There’s no zealot like a convert.
Living in Brecksville, I hadn’t explored Lake County. I had no idea how much was here, and how easy it was to get everywhere. We cast a wide net when looking for the 30-year house, but found we could get a lot more house, a lot more land and pay a hell of a lot less in taxes here than in Gates Mills or Shaker Heights.
We live within walking distance of downtown Willoughby, which is the hub of the city. Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, my yoga studio — everything is in this compact, self-contained area that feels historic. After yoga, you’ll see someone from the studio at a bar or getting coffee — no one comes here for just one thing.
Over the past seven years of living here, I’ve seen an evolution from just pubs to more elevated restaurants and places for the family. Even the festivals have grown from, like, three folding tables to huge weekends where they just close down the street. And I can’t stress how much we love the highway access, being 20 minutes from downtown.
Willoughby checks all the boxes. — as told to Dillon Stewart
2018 Home Total Sales: 251
2018 Median Home Sale Price: $163, 000
Education Ranking: 41
Safety Ranking: 36
Brim Kitchen & Brewery
For brunch with the family or a girls’ night out, this expansive two-story, 8,000-square-foot brewery and restaurant delivers superior craft suds from a 10-barrel brew house, non-GMO, elevated pub fare and views of the Chagrin River. “Their rooftop bar is great,” says Rome. “It’s hard to find a place that does beer and cocktails well.” 3941 Erie St., 440-306-8183, brimbrewery.com
GV Art & Design
No big shock, the woman behind the Why CLE? blog has a thing for Cleveland-themed gear, and the T-shirt shop is perfect for a quick gear-up before a Tribe, Cavs or Browns game. “They’re always coming up with really inventive designs that feel of the moment,” she says. “Whenever someone does something outstanding in Cleveland sports, it feels like, by the next day, they have a shirt celebrating it.” 38038 Second St., 440-525-5240, gvartwork.com
Harmony Yoga Studios
A typical Saturday for Rome starts with a class at Harmony Yoga Studios, a downtown Willoughby spot with two rooms — one hot, one not — for stretch-enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. “There’s a kids’ yoga class and a parents’ class at the same time, so you can get your adult yoga on while the kids take their class next door,” says Rome, who occasionally brings her 5-year-old son, Jeffrey. 38108 Third St., 440-946-9642, harmonyyogastudios.com
Hook & Hoof
Date night comes more often for Rome and her husband, Matthew, than most parents (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), which means you can find the couple swooning over the hyper-local and meat-and-fish-focused scratch kitchen and its craft cocktails. “You could lift it up and put it in Tremont or Ohio City and downtown and it would fit in,” she says. “It’s just such a change of what you were used to seeing in downtown Willoughby.” 4125 Erie St., 440-571-5312, hookandhoofdtw.com
Willoughby Municipal Swimming Pool
The mother-son duo likes to hit the city pool, which offers lessons, pool parties and movie nights for residents, a high dive and a spiral slide for maximum fun, and a splash pool for the kiddies. “It’s really easy to take kids and, even if they’re not swimming laps, they have some place fun to splash around and enjoy the summer sun,” she says. 36900 Euclid Ave., 440-953-4364, willoughbyohio.com
There’s no zealot like a convert.
rating the suburbs
8:00 AM EST
May 31, 2019