Mentor Headlands Beach. Every year my best friend and I make it a point to head to the beach as often as possible. There’s plenty of beaches around Cleveland, but our favorite is Mentor Headlands. Sure, it’s a bit farther than some other beaches, but there’s always a spot tucked away by the sand dunes for us to spread out our blankets. It feels like a trip in a way that Edgewater never does. I love Edgewater Park, and don’t be surprised if it crops up in future posts, but I like it for walking, and picnicking, Headlands I love for just being the beach. Every year I manage to get heinously sunburned, but it’s worth it to lay out in the sand reading a book, swim in the waves, and gossip with K. And it doesn’t hurt if I can get a jalapeño burger and ice cream from Scooter’s Dawg House.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. I love the zoo because it makes me remember my childhood. And anyone who knows me even a little knows that I enjoy remembering my childhood. I’m almost obsessively nostalgic for the past, while somehow always wanting to move on. I took classes at the zoo when I was little. I hiked around with my little pink fanny pack and waved to the elephants and pygmy hippopotamuses. Now the elephants are being housed at the Columbus Zoo while the Metroparks build their new habitat, and the pygmies are god knows where, but I still enjoy looking at all the animals that I once loved. Something about zoos makes me instantly revert to childhood. Plus, the zoo is free on Mondays for Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township residents. You can’t beat free.
Yellow Bridges. I recently went to Pittsburgh for the first time despite the fact that it’s only two and half hours away. I had already Bedroom Traveled there, so I pretty much knew what to expect. But that’s not quite the same thing, now is it? I really liked it there, but I was pretty much completely entranced by the yellow bridges. I don’t know why they are yellow. Actually, if anyone has any insight into this I wouldn’t mind knowing. But, in a lot of ways I don’t particularly care, because I love them regardless. And, since the city is located around three rivers it’s not surprising that it has a lot of bridges. I like bridges in general, slightly strangely colored ones are just a plus.
Industrial Wastelands. I love this. I really love this. The first time I saw it I stared out the car window gaping because I thought it was just outrageously beautiful. The problem, if you can call it that, is that I don’t have any idea what this used to be. It’s clear that it was a building of some sort, at some point, and that it was subsequently torn down. All that’s left are some of the concrete supports with the metal pole beams twisting out from them. They look like trees, so incredibly organic without it being so at all, just sitting in their vacant lot. I would love it if it could stay there forever as a monument to, probably mundane, things in the past that I didn’t even know about, but I know that eventually it will disappear and all that will be left are my photographs.
The Secret Garden at Stan Hywet Hall. I think the proper name for this is the Reflecting Pool, but it lives behind four stone walls that you can’t see properly in the photo. I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett‘s novel when I was little. I mean… really loved that book until I planted myself a garden and wished my name was as boring as “Mary”. I rode my bike to look at roses and overgrown pieces of planted earth. I read it like five times in a year. I also love touring old houses. So when I was little my dad told me that this one had a Secret Garden and I wanted to go. And I’ve never really forgotten that.
Burg Eltz. I’ve never been to this medieval castle on the Moselle River in Germany, but I desperately want to. I saw this for the first time at some point in the winter, when I was having a bit of a depressed time, and all I could think was to ask the question of how I could be sad in a world where something like that could exist. And that’s true. There’s something so completely amazing about this castle built up on a hill and then just sort of… up itself. I’ve seen Neuschwanstein Castle, which was completely beautiful and completely impressive, and sort of like this one, but this seems more… authentic. Not surprising maybe since King Ludwig II didn’t go bankrupt building Burg Eltz.
Wendy Park. If someone was to ask me where my favorite place in Cleveland is I’d say, hands down, Wendy Park on Whiskey Island. I love it because it’s sort of the best of both worlds. When you enter Wendy Park, through Whiskey Island Marina, you can drive one of two ways. One goes towards the lake and a grassy knoll where you can spread out a blanket and enjoy the boats coming and going from the nearby Marina. You can see the lighthouses and listen to the water lapping against the shore. But if you drive the other direction you get to the Cuyahoga River where you have a splendid view of the city from below. And bridges. And if you walk a bit out towards the lake, along the river, you get to the crumbling remains of the old Coast Guard station, which is gorgeous in it’s own right.
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. I have never been here. In fact I know very little about this town except that it’s located in what used to be Bohemia and that it’s name translates to Carlsbad in English. But, it’s beautiful. I don’t even remember where I was Bedroom Traveling when I discovered this photograph but it made me want to see the place in person. Which, in my opinion, is the reason for photographs in the first place. I love the way it climbs, one building seemingly on top of the other. And I love the colors. And how you can immediately tell it’s in Eastern Central Europe.
Gibraltar. I’ve never before really given Gibraltar that much thought. I knew it existed of course. I knew about the Barbary Apes. I knew about the Rock. But, apart from that it was just a place that existed in the world that I’d never really thought about before. Stupidly enough, the reason I became interested was because of how it was described in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Gibraltar is an English territory located at the very tip of Spain and just across the straight from Morocco, and because of that it’s infused with the cultures of all of them. It’s an English village away from England. And, of course it’s beautiful. The Rock of Gibraltar is ridiculously dramatic, the sort of thing you’d long to see at sunset for it to reach it’s full potential. Of course, because of it’s territory status and location it’s often contested between England and Spain, but it’s said the peninsula will belong to England so long as it’s inhabited by those Barbary Apes. Which is why Winston Churchill infused the place when it started to run out.
Rory Williams. In my previous installment I included Doctor Who‘s Amy Pond as one of the things that makes me happy, so I figured it would only be appropriate to add in her boyfriend. Who I want to steal. I think, were I drawing up my TV Boyfriends now he would probably be on this list (unsurprisingly that list sort of changes), though it’s really, honestly, not immediately easy to see why. Initially it seems as if Rory isn’t going to be much more to the series other than playing the Baxter, but, pleasantly, that’s really not the case. When we first meet him he’s a little bit bumbling, nervous and meek, but by the time we see him again (two years from when we saw him initially) he’s turned rather formidable. Plus, he’s loyal and loves Amy enough to guard her for two thousand years (don’t ask), which is really sort of cute. But most importantly, he’s pretty ridiculous. Which in my case equals swoon.