The Summer To-do List
If you’re not an avid angler, hit the water on one of these designated free fishing days in 2010. It’s your chance to test the waters without the expense or hassle of obtaining a license.
- Michigan: June 12-13
- New York: June 26-27
- Ohio: May 1-2
- Ontario: July 9-11
- Pennsylvania: May 26 & June 6
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Take In Some History
How far back would you like to go?
Pick a year then plan your trip.
1957 - Sputnik was launched and “Jailhouse Rock” hit the airwaves. At Sara’s, named after the owner’s mother, the vibe is pure 1950s. The restaurant’s famous orange sherbet is made on the premises, and you’ll find families who’ve been coming here for generations lining up to pair the sherbet and vanilla twist with foot-long hotdogs and homemade onion rings. The accompanying diner, Sally’s, was built in 1957 and caters to overflow crowds on the busiest days. Located at the entrance to Presque Isle. 25 Peninsula Drive, Erie, Pa., 814-833-1957, sarasandsallys.com
1909 - Modern airplanes were just beginning to get off the ground and, in East Aurora, N.Y., the Power House was being built to house the steam-powered electrical generators that would run the equipment used to do book binding, metal smithing and furniture making on the Roycroft Campus. This summer visitors will have the opportunity to watch as the Power House is restored to its original glory. 31 S. Grove St., East Aurora, N.Y., 716-655-0261, roycroftcampuscorporation.com
1851 - The New York Times published its first issue — and sold copies for a penny apiece — and the Erie Cemetery was officially dedicated. The Erie County Historical Society is hosting monthly cemetery tours beginning in May with a walk devoted to famous women. The public tours are $8 for adults, $4 for kids and take place the third Sunday of each month. 2116 Chestnut St., Erie, Pa., 814-454-1813, eriecountyhistory.org
18,000 BC - There wasn’t much going on around Kelleys Island, or anywhere else. It was the height of an ice age. Huge sheets of glacial ice carved their legacy into the Kelleys Island soil, and today the Glacial Grooves are among the largest and best-preserved snapshots of a long-lost era. Free, Glacial Grooves State Memorial, north side of Kelleys Island, kelleysislandhistorical.org
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The village of Lakeside, Ohio, has many temptations for kids: the playground, the beach, the wading pool, the huge sandbox and a full schedule of art classes. Riding around in a golf cart is a thrill, as is the inevitable stop at one of the town’s many places to buy ice cream.
But every summer there is one activity that my two girls adore above all others — shuffleboard. The 26 courts have delighted them since they were old enough to pick up one of the miniature sticks sized for Lakeside’s littlest competitors. For toddlers, just keeping the puck on the court is a victory but, by 4, kids can score the occasional point and, by 6, the new thrill is keeping score on the court chalkboards.
Away from both the beach and the town and sheltered by giant trees, the courts offer a shady break from the hustle of the day. It’s a game that all ages can not only play, they can play it together. Even better, it works the neat trick of making little ones feel grown-up and making grown-ups feel little.
Lakeside is a gated Chautauqua on the Marblehead Peninsula in western Ohio. Each year, it hosts the National Shuffleboard Tournament. Day passes to Lakeside are $17.50 for adults and $12.25 for kids 12-18. Kids under 12 are free. Passes include free shuffleboard as well as many other activities. For more information, call 866-952-5374 or visit lakesideohio.com.
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Ride a Bike
We’ll pack our swimsuit, our sunglasses, even the strappy high heels we probably won’t wear.
But a bike? Forget it. Why bother when there are so many options wherever your travels take you?
Great sunsets and gorgeous views are the norm at restaurants around the lake. But a few brave spots take their proximity to the next level, with waterfront dining that blends seamlessly into a day at the beach, putting the “sand” into sandwich. At these restaurants, all you need is a bathing suit and a Key West frame of mind.
In a party atmosphere. Captain Kidd’s Restaurant, in Angola-on-the-Lake, N.Y., caters to hungry beach-goers with a full menu all week long. On weekends, the party starts next door at Mickey Rats. A nightclub atmosphere permeates, with live music, DJs and dancing. Occupancy at the club hits 600, and that’s just indoors — making it the largest beach bar in the region. The only things between you and the water are the volleyball courts. 8934 Old Lakeshore Road, Angola-on-the-Lake, N.Y., 716-549-5782, mickeyrats.com
Near palm trees. Cozied up to Sunset Beach in Irving, N.Y., the Sunset Bay Beach Club and Cabana Sam’s Sunset Bay Grill aim for the tropics. Palm trees and two floors of outdoor patio space (with two outdoor bars to boot) overlook five acres of sandy beach. Come for fun in the sun, and stay for the live music. 1028 S. Shore Drive, Irving, N.Y., 716-934-9953, sunsetbayusa.com
By the volleyball courts. Once class is dismissed, GT’s Beach Bar & Grill in Port Stanley, Ontario, starts schooling the competition. Located on Port Stanley’s main beach, the behemoth boasts a 400-seat patio and eight volleyball courts, plus live entertainment and a lounge chair section. Those in the know make reservations for the twice-annual lobster nights, when GT’s ships in the seafood from Halifax and cooks it on deck for one of the summer’s best beach bashes. 350 Edith Cavell Blvd., Port Stanley, Ontario, 519-782-4555, gtsportstanley.ca
Under a thatched roof. Dock’s Beach House occupies a precious piece of the shoreline in Port Clinton, Ohio. The restaurant’s wide wooden deck juts onto the sand and abuts a generous allotment of deck chairs. A recent renovation includes a beachfront bar — we’ll be lounging with a margarita if you need us. 252 W. Lakeshore Drive, Port Clinton, Ohio, 419-732-6684,
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Pick Your Own Fruit
On the beach. Presque Isle makes sunset-catching as simple as reading a map: Just head for Sunset Point. We think the name speaks for itself. But if the pace is too slow there, head down to Beach One, where the Sunset Music Series takes place each Wednesday night. Presque Isle State Park, Erie, Pa., discoverpi.com
Aboard a boat. The Spirit of Buffalo is a double-masted schooner reminiscent of the boats that sailed Lake Erie hundreds of years ago. Call ahead to book a spot aboard the ship’s sunset cruises. For $28 per person, or $38 on the Wednesday Wine in the Wind sails, you’ll watch the sun set aboard a 73-foot-long ship. Erie Canal Harbor, Central Wharf, Buffalo, N.Y., 716-796-7210, spiritofbuffalo.com
From up high. Birders are known to flock to Hawk Cliff in St. Thomas, Ontario, but locals know this secret spot is also one of the best places to watch a Lake Erie sunset. Hawk Cliff lies at the southern end of Fairview Road, just east of Port Stanley, Ontario.
In a small town. Vermilion, Ohio, plays to its strengths with its summertime Music, Flowers and a Sunset event, held the third Thursday of each month between June and September. Wander through the quaint downtown shops while musicians play for free on the street corners, and follow the crowds down Main Street to the beach for the sunset on full display. Downtown Vermilion, Ohio, 440-963-0772, discover-vermilion.com
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Try a New Beach
Old favorites are fine, but why not get some new sand in your toes? Here are 10 places to try.
How would you like your flowers? With a side of historic homes, perhaps? Interested in a horticultural discussion or just a pleasant afternoon? There’s a floral event for you.
Lakeside Daisy Day fetes a fickle flower, an endangered yellow daisy that blooms naturally solely in the Marbleside Quarry. May 8, Marblehead Peninsula, Ohio, lakesidedaisy.com
The National Buffalo Garden Festival is a five-week affair featuring symposiums and workshops as well as 14 garden walks. June 18-July 25, Buffalo, N.Y., nationalgardenfestival.com
The Niagara Parkway is a string of sites, including Queen Victoria Park, the Floral Clock with accompanying Centennial Lilac Garden and Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, niagaraparks.com/garden-trail
The Historic Indian Village neighborhood opens its doors for a day-long home and garden tour. June 5, Detroit, Mich.,
Flower Day at the Toledo Farmers Market features more than 60 vendors. May 29-31, Toledo, Ohio, toledofarmersmarket.org
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Sip a Drink
Maybe you’ve got an SUV and you back in, popping open the trunk so the kids can curl up on the blankets they brought. Maybe it’s just you and your honey, cozy in the front seat of your car. Maybe it’s a hot summer night and you sprawl out on the lawn chairs you brought with a group of friends. Whatever your drive-in movie style, it’s always a fun night. In the middle of the movie, make your way through the gravel parking lot to the snack shack, where teenagers play video games and little kids beg their parents for more candy. In the height of summer, when it gets dark the latest, the second feature can stretch well past midnight, so you’ll need that Coke to last the night.
Sure, the birds are singing and the temperatures are soaring, but, for me, summer doesn’t begin until that first long-awaited lick of mint chocolate chip from Honey Hut Ice Cream Shoppe at Huntington Beach in Bay Village, Ohio.
After soaking in the sun for hours, watching little girls squirrel away spiral sea shells in the bottoms of their shirts while their brothers pack wet sand into clumsy castles fraught with building code violations, I climb the steep cement steps to the snack bar. By the time I get there, sweating, wheezing, the scent of sizzling steak from grills surrounding me, I couldn’t care less about calories or fat grams.
I slide $2.50 across the counter, then bounce back down those stairs to sit at the end of the breakwall. As waves lap the rock beneath me, it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was that little girl looking for treasure in the sand. —Miranda Miller