Friday, August 01, 2008

Summer in Cleveland: Loving the Lakefront

"That breeze feels good." I lifted my hair up off of my neck with one hand and wiped my damp skin with the other.

"What do think about taking a drive out to Whiskey Island for a beer? Can I twist your arm?" Tom's hopeful smile was even more convincing than the hot sun.

Clevelanders migrate to the lakefront when the temperature rises. The parking lot at Wendy Park was nearly filled to capacity. The volleyball courts were jammin', the restaurant was packed, families were picnicking, and couples strolled along the shore. Sitting in the shade near the water's edge, Tom and I sipped our beer and watched the sailboats racing in the harbor. A few years ago we would have been almost lonely here on Whiskey Island. It was nice to see how many people are enjoying the lake these days. I smiled a silent "Thank you" to our friend Ed Hauser.

The sun was nearing the horizon when Tom suggested we drive over to the pier at Edgewater State Park for some ice cream. Edgewater is were the real Clevelanders come to play. Young and old, every ethnicity...roller blading shirtless men, kite flying young families, Frisbee throwing couples, dog chasing children, and all up and down the breakwall, people gazing out over the the gulls, the waves, the boats, or at their fishing lines.

A people-watchers delight, I would have been happy to spend a couple of hours wandering around with my camera. But Tom was tired, he had been working since 6:00 AM, and the sun was beginning to dip below the horizon, so we finished our ice-cream and headed back to the Heights. As we drove back, I sighed and wished the east side of town had as vibrant a waterfront as the west side.

Cleveland's greatest asset has always been the lake. In a nation where sunbelt cities have become parched and water-rationed, we reside on a fresh water paradise. For years our city leaders have paid lip service to expanding the public's access to the water front, but corporate interests continue to prevail, keeping a tight grip on the miles of Cleveland shoreline that only boaters ever see. What a pity, in this city personal profit trumps vision every time.

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1 comment:

Kathy G said...

Once again your pictures are beautiful!

In our short visit to Cleveland, we weren't able to really enjoy the lake. It looked awesome. If I ever make it back I definitely want to spend some time on the water.