Today and every Wednesday my 1853 home is magically transformed into a country inn where I step out of my regular routines and enjoy a little (or a lot) of imagination. I flip from being innkeeper( hosting afternoon teas) to inn chef (creating mouth-watering romantic dinners) to inn gardener (planting and weeding) to inn maid (tidying and polishing), to inn guest.
Each of these inn characters could tell you lots of stories, and I’m sure one day you’ll hear from all of them, but today Carol Ann , as inn guest, would like to share with you a delightful outing she enjoyed as part of her inn day. That outing took her (me) to a charming town called Chagrin Falls. Why share? You know.
Sharing doubles the joy!
So grab your hat and off we go!
We head north east from my town of Hudson, Ohio and in about 20 minutes we find ourselves in a neighborhood that could easily be mistaken for the town of Edgartown on the island of Martha”s Vineyard, but it’s not Edgarton, it’s Chagrin Falls.
Most of the charming old houses in Chagrin’s historic district have a uniform look of white clapboard with black or dark green shutters creating a very crisp and clean look.
We see architectural details on many of the houses and charming plantings that add a finishing touch to the landscape. Dogwoods, azaleas and so many old majestic trees that only old neighborhoods will have.
An all green palette is very restful to the eye and maybe that’s why this neighborhood has such a comforting effect on me.
And the fences… so many picket fences – a very New England thing, and having lived many happy years in Boston I suppose that’s also part of why I feel so comfortable and at home here.
But though I could spend my whole outing walking around this neighborhood and taking pictures of pretty houses and gardens we need to move on and go into town where the action is.
As we stroll around town on this beautiful day we run into some very friendly ladies of the Dogwood Valley Garden club who are planting flowers in town. They tell me about “Blossom Time”. This is a festival celebrated on Memorial Day weekend. There’s a carnival and a parade and if you live anywhere near Chagrin Falls, Ohio you should google it and stop by. If everyone is as friendly as these nice ladies I’m sure you’d have lots of fun at these festivities. I’m having a lot of fun on this very ordinary day. I hope you’re enjoying yourself too.
There are all sorts of nice places to eat here Al fresco style. You could go to the Gamekeeper’s Tavern (my favorite)
or you could choose the restaurant next door called West End.
West End has out door seating in its small front yard and also seating in its backyard.
And there are many other restaurants too. You’ll not starve if you come here. And if you’re from out of town fear not. There’s the Inn of Chagrin Falls that would be happy to have you stay with them. Yes, a real Country Inn! If I didn’t already have my inn of imagination so close by you could be sure I would check in myself. It’s lovely.
Chagrin Falls … ah! Isn’t it a cute place? And there truly are falls here — waterfalls … there are two, and let’s take a look at them. You get a different view from each side of the street.
On this side of the street you see the falls and there is a park with lots of green grass and even a playground set back for the younger set.
On the other side of the street you walk down flights of wooden steps to see an even larger water fall.
You might wonder how this river and this town got its name. Well, in the book “Early History and Early Memories” written by Clarence A. Vincent he writes: The little neighborhood of my childhood and the village were 16 miles from the city of Cleveland. The name of the village originated in a peculiar way. The discoverers of the river, now called the Cuyahoga, at the mouth of which Cleveland is built, returned to the east for supplies. On their return to the wilderness they came to a river’s mouth which they supposed was the river of the other trip; but when they tried to ascend the stream, they soon found it too small and not suitable for navigation. In their disappointment they called it the Chagrin River. Later when the village was settled and named, it was called, on account of the falls at this place in the river, Chagrin Falls.”
Though it’s just beautiful out here with a gentle breeze blowing and the smell of fragrant spirea in the air let’s walk around to the red building you saw across the river. It’s a Starbuck’s coffee shop and I’m in the mood for some good coffee. How about you?
and the book store
and we settle in at Starbuck’s where I write a letter and we both rest our feet for a little while.
We got a good table by the window so we not only can look forward to see the whole shop
but we can also look out the window at our side to see the street and the falls below.
As you may know from my previous posts I love coffee shops and I could stay here for hours, but I did want to do a little shopping so off we go to The Herb Shop.
There are lovely herb gardens out front
and many different herbs in pots of assorted sizes are for sale.
I feel like a kid in a candy store, but I restrain myself and purchase only 5 pots of sweet woodruf.
Some day the inn gardener will have to show you where the sweet woodruf gets planted. But that’s for another day.
I had a lot of fun on my outing seeing many people and lots of things and I’m very proud of myself for spending only a little money. I resisted the cute pedestal server I saw inside the Herb Shop.
Oh yes, that shop sells all sorts of goodies inside its doors. Lots of things the innkeeper (me) could use for her teas.
And did I tell you part of the shop is rented to a lady who sells beautiful yarns? I was so tempted to buy the materials needed to make this eyelet knit scarf.
But I resisted temptation. I resisted Herb Shop temptation and Antique shop temptation too. I gave you the highlights of my outing, but I left out a few things – like the fun antique/gift shop where I saw these sconces which would look mighty pretty in the bedroom of my inn of imagination.
It is possible to have a fun outing without spending a lot of money, but I may have to go back to Chagrin Falls and pick up those sconces for the more I think about them the more I like them.
So that was my little outing on this Country Inn Day. I’m glad you came along. After a day out and about I always return to my inn of imagination with renewed contentment. I hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. too and I hope you take time off from your routines regularly in order to enjoy lots of outings in your own neck of the woods. We don’t have to check into real inns or hotels, nor do we have to go far away in order to have fun. We just need to use our imagination and give ourselves permission to take time off now and then and do whatever makes us happy
And what would that be for you?