Friday, October 12, 2012

Put-In-Bay - for the lazy summer evenings in Ohio!

Summers in Ohio can be harsh, I mean they can go to near 100Fs and that is enough to fry you up. On one such extremely harsh noon, we decided to drive down from Columbus to Kentucky and explore something new, but barely after 20 minutes of driving in the sun, we decided we needed to cool off and Kentucky's plan was washed away, giving in to the shores of Lake Erie (about 2.5 hours north to Columbus), which we presumed will be cooler than any place else.
I have a small story to share here. On the third weekend of April, while still recovering from the unsteady cold weather of Columbus, we thought of exploring Put-In-Bay. We knew it was no Mackinaw Island, but it promised to be an excellent day trip and we left very early in the morning (very unusual for us!) People park their cars in a near by port (like Port Clinton or Sandusky or Catawba Island) and take a ferry to the island. So we planned to spend a good 8-9 hours there and come back in the evening to Cleveland and finally go home! We did just that. We went to the Miller Ferry in Port Clinton. They were the only ones who were working in that weather. To our surprise, they were also shipping cars in their ferries to the island where people can drive, walk, cycle or cart!  We decided to cart (meaning drive around in the golf cart) the island. What we did not anticipate (in spite looking at the temperatures and weather conditions in the websites) was the horrible cold that was waiting there. Hands froze, Body shivered and legs shook - the moment we stepped outside the car in Port Clinton! We still went ahead and took the ferry to the island and as soon as we got down, the weather became worse. We however, gave it a try! We started driving in the golf cart around the perimeter of the island. We reached half way through and which is when we realized we would not be able to take it anymore and returned back to the island. (All for the love of exploring and photography!)
While the pictures look dark, it was already 12 in the noon and we were shivering like crazies. 
Pics from the top - view of Port Clinton from the ferry. The Ice cream store which greets the visitors as soon as they get down from the Miller ferry (L) and the Golf Cart rental agency right at the entry of the island (R). 

So, we thought since the temperatures in Columbus are crossing 100Fs, lets just head back to the lake, which eventually turned out to be the perfect plan. On the island the temperature was 75F, what more respite can one seek? We took the same path, same ferry and rented through the same golf cart rental store and we were on our way. It was late in the evening, around 7, but who cared with the sun setting so late around 9 30 and the last ferry also coming back after 2.5 hours. It was enough for us to explore and relax in the island.
Evening was the perfect setting to go, as the sun was nearly setting, giving us enough of great scenes to look around and enjoy. While driving towards the mini downtown of the island, we saw the island airport on our way. I have never looked at any airport so closer and so smaller and with really tiny flights, wonder how they  fly across the winds of lake Erie.
Our first stop was the Perry's Victory and International Memorial in the downtown. It is a visibly tall white brick building and the views from the top are awesome (which we missed both the times). We just got down and walked around. The memorial is right next to the downtown, however it is not very crowded and the perfectly manicured lawns just add to the beauty
Views around the International Memorial and the International memorial tower

The downtown area of the island gets really busy and is bustling with crowds during the summery evenings. People are drinking, chatting, screaming and driving their private jets away in to the lake Erie - all adding up to make it a lively place to be in.
Pics - Views of the downtown and the harbor area.

The downtown also features the Broad walk which has some nice places to eat, drink and shop. It is certainly the most favorite place to hangout, judging by the number of people present there alone!
So where exactly are we now?
As you move along the downtown, there are couple of other places which might interest other tourists. Like the Hieneman's winery and crystal cove. The crystal cove is the largest geode on earth (certain type of sedimentary rocks, in the layman language). We did not really stop as this was supposed to be a just-go-and-relax trip and we were in no mood to hike!

Moving further along, you reach the part of the island which has it's inhabitants and very rich people who have built their summer homes in the island. This area is also closer to the only lighthouse of the island, which is built on a very beautiful brick house. We wanted to just sit there and spend some quiet time before boarding the ferry back to the mainland, but the light house is fiercely guarded by mosquitoes. It gets impossible to stand there for more than 5 minutes, however, the place offers really nice sunset views and so we stood there taking pictures even though we were actually dancing around to flee the tiny devils. 

The lighthouse and the sunset
All in all, Put-In-Bay is a great summer hangout place, not very far, not very costly and certainly doesn't require any planning. It's a place to relax and just chill out!