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52 Pick Ups 

New book brings romance to Northeast Ohio

You don't have to book two tickets to Paris to put some romance into your life. Staying right here in Northeast Ohio is as romantic as anywhere, if you know what to do and where to go.

Miriam Carey can offer some ideas. Her new book, Fifty-Two Romantic Outings in Greater Cleveland, has nearly 200 pages of "easy-to-follow recipes" for adventures to enhance relationships old and new.

In winter, how about a sleigh ride at Patterson Farms in Chesterland or an old-fashioned skating day at Lakewood Park, followed by a season-defying dish of ice cream at Malley's Chocolates? In warmer weather, there's always berry-picking or building sand castles, or even riding the waves of Lake Erie. For less active types, how about cooking up a batch of "romantic risotto" while listening to a Puccini opera, or dining and spending the night at the Baricelli Inn?

Whatever your pleasure, Carey makes it all sound inviting. The 31-year-old native Clevelander maintains that romance is more attitude than anything else. "It's taking time out of your day or week to really enjoy what you're doing with the person you're doing it with."

She spent a year on research. "Everywhere I went, I annoyed people. I kind of collected people's attitudes about what types of things they like to do and matched them up with places to go." She's tried most of the outings herself, though definitely not No. 52. "I didn't do the skydiving. If I ever get up the courage, I will do it."

Getting out of your own environment is one of the keys to romance, she maintains. But that doesn't mean traveling to far-flung places so much as perhaps venturing east if you live west, and vice versa.

Being romantic, at the very minimum, "needs to involve doing something different, even slightly extravagant -- not necessarily expensive, but driving farther than you normally would or going somewhere where you really appreciate what's around you."

Her tip for a great winter getaway? Hanging out at the Rockefeller Greenhouse in University Circle. The lush atmosphere offers a welcome break from the dismal cold. And after spending time there, Carey guarantees, "you do feel like you've been away."

-- Kathryn DeLong

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