Cleveland is home to the world’s largest rubber stamp. There is so something charmingly American about roadside attractions, particularly ones that boast to be the world’s largest anything. I think in the 60s thru 80s some Canadian cities tried to borrow this tourism strategy but Canadians are so modest, boasting about being superior in anything but hockey didn’t catch on and so America reigns in the world’s largest category.
Before the mother of all voyages, Geof and I ventured on one last road trip – this time to Cleveland. When I shared our plan with with friends and coworkers I received the same puzzled, turned up nose reaction, even after reminding them of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was apparent Cleveland wasn’t on the top of must-see lists for others. But we were not worried about the Mistake on the Lake; while we have been to glorious Montreal and immaculate Ottawa we had also had a legendary time in decaying Buffalo.
And Cleveland delivered. It was a cold, grey, rainy weekend but we were overwhelmed with the architecture and art in the city. It is filled with old buildings and scenery that you would often equate with Philadelphia or other cities.
Clevelanders/Clevelandites? are also incredibly nice. The Couchsurfing group offered suggestions for what to see, Cleveland Public Art tweeted a walking map of the public art in the city and the staff at the Hampton Inn were so pleasant. We did head outside the core and even the dodgiest areas seemed to be warming up to neighborhood gentrification.
But as you know with every rose there are some thorns:
1)The only recycling bin we saw was outside City Hall. There was no composting/green bins. This includes in our hotel, around the city and in restaurants. It was sad to see such a disregard for something so easy to do.
2)Excessive packaging and most of it styrofoam. Take out sandwiches were wrapped in foil wrapping and placed in unneeded styrofoam. Phoenix Coffee had a great atmosphere but when I saw the hot coffee came in styrofoam I couldn’t bear to order one (I avoid styrofoam and plastic, especially when heated). We read on the cup that styrofoam was chosen because it could be more easily recycled than paper cups. However, there’s a fatal flaw as identified with thorn number one.
3) It was really hard to get a cab from outside the downtown core. We waited at a bar for nearly an hour. Our cab driver did make up for it by telling us a whale of a story that amused us so this thorn isn’t as prickly.
Overall I think Cleveland gets a bad rap and would be a great city to visit in the summer, the photos below do no justice to the fun that could be had on a sunny day by the waterfront.
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