The following piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.
Anyone who wants island fun, can have healthy island fun! The experts tell us that the great outdoors is much safer than indoor activities during the Coronavirus epidemic, and where can you have plenty of healthy fun? Put-in-Bay and the other Lake Erie Islands are the answer.
Here are some of the great outdoor activities we recommend for some really healthy and memorable experiences as you visit the Lake Erie Islands.
Just about every trip to the islands starts with a ferry ride. There’s plenty of excess fresh air and UV light from the abundant sunshine to go around, plus a goal of experiencing the great outdoors that the islands offer, we guarantee you’ll discover more than you ever thought possible.
Renting a golf cart is a great way to see the island. Again, the breeze going through your cart is enough to blow any ball cap or sun hat off. You can also rent a bike, electric bike or moped to get around the island.
We suggest stops at some of the many parks on the island. On South Bass, you can take walks through the Dodge Woods with its StoryWalk, the 9-acre, waterfront Scheeff East Point Preserve at the tip of East Point, the 11-acre Massie Cliffside Preserve with its great sunset views, or the Jane Coates Wildflower Trail & Ladd Carr Woods. You also might want to check out the trails in Cooper’s Woods, the home of “Coon Man.” Ask any islander to tell you about this island legend. At the South Bass Island State Park, check out the remaining ruins of the famous Hotel Victory that burned 101 years ago. On Middle Bass, the State Park property and the preserve at the end of East Point are both popular for exploring. If you visit Kelleys Island, one of the neatest hikes on any of the islands is through the woods on the north shore just west of the Glacial Grooves.
Some of the other fun outdoor things to do are playing mini-golf or doing some gemstone mining at Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center.
Among our favorite outdoor activities are swimming in the lake, kayaking, jet skiing, canoeing, sunbathing and looking for beach glass, pretty stones and driftwood along the shore. And don’t forget there’s fishing, too, both along the shore or with a fishing guide. If you crave real adventure, try parasailing. These are all activities where one can easily social distance.
We highly recommend the “Lake Erie Islands Water Trail” for kayakers and canoers. There are five separate water trails for paddlers that have rest spots along the shorelines of North Bass, Middle Bass, South Bass and Kelleys Island. Instead of seeing the lake from the islands, see the islands from the lake.
Even though you can’t go up in the Monument, the grounds at the memorial are wide open. There are great opportunities to see some of the reenactors, learn a little about our nation’s War of 1812 history and take some fun photos.
If your thirst needs quenching, we suggest visiting one of the two Biergartens, one in the front yard of the Goat and the other by the Boathouse downtown, or sipping wine in the outdoor venues at either Heineman Winery or the Put-in-Bay Winery. Another popular outdoor spot is the island’s only 5-star dive bar, Joe’s Bar near the State Park.
If you get hungry, you’ll be happy to know there is plenty of outdoor seating for lunch or dinner at many of the island restaurants, plus you can get carry-out from many restaurants, the bakery and the pizza and ice cream shops. There are also picnic tables in the downtown park if you decide to bring a picnic lunch.
While downtown, take the kids and let them play in the playground in the park. There are plenty of photo opportunities in DeRivera Park with its stump statue of island pioneer Jose´ DeRivera or sitting on top of the cannons which face the harbor.
If you’re planning on spending the night in the great outdoors, the South Bass Island State Park has beautiful campsites overlooking the lake. Bring plenty of marshmallows to roast over the campfire. If you are into primitive camping, check out North Bass Island. Kelleys Island State Park has 129 campsites spread across a gorgeous lakefront, with a great sand beach on the north side of the island. You can also visit the Glacial Grooves nearby. The best thing of all is that you can wake up to the birds chirping when you camp on any of the islands.
Are you lucky enough to own your own boat? The islands are the perfect place for a boat during the pandemic. There are docks on Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass and Kelleys Island, plus there are plenty of spots to throw an anchor and enjoy some time in the water or exploring an out-of-the-way beach. Tubing and waterskiing are always fun, too.
As you can see, there are plenty of outdoor activities on the islands. Be sure to wear your masks and social distance when other people are in abundance. Just in case you feel the need to visit the shops and other island attractions, island employees are wearing masks and most shops are asking customers to wear them, too. So be sure to wear your mask as conditions dictate, and help stop the spread.
This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayohio.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!