Monday, August 25, 2014

Fun Day at Put-in-Bay

We have been going to the Lake Erie Islands area for a long time now. When I was a little kid my family came to the Marblehead Peninsula--that was probably in 1958 or so. At that time we might have swum at East Harbor, which is on the mainland, in view of Kelleys Island and South Bass Island. It wasn't until about 1972 or '73 that I returned to the area. I was at Bowling Green State University visiting some friends when I decided to walk to East Harbor State Park. Now that is a healthy walk of about 50 miles! Turned out I hitchhiked part of the way, but I did walk at least 25-30 miles. I then camped out on a little island in West Harbor (within East Harbor State Park), in a one-person tent. Only the birds knew I was there, and they made an incredible squawk for hours at the person invading their territory. My first impression of the Park was very favorable; I hoped to come back! And I did come back, around 1977, with Linda. She loved the place, and we would come back again and again from then until now.

The Miller Ferry from Catawba Point to South Bass Island

Me with my coffee on the ferry
Linda at Put-in-Bay; behind her, "The Boardwalk"
Put-in-Bay docks, with the gigantic Perry Monument in the background
A fine band playing in "The Boardwalk"
What the hell were these people doing? De Rivera Park, Put-in-Bay
Linda swimming at the State Park Beach
Saunders Cottages--where we stayed with our family back around 1992. South Bass Island, near the State Park

The beautiful Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Put-in-Bay

Our supper on Saturday, August 23rd: fresh peach and strawberry sundaes at Brown's Dairy Dock, Marblehead
When we got off the Miller Ferry at South Bass Islands Lime Kiln Dock, we got on a bus that took us the 2 miles to downtown Put-in-Bay. When we first came here with our girls, we'd walk the 2 miles (having almost no money!). When we got downtown, we walked through De Rivera Park over to the The Boardwalk, where we had a perch lunch. Even a perch sandwich is expensive there, but we got it anyway. And it was good. While at The Boardwalk, we marveled at the wealth all around--beautiful, huge new boats, by the hundreds. One guy was fueling an 80-foot yacht. That boat must have cost a million dollars or so!

After lunch we rented bicycles, and slowly rode to the other end of the island, to the State Park. We were among the few who rented bikes; almost everyone else rode in golf carts. Seemed so sad, such a waste, such a missed opportunity.

Linda and I swam at the rock beach at the State Park, in view of the campgrounds up above the limestone cliff. Out about about a mile from the beach was Green Island. It was wonderful.

After swimming, we headed back to downtown Put-in-Bay, and made a brief visit at the beautiful Catholic church, built from local limestone, known as Our Lady of Sorrows. We stop there on every visit to the island.

As we rode back to the bike rental place, we noticed how happy everyone seemed to be on the island. And we also noticed that many people were drinking heavily. I thought this place could get crazy by night, with the rowdy crowds and all the drinking. I was glad I was going back home. But there was one last thing to do.

When we got back to our car, we traveled slowly down the peninsula that is Catawba Island (it's not a real island), and then headed east toward Marblehead. We saw so many old "friends" on the way--the beautiful and ugly sights of the Marblehead Peninsula. We passed the Lakeside Community, one of Ohio's great places, home to our own version of Chautauqua. We weren't going to get to it this year--but we will be back next year for sure. We finally came to Brown's Dairy Dock, the great ice cream place in Marblehead, where we each ordered our favorite--me, a fresh peach sundae; Linda, a fresh strawberry sundae. We sat at a picnic table, in sight of the big Lake. The end of a wonderful day.

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