Sunday, September 18, 2011

Playing hookey on a Monday

So, it is called playing hooky if your boss tells you to go away for a couple of hours? On what could only be described as the perfect fall day, I was given liberty to go to a luncheon for my boss’ YPO group up in Chagrin Falls. All the President’s assistants were there (or a smattering of us anyhow) and we were treated to a great meal at Gamekeeper’s Taverne and a chat on fall fashions given by the owner of one of the little boutique shops on the main drag in town.

Opened in 1976, Gamekeeper’s Taverne is located in a historic landmark building in the heart of Chagrin Falls. Guests are welcomed by rich wood paneled dining rooms and large stone fireplaces in a classic tavern setting. During the warm months guests can dine outdoors under the sun, moon and stars on an award winning courtyard. Sharing the building is the Inn of Chagrin Falls, a delightful 15 room country inn. Today our lunch was served in one of their private dining rooms. The food was good and our service was excellent.

The bar was quaint and looked like it might hold 25 or 30 thin people on a busy night. As with most buildings dating from the late 1800’s the rooms are small but the quaint factor easily overcomes any feelings of being cramped.

After lunch, I took an hour to wander around the town of Chagrin Falls again. Last I was there was for the art show back in June and today I had the chance to wander into a couple of different shops. One new shop, only open now for four months, is Caravan Splendors.

You’re welcomed by the camel at the door and an eclectic mixture of items inside. Jonathan, the owner, is friendly and was happy to show me around the shop.

He was most proud of their new waterfall display hidden around back made by a company out of Philadelphia, but there were plenty of things to see ranging from table settings to handbags to rugs.

To give another thanks to the women that spoke at our luncheon, I stopped into their shop called "Find Me".  They had some beautiful items and one of a kind pieces that were either a bit out of my price range or a lot under my size.  Although I enjoyed hearing her talk about upcoming fall trends it's clear that people who run these little boutique shops do not aim for normal sized women to be shopping there.  Lots of size 4's and a lot of mediums, but no larges to be found.  After a while of wandering with me she just gave up and I ended up walking out.   Out of the gals in the room at the lunch, maybe 5 or 6 could have found something to fit them but those were the young 'uns that obviously couldn't afford the pricing.   Too bad really.

Just down the street was Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. We’d stopped in here last trip and was dazzled by the ice cream display and flavor variations. We’re not blessed with a Jeni’s shop in the Akron area, but they’re all over the Columbus area. If you happen across one of these, please make sure you stop in. The service is very friendly and the flavor combinations are artistic. The ice cream is also available in fine restaurants and stores throughout the country, and via mail order.

Jeni Britton Bauer, founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, was the featured speaker at Our Lady of the Elms Author! Author! series on Wednesday.   Bauer is author of the newly released Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. She and her husband, Charly Bauer, founded Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002.

Today I was captured by the Sweet Corn and Raspberry ice cream. Fresh corn from a farm in Chillicothe is husked by hand in the kitchen at Jeni’s, scraped off the cob and then pureed to create the sweet cream for the ice cream. Although my palate didn't really pick out the flavor of fresh corn, it was a delicious and refreshing ice cream and not overly sweet.

Chagrin Falls is a definite must for day trips if you're looking for quaint.  Put aside some time to wander along the river parks and into the shops lining the main street.  Make sure you go hungry and stop for a meal and then some dessert after.  Bring some money for the shops, you're bound to find something you'll want to take home - I know I did!

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