Why? Grapes Under Glass!

The most elegant and expansive wine tasting event in Cleveland is back at the Rotunda at The 9 and Heinen’s Downtown ClevelandGrapes Under Glass: An Unprecedented Wine Tasting Event happens Thursday, April 19 through Sunday, April 22.

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All events will take place in the stunning Cleveland Trust Rotunda, a truly unique and beautiful place to enjoy a glass (or two or three) of wine. You will have access to amazing high-end wineries, as well as a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals.

You’ll also nibble on food paired specifically to the wines, created by The 9’s Executive Chef, Nelly Buleje, as well as Heinen’s culinary team.

The full schedule is impressive, including a Four Winemakers-Four Courses dinner on Thursday, April 19; a California Blue Chip Wine Experience on Friday, April 20; a Cognac Private Lounge and Main Tasting Event on Saturday, April 21; and a Conundrum Bubbles Brunch on Sunday, April 22.

Tickets can be purchased for individual events or in an event package, which can include overnight stays at The Metropolitan at the 9 Cleveland. Click here for more information, including pricing on events and packages, and to purchase tickets.

The Cleveland Trust Rotunda has quickly become a symbol of downtown Cleveland’s renaissance and the perfect place for a high-class event. Grapes Under Glass will be quite the event, so raise a toast!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Heinen’s to help promote Grapes Under Glass. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to the Blue Chip Wine Experience. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Market at the Food Bank Giveaway!

As spring event season heats up, I’m getting excited for a great evening of food and fun with Market at the Food Bank. Happening on Sunday, April 29 at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank warehouse, this event is not only a wonderful chance to contribute to the Harvest for Hunger campaign, but also a unique way to see firsthand where the proceeds from the event go.

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Market at the Food Bank is a strolling food and beverage event that features small bites from amazing local restaurants including BRIM Kitchen and Brewery, Mama Roberto’s, EDWINS, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Woods Restaurant and Lounge, Little Devil Cupcakery, and many more. You’ll also enjoy beverages from Private Reserve Fine Wines, Reggae Wines, Starbucks, Beverage Distributors, and more.

There is also a fabulous silent auction and live raffle with great prizes up for bid, all to raise even more money for Harvest for Hunger.

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Tickets are currently on sale for Market at the Food Bank. General admission tickets are $127 and include unlimited food and beverage samples, a souvenir wine glass, and valet parking. VIP tickets are $202 and include all the general admission benefits, plus early admittance to the event and access to the VIP lounge. You can purchase tickets online.

Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to Market at the Food Bank right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me which your most excited to try.

2. Visit Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @clefoodbank and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @CleFoodbank 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 attend Market at the @CleFoodbank thanks to @WhyCLE #HarvestforHunger #giveaway #market2018 https://whycle.com/2018/04/10/why-market-at-the-food-bank-giveaway-3 

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, April 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help promote Market at the Food Bank. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Austin!

This past weekend, I met up with my “PLP” (platonic life partner) Andrea for a fabulous weekend of face-to-face catching up in Austin, Texas.

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Andrea and I met in law school and quickly became inseparable. And while life has taken us in a lot of different directions since then, we’ve always managed to stay in touch and even carve out time to see each other in person.

We chose Austin because it was a city we could both get to easily (Cleveland has direct flights there now on both Southwest and Allegiant, woot) and we had heard great things about it. So, here’s where we went and what we loved:

South Congress

The South Congress (or SoCo) neighborhood reminds me of Gordon Square or Tremont, with lots of great restaurants and fun boutiques to explore.

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On my first day in Austin, while I was waiting for Andrea to arrive, I popped into the South Congress Hotel for a tasty drink in their adorable lobby bar.

Andrea and I both relaxed with pedicures at Ten Over Ten, a salon that exclusively does nail appointments and is totally relaxing, as well as totally focused on non-toxic products.

Also in the SoCo area, we fell in love with the adorable Maya Star boutique, as well as the tasty Amy’s Ice Creams (think Coldstone-style treats, but yummier).

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This street art says it all…we loved SoCo!

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Rainey Street

Another great neighborhood in Austin is Rainey Street, which has bars and restaurants galore, all built into adorable bungalows. Rainey Street also boasts some of Austin’s “trailer parks,” which are areas that have food trucks permanently parked.

I had a drink and food truck chicken wings at Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street. I sipped on a Clive Davis (Bulleit rye, lemon juice, ginger beer, and Peychaud’s bitters) while hanging out in the backyard-like patio with giant games, lawn chairs, and astroturf.

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Later in the weekend, Andrea and I returned to Rainey Street for margaritas and guacamole at El Naranjo.

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Rainey Street was definitely hopping on a Saturday night! For a fun collection of restaurants and bars, with tons of options for whatever your taste, I highly recommend a walk (or two) down Rainey Street!

The Roosevelt Room

From the laid back to the fancy, Andrea and I spent an evening sipping fabulous cocktails at The Roosevelt Room, a reservations-only speakeasy nestled in downtown Austin.

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The menu is divided by era and offers a huge selection of craft cocktails, with everything from a Manhattan to a Long Island Iced Tea. We scored seats at the bar, where we got to see the amazing bartenders work their magic, as well as enjoy our own delicious beverages (I got the Air Mail Special, with champagne, dark rum, honey, and lemon).

The Roosevelt Room was a treat for all the senses!

Mattie’s 

While we received tons of different recommendations for places to go in Austin, one place almost everyone mentioned was Mattie’s.

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Mattie’s feels like something out of “Gone With the Wind,” with a beautiful plantation-style house and a distinct feeling of southern hospitality. We went for brunch and loved everything from the amazing buttermilk biscuits to the duck confit hash.

Both the food and the setting were unique and lovely! Mattie’s famous peacocks were strolling the grounds while we were there and Snowball the peacock definitely enjoyed showing off for the camera.

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Mattie’s is a not-to-be-missed southern experience!

Drink Local

While in Austin, I also got to catch up with my friends Shannon and Steven, who took me to Still Austin and The Austin Winery, both located within steps of each other in an industrial park.

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I highly recommend the cocktail flight at Still Austin, which gives you a great taste of their different varieties of whiskey mixed into tasty drinks.

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Also in the same industrial park is a local brewery, so you can get whiskey, beer, and wine all in one spot!

Eat Local

When your AirBNB doesn’t have coffee, you end up at the nearest coffee shop, which is how we discovered the lovely SummerMoon.

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We also ended up at a lovely lunch spot by happenstance: Laundrette. Located in a former laundromat, this bright, charming restaurant served up a lovely ladies lunch.

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The fried chicken sammie was delicious, as was the beet hummus!

We also hit Barlata Tapas Bar, for delicious small plates. Andrea and I had a favorite tapas restaurant in law school, so Barlata was a nice bit of nostalgia, as we shared tapas standards like patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, and blistered shishito peppers.

Yay for eating local! Austin definitely has no shortage of great places to eat!

Getting my Om On

If you know me, you know I also snuck in some time on my mat while in Austin. I practiced at Sukha Yoga, which has a beautiful studio and a warm, welcoming vibe. Seriously, if you’re in town, check out this studio!

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I also picked up a class at barre3 Austin. Because barre3 is standardized across the franchises, I knew exactly what I’d be getting, which was a great workout that felt instantly familiar.

So, that was our weekend in Austin! Tons of time exploring a fabulous and fun town, but even better, tons of time catching up with a fabulous and fun friend!

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Why? Ajoyo Almondmilk Giveaway!

When making changes in my life, particularly in the health and wellness area, I’ve found that the best and most lasting changes come when I start small. Making sweeping changes often doesn’t last and leads to burnout. But starting small allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and steadily build lasting healthy habits.

When I was in law school, after being overweight for most of my life, I decided to join Weight Watchers and not only lose weight, but change my eating habits for good.

Gradually, I lost 80 pounds and reached my goal weight. But the weight kept coming off and I found myself fixated on becoming thinner and thinner, to the point of unhealthiness in the opposite direction. One morning, when I passed out in my apartment’s elevator on my to work out, I realized that simply being thin was not serving my overall health.

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As I slowly returned toward my healthy original goal weight (and then worked to get myself back there again after having Jeffrey), I learned that the lowest number does not always make you the healthiest person.

I learned that choosing foods based on real, natural, good-for-you ingredients, rather than the lowest calorie and fat counts, would lead to better and more sustainable food choices. Artificial sweeteners and fat-free cheese might give you the momentary illusion of making a healthy choice, but long-term health comes from choosing all-natural foods that are also good for you.

I learned that exercising should not be something I do to punish my body, but rather to celebrate its abilities and maintain its strength.

I don’t take any of these lessons lightly. They are hard learned and definitely still a work in progress. But that’s just my point. Healthy choices for your body and your mind don’t happen overnight. This has been a 15 year process so far for me.

Sometimes you just need to start small. Set an attainable goal and work toward it, knowing that it’s part of a larger plan for overall health.

The folks at Ajoyo Almondmilk , part of the Ohio-based Smith Foods, understand the importance of starting small. From their website, “We begin with a seed. We are born from the soil. That’s why we believe connecting with nature has the power to better connect us with ourselves. From seed to soul. So, let’s drink in the good stuff the way Mother Nature intended, while also taking other small steps towards becoming the healthiest, happiest souls on Earth.”

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For me, Ajoyo is a great way to continue achieving my goal of incorporating more all-natural foods that not only taste good, but are good for me and my family. I still struggle with breaking old habits of choosing solely based on calorie and fat counts, rather than also caring about what’s in my food. So, this is a small way I can help to break that habit, by incorporating a product that is both healthy and natural.

Ajoyo’s natural almond milk comes in original, original unsweetened, vanilla, vanilla unsweetened, and chocolate. Ajoyo has a ton of great recipes to get you started incorporating almond milk into your own “Start Small” healthy goal. I can’t wait to whip up this Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette! And we’ve loved incorporating Ajoyo into morning Vitamix smoothies!

Ajoyo would like to give you the chance to try their almond milk for yourself. The winner will receive coupons good for four free half-gallons of Ajoyo.

Here’s how to enter: just follow @ajoyobrand on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following. A simple way to start small!

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, April 18 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Ajoyo Almondmilk. In exchange, I received coupons good for four free half-gallons of Ajoyo Almondmilk. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Legacy Village Restaurant Week Giveaway!

Restaurant Weeks have become a popular way to be able to check out a new restaurant or rediscover an old favorite for a great deal. Legacy Village is once again offering their Restaurant Week, from Monday, April 9 through Sunday, April 15.

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Diners can enjoy $25 prix fixe meals at Bar Louie, Brio Coastal Bar & Kitchen, California Pizza Kitchen, Granite City Food & Brewery, and The Melting Pot and $38 prix fixe meals at The Capital Grille. You can check out all the different Restaurant Week menus here.

To sweeten the deal even more, Legacy Village Restaurant Week diners can also complete a contest form to be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to each of the participating Legacy Village Restaurant Week restaurants. And each night, a diner will be selected to win a $50 Legacy Village gift card!

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To help you take advantage of Legacy Village Restaurant Week, I have a $50 Legacy Village gift card to give away right here!

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here telling me which restaurant at which you’d use your gift card.

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

3. Follow @legacyvillage and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @legacyvillageoh 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 a gift card from @WhyCLE to enjoy @legacyvillageoh Restaurant Week #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/04/04/why-legacy-village-restaurant-week-giveaway 

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

The giveaway will close on Saturday, April 7 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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

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Why? The South Side and Hi & Dry!

Last week, I met up with some fabulous lady bloggers for a taste of two fabulous Tremont restaurants: The South Side and Hi & Dry. The South Side was opened in 2003 by Sherman DeLozier with the idea of being a middle ground for Tremont’s restaurants: not too fancy, not too casual. And Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky, who grew up in Parma, does just that with fabulous and fun menu offerings.

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We got a broad taste of The South Side’s menu, including items that will be appearing on the summer menu starting in early May. The gazpacho and seafood shooters and Big Fat Greek Salad (watermelon, cucumber, tomato, onion, feta, and basil), both tasted just like summer should: fresh and delicious!

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The tuna and avocado salad was incredible and had everyone going back for seconds!

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The beets and grapefruit salad was also light, bright, and so good!

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We also got to sample several different kinds of tacos: steak, shrimp, and black bean and kimchee.

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Pair them with a habanero tequila and peach margarita and you’ll want to spend your taco Tuesdays at The South Side!

The South Side also pays homage to Natasha’s Eastern European roots with things like deep-fried pierogi stuffed with mac ‘n cheese and kielbasa kebabs (kielbasa and potato pancakes).

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A bite of these with the chipotle aioli is SO GOOD!

But Chef Natasha didn’t stop there and showed us her skill with fish and pasta, too. The mushroom ravioli with truffle and beet fettucine with goat cheese and dill were both well-prepared and delicious!

The pesto-crusted salmon and tomato-roasted grouper also elevate The South Side’s menu to true gastro pub status. The food is creative and tasty, while still being accessible and not too pretentious.

The South Side strip and St. Louis style ribs will keep the more traditional meat-eaters happy, with just enough of a foodie flair.

Oh, you’re a pizza fan? Try the shrimp primavera pizza!

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And if you’re looking for brunch decadence, look no farther than the Money Ball, a meatball wrapped around a 6-minute egg and baked under a blanket of pie dough, served with buttermilk sausage gravy.

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The South Side truly has something on their menu for everyone! The food, drinks, and staff are easy-going and genuinely wonderful. If this place slipped off your Tremont radar, as it did mine admittedly, make sure you get there soon for all this Cleveland-grown deliciousness!

We then waddled (literally) down the street to Hi & Dry for a sampling of their playful cocktail menu and some duckpin bowling.

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All of Hi & Dry’s cocktails are named after hashtags. I think the #CaseoftheMondays (pictured here) is my favorite! And while Hi & Dry is primarily a bar and arcade destination, there are some fun bar food menu items, including this SPAM sandwich.

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So, whether you’re in search of a great meal, a great drink, or a great time, you can’t go wrong stopping at The South Side or Hi & Dry (or both)! These locally-owned, locally-focused restaurants are true gems in the Tremont neighborhood!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at The South Side and Hi & Dry. Much thanks to Tricia of Planes, Trains, and All of Our Meals for organizing this event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful holiday weekend, filled with family and friends! Here’s what was hopping:

Dyeing Easter Eggs

On Friday, Jeffrey and I had our friends over to dye Easter eggs. We dye eggs every year and I love how Jeffrey has gotten more interested in it as time goes by.

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Check out his masterpieces!

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

Speaking of annual traditions, on Saturday we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter egg hunt. This is one of our favorite holiday events!

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You ticket includes an Easter egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden, which is filled with tons of candy-filled eggs, as well as fun spring decorations.

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There were also crafts and outdoor games like bean bag toss and giant tic-tac-toe to enjoy. Plus there was a visit from a very special bunny in a very special bunny car!

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You also got admission to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to check out their Spring Blooms event. Spring Blooms replaced Big Spring and has all the bright spring colors and flowers you’ve come to expect, but fewer children’s play elements.

We really enjoyed our morning at the Easter egg hunt! For an event that draws around 1,000 people, it is very well organized and always a lot of fun!

Dante and Justin Timberlake

On Saturday night, I celebrated my dear friend Kimberly‘s birthday with dinner at Dante, followed by the Justin Timberlake concert.

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Our meal at Dante was perfect, from the aptly-named Something Fun cocktail…

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…to the honey-roasted Brussel sprouts with goat cheese and polenta with pork belly (OMG, both were life-changing!)

From there, it was off to an awesome night of music with Justin Timberlake, with a special guest appearance from LeBron James, too!

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What a fun night!

Easter

The rest of our weekend was spent enjoying Easter with our families. On Saturday, I prepared a traditional and locally-sourced Polish Holy Saturday feast, with pierogi from Janka Meat Products and Pierogi, kielbasa from Pinzone Market Fresh Meats, and sauerkraut from Wholesome Valley Farm via Fresh Fork Market.

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On Sunday, we had Easter bunny treats to discover…

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…time with both Matthew’s and my families and lots of smiles and good memories!

It was a great weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning!

It’s definitely time for spring cleaning! We’re having people over for Easter, plus it’s just time to get the house feeling fresh and clean again. Which is why I was so excited to partner with Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning.

I know, I’m usually all about the locally-owned businesses, so I had a moment of hesitation too. But, then I learned that the Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning franchises are locally owned and operated, right in Parma (hey, that’s my old stomping grounds)!

I met with Greg, one of the owners, and we chatted everything from carpet cleaning to the Cavs and I was sold on this local business! This week, we had the carpets cleaned and I am thrilled with the results.

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Not only did all the carpets get cleaned, but the area rugs too. Everything smells fresh and clean, thanks to the addition of the deodorizing spray (a must if you have fuzzy friends living with you.)

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With two dogs and one kid, our carpets can definitely get dirty and well worn. I didn’t even realize how much of a difference professional carpet cleaning could make until I had it done and stepped back to admire the results.

Plus, the crew (Monde and Mike) from Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning was so professional and personable. They even found time to talk music with Jeffrey and still get everything done in no time!

In less than two hours, all the carpet in the house was clean! This is definitely a spring cleaning must!

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The Cleveland-area, locally-owned Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning offers cleaning for tile, carpet, air ducts, and upholstery, as well as general handyman work. Give them a call and check a thing or two of your spring cleaning list!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning. In exchange, I received a free carpet cleaning service. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The First Tee of Cleveland Open House!

As we gear up for spring, you might be thinking about ways to get your kids involved and active out of doors. The First Tee of Cleveland is a great option! The program teaches life lessons, build character, and instills confidence, all through learning the game of golf.

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The First Tee of Cleveland will be holding Open Houses at all four of their locations on Saturday, April 7 from 10am-12pm. Here are the locations:

• Washington Golf Course (main campus), 3841 Washington Park Blvd., Newburgh Heights 44105
• The Links Golf Course, 26111 John Road, Olmsted Township 44138
• Briardale Greens Golf Course, 24131 Briardale Avenue, Euclid 44123
• Windmill Golf Center, 1511 E. Aurora Road (State Route 82), Macedonia 44056

These Open Houses are free and open to all children ages 6 to 18 and their families. Light refreshments will be served.

The Open Houses will give you the chance to learn about the First Tee’s award-winning programs, meet the coaches, ask questions, enroll for 2018, and participate in some fun golf activities.

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The First Tee offers programs year-round, such as:

• School Year, After School and Saturdays
• “Try It” sessions: see what you like first, then join.
• Patty Wood Girls Leadership Experience
• Food, Fun and the Nine Healthy Habits™ winter class
• Caddie Class, late winter
• Summer Programs: Weekdays and Saturdays
• Camps in partnership with Cleveland Metroparks
• Outreach Programs in Schools & Community Groups

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the folks from The First Tee of Cleveland and see firsthand what they’re all about. You can read about it here.

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So, if you want to learn more and get your kids involved in a positive, fun experience, make sure to check out one of these Open Houses, happening rain or shine (or snow) on Saturday, April 7!

I also have a bag of golf swag from The First Tee of Cleveland to give away. Here’s how to enter to win:

1.Visit The First Tee of Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

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Why? Pro Football Hall of Fame!

While I love taking Jeffrey to places that I’ve been before and getting to see them through his eyes, sometimes it’s equally enchanting to experience a place together for the first time. Last week, we both made our first visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

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The NFL was founded in Canton in 1920, which is why the Hall of Fame is located there. I was blown away by the facility, which is sleek, modern, and engaging.

When you arrive, you have the opportunity to get your picture taken by a green screen and select different fun backgrounds as a souvenir of your visit. This is great, since I usually only get awkward selfies when Jeffrey and I go somewhere just the two of us.

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Jeffrey and I went on the Museum Insider’s Tour, which gives a detailed overview of some of the most interesting pieces in the collection. Our tour guide, Red, was a wealth of knowledge about the Museum, as well as the game of football itself! The Insider’s Tour is a great option for adult visitors or families with older children who want to absorb a lot of knowledge and anecdotes during their visit.

From walking through the history of football…

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…to seeing the bronze busts and signature gold jackets of those enshrined there…

 

…to seeing mementos from record-setting games and modern items in the “Pro Football Today” gallery…

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…to seeing the Lombardi Trophy and checking out every Super Bowl ring…

 

…there was so much to take in!

There are a lot of interactive elements at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including a replay booth, helmets wired with in-game commentary, a place to play Madden EA Sports, and a very cool hologram of the Hall of Fame ring that kept Jeffrey entertained for quite awhile!

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There are also movies to see, including “A Game for Life” and the Super Bowl theater.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is really an incredible tribute to the game of football and the people who made it great.

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While I will confess to not being a huge football fan, I was both impressed and moved by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I enjoyed learning about something so ingrained in American culture that got it’s start in Northeast Ohio. It’s definitely worth a trip to Canton to check it out!

Admission rates are $25 for adults ages 13-64, $21 for seniors ages 65+, $18 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6 and museum members. You can also save $5 off your admission by using code WHYCLE when you purchase tickets online.

***Disclosure: I was invited to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame with complimentary admission and tour, as well as a swag bag, Gift Shop gift card, and complimentary photos. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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