The Epic Summer Road Trip - Cleveland Rocks: Day 6

Friday, July 10th

For as much as we loved our hotel in Philadelphia, our hotel in Cleveland was a bit...meh.  But it was fine, I guess.  We kept being asked, "Why are you staying by the airport??"  Our answer, we got a $50  nightly rate on Hotwire.  That's why.  Our hotel for this leg of the trip is just a place to drop our crap and sleep.  The hotel was fine.

This was our last full day on the road trip, so we had to do it up right.  We met one of my stations for breakfast around the corner from our first real stop of the day.  We were going to The Christmas Story House.

We had actually planned to visit the house two years ago around the holidays.  Elias and I were all set to take a road trip to Cleveland for a Bears' game.  The trip ended up being a bust on the actual day we were going to leave, because it was December.  In the Midwest.  A crazy snowstorm descended upon us and we were concerned about driving.  So we bagged the trip early on the morning we were supposed to leave.  We went to Brunch instead and began planning another trip while we ate (please note, Brunch is not a "thing" in the burbs.  Brunch itself was kind of a big deal and made up for the loss of a road trip.)  While we missed seeing the house during the holidays, we weren't about to miss it this time.

The Christmas Story House is on an unassuming street in Cleveland.  Though, the moment you turn on 11th Street, you will know this was no ordinary street.  We were instantly "assaulted" by signs for parking as an almost shirtless guy was waving a white flag signifying where to park.  Well...if you wanted to spend money for parking.  And if you wanted to give some rando guy your money, go for it.  If you don't, you could park for free down the street.  I had actually been "warned" by the Christmas Story House website about this (seriously folks, read up on a few things before you go).  These guys own the house next door (the Bumpus House) and are not affiliated with the museum.  I mean, we were visiting the house in the summer.  Not really a prime time for the house.  But still, doing a loop wouldn't hurt.

This was not going to be purchased no matter the price (which was quite high)
When you arrive, you start off in the gift shop.  This is where you buy tickets to the tour.  Of course, you can pick up your pink bunny jammies and any other type of merchandise (including items from other Christmas movies like Elf and Christmas Vacation).  Tickets to the house are $10 each, and tours happen every 15 minutes.  

Our tour started across the street.  The guide took us through the history of the original story by Jean Shephard, how the movie filmed in Cleveland, the original belief that the movie was a flop, and how it eventually became a classic.

The house itself was purchased in 2004 and was ultimately turned into a recreation of the rooms from the movie.  None of the "props" in the home were actually in the movie, but were made to look like what was in the movie.  It's kind of a bummer at first, until you realize you can take a picture with the Red Rider BB Gun or the Bowling Ball.  Then, it isn't a bummer anymore.

The Family
We were able to wander the house for about 15 minutes, enough time to take pictures and ask questions.  The one story the guides would tell (cause we heard it more than once) was about the Major Award.  The arrival of the leg lamp is an iconic moment from the movie.  But did you ever notice how outside of the house, the FRAGILE box says "THIS END UP," but inside the house it says "HIS END UP??"  Look next time.  Cause it does.  Story goes, they filmed scenes on the outside of the house first.  But when they went to go inside the house, they realized the box wouldn't fit through the door.


So the prop masters had to shave down the side of the box to get it through the door.

Ralphie and Randy's room.
The tour continued across the street as we were able to see actual props from the movie.  This, honestly, was where we began wavering in our interest of the house.  Sure, there was a chalkboard that was written on by the woman playing the teacher (side note, did you know the actress was pregnant when she filmed the movie??  Me neither.  Apparently, they put padding all around her to make her look full figured instead of knocked up.).  And there were a few costumes.  But we were also kind of tired.

This was a VERY small kitchen.  It would not pass muster in the House Hunter's obsessed world.  And by obsessed, I mean me.
But we were troopers.  We kept going until they started talking about cars and their non-profit details.  Elias and I ninja-ed out of the group, took a few pictures, then drove to the next location.

Of course our next stop was going to be The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Now here's the deal, we didn't take many pictures inside the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame .  So, there we go.  We can all agree that I'm the worst.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was pretty darn cool.  You start off with the beginnings of Rock and Roll, then work your way through the history.

The thing I liked the most was how this accidentally tied in with this entire trip.  We started off in Philly, seeing the Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl is in the Hall of Fame with Nirvana, obviously).  While we were in Philly, we saw Memphis the Musical (which loosely documents the history of Rock and Roll).  Then to see the same stories in the actual Hall of Fame as we'd been seeing on our trip, it was pretty cool overall.

Because I'm headed to Lollapalooza in a few weeks
One of the things I loved was a running video that documented the rise of the music video.  I love me a good compilation video and this one was really long and comprehensive.  As we left the room at the end of the video, some guy shook his head, saying that this was "too focused on the 1980's."  No kidding, dude.  The '80's changed everything.

We watched a video about Elvis (remembering our trip to Graceland), saw some costumes from Beyonce and David Bowie, and viewed an entire gallery of the photography of Herb Ritts.  We even stopped for some grub inside of the museum.

But here's the deal.  The food in the museum...meh.  But there is a food truck that seems to be behind the museum at all times.  Go there.  Don't stop at the museum.

Though if you stop and eat at the museum, you can sit outside on the balcony.  It makes for a nice moment.  Especially if you run into a grandma is "texting" through Siri while drinking a beer.  We loved her.

Before our last stop of the night, we went to a museum which was the complete opposite of where we just left.  The International Women Air & Space Museum is more of a DIY museum.  It lives in the Burke Lakefront Airport's terminal (Apple Maps WILL send you to the complete opposite side of the airport.  The hangar.  Don't go there.  It's a little walk from the Hall of Fame to the Air and Space Museum, but not as far as Apple Maps makes you want to believe).  And it is a very sweet little museum.

One of two pics I took outside of the museum.
By sweet museum, I mean, the descriptions are printed on 8x11 printer paper.  The concept is great (Yay, Lady Aviators!!), but just a little sprucing up might be in order.  Then again, we were the only people there for most of the time, so I can't imagine they have a ton of money coming in on a daily basis to make this more of a "thing."  The cool part though...I learned a bit about some historical women.    Like, I'd heard the name Bessie Coleman before.  Because I fly out of O'Hare and to get there, you drive on Bessie Coleman Drive.

The other picture.
Bessie Coleman was the first female African American pilot who spent a chunk of her life in Chicago, before moving to France to pursue a pilot's license.  She was killed in a plane crash in Florida while preparing for an airshow in 1926.  Without this museum, I wouldn't have known her story.

Our final event of the night was the Cleveland Indians game.  Elias and I are very much NOT Sports People.  But man, we are Suite People.  I'm not gonna lie, I built this trip around a visit to Progressive Field because I was able to snag a few tickets in a local station's Suite.  We ate, we drank, we ate a bit more.  The Indians won, which was swell.  And we truly enjoyed ourselves.

I may have consumed an entire bottle of wine by myself.  NO, YOU SHUT UP!!
I still don't know what the hell this is.
This actually was the best "ending" to our trip.  I mean, we still had one more day to go before heading home, but this was our last really big thing.  We drove back to the hotel (after snagging chips from our station guy in the parking lot...weird, right??  Weird) and packed what little we'd unpacked a night before, high on the Suite Life.  You you do.


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