You can start here to read about my 2,000 Mile Walk.
First Stop Cleveland!!
If I'd walked my 2,000 miles this year in a rather straightish line from my hometown in Erie, Pennsylvania, the first big city on my route would be Cleveland, Ohio!
This is a city I've visited frequently, since I can drive there in an hour and a half.
So what might I do on this fictional walk-through visit of Cleveland??
Well, there's the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Maybe if I was lucky, I'd have heard some singer I love…Bruce Springsteen would have been awesome!
And there's the Cleveland Zoo! We've been there a number of times through the years. It's beautiful there! And since I've been a member of the Erie Zoo for decades, I've always got in with that. If you've got a zoo membership, check and see what other zoos are reciprocal…it's fun to visit other ones!
But, really I should mention that if I were walking through Cleveland, I'd have stopped at the North East Ohio RWA—NEORWA—group. I don't visit them as often as I'd like, but whenever I do make it to a meeting or visit to give a workshop, it's like coming home. There are so many friends there, and I always love meeting the newer writers!
By now most of you know that I've set most of my books in and around Erie—this year's two releases, June's Just One Thing and Christmas in Cupid Falls —are set just outside town. But I've had a few set in Ohio. Both Same Time Next Summer, which was set in a fictional town near the very real Port Clinton, Ohio and The 100 Year Itch which was set in the very fictional, Hiho, Ohio. Since this is a fictional walk I don't see any issues with stopping to say hi to the characters in both of them!
But I want to meet with more than just fictional characters on this walk. So between Cleveland and Toledo there are two small towns I'm going to visit. First is Fairview Park. My friend, Denise invited me to stop in. "Hi, Denise!!"
Denise hands me a water bottle…you know it's important to stay hydrated on a cross country walk.
She says she'll walk with me through her town's portion of my trek.
I can't help but notice how picturesque the town is and I ask her what she loves about Fairview Park. She says, "We are a small suburb right outside Cleveland on the west. We are bordered by the Cleveland Metroparks on one side. We are more suburb than small town but keep our small town feel. Every year we have a Winterfest to light our town tree (this Friday) with Santa's chalet and live reindeer. We have a community cabin that actually burnt down in 1936 right before it was supposed to be dedicated and the town got together and rebuilt it a few years later. We have malls on our borders but most of our town are local businesses. We keep it small but still have amazing projects like our library which is a glass front building and a community rec center we came together to build that rivals the bigger suburbs. We are less than 20,000 people who balance small town with Cleveland over the bridge and the main airport to the south."
She sent me this picture… "This is a picture from last year's Winterfest. It's a free event and they shut down the roads on both sides of the clock tower. There's food trucks and live reindeer and ice carving and local vendors. Then there's Santa's chalet where you can put your letter to Santa in the mailbox and see Santa. Winterfest is the first time you see Santa for the season and the last is Christmas Eve when Santa patrols the city on a fire truck all day by police escort. I love my town!"
Denise, I have to agree, Fairview Park is absolutely stunning! I wish I could stay to see those Christmas lights on Friday! Maybe some of my other friends will be there. But for now, I've got to keep walking.
Here's my second small town—Huron, Ohio! Huron shares my lake (okay, so legally I have to confess, I don't OWN Lake Erie, but we all know it's mine in spirit, I mean I've put it in almost all my books by it). My friend Lesa is meeting me here in Huron, her hometown. I will confess, I sometimes complain that the only downside of writing is that it takes away from my reading time. I live vicariously through Lesa's reading list! She's an amazing champion of books and her blog's here!
So, here everyone, meet Lesa! "Lesa, It's so good to see you! Any suggestions on where to go for me as I walk through your town…I mean after we've had this lovely cup of coffee."
Lesa Holstine: Huron's a small town right on Lake Erie with a pier and lighthouse where people walk and enjoy the view. But, if nothing else, you should walk around the Old Plat, the historic downtown neighborhood, and check out the houses. There's one house on the walk that was brought from Cleveland by barge, coming from the Home and Flower Show. There are all kinds of interesting, historic homes, and the Huron Public Library, 333 Williams St., has a copy of the walking tour. Stop in at the library, pick up the map, and walk the few downtown blocks to get a flavor of Huron. (And, I was once Director of the library, there.)
"Lesa, Hey, I loved walking through Old Plat, and when I stopped at the library to pick up my map, I checked out the shelves…it's so cool to see some of my books there! Thank you to everyone at Huron Public Library! When I wrote librarian heroine Maeve last year in A Valley Ridge Christmas, it was because some of my favorite people ever are librarians! Just in case no one's said it lately, thanks to all the librarians who have shared one of the biggest gifts ever with so many people…reading!"
And finally, after all that I'm at my last stop in Ohio...I am in Toledo, Ohio!
Of course I'm going to mention the Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Art Museum.
But I wanted to find something a bit off the beaten path and I found Irwin Prairie State Nature Preserve. I know I'm writing this blog as if I'd really walked all my 2014 steps and gone from Erie, PA to Twin Fall, ID, but as I'm putting these together, I suspect I might find a lot of little places I want to visit when we take a real cross country trip. This is one of them! I know, it's more walking but hey, that's what I do…walk!
Next, I'm walking through Indiana on my way to Chicago. If you have somewhere I should 'visit' I'd love to hear from you! And if you're on the route, maybe we could meet up for virtual coffee and a bit of glee?