A couple weekends ago, we decided to go to Cleveland to check out Cuyahuga National Park, as well as nearby Chagrin Falls. Pinterest loves Chagrin Falls. Maybe you’ve seen this?
But this summer being how it is, things didn’t quite go according to plan.
Our journey started out with rainfall in the Sandusky area, which cooled things down a bit and made for some sweet pictures out the car window as we drove past Sandusky Bay.
We reached the town of Chagrin Falls around six in the evening. Chagrin Falls is the quintessential Small Town, filled with architecturally interesting old buildings housing a variety of shops and restaurants. Strangely enough, very few of the shops were open at six o’clock on a Friday night. Which probably accounts for all zero of the people seen on the street.
Luckily, the restaurants were in full swing. Six o’clock on Friday is apparently Chagrin Falls’ date night. We headed to Jekyll’s, a restaurant and bar with lots of outdoor seating and a spectacular view of the town’s namesake.
Thunder rolled in right as we were served, but between the roof over our particular patch of outdoor seating and the building sheltering us from two sides, we were able to enjoy the rain without switching seats. I had beef short ribs and a mushroom risotto cake with a Bordelaise sauce, which was fantastic (the beef was fall-off-the-fork tender), while the bf had an unspectacular pork chop.
In fairness to Jekyll’s, he doesn’t even really enjoy pork. So it might have actually been a decent pork chop. He said his corn was good, anyway.
Ice cream from a shop beside the falls was necessary after dinner, since I’m pretty sure ice cream beside the falls is the reason Pinterest is so in love with this place. There are actually two different ice cream shops next-to/sort-of-over the falls.
We chose to head to Jeni’s, which is originally a Columbus ice cream joint we’ve been to before. I love Jeni’s because they have all sorts of bizarre ice cream flavors, both as part of their regular menu and seasonal specials that you have to catch before they’re gone: churro, goat cheese & cherry, strawberry buttermilk, sweet corn & black raspberry…the list goes on and on. I had one scoop of wildberry lavender, which I had last time we were in Columbus, and one scoop of Riesling-poached pear. Both of them were as delicious as they sound.
Just as the line in Jeni’s got really long, we took our ice cream cones and headed down the stairs to the falls. There’s a nice viewing deck right above the river, and, despite the drizzly weather, many other people came and went while we were there.
At one end of the deck, there’s another shorter but steeper set of stone steps going right down to the river. We’d seen a bunch of kids playing down there while we ate dinner, so naturally we had to try it out ourselves.
There was a slippery stone ledge beneath the viewing deck, which went practically right up to the falls. So after finishing up my ice cream cone, I slipped off my shoes and stepped carefully along the ledge to get some close-ups.
Some of the older boys had climbed up to a spot right next to the waterfall, behind the Popcorn Shop, but that seemed more dangerous and less legal. So we skipped that and headed back to our campground for the night. No pictures of that, since it was just the Streetsboro KOA.
That’s “Kampground of America,” for those of you who don’t know. Why a K instead of a C? Your guess is as good as mine. KOAs are sort of campgrounds-slash-resorts, including amenities like a pool and an arcade while asking you to provide your own digs. You know, unless you rent out one of their cabins.
We did not. We set up in the dark, with the help of our headlights (we didn’t think to bring flashlights), and attempted to sleep in a cramped, uncomfortable tent with the heat and humidity raging outside. Silly rain. You were supposed to take care of those.
We breakfasted at a place in Stow because we also forgot to bring food to cook over a campfire and Streetsboro apparently hates breakfast. (We had our choice of Starbucks or Bob Evans. Someone needs to open a diner, stat.)
But that was all right, since Tip Top was cheap and delicious. Plus it had big picture windows looking out on some trees and bird feeders, and also there was a sweet fountain in the lobby.
It was already pretty hot out, so we skipped out on the national park and headed for Cleveland’s West End Market instead. I didn’t last long there because I basically die in temperatures above 85 degrees, but here’s an idea of it for you.
It was far more crowded than it looks (so much so I had to keep stepping outside to get some air because the heat from all the bodies made me feel sick), and this is just the boss meat market. There was a whole separate building for produce (sorry, no pictures of that), and what produce! Dragonfruit, guava, figs… I didn’t even know what I was looking at sometimes.
Since I wasn’t feeling too good, we decided to leave after that. I felt better about the wind on my face, until it blew a hornet into the car, which landed on my seat without me noticing and got me in the shoulder when I leaned back. Needless to say, between the heat and humidity, missing out on the national park, and getting stung, the weekend was sort of a bust.
But that waterfall was awesome.
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