It’s possible to see a familiar city through new eyes, when you take the time to put routine aside and explore the unfamiliar!
University Circle, in Cleveland, is an area I have stayed in many times, enjoying several fall seasons walking around Case Western Reserve’s campus, the parks, the ponds and the nearby art museum. I’d guess I’ve eaten caprese and bruschetta, with a glass red wine, at 80% – 90% of the restaurants in Little Italy, and I appreciate the amazing care families receive at Cleveland Clinic, UH Cleveland and other facilities.
But there are still surprises in this area, just outside of downtown.
One of the best pieces of photography advice I’ve received in my schooling, and my photography career, is to consider the shot that might be behind you, unnoticed by others! As artists, photojournalists & hobbyists, sometimes the person with the camera in her hands is so focused on what she is photographing, right in front of her nose, that she misses the image over her shoulder.
What I found, almost across the street from one of my regular work sites, and before this unnoticed by me, was an early 1900s mansion, restored and turned into a lovely boutique hotel. I’d taken the time to look for a new place to spend the evening, and I wasn’t disappointed for my efforts.
While maintaining a 1910 atmosphere, and hospitality, the Glidden House also features contemporary, local artwork throughout the building. This is appreciated by guests who are in the area to visit the many museums. The hotel is welcoming. There’s something festive and comforting about breakfast in front of a fireplace, with Christmas lights and decorations on display, a hot cup of coffee in hand, and the morning paper.
I’d intended walk over to the art museum again on this trip. The museum stays open late many evenings, but there was a lot of wind, and I wasn’t prepared for the drop in temperature once the sun went down. Within view of the hotel I discovered the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, also open late for their special holiday festivities and light show, “Glow”.
Dancers waited patiently to perform for the holiday crowd, seated under strings of lighted garland, and surrounded by trees decorated by community garden clubs. Gingerbread houses, elaborately decorated with candy canes, gumdrops and brightly colored frosting, were on display throughout the building.
The lighted “Glasshouse” dominates the structure with its floor to ceiling indoor gardens, but this is also a meeting space, an education center, a gardening library and a café. There were families visiting, along with groups of children, and couples on what appeared to be first dates, chatting nervously about mutual friends or how they like to spend their free time.
I look forward to visiting the Botanical Gardens again during the spring growing season, or in the heat of the summer, to experience the Midwestern seasons in this beautiful space. As a longstanding member of the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, and having easy access to the Chicago Botanic Gardens in the years I lived there, my standards are fairly high. I can’t help but wonder how many Cleveland residents have never visited, and hope someone will find a way to let them know what they are missing out on.
Ready for the next adventure!
Glidden Paint: http://www.glidden.com/Home
Glow @ the Cleveland Botanical Garden: http://www.cbgarden.org/glow.aspx
Franklin Park Conservatory: http://www.fpconservatory.org/
Chicago Botanic Garden: http://www.chicagobotanic.org/