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614 Summer Road Trips: How to spend the perfect weekend in Cleveland

Mitch Hooper

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Just because LeBron left Cleveland and Tristan Thompson ruined Ohio’s only shot of hosting a Kardashian from time to time doesn’t mean all is lost for the city. (Except no way, LEBRON, COME BACK. PLEASE!)

Sorry, sorry. Let’s not dwell. They don’t call Cleveland “The Land” for nothing; our not-so-far-away northern sister city offers plenty to do without having to dip too far into your vacation budget. Load up the car and drive as straight on I-71N for as long as you can—if you hit Lake Erie, you went too far.

The first order of business is lodging, and we highly recommend snagging an Airbnb. For prices as low as $53 a night to be in the heart of Downtown, it’s tough to beat. The closer you get to the stadiums (Progressive Field, FirstEnergy Stadium, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse), the more you’ll see a rise in prices, so keep that in mind while booking. On the other hand, if you’re looking to go to an Indians game, staying close to the stadium makes the parking situation less of a headache.

Beyond the sportsball going down up north, Cleveland has many staples to remind you of home like Barrio, a build-your-own- taco restaurant and rival of Condado, as well as breweries to quench your thirst. Visit Ohio City where you’ll find Platform Beer Company as well as the West Side Market, where you’ll taste the boozy brews of Great Lakes Brewing Company. Ohio City also plays host to the completely non-GMO restaurant, TownHall, which features an array of plates including vegetarian and vegan options. If you’re a big fan of Short North spots like Standard Hall and The Pint House, you’ll love TownHall.

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Other options for food and booze can be found on East Fourth Street where shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries all collide. The aforementioned Barrio can be found here as well as Mexican restaurant Zocalo Tequileria with an expansive list of tequilas. The Corner Alley offers a large bar area and patio in addition to bowling lanes and arcade games—something for the little kids, and more importantly, something for the big kids. For the sake of souvenirs and swag, Cleveland Clothing offers Cleveland-themed apparel and some of the softest sweatshirts of all time. If you’re sticking around the East Fourth Street area heading into the evening (or the morning, we don’t judge) the JACK Cleveland Casino is ready and raring to take your money. May the odds ever be in your favor? (They’re not.)

And what’s a vacation without satisfying your sweet tooth? Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and Mason’s Creamery have your frozen treats while Malley’s Chocolates get straight to the point with their decadent chocolates. For the sake of your own happiness, get the chocolate covered pretzels from Malley’s.

Cleveland also boasts a plethora of concert halls and venues and the outdoor venue Blossom Music Center is loaded with a variety of talent year round. There’s also House Of Blues which has live music playing on most days starting at 3 p.m. and specialty appearances slated throughout the month.

We’d be remiss to not mention the tourist spots of The Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and the always-free Cleveland Museum of Art. But if you’re looking to go down a less-followed path, kayaking in the Cuyahoga River is an option if you have your own equipment, or you can check out River Cruising Kayaking. After you finish your adventure outside of Cleveland proper, head a little further out to Fat Head’s Brewery and Brew Hall in Middleburg Heights. If you do anything this trip, order a Bumbleberry Ale which comes served with frozen blueberries. Tour the brewing facility at your leisure, or just gulp back some delicious beers.

millennial | writer | human

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Champions of US Women’s National Team to grace MAPFRE Stadium this fall

Regina Fox

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The heroines of US women's national sports are coming to Columbus! The United States Women's National Team will take on Sweden on Thursday November 7 at MAPFRE Stadium.

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The match will air on FS1 and TUDN at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Thursday, September 26 at 10am through ussoccer.com and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Groups of 20 or more can order directly at ussoccer.com starting Friday, Sept. 27, at 10am. Columbus Crew SC Season Ticket Members will receive information via email about a special pre-sale opportunity.

https://twitter.com/MAPFREStadium/status/1174339536144523266

This will be the first friendly match for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup champions this season, who are holding down a 14-game winning streak. Here's to 15!

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Life is but a dream with Greater Columbus Rowing Association

Linda Lee Baird

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Sculling. Coxswain. Regatta. For the uninitiated, the language of rowing can be difficult to parse. But if you’re ready to build your vocabulary, muscles, and circle of friends all at the same time, rowing might be right for you. You don’t even have to be an early riser to join the club.

The Greater Columbus Rowing Association (GCRA) was founded in 1984 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the sport of rowing. The central location on the Scioto’s Griggs Reservoir provides rowers across the city with a place to get on the water, before or after work. Open to all levels and abilities, with new rowers, adaptive rowers, and competitive rowers welcome, the GCRA has provided dynamic opportunities for Columbus- area residents for 35 years.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

Rower Jan Rodenfels, whose lightweight quad team took home the cup at this summer’s Midwest Sprints race, started as a runner, and said that rowing requires concentration and coordination that she hadn’t needed before, even when competing in marathons. As a writer and motivational speaker, she had multitasked during her runs, planning and preparing with every mile. “With running, I could work in my head,” she said. But rowing put a stop to that. “You are working in your head on the stroke, as well as all your major muscle groups. It looks easy but it’s challenging, synching up [with other rowers]. Oars have to go in and come out together.”

Learning to row was more difficult than Rodenfels had anticipated. One of her early coaches cautioned the team that as they learned new skills, “Our problems will multiply like rabbits.” Rodenfels focused on learning one or two things at a time, as trying to put everything together immediately was simply too much. “I had to think Swan Lake at the beginning instead of rock and roll,” she explained. In other words, her primary focus was on getting smooth and perfecting her form before worrying about speed. “I could add the rock and roll when we could start moving fast.”

She extolled the benefits of rowing for beginners. “You use legs, arms, [and] back... You really develop your muscles and cardio system.” She cautioned that because the sport is so demanding on your body, having a good coach from the beginning is key. That way, you’re taught the correct way to do things from the onset. “You don’t want to have to undo all the bad moves you’re making.”

The schedule, too, can be a challenge, particularly when trying to coordinate with other busy members of a team. “We’re supposed to be out at 5:30 [a.m.],” Rodenfels said. “We’re out at 7:00 [a.m.], 8:00 [a.m.], whenever we can get all of our different boats in and coordinated.” And while the early mornings can be difficult, there’s something to be said for getting exercise while watching the sunrise on a boat with your friends. “It’s a beautiful sport.”

It’s also open to everyone who’s past their years of college eligibility. “Master’s rowing starts at age 21... all the way up to people in their 90s.” Even if you’re not a morning person, there’s room on the boat for you. Rodenfels said many club members practice in the evenings. Physical limitations can be accommodated as well. “We have a paradaptive program at GCRA that’s all done and supported by volunteers. We encourage anyone who would like to try it to go on our website and sign up.”

Still not sure it’s the sport for you? GCRA offers corporate learn-to-row activities that businesses such as Cardinal Health and even the Columbus Blue Jackets have taken advantage of. It’s a good opportunity to dip your toe in the water—whether you choose to take that advice literally or not.

New members might take up rowing for teamwork, exercise, fresh air, opportunities to travel and win awards, or all of the above. Whatever your motivation, Rodenfels recommends starting with a learn-to-row class, and getting ready to enjoy the ride. “When you do it, it’s so beautiful,” she said.

In mid-August, GCRA members headed to The 2019 USRowing Masters National Championships in Grand Rapids, MI and took the gold. Follow their journey and find out how to get your crew on at columbusrowing.org.

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Obscure Columbus: Brown Pet Cemetery

Laura Dachenbach

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I drove past it dozens of times before I realized what it was. 

I could see that it was a cemetery peeking out from under an overhang of trees, with stones spreading across a field. But something was different. One day while driving down Sawyer Road, I slowed down until I could make out a name on what seemed to be a very small marker: Pug. 

I had found the Brown Pet Cemetery. 

Surrounded by the grounds of the John Glenn Airport, the Brown Pet Cemetery remains mostly hidden. The cemetery was started in the 1920s by Walter A. Brown, a local veterinarian, and a cemetery association was founded in 1934. Over 450 burials cover the site, all a visual testament to the purity of the human-animal bond. Most markers bear the names not only of the pets themselves, but also of their human “parents.” Folk art decorates many stones, as well as oval ceramic plaques with black-and-white pet portraits. DIYers of decades ago have used marbles and shells to adorn handmade markers.

Pet names over the decades show their cultural and historical influences. Dimples and Trixie and Buster in the 20s and 30s give way to Lassie and Gidget in the 50s and eventually become Coco and Misty in the 70s and 80s. But pet owners have clearly always been common or creative in naming their animal companions. For every Blackie or Fluffy that rests here, there’s a Boob and a Stinky Bill and a Dammit, each of them memorialized and apparently cherished. 

It’s hard to tell how active the cemetery is. The articles of incorporation for the cemetery association expired in 1997, when most burials seemed to have stopped. However, during my most recent excursion through the grounds, I saw several graves marked with artificial flowers, as well as a memorial for Mr. King, a ten-year-old cat with a love of shoes, who was interred this past June. 

Regardless of activity, the sentimentality of this space is palpable. (A visit will likely require a package of Kleenex.) Be ready to be touched by the still-visible memories of the pets who have found peace here.

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