Florida, 2020

We had to reschedule our cancelled spring break trip from April, 2020 to a different date so we randomly picked the week of October 17th, 2020. We’re glad we did as we had perfect weather and everybody was able to come enjoy the beach.

Courtney, Jack, Sophia and I left CLE on Fri 10/16/20 around 7:30AM and drove all day to just south of Nashville. We stayed at a brand new Hampton Inn and Suites a bit south of Franklin, TN. Had BBQ for dinner at a place called Moe’s that was delicious. Headed out next morning and made it to Grayton Beach around 2:30PM with no troubles. The door lock wasn’t working… but we were early so went down to the beach and were able to get in around 3:00PM. Claire, Corey and Grace flew in to Destin, rented a car and arrived around 5:00ish. We stayed at the same house we stayed in 2 years ago and it was perfect for the week… beach around the corner and a deck and screened in porch facing the sunset that was beautiful every night. Our days were pretty much the same very day: early bike ride with a stop for coffee, late breakfast, hit the beach around 10ish, come up for lunch, back to beach and then up for sunset cocktails and dinner. As it is COVID times we only wet out to dinner once to the Red Bar and went to Seaside once for appetizers and drinks. Other than that we stayed on the beach.

We stopped at Party Source in Kentucky on the way. The biggest liquor store in the world is a site to behold…. stocked up big time too.
Entering the Beer Cave on first night’s stop in Tennesee
Had BBQ at a place called Moe’s
BBQ happiness
there was live music going on in our hotel – got to get it any way you can these days
the beach was beautiful as always
We were unsure what this time of year would be like… but we lucked out and had perfect weather all week
The post sunset sky was beautiful from the deck of our house
Seaside kitty
Sandcastles were primo all week
assuming the position
it was nice to have the beach practically to ourselves
beach god
oysters with a view
royal reds

cocktails at Seaside
frozen mojitos
back in time for the nightime sky
Sophia and Jack were doing remote schooling the whole week
stopped for a hike on one of our bike rides
the rebuild Red Bar looks just like the old one. We lucked out and got an outside table with no wait at all
post dinner selfie on Grayton Beach
early morning river
Amavida avocado toast. The pickled onions and everything bagel seasoning has become a standy in our house now.
beautiful light
Beach King
nobody on the beach this afternoon
heres to the year 2020

Michigan, July 2020

Friday, July 27, 2020

We were supposed to be going to an Avett Brothers concert in Cooperstown, New York this weekend but of course… that got cancelled a long time ago.  We decided to keep our scheduled time off and go up to Traverse City for a long weekend.  Jack, Courtney and I left Cleveland around 6:00AM and got to our house we rented around 1:00PM.  We were happy that they let us check in early and were happy with the house that was just on top of Long Lake, about a mile from Moomers.  We wasted no time and set out for Sleeping Bear dunes where we went on a vigorous hike at Pyramid Point, a spot we’ve never been to before.  The hike was interesting in that it went through forest, had amazing overlook views of Lake MI and also went through a beautiful meadow.  It was was quite hilly so was a good workout.  We drove down M22 on the way back, stopped in Glen Arbor and had a beer at Cherry Republic sitting outside in their courtyard listing to a guy play music.  Very nice as we haven’t heard live music in months.  We drove back through Traverse City – stopping at the grocery to stock up.  We had a nice dinner of steak and potatoes and spent the evening relaxing outside the house around the campfire.  We tried to stay up to see the shooting stars that were supposed to be out… but of course we didn’t make it that late.

starting our hike at Pyramid Point

Beautiful views overlooking Lake MI

Happy to be able to get away

the woods opened up to a beautiful meadow full of wildflowers

relaxing at Cherry Republic

cocktail hour in the backyard of the house we rented

Saturday, July 28, 2020

We drove to Glen Haven in the morning with out bikes, lunch and beach supplies.  We biked about 2 hours on the Heritage Trail going from Glen Haven to the Dune Climb and then south towards Empire.  It was a beautiful day and the bike trail was gorgeous.  We changed into our beach attire at the car and then hiked through the dunes with our beach chairs and cooler to one of our favorite beaches of all time off of Sleeping Bear Point. We picnicked and relaxed enjoying the perfect setting. We drove back to the house, had a short siesta and then hit the road to Mission Point Peninsula to hit some wineries before dinner.  We went to Black Star Farms, Mari Vineyards and then Bonobo winery.  It was interesting to see how each of them dealt with the social distancing mandates.  All of them were very nice with beautiful settings and good wine.  The wine in the area is actually really good and the wineries that keep popping up are amazing.  The quality is better every time we have gone up here.  We ended up buying over a case of wine over the next few days at different places.  Our goal was to have dinner at The Jolly Pumpkin at the top of the peninsula.  We ended up waiting about a half an hour as their capacity was reduced like all places.  The wait was a pleasure sitting in a grove of trees with the lake peeking through drinking Jolly Pumpkin sour beers.  We had a nice dinner, sitting on their beautiful patio overlooking the lake.

Jack and Courtney walking up part of the Dune Climb

On the beach at last

Bonobo winery. They only had a handful of table so most people were sitting on their hill.

…with a great view.

Mari Vinyards

the front yard of The Jolly Pumpkin

Perfect spot with really good beer

laughing at the crazies who were sitting next to us

Sunday,  July 29, 2020

Jack drove me, Courtney and our bikes to Traverse City to get on the Leelanau bike trail that goes from Traverse City up to Sutton’s Bay – about a 12 mile bike ride.  The bike trail was along an old railroad path and went through farms, vineyards and little villages.  Very nice.  We poked around Sutton’s Bay a bit and went into a couple stores.  Jack was disk golfing while we were riding and we met him for lunch at Hop Lot Brewing Company in Sutton’s Bay.  It had a great huge beer garden and they had the best pandemic ordering system of anyone we have seen so far.  You ordered everything on your phone, the servers brought things to you and set it on a little table next to your table and you paid everything on your phone.  Zero contact. Why doesn’t everyone do that?  They had good beer too 🙂 .  We did a tour of some of the wineries on the Leelanau peninsula after lunch.  Our first stop was Tandem Ciders in an old school house surround by farmland.  They had nice little spots to sit in corn fields and in the woods.  Next stop was Shady Lane Cellars that was another beautiful place with tables spread out all over outside, a beautiful outside bar and one of the few places that let you do real wine tastings.  We then went to Brengman Brother and… surprise… another awesome place.  Jack especially likes this one as the people working there were very knowledgeable and we had some good conversation with them about the wine.  We eventually made it back home, took a short rest and got cleaned up for going out.  We went to dinner at Trattoria Stella which was in a development called Grand Traverse Commons which used to be an old insane asylum.  The restaurant we went to was a very nice place, some say one of best in MI, and was in the basement of one of the buildings and kind of spooky – yet elegant and refined 😉  We had a great dinner starting with cocktails and then had fried zucchini blossoms and a nice charcuterie board with lots of different things from their in-house butcher.  For mains we all split a fresh tomato salad, a local fish that I forget what it was and a plate of their home-made pasta.  Afterward we walked around the very large grounds where most of the buildings were still abandoned, in bad shape but very interesting architecturally.  It will be interesting to see if they fix them all up over the years.

there was a community garden off the bike trail we were on.

Everything was in full bloom and was quite a show

I liked these fish sculptures

Sutton’s Bay

Hop a Lot Brewing Co

Tandem Cider

our little grove at the cidery

Jack was serious: taking notes in his wine journal.  Shady Lane Cellars.

beautiful spot

Old asylum trying to be a new destination

one of the old abandoned buildings

Monday, July 30, 2020

We started our day hiking trail Bass Lake Loop in Sleeping Bear Dunes.  The trail was through the woods and unfortunately it was full of mosquitoes almost the whole way – about an hour hike.  We made it through but it wasn’t fun.  We then drove down about 5 miles to Platte River Beach and waded through the river to get to the beach and then walked along the beautiful beach.  It was another beautiful day and this beach was especially nice with hardly any people.  We then went a few miles north to Esch Beach and found a nice spot with our beach chair and packed cooler.  We brought our lunch with us and had a nice relaxing few hours.  We then went on one more short hike at Empire Bluff which was about a mile hike going up through the woods that ended with another beautiful outlook onto Lake MI.  We decided to stay in for dinner instead of going out and stopped at the grocery store to get burgers to grill. It was a good choice – hanging outside for cocktail hour and having a casual dinner.

mosquito laden woods

Platte River Beach

this beach is almost like a FLA beach

picnicking on Esch Beach

enjoying the view from Empire Bluffs

enjoying the patio one last time

Tuesday, July 31st, 2020

We took our time packing up and getting on the road as we were in no rush.  We had an easy drive back to CLE listening to Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants all the way home which was fun.  Another nice trip and hope to rent a house next summer around there somewhere for a whole week.

Las Vegas, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I went on a long weekend solo trip to visit Grace in Las Vegas.  I left work at 3:00PM, took the rapid to the airport arriving in plenty of time and had an easy direct flight arriving 8:00PM Vegas time.  Grace picked me up at the airport and we drove home to her apartment where I was staying with her.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

I dropped Grace off at work after stopping for coffee and then hit the road for Red Rocks Canyon Park which was just a quick 30 minute drive.  I drove down a road towards Calico Basin which was actually a residential  neighborhood with just a few amazing houses in the desert.  I parked the car at the end of the street and walked toward the hills taking in the amazing scenery.  Blue skies, no one else around and beautiful scenery.  I hit the road, paid the fee to get in the park, drove around the scenic loop soaking in the scenery and stopping at two or three spots to explore on foot.  I stopped at “Ice Box Canyon” and started on the trail that goes up to the mountain and through canyons but ran out of time and didn’t get to the end… next time.  I drove back to LV to pick Grace up as she was only working a half day.  We went to lunch at Esther’s Kitchen in the art’s district.  It’s a popular place and was perfect for lunch.  We each had pasta, bread and wine – all excellent.  We drove back to Grace’s place so she could change out of her working clothes and then hit the road for more hiking.  We drove about an hour and a half north to Valley of Fire State Park.  The park was amazing  – like walking on the moon.  Truly breath taking.  We drove around the loop, stopping at different places, taking lots of photographs and going on short hikes.  We drove back to Grace’s place and took a rest for awhile and then drove to the strip.  We had dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace.  We both had margaritas.  I had ancho rubbed pork tenderloin and sweet potato tamale and Grace had whatever the fish special was.  Everything was very good.  After dinner we walked the strip – checking out the Christmas displays at Bellagio and getting dessert at the Momofuku window in the Cosmopolitan.  Their cereal milk soft serve, that we had in NYC in the spring was our goal and it did not let down.  So good.

Calico Basin in Red Rock Canyon

prayer circle

the visitor center in the park was actually very nice
The visitor center in the park was actually very nice. Modern, outside and I was literally the only one there which was pretty cool.

and I was literally the only one there which was really nice

start of Ice Box Canyon trail
the path leading to Ice Box Canyon

lunch at Esther's Kitchen
lunch at Esther’s Kitchen

Valley of Fire

desert selfie


cruising the strip after dinner

sin city

Inside the Bellaggio which was all decked out for Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2019

I dropped off Grace at work in the morning and then worked for two hours at a coffee shop downtown called Mothership Coffee.  It was a cool little place in a set of new shops that someone converted from an old motor motel.  That section of Las Vegas, just beyond Freemont Street, is quickly turning into a great spot.  I decided to drive to Hoover Dam to check it out as I never have been there.  It was just about an hour drive.  I took the tour that brought you into the powerhouse and then to some interesting viewing areas.  Amazing to say the least.  Pictures don’t do it justice. I liked all the art deco details and the hugeness of everything.  I tried to find a hiking trail in the area but wasn’t able to find it so I decided to head back to Grace’s neighborhood to explore.  I had lunch at a place called Honey Salt in Summerlin.  I sat at the bar and had an Anchor Steam and avocado toast.  I browsed a bit at some stores and then went back to Grace’s place, took a nap and waited for her to get home from her holiday party.  We went to Fremont Street for the night.  We grabbed some drinks and walked around enjoying the craziness.  We stopped and played some $5 blackjack but had really bad luck and only lasted around 20 minutes – my only gambling of the trip.  We had a really good dinner at a popular Thai place on Fremont Street called Le Thai.  It had a great atmosphere and the food was excellent.  After dinner we walked around some more and stopped at a club for one last cocktail.  Fun night.

sculpture outside the coffee house

cappuccino and ham and cheese croissant at Mothership

Mothership Coffee Roasters

the underground powerhouse at Hoover Dam


looking the other direction

Hoover Dam selfie

Lake Mead side of the damn – at historic low

half in Nevada and half in Arizona

Lake Mead

avocado toast still life

cocktails on Freemont Street

Santa! Get off your phone!!

Fremont Street craziness

strolling downtown

Le Thai

Saturday, December 14, 2019

We slept in a bit.  I drove around the corner to get some coffee from Starbucks and stopped at a fancy donut place and brought them back.  We eventually got ourselves going and went out shopping.  Grace needed some side tables and lamps for her living room so I told her I would get them for her.  We went to Target which didn’t have much of anything so we then went to IKEA which of course had everything and then some.  We stopped and In and Out for burgers for lunch.  I’ve never been to one so that was a nice treat.  Burgers were good but fries were only so so.  We then went shopping for a couple of hours at a nearby outdoor shopping place that had lots of good stores.  We bought some Xmas presents as well as some things for the upcoming wedding.  We went back to Grace’s and put together the IKEA items and rearranged her living room just a bit and it looks great.  After taking a good afternoon nap, I packed up my stuff as I was flying home at 11:00PM and we hit the road.  We decided to go to Chinatown.  First stop was the Golden Tiki. An over the top tiki bar with all the trimmings.  We sat at the bar, each had a good tropical drink and listened to the cheesy bar playing in the corner.  The bathrooms are worth the trip.  We then went a few blocks down to a small pho place that Grace heard was good.  There were only about 8 tables that were all full and about 12 people waiting for one so we decided to go somewhere else – next time as it looks like a good spot.  So we ended up going to Sapporo Revolving Sushi which ended up being super fun.  After waiting for about 30 minutes at the bar, drinking a beer and sampling some sake from the very nice bartender we got to our table.  A revolving track of little plates of sushi went around and you picked what you wanted, piling up your plates on the table so they knew how much to charge.  You could also order from an ipad thing and a little robot rolls out with your order.  So cool.  We ate lots of sushi and ordered some pho and then match creme brulee.  Everything was great… and relatively cheap.  It was time to get to the airport after dinner so Grace dropped me off and was off to another party.  My red eye flight was on time and I actually slept for most of it… a first.  The flight was even thirty minutes early getting to CLE.  Courtney picked me up at the ungodly hour and we went right back to bed when we got home.

Christmas shopping in sunny 60 degree weather is the way to go

The Golden Tiki

wallpaper in the men’s room

the wall of the men’s room had cages full of skulls…. bizarre

sushi smiles

Chicago, Wisconsin and Michigan – August 6-13, 2019

Courtney and I drove to Chicago on our way to Wisconsin. Jack was flying to London the next day from O’Hare so he hitched a drive with us.

We spent the afternoon in downtown CHI. We parked under Millenium park and directly headed to find some CHI pizza.

We explored the old Post Office…

..and its beautiful tiffany domed interiors.

The streets were full of overflowing late summer flowers.

We spent a few hours in the Art Institute where we saw this photo.
We spent a few hours in the Art Institute where we admired this photo…

…and the beautiful Chagall windows.

One of the many places to relax

We had lunch at a cool place in Wasau, WI the next day. We picked Craig up at a hospital there where he was discharged after knee surgery.  We spent the previous night outside Milwaukee after a quick visit with George, Carrie and their kiddos.

We made it to Jute late later in the afternoon.

We stayed at Jute lake for four nights while Courtney helped her Dad and we enjoyed the peace and quiet.

we did a lot of kayaking and biking

the weather was perfect every day

walking with Dewey

the very nice community garden in one of the little towns

dock perspective

Aqualand had bands playing on Saturday night

the bands were good and it was nice to hang out there for a couple of hours


on Sunday we said our goodbyes as Craig was doing fine and hit the road heading north. We stopped at Bond Falls - always a great spot.
on Sunday we said our goodbyes as Craig was doing fine and hit the road heading north. We stopped at Bond Falls – always a great spot.

another beautiful day – we spent a good hour exploring the trails

we stopped for lunch at a kind of creepy U.P. town called Houghton

We went all the way up to Copper Harbor which we have never been to before. We stayed at a ’50s motel on the water with a nice view.

We drove up the coast a bit with our bikes on the car and then followed a bike path to a remote beach

We had dinner at a place caller Harbor Haus which turned out to be great. We stopped for a beer at a teeny nice little brewery in town and then headed back to our motel

The next day we hit the road on our way to White Fish point at the other end of the peninsula

We stopped at this beautiful beach on the way and admired the crystal clear water and beautiful sand.

We had lunch in Munising, got lost trying to get to Pictured Rocks via detour so just headed to White Fish Point.

We spent the night at the lighthouse at the end of the point. We were here once several years ago and thought it would be cool to stay here. We lucked out and got the one open room the whole week.

The old coast guard station is now the hotel which had around six rooms in it

On the way there we stopped and got some provisions for a picnic dinner that we ended up having on the deserted beach

It was a beautiful evening

Lake Superior rocks

amazing driftwood everywhere

The next morning we got up pretty early for the long drive home. I walked down the beach to catch the sunrise.

Colorado, July 2019

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Courtney and I were up at 4:00AM to catch our 6:00AM flight to Denver.  We freaked out a bit when we saw the security line snaking through the airport with just over an hour to go before boarding but the line moved very quickly and we had no problems with the direct flight that got us to Denver at 7:00AM Mountain Time.  We rented a car and took off for the mountains.  We drove about 1 1/2 hours to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We stopped for breakfast at Estes Park – the last town before going up into the park and had a good hearty breakfast at a local diner kind of place called Mountain Home Cafe.  We then hit the road going up up up stopping briefly at the welcome center, stopping at various look out points and gawking at the amazing scenery.  We followed Trail Ridge Road – listed on the national register of historic places for being the highest paved road in continental US – up to as high as you can go.  It was very difficult to hike at all due to the elevation and given that we just got there and weren’t used to it so we mostly just took it all in.  I did manage to walk up some grueling stairs to get up to over 12,000 feet.  We took the same way down through the park and then cut over to Boulder where we were staying.  We got to our AirBnB around 3ish, unpacked and relaxed for awhile.  We met my cousin Julia and her family at Bohemian Biergarten in downtown Boulder off Pearl Street.  It was great to see Julia and Hampton and especially Anna who was just learning how to walk.  Hampton was off to see the Dead and Co who was playing a show in Boulder but we were able to spend a few hours with Julia and Anna catching up and playing.  After bidding our adieu we had dinner at The Kitchen which turned out to be just around the corner from the bar.  We sat at a table on the street, watched the people walk by and had a great bottle of rose, oysters, fish tacos and a crab cake. Perfect. We walked up and down Pearl Street after dinner and went back to our place as we were tired from a long day.  After a nice moonlit hot tub we were quick to fall asleep.

excited to see the snow capped mountains

breakfast spot with a view

up in the mountains – pictures don’t do justice

vacation selfie
vacation selfie

still snow up at the top

evil steps

snow on one side and wildflowers on the other

made it to the top

me, Julia and Anna

such a cutie

Pearl Street

The Kitchen

our airbnb had a private patio with our own hot tub. Nice.

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

After a great night’s sleep, an early hot tub and a nice breakfast chez airbnb we headed to Boulder’s flatiron mountains for a morning hike.  It was just a 15 minute drive away and we hiked up up up for the first 30 minutes or so which was still tough for our Midwestern lungs, but once we made it up there were nice trails through the woods and beautiful scenery everywhere.  We hiked down a different path that led to Boulder’s Chautauqua, a relative of the NY Chautauqua.  We walked around the grounds checking out the early 20th century buildings, nice little cottages and great gardens.  We headed into downtown Boulder and had a leisurely lunch at West Flanders Brewing Co. sitting outside again enjoying the passing crowds.  We stopped at Whole Foods to get provisions for the evening festivities and headed back for a rest.  Our real reason for coming to CO was to go to Red Rocks to see The Avett Brothers and Lake Street Dive who were playing this night.  It was about a 45 minute drive and got there plenty early to tailgate for a bit, take our time wandering up to the venue and enjoying the pre-game festivities.  Red Rocks was beautiful and the concert was great.  We’ve seen both groups many times and think they were both at their best.  The setting I’m sure brings out the best in everyone.  Bucket-list item: checked off.

our abnb had these great outdoor courtyards – love the trellis behind the couch – hope to reproduce by our shed

getting ready to conquer the flatirons

getting closer

a little cairn village in the woods

Chautauqua cottage

tea house in Boulder

art deco court house in Boulder

beer game on

tailgating at Red Rocks

long way up
long way up

Avett Brothers rocking the house

Monday, July 8th, 2019

We slept in after getting home pretty late the night before.  We decided to head up the mountains to the little town of Nederland.  It was a scenic drive up the mountains marveling at every turn the rushing rivers, steep cliffs and mountain views.  The road was under construction for most of the way so it made it extra treacherous avoiding all the equipment.  Once we got up to Nederland we drove about 10 minutes out and hiked at an area called Mud Lake.  We had a good hour and a half hike through the woods, lakes and mountain views.  It was nice and not crowded.  We then went down and walked around the little hippy town, had lunch and a beer and a great BBQ place and then headed back down to Boulder going a different way.  We relaxed for a few hours and then hit another couple of Boulder Breweries.  We went to Upslope which was just a mile or so from where we were staying.  A little place in an industrial park.  It had a great vibe and we had some great beer.  We next went to Avery Brewing which was a humungous place that several people told us to go to.  We put our name in for a table, got a beer from the bar, and did the self guided tour of the brewery.  We didn’t wait long and had a nice dinner and more great beer.

The woods up in the mountains

Nederland, CO

The Carousel of Happiness (right next to dispensary)

chillin at the airbnb

Avery Brewing

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

Our flight home was in the early afternoon so we enjoyed the hot tub one last time and packed up.  We stopped for one more hiking excursion at Eldorado Canyon State Park.  Once again – amazing scenery, trails and mountains.  We spent an hour checking out the rushing water going through the canyon, the huge vertical cliffs and the completely crazy mountain climbers scaling straight up.  We made it to the airport with no trouble.  Returned the car and made it back to CLE with no troubles.

chilly in the morning. perfect hot tub weather.

Eldorado Canyon. Pictures don’t do it justice.

can you see the climbers on this mountain?

Oxford, OH

Friday, May 17th, 2019

We stopped in Columbus for lunch on our way to Miami University to celebrate Grace’s graduation. We stopped at Wolf’s Ridge which has become our go to place in Columbus . We had a great lunch as always.

We stayed at Hueston Woods State Park where we had three cabins. Two for us and 1 for the Meaney’s. We arrived late afternoon and quickly settled into our beautiful setting.

This has been the third time we have stayed in the cabins at Hueston Woods. We were really lucky that we got them for graduation weekend. Penny and I got on the phones over a year ago on the day they opened up and I lucked out and got through.  They sell out in less than an hour.

We had 20+ for dinner; hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and lots of things people brought. Worked out great.

17 year olds

turned into a beautiful night

Saturday, May 18, 2019

We went to Grace’s house for brunch along with the families of her three roommates.

The happy housemates

Grace had THE most amazing college house ever for Senior year.

chillin in Grace’s back yard

The commencement ceremony was BRUTAL. Super HOT and sunny, awful speaker. Over half of the crowd and graduates were gone before it was over. Really bad.

the future is bubbly!

celebrating graduation

our tree peony bloomed on the day we were leaving so we cut most of the blooms and brought them with us 🙂

The age 25+ crowd left the partiers behind and headed back to Hueston woods and quickly settled into another great campfire evening

Sunday, May 19, 2019

love the early morning campsite

Courtney and I stuck around for Grace’s business school ceremony which was 1000 percent better than the commencement. Everyone else hit the road mid morning.

Grace receiving her diploma

Grace and Taylor with the paper

stuffed car selfie. great weekend.

Savannah, May 2019

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Courtney and I wanted to go on a trip to celebrate our anniversary so we found a cheap direct flight to Savannah a few weeks ago and decided to spend a long weekend there as it’s always been somewhere we’ve wanted to visit.  We both took the day off work and worked around the house as our flight was not until 5:00PM.  Sophia drove us to the airport and we had no trouble with the flight, car rental or finding our AirBnB.  We found a condo in the middle of the historic district which turned out to be nice and a perfect location.  We settled in and hit the street around 9:00PM looking for a late night spot.  We walked a couple blocks down to the Grey which we really wanted to check out and lucked out and found two seats open at the bar – we tried to get a reservation weeks ago but the whole weekend was booked.  Grey is a rehabbed Greyhound station that is now a trendy new southern place.  We recently watched an episode that focused on their young African American female chef on Netflix’s Chef’s table.  The place was very cool and we had cocktails, oysters, pimento cheese and crackers and fried chicken with biscuits and gravy.  All great.  We walked downtown towards the river after dinner checking out the old warehouses, bars and restaurants everywhere and made it back around midnight.

Happy to be in a warm city walking around
Happy to be in warm weather at last

the bar at The Grey

Georgia oysters

Savannah waterfront

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning.  We had breakfast at a place called J. Christopher’s a few blocks away.  We sat outside enjoying the nice weather and had a big breakfast.  We walked through the Colonial Park Cemetery which was beautiful with huge dripping trees and hundreds of year old gravestones and crypts.  We started exploring the area goggling at the beautiful houses, gardens and squares that have all been well maintained.  The live oaks with the hanging moss that are everywhere are amazing to behold.  We walked down to Forsyth park, checked out the farmers market that was going on there, stopped and got some coffee and sat on a bench in the park people watching and soaking in the sun.  We continued exploring the area, visiting each of the squares and went on a guided tour of the Mercer Williams House which is a 19th century mansion that was rehabbed in the 70’s by a wealthy art dealer – and part of the novel and movie Midnight in the Garden of Evil.  We were checking out the impressive Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) store and somehow managed to join one of their school’s admissions tours that started in the store.  Now we have been on dozens and dozens of college tours throughout the years and this one was quite amazing.  It was like you were at Disney World with secret doors opening up, projections, special effects.  It was crazy.  The story of SCAD is pretty interesting though… started only in the late 70’s it is now the largest design school in the country and was a big part in the recent revitalization of Savannah.  We were looking around for a spot for lunch and ended up in the City Market sitting on a patio in the sun, listening to a band, drinking beer and eating bar food.  A nice way to spend the afternoon.  After a nice rest we went to dinner at Husk which was just a block around the corner.  The original Husk is in Charleston, but they recently opened places in Savannah and Atlanta.  The restaurant was gorgeous in a beautifully restored mansion and we had a great table.  We shared some fresh shrimp as an appetizer and I had pan fried catfish on spring vegetables and Courtney had pork loin over farro.  All great.

view from our window in the early morning

breakfast spot

vacation selfie

one of the many squares

secret garden

Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Unfortunately I got sick overnight with flu like symptoms and didn’t get much sleep.  Thankfully it didn’t last too long and I was feeling better enough by late morning to hit the rode.  We drove to an old plantation about 30 miles out of Savannah.  Wormsloe plantation is know mostly for it’s amazing mile long allee of live oak trees.  The trees did not disappoint.  A spectacular sight.  We walked around the ruins of the 18th century plantation that was set on the river enjoying the views, the tropical vegetation and the quietness.  After spending a few hours there we headed to a recommended restaurant called The Wyld Dock Bar which was a super chill place in the middle of nowhere on a dock.  We waited for about a half hour having a beer and playing bean bags and then had lunch at a perfect table on the dock looking over the river.  The food and drinks were A+ too. Great find.  We headed back to Savannah and had a rest.  We walked around some more in the evening admiring the gardens, squares and the trees, not really too hungry, but ended up eating at a diner place late night.

another beautiful morning

Wormsloe plantation front gate

amazing road of live oaks

the grounds of the plantation were pretty remote and tropical-like

not much left of the colonial era buildings

view looking out on the river and rice fields

The Wyld

secret garden

Monday, May 13th, 2019

We had leisurely breakfast at a coffee shop down the street and then checked out of the airbnb. Our flight was not until mid-afternoon so we had some time to explore.  We drove to Bonaventure cemetery about 30 miles outside of town and walked around for an hour admiring the crumbling graves and crypts and the old trees.  We then drove another 30 miles to the coast to Tybee Beach and said hello to the ocean and went for a nice long walk.  We had one last beer at a little place on the beach and then hit the road to the airport and made it back to CLE in no time flat.  Fun trip.

sad angel

poor Little Gracie

path to the beach

enjoying the mostly deserted beach

A corona on the beach… until next time

New York City, March 2019

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Grace and I went on a spring break trip to NYC. I haven’t been to NYC in 15 or so years and Grace has never been so we were excited for an adventure. I woke up at 4:00AM for our 6:30 AM flight, showered, got ready and then saw message that our flight was delayed an hour and a half.  We went back to sleep for an hour and then Courtney drove us to the airport and had no troubles on our quick flight to Laguardia.  We bought our subway cards at the airport and then took a shuttle bus to the nearest subway stop and then took the subway into Manhattan.  It only took about a half hour and only cost $2.75.  We were staying at Pod51 on East 51st and 2nd Ave in midtown – just a block and a half from subway stop.  We were able to check in early to our tiny little room,  dropped our stuff off and hit the pavement by 11:00AM.  Our first stop was Essa bagel, just down the street where we waited in line for about 1/2 hour.  I had an everything bagel with sun-dried tomato cream cheese bacon and onions.  Best bagel ever.  We walked downtown on Lexington happy to be exploring.  We went into Grand Central, explored, gawked and then caught the train to Hudson Yards.  Hudson Yards is a new development that just opened up a few weeks ago. We climbed the Vessel – an M.C. Escher-ist sculpture? photo op? stair master?… whatever it is its pretty cool and has amazing views.  The new buildings surrounding the plaza are all impressive and the soon to open shed looks amazing.  Billions and billions of dollars.  We walked through the mall with lots of glitzy stores, bought a few things at the Japanese store MUJI and then hit the high line which started next door.  Walked the high line enjoying the architecture, art and people; walked through the Chelsea Market half way through; bopped into the Diane Von Furstenberg boutique where there was an exhibit by Ashley Longshore that Grace was excited to see.  Walked the rest of high line and checked out the Whitney museum, walked around the meatpacking district for a bit and hopped back on the train back to the hotel for a much needed rest.  After sleeping for an hour an a half we hit the happy hour trail – took the subway down to the East Village and went to Upstate that was on our list of $1 happy hour oyster spots.  I had a half dozen oysters and a glass of champagne, Grace had a beer and then had clam linguine and I had some crab cakes.  The food and atmosphere were  great.  We walked around the neighborhood for a bit and then stopped at a little place called Maiden Lane and had another drink and people watched and then went to Rue B which was our original destination as they were advertising jazz with no cover.  We had one drink but weren’t feeling it – especially when they told us we had to pay a cover – so took off on the subway to walk through Times Square and then walked back to our hotel.  Total miles walked: 12.2

Our hotel room was two bunk beds and a sink. It was actually pretty nice and super cheap.

View from our hotel

Hotel had a nice rooftop lounge

real bagels




































































Chrysler Building art deco

Grand Central

beautiful. Still didn’t make it to they oyster bar there though 😦

new buildings around Hudson Yards

The Vessel




Me holding on for dear life

it got bigger as you kept going up



playing at Muji

the start of the high line
start of the High Line

amazing buildings popping up all around the high line

flowers in Chelsea Market

outside the Whitney

checking out the humongous Restoration Hardware in meatpacking district

hello there

subway profile

Rockefeller Center

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Our little hotel offered free walking tours every morning so we decided to go on the one this morning that was going to the lower East side and Chinatown.  After a quick breakfast at a coffee shop around the corner it was a long subway ride downtown as there were traffic problems in the city.  The tour was good – we went to places we never would have gone to, learned a lot about graffiti and the history of Chinatown.  On our tour guides suggestion we went to Xi’An Famous Foods in Chinatown for lunch.  We had bowls of noodles that were fresh, spicy and delicious.  We hit the pavement again and walked south walking back through Chinatown, exploring the area around City Hall and then doing what was #1 on my NYC list: walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The bridge was of course beautiful, full of people and the views were great on a bright sunny day.  We walked all the way across into Brooklyn and took the subway back to Manhattan to the World Trade Center area.  We walked through the Oculus – amazingly huge and modern – like you are in a Star Wars movie.  We got lost in there trying to find the way out but eventually made it out to ground zero to check out the memorial fountains and the plaza.  Serene and powerful.  The sky was bright blue just like that fateful day.  Hard to imagine.  We walked further down to Wall Street, checking out the famous buildings and banks, found the graveyard where Alexander Hamilton and Eliza were buried and wandered over to the 1/2 price ticket booth that was down there and bought some show tickets for that evening.  Took the train back to our hotel for a quick rest and then walked to Broadway.  We saw The Band’s Visit. Never heard of it before but it sounded interesting and we got pretty good seats for a good price (NYC prices that is). It was great.  Very different kind of musical.  Relaxed, cerebral, great music and great story.  It’s coming to CLE next year and I for sure would go see it again.  After the show we walked through Times Square a little bit and then went back to our midtown neighborhood and had a late night dinner at Cornerstone tavern – a sports bar on 2nd Ave around the corner from our hotel.  We stopped for cookies at Insomnia Cookies and then crashed.   Total miles walked: 10.8

lobby of our hotel

touring around lower east side

omg so good
omg so good

City Hall
City Hall

On the Brooklyn Bridge

so pretty

street entrance into the oculus

looking the other way from Ground Zero

Grace and One World Trade Center


Federal Hall

happy hour the bar next to our hotel

The great white way

great seats

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

We woke up early and took a quick subway ride to the ABC studios on W66th as we had tickets to be in the audience for The View.  We got there around 9:30AM, stood in line for awhile and after going through security they herded us into the cafeteria where they had a Starbucks so we had breakfast.  We sat with a couple of NYC women who were hilarious.  They were secretaries for HBO and one was a comedian and they were ripping on everyone.  We made it into the studio and was part of the live broadcast which was fun.  Stacey Abrams was the guest which was cool and we got a copy of her book too.  After the show we walked to Central Park right next door.  We met one of Grace’s friends from school who lives right there and we walked all around Central park with her on another beautiful early spring day.  We walked through the Plaza, ate lunch in the bougie food hall underneath the plaza and then went to Grace’s friends family apartment which they just moved into and was very nice.  We said goodbye and walked around the area some more, went into MOMA but decided to just walk around the grounds instead of going in the galleries and then walked back to our hotel for a rest.  After our siesta I went to Crave Fish Bar, a bar a few blocks away and had some oysters and a beer.  Grace met me there and then we went down to the East Village as we had tix to a comedy club later in the evening.  We stopped and had dinner at a bar down there somewhere that I don’t remember the name of.  The comedy club was fun.  There were all different comedians each doing their schtick for about 20 minutes or so and then it kept going.  We were right in the front row but just got picked on a little bit.  We stayed for about an hour and a half enjoyed our minimum of two beverages.  We wandered around the village for awhile, stopped at Momofuku milk bar and had the cereal milk ice cream and cake truffles.  OMG.  Hopped on the train back after a fun night.

waiting to get into ABC Studios

our seats. It was fun to watch the whole process.

skinny skyscrapers are the new thing

The Miami coeds

exploring the Plaza

directory inside Trump Tower – it says it all.

taking a breather inside the MOMA


Our front row seats at the New York Comedy Club

Total miles walker: 9.5

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

We packed our stuff up and checked our bags with the hotel and hit the streets for one last morning.  We went to a place called Remi Flower and Coffee that Grace wanted to go to a few blocks away.  It was a combined coffee shop and florist. It was pretty cool. Grace had a lavender latte that was beautiful.  We walked and walked all morning.  Walked to the NY Public library that unfortunately wasn’t open yet, walked through Bryant park that was very spring like, and then walked through the fashion district looking for Mood – which we couldn’t find.  We walked through Macy’s which had a flower show going on and then down to Union Square and did a bit of shopping at a couple of places.  We had an early lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Park and then walked all the way back to our hotel – another 20 blocks.  Grace wasn’t too happy with me that I made her walk.  We collected our bags, hopped on the subway and made it to LaGuardia in plenty of time and back to CLE with no troubles.  Fun trip.

Total miles walked: 8.2

fancy coffee at the coffee / florist shop

strolling through Bryan Park

inside Macy’s


au revoir NYC

Washington D.C., January, 2019

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Grace organized a group of us to go to the Women’s March in DC. Grace picked up Sophia at  school at 1:00 and then picked Jack and I up in University Circle and we were on our way.  We drove to Pittsburg to pick up Grace’s friend Taylor and then had a not so fun ride through the mountains in dark, foggy and rainy conditions.  We made it to DC around 9:30 and quickly checked into our digs at the Hotel Harrington.  We hit the streets for a night monument walk.  We walked through the debris of the Right to Life march that occurred that afternoon and then walked past the Washington Monument, WW2 monument, Korean monument, and strolled down the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial.  Little did we know that just a few hours earlier the infamous standoff between the MAGA Covington boys and Native Americans was going on right there.  We then took the route back walking in front of a dark white house.  Washington was almost deserted.  Kind of creepy.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until 11:30 and then had some drinks at Harry’s Bar at the Hotel Harrington that was actually hopping with a bunch of DC millennials.

Right to Life crap

enjoying the deserted streets

line up

It was actually a beautiful night

Korean War Memorial

Happy to be back in DC and the Hotel Harrington

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

We all slept well, had a quick breakfast at au bon pain and hit the pavement.  The Women’s March changed locations about three times over the past week because of the government shut down and the political infighting of the group and the final location was actually just a block away from our hotel.  We got there around 9:30 and enjoyed walking around looking at the signs and enjoying the positive atmosphere.  The crowds quickly grew and grew and the march finally took off around 10:30 going down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Trump Hotel and then looping back around 2 blocks.  It took about two hours as there were so many people and log jams.  It was a great experience and it’s great that the weather held out as rain was threatening the entire time.  We hung out at the stage for a short time – not really into listening to the speakers.  Everything was still closed because of the government shut down so we walked down the other end of the mall and then went for a late lunch at Matchbox on 7th and H.  The girls went shopping for the rest of the afternoon and Jack and I slept.   We had dinner at Capital City Brewing Company and then hung out at the hotel for the rest of the night as it was pouring rain.  Grace and Taylor had another fun night at Harry’s bar and didn’t come back to their room until late.

no caption needed

Courtney knitted the girls pussy hats

getting crowded

View from our hotel window – convenient bathroom break

the glamorous Hotel Harrington

the stage


afternoon cocktails at Matchbox

and some good pizza and salad

Sunday, January 20, 2019

We had a good breakfast at the old school Lincoln Waffle shop around the corner and then hit the road around 10:00.  We made it to to Pittsburgh and back to Cleveland before 5:00PM luckily avoiding the bad weather that stalled for awhile.  A fun quick road trip.

Navarre, Ohio

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Courtney and I both took a needed day off for a long weekend adventure.  We have been casually biking the Ohio and Erie towpath trail for the past two years.  The only part we had left was the very southern end which is almost an hour and a half drive away.  So we decided to make a weekend of it, find a nice place to stay and knock it all off at once.  The furnace people showed up right at 8:00AM as scheduled for boiler maintenance and were gone by 9:00 and we hit the road.  We stopped at the new Whole Foods that just opened up on Harvard/271 and stocked up with lots of goodies.  Thank goodness it’s not closer or it would drive us to the poor house.  We then kept driving south for a visit to Stan Hywett Hall in Akron – another item on our bucket list that we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t.  Stan Hywett Hall was built in 1911 by F.A. Seiberling, founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.  It was much bigger and nicer than we expected.  It’s actually the 6th largest residence in the US.  We went on a guided tour of the house that took about and hour and a half and then spent another hour wandering through the large well kept gardens.  The house and grounds have been kept in great shape.  Everything in the house is original to the family and the gardens are beautiful.  We spent way more time than expected at Stan Hywett so we adjusted our plans on the fly, eating our Whole Foods sushi in the car instead of going out to lunch as planned.  We wanted to get a loop in on the trail and a rain storm was forecasted to blow in around 5:00PM.  We got to the trailhead in Clinton, OH where we previously left off and biked for about 20 miles.  It was a hot and humid day – hopefully the last one – so we sweated like pigs but were happy to be on the towpath.  We got to our Airbnb around 5:00PM in the middle of nowhere Navarre, OH and were very happy with our great little house.  It was a teeny little stone house build in 1846 that has been beautifully restored.  Original wood beams, great open floor plans.  Really nice.  Also just $80/night and 1 block from the towpath.  Perfect.  Check it out.  We unpacked, took a shower, sat on the great front porch, drank (too much) wine, watched the storm roll in and watched the pick up trucks roll by.  We were enjoying the house too much so again altered our well though out plans and blew off going out to dinner and ordered a pizza and played scrabble.  Perfect night.

beautiful day

Stan Hywett Hall

The music room

the dining room

the gardens were beautiful and well tended

secret garden

japanese garden

birch allee

hitting the towpath – we had it pretty much to ourselves all afternoon

1846 stone

relaxing on the porch watching the storm roll in

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

After morning chilling and a leisurely breakfast we were on the towpath by 9:30AM to knock out our largest stretch from Navarre to Bolivar to Zoar to the anticlimactic end of the trail on OH Route 800.  30 miles total – the longest we’ve biked in one stretch. It was way cooler out after the storm which made it much more pleasant.  We stopped on the loop back at Bolivar for lunch at a place called Sublime Smoke Fine BBQ and Craft Brew.  It turned out to be a great place.  We each had a beer, Courtney had a brisket sandwich and I had the pulled pork sandwich and we split some collard greens and Mac and cheese.  All very good.  We hit the trail again and rode back with no troubles.  After relaxing for awhile we drove up to Gervasi Vinyard for dinner.  A 30 minute drive up to Canton.  We had a nice dinner in their dining room reconfigured from an old barn.  We had wine flights, had some more wine for dinner and then a nice meal.  They had a great patio that would be nice in warm weather and beautiful grounds.  We headed back to Navarre and fell asleep watching a movie.

morning sun

beautiful day and beautiful scenery along the trail

the anti-climatic end of the trail

break time

trying to psyche up to hit the trail again

old and new

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

We had about 20 miles left of biking to complete today.  We did the first 10 from the house in the morning.  We packed up, said goodbye to the house and then drove to the trailhead to finish off our last 10 miles.  Hurray all done.  We got a hold of Claire and Corey and met them for lunch at Mustard Seed Cafe in Akron.  It was nice to catch up with them and had a nice meal listening to the duo that was playing good songs in the restaurant.  We hit the road and made it home in the early afternoon.

somewhere in Massilon

trail selfie