Vacation 2010 - Days 1-3  

Posted by inkstainedhands in , , , ,

Hello, readers!

I am now in Cleveland, relaxing a bit after a full day of taking in the sights of Ohio.

We left New York on Monday, August 2nd, and drove to Clearfield, PA, where we spent the night in order to break up the long drive to Ohio. The air there smelled so sweet and fresh, you have no idea -- it was like flowers and freshly mown grass. That basically sums up Day 1 of our trip.

Day 2 (Tuesday, August 3rd) was much more exciting. After checking out of the hotel, we continued on our way. The time between Pennsylvania and Ohio seemed to pass by much faster when I was behind the wheel, although I don't think the other passengers in the car (my parents) felt the same way.

When we arrived in Cleveland, it was still too early to check into our hotel, so I went to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while my parents enjoyed the fresh air at a nearby park. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was simply delightful, and I only wish photos were allowed inside. The building is shaped like a pyramid and the walls are made of glass. I saw it during the day, but I think it looks even cooler at night when it is all lit up.

The museum had a lot of things on display for music fans. There were guitars that had been played by the Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, members of the Beatles, Johnny Cash, and so on. They had different artists' outfits, including Elvis, Ringo Starr, the Ramones, Mick Jagger, Bob Marley, Tina Turner, Brian May, David Bowie, Steven Tyler, and more. For Beatles fans, there were the electric guitars that John Lennon and George Harrison played, the jacket that John Lennon wore on the sleeve of the US single 'I Want to Hold Your Hand', the famous outfit he wore on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the piano that Yoko Ono got him so he could compose when he was away from home, and his handwritten lyrics. One of the fun things about seeing the outfits was being able to get an idea of how the person looked -- some of those people were much shorter than I had imagined, judging by their clothing.

The top two floors of the museum were dedicated to a Bruce Springsteen exhibition, and also contained outfits, musical instruments played by him, handwritten lyrics, and awards he won.

For me, the highlight of the museum was the little section of it that was dedicated to Michael Jackson. The outfits started as early as from the 1970s and spanned about half the length of his career. The earliest outfit was from 1971, back when he was part of the Jackson 5. The famous original red jacket from the 'Thriller' video (that is now commonly worn as an MJ costume) was there, but it was sadly very tattered. With it was displayed the animal mask Michael Jackson sometimes used for performances of 'Thriller', as well as his Grammy award. The outfit from his 'Bad' video was also there. My favorite outfit though was the blue sparkly jacket with golden epaulets that he had worn to the 1984 Grammy ceremony, when he won a record-breaking number of eight Grammy awards. And, of course, the signature white glove was on display as well, sparkling in the dimly lit hall. I could have stayed there much longer, just staring at it, but the museum was closing.

Day 3 was today -- Wednesday, August 4th. We spent the first half of the day at the Hale Farm and Village in Peninsula, OH, where we got to see historic buildings and homes. People in period dress were there to explain the time periods of the different houses and to demonstrate what it was like to live there. There were women spinning wool, weaving, and making baskets. There was a really cool glassblowing demonstration, in which the man showed us how he makes glass vases from beginning to end. (It was an incredibly hot day today, and I can only imagine how much worse it must be standing there next to a hot furnace all day.)

The heat was beginning to really get to us as well, so as soon as we had seen all we wanted to see (and I bought a bonnet and a Civil War-style Confederacy cap at the gift shop), we returned to Cleveland. I only regret that we were not able to be there for the Civil War reenactment, which is happening next weekend.

I spent the second half of my day in the Cleveland Museum of Art, which was absolutely beautiful. The architecture is magnificent, and although I am used to the Metropolitan in New York and already feel at home there, I loved the Cleveland museum every bit as much, I think. Admission is free, so it's convenient if you want to take your time going through the galleries and spend more than one day there.

I focused on the European paintings and sculptures, and I also enjoyed the collection of suits of armor and weapons (from the 16th century!), which was arranged very well and given more space than the one in the Metropolitan. There were so many galleries there and so many beautiful paintings. El Greco, Pieter de Hooch, Jacques Louis David, Boucher, Gainsborough, Constable, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, etc. My favorite things: the gallery of American paintings from the 1890s to 1920s, which focused on New York life and which I found very helpful in gaining a better understanding of the time for something I am writing, Degas' paintings and sculpture, and the entire gallery of Rodin's sculptures. To say I was delighted would be an understatement. There were art students sitting in every corner of that gallery, sketching the sculptures. Outside, in front of the museum, was a huge sculpture of Rodin's 'The Thinker'. So awesome!

I left the museum at 9 PM, only when they began escorting everyone out. I could definitely have spent more time there though.

So those were the first 3 days of our little vacation. Plans for tomorrow include a visit to the Toledo Museum of Art, to see -- you guessed it -- more art! :]