Finding Serenity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll

Nancy Benac, The Associated Press, November 10, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) — I found my serenity at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It may sound counterintuitive, but architect I.M. Pei's temple to all things rock offers generations of music-lovers a chance to commune with their muses.

When the weather turned rainy on the last day of a Great Lakes family vacation, a detour to Cleveland emerged as Plan B.

Once there, because musical devotions are so personal, we immediately split up without discussion to pursue our individual passions.

I obsessed over a Paul Simon exhibit while my husband sought out Jimi Hendrix and my teenage son took off for the likes of Jay Z, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna and Taylor Swift.

(Weeks later, I'm still pondering a film clip in which Simon said he had "no idea" why he wrote the line "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio" in the song "Mrs. Robinson.")

We mustered a search party for my husband at one point and found he him holed up in a booth where you could pull up one-hit-wonders.

And when on vacation, why not while away a little time pausing to remember Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" or an earlier generation's "More Today Than Yesterday" from Spiral Staircase?

The seven-level museum on the Lake Erie waterfront is surprisingly manageable.

A concise pamphlet steers visitors through it in logical order. And visitors can slow down for a deep dive at any point, or sprint ahead to something else that speaks to them.

Some exhibits were a hit all around with our family — Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson's glove — while others struck only individual fancies.

I loved reading the yellowed pages on which singers from Hendrix to Swift had scribbled lyrics, doodled, scratched out words and reworked them.

And my favorite scrap of paper was the "When-I-grow-up" essay written in 1981 by future Green Day singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, laying out his detailed plan to become a rock star — or a football player if that didn't pan out.

When it's time to take a break from musical immersion, the museum offers surprisingly good and affordable food at a cafe on the airy third level, with tables overlooking lower levels and on a balcony facing the lake. You can watch the paddleboarders and kayakers heading out from the Rock & Dock marina behind the museum.

Plenty of ways to find serenity amid the clamor.


If You Go...

ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME, 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland (GPS destination: 751 Erieside Ave.); Daily 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Wednesdays until 9 p.m. Adults, $23.50; children 9-12, $13.75; children 8 and under free with purchase off adult admission. Check website for package deals with area hotels, but we saved more using a AAA hotel discount and buying tickets separately. There are also combo deals for tickets with the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


This article was written by Nancy Benac from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.