My bride and I drove the Emerald Necklace on a sunny and warm Saturday morning early in June. With the top down in our shinny red Miata, we started at Beechwood, Ohio in Cleveland's southeast suburbs and drove this beautiful limited access parkway for more than 70 miles. Our drive ended north of the Cleveland airport on the city's west side just short of Interstate 90. A short drive on I 90 East brought us to the West Side Market for lunch at the Great Lakes Brewery.
The "necklace" connects many of the Cuyahoga County's regional parks (aka Reservations). There is a separate paved bicycle path that is parallel to much of "the necklace" and it was filled with cyclists, hikers, roller skaters, joggers and rollerbladers. What a delight to see this magnificent community asset getting so much use.
If you plan to drive "the necklace" here a couple of tips: The Visitor's Bureau and Trip Advisor call it the Emerald Necklace but nobody else does. At our hotel and at various area restaurants I made inquiries about the "Emerald Necklace", but no one seemed to know what I was talking about even though the parkway has been in place for almost 100 years! There is no "emerald necklace" signage that will let you know you on the right road. The available maps are no help. Cuyahoga Parks sent me beautifully detailed maps of the individual reservations but the one map showing an overview of the system and the connecting parkway was very poor. Part of the problem is that some of the road names on the map are different than what you find on the parkway and the road that you are on will change names when you traverse a cross street. In an effort to offer "full disclosure", I do not have a GPS though I wonder if one would be of much use since you really can't enter a destination. I spent a lot of time on Google Maps before I started this trip and I suggest you do the same. "The necklace" is no place to be if you are in a hurry. The speed limit is 30 mph and strictly enforced. I did not find a single place to pass throughout our 70 mile drive that took almost three hours after loosing our way a couple of times and for a brief time following a minivan full of kids doing 20 mph.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. We lead 13 roadsters for a weekday drive on "the necklace" next month. Pray for me.
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