For all the EA newcomers to Cleveland/Akron who are facing their first winter in our town…
When I re-read this Surviving Cleveland Winters blog we shared in January 2022, I viscerally remembered that surreal first COVID winter. We were still living in a pandemic world and being forced back inside for the cold months with only a handful of “safe” social activities like dining in a sidewalk igloo outside of our favorite restaurant. So, facing winter this year seems like a breeze compared to three years ago!
Turning back our clocks is always my official “get ready to hunker down for winter” sign, so I asked my EA colleagues to share ideas for those who may be living in a cold weather town for their very first time, and for the folks that love the snow/cold but don’t know how Clevelanders do it.
One of the reasons many of us live in the Midwest is that we adore four distinct seasons. Most of us wish winter was about two months shorter, but within the next few weeks, the rakes, leaf blowers and patio furniture will be stored away for six months. So that you have ways to still have fun and be social even when it gets a little chilly and grey outside check out our suggestions.
Why not start with a bucket list? Get input from all in your household so you all have things to look forward to each week/month. Here are a few starter ideas to get your brain going:
- Hike a new trail each month (winter in the woods is amazing); use this Cleveland Metroparks event calendar to find hikes that are led by a naturalist or ranger to learn more and meet others; or use this list of trains in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
- Start a small supper club of friends/neighbors and seek out local restaurants that feature the food of all 197 countries in the world like this guy did: Bored in Chicago: Eating Across the World. He is slowly working his way through cuisines from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe using this alpha list of countries.
- Try a new outdoor sport. Learn to snowshoe, cross-country ski or start curling, Alpine Valley has a super cute ski-school program for kids. They often have a DJ will be playing fun music while they ski, Parents can enjoy the observation deck/bar while the kids enjoy lessons for a few hours. You make lots of friends on the hills. Many schools have buses to take kids to the slopes, so you don’t have to.
- Learn to cook a new dish by taking a class at Stir Studio Kitchen (three locations), Loretta Paganini’s School of Cooking, Sur La Table, Gervasi Winery’s Cucina cooking classes.
Put these dates/times on your calendar now:
- February 10 – Kurentovanje is a Slovenian festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. We know, February is not quite spring in this part of the world, but traditionally it takes place the week prior to Ash Wednesday every year. It’s a bit like a mini Madri Gras parade.
- February 24 – BriteWinter outdoor music festival takes place downtown in The Flats. It features bonfires, great food, great beverages and is a blast!
- Feb/March – The Orchid Show at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens is breathtaking. You had no idea there were that many kinds of orchids in every size and color imaginable and just to smell the soil and feel humid air on your face at this time of year makes you excited for spring.
Are the youngsters going stir crazy?
- Do you need a place for your kids to run around a let their energy loose? Check out The Adventure Factory in Avon Lake; Brandywine’s Polar Blast Tubing Park in Sagamore Hills (42″ height required so not for toddlers) and Miles Road Sledding Hill in Cleveland Metroparks South Chagrin Reservation (there’s a smaller one for littler kids in Orange Village Park on Emery Road). Check out all of the Metroparks sledding hills here or Adrenaline Monkey in Warrensville Heights.
- Wild Winter Lights at the Cleveland Zoo is a beautiful display which has an option to drive through the park as well as the old fashioned, bundle up the whole family and walk through the zoo option. It’s a great way for kids to get their zoomies out of the way before dinner.
Need a date night without the kids in tow?
- Buy tickets for live music at one of our many intimate local venues to support up and coming musicians and their roadies. This earlier blog lists many of our favorite venues to try.
- Go to a comedy club like The Improv or Hilarities at Pickwick & Frolic and spend a night laughing.
- Pack of thermos of a tasty hot beverage and a camera for a hike along the Chagrin River or the Rocky River and notice the rivers’ ice formations and the numerous partially frozen waterfalls.
- Learn how to play pickleball. C’mon, it’s everywhere. Why haven’t you tried it yet? Lots of indoor courts are scattered around the region and you could find a fun social group. Lessons are available at almost every health club and there are even tournaments for those who have a competitive spirit.
- Try a new brewery every week. You won’t run out before winter ends as I counted more than 40 on this list from the Ohio Craft Brewers Association.
For those newcomers who still have a dozen moving boxes that haven’t been opened in the last three moves, how about dedicating a weekend to going through them and donating items that you don’t love or need anymore? Your adult kids will thank you.
Finally, plan your winter vacation, NOW! We all need a blast of sunshine and 75 degrees after a months of cold grey skies, so start looking for that warm weather spots you want to escape to for a long weekend (or more!) during the coldest months of January – March. Check out these seasonal nonstop flights from Cleveland and Akron/Canton airports and book those tickets early.
Executive Arrangements is the trusted talent attraction and retention partner for Cleveland/Akron companies and institutions and has been for the past 40+ years. Whether you are wooing a 20-something out of grad school, or onboarding a new hire who is an empty nester or has a family to consider, EA carefully matches their interests and needs with the resources, people, and places in our region to help them quickly feel at home. If this sounds like something that could be helpful to your organization, call us at 216.231.9311