Sunday, April 1, 2012

Great American Ballpark Tour 2007: The Cities

This trip, my brother and I didn't spend as much time exploring the city as in past trips. We spent most of the time with family. However, on Saturday we did venture over to Phipps Conservatory to see their exhibition of glass artwork by Chihuly. Looks like I didn’t post any examples in my album section. You can find some on his site. Very interesting.

We didn’t spend much time exploring Cleveland on Monday, but did end up driving down most of East 9th Street where we saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Lake Erie. Tuesday, after breakfast at Eat 'n' Park, we spent the whole day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Highly recommended. If you're ever in Cleveland, check it out. They had some great exhibits spanning the decades of rock and roll, from its roots in jazz and the blues, to the modern day. They had an interesting "cities of rock and roll" exhibit that spanned the decades and different styles of rock: Motown, Liverpool, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, all the way up to Seattle’s grunge movement. After this, there were exhibits on some of the big rock acts: The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix. I loved the Hendrix exhibit (probably because I’m a huge fan). They had the expected costumes and historic guitars, but there were some more subtle pieces too. Like drawings Jimi did as a child (he was a great artist as well as musician). His father kept Jimi’s sketches and donated them to the Hall of Fame. Some of the more outspoken political rock of the 1960’s made my brother and I talk about the "is rock dead?" argument. The only bad thing about the HoF was that you weren’t allowed to take pictures.

Columbus, unfortunately, is probably the one new city we visited that we didn’t take full advantage of. It could be that we had such a short time there (less than 24 hours) or that we stayed so far out of town.

Cincinnati, on the other hand, was a great experience. There was so much to do; we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to see. I don’t know if I’d plan to go back there solely to finish it off, but I’d like to go back to Cincinnati some day. Since Thursday’s game was a day game, it somewhat limited our time for sightseeing that day. So, after the game, we hit up one of the pillars of the Cincinnati culinary experience: Skyline Chili. My brother can talk more about that. He had the Famous 5 Way: chili served over spaghetti with a mound of cheddar cheese (the Mt. Everest of Cheese), diced onions, and red beans. Then, we went back to the hotel for some Pepto and to plan our day on Friday.

We planned to start the day off at the Taft Museum of Art, but it opened at 11am (we were there around 10). So we wandered a bit around town and stumbled across a neat little garden outside Procter & Gamble’s HQ. On to Fountain Square and to the top of Carew Tower. There are pictures in the album taken from the top of the tower to show you how far you can see. At this point, we went back to the Taft Museum. The first exhibit we saw was a special one only there from May 18-August 12 called Hiram Powers: Genius in Marble. Genius is right. Pictures weren’t allowed, but I doubt even the best camera would to his sculptures justice. Most of Powers’s work was busts, and they were extremely lifelike. You actually had to take time and study each piece because you’d notice different things depending on how the light hit the sculpture. His bust of George Washington was astounding and the cloak around his shoulders (also marble) looked almost like it was real cloth. The regular exhibit was the private collection of President Taft’s half brother. It contained many works from old masters and some I’d never heard of, but gained a great appreciation for.

Time for lunch and we had one of the best pizzas ever: Donato’s Founder’s Favorite. I normally don’t like a lot of crazy topping on my pizza (pepperoni and green peppers is fine, thank you), but this was amazing. Pepperoni, sausage, ham, and hot peppers. It is to die for.

We probably could’ve plowed on and went to President Taft’s house and the Underground Railroad Museum, but it was July 27th. The day The Simpsons Movie came out. Over to Kentucky for the movie and a quick stop at Barnes & Noble, then on to the game.

Saturday, we said goodbye to Cincinnati and went to Canton, OH for the Football Hall of Fame. Now, my brother and I have been there at least twice before, but this time was different. This year is the 75th Anniversary season of the Steelers, and the Hall had a special exhibit detailing the entire history of the team. Each decade had their own glass display case with memorabilia from that era; except the 1970’s which had two. Some of the pieces were things jerseys worn by Bradshaw and Mean Joe Green, and historic footballs. They also had the cleats worn by Franco Harris in the Immaculate Reception. And our timing couldn’t be better. From July 27 -- the day before we got there -- through Hall of Fame weekend, all five Steeler Super Bowl trophies were on display. Pictures are in the Album section.

All in all, not only did we see some great baseball games, but we also explored some of the great things the state of Ohio has to offer.

Posted on the old blog 8/16/2007.

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