In which we see Rock and Roll past…. We awoke early Friday because our goal was to hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right as it opens. Fortunately, we had a wonderful night’s rest. Max even thought the couch was so comfortable he didn’t even need the folding cot the Wyndham had provided for us.
Now, the one thing I remembered about my last trip to Cleveland (the one for my big birthday last year) was that the Hall of Fame rocked, but the food, well, not so much. I encouraged Scott and Max to have a big breakfast, because they may not be so satisfied with the offerings later on. And really, when it comes to eating, I don’t have to twist these guys’ arms. So the three of us headed down to the Encore, the restaurant located in the Wyndham.
We all chose the breakfast buffet, which was a little pricey ($12.95/person) but worth every penny. The choices ran the gamut from yogurt to waffles and from eggs cooked to order to homemade oatmeal (a personal favorite). I started my day with a delish sausage and cheddar omelet, a plate of fresh melon and my aforementioned bowl of oatmeal, complete with brown sugar. The service staff was super accommodating and the food was fresh and filling, just the way to start the day. (I would say we ate like rock stars, but Max would remind me that no self-respecting rock star is up that early!)
So, on to the Hall of Fame. If you haven’t seen it, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a beautiful piece of architecture, very impressive from first view. We stopped and snapped some pictures on the outside, make sure we caught the banner – “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land” – advertising the Springsteen exhibit currently at the hall. I guess our Jersey roots were showing.
But of course, bigger treasures were to be found inside. Decorated guitars in memory of late rockers dotted the lobby, and while I was in line, Max posed by the ones for George Harrison, John Lennon and Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, that’s about all we could capture on film, as the Hall of Fame has a “no photography” policy past the lobby, to protect the various copyrights and collections represented.
Too bad, because I would have loved to have a picture of the look on Max’s face when he turned a corner downstairs and came face to face with the neon green jacket John Lennon wore on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. He just stared in awe for a solid minute before moving on to the other items in the Beatles display. A centerpiece was the gorgeous white piano on which Lennon wrote many of the songs from Double Fantasy, complete with wax drippings from the candles that melted as he worked into the night.
Around the corner from the Beatles display there was a screening of one of the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremonies. I was fortunate to walk in just at the point where Bruce took the stage. I told my awe-struck son I’d be in there watching and he should come get me when he was done paying reverence to the rock band that changed the world.
Oh, just an aside about the food. It was, unfortunately, as I remembered. We ended up splitting a cookie and drinking water, thankful we had such a hearty breakfast at the Wyndham that morning.
We spent the entire day at the Hall, and it still wasn’t enough time, really. There was so much history within those walls, so many reminders of who we were and the music that shaped our times. Highlights for me included Jim Morrison’s Cub Scout uniform, the hotel keys collected by the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmidt on tour, and of course the Springsteen exhibit. (Yes, I had to be torn away.) Scott really enjoyed the year-by-year video account of hall inductees. Max chose the artwork of a young Jimi Hendrix, the “wall” that was featured on the Pink Floyd tour of the same name and, of course, John Lennon’s neon jacket as his “must sees.”
We didn’t have a lot of time in the museum store, because they were clearing people out. We later learned that a class reunion was going to be held in the Hall that night. Which? A terrific idea. So many memories are brought back by rock and roll music, at least for my generation, it’s a fitting setting for a night spent on memory lane.
Max and I went back to the Wyndham to relax. Scott caught a couple of innings at that night’s Indians game, taking pictures of Progressive Field. By the time he returned to the hotel, we were famished, so we headed out back toward the stadium. East Fourth Street between Euclid and Prospect was alive with restaurants and the Indians had promised fireworks that night.
We ended up eating at Harry Buffalo right by the stadium. Scott and Max went the adventurous route, choosing a bison burger and fries for dinner. I played it safe with a barbecue chicken sandwich which was spicy and juicy, just the perfect ending for the day.
We were too tired to stick around for fireworks. Instead, we headed back to the Wyndham and relaxed before the ride home the next day. The trip was a bit whirlwind, but that seemed fitting somehow. After all, who ever heard of rock at a leisurely pace?