Why? Weekends!

Hope you had a great holiday weekend, CLE! Between a little relaxing and a little out-and-about-ing, mine shaped up pretty well. Here’s the rundown:

On Saturday evening, CLEguy and I went to the opening night of the Cleveland Orchestra Summer Series at Blossom.

The weather was beautiful and the lawn was packed. This is a slightly different crowd than I’m expecting for the Jimmy Buffett concert in a couple of weeks!

The orchestra was guest-conducted by Steven Reineke, an Ohio native who is now conducting the New York Pops. The first half of the concert was patriotic music. The second half featured the orchestra paired with Idina Menzel’s beautiful singing. Idina Menzel was the original Wicked Witch in the musical “Wicked,” as well as starring in the orginal cast of “Rent” and on “Glee.” The concert was fabulous – a great mix of songs, plus Idina was incredibly engaging and funny. The show capped off with an awesome fireworks disply, which was the perfect end to the evening.

One of the best parts about the orchestra concerts is that you can bring in your own food and drink. We saw everything from bottles of wine to full-out picnics. Personally, we brought the “bag of yummy-ness.”

A backpack filled with Norman Vineyards The Monster and three different kinds of cheese and crackers…what more do you need? I encourage you to check out a Cleveland Orchestra performance at Blossom this summer. They run through September 10 and are a great way to hear our world renowned orchestra in a fun, relaxed picnic setting.

On Sunday, we rounded up some CLEfriends and headed out to the wineries for a lovely afternoon. We started our day at South River Vineyard.

South River Vineyard’s tasting room is located in an old church, which provides a cute and quaint setting. South River also has two huge stone patios overlooking the vineyards, which are a perfect place to sit and sip.

We ordered bottles of the Dry Riesling, a nice crisp summer white, and the Trinity, a red blend with a big, fruity taste. After enjoying our wine, we were hungry (and still wanted more wine), so we headed to Ferrante Winery.

We started with appetizers of Trio Garlic Bread and Calamari, both traditional and delicious. I chose the Langostinos alla Manicoti for my entree. The langostinos were perfectly cooked and the cream sauce was not too heavy or overpowering. However, the manicoti lacked any zip. There was too much ricotta cheese and not enough flavor. CLEguy chose the Pollo alla Rustica, which had chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, Shiitake mushrooms, and a blush wine sauce. His dish was fabulous and full of flavor. I’ll definitely give the food another try, just not the manicotti.

CLEguy and I paired our meals with the Golden Bunches Riesling. I find myself drawn to crisp white wines in the summer and Ferrante’s Golden Bunches does the trick. It’s a great, not-too-sweet riesling.

The Whole Group at Ferrante's

Still needing dessert (and more wine), we next went to Grand River Cellars. We sampled the Muddy Paw Semillon and Grand Red, a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, and Syrah. Both were good, but the Grand Red tied with the Trinity for my favorite of the day. We enjoyed passable desserts, good wine, and some live music on Grand River’s patio. The wineries provided a fun day with friends and the feeling of getting away, while still being relatively close to home. I think this picture pretty much sums up the day:

Monday, we stayed home (we needed it)! I made pulled pork and sweet corn and Nutella cheesecake bars and we enjoyed a homemade feast, took in the sunshine, and comforted two CLEpups who were very scared of fireworks. All in all, a fabulous Fourth of July weekend in CLE! What new answers to Why CLE? did you discover this holiday weekend?

4 Responses

  1. PLP

    WOW! 1. OK, I need the nutella cheesecake bars recipe stat. 2. That picture of you is adorbs! LOVE IT! 3. I’ve decided you and M need to register for wine for your wedding so we know what your faves are! 4. I MISS YOU!

  2. We’ve gotten the booklet of passes to the Summer orchestra concerts for years. They’re such relaxing evenings! We have too hectic of a summer this year so we didn’t get the booklet, but I’m hoping we can at least go catch 1 or 2 concerts.

    (p.s. you can bring your own wine/beer!)

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