What CLEbaby Loves in the CLE, Part 1

*Photo courtesy of Kelly Smith at  Kelly Lee Photography

*Photo courtesy of Kelly Smith at Kelly Lee Photography

Cleveland is an amazing town with so much to offer. At CLEbaby, we love our city and are proud to be raising our families here. So it only made sense for our first blog post to begin a series that highlights the different things we love in CLE. Whether it’s local favorites or personal anecdotes, this series exists to bring you closer to who we are here at CLEbaby and what we love in our great city.

Favorite spot to head on a Saturday morning?

Gina  We are really lucky in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio to have so many amazing local farms and food artisans here. A perfect Saturday morning for me is getting up and heading to the eastside for the Shaker Square Farmers Market. The newness of the morning amongst the bustle of the crowd while surrounded by such fresh local foods is all so restorative for me. After shopping and picking up some new and old favorites, it’s time to head somewhere for a late morning breakfast. If we have the kids with us, it’s over to Tommy’s or the Inn on Coventry for some amazing breakfast eats. Or on the rare occasion that we are kid-free, it would be straight over to Fire Food and Drink for their amazing brunch.

Ashley  I will always be in awe of the amazing museums that we have access to as Clevelanders. Occasionally, I pack up my family of four and check out new exhibits at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Since I’ve honed my parenting skills to time out toddler tantrums to the minute, we escape just in time to sit down for lunch, and avoid hangry kids (and even hangrier husband). And because we don’t get to the east side often, and I miss my mom’s Italian cooking, we have to take advantage of Little Italy for lunch. Trattoria is our go-to. It feels homey, it’s kid-friendly, and the food is consistently good (and portioned for small ogres).

Special memory in the city?

Gina  That would be my first “date” with my husband. It was after work downtown in the dead of winter. What was meant to be a group of us going out to see a CSU basketball game ended up being just he and I. We started at Fat Fish Blue for drinks, and it was quickly apparent that something different was in the air between us. We stayed much longer than planned and finally took a cab to catch the last of the game. When we left the Wolstein afterwards, we decided that despite the freshly fallen snow and frigid cold we should walk back to our cars rather than call for a nice, warm cab. (Oh the silly things we do for love.)

So in my high heels, my knee-length office dress, and my coat that was more stylish than warm, we started our walk back to Gateway North. It was freezing out, but beautifully serene as the streetlights reflected warmly off the fresh, light snow. The beauty of downtown was captured so perfectly that night. We walked and talked, made a pit stop at A.J. Roccos to warm back up over coffee, then walked and talked some more before finally making it back to our cars. It was a perfect night that changed everything, and now four kids later, I doubt any other night will ever top that as my favorite memory in the CLE.

Ashley  Hands down, being at the Cavs game when LeBron made his return. I know, I know, the game was a complete blowout. But it was ELECTRIC in Cleveland that night. It felt as though something had shifted in the city, and we finally had a light at the end of the dark, long tunnel of sports failure. They gave all of the fans a bag of confetti so that we could throw it up as LBJ did his chalk toss. I took an amazing video of the entire arena swathed in confetti, and it didn’t even matter that our seats were in the nose-bleed section.

Favorite thing to do in the snow?

Gina  Hmm, sit inside and watch it from the window as I sip hot chocolate? That counts, right...? As a lifelong Ohioan, I should probably love the snow (or maybe I should hate it). I wouldn't really mind it if it somehow only snowed on the grass. A girl can dream! In truth, I do enjoy having it around for the holidays and how much my kids enjoy playing in it, and I do appreciate the beauty this time of year brings.

Ashley  It’s a quick half hour drive to Boston Mills & Brandywine, so I try to make it there once a season to ski. Because I don’t ski often, I’m always out of ski shape, and sore for at least one full week afterwards. But whenever I start getting miserable about winter, and wishing the snow would melt, a lovely ski day enjoying the beauty of snow and the thrill of skiing is a much needed reminder that I really do love and appreciate having four seasons.