You Can’t Spell O-H- I-O without H-I

My husband and I moved to Northeast Ohio in fall of 2003. It was the era of natives asking us “why did you leave Denver to move HERE??!!” My how times have changed, for the better, and now we are all proud to have loved CLE before it was cool to do so.

We greatly enjoy NEO because of the warm greetings from friendly people, the arts and culture, access to fantastic concert venues, the nature parks that have been preserved for all to enjoy, along with the blessedly low cost of living.

Residents know this and love it for all this and more. That’s why everyone is so friendly, I suppose! It certainly rubbed off on us.


The number one thing that still happily amazes me is how fortunate we all are to have access to fresh water here. And we are all able to enjoy it! Edgewater Park is open to everyone, close to downtown CLE and FREE.  Just walk right up to that water. We have Mentor Headlands Beach on the other side. We have rivers and lakes inside many cities and counties.  As someone who lived in Colorado for nine years, where you have to show your ID to get a glass of water at a restaurant, swimming pools never get filled, and you can write a year’s worth of tweets written on the dirty cars because no car washes are allowed to open, I drool thinking about access to all that incredible fresh water.


Not sure how to best take advantage of this aqua playground? Do you like to row? There’s a team for that! Do you want to just lie out on the beach and listen to the gentle waves? Well, we’ve got that too. Do you like trying to stand up and repeatedly falling in the water? Give paddle boarding a go. (The previous statement represented what would happen if I tried to paddle board; I’m sure you’ll be a natural.) You can play sand volleyball on Whiskey Island, or even take a jet board or ferry over to other islands from this side of the lake. There’s so much to do and enjoy it’s going to take a lifetime of living NEO to try it all.  

I was an avid sailboat racer in the summers until an injury this past spring. It will probably sideline my racing hobby, unfortunately, but hopefully I’ll be able to sail again one day. I found other ways to love the lake as I was healing up this summer. I’m going to focus more on kayaking as I gain my strength back next summer. If you want the security of kayaking on a river, but the thrill of being able to head out to the wide open lake I recommend the local company 41 Degrees North Coastal Kayak Adventures.


Thank you for taking the time to read this. And if you disagree with me about all the fantastic options we have access to thanks to living in NEO I’ll gladly go jump in that lake I love so much.

Chances are some nice person will greet me warmly on my way, because you can’t spell Ohio without first saying Hi. 



My profile pic 2014 JPEG

Julie Gilliland grew up on a lake in Texas where she fell in love with sailing and SPF 50. Living in Colorado raised her SPF level to 90. She loves Northeast Ohio for Lake Erie, the high value assets and low cost of living. She has worked in arts marketing for over 20 years. Find out more at
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