Lakeside Chautauqua waterfront
Travel

Our Great Lake: Along the Shore

Relax and recharge at Lakeside Chautauqua, hit the beach at Cedar Point and get a shot of nostalgia at Ohio’s oldest summer resort. 

Relax at Lakeside Chautauqua
This shoreline retreat offers a place to recharge, reconnect and learn.

Founded in 1873 by Methodist ministers seeking a place to build a retreat, the community of Lakeside remains rooted in faith. It adheres to the principles expressed in the Chautauqua Movement, a crusade that swept the country in the late 19th century promoting religious principles, educational discussion, arts and culture, and recreational opportunities.

Each summer, the church-affiliated vacation resort hosts Lakeside Chautauqua, a 10-week series honoring that ideology. Activities for all ages and denominations include art classes ranging from jewelry-making to watercolor and sculpture, hikes along the Lake Erie shore, lectures and clerical sermons, and performances by the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra. The litany of musicians and speakers who have taken the stage through the years includes Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart and Ray Charles. 

“Wellness is a hot topic everywhere right now,” says Michael Shirtz, interim senior vice president for programming, advancement and communications for Lakeside Chautauqua. “Since we’ve always been about heart, mind, body, soul and spirit, it’s the premier wellness program.” 236 Walnut Ave., Lakeside 43440, 419/798-4461, lakesideohio.com

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Family on Cedar Point Beach (photo by Casey Rearick)
Experience Cedar Point’s Beach 
Cedar Point is hailed as the roller coaster capital of the world, but the Sandusky amusement park’s mile-long beach has also been delighting tourists since it officially opened in 1870. Spend a day stretched out on the soft white sand before Cedar Point Nights lights up the beach with glow games and fire pits. 1 Cedar Point Dr., Sandusky 44870, 419/627-2350, cedarpoint.com

Edgewater Park, Cleveland
The westernmost park in Cleveland Metroparks’ Lakefront Reservation has something for everyone, including beach and swim areas for the dog in your life. Spend the day along the 2,400-foot beach, fish off the pier or bring a standup paddleboard and hit the water. 7600 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland 44102, 216/635-3200, clevelandmetroparks.com

Solstice Steps, Lakewood
When it comes to perfect Lake Erie sunsets, Lakewood Park delivers. Complementing the natural landscape of the 31-acre waterfront park, the nearly 500-foot-long Solstice Steps promenade was designed so that the setting sun is perfectly centered on the longest day of the year. But the park is always an idyllic spot to relax. 14532 Lake Ave., Lakewood 44107, 216/529-5967, onelakewood.com

Shop Vermilion’s Main Street
The town of sea captains offers many ways to embrace all things nautical. Crystal’s Treasure Box carries jewelry crafted from beach glass, and Burning River Boutique sells kaleidoscopes made of driftwood. The Chairmaker & Friends creates home decor, while Szabo Apparel Co.’s By the Lake T-shirt and hoodie collection sports slogans honoring Lake Erie. mainstreetvermilion.org

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Eddie's Grill (photo courtesy of Geneva-on-the-Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Vintage Vibe

Geneva-on-the-Lake is Ohio’s oldest summer resort. It’s also a fun place to play, eat and explore. 

Ask longtime residents why Geneva-on-the-Lake has remained a popular getaway destination and the answers are always the same: Ohio’s oldest summer resort, which opened on July 4, 1869, exudes a nostalgia everyone wants to be part of.

Locals and tourists frequent Madsen Donuts for cream sticks made from recipes that haven’t changed much since the place opened in 1938. The Sport Center has been a family-friendly spot to play arcade games since 1947. Eddie’s Grill radiates a “Happy Days” vibe that complements the cheeseburgers, footlong hot dogs and chili dogs served by Eddie Sezon, who launched the business in 1950.

“It’s like we’re held in suspended animation,” says Don “Woody” Woodward, co-owner of Old Firehouse Winery, housed in a former fire station and located along the village’s mile-long entertainment district known as The Strip. “The area is often compared to the boardwalk in Atlantic City since it’s filled with an eclectic assortment of places to shop and eat. First-timers say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t know this place was here.’ ”

The Ferris wheel on the winery’s outdoor patio, which first delighted riders in 1956, offers great views of the shoreline. Lake Erie’s attributes can also be appreciated while kicking back on the patio at The Lakehouse Inn.

“A visit to Geneva-on-the-Lake is a multigenerational tradition for many families,” says Karen Fagnilli, co-founder of the lakefront property, a former summer hotel dating back to the 1940s. In 2000, she and her husband, Sam, bought the year-round inn that’s also their home. “We love living on the water, opening up our home to guests and hearing their stories about the memories they made here.”

The resort’s day spa is an oasis of tranquility after a day spent hiking, biking and zip lining, as is the wine the couple serves made from locally sourced grapes.

“Geneva-on-the-Lake is a coat of many colors,” reflects retired attorney Jack Sargent, who returned to his hometown with his wife, Sara Jane, after working in our nation’s capital, Cincinnati and Cleveland. “All the amenities, combined with the congenial atmosphere make it an unexpected treasure.” For more information, go to visitgenevaonthelake.com

OUR GREAT LAKE: History Lessons | Ohio Lighthouses | Along the Shore | Cruises & Charters | Kayaking and Water Trails

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