Cleveland Rocks!

We got back from Cleveland last night, and after a grilled cheese and a 12-hour nap I'm ready to blog about it!  Seriously, it was only a 7-hour trip each way (including quite a few bathroom breaks), but when we returned Amos and I both were exhausted.  

Monday we arrived in Cleveland around 5.00 or so.  We beat the Confers by a few hours, so we took advantage of our gorgeous hotel.  We had a swim, which felt wonderful and allowed me to make some moves not seen this year, and had a couple of drinks at the complimentary cocktail hour (shirley temple, thanks).  Seriously, our hotel was amazing.  We stayed at an Embassy Suites, which I've never stayed at before, and not only was it beautifully decorated and accommodating, but the staff there was amazingly nice and helpful.  I am definitely going to stay there again!  Anyway, after a nice dinner at a local Lebanese place I hit the sack while Amos stayed up to greet the family.  

First thing Tuesday after a leisurely breakfast (also amazing, tons of stuff and it was all really good) we hit up the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.  Amos and I took some photos outside, since you couldn't take any cameras inside the place.  The Hall was both awesome and lame – on the one hand, seeing all the memorabilia was really cool.  You could get an idea of the size of the artist by the outfits they had, and I was kind of surprised at how small Madonna must be and how tall Jimmy Hendrix would have been.  A couple of artists even had the original, 

handwritten lyrics of famous songs as they were drafting them (Momma, I saw the original copy of "Ramblin' Man") and that was the coolest for me.  Only the bottom floor was really great, though.  The upper floors, the ones actually in the glass pyramid building, were small and kind of lame.  Also, I thought they had a shortage of great female rockers in there, but that's just me, right?  The gift shop was fun, though, and surprisingly not over-priced.  A couple of you got Christmas presents from there!  ;)

After the Hall we hit up "Mama's Pizza" in Little Italy.  This restaurant was featured in "Everybody Loves Pizza," which is a book detailing the best pizza places across the country.  It was my favorite restaurant on the whole trip!  I loved the pizza and the late 70's decor was just the icing on the cake.  We walked around the neighborhood for a bit, but barely scratched the surface.  There were a few square blocks of galleries, shops, 

bakeries, and restaurants; the next time we visit I'm going to slate a whole day for just this area.  We also drove out to the Polka Hall of Fame, which Jim really wanted to visit, and hung out there for a while.  Of course we weren't as excited as Jim about this one, but he had a really good time and picked up about 70 CD's, so it was worth it!  That night we had BBQ, pretty good for a chain, and saw the Zohan movie again, which was just as hilarious the second time around.  By 10 pm or so when we were done I was worn out, so we headed back to the hotel for an early night.

Wednesday we headed off to the Arcade, one of the oldest malls in the country.  We got a little sidetracked at a used CD/vinyl shop on the way there, where Amos got a couple of beat records for scratching & Jim got another CD or two.  The whole area down there was adorable and looked like tons of fun.  We passed the House of Blues and a bunch of cute restaurants, but we were too early for anything to be open really.  Anyway, we made it to the Arcade, which was lovely but unfortunately had only super lame shops.  Seriously, *super* lame shops.  I don't think we went into any of them.  It was relaxing and gorgeous in there though.  After an ill-fated stop at the Science Center, which seemed to feature only broken exhibits (for real, we got our money back) we headed way out to another pizza place from the book.  It was pretty good too in a totally different style.  We were all kind of tired, plus the weather was freezing and rainy, so we headed back to the hotel for a swim, the 

complimentary cocktail hour (Shirley Temple, thanks), and a game of pool.  That night we went to a more upscale Italian place in a fancier part of town.  It was pretty good, very pretty inside, and had several different tomato sauces on the menu (that's kind of rare for any place, usually it's just the red sauce and then white sauces).  I got the baby a pretty blanket at a shop featuring green/recycled items and scored a reuseable bag on top of it.  By the time we got home I was so worn out I headed up to bed, as did Jim and Laura, but Nick and Amos went to see a later showing of "The Hulk."

Sadly, the next day we had to leave.  We breakfasted with the family and then headed in our separate directions.  Amos and I stopped at the Waterloo outlet stores on the way home and picked up some cheap & adorable baby outfits from Gymboree & Old Navy, plus another Christmas present or two, and headed back in.  We passed out by 8 pm last night, no joke.  Definitely we'll visit again!

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