5 Reasons I Love the Suburbs

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I've never been one to hate on the suburbs. In fact, longtime blog readers may recall that this space was originally named Suburban Sweetheart. While I love city life, I've always had a soft spot for the 'burbs - for shopping plazas & chain restaurants & yards with picket fences.

After a few recent trips out to various Cleveland-area suburbs, I thought I'd make a case for the quieter life. Here's a round-up of all the things I love about being out in the 'burbs. What about you?

1. Going back home

Suburban born & raised! My mom lives in Cuyahoga Falls, about a 40-minute drive from Cleveland (making it technically a suburb of Akron), & going home is one of my favorite places to be. My mom still lives in the house where I grew up - at least for a little bit longer - & while our house is nothing big or ostentatious, it's, well, home.

I love the spaciousness, the dogs running around in the fenced-in backyard, & my childhood bedroom. I love my mom's gardens, the proximity of our neighbors, the beautiful lake down the road. There's something so peaceful about being at my mom's house.

Truly, my hometown is the neighborhood version of Cheers: Everybody knows my name, & I'm always glad I came.

2. All the good shopping

I remember shopping in D.C., where there were plenty of good stores, but because I didn't have a car, it was difficult to do any quantity of shopping at a time. You have to carry your bags around with you, so if you make one purchase, you're stuck shlepping that purchase around everywhere else you go. I hated it!

And look, I love a good boutique & all the independently owned shops here in Cleveland - but when I want to make a serious dent in my wallet wardrobe, I always head out to the 'burbs, which are the best spot, at least in this area, to shop. With a car, I can go a little crazy (but not too crazy - I'm a responsible adult, after all...)

Here in the Cleveland area, a few of my favorite areas to shop are Legacy Village in Lyndhurst (hello, best Nordstrom Rack around!) & Crocker Park in Westlake (where I love the Charming Charlie & DSW, in particular). I'm certainly no shopaholic, but I do get a weird little rush out of all that commercialism in one place. So sue me.

3. Some deliciously delicious restaurants

The suburbs get a bad rap for being a place where you can only eat at, like, Applebee's & T.G.I.Friday's. If I'm being honest, I, for one, do not hate either Applebee's or T.G.I.Friday's, but I understand the desire to dine at places that cater to, uh, a more sophisticated palate - & the suburbs can be a great place to find delicious hidden gems.

I blogged awhile back about 11 of my favorite restaurants in my suburban hometown, which should be proof enough that the 'burbs can be a great place to find great food. I also recently discovered The Capital Grille at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst, just outside the city, where I had the pleasure of sampling their new "Cocktail Time" menu - which is so damn good.

You might've caught some of it in my Stories on Instagram; I'll be back soon for their Korean Fried Chicken Sliders (spicy!) & The Churchill, a cocktail made with bourbon, lemon juice, & hibiscus honey syrup. Fun fact: Their executive chef, at just 26 years old, is Darden Restaurants' youngest executive chef in the country - & he's damn good at what he does.

4. Getting together with friends

Mike & I live just a mile & a half from downtown, but surprisingly, we don't have a lot of friends who live in Cleveland proper. Most of our closest friends live in the 'burbs - Lakewood (which is as close as it gets to being the city without being in the city), Westlake (close to all the good shopping!), & Shaker Heights.

Having friends out in the 'burbs is definitely one of the best reasons to head out to the 'burbs. Our friends Trevor & Callie just bought a beautiful, old house in Shaker, & they recently had a few of us over for a board game night. A few drinks in, we abandoned the official game (the complicated rules-heavy Vinticulture) & instead started just asking one another '90s Trivial Pursuit questions. Now that they've got a nice-sized yard, Trevor & Callie also recently adopted a puppy, a little, gangly guy named Lincoln who's soon to become a big, gangly guy. The suburbs give him lots of room to run!

5. A break from city life

If I'm being honest, "city life" in Cleveland isn't nearly as stressful as city life in, say, D.C. or New York or Boston, & like in the suburbs of someplace in, say, New Jersey, is not as relaxing as life in the suburbs of Ohio. Here in Cleveland, I live in a duplex with a small yard, & though plenty of great spots are within walking distance, it's certainly no bustling & anxiety-inducing metropolis. I never really feel like I need a break.

There's something soothing, though, about being in the suburbs, wherever they may be. Do other people feel this way? Something about the suburbs evokes a feeling of old-timeyness, of simple times. Maybe it reminds me of my childhood.

I don't know, man. I don't want to live there - but I sure do have a lot of love for the suburbs. How do you feel about them?

Disclaimer: The Capital Grille invited me to a complimentary blogger event to preview their new "Cocktail Time" menu. All opinions are, as always, my own. 

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