Why? Getaway!

This past weekend, I took a big step outside my comfort zone in two ways: I traveled solo and stayed overnight in a cabin. I’m pretty bad at both alone time and things involving nature, so this was sure to be an adventure.


I stayed in a Getaway cabin in in Lisbon, Ohio at Getaway Beaver Creek. Getaway cabins are essentially tiny houses, with a kitchenette, bathroom with both toilet and shower, desk, and bed.


The queen-sized bed is against a wall with a huge window to look out into nature.


Your Getaway cabin includes pots, pans, utensils, cups, a kettle, coffee, tea, a radio, and some books.


You also have access to an outdoor campsite with chairs, a picnic table, and a firepit with wood to make a camp fire.

And of course, there’s a s’mores kit! Getaway cabins include lots of cute touches like a cellphone “lockbox,” postcards to send to loved ones, crayons for if you brought the kiddos (or for you)…ways to relax and unwind and disconnect.


Your cabin locks with a keycode and you receive a text message prior to check in with your cabin name and keycode. There’s also a main office when you arrive at the cabins, as well as a phone in your cabin to call to the office, which made me feel secure, especially when traveling alone.


The Getaway cabins are in a secluded area, but all in a horseshoe near each other and every cabin was occupied on the day that I stayed.

Getaway also helps you out with a website that includes nearby hiking trails, as well as restaurants and attractions. Being not a big nature girl, plus being by myself in January, I opted for more of the attractions than the hiking.

I had a delicious lunch at The Vineyards at Pine Lake, which boasts a lovely view, tasty wine, and great food.



I highly recommend the Chicken Francaise paired with the Vineyard White wine and I also grabbed a bottle of the Pinot Noir to take back to the cabin with me.


And of all the crazy, fun coincidences, Mariah’s parents happened to be having lunch there too, so I guess I’m never really alone!


The bartender at The Vineyards at Pine Lake recommended I check out Birdfish Brewing, so I popped in to one of their tasting rooms for a quick sample of the local brews.


After some time in the cabin unwinding, watching movies (no Wi-Fi, so bring DVDs), reading, and eating lots of popcorn…


…I decided to venture out in the evening to Numbers Brewing Company for some live music.

So whether you’re in to exploring nature or exploring new-to-you places, Getaway makes a great jumping off point. Plus, with being solo, I found myself chatting away with people more than I would have otherwise, finding out some cool recommendations from the locals, and really getting a better sense of the area.

I was surprised at how modern, cute, and comfortable the Getaway cabins are and honestly how safe I felt, even being by myself. And Getaway gives back too: for every Getaway, one tree is planted by the non-profit One Tree Planted.

You can book a Getaway cabin that will accommodate two people or four (the four-person has a second, lofted queen bed.) And you can make your Getaway as laid back or active as suits your personality. You can also saev $25 off your next Getaway using code WHYCLE25 when you book.

***Disclosure: I was invited by Getaway to help promote Getaway Beaver Creek. In exchange, I received a complimentary one-night stay. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

So, is anyone else confused as to when the weekend actually started (or ended for that matter?) It was a lovely, relaxed holiday weekend around these parts…

Laurentia Vineyard and Winery

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Michelle for dinner at Laurentia Vineyard and Winery. Michelle and I went to college together and hadn’t seen in each in way, way too long!


It was wonderful to reconnect and so easy to chat. Plus, Laurentia makes for such a pretty, cozy place to meet.


I tried the 2016 Pinot Noir instead on my usual Cabernet Sauvignon and really enjoyed it! For dinner, I had the Roast Chicken Gnocchi, with chicken, spinach, mushrooms, parsley pesto, and bone broth.


The flavors were delicate, which made me glad I chose the Pinot Noir over the Cabernet.

It was a fabulous night of good food, good wine, and reconnecting with a good friend.


Despite not having the outcome we were hoping for, my friend Anne and I had a great time on Saturday night watching Ohio State play in the Fiesta Bowl.


We went to Brew Garden in Strongsville, which has tons of both bar and table seating and lots of TVs, making it the perfect place to take in a game.

They also have a great beer selection, with lots of Ohio brews (we both liked the Twisted Kilt from Thirsty Dog.) We shared the Spinach and Artichoke Dip and the Mean Green Nachos, which were both tasty and good for splitting.

Next time there’s a big game, check out Brew Garden for a place to watch it!

Adrenaline Monkey

Jeffrey had a high-octane adventure at Adrenaline Monkey on Sunday.


It’s a great place for kids (and adults) to run, climb, jump, swing, and get out some of that pent-up winter break energy.

Adrenaline Monkey has winter break day camps and extended hours while the kids are out of school, so check it out. I can vouch for it buying us an extra hour and a half of sleep this morning, too!

Little Women

On Sunday, my mom and I went to see Little Women. Having read the book and seen various film adaptations, I was still so excited to see this new version.


The cast is superb, the cinematography and costumes are beautiful, and the story is the one you know by heart, even if you didn’t remember that you do.

It is heartwarming and beautiful and empowering, so grab your best friend, your mom (or if, like me, they’re one and the same), and get to the theater to see it!

So, that was the weekend. Not bad for the last of the decade. How was yours?


Why? Dinner in the Dark!

Last week, I attended a Dinner in the Dark event at 111 Bistro. These events bring together chefs from different restaurants to create a six-course tasting meal. Each Dinner in the Dark benefits a local non-profit. December’s non-profit was The Up Side of Downs.

We started our evening with an apple cider and rye cocktail from Tom’s Foolery Distillery and an amuse bouche from 111 Bistro.


As you can see, you remain “in the dark” about the menu until you are served each course, but are given picture hints. Each course is also expertly paired with wine.

Our first course was seared duck breast served over ravioli from The Corkscrew Saloon.


I’ve rarely met a duck dish I didn’t like and this was no exception!

Next up was a trio of sashimi from Twiisted.


Especially since I don’t get down toward Medina very often, it was nice to try so many local restaurants! This sushi was great!

Next up was a warm, comforting chutney from NEOMU.


Perfect for a cold December night!

Next up were scallops with butternut squash puree and morel chips from Wolf Creek Tavern.


This dish had a lot of elements, all of which went together so well!

Next was short ribs from DYNE.


With a six-minute egg, Brussel sprouts, and rutabaga puree, there was not a thing on the plate I didn’t love!

Our dessert was from our host 111 Bistro: a coffee tart that was decadent and delicious!


Dinner in the Dark is such a fun way to experience food from several different chefs. The next Dinner in the Dark takes place on Monday, January 13 at the Elyria Country Club. Tickets are $90 per person and are available online.

You need to be willing to be adventurous, since you won’t know the menu ahead of time, but you won’t be disappointed by the quality of the food and wine, as well as the camaraderie of the chefs. Plus, it all benefits a good cause!


Why? Disney on Ice Giveaway!

Are you looking to kick off 2020 with a magical adeventure? Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures is coming to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse from Friday, January 10 through Sunday, January 19!



The show will include favorites like Moana, Frozen, Toy Story 4, Lion King, and classic Disney friends, too!


Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures opens on Friday, January 10 and runs Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Sunday, January 19, with several shows daily on the weekends. Opening night tickets start at $15 and kids tickets for all performances start at $15.

You can also add a special Wayfinding with Moana experience for $50 per person (in addition to your ticket price) that includes a meet-and-greet with Moana and Mickey, crafts, island dancing, a photo souvenir, and more.

We attended Disney on Ice last year and it was a truly magical and fun evening! Tickets for Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures can be purchased online.

Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to opening night on Friday, January 10 at 7pm right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries right here, just leave a separate comment here for each entry):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which character(s) your kid will be most excited to see on ice.

2. Visit Disney on Ice and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Hop on over to my Instagram page for additional entries.

4. Follow @DisneyonIce and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win @DisneyonIce tickets from @WhyCLE #giveaway #disneyonice https://whycle.com/2019/12/26/why-disney-on-ice-giveaway-2/

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Monday, December 30 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to opening night and Disney on Ice swag, as well as four opening night tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

There was lots of time with family and friends this weekend, which is just how a pre-holiday weekend should be…


On Friday night, Alicia, Amanda, Kimberly, and I got together for my favorite grown-up holiday tradition: TWC Christmas (the name is a long story.)

We usually meet up at someone’s house, but everyone was feeling cooking-and-hosting overwhelmed this year, so we instead opted for dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants: Dante.


From fabulous cocktails to delicious food, Dante is always a perfect spot for an evening out. I had the Wild Boar tenderloin, with honey roasted rutabaga & Brussel sprouts and chorizo potato hash.


This dish was tender, flavorful, and plate-licking good.

We all shared desserts, but the favorite at the table was the Caramel Apple Walnut Blondie, with apple jam filling, streusel, cider caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream.


After dinner, we walked over to The Spotted Owl for a Christmas nightcap.


They have a special menu of holiday-themed drinks that are all guaranteed to make you merry. I had the Ginger All The Way and it was creamy, spicy perfection.

What a perfect night of fabulous food, drinks, and, most importantly, friends!

The Magic of Lights

On Saturday night, Jeffrey and I checked out The Magic of Lights at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.


There is a drive-through component, where you make your way through millions of dazzling Christmas lights, with themed areas like “Nativity,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Joy to the World.”

There is also Santa’s Holiday Village, where you can park and walk through the village with a light selfie tunnel…




…”ice” bumper cars…


…and lots of festive fun.


The Magic of Lights takes place every day through Saturday, January 4. Tickets for a car are $20 in advance. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote The Magic of Lights. In exchange, I received a complimentary car ticket. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Platform Pub Yoga

My Sunday started out on a funday note with Platform Pub Yoga. We enjoyed a great hour-long vinyasa flow taught by Alicia, then headed downstairs for a beer, a bagel sandwich, and lots of laughs.


It’s so nice in this busy season to take a time-out for something that totally made me feel invigorated! Plus, part of the proceeds from the event benefited Providence House! The next Platform Pub Yoga happens on Sunday, January 26.

Neil Diamond Christmas

On Sunday night, Mom and I attended Neil Diamond Christmas at Music Box Supper Club.


The Diamond Project Band did a fantastic job, playing both Christmas tunes and classic Neil Diamond hits.


Mom and I had a blast singing along! What a fun way to end the pre-holiday weekend!

How was your weekend? Are you ready for the holiday week ahead?


Why? Cleveland Holiday Events!

As we head into the home stretch toward Christmas, you might be thinking you’ve missed the boat on all the seasonal fun, but there is still time to catch some great holiday events around town…


We’ve entered the day and age where we have “Instagram museums,” and WinterWonderCleveland is a magical one!


Make your way through 12 interactive, visually stunning exhibits perfect for photos. You can also solve challenges, try ice curling, and just generally step into a world of wonder.


WinterWonderCleveland is open through January 17. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I attended a complimentary media preview of WinterWonderCleveland, courtesy of Destination Cleveland. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Wild Winter Lights

Take a stroll through a magical lights display throughout the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (read more about our experience here), happening on Thursdays through Sundays and Mondays, December 23 and 30 through January 5.


Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to help promote Wild Winter Lights. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


The Cleveland Botanical Garden sparkles with holiday magic with trees decorated by local garden clubs, gingerbread houses, an indoor play area, crafts, a train ride through the outdoor gardens, and more. This year’s theme is Holiday Hollows and focuses on the warmth and comfort of home, especially at the holidays.

Photo Credit: Nick Brilla 

The Garden is open Tuesdays through Sundays and Glow is happening through January 4. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

The Magic of Lights

Why drive around a bunch of different neighborhoods, when you can experience the magic of a picturesque car ride through beautiful holiday lights at the Magic of Lights, taking place at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds through January 4.


Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Magic of Lights to help promote the event. In exchange, I received a complimentary ticket. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Whether sneaking in a visit before Christmas or filling up the days of holiday break, there are plenty of festive happenings yet to enjoy in Cleveland!


Why? Local Stocking Stuffers at Legacy Village!

I feel like my Christmas shopping MIGHT be winding down, but I’m always on the hunt for stocking-stuffer sized presents to add to what I’ve already bought. Or maybe there’s that gift exchange or co-worker or the like for whom you need a last-minute small gift.

Legacy Village has you covered in the stocking stuffer department, with not only lots of great options, but lots of great local products to choose from.

My first stop on my hunt for stocking stuffers was Banyan Tree, which always has pretty, locally-made gift items for guys, gals, and kids.

From these Furbish & Fire candles that look as good as they smell…


…to these awesome hand-crafted wood keychains, trays, and coasters…


Banyan Tree delivers on your Cleveland-themed stocking stuffers.

Then I popped over the Merchant’s Mrkt for a bonanza of local makers.


From apparel to home goods to tea to popcorn to candy, Merchant’s Mrkt offers a plethora of stocking-stuffer sized presents, all made by talented Cleveland makers.


Also, for the sweets lover on your gift list, C’est Macaron offers delicious pastries to add a hint of French elegance to any stocking!

For local stocking stuffers that will make your gift recipients feel loved and happy, look no further than Legacy Village!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend filled with holiday cheer, so let’s get right to it…

Country Lights

On Friday night, we went to Country Lights at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. Country Lights quickly became one of our favorite holiday traditions.


From the wonderful decorations both inside and out…


…to the unique magic of building a toy with an elf helper in Santa’s workshop…


Country Lights always delivers on the Christmas fun!

This event sells out quickly every year, so stay tuned for when tickets go on sale next fall!

Tannenbaum Trail

On Saturday, my friend Anne and I hit the Tannenbaum Trail, sponsored by the Ohio Wine Producers Association.


For $65 per couple, you receive a small Christmas tree, as well as 2 wine tastes, a small bite, and an ornament at each of several Geneva-area wineries. You can even travel the Tannenbaum Trail over three weekends!

Anne and I were able to get to seven wineries on our adventure: Urban Vintner, Cask 307, Silver Crest Cellars, Stonegait Winery, Grand River Cellars, Debonné Vineyards, and South River Vineyard.


The two tastes were just enough wine to allow us to experience the wineries, but still be able to get to a lot of different places. And the small bites were just the right amount of food!


We ended our day at M Cellars, which was not on the Tannenbaum Trail, but is one of our favorite spots when we’re at the wineries.


This is the second year that I’ve done the Tannenbaum Trail and I love growing my ornament collection and trying new wineries, plus seeing all the beautiful decorations in this festive season!

Kids Holiday Parties

On both Saturday and Sunday, we had kids’ holiday parties, with lots of Christmas crafts…


…a Santa visit…


…and lots of holiday cheer!


It was a fun and festive weekend as we get ever closer to Christmas! How was your weekend?


Why? Wild Winter Lights!

This holiday season, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo introduced a new, sparkly holiday tradition: Wild Winter Lights presented by NOPEC.


Over one million lights illuminate the Zoo in a winter wonderland of holiday magic.



There are giant ornaments you can stand inside…


…interactive light exhibits where you control the timing of the lights…

…great photo opps with a walkway of giant snowmen…


…a chance to visit with Santa…



…or take a spin on the Circle of Wildlife Carousel, guarded by a giant teddy bear.


There are games, refreshments for both kids and adults, holiday music, and lots of sparkle!

Wild Winter Lights takes place from 5:30-9:30pm on Thursdays through Sundays until Sunday, January 5. There will also be select Monday opportunities to visit on December 23 and December 30.


Tickets are $15.50 for Zoo members, $18.50 for non-members, and $50 for a four-pack of tickets if purchased in advance (up to 3:30pm on the date of attendance.) Children under 2 are free.

Wild Winter Lights is perfect for family fun or a twinkly date night, so head to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and add some wild sparkle to your holiday season!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to help promote Wild Winter Lights. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Blogiversary!

Every year on this day, I throw myself a little party to celebrate Why CLE? getting one year older. What started as an outlet for me to share my love of Cleveland and have a way to write creatively has lasted for NINE years and grown to encompass social media accounts and readership I never could have imagined.

Photo Credit: Nick Brilla 

I say this every year and every year it is even truer: I am so grateful for your readership and, in so many cases, your genuine friendship. On the list of things I never would have expected to come out of writing a blog is the real and awesome community that I get to be a part of.

This all started from and continues to be about a crazy love for Cleveland; a desire to celebrate it’s awesome people, places, and things; and a need to express myself in a creative and authentic way.

This last year has brought some new amazing adventures:

And so much more…

As always, I want to give something back to all of you to thank you for your readership. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I will randomly select one winner to get a $25 gift card to the Cleveland restaurant of their choice and one winner to get a $25 donation to the Cleveland non-profit of their choice.

I am humbled at the things I get to do, the stories I get to share, and the chance to ever grow my love for Cleveland and share my life with you.

Photo Credit: Nick Brilla

Here’s to what will certainly be an incredible ninth year of Why CLE?