R.A.H. (againstathorn) wrote,

First Leg of 2012 Vacation - Cleveland, Youngstown and State College

Alright. This afternoon we finally made it to Hatboro, Pa. after the long haul from Chicago. We’re currently plotting out the next week or so of our vacation. Here’s a recap on the last few days:

We reached Cleveland at around noon on Saturday. First things first, we checked into our hotel at E. 9th St. and Superior, right in the heart of the city. Note that parking was valet only, which somewhat ticked us off, but everything else with the hotel seemed fine.

Anyway, Rani and I had different sites to see and therefore went our own separate ways. She headed up to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame while I checked out the Cleveland Museum of Art. My destination was about 5 miles east by the University Circle area so I had to take public transport. Off Superior I caught the 38 bus all the way to the Circle, an odd route which takes you through various museum and campus buildings, eventually reaching Euclid Ave and then continuing east. One thing I noticed about Cleveland right off the bat is that the public transit system, otherwise known as the RTA, is far from intuitive; a majority of the waiting shelters show no indication as to what bus routes they service and area maps are somewhat hard to find off major streets. I actually missed my stop for the museum and had to walk back up a half mile or so. No big deal, though it would’ve been nice if there was some sort of sign off the bus route.

I’ll write about the Cleveland Museum of Art later, as I tend to get a bit carried away with those entries.

Getting back to the hotel afterward was a minor ordeal. I’d just assumed that I would be taking the 38 back the way I came, but that placed me at some odd intersection which was unmanageable for me to locate without a proper map and it was just too much hassle. I ended up headed back down to Euclid Ave. where I caught the Health Line which took directly west and let me out a few blocks south of the hotel. If you ever visit Cleveland and plan on taking RTA, bypass the odd bus routes and consider the Health Line instead.

After meeting up with Rani we headed over the Great Lakes Brewpub on W. 25th St. We actually walked there, all the way over the Superior Ave. bridge and then through down through some relatively sketchy areas before hitting Franklin Blvd, at which point you’re suddenly in the upscale beer district, as I’d like to call it. Great Lakes was packed, of course, and there was a 45 minutes wait for a table for two. No worries though, as it was a really nice evening to hang outside. Right out front of the pub is this little one-way brick road called Market Ave where people with fancy old timer cars seem to enjoy driving through to show off. Very cool atmosphere.

Eventually we were seated for dinner. I ordered their Old World Burger, topped with smoked cheddar, bacon, onion straws, and Edmund Fitzgerald Porter barbecue sauce, and all on a pretzel roll. So good. No complaints at all. As far as the food is concerned, Great Lakes is definitely at par with New Holland’s Brewpub—perhaps a bit more specialized in their selections. Comparing the two would be a moot point though.

I slept well that night. No mistaking that.

Sunday morning we headed down to Youngstown. Checking out of our hotel wasn’t a problem, but retrieving our car from the valet was a whole other story. It took them at least 45 minutes to get us our car back. There was a long line of other hotel guest waiting around as well, some which had been there for over an hour. It was really disorganized. I take it they were understaffed, but even so I don’t see how this system could ever work out well for them. If only they allowed guests to park their own cars in the garage, which when we made our reservations online was actually listed as an option. Really annoying, especially when you want to just get on the road, but we felt it best not to press the issue.

Anyway, at around noon we made it to Youngstown where we stopped at the Butler Museum of American Art, which I’ll also spare you for its own separate entry. Rani checked out the gift shop where one of the ladies clued her in about a nearby flower garden, which of course we then had to visit. I actually had a good time and the grounds offered some wonderful scenery of the river. Neat.

From there we headed to State College, Pa. During our drive we experienced some torrential rainstorms which lasted for two hours. Really unpleasant, and there were points were I could just barely see the road. Definitely not fun, though we still managed to reach our destination by dinner time. After settling in at our friend Jerry’s we then had a bite to eat at Otto’s brewpub. Since our last visit nearly 3 years ago they’d actually moved to a much nicer location, also on the North Atherton strip. Quite an upgrade. Anyway, I had their Arthurnator, a burger with warm avocado and pepperjack cheese. Mmmmm … so good! If you ever find yourself in State College, Otto’s is the place to eat.

Afterward we picked up some foods at Wegman’s (best supermarket ever) and then headed back to Jerry’s. Jerry actually wouldn’t be home until later that night, as he was coming back from a trip, but regardless he let us make our own way in and crash, which was awfully nice of him.

Monday morning Rani made a huge breakfast for all of us, including Jerry’s girlfriend Ellen and her son. Rani tried out this wonderful quiche (once again with bacon) and also made blueberry scones. Well, I had three slices of quiche and two scones, so I’d officially reached my intake until dinnertime. From there we made some stops around State College so Rani could see her old campus ground. Later that evening we met up with friends for dinner at Hi-Way Pizza (the place with a really gaudy sign) where a 9-inch personal pan with vodka sauce, mozzarella and prosciutto.

And Tuesday was just more hanging out in State College before hitting the road for Hatboro. Enough writing—I have a vacation to enjoy …

Tags: great lakes brewing, otto's, summer vacation 2012, vacations
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