Cleveland, Ohio

Streetsboro/Cleveland Southeast KOA

July 23, 2021

After spending more than a month in Michigan, it was finally time for us to say goodbye to the Great Lakes State and make our way down into Ohio and towards our old stomping grounds – Cleveland! For those of you who don’t know, Sam and I first met when we were both living/working in Cleveland a few years ago (and little miss Charlotte, for that matter) and this was our first extended stay back in the area after moving to Denver in 2018.

The route to Cleveland from the Detroit area first took us south on I-75 before diverting us to the east on I-90 just outside of Toledo.

Oh, Toledo… How can I describe it without being too harsh? Let’s just say that it isn’t even enjoyable to drive through. For one, the scenery is about as bad as it gets. All you get to see as you drive through is muddy Lake Erie and dilapidated houses/buildings/infrastructure in every direction. And speaking of infrastructure, the roads are absolutely bottom tier with a near constant stream of potholes, cones, and cement barricades as you pass through. In short, if you’re ever passing through this part of the country, do everything that you can to avoid this sad little city. Your tires and the suspension system on your car will thank you.

When it comes to RVing in Cleveland, there are surprisingly few options for campgrounds within 50 miles of the downtown area. I’m talking two, maybe three, total. Luckily, we were able to secure a spot at the Streetsboro KOA which is still about thirty miles south of downtown Cleveland.

I feel like I’ve said this in a dozen blogs by now, but in terms of quality, this campground was what you expect out of a KOA. A little pricey but you get what you pay for in terms of amenities (pool, fishing ponds, laundry, game room, etc.) and big(ish), well-spaced sites. Overall, we enjoyed our stay here, the people were nice, the park was quiet, and although it was hot and muggy this time of year, the weather behaved for the most part which allowed us to get outside and enjoy ourselves. Here we are enjoying a little happy hour and playing one of our favorite games, Codenames.

Although we love Cleveland and it will always have a special place in our hearts, we weren’t exactly coming to the area for vacation. The real reason for our visit was to attend Sam’s friend, Nina, and her fiancé, Charlie’s wedding! Fortunately enough for us, the wedding was actually taking place near our campground in the town of Cuyahoga Falls – a suburb of Akron and, coincidentally, the hometown of my uncle, Mike. Small world!

It turned out to be a great wedding! The ceremony was held at a beautiful Catholic church in downtown Akron, after which the crowd migrated back to Cuyahoga Falls for the reception at Sheraton located right next to the roaring Cuyahoga River. We had a wonderful time celebrating the newlyweds, catching up with old friends, dancing to the fantastic live band, and consuming the delicious food and drink. Someone had a few too many delicious drinks and was a bit hungover the next day, but I won’t point any fingers!

However, it wouldn’t be the Social Summer, without a few more get-togethers while we were in the area. The next gathering came a few days later when we met up with our old friends Billy and Kaitlin, in addition to my old boss, Ben, and his new wife (at least to us), Sarah, in the super quaint little town of Chagrin Falls (see banner pic), located on the east side of the Cleveland metro. We couldn’t believe that we never made it out here when we lived in the area – it was so fun! Of course, the main attraction is the waterfall right at the heart of downtown, but there was way more to this little town than just the falls. The whole downtown area was blooming with flowers and vibrant with shops, restaurants, and “super cute little boutiques” (Sam’s words) everywhere you looked. We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this area and catching up with everyone over a lovely dinner, stiff drinks, and scrumptious ice cream (Jeni’s, of course)!

I hope Billy and Kaitlin weren’t sick of us, because Chagrin Falls was the first of many gatherings with those ole dinguses over the next week or so. The next rendezvous came when we met up with them and our mutual friends, Scott and Molly, downtown for an Indians game. This was the first time that we had been back in downtown Cleveland since we left three years earlier and the nostalgia hit us right in the mems!

The good times rolled over into the weekend. In addition to a good ole round of golf with the boys, we also all got together at Scott and Molly’s new place for Cinco de Mayo (the same crew that was at the Indians game, plus our old friend, Jordan). Scott and Molly had done an amazing job with the place and we were so impressed with all the work they put into this old house. In addition to the delicious food that Scott is famous for, we also had another treat waiting for us upon our arrival – our new ebikes which we had delivered to their place! Stay tuned, these bad boys will continue to be a staple in these blogs for the foreseeable future. We try to use them every chance we get!

By this point, you’d think we couldn’t squeeze in any more socializing, but you’d be wrong! However, for the sake of brevity (and me wanting to get on with my day) I’ll summarize these last few get-togethers in as few words as possible – Sam got dinner with Alex at Town Hall, one of our Cleveland staples, and the both of us got dinner with Scott and Molly at Momocho, another Ohio City hallmark.

It was a whirlwind of a trip to the ole Mistake on the Lake, and although we weren’t exactly well-rested following our stay, we were so glad that we decided to spend a full two weeks in the area. People often rip on Cleveland (ourselves included, at times), but it will always have a special place in our hearts, not only because it’s where we met, but because it is home to so many of our closest friends and favorite people!