Sunday, August 24, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH SUBURBS - Day 1: Chagrin Falls

Falling for Chagrin Falls...

When I was little, we had family friends who lived in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  I still remember my visits there.  Life was kind enough to afford me a return visit earlier this summer, and I was delighted to discover an excellent yarn shop among the ice cream, popcorn, and other treats I remember getting as a kid.  This chock-full-of-charming town is a nicely contained day trip while you’re in Cleveland on business, or a lovely day away all on its own.  You can do the whole town in a matter of hours if you’re expedient; all day if you really take the time to explore.

Let’s start with breakfast:

Lemon Falls Cafe
95 North Main Street
Chagrin Falls, OH  44022

Tucked onto a street corner, this tiny, friendly restaurant is the perfect place to start your day.  If it’s lunch, my sources say go straight for the lobster roll.  If it’s breakfast, there are several egg plates and a very good breakfast wrap.  Excellent coffee, tea, and espresso drinks round out the menu.  If you’ve got vegan or gluten free dietary needs, this place is perfect for you.  Skip the sweets, though, because we’ve got other plans to satisfy your sweet tooth:

Jeni’s Ice Cream
67 N Main Street
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

I discovered this yummy stuff on my last venture in Ohio, and I couldn’t get back to my salted caramel ice cream sandwich fast enough.  You could try any of the truly inventive flavors of ice cream, but this will always be my favorite. Splendid!

or, you could try:

Sugar Me Desserterie
45 West Orange Street #5
In CoachHouse Square
Chagrin Falls, OH  44022

Any bakery with a frequent buyer program and french macarons is a hit with me!  Cupcakes, a decadent-looking German Chocolate Cake, and other yummy baked goods round out the scrumptious menu.  It might take a little effort to find down there at the end of River Street, but it’s well worth it.

First shopping stop for any DestiKNITter is, of course, the yarn.

The Artful Yarn
Step North
100 North Main Street, Suite 230
Chagrin Falls, Ohio 44022

Find your way off the street into the little set of shops at Main and Orange Streets, and you’ll discover a lively, friendly yarn shop that’s built on “killer customer service.”  Owner Cathy Hougan exudes a “let me help you” energy that clearly launches the many “fiber friendships” at the store. “It’s a meeting space—we’re your yarn concierge,” Hougan says, and it’s easy to see why.  With events like “K@12—“Knitting at Noon” that offer a fiber-friendly take on the old office “lunch and learn” model, this store builds a loyal, adventuresome customer base.  

Color and texture abound in the bright, clean-lined store, and the atmosphere has a definite “have fun and play with yarn” personality.  There’s a customer loyalty purchase program, and you get a discount on your birthday!  Cathy vets her fibers carefully, offering only organic, fair trade products that meet her high standards for integrity.  Like all good DestiKNITions, this is the kind of store where you could hang out for hours and not only leave with great yarn, but gain a few new friends in the process.

Looking for some project inspiration?  The Artful Yarn has lots to choose from:

The Alsace Cardigan
This lovey design from Knit 1 Crochet 2 gets worked up from only four skeins of Soie et Lin —that’s a selling feature in my book!  I love the open, scooped neck and the delicate trim at the bottom and sleeves.

Felted Clogs
Need to keep some toes warm this fall?  These colorful felted clogs from Fiber Trends will do the trick.  The left one in this photo is before felting, the right after.  Perhaps in school colors of a new collegiate you know?

Knit Happy Club Slouch Hat
Slouch hats are all the rage, and they are much kinder to a hairstyle than a watch cap.  This one knits up from Shepherd’s Wool Crazies.The trim on the headband adds a nice detail.

Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
Entrelac is one of my favorite knitting tricks—once you grasp the essentials, you always get dramatic results with a minimal amount of technical fuss.  The trick is always to use a great self striping yarn, and Cathy will gladly guide you to a successful choice.  I especially like the snazzy fringe on this one.

Holden Shawlette
Our Knit Along from The Artful Yarn pays homage to the area’s Holden Arboretum.  Designer Mindy Wilkes says The Holden shawlette draws its name from Holden Beach, South Carolina, but I can easily see the ripply lace evoking an arboretum’s leafy treasures as well—especially if you use one of Malabrigo Sock’s botanical color-ways like Lettuce or Arbol.  

I went for the ocean vibe myself.  With a yarn like this, it’s great that you only need one skein, as dye lots can vary widely.

Yarn purchases safely in hand, you might want to pamper those stitching hands by walking next door to: 

The Village Herb Shop
17 East Orange Street
Chagrin Falls, OH  44022
440-247-5029 or 1-800-836-9120

This charming store is one of those great shopping experiences you can’t get in a chain retail establishment.  These people are passionate about their products!  I took a wonderful tour with owner LeeAnn Halley and was delighted to hear all the stories about the partnerships she’s established with artisans and product lines.  Gifts, decor, classes, trinkets, culinary goodies—this store has a little bit of everything.  You won’t leave without a few “oh, this is just perfect” purchases!

Can’t wait to cast on?  Just steps down the street is a perfect place to knit outside, listening to the soothing sounds of the picturesque Chagrin Falls.  Walk down off the sidewalk level by the bridge to the gorgeous falls that give the town its name.  Even on a warm afternoon, the little parks beside the falls stay cool and calming.  

Don’t linger too long, however, because some other fun shopping awaits.  In the main triangle and surrounding streets you’ll find a nice variety of specialty shops and boutiques.  Make sure and look up, though, to take in the town’s famous flower baskets hanging from light poles.  It makes the whole area look post-card perfect.  Here are a few of my favorites:

13 North Franklin St.
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

I’m into Pandora bracelets, but I have plenty of friends who crave Alex and Ani bracelets.  We’d all be happy at this boutique, which showcases an impressive selection of both lines.  Lots of other goodies catch your eye here, too.

Fireside Books
29 North Franklin Street
Chagrin Falls, OH  44022

Okay, DestiKNITters, you know the drill: patronize good local independent book stores!  We need them in our world.  And for them to stay, you need to get off the internet (later, of course) and get yourself in their doors to shop.  ‘Nuff said.

Nola True
15 South Franklin Street
Chagrin Falls OH  44022

While I love boutique shopping, sometimes the price tags can be too steep for me.  I was pleased to find several items that I not only wanted, but that I could afford without remorse.  The styles easily suited a woman of my “seasoned” age, not just a younger, hipper shopper like some boutiques I’ve visited.  The place was stylish, friendly and accessible.

YARNY BONUS!  If you visit on a Saturday, are very lucky, or have called ahead, you may get a visit to the Alpaca Fiber Studio and get to meet fiber artist and educator Robbie Grodin.  It’s on Bell Street next to the Valley Arts Center.  More luscious fiber goodies!

Once you’ve shopped your way around town, consider ending your day with a meal at:

Gamekeeper’s Taverne
87 West Street
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022

If the weather’s fine, take in the award-winning outdoor courtyard of this longtime Chagrin Falls fancy favorite.  If the weather’s not friendly, the place boasts cozy fireplaces as well.  The exceptional menus change with the seasons, so you know the cuisine is fresh and locally-sourced.  Game lovers will especially like this place (hence the name), but there is a wide enough menu to suit any taste.  Sources say the salads are first-rate.

Especially on a warm summer evening, it’s hard to bid goodbye the picturesque falls of this little Ohio town.  Even if I can’t get back soon, I know I’ll soon have a lovely shawl as a keepsake and a reminder to return.

Next episode, we’ll visit another Cleveland suburb, Aurora.

No comments: