Wednesday, October 15, 2014

West Side Market

Photos by OHventures

West Side Market 
1979 West 25th Street
Cleveland, OH
(216) 664-3387

The West Side Market is notorious for its world famous cuisines, and has even appeared on television programs such as Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Man Vs. Food. The market includes a series of vendors of specialty foods, such as breads, seafood, meats, spices, produce, fudge, popcorn, and the list goes on and on and on AND ON.

The market is advertised as Cleveland's Oldest and Most Trusted Market (with its origins dating back to the 1840s), and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. It was dedicated and opened to the public back in 1912 (just over a century ago!), and can't be missed with its 137 foot tall clock tower! You'll be in awe of this place!

Today the market is home to over 100 vendors of great ethnic diversity. This past weekend, I was able to see this firsthand for myself when my Cleveland friend Emily and I explored the market! 

Talk about an adventure for your taste buds! There were so many things to see, taste, and smell at the West Side Market. I could spend hours and hours there, but unfortunately we only had just over an hour to cover the entire locale! We started in the produce section, where we were approached by vendor after vendor attempting to sell their fruits and veggies to us. It was a late Saturday afternoon, so they were likely trying to get rid of all of their tasty delicacies before they went bad (the market is off on Sundays). We made a beeline straight to the main area of the marketplace (signified by the beautiful brick ceiling).

I blew a TON of money REAL quickly. It's easy to do if you visit the West Side Market. There are so many high quality foods that capture your attention, that it is hard to say no. Here is the lowdown of what I bought: caramel & pumpkin flavored popcorn, and chocolate covered pretzels from Campbell's Popcorn Shop; cheddar spread and a 1 lb. bag of "bits and pieces" from The Cheese Shop; a cup of dark roast from City Roast Coffee & Tea; canollis from Theresa's Bakery; and nutella and banana crepes from Crepes De Luxe.

Eating our crepes at the famed West Side Market in the CLE!

I was glad that we only had so much time at the West Side Market, or else I would have spent WAY too much money. It is an adventure in so many ways: culture wrapped in history wrapped in cuisine. It is something you must do when visiting the CLE!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Walk A Mile In Her Shoes

Photos by OHventures and Lynda Tuttle

If you happened to be driving through downtown Canton on Friday, October 3, you would have been in for a treat. Over 100 guys took the streets to answer the age old question "are you man enough?" by stepping into women's shoes and trotting around - all for a good cause, of course!

This spectacle was all part of the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. Organized by the Domestic Violence Project, Inc., particpants - all male - raised funds to provide emergency and supportive services to victims of domestic violence. In addition to monetary donations, the teams had to throw off our sneakers and strap on high heels to - quite literally - walk a mile in her shoes.

With my Team Captain, Tim

I was part of Team Silver, led by our Captain, Tim Carmany, artist and owner of The Hub Gallery and Studios. Team Silver meant we all had to wear silver shoes. Unfortunately (or perhaps I should say fortunately), I could not get my hands on any silver high heels (nor did they have that color on hand in the donated shoe pile), so I wore size 10 women's flats.

Questioning our decision to be in public like this.

While this may seem like cheating, I will say that despite the lack of heels, they still were uncomfortable and difficult to walk in! Although, I definitely was called out by some of the lady spectators for not going all out like most of the other men.

Team Silver

There were dudes lookin' like ladies in all types of shoes, from pink fuzzy slippers, to gigantic black stilettos, to chunky white platform shoes. It was comical for sure! The walk began at Lynda Tuttle's Art Gallery where team photos were taken.

Slightly embarassing, but for a good cause!

The walk circled around the block, ending at the nearby Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography where we enjoyed celebratory champagne and announced the winning team for raising the most money (it was not us).

Almost done!

Despite it pouring down rain, the twisted ankles, blisters, and aching feet, we all had a pretty fun time laughing at the sheer concept of the event. But we all left with a new perspective of some of the problems many women are faced with who are in abusive relationships. There's really nothing manlier than putting your pride aside and showing respect and appreciate for women, and giving strength to all of the silent voices out there.

Candy Stick Photography

Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.

Seeing Ohio (and the world) through adventuring over the years has been a wonderful journey. But it wouldn't be the same without having photos to document my travels and experiences. Oftentimes, photos are far more powerful than the written or spoken word. That's why I am a photo junkie, and I encourage everyone to bring a camera with them to capture memories, moments, and magic.

That said, I have enormous respect for those who have a passion for photography and make it their living. It's truly an artform that is essential in our lives. My friend Laurel is one of those artists, and she has established her own company, Candy Stick Photography, based out of the Akron-Canton area. Laurel's philosphy for taking great pictures is "less posing, more fun!" She loves taking pictures that show every day life and the love between family members and friends. 

Her and I went on a photo shoot for Candy Stick Photography, and while there were definitely some poses in the mix, she was able to capture the passion I have for adventure with one of my favorite spots - Portage Lakes - as the backdrop. Take some time to browse through these pics and be sure to check out Candy Stick Photography for yourself!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stark County Mutt Strut

Photos by OHventures

Time for a proud dog-dad moment.

The Stark County Humane Society hosted the Mutt Strut, a 2-mile casual walk for dogs and their families, on Sunday, on September 28, 2014 at Schneider Community Park in Plain Township (Canton area).

Each dog could be entered for a cost of just $10 (plus any additional donation you’d like to give), as well as an item from the Humane Society’s “wish list”: dry dog food, plastic dish pans, pillow cases, liquid hand soap, bleach, cloth towels, toilet paper, leashes, etc.

Aside from the walk portion of the event, the Mutt Strut also encouraged both humans and their pups to dress up in costume and participate in any or all of the contests later that day: Best Owner/Pet Resemblance; Best Pet Costume; Waggiest Tail; Wackiest Pet Talent; Howlin' At The Moon; and Best Owner & Pet Costume Combo.

Naturally, I showed up to the Mutt Strut with the honorary OHventures mascot, Slider the Chihuahua! It was long overdue that he joined me on one of my adventures, and being that he himself is a rescue dog, it was only fitting. I am a huge supporter of animal shelters and the amazing work that they do (after all, there would be no Slider if it weren't for the Franklin County Animal Shelter). 

Volunteering time, donating money and items, and encouraging others to "adpot, not shop" when they are looking to add a furry friend to their home, are just some of the ways that you can be an animal advocate as well. Taking part in events such as the Mutt Strut is also a great way to show up and show your support.

Over 100 dogs were accompanied by their humans at Schneider Park on that sunny September afternoon. The walk kicked off a little after 2:00, and everything from rat terriers to huskys, yorkies to golden retrievers were struttin' their stuff on the dirt trails surrounding the picturesque ponds. There were two water stops along the way, which were crucial due to the heat beating down on the dogs (especially when some of them were costumed!).

After the walk, it was time for the contests! I entered Slider in three categories: Best Pet Costume,Wackiest Pet Talent, and Best Owner & Pet Costume Combo. 

The competition was stiff for the costume categories. Slider was dressed as Spider-Man, and I was dressed as Peter Parker turning into Spider-Man! While we looked pretty darn dapper, it didn't hold a candle to the gigantic dog dressed as a lion (looking EXACTLY like a lion), and a woman dressed as the Scarecrow and her greyhound dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. 

However, the competition for the Wackiest Pet Talent was not so stiff, with only about 6 entries. Slider and I got on stage and he was to perform his talent that I like to refer to as the "prairie dog." This is when he sits up for a treat, but keeps his butt on the ground and balances like that for a very long time without falling. Much to our surprise, Slider WON for the best talent and we received a GIANT basket full of dog gifts (including treats, grooming tools, food, toys, and best of all, a pet carrier for an airplane). 

As silly as it may sound, I was pretty proud of my little dude for pulling off the big win! And I was really happy to see so many people in the community out supporting our four-legged friends in their fight for better lives.

Check this list of Ohio Animal Shelters to find a shelter near you that might have volunteer opportunities or community events like the Mutt Strut.