Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mohican Weekend Part II: A Grape Excursion

Mohican Weekend Part II: A Grape Excursion

So you heard about part I of Mohican Weekend and the fun outdoor adventures we had. Part II is all about the fabulous place we stayed at, Old Vine Cottage at Ryder Family Vineyard.

JMK found this gem on the outskirts of Loudonville and Mohican. Although Mohican offers campgrounds, the Mohican Lodge and cabins, he hit it right on the money with this adorable, picturesque, & quiet getaway! Nestled on 12 acres of rolling vineyards, the backdrop and grounds were beautiful!

Although this place is called "Old Vine Cottage," it is anything but! The "cottage" is a 3 bedroom house with a full kitchen, 2 1/2 baths, giant deck, plenty of space and tons of fun stuff to do. Take a tour of the inside of Old Vine Cottage here. What I really loved though was the privacy and gorgeous vineyards just outside the window! What a view each morning!

Grape Excursion!

Each night we grilled out and had a fire, making for relaxing evenings and peace and quiet.
JMK and his primal fire building skills
On the second night, we had some super clear skies out there in the good ole country, so we built another fire, roasted s'mores and even saw THREE, yes, three shooting stars that night! (I squealed each time one passed and made a wish!)

During the days, we hiked around the 12 acre property and took on some fun activities at Mohican too.

Early morning vineyard photo :)

Strolling through the orchards on the property

The cool thing about this place is that it was bought by a family in 2010 and the adventure unfolded. They saved the property from foreclosure and revitalized the neglected vineyards into a treasure trove of grapes! They're in the process of getting the winery up and running on their property too so it was neat to watch the place evolve and support a family's awesome dream of opening a winery!
Driveway up to the property
Future winery on the left, cottage back right
The house was cozy, friendly, clean, serene and boasted beautiful views. Thanks to the Ryder Family for resurrecting this vineyard and sharing this lovely place with us! We definitely enjoyed the entire stay!
Signing the guest book

Next time you stop at Mohican, consider a stay at this fab find! Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway, family fun weekend, or gal pal fun--I highly recommend it, and by then I hope they have vino in full production too! Happy stomping, grape lovers! And keep JAMmin!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mohican Weekend Part I

These past few weekends have been AWESOME and SUPER BUSY! So a bit of a delay on these posts--I was busy soaking up the final weeks of summer! I had so much fun I have to divide it up into multiple posts.

Part uno:

Saddle up city slickers, I'm taking you to the backwoods of O-H-I-O!
Still reppin CLE even in the country
Follow me along my Mohican Weekend Adventure!

Equestrian Valley Farm
JMK had planned a (rad) weekend full of surprises at Mohican State Park for us to enjoy together, in the middle of nowhere, no distractions, just beautiful scenery, and time for us to (re)connect, relax and take on fun outdoor activities. And it was seriously such a blast!!!

Hiking in Mohican
mohican hiking trail
Mohican Memorial State Forest and Park is home to nearly 5,000 acres of hiking trails, bridle trails, woods, streams, cliffs, caves, camping and cottages. Chyeah...awesome! The park is conveniently located about an hour and a half outside of CLE and an hour outside of C-Bus. It was my first time there, and I was so impressed with the surrounding scenery--who knew a place so close to CLE had such soft rolling hills!? I'd love to go back during the fall when the leaves turn--my favorite! #MidwestIsTheBest

We began our hike here, at Pleasant Hill Lake Dam, and hiked about 4.5 miles around the area.

I must admit, I may be a savvy street navigator, but when it comes to whereabouts in the woods--that's JMK's area of expertise. We took in a scenic hike along the river, through the caves, across covered bridges and up the bluff at the gorge, making it a point to stop and enjoy each view along the way. 

pleasant hill lake dam
Yes, people, we are in Ohio! Beautiful backdrop!

clear fork gorge
Overlooking Clear Fork Gorge
clear fork gorge at mohican
Gorge-ous photo op :)

There is SO MUCH to discover at Mohican and so many cool places to explore. The scenery is spectacular, and it's just a short drive from the city. 

mohican river
Need some time to unwind?

If you're an active person who enjoys being outdoors, this is a fun and scenic one-tank trip from Cleveland. Stay tuned for Part II of Mohican Weekend, next up--all about our stay...hint *vineyards!*

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Who Does Everyone Love?

Tomorrow marks the Feast of the Assumption, and beginning of one of my favorite festival weekends in CLE...THE FEAST in Little Italy! Kicking off its 115th year, be sure to stop over between August 15-18th for some of CLE's finest and authentic Italian cuisine and festivities at The Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy! Check out my Feasted: The Feast of the Assumption blog post from last year and's guide to The Feast of the Assumption here. Cannolis, meatball sandwiches, cavatelli, dancing, music, family, friends, faith and fabulous food! See ya there CLE Italian loves and lovers!
So who does everyone love? Why an Italian Girl, of course!!! :0)
Circa The Feast 2005

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing Recipe

Ok, so we know I've been taking baby steps toward becoming a better cook and hopefully someday will achieve kitchen greatness like my sister, Mom, and Gram...someday, someday.

But this quinoa salad with lemon basil dressing recipe is
1) easy and came be made quickly
2) loaded with greenery and healthy goodness
3) another stand-by recipe for summer picnics and parties #FTW

I found and pinned this Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing on the beloved Pinterest and made a few tweaks for my liking. (Original recipe from two peas & their pod).

Here's what you'll need to make Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing:

Serves 4-6

For the Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of frozen chopped asparagus spears
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (to prevent the avocado from browning)
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup of edamame
1 avocado, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped basil (I love basil and added a wee bit more)

Quinoa Salad Recipe
Perfect summer picnic salad: add some greenery to your scenery!


1. In a small bowl or medium jar, combine the dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine or shake with the jar lid on tight. Set aside.
2. Add water, quinoa, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, this is the part you can be ambitious or take the easy steps, right? Either cook the fresh asparagus and peas, or use the frozen kind (I opted for frozen chopped asparagus spears and peas and popped those bad boys right in the microwave.)
4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, peas, edamame and avocado. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir until well coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the fresh basil and serve. Boom. Easy peasy!

If you'd like more colorful, colorful in language too, healthy recipes-- be sure to check out ThugKitchen. Absolutely hysterical, tasty recipes, healthy lifestyle choices and a whole lot of expletives and...they just announced they inked a book deal. For the %$#^@! win. Keep JAMmin fellow bloggers and creative cooks!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

CLE Museum of Art + Lakewood Arts Fest

What a great weekend to be a CLE art lover! On Friday, I finally got to check out Cleveland Museum of Art's MIX First Fridays: Caliente! And this time it was outdoors on the front steps. A total fiesta, complete with a live salsa band, happy hour specials, and droves of art aficionados and art newbies!

cleveland museum of art
Just dance!
cleveland museum of art

Reportedly there were over 1000 people who were salsa-ing and spectacting outside and inside the beautiful museum, myself included! So happy to see people come out and enjoy all that our city has to offer! Check out what's happening at the newly renovated Cleveland Museum of Art!

cleveland museum of art
Sassy salsa sisters!
cleveland museum of art thinker
Just like Rodin's "The Thinker"
After the event, my sis and I headed around the corner to the new ABC Tavern that recently opened in Uptown. Great selection of craft beers AND skee ball, win! Definitely will be visiting there again!

On Saturday, I went to the 36th annual Lakewood Arts Fest. Over 160 artists participate on average in the downtown Lakewood festival each year, many of them locally-based. It's been a family tradition to go every year, and this year I hit it up again...twice :)

I purchased these 4 coasters as a set (for only $15!) from The Foundry Woodprints. I LOVE the old historical photos of CLE that were transferred as woodprints. I'm going to put my 4 in a shadow box and hang it on my wall.  His stuff was going like hotcakes and hopefully they'll be opening a brick & mortar soon. Yeah, CLE pride!

Some of my other favorite and noteworthy artists at the Lakewood Arts Fest this year included:

  • Cynde H. Designs: 35mm Film Negative Jewelry. The name says it all! But check out her stuff to see her step-by-step process...very cool upcycling!
  • Gold Designs by John Darlin: gorgeous handcrafted bracelets and jewelry. Love his bracelet hook clasps that actually fit my wrist. You could never go out of style with one of his timeless pieces.
  • Marker Magic: I can't even do his work justice, you've got to see it up close! This Twinsburg artist takes the ever-familiar magic marker to create spectacular works of art that are deceptively stunning!
  • Ironwood & Vine Studio: one of my favorites for his upcycling craftsmanship. Dean Myton creates several products from upcycled wood--my favorite, his serving trays, were made from wine corks, wine crates and salvaged wood from deconstructed homes throughout Northeast Ohio. Brilliant!
After circling the show several times, we worked up an appetite and decided to try out the newly opened Cerino's Casual Italian (previously Eddie-N-Eddie's). Honestly, as good as their burgers were, my whole fam was pumped a solid Italian family restaurant finally came back to Lakewood! And the  fast service, friendliness and food did not disappoint!

Cerinos Casual Italian
Eat Well.
Laugh Often.
Love Much.

We shared breaded parmesean planks and mini meatball sliders as appetizers, and I had the "smaller" portion of crispy pesto gnocci with charred cherry tomatoes for the main course. YUM! Needless to say, we were all in happy carb comas post-meal.
Cerinos Casual Italian
An artsy-fartsy, foodie, fun, family weekend in CLE! Have you been to MIX at CLE Museum of Art? How about the Lakewood Arts Fest? What's your favorite Cleveland area arts fest?