Life is not fair. It is hard, messy, and downright ugly sometimes. You go through ups and downs and in-betweens. That’s why during the month of November I’ve been writing a series called Flashes of Gratitude Fridays. Do you know what makes you feel better when the world is kicking you to the curb? You reflect, talk about, write down, and praise God for everything that you are thankful for. Gratitude has a way of changing your mindset and helps you remember the beautiful parts of life despite everything around you feeling utterly hopeless.
If you missed the first three weeks of this series, I would encourage you to go back and read those posts. My hope is that they’ll help you see light in the midst of darkness. There’s always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
My fourth and final #FlashesofGratitude Friday post is all about my hometown…Cleveland, OH! While the LAND has been in the news for many different reasons in the past few months (Go Cavs! Go Tribe!), I would have to argue that Cleveland has been a true gem of a city wayyy before any of those victories and sports games took place. The best way for me to explain why I love CLE so much is to show you what my perfect Cleveland day consists of.
- 9 AM: Wake up and go to Lakewood Park for a run. This beautiful green space is located 5 minutes from my home and it is almost always filled with bikers, runners and walkers. It has the BEST view of downtown Cleveland (see photo below), plus it’s just a lovely place to picnic, read, people watch, and relax. I love that I see Clevelanders of all different ages and cultures simply enjoying the outdoors together.
- 11 AM: Head to the West Side Market to get some delicious treats! This 100-year old+ Cleveland landmark hosts individual vendors that sell anything from bakery to fish to fresh flowers. Whenever people ask me what they must see/do while visiting the city, I always tell them to peruse the West Side Market. My recent favorite go-to vendor is the Juice Garden. Order the McNulty (with ginger)…you won’t be disappointed!
- 2 PM: Shop til you drop at the CLE Flea! I was going to try to describe this in my own words, but their website says it so eloquently. “The Cleveland Flea is a small business incubator that draws thousands of Northeast Ohioans to lesser-known neighborhoods in the city to shop curated vintage, culinary all-stars and the most talented makers in the region.” Yep, it’s pretty cool. I always leave the flea wishing I had more money to buy everything there! It inspires me to be creative, support local entrepreneurs, and fills me with a sense of northeast Ohio pride.
- 4 PM: Drive to the Metroparks for an afternoon stroll. Also known as “The Emerald Necklace”, this gigantic park system features tons of hiking trails, picnic areas, and streams. Different parts of this nature preserve can be found throughout the entire Greater Cleveland area. It is most beautiful in the fall with all of the leaves changing colors.
- 6 PM: There are a plethora of delicious restaurants to dine at but one of my go-to spots is Barrio! It helps that it is less than 5 minutes from my house and the tacos are $3, but truly the food is delicious! I would be remiss to not mention the chorizo queso. Order it! You will be so happy you did and it will be near impossible to not lick the bowl clean.
- 8 PM: I scream, you scream, we all scream for Mitchells! Err…ICE CREAM! Mitchell’s Ice Cream is by far the best ice cream that I’ve ever tasted. They use fresh and local ingredients to craft their creamy deliciousness. A night that ends with Mitchells is a good night indeed. Order the tasters duo because you won’t be able to choose just one flavor. (P.S. The coffee chocolate chunk is SO GOOD.)
With all of that being said, what really makes me thankful for Cleveland is the people. What a lucky lady I am to be surrounded with such lovely, hardworking, and faithful family and friends. For this, I am most grateful.
Challenge for you: Reflect, write down, and share with me what you are thankful for! Tag #FlashesofGratitude and me (@ByTravelandError) on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to be featured. I’d love to hear from you!