February 7, 2014

Life in Cleveland – in the winter…

Winter in Cleveland – Ok, maybe it’s not a dream vacation.  It’s cold; sometimes, it’s really cold.  And if this is your first winter in Cleveland, you deserve a badge or a medal, or at least a photo with a snowman to commemorate the accomplishment.  We’re breaking records this year.

So, how does life in Cleveland change in the winter?  First, the practical stuff.  We pull out our warmest clothes.  If you have the right outerwear (especially a coat and boots), you can actually stay pretty warm.  I have favorite sweaters and scarves that only get to come out of the closet when it’s cold; they’re like old friends.  Once we have our extra layers, whether walking or driving, we allow more time to get where we’re going.  On that note, something we tend to take for granted here in Cleveland is street and sidewalk snow removal.  I lived in Cincinnati once, and it only took ½ inch of snow to make cars slide all over the roads.  Here, a ½ inch is no problem!  It takes 20x that to stop us.  If you’ve experienced the difference, you know what I mean.  Gotta hand it to you, Cleveland. 
Obviously, all the snow and cold temperatures make some outdoor activities impossible, well, improbable.  I still see runners out on the streets, but I have yet to see a snow volleyball game.  Sand just works so much better.  Faced with temperatures in the bottom 1/3 of the thermometer and sand volleyball out of the question, we still have options.  There are things to do outside, and there are things to do inside.
With the Winter Olympics starting today, let’s take a look at some of the sports we can try in Northeast Ohio.  Some day or half-day activities are great for groups and are, at the very farthest, an hour’s drive from campus.  A number of fun things are in the Metroparks: toboggan chutes at The Chalet and snowshoeing and sledding in several places.  I just found out that Big Met Golf Course offers cross-country skiing.  I’m thinking of heading over this weekend.  A little further away, you can go snowboarding, skiing and tubing at Boston Mills/Brandywine.  If you’re used to the Alps, our slopes might not cut it, but it’s a great place to learn and have fun with friends.  Right around the corner from us, The Rink at Wade Oval offers ice skating with free admission and skate rental is just $3 (adventurous, affordable addition to a Valentine’s Date?).  Of course, we can do a lot of the same activities anytime of the year, like going out to eat, to the movies or shopping.  But why not take advantage of all the winter sports we’re lucky to have in Cleveland? 
 
If you just can’t fathom the idea of having fun outdoors these months, I recommend this time of year for reading a book (or five), watching reruns of your favorite show or catching up on a new series.  Hmm, how perfect that Downton Abbey’s 4th season premiered this month.  And having spent plenty of winters as a student, I’ll add that it was always easier for me to focus without the distraction of warm, sunny weather just on the other side of the window.  So my advice is to use this time to get ahead!
In closing, I have to mention that, here in Cleveland, I’ve always found that people are extra friendly, concerned and helpful in the winter.  Neighbors shovel snow and clear off cars for each other; everyone’s asking “are you staying warm?”  Writing this post brings back a childhood memory of making hot chocolate for the mailman, who was walking door to door in blustery weather.  And come to think of it, what better time of year to turn on the oven and make some chocolate chip cookies for your friends?
 
If you just don’t buy that winter can be fun, you’ll probably agree that is does make spring that much sweeter.
 
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Katherine Gullett, MBA '13 - Cultural Contributor

I’m a Cleveland native who loves my city, and I am thrilled to be sharing it with you. It seems I always have recommendations of things to do and places to see. This summer, I’ve started experiencing the city from a fresh perspective—by getting here and there on my bicycle.

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