The Mistake by the Lake? Never! Falling in Love with Cleveland, Ohio


Cleveland at night.jpgSome time ago author Casey Daniels, a long time friend, asked me to guest blog at The Little Blog of Murder. I decided then that since I’m a former Clevelander (12 winters of snow), and my own series, the Ministry is Murder Mysteries, takes place in a fictional small town somewhere in Ohio, blogging would be a cinch. I’d write about Ohio, about the reasons I set my series there, the joys of Ohio life. Easy. I sat down to do it.


Not that there weren’t joys, mind you. My years in Ohio were good ones. I finished raising my children. I wrote a lot of novels, walked a portion of Lake Erie’s shoreline–the parts you can get to, anyway. I drank Great Lakes beer, shopped at the West Side Market, went to Indians games. I even fell in love with the story of Whiskey Island, a peninsula near The Flats, where the Irish settled when they first arrived during the late nineteenth century.

And no, in case you’re wondering, it was NOT named Whiskey Island because the Irish settled there. Caught you!

I was so intrigued with Cleveland’s history, I wrote a novel about Whiskey Island, called. . . can you guess?. . . Whiskey Island. Then I followed with a sequel, The Parting Glass, producing two of my most popular books. So Cleveland was fertile ground for me then, plus it’s still the home of two of my four children and my first grandchild. I really do love the city, and I still spend large chunks of time there.

Fast forward to this very moment, when I needed a blog to post while I’m away. I never wrote that guest blog about the joys of living in Ohio. I never spilled the beans about why I chose to set my series in the state, or where the town of Emerald Springs “really” is. Every time I tried, I found myself reminiscing about Cleveland. So in honor of the city, I give you the Top Ten Reasons to Live in Cleveland, Ohio, as first reported on The Little Blog of Murder.

Just remember, I don’t live there anymore. If you’re not pleased, find somebody local to complain to. I’m out of there!

Emilie’s Top Ten Reasons to Live in Cleveland

  • 10-Beautiful summers and autumns. (You won’t see winter or spring on this list.)
  • 9-Real men who aren’t afraid to view football games from a Dawg Pound or shower Milk Bones on opposing teams.
  • 8-No sissy California smog. Cleveland has smokestacks billowing the real thing with no apologies.
  • 7-A river that once caught on fire and now lends that mystique and name to a great microbrew pale ale.
  • 6-A baseball team logo guaranteed to ignite conversations (and occasionally fistfights) among strangers.
  • 5-A place where having a “ski,” “wicz,” “nik,” “ich” “nka” or any combination of “z’s” and “k’s” in your name goes unnoticed. Kind of like Dennis Kucinich.
  • 4-Homemade pierogies and fresh kielbasa.
  • 3-Neighborhood bars and some spectacularly beautiful churches (often on the same block) where everybody really does know your name.
  • 2-Citizens who have traditionally welcomed and still welcome newcomers to Lake Erie’s shore, while keeping the best of their own traditions.
  • 1-A world class orchestra, beautiful museums, affordable housing, and excellent medical care. You just can’t beat this place! Just plan to spend February in Florida. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And now that I’m finished with Cleveland, can Virginia be far behind?

**Don’t forget to enter the Happiness Key Beach Bag giveaway. See Contest Page for details.


  1. Marillyn on October 2, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I’ve lived in Cleveland OH all my life, and love it. There’s always next year for the Indians, Browns and Cavs. The zoo is always a great place to visit; we went there very often when the kids were little and I worked part-time. I work at Cleveland State University, one of the best universities in Ohio, and also one of its best kept secrets. Pierogies, yes! Museums, yes!

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