Thursday, August 11, 2016

2015 Travel Recap: Cleveland: Cuyahoga National Park and "Christmas Story" House

Aloha and welcome to the latest installment of my painfully overdue series of posts about our wonderful year of travel in 2015.

Here are the previous posts: Hawaii, Gettysburg, New York City, Smoky Mountains/Biltmore, Colorado Part 1 and Colorado Part 2. Next up: Niagara Falls!

The first weekend in October last year we took a trip to Cleveland and Niagara Falls. We knew we'd be leaving Ohio shortly (we were only stationed there for three years) and we still hadn't visited Cleveland! We also intended to stop by Ohio Amish country on the way up, but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with us.

I had sort of an old, run-down, super-industrial city filled with disintegrating factories in mind, but Cleveland was actually pretty nice! We enjoyed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and had a delicious dinner at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Jarrod and I were both pleasantly surprised. After two days in Cleveland, we headed to Niagara Falls, which will have its own post.

cuyahoga collage
Our first afternoon in Cleveland we visited Cuyahoga National Park, mostly because one of my life goals is to visit every U.S. national park. I'm a huge fan of nature and being outdoors, but I'm sorry to say that as far as national parks go, this one was a let-down -- there's hardly anything to it and I have no clue how it lives among the ranks of Yosemite and Rocky Mountain and Big Bend... it really should be a state park. But still, it was fall and the forest offered some lovely colors. And the main attraction, Brandywine Falls, was really pretty. We also "hiked" to Blue Hen Falls, in the upper right picture (I say "hiked" because it was really more of a light stroll through the woods).

"He looks like a deranged Easter bunny. It's a pink nightmare!"

The highlight of our Cleveland adventure was the "Christmas Story" house!

Christmas Story Collage
If you're ever near Cleveland and are at all a fan of "A Christmas Story," this quirky attraction is a must-do! It was cheap, quick and fun. This old home -- a real house tucked away in an actual neighborhood -- was used for filming the exterior house scenes in the movie, then quickly sank back into obscurity. But not long ago, someone bought the house, repainted the outside to look just like it did in the movie, and fixed up the inside in a '50s style.

There are TONS of fun replica movie props -- a Red Ryder BB gun, Lifebuoy soap, a Little Orphan Annie decoder pin, and obviously a leg lamp in it's fraaa-geee-lay-marked crate -- and photos are highly encouraged. My favorite part was donning pink bunny suits! There's also a small museum with actual clothes and props from the movie, as well as newspaper articles and information about why the house was awarded its movie role. And of course there's a gift shop, too.

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