Ridge Haven, Try it Like it, InstaEncouragements, Grammy’s Grid, My Life Abundant, Slices of Life, Anita Ojeda, Silverado, Random Musings, Esme Salon, Mostly Blogging, Suburbia, Jenerally Informed, LouLou Girls, 2Chicks, Answer is Choco, Momfessionals, Lisa Notes, Modern Monticello, Katherine’s Corner, Pam’s Party, Pieced Pastimes, Shelbee on the Edge, CreatewJoy,