Cleveland Rocks – 8

Christmas! As of today’s date, it is 90 days until Christmas rolls around again. Oh, my, that does seem soon. However, in Ohio City, there is an area where it is Christmas every day. You can go tour most any time and learn about the house from the 80s movie, “A Christmas Story.”


“A Christmas Story” was based on the humorous short stories of author and raconteur, Jean Shepherd. This is a warm, fuzzy holiday story about Ralphie Parker, his family and the bully that is always chasing after him. Ralphie tries to dodge the bully and survive winter adventures while attempting to make it to Christmas with his glasses in one piece and a positive attitude unbroken.

Located at 3159 W. 11th St in Ohio City, Cleveland, is the actual house the movie was filmed in. It is now a museum. There is also an actual museum across the street with clothing, posters, memorabilia and more from the movie. In addition, there is a separate gift shop where the tours start. And there is a garage with a period fire truck and a replica of the family car from the movie. This unique museum complex is open year around, 7 days a week except for major holidays like, well, Christmas.

 Here’s the firetruck!


 This is the same kind/year of car but not the exact car that was used in the movie.


We are going to visit the house and museum via a few photos to entice you to make your own visit to this fun, Cleveland place.

This is the living room fireplace where there is always a decorated and lighted Christmas tree.


The famous leg lamp and Ralphie’s dream Christmas gift—the rifle! This photo is actually from the gift shop window. However, there is a lamp in the living room window of the house. You will see leg lamps of all sizes wherever you go.


Upstairs we find the boy’s bedroom with the sailboat wallpaper.


At the top of the stairs is the upstairs telephone. There are no televisions in the house as this is set in 1940 before television!


Ralphie’s backyard where many of his winter adventures took place.


Directly across the street from the house is the museum. When you walk in, you will find the movie poster mounted on the wall. It is another item you can purchase.


These are toys that the boys played with in the movie. Not quite like an iPhone or iPad!


Here are Ralphie and his brother.


There are Christmas trees everywhere. This one in the museum had a string of leg lamp lights on it. You can buy a string in the gift shop!


I will leave it for you to discover why these are in the museum.


If you are not familiar with this movie, it should be out during the holiday season on TV. Or, you can probably find it in your local library. There is much more to discover in the house, museum and gift shop. We have just given you a small sample here. We leave you, not with another shot of the Terminal Tower nice as that always is, but with a lighted leg lamp which you can make your own. Perhaps a Christmas gift!


Stand Up For The Bay

Coos Bay on the Oregon Coast, that is. This coming Saturday, September 24, is a celebration of National Estuaries Day with an event hosted by the Coos Bay Surfriders and South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The 6th Annual Stand Up For The Bay starts at 9:00 AM downtown at the public docks/boardwalk. Participants can join the paddle group or a clean-up group. Paddlers will stand up paddle, canoe or kayak along a prescribed route. The route is moderate in length taking 1 – 2 hours. Accompanying the paddle group will be two lifeguards and a boat. Paddlers are required to wear life jackets.

The clean-up group will walk along the same route on either side of the boardwalk picking up litter/trash along the shoreline. This group will be provided with gloves, buckets, and bags.

Following the participatory events, there will be a Luau on the Boardwalk (good weather) or the Broadway Theater (not so good weather).

Those wishing to join in can pre-register here: or at Waxer’s Surfshop for $10.00. Kids under 12 participate free! Same day registration is $12.00. All participants receive a meal ticket, a beer ticket and entry into the paddle joust. Any proceeds will go to Surfrider’s many programs that benefit our waterways.

Even if you just want to watch, come join in this exciting day on Coos Bay!


Cleveland Rocks – 7

Cleveland is actually known as “a city of bridges.” There are well over 100 bridges of various kinds here, plus viaducts, dams and more. It is nearly impossible to get from one side of the city to the other without crossing a bridge.

There are a variety of bridges including railroad bridges, pedestrian bridges, vehicle bridges and industrial bridges like the Jack bridge. Many of the bridges are historic. Below are photos of some of the bridges we viewed or passed over.

This bridge goes over the Flats.

This actually goes under a bridge in the Flats. Thought the graffiti interesting and not so ugly as some can be.

This view of a vehicle bridge is from the Flats.


This bridge doesn’t seem like one but it is coming up out of the Flats and passing over the beginning of the Erie and PA Canal that was written about in our first Cleveland blog post (actually Cleveland Rocks – 2).


This is a working bridge of some kind for industry. These working bridges all have names and purposes but I couldn’t catch all of that information. Just thought them unique and interesting bridges in the Flats. If you know any of the names and/or purposes of them, please let me know and I’ll add the information here.


One more fun bridge in the Flats!


We are now on the vehicle bridge you saw earlier and crossing over the Flats. I do know the name of this bridge is Jack Bridge, but I do not know the purpose.



Here are some of our favorite views from one of the vehicle bridges. Can you ever guess why?



Opened in 1932, the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge has four large double-sided pylons carved out of sandstone from nearby Berea. These 43-foot tall monoliths are called the “Guardians of Transportation.” They represent technological advances made in transit. Each Guardian carries a different kind of vehicle in its hands. In 1980, the bridge was closed for repairs for nearly three years. It reopened in 1983 and was renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge in honor of comedian Bob Hope and his family. The Hope family were English immigrants to Cleveland in 1908. Bob’s father, William Henry Hope, a stonemason, worked on the creation of the Guardians.


When you are in Cleveland, be sure to notice all the various bridges as you drive over them. And do visit the Flats to see the more unusual ones!

This last photo has a bridge in it, however, it was taken by a
friend and she labeled it: “Damn Tourists!” She loves me!


Orchid Day at Charleston, Oregon

We have visited Shore Acres State Park Botanical Gardens previously. This weekend, Saturday, September 17, one of the garden’s annual events is taking place. It is Orchid Day at the gardens.

Orchids are known as the “Gems of the Rain Forest.” The Pacific Orchid Society will provide orchid displays in the Garden House. Orchids peak this time of year and you will see many varieties and sizes. There will be orchid experts on hand to answer any questions.

You will find displays of tropical flowers, scenic ocean views, the formal gardens, and the grand estate. Don’t miss the rose garden. You might need to ask where it is because it is kind of hidden in the back. The gardens have a beauty all their own and there is much to explore here in addition to Orchid Day.

Charleston and Shore Acres are just about an hour’s drive from Umpqua River Haven. Bring your RV and stay with us ( or we can assist you in finding a room.  We recommend the Harbor View Motel in Winchester Bay. Tell  Cindy we sent you!


Cleveland Rocks – 6​

Lake View Cemetery is a Cleveland icon. It is a rural setting of 285 acres within this big city. Founded in 1869, it is a memorial to the immigrant laborers, descendants of slaves, industry icons and civic leaders who created Cleveland. It is a historic and even famous landmark within the city.

Residing here are many famous people including Adella P. Hughes who founded the Cleveland Orchestra and was an accomplished pianist, John D. Rockefeller who was the founder of the Standard Oil Company of Ohio and the United States first billionaire, Carl Stokes who was the first African-American mayor of a major U. S. city, and Elliott Ness who was the Public Safety Director of Cleveland from 1935 to 1942. These are just a few of the famous among those residing here.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the James A. Garfield Memorial. Garfield was the 20th president of the United States. You can take a tour of this historic monument and find memorabilia in the gift shop. After climbing the 64 steps to the outdoor balcony here, on a clear day, you can see 40 miles of the Lake Erie shore. This is why the cemetery is named Lake View.

There is another memorial here, the Wade Memorial Chapel. In honor of Jeptha Wade, the founder of the Western Union Telegraph Company and the first president of Lake View Cemetery. It, too, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can just come and wander around on your own, or you can take one of several walking tours throughout the year. Well, probably mostly in the good weather. Be sure and make a reservation ahead of time as these tours are very popular. You can also schedule a private tour for 12 or more and hear all the wonderful, historic stories! There are also school bus tours. And, weddings!

There are a variety of events throughout the year. They are listed on the web site: Who would have thought a cemetery could be so, well, entertaining!

Our Lolly the Trolley tour of Cleveland only passed by the cemetery but there is a Lolly the Trolley tour that includes the cemetery with the commentary that goes along with it. You need a reservation.

Here we are passing by the cemetery on a summer’s day Lolly the Trolley tour. It might be fun to go back and tour on Lolly the Trolley!


I just cannot leave you without a picture of—what? Something you can see from most anywhere in Cleveland. Yep, you guessed it!




As I watch, read and listen to tributes today, I wonder what I can do in tribute that would be enough. And, I think just remembering what happened and the people it happened to—some of them very very brave—and those who served following the tragedies, is what we all can do. Remember them in whatever way you do.  But, do remember them. We need to never forget because some day someone will say it never happened.

Fall Blues Show & Shine in Yachats

Yachats (pronounced Ya-hots) is a small, picturesque Oregon Coast town that is popular with weekenders and vacationers. There are a variety of rentals with ocean views near tide pools and beaches. There is a lot of housing on the ocean which makes it popular with those that live or summer here. Yachats is about an hour’s drive from Umpqua River Haven, just north past Florence.

Friday and Saturday, Sept 9th and 10th, is the annual Fall Blues and Show & Shine, “Where Hot Rods, Fun, and Blues meet the Beach!” Dazzling classic cars are parked next to the sparkling ocean for your viewing. Saturday afternoon, the Rose City Rats will be singing the blues in the warm sunshine. Saturday night, don your dancing shoes for an evening with the Purple Cats wailing the blues!


In between the cars, the music, and the dancing are a variety of events like the Fun Filled Spirit Race Tracks, the legendary pancake toss breakfast and more.  Plus there is time to stroll into town for shopping and great eating. We like LeRoy’s Blue Whale restaurant for casual dining and great food! The service is great, too. There’s a raffle drawing you can participate in and don’t forget to hang around for the awards ceremony Sunday morning.


Of course, there are also the tide pools and beach!  Both are great places to explore. Grab your tide table and hit the pools at low tide to discover all of the ocean creatures that live there. Take a relaxing walk on the beach. You might spot a sea lion (the caves aren’t very far south) or even a whale. There is a pod of whales that live at Depot Bay which is not too far north of here and they feed all up and down the coast. It is always fun to discover what the ocean shores have to offer.


There are a few motels in Yachats and we can guide you to them. However, if you bring your RV you can stay with us at Umpqua River Haven ( It’s an easy drive up and back to your own home in our very quiet, serene and beautiful setting for a great night’s sleep!

Cleveland Rocks – 5

Ohio City is a unique neighborhood within Cleveland. It was originally developed and inhabited by well-to-do Clevelanders. It was an exclusive neighborhood and became an independent city in 1836. It was annexed by Cleveland in 1854.


Again, as in the rest of Cleveland, there are many beautiful and historic buildings in Ohio City. The following are just a few.



This more modern but still historic building, Fulton Tower, is part of the Cleveland Clinic/Lutheran Hospital.



In 1857 at the Franklin Circle Church, before he became the 20th President of the United States, John A. Garfield often gave sermons from the pulpit of this historic church.



In 1869 near the corner of Bridge Avenue and West 29th Place, John Heisman was born. The college football Heisman Trophy is his namesake.

St. Ignatius boys prep school is located here. Residents resist selling their homes for expansion of the school. It is a bit of a contention within the community.


Ohio City has many craft breweries, including the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Here, too, is located the Cleveland Hostel, the first and only hostel in Cleveland that opened in 2012. And, the oldest consecrated building in Cuyahoga County, St. John’s Episcopal Church, is also here. It was one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. In the basement the remains to a tunnel entrance leading to the Cuyahoga River are still visible.

One of Cleveland’s favorite places is the historic West Side Market built in 1912. One million people visit the market in Ohio City every year.


Just North of the market is the Ohio City Fresh Food Collaborative. It is one of the biggest, contiguous urban farms in the country. On this 6-acre city parcel are a farm, retail stand and community kitchen.

As immigrants moved into Ohio City, the wealthier residents moved out into the suburbs. Conditions in Ohio City deteriorated with run down and abandoned houses. However, young suburbanites eventually discovered affordable housing here and started moving in, repairing and remodeling the houses.


The revival of Ohio City continues in the present time. Cleveland is dubbed “The Rust Belt” and this video claims that term. However, these folks are investing heavily in this area looking for long-term improvement and to make a living. Bravo to them! Do watch the video on this page as it is heart-warming. (Thanks to Chuck for discovering the Hingetown video and sharing it with us!)

And here’s an event in Hingetown you won’t want to miss!  Don’t forget to come back for one more picture just below!

Ok, well, we just cannot leave Ohio City without showing you the view of one more building from here. Can you name it?

P1110469Watch for more Cleveland Rocks post coming in the future!

Fort Umpqua Days Weekend

Ft. Umpqua was located at Elkton, Oregon, which is just 20 miles east of Umpqua River Haven. Rich in history, the Umpqua River Valley holds tales of old. Over this Labor Day Weekend, those tales will be celebrated at the fort.

There is much to do with reenactments, mountain men, the bass tournament, a pancake breakfast served by the Lions Club, a parade, demonstrations and activities for the whole family and a lot more.

Ft. Umpqua was built in 1832 as a trading post by the Hudson’s Bay Company for their fur trade operations. This replica is on the grounds of the Elkton Community Education Center which also houses a butterfly pavilion. Stop in at the fort and look around—-see if you can find the piece of the fort with our name, Umpqua River Haven, on it!

Also check out the butterfly pavilion. It is a happy place to be where butterflies of all sorts sit on your shoulder if you are quiet, still and gentle. You can adopt a Monarch or Painted Lady butterfly before they head south for the winter. Kids love it here!

Check out the entertainment, Contra Swings! Our friend, Jennifer from Coos Bay, will be fiddling away with this group.

Bring your RV and stay with us at Umpqua River Haven ( and take in all that this purely Oregon Weekend has to offer. It’s a two day history, fun and fish weekend not to be missed!


Cleveland Rocks – 4

Cleveland’s Public Square is the center of the downtown area. It was part of the original town in 1796 that was overseen by Moses Cleveland. It is ten acres and has recently been renovated to include green spaces and to be more pedestrian friendly. The Terminal Tower building opens onto the square.


There are other buildings, old and new, around the square including the Old Stone Church you saw earlier. Also on the square is the Higbee’s Department Store building that was made famous in the 1983 movie, “A Christmas Story.”



50 years ago and more, Public Square was a busy place with passengers coming and going through the Terminal Tower and three big department stores either on the square or a short distance away. Clevelanders and suburbanites alike made traditional visits during the Christmas holiday season to the square. They came to see Higbee’s and other department store holiday decorations and those in the Terminal Tower. Plus, it was a tradition to go up to the top of the Tower at night to see the holiday lights reflecting in the snow on the streets below. Kind of a winter-wonder-fairyland.

We’ve talked before about the Tower and that it is still possible to go up in it at prescribed times with a purchased ticket. The Tower is 52 stories high (771 ft) and was built during the skyscraper hey-day of the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was the second-tallest building in the world. It was also the tallest building in North America outside of New York City. It was the tallest building in Ohio until the Key Tower was completed in 1991. It was designed for offices but built over the Cleveland Union Terminal rail station.


As we travel around the congested Square, there are many historic things to see. The historic Renaissance Hotel and the doors into the Terminal Tower are both on our route.



One thing that commands our attention is the Civil War Memorial, also known as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It honors soldiers and sailors from Cuyahoga County who served during the Civil War. All four sides have statuary that commemorates this great event in our history in various ways. One of the background buildings is the Terminal Tower.





We were also fascinated by the reflection of the Terminal Tower in this modern building. Thanks to my tour buddies for point this out!


There are statues of various historic figures on the square. There are fountains like this one.

The Fountain of Eternal Life-War Memorial Fountain and Peace Arising from the Flames of War

Many beautiful and historic buildings are on or near Public Square.


The historic May Company Building.

Cleveland’s historic library is here also.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.


The impact of the Republican National Convention here can still be seen in these banners hanging from more historic buildings.



There is much to see here. With the new renovations, Public Square is even more beautiful, interesting and easy to enjoy. You will discover more for yourself when you visit downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Also, stay tuned here as we have more coming from the Lolly the Trolley tour.