Cleveland rocks!

It’s been a while since I added a new state to my collection, but earlier this month a conference took me to Cleveland so that ticks Ohio off the list. Unluckily for Tom he didn’t make it out there (although he got to go to Santa Monica instead so there’s no need to feel sorry for him), which means that he is now trailing two states behind…!

No one I spoke to before the trip had anything enthusiastic to say about Cleveland, so I didn’t have the highest of expectations, although I wasn’t too worried as the conference program didn’t have much space for exploring. In the end I was very pleasantly surprised, the convention centre was modern and mostly underground, with an attractive park on its roof, the downtown area had some pleasant older buildings as well as fairly tasteful modern constructions, there were some excellent restaurants and bars to try out, and my hotel room had an amazing view of Lake Erie.

The one attraction that everyone seemed to agree was worth a visit was the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, so as soon as I could tear myself away from the view I headed out to see for myself. As an educational experience I didn’t find it quite as good as the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, but they have an amazing collection of memorabilia and I spent an enjoyable hour or so wandering around admiring it all.

Food-wise, a couple of dinners were particularly excellent, and I’d gladly go back to both the Greenhouse Tavern and the Cleveland Chop tomorrow. In fact I did go to the Greenhouse twice, and on the first visit my group was seated in the kitchen which we enjoyed almost as much as the food:

For sheer fun, however, the night a group of us spent at the Big Bang piano bar was hard to beat – the pianists were excellent, taking all kinds of requests from the crowd, and we had a great time singing and dancing along.

As part of the conference programming, I had signed up for a tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s library and archives collection, and that proved to have been an excellent decision. Located separately from the main museum, the archives became a separate entity around nine years ago, and their collection contains some absolute treasures.

And then, on our final night, those of us who made it up to the hotel’s rooftop bar were rewarded by a spectacular sunset over the lake – a fitting end to a fun-filled few days:

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