Ahh, summer in Cleveland - gotta love it, especially three of my favorite activities - visiting the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, attending the annual 'Solstice' party at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Lots of photos - sit back and let them load.
Part 1 - Towpath Trail/Cuyahoga Valley National Park
First up, the Towpath Trail which largely follows the original canals that lead to Cleveland's growth. I know there's debate about whether the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 'worthy' of the designation. I don't care, I just love that it's so easily accessible and offers a variety of backdrops from busy bike trails to isolated waterfalls and of course, the flora and fauna.
My partner and I like to start in Peninsula, a charming small town located along the Cuyahoga River. It has a 'New England' feel, which isn't surprising considering the area was once part of Connecticut. http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=WR2
I love the Leg Lamp from 'A Christmas Story':
We always grab lunch and fuel
at the Winking Lizard, located in this historic former dance hall.
Bridge over the Cuyahoga, and Century Cycles - they're always busy in spring and summer with the bike rentals:
Today's fuel, a Black and Gold - Great Lakes Brewing Dortmunder Gold + Guiness:
Another fun part of the park is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad - in addition to regular rides, you can take your bike on board:
Anyway, over to the Towpath Trail we go:
There are quite a few galleries in the area and artists:
First stretch of the trail is paved:
Interesting flora right off the bat:
The waters of the Cuyahoga, cleaner and healthier than ever:
Pretty sure this is a grackel:
Industrial ruins from the canal:
Let's have some fun, guys...
I'm always hopeful to see a great blue heron - well, not a close up but a decent shot I suppose:
Railroad bridge - still active but not frequently used. The tunnel underneath doubles as a kick-arse echo chamber:
Wasn't sure what kind of bird this is:
The next stretch is boardwalked over a marsh:
Grackel with a snackel
I don't care if they poo every five seconds, I think Canadian Geese are beautiful:
Photo doesn't show it, but this was one *big* turtle:
Remember how I said I hoped to see a great blue heron? We've managed to see a few over the years but there was usually trees and whatnot in the way. My jaw dropped - this was a huge heron and just RIGHT THERE:
Canadian Geese again - they mate for life
No, this is not the dreaded emerald ash borer - if it were, I'd have squished it:
More of this stuff - not sure what it is:
As much as the river has been cleaned up, there's still progress to be made - this is an overflow area which collects debris and litter from a much larger area:
The towpath is around 100 miles long from Cleveland to Tuscarawas County - most of it is complete but there are a few gaps. It's interesting how they've tied it all together, including bridges, boardwalks, etc.:
Get out of here - another heron!
Speaking of getting out of here, time to go home via the Ohio Turnpike - downtown Cleveland's visible from the bridge over the Cuyahoga:
Part 2 - Solstice party at the Cleveland Museum of Art
Every year, this party sells out - staggered admission/pricing makes the crowd more interesting as the night goes on. At 7pm, the people who have $ection$ of the museum named after them, they get open bar and free food. At 8pm it's the regular museum members and non-members willing to shell out a little extra. At 10pm it's time for 'steerage' - JUST KIDDING - that's essentially the general admission but skews younger and more diverse. By night's end all these people are hobnobbing together, with diverse musical acts all with the backdrop of the museum. Speaking of - the expansion of the museum is ongoing but they recently opened the Asian galleries - a strongpoint of the museum's collection. I'd say 'worth the price of admission' but general admission to the museum is FREE
Starting out like so many trips - the view at the end of my street:
En route to one world-class Cleveland institution, we pass another:
The plan was to 'pre-game' at a nearby Asian spot in the Uptown development - here's phase two under construction:
That's directly across the street from the newly opened Museum of Contemporary Art. Here's a close-up of the mirror-finished steel facade:
Ah here we are - Accent; notice the empty patio? Yeah, it was in the upper 80s and tropical dewpoints (aka ick!!!) so we opted to sit inside:
Did I mention they have a Saturday happy hour? Five dollar half-pitchers of Sapporo served in frosted mugs? If you happen to go - get the pork belly, edamame chips and hummus, and of course the Sapporo!
I love the funky sci-fi decor (the pattern is made of the restaurant's name)
Alright, over to the party - we pass by Case Western Reserve University's 'Old Main' building:
And here we are - a major part of the expansion was this atrium, larger than a football field. I have to applaud Raphael Viñoly - I was apprehensive about how this would turn out and it's flat out amazing:
The atrium frames the original 1916 building - I love how airy it looks:
First stop, the newly opened Asian art galleries - there were people getting misty-eyed. This collection used to be housed in a cubby hole on the museum's lower level. It's absolutely exquisite and does the collection justice:
Immediately adjacent are the also newly-opened Art of the Americas galleries:
Kids with the 'gauges' crack me up - try wearing THESE in your nose!
Of course, being an art museum party there's bound to be some wacky costumes. These reminded me of the creepy monsters in the subway in the movie 'The Wiz'.
Yeah, yeah - Impressionists gallery - sorry, didn't have time (that's how crazy and cool this party gets!)
Contemporary art installation:
Outside to the south terrace, people are still filing in:
Back inside, I've always loved this guy - and no, the glasses aren't "ironic"
Another gem in this gem, the Armor Court:
A 'performance art' installation - each speaker had a different monk chanting:
Yep, this guy enjoyed the party too!
South terrace, one of the busier spots:
Some of the music groups are people you've never heard of, but they always pick a great variety and the crowds appreciate it:
See the bottom of 'The Thinker'? Apparently in the 1970s, anarchists planted a pipe bomb on the statue - the museum decided to leave the statue as is, to reflect history:
As the temps went down, more people came outside:
And *another* cool part of the expansion is Gallery One - a fully interactive gallery with a gigantic 'touch' wall which is the largest of its kind in the world
. I love that they designed it to encourage people to go find the original piece, not just see it on a screen. Check it out http://www.clevelandart.org/gallery-one/about
They use the facade of the museum to show off different aspects - this year was about Gallery One:
Back inside for a second:
My partner loves the collection of Fabergé pieces, and I'm more than happy to indulge him:
Imperial Red Cross egg - one of two in the world:
The central rotunda - a great spot to sit for a minute and people watch:
No rest for the MayDay, back out to the south terrace
The Crystal Ark had a great show:
And back inside, where we danced our arses off to DJ Afrika Bambaattaa and closed the joint!
Part 3 - 25th Annual Cleveland Pride Parade and Festival
This year we couldn't make it to the parade, so it's just festival photos. They managed to get Deborah Cox as the headliner and she did a great job. Along with the 25th anniversary, the Supreme Court decisions this week added to the revelry
You know the routine, the view from the end of my street
Lots of construction cranes - they're building the new Innerbelt bridge, largest transportation project in the history of the State of Ohio:
Passing through Playhouse Square en route to the festival:
A lot of people go to the parade and stay all day for the festival, so I can't blame them for being a little tired!
C'mon now, like I'm *not* going to get a shot of Key Tower?
Yep, I think we're in the right spot!
My partner remarked that "you can't say that our Pride festival isn't diverse!" and I agree - but to be honest, for every drag queen or scantily-clad whatever, there are plenty more plain ol' regular-looking people who happen to be gay.
The festival is held at Voinovich Park, with a great view of the Rock Hall and the skyline:
The lawn near the performance stage:
This performer goes by "Bitch" - last time we saw her, she was doing some weird folk 'chant', this time around she was really good!
Like I said - diverse!
Plenty of people selling rainbow accoutrements:
Diverse footwear - though not the best for walking on grass, I would think?
And then the DJ started to spin some old school 'line dance' tunes and Clevelanders love their line dancing and... WHOA!!!
To her credit, she was wearing pasties but I, I... I got nothin'
That reminds me, I need to get to the gym:
A little more line dancing:
The lyrics at this moment were indeed "how low can you go?"
Like I said (I'm not a fan) but Clevelanders go batsh!t over line dancing:
This gentleman had writing on his back saying "I'm Single". I'm hoping he finds someone who can cook - my inner ethnic grandmother was saying "Look at you - you so skiiiinny, you need to EAT!"
It's not just a black and white issue
More of the crowd:
Deborah Cox - fabulous!!!
Terminal Tower - also fabulous!!!
Not sure what they were going for but it's distinctive!
Remember what I said about the footwear?
I had a similar pair back in the day
Ah well, time to wrap it up - speaking of, the Federal Building is undergoing a glass 'encasement' - oughta be interesting:
On the way home:
Hope you enjoyed!