Best Of 2005

Best Hideout for a Recluse: Chagrin Falls

This little piece of Shangri-La, just 18 miles southeast of Cleveland, is the perfect place to lie low if you're trying to avoid throngs of people seeking your autograph. The burg is currently home to Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson and Hollywood's most infamous writer, Joe Eszterhas. Not that many people outside the area know this - residents protect the location of Watterson's estate as if it were Dick Cheney's secret bunker. Bartenders at Rick's Café - a Casablanca-themed pub - play dumb, no matter how much tourists tip. Employees at Fireside Book Shop give celebs a wink and a nod if a journalist is lurking around the corner. But just because you're incognito doesn't mean you can't enjoy the finer things in life. In one square mile, there are five separate art galleries. Chagrin Valley Little Theater keeps a full schedule of highly praised productions. Or enjoy the simple pleasure of an anonymous stroll down Main Street, cooling off with ice cream at the old-fashioned Popcorn Shop. And no one here will notice if you pay with a wad of $100 bills. In Chagrin Falls, that's chump change.