Q: Share a bit about yourself, where you consider home, schooled, worked and the moves you’ve made with your husband and daughter?
I always considered central Pennsylvania my home since I grew up there, but now that Aaron and I have been together so long it’s basically wherever we live together! We lived in Hershey PA for 10 years before we moved to Cleveland and Indianapolis for 7 years before that. Cleveland is starting to feel like home even more now because our daughter doesn’t really have a memory of being born in PA and living there the first two years of her life. I’ve never had a true “career”, attended Indiana Wesleyan University in northern Indiana for an art degree in photography and have always tried to be artistic in all areas of my life.
Q: What brought you to Cleveland? What was the first thought that popped into your mind after you heard that Aaron’s potential job was at MetroHealth which is in Cleveland?
My first thought was, Cleveland? Yay! Back to a city! We considered Cleveland for two main reasons; first it’s halfway between my hometown and Aaron’s hometown, so it’s easy traveling to either location. Second, a friend from medical school did his residency here in Cleveland and had nothing but great things to say about the city. His family lived in University Heights and we came to visit them several times long before we ever had any idea we might live here someday. We were surprised by how great it was and really enjoyed our visits.
Q: Would you tell us a bit about your experience with Executive Arrangements (EA)? What were your top priorities in considering a relocation?
Aaron’s job connected us with EA for our first family visit here in Cleveland and it was the most amazing service! Peg and Lynne showed us all over the city, answered endless questions from us and were so accommodating with our not quite 2 year old! Our top priorities were finding a house we loved in a good school district so that we wouldn’t have to move in a few years again when Sullivan would start school and also finding a house that was a good location for Aaron to get to numerous office locations with ease. EA was so helpful because they know absolutely everything about the city and I was emailing Peg so many times even after we went back to PA when I would think of questions or have concerns.
Q: How did you narrow down your chosen community after exploring both the east and west sides. What do you enjoy most about living in Pepper Pike? What was it like navigating a new town as well as trying to find new friends/connections during a pandemic?
The whole east vs west side was very anxiety inducing for me when we first visited! It seemed like a very big deal and I was so afraid of making the wrong decision. Once we had our tour with EA and then came back to look at houses with a realtor the obvious choice for us was the east side. It felt more like home to us. I wasn’t super excited about living in the suburbs, but Pepper Pike was the perfect location for Aaron to get to work and so many people told us how great the Orange school system was. Also when we found our house we knew it was the one we loved best, so it all fit together. I’ve come to love our location because I can get most anywhere in the city within a half hour and that’s been so wonderful.
We were here for 9 months before the pandemic started and luckily had found a great church where we started to get to know people. I also talked to all the moms that I ran into at the playground or in the library just trying to meet people and find people I could connect to. Someone at the library randomly mentioned a parents morning out program in Chagrin Falls that was such a blessing for my life and we’ve continued on there for preschool as well. I was also totally excited to join the EA East Side Book Club with other new transplants so that I could enjoy the company of other women and get some adult time away from my toddler! It was/is such a joy!
Q: Have you found Cleveland kid-friendly with enough to do and explore? And, we know you have a new “family member”, what do you enjoy doing with your dog and have you found a good kennel and vet?
Cleveland is extremely kid friendly! So many amazing museums to explore with Sullivan. We spent the pandemic exploring all the Cleveland Metroparks in the snow, rain or sunshine! The parks are an incredible gem that I never would have guessed about a city. We made it a goal to see as many waterfalls as possible. Who knew Cleveland would have so many!!
We adopted a 2 year old beagle mix in May 2020 at the start of the pandemic and named him Derry. He’s been so much fun to also enjoy the Metroparks with as well as lots of public places. Cleveland is very dog friendly in many stores and on restaurant patios. We found a great vet in Shaker Heights and an awesome doggy daycare called Dogtropolis in South Euclid. He’s had so much fun there getting socialized and making new friends. They are wonderful!
Q: And because everyone enjoys recommendations, what are some of your favorite restaurants/patios, what are you reading, shows you are streaming?
One of my favorite restaurants is Michael’s Genuine in the Van Aken District! They have the most amazing brunch menu and I missed it so much when they were closed during the pandemic. I just finished reading Caste and also The House in the Cerulean Sea (thanks to my book club) and they were both outstanding! I also recently watched Mare of Easttown and it was amazing. Kate Winslet is of course fantastic.
Q: Any words of wisdom for those families moving to Cleveland especially for young moms and dads with children?
I would say to just put yourself out there in whatever neighborhood you decide to live in. I have found the most friendly moms in the library and playgrounds near me that have been so incredibly helpful and welcoming. I just asked questions to everyone I met trying to learn more about the area and fun things to do with a toddler. I’m so thankful for all the moms that I came in contact with over the last two years that shared even the smallest insight into this new city for me. Now that I’m feeling more comfortable in this area, I‘ve tried to pay it forward to other new moms I come in contact with because it was so encouraging to me when I felt a little lost in a new place.