Just when I think I’m going to run out of things to write about the Midwest I return to visit my kids and, lo and behold, I find something else to write about it!
Where to stay next time you’re in Cleveland
Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade is my latest discovery. Not only was this hotel one of the most unusually constructed ones I’ve ever stayed in, with the Atrium and its high-ceiling rooms with views of downtown, but everyone that works there is professional, helpful, and just plain nice in that particular way Midwesterner’s have. Plus the bed, with six pillows of all degrees of fluffiness and a comforter that was soft and enveloping, gave me the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time. There’s also a Starbucks in the lobby and valet parking so you don’t have to deal with meters and tickets. The Hyatt is within walking distance of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and an easy drive from other area attractions. It’s a little more expensive but totally worth it!
The best Chinese food and pancakes in Cleveland
Li Wah, in Asia Plaza, offers contemporary Chinese dishes in an old-world atmosphere. The servers are friendly and efficient, and the food was to die for. It was literally some of the freshest and tastiest Chinese food I have ever eaten. The dumplings (pot stickers) were succulent, the flavorful filling a perfect complement to the dumpling encasing it which, for once, was not rubbery or chewy! The beef and pea pods had lean strips of beef and was overflowing with vegetables in a light, rather than gluey, sauce. And the pan-fried noodles were delicate and crunchy in their flavorful sauce. The only disappointment was the fortune in my cookie!
The next morning the kids and I headed off to groovy, psychedelic Coventry for breakfast. Now I am a pancake connoisseur from way back and have sampled hotcakes all over the country but the ones at the Inn on Coventry stand head and shoulders above the rest. The blueberry pancakes I had were light and fluffy, overflowing with fresh (not frozen) fruit and Russell’s lemon ricotta cakes were sinfully rich. Also” thumbs up”, the place was cheerily decorated for fall, the waitresses were a lively bunch, and the hash was made from real corned beef!
On to Indiana! I’m going to skip our visit to the pumpkin patch, though it was a good time, and focus on my latest discovery.
Taltree Arboretum and Gardens and Taltree Railway Garden in Valparaiso
I grew up in Rochester, NY with railroad tracks in my back yard so I’ve always had a soft spot for anything related to trains. The Railway Garden did not disappoint me. The elaborate, elevated exhibit is like a Lego Land of trains! Four model trains, including a circus train, were continuously weaving their way around the tracks, pistons pumping, through various landscapes in the intricate, waist-high diorama. For those who love history, interpretive signage explains the impact steam engine trains had on the early 19th century American railroads. The trains and their stories are guaranteed to take you back to high school social studies class, only this time it will be more interesting!
Much to my disappointment, we ran out of time before we could hike any of Taltree’s nature trails. The one I was particularly interested in passes a pond that is home to some Trumpeter swans. Anyone out there remember Louis?! Well there’s always next time…