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Cleveland : Fiddlin in the Forests and Living It Up

Friday Aug 29, 2008
Cleveland Summertime

Cleveland Summertime (Picture from

For all its politics and working-class ambiance Cleveland remains a great city. Its great because it can look straight into the future while staying put with the basics. Frank G. Jackson, the 56th Mayor of Cleveland endorses well laid plans that will turn rust-city to the envisioned green city on the blue lake. Its a city that looks inwards at a time when everybody wants to follow the boom. Its back to the roots here and the season favors exploring your own backyard.

Cleveland is a happening city that is also concerned about its bike paths and clean waters. While bidding goodbye to an industrial past it is coming to terms with a future full of hope and new possibilities. It is attempting to keep the simple things in place clean air, clean water and clean forests. And most importantly keeping the community feeling alive and kicking. With happy events like the Summer Flower Display, Taste of Cleveland and the Cleveland National Air Show regulars and home towners create an inbound traffic each summer. The much awaited Ohio City Blues and Brew Fest are also in the offing just before summer wraps up.

What one might like best about this city located on the shores of Lake Erie is that it has a wide variety of entertainment options. Best of all everything seems to be within easy reach being close at hand. The professional sports teams, the museums, the restaurants- all can be done without much ado! Well known for its association with rock music it sounds a real fun destination. Why just booking into Cleveland’s coziest accommodations can be easily accomplished at a simple click on the Downtown Cleveland hotel site. Viola – all your travel plans get coordinated beautifully.

Summer is a good time to explore your naturalist tendencies around Cleveland. It offers one of the most family-friendly vacations. Nature buffs are sure to enjoy the scenic and relaxing trip aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad along the Cuyahoga River and dip in and out of beautiful Cuyahoga Valley. Getting off the train you can hop onto a mountain bike from Century Cycles in Peninsula and ride the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trails. Away from the hustle and bustle of city skyscrapers you and your family can enjoy life in the slow lane for a change. Another great place to enjoy the land and its bounty is the Lake Farmpark thats all about agriculture and is sure to make you feel naturally tranquil. Kids will just love it.

Actually Castaway Bay at Cedar Point is what they may probably like even more. The indoor waterpark resort is a summertime haven with its wave pools, water slides and water obstacles. In fact the Carribean environment has the whole family swishing out together. You can have the same fun at Kalahari Waterpark Resort that is the world’s largest indoor waterpark with more than 173,000 square feet of super soaking fun. The rides here for the kids are super duper.

Some interesting in-house attractions of Cleveland are right besides the shores of Lake Erie. You could check out the North Coast Harbor Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, and Cleveland Browns Stadium. Families will just love the museum dedicated to music that they enjoy together. Or dive into more than 400 hands-on science exhibits and watch thrilling life-like movies in a six-story-high IMAX theater at the Great Lakes Science Center.

If you are a true outdoor freak then you will love the Cleveland National Forest, thats a wonderful play ground for wildlife and wild life lovers. The Forest Centennial Year is celebrating its hundred years of conservation with a lot of fanfare. Among the events planned here The Fiddlin’ Foresters Concert in Ramona at Palomar District Ranger’s Office is sure to take you into another world. The Living History Weekend would see re-enactments of turn of the century life on the mountains featuring the life of Native Americans, mountain men, cowboys, farm families, the first forest ranger, and gold miners on Laguna Mountain. Cleveland is celebrating life and living this summer and everyone’s invited. Lets get to it.

Chicago : The Last Fling And All That Jazz

Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

Chicago - Here I Come - Courtesy

Chicago - Here I Come - Courtesy

America’s second city is big and quite expansive. The metro population is 9,157,540 and the the city population is 2,896,016. Add to this the summer rush of inland visitors and the vacationers from Europe and Asia. You have to contend with not only big big crowds but also the hot muggy weather. Thankfully Chicago’s motto Urbs in Horto gets taken quite seriously and so it remains the City in a Garden.

The Chicago Park District consists of 552 parks with over 7,300 acres of parkland as well as 33 beaches, 16 historic lagoons and 10 bird and wildlife gardens. Lincoln Park the largest of these parks has over 20 million visitors each year, making it second only to Central Park in New York City. In addition to ongoing beautification, more new parks have been added in recent years. The Ping Tom Memorial Park, DuSable Park and the outstanding Millennium Park are on the list. The wealth of greenery afforded by Chicago’s parks is further augmented by the Forest Preserves that create the network of natural areas conserving open spaces around the city peripheries. The Chicago Botanic Gardens and the Brookfield Zoo are located here.

Summer is the time for family holidays and summer fun. With children out of schools it is the perfect time for family vacations. The Downtown Chicago hotel site will get your reservations done in a jiffy. Chicago the largest city in the Mid-West is a great place to visit. One of the first things you might do here upon arrival is to visit the The Sears Tower for the panoramic view from the 103 floor where you can see four states! Looking over the towers you understand the importance of the city as a dominant center of finance, industry and culture in the region. Legends of notorious gangsters fly away as you look around and get the birds eye view of a city ruling the roost. Yes the city is home to Barack Obama, as it is for the talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.

Chicago’s skyline is as tall as some of the world’s highest. Forbes has listed the 60602 zip code as the hottest in US because of its upscale buildings. The Heritage, Waterview Tower, The Legacy and Momo to name but a few. Chicago’s Downtown area around the Loop has commercial, cultural, and financial institutions. The city’s waterfront allure and nightlife attracts tourists like a magnet. With its many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts tourists enjoy the range of cuisine here. Whether its the Mexican La Villita, Greektown, Little Italy, Chinatown, Little Seoul, or Vietnamese and Indian restaurants – you get culinary delights from around the world.

Chicago attracts more than 40 million people annually and is the third-largest convention destination in the US. Most conventions are held at McCormick Place. Everyone loves to converge to Chicago probably because of its ideal mid US location. Its a city that breathes efficiency as can be evinced by the fact that within six weeks of the great fire in 1871 that devastated the city, the people had gotten together to begin rebuilding. The spirit of moving on and ahead is part of the psyche of the city.

Amongst its many famous landmarks one that stands out is the Buckingham Fountain. Its the world’s largest fountain bearing four seahorses and holds about 1.5 gallons of water that shoots off a jet 150 feet into the air every twenty minutes. In the evenings the spectacular lights and music adds to its ephemeral appeal having tourists strolling around for the love of being around it. Its the highs and the lows of the city that have you enjoying its extraordinary attractions. All through summer the 29 miles of shoreline offer fantastic Chicago beaches. Best of all are the Oak Street Beach and the North Avenue Beach that have great restaurants and pleasurable shopping around the area. Besides sun bathing and enjoying the sand & surf you could try your hand at a game of volley ball.

To my mind the best things to do in Chicago are visiting Sears Towers, John Hancock Building, the Art Institute, walking the Magnificent Mile and enjoying Chicago Pizza, Double Cheeseburger or even a Chicago Hot Dog. The Magnificent Mile contains a mixture of upscale department stores, restaurants, luxury retailers, residential and commercial buildings, financial services companies and hotels. It caters primarily to tourists and the affluent. If you really want to get a feel of the place then you could check out the many small neighborhood festivals that take place annually here. The good thing about Chicago is that you will never run out of things to do here at any point. Entertainment is a way of life and you need only check the city’s calendar of events. Summers offer a vast selection of special events and outdoor activities.

A lot many surprises are packed in for the summer fun that includes the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival at Grant Park, the free Chicago Jazz Festival and the Randolph Street Market Festival. The Last Fling has four days of live music, carnival rides, festival fare from vendors, a beer garden, Big Wheel races, bingo, a car show, a spaghetti-eating contest, square dancing, Labor day Parade and kids’ activities besides much more. The fifth annual Labor Day weekend celebration at Wabash Avenue features local artwork, signature fare from area restaurants, live music and kids’ activities – all at the Bash on Wabash. The Taste of Polonia will have you dining on such dishes as pierogi, Polish sausage, sauerkraut, kabobs, pizza, hot dogs and beer at this annual cultural celebration of Polish traditions. Get ready for the Polish and American bands that will be playing everything from rock to blues to polka music. Enjoy America as never before.

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