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Old 09-14-2020, 11:08 PM
 
Location: CA / OR ==> Cleveland Heights, OH
141 posts, read 87,084 times
Reputation: 216

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Hi all,
I grew up in NE OH but have been out west for 25 years now. My wife and I are considering a move back to OH, or potentially another Great Lakes area (Buffalo etc). Tired of wildfires, riots, and politics here in Portland. We are early retirees in our early 50s.

We are absolute suckers for charming, walkable Main Street/downtown districts, with restaurants, pubs, shops, galleries and such. We also are drawn to leafy neighborhoods with 1920s/30s/40s homes, craftsman, colonials, bungalows, tudors, cottages etc.

From memory I recall Chagrin Falls, and I think we’ll explore this option. Beautiful area as I remember.

Lakewood seems to have elements of this, yes? Chagrin Falls probably higher on the downtown charm factor, but Lakewood looks enticing.

I know there are pockets in Cleveland city limits that offer this, but to be perfectly honest, we want to keep a buffer from any crime areas. I know this is a judgment call, but we’d be open to these areas if safe.

Are there any other towns or places, say, within 30-miles of Cleveland that we should explore? The draw of being near CLE is the big city amenities (airport, entertainment, etc), and I think it’s a great city to have as a nearby metro.

I’d appreciate your suggestions! Or if I missed a thread in my search, feel free to point me there.

Thanks all!
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:08 AM
 
Location: Cleveland
3,302 posts, read 4,386,467 times
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The style of homes you’re talking about screams Cleveland Heights and Lakewood. Both of those areas have several main streets. In Cleveland Heights the best walkable Main Street area is Coventry, however the target demographic here definitely skews younger than Chagrin Falls, as most of the surrounding streets have apartments full of CWRU students or recent grads. That being said, it’s a great area with lots of nice homes, and very close to big city amenities like museums, Severance Hall (home of the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra), Little Italy, and a rapid transit line.

Speaking of Littly Italy, that’s a neighborhood within the city limits worth checking out. It has a lot of the same features as Coventry but with more of a city living feel, and is even closer to the museums etc.

There are a few outlying suburbs along with Chagrin Falls that have nice main streets. Hudson comes to mind. It has a very quaint downtown with lots of shops, restaurants, galleries, etc. The area tends to be quite wealthy and can be a bit homogenous for some people.

Another very quaint downtown is Olmsted Falls. This west side suburb was originally a railroad town and their downtown is built around the train lines that run through it, and features a lot of train themed nostalgia, and a little train museum. There’s a really great Italian restaurant there called Matteo’s.

In Lake County, Willoughby has a quaint Main Street area that’s nice, but not as nice as the other two I mentioned. Geneva-on-the-Lake is nice and has a quaint small town feel, but it’s about an hour’s drive from Downtown.
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Old 09-15-2020, 12:03 PM
 
Location: CA / OR ==> Cleveland Heights, OH
141 posts, read 87,084 times
Reputation: 216
Thanks Cleverfield! There are some real gems here...I appreciate the info. Time to do some exploring.

Question: Does Chagrin Falls feel over-touristed? For instance, would downtown be bumper to bumper with out of towners on a sunny Fall weekend? Or more generally, do the businesses cater to that target crowd?

I get the idea some of the other spots mentioned above are more conducive to local patronage...or at least a mix of locals and visitors (which is ideal IMO).

Thanks again!
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Old 09-15-2020, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
928 posts, read 568,479 times
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My 2 cents:
Chardon and Burton - these are New England style small towns with squares and shops - both are in the snow belt where you can expect 100+ inches per season - bucolic in the Fall and charming festivals - when they open back up.

Oberlin - out of the snow belt but offers the small college town - tends to be pretty liberal and sequestered from suburbia

Chagrin Falls - to answer your question - it is not overrun with tourists

You may want to consider lakeside living: Huron, Vermilion, Geneva, Fairport Harbor have the small town feel. But you should also consider Bay Village and Rocky River because it will give you easy access to great amenities that you'll want - arts and culture and dining options.

As its been stated, consider Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights - particularly along the Shaker Lakes. These suburbs offer the 1910s and 1920s style Tudor mansions and many other styles popular then. They offer easy access to University Circle (museums, medical facilities). They are closer to crime areas - but have been for the last 40 years without much problem.

Good luck
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:33 PM
 
Location: CA / OR ==> Cleveland Heights, OH
141 posts, read 87,084 times
Reputation: 216
Thanks 216facts! I’ll definitely check these out. We’re heading to the area in Oct to scout, and we have some great leads now!
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:52 PM
 
182 posts, read 166,353 times
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Default The Connecticut Western Reserve

The settlers in northern Ohio repeated the style of structures and the development of towns with which they were familiar in New England; many buildings in the new settlements were designed in the Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival styles. Towns such as Aurora, Bath, Canfield, Chagrin Falls, Gates Mills, Hudson, Medina, Milan, Norwalk, Oberlin, Painesville, Poland, and Tallmadge exemplify the expression of these styles and traditional New England town planning. For instance, Cleveland's public square reflects the traditional New England central town green (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connec...estern_Reserve).
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Shaker Heights, OH
3,940 posts, read 4,085,497 times
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Chagrin Falls is my favorite town in the metro area...it's downtown area is absolutely gorgeous.
So many fine restaurants and mom and pop shops still there.
The Popcorn Shoppe on the bridge over the falls is one of my favorite places to go.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:26 PM
 
6,430 posts, read 7,779,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleverfield View Post
The style of homes you’re talking about screams Cleveland Heights and Lakewood.
Absolutely. The only way these places don't win is if OP wants something less urban, or if they can't stand living in a very left leaning town.

The other thing to consider is that Cleveland Heights and Lakewood are both fairly large in their own right, having about 50,000 people each. They're really more like vibrant city neighborhoods than charming main streets.

Quote:
In Cleveland Heights the best walkable Main Street area is Coventry, however the target demographic here definitely skews younger than Chagrin Falls
In my view, Cedar-Lee is on par with Coventry, but serves a broader demographic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlideRules99 View Post
Question: Does Chagrin Falls feel over-touristed? For instance, would downtown be bumper to bumper with out of towners on a sunny Fall weekend? Or more generally, do the businesses cater to that target crowd?
Yes. The "tourists" may be coming in from only 20 or 30 minutes away, but it can get quite packed for a town of 4,000 people. Traffic and parking are a minor nuisance in the downtown area on fair weather weekends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 216facts View Post
My 2 cents:
Chardon and Burton - these are New England style small towns with squares and shops - both are in the snow belt where you can expect 100+ inches per season - bucolic in the Fall and charming festivals - when they open back up.
I'm surprised someone beat me to mentioning Burton. I was going to mention it as a dark horse. It's absolutely charming, but definitely a bit further out.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:18 PM
 
Location: California
5,729 posts, read 6,485,257 times
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Default Homeward Bound in Spirit

Oh Slide, you just don't know what you are doing to this old Buckeye's heart. I miss NE Ohio and it is so pretty in the Fall!

Anyway, do you remember why you left Ohio years ago? I do, and suspect some of those same reasons are still there and probably worse. Safety,weather, and taxes were among our reasons for leaving in the early 70's. I have never spent time in Portland but just reading Oregon Live was enough for me to not consider it in retirement. Have you been reading the Cleveland papers? My neighbor's sons are Portland PD and the stories they bring stories when they visit! I understand the need to leave, but do it with your eyes wide open. Of course, medical care in NE Ohio is superior to anything on the West Coast.

However, I totally agree with all the suggestions by other posters about the town recommendations. The housing stock is a lot older but charming in those areas as Dr. J stated, - lots of history. It seems like the West Coast just doesn't have the same deep roots as we did in Ohio, but I confess to having a lot of fun in the Height, just a different flavor of history.

Time to call it a day here, so I'll be dreaming again about Grandma's kitchen and the smell of pierogi cooking on her stove...

Let me know how your visit goes.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:30 AM
 
Location: Cleveland
928 posts, read 568,479 times
Reputation: 1198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi60 View Post
Oh Slide, you just don't know what you are doing to this old Buckeye's heart. I miss NE Ohio and it is so pretty in the Fall!

Anyway, do you remember why you left Ohio years ago? I do, and suspect some of those same reasons are still there and probably worse. Safety,weather, and taxes were among our reasons for leaving in the early 70's. I have never spent time in Portland but just reading Oregon Live was enough for me to not consider it in retirement. Have you been reading the Cleveland papers? My neighbor's sons are Portland PD and the stories they bring stories when they visit! I understand the need to leave, but do it with your eyes wide open. Of course, medical care in NE Ohio is superior to anything on the West Coast.

However, I totally agree with all the suggestions by other posters about the town recommendations. The housing stock is a lot older but charming in those areas as Dr. J stated, - lots of history. It seems like the West Coast just doesn't have the same deep roots as we did in Ohio, but I confess to having a lot of fun in the Height, just a different flavor of history.

Time to call it a day here, so I'll be dreaming again about Grandma's kitchen and the smell of pierogi cooking on her stove...

Let me know how your visit goes.
Forget the crime - you're not moving to an area where it will effect you. Safety is not an issue here. Unless you're looking for a house in the $50k neighborhood. Weather is what it is.
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