Why? Lucky Number 7!

Today is a dual birthday: my grandfather turns 93 and Why CLE? turns 7. And one has no idea what the other one is!


So, first and foremost, happy birthday, Gramps! From WWII to the Cleveland Police force to helping raise me, so much of his life has been spent in service. That kind of commitment is inspirational. And I love that he and Jeffrey have a relationship! Jeffrey is lucky to have that!

As for the blog, truly, I can’t believe it’s been seven years. So much has changed since I started writing, for Cleveland, for myself, and for the blogging medium.


When I started this blog, Cleveland wasn’t on the national scene as a must-visit place. As most of you know, the title of the blog came from the idea of having to explain why I moved back to Cleveland to people who lived here.

When Why CLE? began, all the pieces for Cleveland’s amazing renaissance were starting to fall into place, but to see the arc of it over the last seven years has been remarkable and inspiring. I don’t get asked Why CLE? nearly as much anymore, but I keep telling you why because preaching to the choir is how you get them to sing.

As for me, this blog has followed my own arc. Much like Cleveland, the pieces were starting to fall into place for my own personal renaissance when I started the blog. But even I couldn’t imagine all the things life would bring, from marriage to motherhood to an ever-evolving career path.

The blog has adapted to this arc and I am so grateful for being able to grow and change, yet still maintain your readership and interest.

The blogging medium has changed too. Instagram wasn’t on the radar when Why CLE? started and attention spans were a wee bit bigger than they are even now. For me, I’ll always be drawn to the longer-form writing, to content that supports the pithy social media posts (which absolutely have value and are fun in their own right).

I guess all this is to say that, as I look back, there’s been a lot of changes over the last seven years, but I am so grateful to still be here, in my little corner of the Internet, chatting with you. The readers, the friendships, the insanely amazing experiences, and the chance to deepen my love and appreciation for this incredible city are things I don’t ever take for granted.

As a small token of my appreciation, I have a Cleveland mystery box giveaway for you. There are some great things in the mystery box, including restaurant gift cards and fun local products.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment here introducing yourself. Maybe I know you already, but it’s always nice to know who my readers are and a little bit about why you’re here.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, December 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day.

Good luck! And thank you for an awesome lucky seven years!


47 Responses

  1. Joanne

    Hi! Big fan of yours who appreciates all you do for our amazing city!! I’ve been following you for quite awhile now! I am a fellow JCU grad (got my Master’s in English and my undergrad there many years ago)! Also a mom of one child/son – he’s almost 9 on 12/30).

    Love your writing style!! Happy 7 year anniversary (and happy 93rd to your grandfather)!

    Cheers to continued success on your amazing journey!!

  2. Joanne

    Hi! Big fan of yours who appreciates all you do for our amazing city!! I’ve been following you for quite awhile now! I am a fellow JCU grad (got my Master’s in English and my undergrad there many years ago)! Also a mom of one child/son – he’s almost 9 on 12/30).

    Love your writing style!! Happy 7 year anniversary (and happy 93rd to your grandfather)!

    Cheers to continued success on your amazing journey!!

    (Sorry – typo in my email in my first attempt at commenting 🙄)

  3. Kathleen

    Dear Jen,

    I have followed you for quite a while. You are always current and honest about what is going on in Cleveland. Congratulations on 7 years and Happy Birthday to your wonderful Grandfather. He sounds like a special man. We should all have our Grandparents our whole lives!

    Warmly, Kathleen

  4. Dale

    My wife and I are big fans – married 26 years – both have lived in the Cleveland area all our lives.

    Because of your blog, we’ve learned more about Cleveland and the great events and have had the opportunity to attend some amazing things!

    Congratulations on your success and happy birthday to your grandfather!

  5. Hi! Somehow through the Twitter world and fellow Indians fans I was introduced to your blog several years ago and love reading and learning about the great city of CLE. We are fellow golden retriever moms. I’ve won some fabulous prizes along the way and enjoyed some fantastic events! You have opened my eyes to many new places and things to do in Cleveland.
    Congratulations on 7 years and cheers to the future!
    Warren OH

  6. Jill

    Congratulations on 7 years growing the blog. It has been wonderful to read about your journey and all of the exciting things going on around town.

  7. Deanna

    I started reading maybe 5 years ago? I love your suggestions for fun things to do in CLE and reading your weekend recaps. I have gone to many restaurants and places based on your reviews!

  8. Hi Jen! I moved to CLE in July 2017 after living in Seattle for 15 years. I found your blog while researching my new city. It’s been a great resource for finding fun things to do. My coworkers are impressed that I always seem to know what’s going on around town — so, thanks!

    Happy Anniversary, and here’s to many more.

  9. Hi Jen. Juls (Tribechic) from Parma. We have met once at Progressive Field – Our Lady of the Wayside event and you were PREGNANT with Jeffrey! I’ve enjoyed watching him grow just as much as I enjoy your posts whether they are personal or bloggy. I don’t have children of my own, but I’m a step-mom to three adult girls. Like you I’m lucky – I married a great guy. I’ve lived all over the US, but NE Ohio is home and I’m so thrilled that Cleveland has had a rebirth as I spent many years defending it’s honor wherever I lived. May you have many more successful years as a blogger!

  10. Leah Deppert

    Jen– You are so talented and such an asset to our Cleveland community (blogger community and more)! You were one of the first Cleveland bloggers I ever met and I couldn’t be more thankful for your guidance and encouragement along my own blogging journey. Congrats on 7 years!

  11. Cheryl S

    I met my husband at Put in Bay in 2002, he lived in North Ridgeville, I lived in Cincinnati… flash forward to 2017 where we live in Huron…. although we do not get into the city as much as we used to, I have had the wonderful chances of winning a few of your giveaways and was able to experience so many fun things that I never knew existed in Cleveland! Here is to many more wonderful years of reading your blog… happy holidays!!!

  12. Hello & happy seven years! I’m Kate, 10+-year blogger myself, but only three years here in the Cleveland area, & I have long drawn city inspiration from you, so thanks! I’m always trying to nail down my blog’s “what,” when it comes to content, & I’ve always loved that it’s so clear-cut for you.

    As for me… I live in Tremont with my two cats & my NEW HUSBAND, traveling back to Cuyahoga Falls with some frequency to visit my newly retired mama. I do digital media for a big non-profit located in Manhattan, but I mostly work from coffee shops around the CLE.

    Here’s to 7+ more, friend.

  13. Lauren

    Hi – I’m Lauren and have been following along for several years now (I didn’t realize it had been that long but I started reading before you had your little guy!) I have a 3 year old so appreciate the mix of kid and adult subjects and info, you do a great job. Thanks!

  14. Jenny

    Hi Jen! Congrats on 7 years!! I’ve been following you for several years now through college and now post grad as a way to keep in touch with all the “happenings” of Cleveland. I live downtown and have a ton of Cle pride now that I’m a true transplant from Cincinnati! I moved here in 2009 and have always lived somewhere downtown. I appreciate the mix of all the bars and eateries around town! I don’t have kids but I do share some of the kid-friendly things with friends at work!

  15. Destiny

    I’ve been following your blog for a handful of years. I love that your keep me up to date on the fun stuff going on around or great city!

    Happy birthday Why Cleveland! (And Grandpa too!)

  16. Congratulations and thanks for keeping us in the loop over the last 7 years! I’m Renee and I love living in Cleveland, I enjoy sharing childhood favorites with my 4 year old and creating new favorites together. I’m thrilled to live somewhere where the old and new are sewn together seamlessly. If possible, I actually love this city even more when I view it through the eyes of a child!

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