When was the last time you found a vacation spot by watching pictures on Twitter? Katrina Reed of Miller Boat Line Ferry posted lovely photos of Put-in-Bay island. The photos were so magical they made me want to visit! When Jill Bauer of Lake Erie Shores & Islands offered to host Sara Broers of Travel With Sara and myself, we jumped at the chance!
Oceans in the Midwest!
Put-in-Bay Lake Erie Island is like being on the sea shore in the Midwest! I found we have our own ocean only a few hours away in the Great Lakes!
Heading for Lake Erie, Ohio, Sara and I deviated. We stopped for a fun overnight in Wayne County, Indiana, staying in fascinating Richmond.
The next morning we headed straight to Ohio! Okay, maybe not quite straight. There was one quick stop at the The Bicycle Museum of America in Bremen, Ohio on our way. What can I say, we are easily distracted!
Our hosted stay at the lovely for our Erie Island trip was at the Fairfield Inn & Suites at the Port Clinton Waterfront.. Locate along the beautiful Lake Erie, this was the perfect location near Miller Ferry for our departure to Put-In-Bay!
The lovely Fairfield Inn & Suites just opened in May and it is clean and crisp. With the room decor in grey and white it had a very calming affect. I loved being so close to the water. The evening we checked in, we walked down to the outdoor patio and saw an amazing sunset.
The next morning we enjoyed a complimentary hot breakfast in the lake view dining room. I checked out the fitness center and indoor pool.
Marblehead is near everything.
The Miller Boat Line
The Miller Boat Line
Thank you Katrina Reed for the ride on the ferry to Put-in-Bay! It had been a bit rainy so we decided to forgo the golf cart on the island. Instead, we decided to take the car.
It was great fun to take the ferry ride across Lake Erie from the Port Clinton location. The cost is $7.50 per adult each way and $17.50 for a vehicle. We left early in the morning so we could see as much of Put-in-Bay island as possible.
First thing was to obtain our tickets. Then we got in line. There were both walk on passengers, and passengers in vehicle like us. It was amazing how many cars could fit in the bottom of the ferry. We turned off the motor and sailed away! With a front row view we loved seeing the water and the island come into view as we arrived.
We were in the front of the ferry when we arrived. As they lowered the gate and away we went, smooth as silk!
Miller Boat Line history
The history of Miller Ferry goes way back. The business stared in 1905 when William M. Miller and Harry Jones, started a local ice business. During the summer they sold ice to yachts in the bay and William Miller’s boat was appropriately named “Iceman”.
Miller’s son, Lee began ferrying vehicles between the Erie islands and Miller Boat Livery was stared. He held a contract for many years for mail service! They have expanded over the years and eventually become the Miller Boat Line. The company is now owned by the Market family, close friends of the Miller family who are natives to Put -in-Bay
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay
Who would guess that they would see history about the War of 1812 on an island in Lake Erie? The beautiful Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial is a huge Doric column. It rises 352 feet and is visible for miles around.
The memorial was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812. It also celebrates the long-lasting peace among Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. The Memorial is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world.
We started our tour at the visitor’s center at Put-in-Bay. There we watched a film. During the War of 1812 Oliver Hazard Perry commanded American forces on Lake Erie. Commissioning several carpenters, he built nine ships. Two, the Lawrence and the Niagara, were fit for battle.
Battle came in September of 1813. Perry set sail for Put-In Bay to meet the British fleet. Under command of Robert Heriot Barclay, the British expected an easy victory because of their long cannons. This appeared a likely scenario when Americans lost the Lawrence. Perry took the ship’s flag and transferred to the Niagara. Even though things looked bad, they rallied to the cry, “Don’t give up the ship!”
The film described that wind made all the difference moving the British in close range of American cannons allowing them to inflict heavy damage. Americans killed all the commanders of the British ships. Then the British surrendered to Perry. He won this pivotal battle at the young age of twenty-seven.
Perry’s win cut off the British supply lines and forces them to abandon Detroit and changed the outcome of the war. To commemorate this construction of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial began in October 1912. The monument, which is made completely from granite, opened on June 13, 1915.
We climbed a few steps to the to elevator that takes you up to the tower. The elevator opens to an observation deck with an astounding view! This is the only international peace memorial in the National Park Service. The tower is more than just a remembrance. It is also a place of rest for the remains of three British, and three American officers.
Nature on Put-in-Bay Island
Put-in-Bay Island is known for the restaurants, fun establishments, and entertainment. But, Sara and I sought out and enjoyed the amazing nature sanctuaries on the island. Scheef East Point Nature Preserve was our first stop. Our next was the Massie Cliffside Preserve.
On our stops we saw some beautiful water views. We even saw some nature some of the rare and (and a bit scary) Lake Erie water snakes!
Dining on the Boardwalk
When seeing Katrina’s photos, I remember spying somewhere along the line information about Lobster Bisque soup. This is my husband’s FAVORITE! I had to take a photo when I saw the sign saying “The Lobster Bisque Capital of Ohio.”
We met up with Katrina Reed (of Miller Boat Line) and Jill Bauer (of Lake Erie Shores & Islands) for lunch at the Boardwalk. Of course I had to have some of the delectable lobster bisque which was wonderful as advertised! Then the coconut shrimp with the sauce and french fries, yum!
Food was great, but best was the company and sitting in this open outdoor location. I loved getting to know our hosts and it was amazing hearing Katrina talk about life on the island during the off season months.
What an amazing place. Great food, company and service. And, what is better than a water view?
The Chocolate Museum & Heinman Winery & the Crystal Cave
Yes, I admit I had to go into the Chocolate Museum. And yes, I did try a piece of candy. I am weak! On one side is a cafe, on the other candy, ice cream and the small museum that shares information about, chocolate! This was a fun stop!
Heineman Winery offers 25 different kinds of Fine Island Wines and two types of grape juices. When Prohibition came into play, the only thing that kept the winery open was communion wine and tours of the Cave!
The Cave Tour
During our tour of the Crystal Cave our guide shared, “The cave was discovered by workers in 1897 while digging a well for the winery 40 feet above. Crystal Cave is the world’s largest geode. The walls of this cave are covered in strontium sulfate, a blueish mineral called celestite. These crystals range from 8 to 18 inches long.”
Online I also learned that the original cave was much smaller. The size changed because crystals were harvested. They they were sold for the manufacturing of fireworks!
The rest of our stay, we just enjoyed walking around and checking out the shops. Sara and I both laughed when we picked out the same long sleeved shirt to take back home with us. There is so much to see and do I just touched the tip of the island! I missed the antique cars, the bi-plane ride, Kid Rock’s concert. Also the historical museum, lots of food and wine, and who knows what else. I guess that just means I need to come back!