Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Heart of Rock-n-Roll is Beating, in Cleveland ~ Cleveland Rocks pt. III

Catch up on part I
Catch up on part II

After a long bus ride and fantastic roller coaster fun, it was finally time to finish the last one hour leg of our trek to Downtown Cleveland.   As a group, we were exhausted and all funned- out for the day.

It would be close to midnight before we reached the hotel and I had been silently grumbling to myself and dreading the check in process for an entire tour group before I could throw myself onto my pillow.  The Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Center knew we would be arriving late and tired.  Low and behold, I could have kissed the manager full on the lips, when he anticipated our needs by meeting the bus out in front of the lobby, with our room keys in hand, having already pre-checked us in.  This is about the kindest service he could have provided.

My room was beautiful, clean, spacious, and full of wonderfully luxurious amenities from a welcome letter and a box of chocolates from a local confectioner to a sleep mask and information about the hours the hospitality room would be  serving a continental breakfast.  It was just what this weary traveler ordered.

All of the employees were friendly and helpful in a very genuine way.  Then again, that's what I know Clevelanders to be.  It really is a city of lovely and courteous people.  Case in point, I went outside in the pitch darkness of 5 am to have my morning cigarette.  The streets were mostly empty and I was still groggy while enjoying my first cup of coffee and my morning smoke.  A casually dressed young black man, listening to his iPod and walking to work, greeted me with a "Good morning, how are you today?" as he passed by.  Of course I responded in kind, but I was a little surprised.  In Chicago, people use there phones and iPods to avoid making eye contact or any other kind of human contact for that matter.  I only mention that the young man was black, because of the volume it speaks about race relations in Cleveland.  I shouldn't have been surprised by this common courtesy.  It seems like 12 years in Chicago has jaded me against home town values and how much the little things mean.

Wednesday was another full day.  They sure do know how to pack a schedule on these trips.  We started off at the West Side Market, the largest indoor/outdoor market in the country.  It is filled with butcher counters, patisseries, produce stands, coffee roasters and cheese shops that the people of Cleveland love to shop.  I only wish I had a travel cooler so I could have stocked up.

Next we were onto the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I wasn't that excited about this stop, being that I'm not a big music buff, but all that changed thanks to Andy Kenen.  Andy is a retired school teacher who has volunteered as a docent at the Hall for the past 17 years.  The Hall and museum had thousands of pieces of memorabilia that I recognized and thousands that I did not.  Andy however, brought all of these pieces to life with the most amazing stories behind all of them.  Andy is the biggest audiophile that I have ever met, by far and had me captivated with the history of the memorabilia, his knowledge  of everything in the the building and his story telling ability, like a small child begging for 'just one more chapter, please'.  I came out of the Hall of Fame already planning my next trip back.  Thanks Andy.  I only wish I had had you as one of my teachers once upon a time.

Stay tuned for part IV of Cleveland Rocks for a giveaway that will blow your minds.  Besides, Wednesday's excursions aren't even over yet.

*My trip was sponsored by Cedar point, Positively Cleveland, the Toledo Zoo & the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  However, all words and opinions expressed here are my own, cause that's how I roll and what my readers deserve.Stumble Upon Toolbar

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