Wednesday, April 20, 2016

CLE Adventure #7: James A. Garfield Memorial


Mike & I first visited Lake View Cemetery on an unseasonably warm day in January. Unfortunately, the James A. Garfield Memorial was closed then, so we committed to returning in the spring. What better time for that than Daffodil Weekend? During this April weekend, more than 100,000 daffodils blossom throughout the cemetery, concentrated primarily on the aptly named Daffodil Hill. 

Unfortunately, this month's quick snowstorm killed off some of the flowers, making the sight slightly less spectacular than it's intended to be. Still, those little yellow flowers are surprisingly hardy, & thousands of them were still in bloom & alert & beautiful when we arrived on Saturday afternoon. Daffodils are my favorite flower - so simply & perseverant & underrated - so, April snow be damned, I was thrilled for even a fraction of Daffodil Hill's beauty.




 After sitting on Daffodil Hill for a few quiet moments, we headed over to the Garfield Memorial. It isn't particularly attractive from the outside, & so, to be frank, I wasn't expecting much from the inside of it, but damn, was I ever wrong about that.

The inside of the Garfield Memorial is incredible. Like, how can this just... be right here in Cleveland? It looks like something straight from Europe, something ancient, something famous. It's gorgeous, all marble & tiles & stained glass & high ceilings, with a 12-foot statue of our 20th president standing quite regally in the center. My washed-out iPhone photos don't even come close to doing it the justice it deserves.






   



When you head downstairs via the long, winding marble staircase, you're taken to the crypt that holds the caskets of President Garfield & his wife Lucretia, along with the ashes of their daughter & son-in-law. I can't say exactly why, but there's something so weird about knowing that the bones of a dead president are, like, right down the street.



The best part of the memorial (aside from all of it) is going upstairs, where there's a rooftop balcony with an incredible view of Cleveland, including downtown & the vast expanse of Lake Erie. And what a beautiful day for it! I know that, compared to lots of cities, the Cleveland skyline is no great shakes, but every time I catch a glimpse of that familiar silhouette, it strikes me all over again: I finally live here. On such a perfect, blue-sky day, standing in the sun with the man I love, atop that ugly building in the middle of a damn cemetery, I felt totally zen, completely happy, & incredibly thankful for the life I've found here.

Bring it on, summer. I'm ready for more adventures.



Check out my other Cleveland adventures, which so far include activities like seeing a show at Playhouse Square, buying everything at the West Side Market, & drinking with dinosaurs - &, of course, stay tuned for more to come! 
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