Peg Furnas, Director of Operations
Living in the Chagrin River Valley within a 30-minute drive into the city is my sweet spot. Having a cup of tea in the outbuilding of our 150-year-old Western Reserve farmhouse with my husband, four adult daughters, my Golden Retriever, and friends gives me the time to have uninterrupted one-on-one conversations and the space I need.
I have over an acre of land, trees, and perennial gardens which delight me every season. (Yes, even in the winter.) I am a member of the Garden Club of America Cleveland, where I continue my education and enjoyment of all things green and flowering. Within minutes, I can walk, bike, or ride to a Geauga County Park or Cleveland Metroparks Reservation. to wade in the river, walk along sandstone cliffs, or cross-country ski. When I’m refreshed and ready for noise, I head towards the city.
A visit to University Circle is like traveling abroad to me: the owned and international exhibits at Cleveland Museum of Art, and the music at Cleveland Institute of Music, the Maltz Performing Arts Center, and Severance. I am a volunteer docent for Apollo’s Fire Cleveland Baroque Orchestra; Apollo’s along with the Cleveland Orchestra, are two of my must-gos every season. Speaking of traveling, I’ve got a growing list of destinations to add to lands I’ve visited: Johannesburg, South Africa; Auckland, New Zealand; Guatemala City; and Stockholm, Sweden.
When I drive along Millionaires’ Row into the city for dinner in AsiaTown, I am reminded of our history of riches and the present-day challenges of creating opportunities for all Clevelanders. Social justice is a passion of mine, especially as it relates to women and children. A graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2018, I learned about specific needs and created a solution for a nonprofit – Family Connections. Along with several local heroes like Renee Jones, our class visited members of Congress and Senators in their home offices and on Capitol Hill to advocate for legislation to support women coming out of human trafficking.
Recently, I’ve made the downtown Cleveland Public Library Main Branch a destination because of its architecture, collections, and views of the Malls and Lake from the top floor. (My preference is a non-fiction book with hard-back binding and paper pages rather than an e-book.) Growing up in the western harbor town of Vermilion, as well as my roots in County Mayo, Ireland – which sits alongside the Atlantic – I feel most at home along the water’s edge.