The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture
One month married, Meg is back from her dreamy, Italian honeymoon and back in the swing of things here at Simoneink. Now that we’ve fully digested the experience, we thought it a good time to remember and reflect on our whirlwind weekend in Ohio.
Simone: As you know, Meaghan and I took off to Cleveland a couple weekends ago for a most joyous occasion. Our little Meg was gettin’ hitched—that’s ‘M’ number 2 of my M&M duo (Meaghan + Meg)—and we weren’t going to miss it for the world. [Click here to read Meg's pre-wedding post!] I want to make sure we hit all the wonderful highlights of our little Cleveland adventure, so I thought it best if we tag-team for this post. Let’s start from the beginning. Meaghan, why don’t you take it away…
Meaghan: Of course! We took off Friday afternoon with the boys (Simone’s sons, Kemp and Spencer), from whom we barely heard a peep the whole drive! That’s the great thing about car trips these days… endless movies. In true Simoneink style, we came prepared with pimento cheese, quinoa salad, and the like. We were careful not to fill up on snacks though, because we had some very delicious plans waiting for us upon arrival.
After we checked into the hotel, we made our way down to E. 4th Street (per Meg’s suggestion). I immediately fell in love with the area: bistro lights illuminated the street (no cars allowed), and it was lined with the cutest restaurants—the place was bumping! Lola Bistro, a restaurant by chef Michael Symon, was our final destination. I’ll leave the food critique to Simone.
Simone: Long story short, our experience at Lola was fantastic. My pre-dinner cocktail was chilled to perfection, pleasurably tangy. Since it was a late arrival for us, Meaghan and Kemp split the Filet and Lobster Cranberry Soup, while Spencer and I split the Salmon. I was impressed by the perfect amount of seasoning, the layers of flavors and, above all, the service. If we’d had more time in the weekend, I would have gone back.
Saturday morning was the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Floors and floors of heaven. This was my music. I wanted the boys to learn the fundamentals, so they were soon familiar with Bo Didley, Elvis, The Who, The Beatles, and all the rest. I was a proud mama when they recognized David Bowie all on their own (they had become acquainted with him during our trip to London this summer). Nothing makes me happier than to hear my sons singing a David Bowie duet: “This is Major Tom from ground control…”
Meaghan: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was pretty incredible. The Rolling Stones exhibit might have been one of my faves—we spent hours and hours just observing all the memorabilia and factoids (Did you know that Jimmy Hendrix was a cartoonist??)
We were also able to get out and around the city for a little bit. One thing I was not expecting from Cleveland was so much water! I loved how the city was on a lake, and none more scenic than Lake Erie. It was beautiful to have all the seagulls and sailboats on the water—not something that comes to mind when I think of Ohio! Come afternoon, it was time to get ready for the big event.
Simone: After some showers and a change of clothes, we were wedding-bound! As to be expected, we were running late and missed the bus. Not to worry, we caught a cab and arrived just in time (you’ll see that I’ll probably be late to my own funeral).
This was the boys’ first wedding, and in their words, Meg looked like a princess. I had to agree. As the four of us watched Meg walk down the aisle, she was a vision from a fairy tale. Her makeup was glamorously natural, her flowing hair pulled back with no fuss.
Meaghan: She was absolutely stunning. I think my favorite part was see her grab and nuzzle up in JT’s arm when she reached the end of the aisle—they were so comfortable, such a sweet moment. I could see that everyone was admiring her gorgeous jeweled belt… a gift from yours truly!
Simone: It was a beautiful ceremony. There was a vintage MG with a “Just Married” sign on the back that was waiting to whisk them away to the party. As a reception venue, the Shoreby Club couldn’t have been more picturesque. It was right on the water, and there was a sunset that night that was truly a gift from above.
Meaghan: The wedding, the venue, the atmosphere—it could not have been more perfect. The bride and groom had their first dance (okay yes, I cried). I thoroughly enjoyed the Tomato and Mushroom Gnocchi. Simone and I never had a dull moment visiting with Meg’s friends and family. The decor—in hues of light rose, grey and white—was all wonderfully casual and sophisticated… just like Meg.
Simone: The decor was beautiful. As the sun went down, the chandeliers cast romantic lighting around the tent, although the centerpiece was truly Meg. She fluttered around so gracefully. We had wonderful table company—somehow I can always find that New Orleans connection! Kemp was quite the ladies man, as he was repeatedly asked to dance by a young 7-year-old gal. He made sure he got some boogie time in with his mother, too!
Meaghan: It’s true! Spencer had the entire wedding speechless with his drum performance. Although, perhaps my favorite memory of the night came at the end when JT (the groom) began playing the air guitar on his leg. That’s a memory I’ll keep with me always.
Simone: Perhaps what touched my heart the most is that Meg took on the southern tradition of “cake pulls.” Charms are tied to a string, then baked in the wedding cake for each bridesmaid to pull—the charm on the end is your fortune! Love, luck… and then of course someone’s always the old maid! I so much enjoyed explaining the tradition to everyone, what fun!
Meaghan: We got to talk to Meg at the reception. I’ve never seen anyone glowing with such happiness. It was utterly contagious. “This is the best day of my life,” she told us, “I’m on cloud nine.”
Simone: We ended up staying to the very end and caught the last trolley back to the hotel. We were certainly not ready to leave on Sunday morning! We headed back to E. 4th Street for some breakfast sandwiches, and then the boys and I made a quick trip to the Great Lakes Science Center. There were some incredible exhibits on everything from gravity to the Titanic; not to mention, the boys can now add Morse code to their resumes. By 2 p.m., we were back on the road. Back to reality.
It was such a spectacular weekend and trip to Cleveland, far exceeding any expectations. I feel so lucky to have experienced Meg’s wedding and all the genuine love of everyone who participated. Work can have its many pleasures, and this was certainly one of them.
Simone & Meaghan: We love you Meg! We wish you many happy years to come!