In 1880, the final fasteners and sleepers on the Valley Railway were tightened into place. It wouldn’t be long before a billowing cloud of steam announced the arrival of the first train running through the Cuyahoga Valley, a territory that had served as a passageway for foot traffic for thousands of years. Over the next century, the railway contributed to the growth of commerce between Akron and Cleveland, changing ownership multiple times, and transforming from a freight train, into a passenger train, back to a freight train, and finally into a UFO.
Now celebrating its 41st year of passenger-rail service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad transports sightseers over the historic rails through 33,000 acres of land owned by the National Park Service. With a year-round roster of trips, including wine- and beer-tasting excursions, passengers can set forth on morning, afternoon, and evening journeys that sweep past meadowlands, pinery, and rivers and give glimpses of native wildlife, such as fox, deer, bobcat mascots, and owls.
For 23 years, The College Review?s one-on-one and group classes have prepared students for the standardized tests and other challenges that stand between them and their future. Before high schoolers set out for the college quad's lush lawn of shredded diplomas, tutors help them master the ACT and SAT via prep courses held throughout the year, and college-counseling services aid in the rigorous application process. Current and prospective collegians can find assistance as well, whether by figuring out their loans with financial-aid planning or signing up for private tutoring for the LSAT, GRE, GMAT, or PRAXIS exams.
When instructors lead classes for toddlers and preschool children at Tots University, the colorful 10,000-square-foot space comes to life. Throughout the day, these energetic teachers keep students busy singing songs, working on craft projects, or using macaroni to solve high-level calculus problems. For fun, kids can don costumes and perform in the drama program or hone their coordination and motor skills in gymnastics classes.
Kids' sponge-like brains can't help but absorb their surroundings, which unfortunately may be becoming increasingly stressful. "Never before in human history have we been flooded with [so much] information and technology," founder Kelli Slavin says. "Parents don’t know how to deal with it. Kids don't know how to deal with it." But she helps combat overburdened minds with The Light Academy's combination of Kundalini yoga and art classes for kids. Kundalini yoga focuses on breathing as the gateway to inner peace and health. It "stimulates the glandular system [and helps] engage the brain … and promote general wellness." She leads kids through Kundalini exercises, helping them to soothe their minds and teaching them to cope with anxiety and stress, ultimately pushing them to connect to their inner "greatness."
With that inner greatness, kids can interpret the world through art. "Giving kids a creative outlet is very important," Slavin says. "They're downloading whatever is in their head and making something beautiful." Classes delve into exciting projects, such as creating original comic books and making kites, or arming homemade piñatas with popsicle-stick swords or giant, weeping doe eyes.:m]]
Under the batoned direction of world-renowned conductor Carl Topilow, the members of Cleveland Pops serenade audiences with expressively performed renditions of diverse musical selections. Now in its 16th season, the orchestra will honor the Magnificat 1955 Founders Society on August 20, performing upbeat jazz, swing, and Dixieland songs, then ending with a dramatic retuning of the entire string section. Perfectly timed transitions and heartrending melodic threads attest to the squad's close bond with its cofounder and conductor, a multitalented virtuoso who alternates waves of the baton with behind-the-back riffs on his cherry-red clarinet.
Behind a real bar, the instructors at Cleveland Bartending School mix cocktails with finesse and expertise, running through barroom staples and trendy cocktails as students look on in bewildered anticipation. After the lectures and demonstrations, the metaphorical table turns, and students man the bar to practice the skills necessary to serve drinks professionally. This is the regular scene during the school's 40-hour mixology program, a professional-caliber class series that covers everything potential mixologists will need to know to sling drinks in the wild.
The courses break down the ingredients of as many as 125 specialty drinks and cocktails?including manhattans and martinis?as well as beer and wine information, customer-service techniques, and responsible alcohol service. The school also adheres to the Anheuser-Busch Beertender and Guinness Perfect Pour training programs. Upon completion of the 40-hour training program, students can take advantage of Cleveland Bartending School's local and nationwide job-placement assistance, which has landed students employment at venues such as Ritz Carlton hotels and resorts, McCormick & Schmick's, and Embassy Suites.