June 2011 Issue
The Charms of Summer
Lake Erie's small towns offer a magic all their own.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
It's time to make a detour. As you head for Lake Erie’s Shores and Islands, renowned for their summer enchantments, be sure to save room on your itinerary for stops at quaint villages that also call this area home. Each is filled with opportunities for outdoor adventure, one-of-a-kind shopping and historical highlights that will add to your vacation fun.
No trip to the area is complete without a visit to Berlin Heights
, known for its abundance of orchards and farm markets. The pastoral ambiance of Quarry Hill Orchards & Winery (Orchards: 8403 Mason Rd., Berlin Heights 44814, 419/588-2858, quarryhillorchards.com; Winery: 8403 Mason Rd., Berlin Heights, 44814, 419/588-3179, quarryhillwinery.com
) is the perfect place to partake of nature’s bounty. The 128-acre farm features seasonal fruits such as apples, peaches, pears, cherries, nectarines and plums as well as farm-fresh vegetables. The winery offers generous portions of award-winning Ohio wines, as well as a menu of light meal selections. Relax with your favorite vino next to the stone fireplace and drink in the panoramic view around you.
Taste the fruit right off the vine at Burnham Orchards (8019 State Rte. 113, Berlin Heights 44814, 419/588-2138, burnhamorchards.com
). The family-owned and -operated establishment offers peaches, blackberries, cherries and more than 23 varieties of apples ripe for the picking. The Burnham farm market features a cornucopia of luscious apple butter, honey, jams, jellies, breads and pastries, as well as Amish noodles, candles, candies and cookbooks.
Since 1858, six generations of the Samuel Patterson family have built a revered reputation for their basket-making prowess at The Berlin Fruit Box Company (51 Mechanic St., Berlin Heights 44814, 888/905-1858, samuelpattersonbaskets.com
). Each is hand-woven from hard maple, American cherry, black walnut and Ohio buckeye woods. Exquisitely crafted for hearth, home and on the go, styles range from laundry, firewood, mail and bread baskets to the ever-popular picnic hamper.
Summer’s the ideal time to explore the great outdoors, and Edison Woods MetroPark (10186 Ceylon Rd., St. Rte. 61, Berlin Heights 44814, 419/625-7783, eriemetroparks.com
) welcomes you with more than 1,300 acres filled with marshy meadows, wet woodlands and sandstone cliffs. Hiking and horseback riding are popular pastimes along a five-and-a-half-mile trail. Or, just take in the view along the Adventure Walkway raised boardwalk trail with benches overlooking Edison Woods, the largest forest in northern Ohio.
Small shops and historic buildings line the streets of Oak Harbor
. This town, located on the banks of the Portage River, was once a major hub for shipping lumber products to ports worldwide. Today the river provides many recreational activities, and the village hosts October’s annual Apple Festival.
North of town is Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (14000 W. State Rte. 2, 419/898-0014, fws.gov/midwest/ottawa
), one of several northwest Ohio wildlife areas that help preserve diminishing Lake Erie marshes. A Visitor’s Center offers exhibits about the native and migratory birds and other wildlife one may see along a 10-mile hiking trail. Year-round activities include guided nature walks, driving tours and children’s programs.
Magee Marsh Wildlife Area (two miles west of State Rte. 19 on State Rte. 2, 419/898-0960, friendsofmageemarsh.org
) is a 2,202-acre marsh area that is home to large flocks of migrating waterfowl and many other species. The Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center features wildlife displays and an observation deck and boardwalk.
At the entrance to Magee Marsh is Black Swamp Bird Observatory (13551 W. State Rte. 2, 419/898-4070, bsbobird.org
), an organization dedicated to wildlife research, conservation and educational programs. Stop at the Visitor’s Center and then stroll along a short walking trail and enjoy beautiful songbirds, or watch the variety of species that stop by the many feeders on the property. Birdwatchers from around the world congregate in this region each May for the “Biggest Week in American Birding” (biggestweekinamericanbirding.com).
The village of Elmore
is the place where tourists often stop and smell the roses and lilacs — and admire 17 acres of breathtaking beauty at Schedel Arboretum & Gardens (19255 W. Portage River S. Rd., Elmore 43416, 419/862-3182, schedel-gardens.org
). The horticultural paradise is replete with more than 25 varieties of Japanese maples and 16 species of pine, as well as magnolia, beech, bamboo and bald cypress trees that create a carousel of color throughout spring, summer and fall. A Japanese garden, complete with pagodas and a 30-foot waterfall, is the epitome of serenity.
It easy to see why a trip to Genoa
is like a sojourn back in time: The 600 block of Main Street, which has earned a rightful place on the National Historic Registry, is filled with Civil War-era architecture, including the Grand Army Republic Post, which is currently being restored. While browsing the district, be sure to stop at Rayz Café (608 Main St., Genoa 43430, 419/855-2233
), to partake of the specialty of the house, a Comet burger (available in half- and three-quarter-pound sizes) smothered in a concoction of savory spices. (The secret involves boiling the meat in chicken broth.)
After lunch, head to Packer Creek Pottery (103 E. Eighth St., Genoa 43430, 419/855-3858, packercreekpottery.com
) for a shopping experience like no other. Jan Pugh shares her love of Majolica pottery through the variety of mugs, bowls, vases, lamps, plates, clocks and gifts she and her team of artists create. Jerry Seinfeld, Julie Andrews, Katie Holmes and Jordan’s Queen Noor are just a few of her satisfied customers.
Pause for reflection at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish (204 Main St., Genoa 43430, 419/855-8501, ollgenoa.parishesonline.com
). A replica of the Grotto in Lourdes, France, it contains 14 Stations of the Cross.
It’s been said that on a clear day, you can see forever in Castalia
. Although we can’t prove you'll see “forever,” the view from Castalia Quarry MetroPark's (8404 Sandusky Clyde Rd., Castalia, 44846 419/625-7783, eriemetroparks.com
) lookout station is stunning, and offers a pristine glimpse of the Lake Erie islands. An extraordinary variety of fossils are also visible in the outcroppings of rock that dot the park.
Bird-watchers flock to the Castalia State Fish Hatchery (7018 Homegardner Rd., Castalia, 44824, 419/684-7499, dnr.state.oh.us
), to view herrings and egrets. Located on 90 acres, the hatchery raises the state’s entire steelhead supply, as well as rainbow trout, which are stocked in Ohio lakes every spring and fall. Closed for renovation, the hatchery will reopen for tours in Sept. 2011.
The Resthaven Wildlife Area (St. Rte. 269, Castalia 44824, 419/547-6007, dnr.state.oh.us
) includes 444 acres of water, which makes it a prime place to spot warblers and mammals common to Ohio. Fishing is plentiful for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and channel catfish.
Back to the Wild Wildlife Rehabilitation and Nature Education Center (4504 Bardshar Rd., Castalia 44824, 419/684-9539, backtothewild.com
) is committed to nursing injured, orphaned and displaced animals back to health before ultimately releasing them back to their natural habitat. The facility offers a variety of educational programs to school and community groups.
As the day wanes, stop for dinner at the Cold Creek Café (107 Main St., Castalia, 44824, 419/684-9530
). The Lake Erie perch dinner is melt-in-your-mouth wonderful, as are the eatery’s popular specialty sandwiches, which include Philly steak and turkey club. Top your meal off with a sundae at the Frosty Frog (503 N. Washington St., Castalia 44824, 419/684-9060
When it comes to honoring one of the greatest geniuses of all time, the people of Milan
have seen the light. And it’s their mission to make sure it shines on the rest of the world. The Thomas Alva Edison Birthplace Museum (9 Edison Dr., Milan 44846, 419/499-2135, tomedison.org
) spotlights the man who gave the world the light bulb, phonograph and motion pictures by paying homage to the house where he was born in 1847. The country Greek Revival homestead is filled with furniture of the period, including pieces once owned by family members. Display cases also spotlight other Edison inventions, ranging from the stock ticker to a talking doll.
The Milan Historical Museum (10 Edison Dr., Milan 44846, 419/499-2968, milanhistory.org
) is comprised of seven buildings, each with a character all its own. Highlights include The Galpin Home, named for a doctor who built the house in 1846, showcasing 1,500 pieces of art glass from such famous makers as Fenton, Steuben and Tiffany; The Doll and Toy House, containing 400 china, bisque, wax and papier-mâché dolls; and the Carriage Shed, filled with buggies, fire equipment and farm machinery from the mid-1800s.
Stop for lunch or dinner at The Invention Restaurant (15 Main St., Milan 44846, 419/499-2661
). The classic small-town diner is known for its double burgers, triple-decker BLTs and slices of homemade rhubarb, peach, cherry and apple pies.
Work off your repast by enjoying a stroll through the town’s host of eclectic shops. Sights and Sounds of Edison (21 S. Main St., Milan 44846, 419/499-3093, edisonman.com
), is filled with antique phonographs. Hidden Creek Pottery (41 E. Front St., Milan 44846, 419/499-3505, hiddencreekpottery.com
) offers handmade jewelry, fine art from local artists and functional pottery. Built in 1845 as a stagecoach stop, Milan Inn-tiques (29 E. Church St., Milan 44846, 419/499-4939, milaninn.net
) carries an exquisite assortment of antiques, collectibles, primitives and gift items. The adjoining apartment, available as a vacation rental, features master and guest bedrooms with private baths, a living room complete with a flat-screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen.
Angel Welcome, (2 Front St., Milan 44846, 419/499-0094, angelwelcome.com
) an enchanting bed and breakfast housed in a Federal-style home built in 1828, is decorated in all things cherubic. Angels are everywhere — on light-switch plates, pillows and wall plaques. Three guest rooms representing faith, hope and love each have private baths, TVs and wireless Internet access. And the breakfasts, featuring French toast and peach-bread pudding, are heavenly.
Don't miss these stellar attractions in northwest Ohio.
Voted “Best Amusement Park in the World” by Amusement Today
magazine for 13 consecutive years, Cedar Point
recently debuted one of the world’s tallest swing rides. A towering 301 feet tall, WindSeeker swings riders over Cedar Point Beach at 30 mph. Also new this year is “American Portrait,” a music and light show combining contemporary music with a pyrotechnics extravaganza, from June 3–Aug. 21. 1 Cedar Point Dr., Sandusky 44870, 419/627-2350, cedarpoint.com
Northcoast Grapevine Tours
, a new tour company in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands, showcases area wineries and educates customers on the local grape-growing and wine-producing industries along Ohio’s north coast. Guests will be transported on a daylong escorted tour through the countryside to a select group of wineries from an itinerary of their choosing, or an agenda can be set for them based on their interests. 1319 W. 35th St., Lorain 44052, 216/587-1965, 440/282-6598
The Maritime Museum of Sandusky
has added a new exhibit, “Ice Harvesting and Commercial Fishing,” to its array of displays. The attraction chronicles the commercial fishing enterprise that began in Sandusky Bay in 1851. From 1875 to 1890, 400,000 tons of ice were harvested during the season each year. The museum is also finishing an adjacent boating school and workshop. 125 Meigs St., Sandusky 44870, 419/624-0274, sanduskymaritime.org
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
in Fremont is presenting “Civil War: Battlefield and Homefront,” through Jan. 29. The exhibit interprets the conflict through letters written by northwest Ohio residents who fought in the War Between the States, as well as those who stayed behind. Spiegel Grove, Fremont 43420, 419/332-2081, rbhayes.org