Category Archives: everything CLE

  Dinner from Fresh Meals


A few weeks ago I had the privilege of trying one of Cleveland’s newest meal delivery services called Fresh Meals by Café Avalaun. The team at Fresh Meals prepares healthy, farm-to-table, 100% gluten free food customized to meet your dietary needs.

I try my best to make good, healthy choices when it comes to meal planning and eating out…sometimes better than others. When the chefs at Café Avalaun approached me to give their weekly subscription a try, I jumped at the opportunity. With each subscription you get three meals for two people made up of a locally sourced protein and a few yummy sides each week. The menus change monthly featuring in-season produce and seasonal pairings…pumpkin spice anyone?

freshMealsWe ordered a few incredible salads which were so helpful when the “after work lazys” crept in and I would have otherwise made (or ordered) something probably much less healthy. We also had toddler-approved chicken fingers and sautéed zucchini strips, so much healthy flavor for an easy weeknight family meal. With back-to-school on the horizon this easy and healthy dinner solution would be a great service to try out in the next few weeks!

Wanna give these guys a try? Use the promo code found on their site “GetFresh” for $25 off your first weeks order! Check out this month’s menu and get more details on their awesome service here!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Café Avalaun who invited me to try their food for a week as part of their social outreach. I received three meals in exchange for my opinions in this post. Thanks for supporting this local business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  An overnight at Vineyard Woods + Wine tasting in Geneva!

Wine_05Hello friends, happy almost Monday. Hope everyone has had a fantastic weekend in the CLE! I can’t even believe it is August already, our end-of-summer countdown is officially on. Have you been Wade Oval Wednesday? Have you had a picnic at Edgewater Park? Have you rode coasters at Cedar Point, cheered in the Indians or hosted a backyard barbecue? So many summer days left, make sure you wake up each day and make the most out of our Ohio summer days…they truly are the best.

Perhaps I am late to this tid bit of info…but have you been out to our Northeast Ohio wine country in Geneva over the last few years? It is AH. MAZE. ING!!! I had visited probably over ten years ago but since then it has totally grown up and become quite a destination, so today I’m going to tell you all about a recent trip….here we go.

One of the most fun parts of writing this blog is the incredible people, creative dreamers, entrepreneurs and civic minded individuals I have the opportunity of meeting and getting to know. A few months ago, in the dead of our Ohio winter I received an email from Scott about his project that he was working on called Vineyard Woods. You see Scott, a former finance executive had left his corporate life behind to follow his and his families passion of development, hospitality and their love of wine. Scott had grown up in the Geneva area and had the vision to build a new type of luxury lodging in our Northeast Ohio wine country making it a destination somewhat like a Hocking Hills. Flash forward a few months and Scott’s new lodge and cottage resort; Vineyard Woods is the first lodging destination like this in the region.

Wine_2I had the opportunity to stay overnight in the two bedroom suite and it was a real treat. Our place was so bright, fresh and new, I can’t say enough great things about the accommodations. From the drive in where we were welcomed by Scott’s parents (while they were watering the new resort landscaping) to the incredible lodging details (in-room fireplaces, locally crafted artisinal chocolate with sea salt and locally roasted coffee) Vineyard Woods is totally a dreamy destination for overnight lodging in the Geneva wine country area.


So dreamy that our host Scott put together an hour-by-hour winery itinerary for us to explore the local vineyards while we were visiting. We started our afternoon visit with wine, cheese and charcuterie at the new(ish) Laurentia Winery.  This gorgeous wine-making destination is a perfect place to spend the afternoon catching up with a good friend over a great bottle of Chardonnay…Go check it out.


From there we headed over to M Cellars to explore their tasting bar. We tried a handful of different varietals but ended up purchasing glasses of chardonay, rosé and malbec…all so good and yummy.

Wine_07As we were leaving we realized there was an adorable distillery across the road in an old barn and so we had to check it out; Red Eagle Distillery. The barn was incredible, built in the 1800’s this distillery has been restored to a historical bourbon and rye distilling destination. A taste of their smokey, full-bodied bourbon was a nice change of pace from all the vino we had tried…kinda like dessert. We each purchased a bottle of the spirits for our men back home and then off we went to explore the last winery of the day.

Wine_04Our final wine stop was at the South River Winery. Once an old church this building has also been restored to a work of winery art, complete with an incredible patio overlooking their acres of vineyards. We saw many families enjoying wine and homemade picnics, kids running through he grounds and lots of friends enjoying the view for the afternoon, this space was truly gorgeous.

After the winery and vineyard tours, we detoured up to Lake Erie in Geneva by the Lake for dinner near the beach at The Lakehouse Inn. Sunset was exceptionally stunning, my Lake Erie Perch sandwich hit the spot and of course one more bottle of chardonnay to wrap up our winery adventure day.

Wine_06After all the fun, we headed back to Vineyard Woods for an incredible nights sleep. Our suite had two large queen beds so we each had our own room complete with the best sheets and pillows. I’m not sure if it was all the wine or if it was seriously one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in. While we didn’t spend much time outdoors, our lodge also had a great outdoor fire pit that anyone in the lodge could use, complete with a stacks of firewood. Next time we visit I am totally going to bring smores supplies for a late night treat.

Thank your Scott and his family for hosting us for the evening. I think your new accommodations are so unique and well done that everyone should book a night or two to come and stay with you and explore wine country…Ohio style. I was also thinking about the resort and how the place would make a wonderful family overnight getaway, an incredible girls weekend away or small-business work-retreat destination, I can’t wait to come back.

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Vineyard Woods who invited me spend the night at their resort as part of their social outreach. I received an overnight stay at the resort in exchange for my opinions in this post. Thanks for supporting this local business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Picnic in Public Square with Heinens


Good morning! Today I am excited to share with you some wonderful images from our “Picnic in Public Square”  from last week. I invited a handful of friends to meet up after work downtown in the new(ish) Public Square for an after work happy hour picnic. I brought cheese and crackers, some incredible apricots, watermelon & clementines, summer ales, homemade sandwiches, a few cookies and some layered blueberry & lemon parfaits, it was delicious.


Public Square was the perfect setting for our urban meet up. There was plenty of parking after the work crowd rolled out of downtown and the park was rather quiet. It was an incredible setting to be enjoying nature in the middle of skyscrapers and historical buildings, I think we all had one of those “I can’t believe this is Cleveland!” kind of “ah ha moments” while we all enjoyed our evening together.


Heinen’s had reached out and offered me a $100 gift card to put together a picnic with everything from their store. I love their produce department so buying fruits and veggies was super easy. They also have a great wine and beer department so finding just the right six pack for our outing was very fun…not how cute is this can? I found some great little baguettes and ended up making each of us basil, arugula, prosciutto, tomatoe and fresh mozzarella sandwiches…including a touch of Lemon Herb Aioli from Stonewall Kitchen; also sourced from Heinen’s.

75897For dessert I had to do something with ball jars and so I filled them with blueberries and then whipped up some lemon pudding which was dolloped on top. I also bought small orange shortbread cookies which were quote the treat.  The wrapped sandwiches and ball jar parfaits were made the night before and we keep in a cooler while I was at work awaiting our picnic fun.


So, the moral of this story is that as we enter August there is still PLENTY of summer left to plan your picnic outing with your friends. Pick a fun location, plan an easy menu and spend the time outdoors with your friends!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Heinen’s who invited me to host a summer picnic as part of their social outreach. I received a $100 gift card to Heinen’s in exchange for my post. Thanks for supporting this local business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Happy 100th Birthday Metroparks!


Hey Cleveland! It’s a hot one out there…soooo humid. We have been trying to stay cool with multiple trips for ice cream, some serious pool time and lots of time inside in the AC. From what I can tell we are going to get some rain to cool everyone off in the next day or so which is awesome…as long as it is over by Saturday!


This Saturday, join most of Cleveland for the biggest and best, beachfront birthday party celebrating the Cleveland Metroparks 100th year Anniversary. As a constant cheerleader for our city, I couldn’t be more proud of this organization for everything they do for our community. From the incredible walking, running and biking paths to this summer’s newest new construction beaches, they truly as an integral part of our city.


Have you been down to Edgewater for a visit to the new beach house? It is incredible both in form and function. The space is open, clean, modern, not-fussy but also feels special and incredibly well thought out. There is a snack bar and extensive dressing rooms on the first floor and the second floor has space for lounging with your friends and sipping a cocktail from their bar. (Note* the bar is only open Thursday through Sunday; check their FB page for specific hours)


To officially celebrate, the team at the Metroparks have put together an all day celebration with food, music and tons of fun! Take a look at the schedule below for entertainment times.

Where: Edgewater Park
When: Saturday, July 22
Music & entertainment:
2:30 p.m., Forecast
4 p.m., Trios
5:30 p.m., Old Boy
7 p.m., Billy Morris and the Sunset Strip
9 p.m., Michael Stanley & Friends
9:40 p.m., Fireworks! (Custom choreographed fireworks display with music courtesy of WHLK FM/106.5 “The Lake.”)


They are recommending you try and Uber, walk or ride your bike for the afternoon celebration. When the parking lots are full they won’t be letting people drive through the park from the shoreway.


The celebration will wrap up with a large fireworks display that will be released from a barge out in the water in front of the beach. It seriously is one not-to-be-missed. We are so excited and are hoping our little guy will take a great nap that day and be able to hang a bit later to watch the sunset!


To top off the weekend birthdays celebrations, the team at the Metroparks are encouraging Northeast Ohio to get out into the actual parks on Sunday. Go support your neighborhood parks; take a walk, pack a picnic even plan to head into the water. Happy Birthday Metroparks! As a big fan I feel so honored to be able to celebrate you and the next 100 years together. Cheers and make sure you blow out all the candles! For more information on the party and all of the fun activities visit their site here!

  An afternoon at Cedar Point Shores!


Hey friends, happy gorgeous Sunday evening! How has your weekend been? So much summer excitement over here, from pool parties and barbecues to graduation celebrations and the Cleveland Flea…and our adventures at the new Cedar Point Shores Waterpark it has been fun filled, for sure.

IMG_3177 from Charity Crawford on Vimeo.

On Friday I took a half day and filled the car up with our little guy and a few friends and headed for the newly designed Cedar Point Shores Waterpark. From Lakewood it only took us about :50 minutes or so to get there. They were calling for thunderstorms on and off all afternoon but we actually had great weather and even some large stretches of sunshine to warm our afternoon visit. We pulled up (special Shores parking lot in back of the park) and were changed into our suits and poolside within a handful of minutes from arriving. The park was busy but not packed so I would suggest a Friday afternoon if you have little ones who want to play.


IMG_3113We parked our stroller and set up camp in Lemmy’s Lagoons which was the best spot for families with little ones to play. It has a variety of water-sprinkling creatures, a handful of mini slides and of course the incredible green dragon; Lemmy himself. The water was warm and the mix of sprinklers and fountains kept me pleasantly happy and cool.

IMG_3162 from Charity Crawford on Vimeo.



We also took a ride down their lazy river…Runaway Rapids. It was a great ride for parents and kids as it had a good mix of cruising, waves, waterfalls, twists and turns. Our little one was a bit apprehensive at first but then wanted to go “again and again!”

The two older kids in our group went off to explore the parks new waterslides like the Lake Erie Nor’easter and the Riptide Raceway. They tried to ride the futuristic slide ride; Point Plummet but their nerves got the best of them so they turned around and met us back in the kids area.

IMG_3107 from Charity Crawford on Vimeo.

The new waterpark also has a handful of outdoor café’s and bars…we saw a few live bands playing outside one of these watering holes…there was seriously something for everyone.


I honestly had a great afternoon at Shores! I was kinda dragging my feet at first about going because the idea of running after a toddler in my wet bathing suit in front of a bunch of strangers sounded kinda overwhelming at first. I promise you, once you get there you forget about all the not-so-fun stuff. The staff at the waterpark were so friendly, welcoming and you could tell they were keeping everyone in check, making safety an important part of your park experience.


It was a magical afternoon and we will for sure go back soon…hopefully the sun is out longer next time, but if it’s not…no big deal. Who needs the sun when you have a bright green servant to spit water on you and let you slide down their tongue! Thank you Cedar Point for inviting us to check out your new waterpark, it is really incredible; great job!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Cedar Point who invited me to share about the new Shores waterpark as part of their social outreach. I received  tickets in exchange for my review of their new waterpark offerings. Thanks for supporting this business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!