It's been four and a half years since the first edition of "Moon Handbooks: Cleveland
" was published by Avalon Travel. Considering all that has taken place in Cleveland during that time, author and Fresh Water
managing editor Douglas Trattner
says that for the second edition, which was released this week, he went back to the starting gate.
"I essentially rewrote the entire book," he states. "The amount of transformation that has taken place in Cleveland since the book first came out in 2009 -- and I'm not complaining here -- was such that it required a ton of additional research and writing."
Trattner points to major downtown development projects like the Global Center for Health Innovation and Convention Center, the Horseshoe Casino and the Greater Cleveland Aquarium -- all new to the second edition.
When it comes to the arts, Cleveland welcomed the brand new Museum of Contemporary Art in University Circle, the Transformer Station in Ohio City, and the completion of the eight-year, $350 million renovation at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
"Hotels, an admittedly soft chapter in the first edition, received a much needed boost of content in the current version," Trattner says. He points to the new Aloft Hotel in The Flats, Cleveland Hostel in Ohio City, Westin Downtown, DoubleTree by Hilton in the old Tudor Arms and Courtyard by Marriot in University Circle as newcomers to the scene.
Of course, restaurants and bars are always in flux, and both chapters were completely rewritten, says Trattner.
"In Ohio City and Tremont alone, there were at least 20 new additions that made the cut," he says. New entries include Black Pig, SoHo Kitchen, Market Garden Brewery, Nano Brew, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Dante, Ginko, Bonbon and the new Crop Bistro, to name a few.
The Restaurants chapter also includes an updated guide to Asiatown eateries and markets, where and when to find the best food trucks, and tips on tracking down the best finds at the West Side Market.
The 320-page guidebook also includes a suggested three-day itinerary of Cleveland, information on seasonal festivals, city and public transit maps, and even day trip planning info for trips to the Lake Erie Islands, Amish Country, Akron or the wineries of Ashtabula County. While billed as a guidebook for travelers, this book would be no less useful for local residents looking for a great guide to their own city, written by a local writer who has covered the scene for almost 15 years.
"After decades of serving as the nation's favorite punch line, Cleveland finally seems to have shaken off the rust, put its house in order, and emerged as a contemporary city with solid Midwestern roots," Trattner writes in the Introduction. "These days, it seems you can't pick up a magazine or newspaper without reading another story about Cleveland's 'Rust Belt Revival.' Around here, folks just call that Tuesday."
"Moon Handbooks: Cleveland" is available locally at Visible Voice Books and Mac's Backs, and online.