Caroline Merk, Guide
I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world. This lofty notion stems from simply being able to feel at home wherever I find myself. My early childhood was spent in NYC. Then we moved to Brussels, Belgium while my father worked on his Ph.D. at my parents’ alma mater. During that time, we traveled extensively. This ignited my wanderlust and taught me the value of knowing other languages. I speak Polish and French, and enjoy trying to greet people in their native languages. We came to Cleveland, settling in Rocky River, for our dad’s work at NASA. Yes, Cleveland has a very important research center, NASA Glenn, critical in the development of the U.S. space program!
I went to Cleveland State University for 2 years, then took a gap year in France, finding a job as an au pair and enrolling myself at the Alliance Française. Upon return, I transferred to Ohio State, earning a BA in Journalism (specializing in PR), and a minor in French. Right after college I moved back to NYC to pursue my passion for travel as a Pan American World Airways flight attendant. I traversed the globe for 10 glorious years!
My native–Clevelander husband, Michael, and I were married in the same cathedral as my parents in Brussels. From Cleveland, his career took us to Dallas, Texas and to Richmond, Virginia. A job opportunity brought us back to Cleveland. We moved into a charming little lakefront community called Bay Village. I loved being close to water and having a beach and park right in our back yard. More importantly, it was a wonderful place to raise our daughter, Gabrielle “Gigi,” whom we adopted as a toddler from China. She is now a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in New Media Design and minoring in Mandarin.
Once she left home, we decided to downsize and found the perfect townhome in Concord, 45 minutes east of where we lived, but that much closer to Rochester! We are no longer on Lake Erie, but now we have rolling hills and a multitude of great trails throughout the Lake Metroparks.
From our new home we are still only 30-35 minutes from University Circle and Downtown. I love this city; it’s so easy to get everywhere. We take full advantage of the high quality arts: Cleveland Orchestra concerts, theater at Playhouse Square, the Cleveland International Film Festival, exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Akron Art Museum, not to mention the myriad galleries throughout the city. My husband is a sports fan – you name it, we’ve got it! Don’t even get me started on dining…this IS a foodie town! It has been a huge pleasure and privilege to share my enthusiasm for Cleveland and my knowledge of the city with our Executive Arrangements’ clients for over 25 years.