While our plan was to bike the Cleveland Lakefront Bikeway, we got a bit diverted by a narrow strip of land called Rockefeller Park, located just beyond the sprawling campus of the Cleveland Clinic. We rode through the park on the Harris Dillard Trail, which goes mostly downhill for about 3.7 miles to Lake Erie. Riding through this beautifully landscaped oasis was a nice surprise amidst otherwise urban, commercial neighborhoods.
Once we reached the actual Waterfront Trail, we decided to turn right and east toward the charming hamlet of Bratenahl. Here we rode on a broad, but quiet, street past several great gated estates, likely dating back to the early 20th century. Visible beyond each house and its beautifully manicured grounds was the vast expanse of Lake Erie. After a few miles, the neighborhood and woods ended and we entered Euclid, a community of smaller, post-WWII homes, strip shopping centers, and one large hi-rise housing development.
We persisted along this busier on-road portion of the trail to the Euclid MetroPark, where ample signage pointed us to a winding trail through the park to a marina. Here we were rewarded with striking views of Lake Erie and the skyline of Cleveland in the distance. Determined to find the eastern trailhead, we continued past the marina and through a small nature preserve which promoted the return of a coyote habitat. The Waterfront Trail at this end was a combination of sidewalks, a paved path, roads, and shoulders with painted lanes.
We didn’t venture toward downtown, but the drive we’d taken to scope it out the night before suggested that there would be much weaving through road traffic and industrial sections of town.
We drove afterwards to a nationally known brewery in one of the city's hip downtown neighborhoods.