Day 3: Erie, PA to Cleveland, OH

Tuesday, September 1

Deeper entertainment awaits us all, still.

I don’t feel like I got enough of an impression of Erie to come away with any strong feelings about it. Our hotel was pleasant but wasn’t in the thick of the city. We drove around a bit to do errands, and everywhere seemed poor and bleak. But parts of most cities have poor and bleak sections. I’ll probably end up feeling this way about most places; you can’t get to know anything in a day.

Our first stop was for food, of course.


First meal: Mediterranean wraps, not bad, despite some flies in our vicinity

Then we drove to the AAA office to pick up some maps made out of paper. Having a phone dictate directions is not ideal for audio recordings, plus Google suddenly started getting overly chatty, updating us every mile. I blame Alphabet. What do you guys think of Google’s new logo?



(The poll software isn’t working quite right; it’s supposed to show your witty responses without turning them into answer options. But they are becoming options. This is fine, right?)

I have mixed feelings. I didn’t much like the particular serif they were using, but I very much want everyone to embrace serifs in general. Serifs don’t have to equal staid or ugly! This new logo looks friendly and cute and fun, even, but it also feels like everything else that’s friendly and cute and fun. I’ll get used to it. Here’s what Brand New, the site that covers rebranding efforts, has to say.

Anyway, back to AAA.  Walking into a place and walking out with a bunch of free resources felt comforting and reassuring. “Here, let me help you explore America,” AAA says. There’s something old-fashioned about it. Andy likened it to going to the library.


AAA office, just outside of Erie. It kind of looks like a library.



Up next was the namesake lake itself.


We walked along the shore and collected some cool-looking rocks. Andy went for jagged rocks that had marks of the water on them; I was in a smooth rock mood. I took off my sandals and splashed around in the water a little. It was sunny and peaceful.

From there we headed to FedEx so I could print out release forms—one of those things I realized I’d need in the middle of an anxious pre-trip night. It was right next to a place called Coffee Culture, so we stopped in there for an afternoon muffin and coffee.


Afternoon muffin. While here, I read MRB’s comment about square plates. I’m also over them, but they’re not over themselves yet, it seems.

Muffin eaten, we left for Cleveland. We weren’t in an interview-y frame of mind, and the drive was fairly short, so Andy read to me from Le Grand Meaulnes. It is thoroughly enjoyable.

We checked in to the Glidden House, a charming and surprisingly inexpensive hotel on the campus of Case Western Reserve University. It may well have had the best hotel art of any place I’ve stayed. From its website:

The collection, curated over the course of the last thirteen years, includes work by famed contemporary artist Robert Rauschenberg, an award winning painter, graphic artist, and pioneer of the “pop art” genre, as well as work by New York School abstract impressionist Robert Motherwell (a teacher of Rauschenberg’s), a prolific painter and printmaker still considered one of the greatest contributors to the Abstract Expressionism movement of the 1940s.


We strolled around in search of dinner, past frat houses with giddy kids just back to school playing beer games on their lawns. Day 3’s “You Need to Be Bolder” moment: A potbellied dude in boxer shorts waddled out to the front porch of his frat house and sat alone with a plastic cup of beer. It would have been a fantastic photo (and maybe interview, too), if I’d had the nerve to approach him. I’ll get there!

Dinner was at Crop Kitchen, a standard New American Farm to Table place. It satisfied.


Square plates, hip meals

Our waiter was made very nervous by the recorder on the table. He was afraid we were reviewers or business people evaluating the restaurant. I assured him I was just doing a personal project and his voice wouldn’t be used, but he still seemed wary. I get it.

Cleveland's Museum of Modern Art. We didn't go in.

Cleveland’s Museum of Modern Art, after dinner. Or maybe about to eat its own dinner. We didn’t go in.

We ended the night on the back porch with an interview.



I’m still learning how to be a good interviewer. I thought I’d be a natural, but it’s more challenging than it seems. More on this later. There is time.

Hotel Art of the Day


Details to come (I think they’re in a booklet I left in the car)
Glidden House, Cleveland, OH

Hotel Art Score

Disclosure you don’t care about: This is from the hallway on our floor; I liked this more than the work that was in the room.

8/10. It’s a real painting. You can see the paint. It’s cheery and fun to look at. I like the layers of background, the way it goes from blue to lavender to green. I feel like it’s saying, “Good morning, Beth.”

Art Art Score

6.5/10. This is tough to score. I don’t love it, but I also don’t know what else I want from it. I think it’s one of those things that, if I had it in my house, I’d end up loving.



  • Emma B.

    Whenever I hear of Erie, I always think of the short-lived show from the early 90s: “Eerie, Indiana.” Particularly the episode about the neighbors who lived in tupperware so they’d never age.
    It didn’t seem like your experience of the city was particularly eerie.

    • Beth

      I read this right after we entered Indiana! I’m actually not familiar with that show, but it seems surreal in a way I’d appreciate.

  • Nancy Sullivan

    I love the poll! Sorry – my response was not very witty.On another note, I almost bought square paper plates when I was shopping in Ocean City Super Fresh today but decided they would not sit well on top of my leftover round paper plates in the cabinet. I should have stepped out of the box and tried them because I never purchased square paper, plates before. Speaking of stepping out of the box, You definitely should have approached the beer-drinking Frat guy. The worst thing that could have happened would be that he would refuse to talk to you. I doubt he would have done anything drastic such as throw his beer in your face because I am sure he was cherishing his beer. I bet he would have been quite chatty.

    • Beth

      Thanks, Mom! I appreciate your write-in poll response. And I think you should get square paper plates.

      Regarding the frat guy, I know, I know. Like I said, I’ll get there.

  • MRB

    1. AAA and public libraries are similar in that you show a card and then get access to all kinds of information for free.* Thank you Ben Franklin and Mr. Triple!
    *(For a fee in one case and for your tax dollars at work in the other.)
    1. a. No Kentucky/Tennessee map?
    2. Glidden House looks VERY charming. What a nice find! I see from their website that their motto is “Expect the Unexpected,” which is maybe not the most comforting slogan for a hotel, but it IS unexpected, so there you go.
    3. The knife in your muffin photo looks very similar to the knife glowing green in front of the Cleveland Museum of Modern Art. Even though they are in TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STATES!
    Eerie, Indiana!

    • Beth

      1. Yes!
      1a. Yes! Oops.
      2. We noticed this, too, as it was printed on the free bottles of water they gave us. It was unexpectedly inexpensive and nice.
      3. You’ve made connections I had not. Thank you!

  • Brian Sullivan

    Great post Beth – I liked everything about it! Your photo captions are also great, as is the breezy way you write! Thanks!

    • Beth

      Thanks, Dad! I’m having trouble keeping up with the blog, but I think I’ll get back on track this weekend.

  • Mark Sullivan

    I better see something about the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame! I still have the results of the Classic Rock Name That Tune we did somewhere in Mississippi!

    • Beth

      That Classic Rock Name That Tune was a highlight of L5! We both killed it.

      I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame about 15 years ago, so I did the art museum this time around. Someday I’ll go back.

  • don

    I like that the art is real. I think it says “good morning” to a late sleeper…..the sun is high. Maybe that’s why I like it.

  • Laura Sullivan

    Several things. (1) I HATE THE LOGO. That’s why I was so glad to literally see my response in my head to your question, “I hate it.” (2) I love that the hotel art has its own little light source. (3) Super digging the shot of Erie at the top of this post. It pleases me. Nice composition.

    • Beth

      (1) Ha! I like that you have such a passionate response. (2) I know. They took it pretty seriously. (3) Thank you! (4) I’m glad you’re reading. I keep meaning to send out a mass email with the link, but I guess it’s spreading around the way things do in our family (i.e., slowly, leaving a lot of people out).