The Scene source for shopping Cleveland — where every day is Black Friday!

The Gimme Guide 

The Scene source for shopping Cleveland — where every day is Black Friday!

Drawing another blank now that gift-giving season has arrived? Maybe it's time you retrained your focus on the wonderful gifts growing in our own backyard. Who says manufacturing is dead? Not a single recipient of these locally mined delights.

In addition to the Clevo-centric options that follow, take time to scour your own neighborhood for more fabulous finds. There's life beyond the big box stores, after all.

Happy shopping — and happy holidays from your pals at Scene!

Take a Tasting Tour

Cleveland's rich culinary history is a long and tasty tale, stuffed with pierogies and Polish Boys, Little Italy and AsiaTown — and of course, Iron Chef Michael Symon. Taste Cleveland Food Tours specialize in exploring and explaining the area's food culture and touring historic neighborhoods that harbor famous food venues. "We show you off-the-beaten-path gems and introduce you to local owners and chefs," says the boss, Jeff Swedarsky. The West Side Market Food Tour is $42; the Historic Tremont Food Tour is $58.

202-683-8847 or visit

tasteclevelandfoodtours.com

A Wallful of C-Town Pride

A fund-raiser for Cleveland Public Library is also an apt celebration of Cleveland's legacy of progress. The library is offering a series of four posters from its archives, each one honoring a key era of Cleveland's past: two of the posters are richly detailed city maps from 1877 and 1883; the others are promotional posters from 1909 and 1924 (pictured), each one glorying in Cleveland's forward-thinking reputation — a reputation we're just beginning to tap into all over again. Each poster can be had for just $20; they're available at the Ohio Knitting Mills pop-up shop at the home of Twist Creative in Ohio City.

1983 West 28th St., 216-272-6375,

twist-creative.com/okmpop/

Beer Class Is in Session

The art of craft brewing is actually quite an interesting science. Ingredients, fermentation, bottling, production, and marketing are all part of the curriculum at Beer School, held twice a month at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. During two-hour sessions at the facilities, you'll learn how Great Lakes beers go from specially selected grains to the grocery store shelf. Participants receive an official Beer School Graduate T-shirt, 5-oz. GLBC tasting glass, light snack, and an extensive tasting of beers. It's only $30.

216-771-4404 or register at greatlakesbrewing.com

Fashions by McFluff

Local designer Faith McFluff works magic with old clothes and scraps of fabric. Give her a pile of discarded garments or remnants, and she'll disassemble and reconstruct them into one-of-a-kind jackets, kimonos, and dresses. Her Rock Star Rehab pieces are not only distinctive, with their wild mix of textures, colors, fabrics, and appliqués — they're also comfortable and easy to wear. Prices range from $40-$200. McFluff also sells custom hula hoops to whittle your midriff, the better to slide into her clothes.

rockstarrehabgear.com

Soap With a Smile

Tim Kempf and Scott Suskowicz's stylish DuoHome home furnishings store in the Gordon Square Arts District has rolled out a new line of impossibly cute, organic scented European soaps from kalastyle, with names like Be Good, Peace, Swedish Gingerbread, and Save Water, Shower With a Friend. At $5 to $8 each, the soaps are whimsically packaged and embossed with clever admonitions like "Be Good" and "Good Girl/Clean Hands."

507 Detroit Ave.,

216-651-4411, duohome.com

On the Chopping Blocks

Over the years, Cleveland has been known for many things — not all of them so flattering. But these days we're attracting attention as a fine-food destination, with increasingly sophisticated restaurants and celebrated homegrown chefs. The hip Tremont gift shop Banyan Tree offers a pair of gifts that merge Cleveland pride with culinary excellence — and keep the price between the $50 and $100 range: a wooden cutting board boasting "CLE" in block letters and a complementary bread board that proudly bears the city's name.

2242 Professor Ave., Tremont, 216-241-1209, shopbanyantree.com

Big-Ass Beer and Then Some

Akron's Hoppin' Frog Brewery specializes in making award-winning craft beers, which it peddles exclusively in 22-oz. bottles — the perfect gifting size. In the Christmas Beer category, the Frosted Frog Christmas Ale ($7.99) makes a great stocking stuffer or office gift exchange idea. Its crimson mixture of rich malted barley and Christmas spices might even replace the glass of milk you leave out for Santa each year. "It has this wonderful, satisfying Christmas cookie flavor that keeps calling you back for more," says brewmaster Fred Karm.

1680 East Waterloo Rd., Akron

330-352-4578, HoppinFrog.com

The Envy of Napa Valley

Ferrante's Vidal Blanc Ice Wine ($28.99) has already won four gold medals at wine competitions in 2011 alone. Ferrante's Cabernet Franc Ice Wine ($34.99) is just as good. The uniquely sweet Cleveland spirit is made from grapes left to freeze on the vine. "Ice wine is harvested in the dead of the winter, but its sweetness fills your heart with the warmth of the season," says Alyssa Sekerak, marketing director and resident poet at Ferrante Winery in Geneva.

5585 State Rt. 307, Harpersfield Township, 440-466-8466, ferrantewinery.com

Smart as a Rock

Music geeks love their rock knowledge battles, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Trivia Board Game ($29.99) provides music lovers on your Christmas list the opportunity to show off their skills in a somewhat more formal capacity. The game includes more than 1,700 questions and clues about the greatest people, events, recordings, and dates in rock and roll history. Be the first to travel 86 spaces and get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1100 Rock and Roll Blvd.,

216-781-ROCK, rockhall.com

All the Nature Money Can Buy

The call of the wild is at its strongest during the frozen winter months. Luckily, outdoor enthusiasts experiencing Cleveland cabin fever have some excellent options to reconnect with Mother Nature. Buy them a membership to the Cleveland Botanical Garden (for $63, with its one-of-a-kind, indoor Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse), the Lake Metroparks Farmpark (for $45, with its family-oriented science center devoted to agriculture, farming, and country life), or the Holden Arboretum (for $50, with 600 acres of cultivated gardens and more than 20 miles of hiking trails in Lake County).

Visit their respective websites at cbgarden.org, lakemetroparks.com,

or holdenarb.org

Recapture the Magic

Give a personal gift and crystallize a favorite memory. The Euclid Beach Carousel Pendant and Ornament (both are $19.95) have that sort of nostalgic and Cleveland-centric charm. The pendant and ornament are a tribute to the old Euclid Beach Park, established on the shore of Lake Erie at East 156 Street in 1894. The former park occupies a special place in the memories of many Northeast Ohio residents, and the pendant and ornament represent one of the favorite horses from the complete set of over 50 figures on the Euclid Beach Park Carousel.

wrhs.org or 216-721-5722, ext. 286

Homemade Minstrels

The 2011 season brings two new uniquely Northeast Ohio records to the Christmas music category. The Ohio City Singers, a local all-star band of Cleveland's coolest musicians (people like Chris Allen, Doug McKean, and Brent Kirby), capture the warmth and fun of a classic Cleveland Christmas on Snow Days ($10). Package that full-length album with a bonus single: Northcoast Christmas ($2), a three-song EP from the burgeoning folk rock four-piece the Modern Electric. "It captures all the joys, struggles, and triumphs of the Cleveland holiday experience," says Modern Electric singer Garrett Komyati.

Snow Days: theohiocitysingers.com

or cdbaby.com; Northcoast Christmas: facebook.com/themodernelectric

The Ultimate Cleveland Sampler

Cleveland can do more than just rock. Punk, metal, rap, soul, and every fusion in between populate our great city. Collecting and promoting these homegrown sounds is the mission of the local label Ghost Laboratories. Its latest compilation, Ghost Laboratories Arcade Volume 3, offers 25 of Northeast Ohio's most cutting-edge acts — from the black metal of Curse the Gods to the wicked Rust Belt rhymes of Zup. "We are pressing 1,000 high-quality physical copies to give away free at our Ghost Laboratories X-Mas Party [Friday December 16, at Peabody's], and we're distributing the entire compilation for free on our website," says label owner Christopher Marinin.

www.ghostlabs.net

Get Yourself a Real Fish Story

When it comes to winter fishing, the running of steelhead trout in Northeast Ohio offers some of the best angling in the country. To find the most exciting and well-stocked watering holes, full of Ohio's biggest rainbow trout, try buying your fisherman an expert-guided tour with Chagrin River Outfitters. The full-service fly shop also offers guided river tours, teaching old and new fishermen get-your-boots-wet advice they've learned exploring local streams for decades. A four-hour, half-day trip is $225, while a full-day, eight-hour trip is $295.

440-247-7110 or

chagrinriveroutfitters.com

Hike Up Your Hair

For that friend who lusted after the bizarre headgear sported by royals at Kate & Will's wedding this year, check out Emily Gerson's fabulous, head-turning hair ornaments. Gerson's VisualGrammar216 conjures up clip-on mini hats in various themes — animals, birds, skulls, flowers, dolls, cameras, and keys — with a riot of buttons, feathers, lace, charms, bits of broken jewelry, old toys, and whatever else she can lay her hands on. Prices start at $20.

Look for her at festivals, craftbazaars, and rock clubs — or go to

facebook.com/visualgrammar216

Tee (Shirt) Time!

Unique Cleveland venues offer an abundance of cool T's for your favorite T-shirt collector. The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern (the old Croatian ballroom turned Cleveland concert club) has just released a brand-new black robot tee ($15) designed by local rock poster icon Jake Kelly. Cleveland's famous gourmet grilled cheese restaurant Melt sells an assortment – softball-style tees ($14-$16), army black tees ($14-$16), and its vintage "No Cheese Till Cleveland" tee ($14). Online comedy writer Mike Polk caused a recent sensation with his "Factory of Sadness" lament about the Browns — and now that's a T-shirt too. One of your best bets is C.L.E. Clothing Co., which sells hundreds of Cleveland-centric T-shirts, focused on everything from P.O.C. beer to Browns & Indians garb.

Order the "Factory of Sadness" T-shirt at gvartwork.com; contact C.L.E. at cleclothing.bigcartel.com

'Tis the Ski Season

Boston Mills is a great place to learn the slopes. The 85-acre ski resort in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers an excellent mix of beginner's runs, advanced terrain, ski schools, and some pretty cool clinics. Learn to Race Camp is a hands-on coaching clinic held at Boston Mills on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays beginning January 3 (from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m). The six-week program is aimed at improving skiing and racing ability in any condition. Pricing ranges from one night per week ($179) to two ($249) or three nights per week ($319).

330-467-2242 or bmbw.com

Check Out Their Gams

A Cleveland Christmas isn't complete without a leg lamp in your front window, beaming the warm glow of electric sex throughout your neighborhood. And there's no better place in the world to buy lamp limbs than at the actual house where A Christmas Story was filmed — A Christmas Story House and Museum in Tremont. The gift shop offers four different sizes of leg lamps (ranging from $39.99 to $249.99), along with a zillion other movie collectables at the gift shop.

31379 Lorain Rd., North Olmsted, 216-255-6651, achristmasstoryhouse.com

Fun With Murder

Cleveland crime writer John Stark Bellamy II has been exploring the nether world of Northeast Ohio for 20 years. His latest book, A Woman Scorned: The Murder of George Saxton — A True Crime Melodrama ($19.95), recounts the 1898 shooting of wealthy Canton playboy George D. Saxton (then-brother-in-law to President William McKinley). From the opening shots on a Canton street to the stunning three-week trial of his accused ex-mistress, Bellamy details every dirty detail with loads of sex, sensation, and a slam-bang surprise ending. It's a great gift for any true crime buff.

At amazon.com

Jewelry With Soul

Teresa Bynum credits Magnolia Clubhouse — the University Circle organization that provides vocational and educational support for people living with mental illness — with helping her blossom into a jewelry designer. The talented artisan creates lovely, colorful necklaces, bracelets, and earrings with jade, glass, and amber beads and magnetic closures, and sells them at refreshingly affordable prices ($5 to $20). Bynum's jewelry is available at Bloomin', the Magnolia Clubhouse resale shop in University Circle, and on her website.

11102 Magnolia Dr., University Circle, 216-721-3030; magnoliaclubhouse.org;

bynumdesignsuniqueaccessories.com'80s Rock:

A Cleveland Perspective

The music of the 1980s not only embraced a unique sound, but also a unique look. Clevelander Matthew Chojnacki chronicles that look in his new book Put the Needle on the Record: The 1980s at 45 Revolutions Per Minute, which captures the colorful, nostalgic artwork of more than 250 vinyl single covers, ranging from Prince to Pink Floyd to the Pet Shop Boys. The $39.99 volume not only finds unusually awesome photos and art from the era, it tells the previously untold stories behind these iconic images.

216 Holiday Shoppe, 2078 West 25th St.,

216-696-6220, madeinthe216.com

Sports You Can Read!

Bummed about no NBA action these days? The real loss comes with the retirement of broadcasting legend Joe Tait. But it appears the longtime voice of the Cavaliers picked a good time to walk away — and prolific scribe Terry Pluto picked a fine time to co-write a new book that captures Tait's favorite memories from throughout his career covering the Cavs and Indians, plus every other side gig he so fondly crammed into his schedule. Joe Tait: It's Been a Real Ball is available from Gray & Co. publishers; it goes down well with Pass the Nuts, Dan Coughlin's latest collection of remembrances from a life covering Cleveland sports. Each goes for around $15.

At grayco.com

Proper Signage

Ohio City, Tremont, Shaker Heights, Little Italy, Lakewood, downtown — each of these neighborhoods is represented in the locally crafted Arterx Collection. Fashioned like vintage subway signs, these cool prints (framed for $55, unframed for $22.99) feature well-known streets, avenues, and boulevards in Cleveland neighborhoods. The District Collection was created by local graphic designer and photographer Adam Taseff and is available at Room Service boutique in Ohio City.

2078 West 25th St., 216-696-6220, rscleveland.com

Born to Be Plaid

Swank clothing and apparel is being designed right downtown — on East Fourth Street, at the Dredgers Union flagship store. This season, the label is releasing an upscale line of men's plaid shirts — perfect for any fella on your makeover list. These bias-woven button-downs ($79.50 each) nod to the past — with their classic "bias" check pocket detail and heritage-inspired tonal plaid — while looking forward to the future with a slim (but not too slim!) fit and hidden anniversary pocket.

2043 East 4th St., 216-357-2911,

dredgersunion.com

Sustainable Sustenance

Pura Vida simply means "pure life," and the downtown restaurant specializes in making revitalizing food and drink. This holiday, Chef Brandt Evans is canning some of those uniquely refreshing foods (locally grown veggies and homemade soups) for the gift-giving season. Pick from Butternut Squash Coriander Green Apple Soup, Black Garlic Asiago Cream Sauce, Winter Vegetable Ragout, and lots more, all of it ranging in price from $10 to $15. "Sure, it's about providing good food, but it's also about paying it forward to our local farm markets," says Evans.

170 Euclid Ave., 216-987-0100, PuraVidabyBrandt.com

Trash Into Treasure

The Ohio City boutique Salty Not Sweet specializes in clever, often snarky handmade wares, many humorously incorporating repurposed "found" objects. The gold-and-brass-colored Cleve Land necklace ($45) is a one-of-a-kind gift for the woman who cherishes our grand old city and its fading press traditions. The gold-and-brass-tone pendant features bits of vintage Cleveland newspaper and hangs from a 17-inch chain.

2074 West 25th St.,

saltynotsweet.bigcartel.com

Fun for Foodies

Treat your favorite foodie to an entire year's worth of weekly discounts with this packet of fifty $10 gift certificates to Cleveland's top independent restaurants. Five hundred bucks, you say? Naw, they're all yours for a mere $29.95. Among the hot spots taking part: Dragonfly, Flying Fig, Marotta's, Moxie, and Paladar Latin Kitchen. Each deck also contains two Jokers good for discounts at any of the participating restaurants, meaning your lucky giftees can return to two of their favorites for seconds.

At clevelandindependents.com

Fair Trade With Flair

Cleveland native Larry Collins turned his love of travel and adventure into a thriving business. His eclectic City Buddha store on Coventry is a welcoming hometown marketplace for exotic Asian imports. What's more, everything inside is an extension of Collins' commitment to promoting fair-trade practices, from City Buddha's clothing, statuary, home decor, and incense, to its scarves, handbags, and jewelry — like the eye-catching beaded multi-row Gladiator Bracelet ($14.50), handmade by skilled artisans in Bali.

City Buddha, 1807 Coventry Rd.,

Cleveland Heights, 216-397-5862,

citybuddha.com

Celebrate the City

Don Drumm's studio, where the award-winning artist showcases his whimsical, imaginative sculptures, home accessories, and jewelry, has been an Akron institution since 1960. Drumm's pewter Big City Pin ($24), which depicts a lively modernistic streetscape featuring a businessman tipping his hat while crossing a city street, is an affordable example of Drumm's metalwork and an original way to honor your partner's love of urban excitement.

437 Crouse St., Akron,

330-253-6268,

dondrummstudios.comWarm Up to a Frozen Lake

Lake Erie is not just a warm-weather destination; the frozen stillness of the lake in winter has a uniquely serene beauty. The Lakehouse bed-and-breakfast, with five rooms, three suites, four cottages, and a lakefront winery and restaurant, provides a romantic setting for enjoying sunsets over the lake, wine tastings, snuggling before a fireplace, and enjoying Geneva-on-the-Lake attractions like shopping, golf courses (weather ... and wife ... permitting!), museums, and Ashtabula Harbor. Special wintertime packages are available, starting at $99.

5653 Lake Road East,

Geneva-on-the-Lake, 440-466-8668,

thelakehouseinn.com

Dinner for Two That's Easy for You

We know you'd like to be like Michael Symon and dazzle her with an impressive home-cooked meal. We also know that your culinary skills don't extend beyond hot dogs and microwavable Kraft Cheesy Mac. With the help of Chef Scott "The Chubb" Groth, you can feign Iron Chef expertise and serve your partner a complete homestyle dinner. Groth's catering company, The Chubby Cook, offers delicious, hearty meals ready to carry home, heat, and serve. If she's a true Clevelander, she'll appreciate Groth's lightened-up versions of such C-Town favorites as chicken paprikash over buttered spaetzels, stuffed cabbage rolls, meatloaf, kielbasa and kraut, Italian sausage, and stuffed peppers. Entrées are $6 to $8 per serving, sides $2.50 to $3.50 each.

3365 Richmond Rd., Beachwood, 216-342-4840, thechubbycook.com

The Rock Star of Soaps

These gently fragranced, long-lasting, rich-lathering Chinese soaps, once unavailable in the U.S. and still hard to find in stores, have long had a cult following. A four-bar set of the hard-milled soaps, available at Cleveland's Asia Plaza, includes Ginseng, Jasmine, Rose, and the very popular Sandalwood fragrances, in characteristic colorful packaging with paper gold medallions. At just $2 each, they make an attractive holiday stocking stuffer that can also be used to scent a closet or dresser drawer.

Americana Marketing, Asia Plaza, 28999 Payne Ave., 216-771-0088

Baseball Not Included

Johnny Smatana wants you to know that one of his Johnnyville Sluggers is, for a baseball fan, "the greatest gift under $150 in the history of the world." What started as his "silly backyard hobby" has become a burgeoning business in the rapidly revitalizing Ohio City neighborhood. The hyperkinetic Smatana, who earned "unbelievable money" in the freight business, says he's now infinitely happier fulfilling his creative dream. He performs 99 percent of the manufacturing processes in the workshop behind his store: sanding, dipping, and staining oak, maple, ash, and curly maple wood into gleaming, collectible bats. His Johnnyville Sluggers are available in a dizzying variety of custom designs: military, corporate, pro sports, the Cleveland skyline, Texas hold 'em, and movie and music themes — most notably a pearl-white Elvis slugger.

1825 West 25th St., 216-470-4838, johnnyvilleslugger.com

Upcycled Accessories

It's not enough these days to just manufacture products and make money; sustainability and social good are also essential ingredients to modern business success. While she lived in Mexico, accomplished seamstress Sharie Renee started connecting with talented artisans living in poor conditions. The designs they showed her launched her on a mission. Her fair-trade business, Cosmic Bobbins, employs Mexican artisans, United Cerebral Palsy clients, and urban kids from Youth Opportunities Unlimited to create funky, one-of-a-kind accessories and handbags (such as the Clutchette, for $65). "It's all about giving back," Renee says, modeling a pair of toasty Arm Warmers ($32), fashioned from upcycled sweaters and embroidered with a "Tremont" logo inside a red heart. Another charming, original gift idea: a Melted LP Bowl ($5) made of an old record album baked in the oven, which also helpfully answers the question "Whatever happened to JFK impersonator Vaughn Meader?"

1445 East 47th St., and at Cosmic Bobbins' Pop-Up Boutique at 2406 Professor Ave.

It's Sock Art. No Really ...

Jerry Seinfeld once noted that if the recipient says the name of the gift as he opens it, he doesn't really like it. "Oh! Tube socks!" A far more enthusiastic response will be elicited by the gift of a clever, impressive piece of locally made pop art: Hanes tube sock painting/sculptures ($30 a panel, or four for $100), created of latex paint on vintage chenille by the talented, hard-working Tremont artist Dana L. Depew, founder of Asterisk Gallery. The Hanes work is one of many canvases available from the justly acclaimed Depew.

2393 Professor Ave., 330-304-8528, danadepew.com; also at Cosmic Bobbins Pop-Up Boutique, through December 22, 2406 Professor Ave.

The Cure for What's Bug in You

Perhaps the woman you're buying for is too hip for traditional holiday gifts? Connie Zhang, the friendly manager of Sister's Gift Shop in Cleveland's Asia Plaza, offers an array of edgy imported jewelry to cater to the most daring tastes. Take the bracelet featuring a real bumblebee encased in a plastic, glow-in-the-dark medallion on an adjustable crocheted wristband ($7.95). Other insects, in bracelets and necklaces, are available. Get one for yourself too: Zhang says insect jewelry is very popular with guys.

28999 Payne Ave., 216-404-5185

Do the Doo

The Zoo is your No. 1 source for No. 2 gifts. "We had so much fun with our special Scoop on Poop exhibit last year, we thought we'd start a movement in our gift shop too," says spokesman Joe Yachanin. The gift shop is filled with products made from (yep!) recycled dung: Christmas ornaments, notepads, greeting cards, magnets, picture frames, stationery sets, and photo albums. They're all natural, organic, and, yes, odorless. Prices vary.

3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500,

clemetzoo.com

Picture Perfection

Wherever life leads you in 2012, you can always carry a little piece of Cleveland with you, wearing one of Phoebe Marie's Tiny Polaroid Necklaces. The local shutterbug's awesomely original photographs have been made into handmade plastic charms that resemble tiny Polaroid images of arty Cleveland landscapes. They're hung on multicolor chains and packaged adorably by Phoebe Marie herself. It's a great gift for any Cleveland loving gal, and they're only $12 at the Breakneck Gallery in Lakewood (formerly the Pop Shop).

17020 Madison Ave., Lakewood,

216-767-5610, phoebemarie.etsy.com

Chocolate + Beer = Happytown

That's exactly the formula perfected at the Tremont candy and beverage boutique known as Lilly Handmade Chocolates. Owners and chefs Joshua and Amanda Montague pair their delicious handmade chocolates with exotic beers and wines. Try combining Thirsty Dog Brewery's 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale with a Lilly Alexander (a white Chocolate truffle spiked with Maker's Mark Bourbon, brandy, Grand Marnier, and gingerbread spices) and celebrate Christmas for your taste buds. Chocolate prices range from $11 for six to $75 for the Luxe Box.

761 Starkweather Ave., 216-771-3333,

lillytremont.com

The Gift of Geekiness

With more than 340 interactive exhibits and a six-story Omnimax Theater, the Great Lakes Science Center makes learning fun. You can bring that fun home — or make a gift out of it — at the Science Center gift shop. Buckyballs ($44.99) are a cluster of rare earth magnets that can be formed into an unlimited number of structures — a great desk toy. Perhaps a junior astronaut suit ($49.99) is more your speed? There's plenty more uniquely geeky stuff at the store and online.

601 Erieside Ave., 216-694-2000,

greatscience.com

A Local Dip for Your Chip

The Cleveland Botanical Garden's Green Corps program deploys teams of teens to reclaim inner-city lots and turn them into urban farms, turning city kids into future farmers in the process. But they don't just grow; they learn about food processing too, using the tomatoes and peppers they've grown to make Ripe From Downtown Salsa. The kids worked with chef Sergio Abramof to develop their current warm, tangy recipe. It's become a hit at area farmers markets; it's also available year-round at the Garden Store for $5 a jar.

11030 East Blvd., 216-721-1600, cbgarden.org

Dickensian Diversion

You don't have to leave Cleveland to have a romantic night or weekend getaway; you and your significant other can escape the everyday grind and revisit Cleveland's elegant past at this four-story 1874 Victorian townhouse, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places and lovingly renovated in 1976. The house, a favorite of visiting theater types, is a survivor of Cleveland's erstwhile Millionaires' Row, boasting gorgeous period details like French wallpaper, arched doors, high ceilings, and a marble fireplace. Innkeeper Robin Yates is a knowledgeable, accommodating host who personally serves guests breakfast in the formal dining room. Best of all: An evening at the Brownstone will set you back no more than $95.

3649 Prospect Ave., 216-426-1753, brownstoneinndowntown.com

Pour Some Sugar on Yourself

For the last 101 years, Richards Maple Products in Chardon has been perfecting the process of making sweet and sticky maple syrup. Today it's the largest full-time maple retailer in Ohio, harvesting pure maple products from its tree farm and adjoining "sugarbush," selling syrup in sizes and prices from $20 to $100. And it's not just syrup: Richards makes maple candy, maple mustards, maple BBQ sauces, maple-coated nuts, maple dressings, and maple granulate sugar. "With all the choices, you can have maple morning, noon, and night," says manager Jen Freeman.

545 Water St., Chardon, 440-286-4160, richardsmapleproducts.com

Fresh Roasted Rasta

Reggae musician Carlos Jones is one of Northeast Ohio's most beloved performers, spreading his sunny vibes at area clubs and festivals. So it's fitting that his special blend of Brazilian coffee, produced by Berardi's Coffee of North Royalton, is called Carlos' Jones Positive Vibrations. It's available for $16 a pound at littlefishrecords.com or at Jones' gigs, where you can also pick up a copy of his new four-song EP, also titled Positive Vibrations. It's music as warm and comforting as the java you'll be sipping.

littlefishrecords.com

Rock Your Walls

Know someone who never stops talking about that classic concert they saw back in the 1970s or '80s at the Agora or the Coliseum or Music Hall? Janet Macoska was there too, and she's got the photos to prove it. The noted Cleveland photographer captured rock's most legendary artists as they paraded through town in their heyday — everyone from Led Zeppelin and Queen to David Bowie and the Ramones. Need another reason to emblazon your walls with a frozen moment of Cleveland rock history? Each 11x14 print Macoska regularly sells for $250 can be yours for half that price — just mention where you read the news.

janetmacoska.com

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