With spring spurting up from the ground like a hoard of ill-intentioned gophers and summer a menacing shadow on the horizon, numerous occasions will soon need judicious tackling. Warm weather brings with it birthdays, housewarmings, band camp, and heat exhaustion—all events best met with flowers and balloons. Choose from contemporary abstract stacks of sunflowers that terminate in a delicate lily or traditional rose- and carnation-laden arrangements. European hand-tied bouquets, ideal for over-the-shoulder tossing and subsequent ultraviolent manhandling at your next garden tea party, start at $25. Small arrangements also start at $25, while medium floral mélanges start at $40, and large blossom bursts go for $65 and up. Latex balloons are $1.99 each, whereas the shiny, decorated Mylar variety are $3.99.
Banyan Tree favors browsers with a bouquet of creative items to wear and admire from peasant tops and beaded bracelets to mosaic platters and curvy candlesticks. Selective shoppers strolling through the airy shop can also explore pockets of shelved knickknacks and contemporary attire. Help extremities escape the wintry weather by burrowing them into fuzzy fingerless gloves ($24) in maroon, cream, and teal, or dig through the tower of leather rings ($12) to deck digits with chromatic petals. Guests will oh and ah when quarters are slipped into an owl money bank ($20) staring down from the mantle and when a cell phone is lifted from a charging station ($30) disguised as a patch of grass. Like the prolific Twinkie bush, Banyan Tree offers up its eclectic bounty seven days a week.
Calling for the unity of the area's home brewers, The Cleveland Brew Shop maintains a complete stock of supplies to turn water and grain into foamy beer. Carboys, kettles, and buckets line the shelves, ready to be filled with fistfuls of ingredients. The shop keeps more than 40 base and specialty malts on hand and offers free milling for all purchased grains, precluding the need to reroute a river into one's personal watermill. Packaged kits provide all the ingredients necessary to craft beers in a variety of styles, and bags of hops declare their aromatic qualities. The shop also maintains supplies for making wine, and holds regular classes in the brewing process.
Since 1983, families have spent their holidays around the television, watching A Christmas Story and joining in the triumphs and failures of 9-year-old Ralphie as he struggles to secure a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa's bag. Although the cult-classic film showed Ralphie living in Indiana, the house in which the movie took place rests in Cleveland?and is now a museum. When MSNBC interviewed lifelong fan and A Christmas Story House & Museum owner Brian Jones, they profiled the story of how he found the house on eBay and jumped at the chance to own it. Today, he?s turned it into a year-round place of pilgrimage for fans and the site of an occasionally-held convention for Ralphies.
Jones?s restoration has returned rooms to exactly how they were in the film, letting guests gaze at the tinsel-strewn tree with its star falling off and explore the bathroom where Ralphie?s mouth was washed out with soap?a time-tested method for cavity prevention. Visitors can even attempt to hide like little Randy in the cabinet under the sink. After seeing the backyard that still houses the original shed, where Ralphie defended his family against Black Bart, fans head across the street to the A Christmas Story House & Museum. Here, original props such as the toys from the Higbee?s department-store window, Randy?s snowsuit, and Miss Shields?s classroom chalkboard join other memorabilia and hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos. Before leaving, guests drop into the gift shop to pick up a leg lamp just like the one Ralphie's old man cherished so dearly.
What started out as a search for a fun alternative form of artistic expression led to the founding of an institution for preserving and sharing a millennia-old craft. That enthusiasm proved to be contagious, as more than 700 students from all ages and walks of life attended J & C Glass Studio's workshops in the first year alone.
Today, J & C Glass Studio continues to teach the art of glass blowing with instructional workshops that cater to beginner and advanced students. Passionate instructors share techniques performed almost the same way as artisans did thousands of years ago. During sessions, a mixture of sand, limestone, and silica is heated to 2,000 degrees until it reaches a honey-like consistency. From there, students shape it with tools, the power of suggestion, and their own breath, creating custom works of art that can decorate a mantel or desk for a lifetime.
For more than 60 years, Bloom Bros. Supply has helped patrons tackle a slew of refurbishment projects with its expansive inventory of home-improvement supplies. For a better salsa-dance partner, fixer-uppers can utilize the inventory of power tools ($21+) and nails ($2+/lb.) to attach wooden limbs to a new broom or mop ($5–$15). Customers can treat thirsty friends to a half-full glass of water from a brand-new faucet ($12+) and thirsty enemies to a painting of a faucet brushed onto a wall with the store’s large collection of paints ($11+/gal.). The knowledgeable staff at Bloom Bros. Supply can also repair windows and screens, custom fit pipes, and re-key locks.