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July 11, 2016 / Jim Fenton

Great Lakes Day 2: Greenfield Village to Cleveland

June 20, 2016

The Wright Brothers' bicycle shop

The Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop

We started out today by returning to the Henry Ford Museum site, but this time visiting Greenfield Village, an outdoor museum started by Henry Ford in 1929. Upon entering, our first impression was that it seemed a lot like Main Street in Disneyland. This was with good reason: Ford and Walt Disney were good friends, and Disney got a lot of his ideas from what he saw at Greenfield Village.

The village featured a number of notable houses, schools, and other buildings that had in most cases been relocated to the site or replicated there. These included Henry Ford’s childhood home, the schoolhouse he attended as a child, the Wright brothers’ home and bicycle shop, and several of Thomas Edison’s labs, shops, and related buildings.


Bread Bowl with Beef

We ate there for lunch, and I learned that I need to recalibrate what I order to eat in this part of the country. I ordered a “bread bowl with beef” expecting a bread bowl with some beef stew in it, but instead got a bread bowl bottom piled high with shredded beef, a scoop of mashed potato, and at least two ladles of gravy. Much, much more than I can eat. The combination of lower-than-California prices and larger-than-California portions was a lesson for me.

After lunch, we toured some crafts (glass blowing, weaving, pottery, etc.) and then opted to pay a little extra for a ride in a 1914 Model T. The driver was friendly and informative; I learned about not just the Model T but also about the Model A that Dad had while in college.

We then headed for our next destination, Cleveland, and took a slight detour to Ann Arbor to see the University of Michigan. I know many U of M alumni but none of us had been to Ann Arbor before. We were quite impressed.

Just before arriving in Cleveland, we stopped at the suburb of Rocky River to see where I had lived from ages 3-7. The house looked different but very good, as did the whole neighborhood. We decided to get dinner in the Rocky River business district, which had changed a lot but there were still a couple of landmarks I remember: the Norge cleaners and Mr. Dugan’s barber shop were still where I remember them. We had dinner on the patio at the Burntwood Tavern, a brewpub


Drury Plaza hallway

that had probably been a movie theatre when I lived there, and then we continued to our hotel in downtown Cleveland.

We then continued to our hotel in downtown Cleveland.The Drury Plaza Hotel where we stayed had previously been the headquarters for the Cleveland School Department, and had the very official look of a Government building all the way to the marble floors and walls in the hallways. It was newly renovated, and they did an excellent job of marrying the comforts of a hotel with the hard exterior of a government building.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in the Great Lakes area. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

One Comment

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  1. Liz W / Jul 25 2016 8:22 pm

    That bread bowl seems larger than what you’d get even in Texas!

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