This is a post from the past that I’m republishing because we had such a fantastic trip the Shores & Islands during the fall that I felt it was seasonally appropriate to share it again.
Last summer we took Kora and Logan to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands and had a nice family vacation.
In fact, we enjoyed the visit so much Tired Dad Dave and I decided to return recently for a romantic fall getaway. Thanks to gracious family members who agreed to watch Kora & Logan while we were away, we were able to enjoy a little time to ourselves for the weekend.
Our first stop on our way to the area was to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center in Port Clinton. The building was built specifically to be a Welcome Center and it’s such a unique design that as you drive by you immediately notice it and are inclined to pull-in to learn more.
When you walk into the Welcome Center, it’s like visiting a miniaturized version of the area. There are scaled down versions of local attractions including a lighthouse, a boat, wine barrels and more. There’s also a very creatively painted map as well.
The amount of area information available is plentiful and you are encouraged to pick-up handfuls of pamphlets, brochures, and magazines covering everything from things to do to lodging to camping and more.
The staff at The Welcome Center are friendly and eager to help. We met with Larry Fletcher who provided lots of information for our weekend away. Larry is a wonderful guy, he’s friendly and helpful and he’s extremely knowledgeable about the area, as are the other Welcome Center staff.
With information in hand, we said good-bye to Larry and traveled to Catawba Island to check-in at Our Sunset Place Bed & Breakfast.
As soon as we pulled in the driveway, we knew we’d found a hidden gem.
We couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing or beautiful place to stay and we enjoyed it so much that I will be featuring an entire review on Our Sunset Place tomorrow!
After we checked-in and met the owners, Bart & Sandy Erwin, Tired Dad Dave and I discussed what activities we wanted to do or places we wanted to see that evening. We came up with a couple of different plans all centering around being at the B&B for the sunset. However, all that talking was useless.
What’s the first thing a Tired Mom does while on vacation especially sans kids? Nap, of course!
So after I had a cat nap, it was time to watch the sunset. We walked out our back door and descended a flight of stairs to enjoy the sunset from the cute concrete patio alongside the lake. The sunset was gorgeous and the waves were so peaceful.
After relaxing on the patio until dark, we headed to a late dinner at Mon Ami Winery. The food was good and the atmosphere was nice. The service, however, bordered on rude and I’ll leave it at that.
The next morning we slept in a bit and after a fantastic breakfast and some lounging around. We boarded the Jet Express for a ride over to Put-in-Bay.
The Jet Express is such a fantastic way to get from the mainland to the islands. It’s speedy, comfortable, and you have the option of riding inside or out. Because of the chilly fall weather, we chose to ride indoors and enjoyed listening to a nice narration of the sites on our 20 minute ride to Put-in-Bay.
Once we arrived on Put-in-Bay, we noticed it still had a festive atmosphere especially because Ohio State was playing, but it really was much more empty than it had been when we visited in the summer. The island is winding down for the season and the tourist season actually ends after Halloween. We didn’t mind the slower pace though. In fact, it was nice to walk the sidewalks and not have to dodge throngs of people. Also, the shops had wonderful end-of-the-season sales so it’s a great time of year to buy souvenirs, t-shirts, and even sweatshirts had great prices.
We made our way through town and stopped in at the Doller House and Museum.
This mansion was previously owned by Valentine Doller, one of the founders of Put-in-Bay, and the house was in his family for over 100 years. It’s been restored by the historical society and now there is also a wine tasting room and tour available.
We met Judy Berry, Mayor of Put-in-Bay and manager of the Put-in-Bay Winery on the Doller Estate. She led us on the wine tasting historical tour. It was such a unique tour, very interesting, and a lot of fun. First, we listened to the history of the mansion itself and the family that lived in it. The tour took us around the mansion and grounds and we found it fascinating to learn how the islanders lived back then and also about island life today.
One of the highlights of the tour included the ice house which was fascinating. It looked a bit like a combination of a barn and a old school house.
We were told that they packed sawdust in between the walls and up to the ceiling for insulation. By using the sawdust and stacking the ice nearly to the top of the two-story ceiling, they were able to keep the ice for up to two years which helped them to ship it to the big cities of Cleveland and Detroit.
Next, we went on to learn about various modes of ice transportation. We saw a number of different ice boats, including one that looked very much like a sailboat in the size and number of sails, but then the seating area was so small it resembled a kayak. When the winds were right this ice boat could reach speeds of 100 mph!
There were a number of different modes of ice transportation to look at including a smaller version of the ice boat, a sleigh, a row boat clad in iron to protect the sides from the ice, and a jalopy with no sides or top so if the ice broke passengers could jump out as quickly as possible!
We also had a chance to look into a fishing shanty and learned that the locals believe walleye and perch taste better when caught in cold water and that ice fishing is actually quite fun! In fact, they say the shanties provide so much heat that once inside most people take off their coats. And when they are out fishing and a festive mood strikes, they’ll have bonfires on the ice!
We then went back to the wine tasting room. Along the tour we tried four samples of wine, but I just had to try one more – warm spice wine. This one was by far my favorite! As most of you probably know by now, I hate being cold and I’m always cold, so I get very excited about warm spiced drinks and this one was fantastic.
After our tour of the Doller House we stopped by the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society Museum located behind the police station. It’s only $2 a person and is filled with fascinating facts about the island and area history. From a 15 minute movie, to old news clippings, from models of freighters, to old signs, it provides a nice glimpse into the history of the area and it’s not a guided tour so you can browse and read things at your own pace.
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then did a little window shopping. About mid-afternoon, we hopped aboard the Jet Express for our return trip. It was another nice smooth ride, so much so in fact that I snuck in another nap!
Dinner Saturday evening was at Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi. It was an incredible dinner and fun evening out. We definitely recommend a trip to Nagoya to anyone in the area and will be posting a full review in the next day or two.
We returned again to Our Sunset Place and spent some time down by the water listening to the waves and watching the shadows of the blue herons fly by. The next morning we were greeted with another delicious breakfast We decided to walk it off on some easy trails at East Harbor State Park and captured some beautiful fall foliage photos.
We had an amazing time on this romantic getaway. It was hard for us to believe we were only an hour from home. We definitely recommend this Ohio Romantic Fall Getaway complete with a trip to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands, a stay at Our Sunset Place, a tour of the Doller House Mansion, and dinner at Nagoya.
We can’t say enough about the hospitality of the people on the Lake Erie Shores & Islands and thank you to Larry Fletcher of the Welcome Center for setting up the trip, to Bart & Sandy of Our Sunset Place for providing a memorable place to stay, and to Nagoya for the amazing dinner, fancy night out, and fun entertainment.
If you’re interested in planning a trip to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands they have fantastic Fall and Winter lodging packages right now. You can also sign-up for their monthly newsletter for current events, deals, and contests.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out:
- Ohio Romantic Fall Getaway #2 Hocking Hills
- Romance & Adventure in Hocking Hills
- Nagoya Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi
- Put-in-Bay Trip Review
- Kelleys Island & Put-in-Bay Trip Review
What about you? Where’s your favorite romantic fall getaway in your area?
Thank you to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands for providing this trip for review. No compensation was received. The opinions expressed are mine and that of my family.