Hit Us With Your Best Shots: Fall Festivals and Foods

Great photos showcase great memories. Do you have photos from your Shores & Islands, Ohio experience? Share them with Lake Erie Shores & Islands and you could win!

HalloWeekends at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

HalloWeekends at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

The Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center continues to host an online photo contest, designed to showcase the best area photographs and also add to the destination marketing organization’s image library. The contest runs quarterly, with different themes each time, based on the season and on the welcome center’s current needs.

Visitors to SHORESandISLANDS.com have the opportunity to vote on their favorite submission. A winner will be chosen by Lake Erie Shores & Islands from the top five photos whose submission has received the majority of votes at the end of the voting period. Lake Erie Shores & Islands will be the final judge of all entries and all contest decisions are final. The contest is open to those 21 years and older.

Upload your photos for a chance to win great prizes which could include overnight getaways, ferry tickets, gas cards, and more. Your photo could appear in future travel planners and other publications.

The Welcome Center is currently looking for photos with the theme “Fall Festivals and Foods.” This contest runs through December 1, 2014 and the current prize for the winning photograph includes a $50 gift certificate to 1812 Food & Spirits, a $25 gift certificate to the Olive Scene and a $25 gift certificate to Brummer’s Chocolates.

While scenic landscape photos are welcomed, photos with people experiencing attractions and locations in the Shores & Islands region are preferred. Photos have to be taken within the last 12 months.

Official contest rules are available at SHORESandISLANDS.com/contest. Enter your best shots today!

Lake Erie Wing Watch – September 20-21, 2014

A great family event is coming to Osborn Metropark in Sandusky on September 20-21. LAKE ERIE WING WATCH promotes birding and natural areas in Erie and Ottawa counties. If you are interested in birds and nature, you will want to check this out. There is no pre-registration (except for canoe trips) and there is no admission charge. Come for all or any part of the event. Ohio Birding

Beginning Saturday morning you can Bird by Canoe at Old Woman Creek in Huron. Then at 2 pm things kick off at Osborn Metropark with vendors, exhibits, kids’ activities and live animals. Frosty Frog Jr. will be on hand with great food and ice cream. Natures’ Nursery will be there too with live animals. Time and Optics, a company from Holmes County, will have binoculars and scopes for you to try out.

At 2:30 pm on Saturday, our keynote presenter Jen Brumfield will speak. Jen is a nationally known birder and artist who lives in Cleveland. She works for Cleveland Metroparks, has her own bird touring company and is a representative for a major optics company. She is passionate about birds. You won’t want to miss this free talk. But get your seat early as it will fill up fast.

After the keynote, there will be five 30 minute sessions in the Erie Room from 4-6:45 pm. The titles of these talks include:

4 pm – Birding 101 – Join us to learn the basics of bird identification

4:45 pm – Birding Hotspots in Erie County – We will share the best spots to go birding and what birds to expect

5:30 pm –  Waterfowl ID – Many ducks migrate through our area in fall—let us help you learn them

5:30 pm – Birding With Technology – Presented by an Ohio Young Birder

6:15 pm – Attracting Winter Birds – Tips to use for attracting birds to your yard

After the sessions, head to the campfire for s’mores and live music by local musician Emily Keener from 7-9 pm. Bring a chair or blanket.

On Sunday September 21 local bird guides will lead walks at Sheldon Marsh, Edison Woods, Resthaven Wildlife Area, Castalia Quarry, Schoepfle Gardens and Kelleys Island. The best way to learn about birds is to get out into the field.

Check out the full schedule for Lake Erie Wing Watch at www.LakeErieWingWatch.com.

Mark your calendars, spread the word, and plan to be there!

Top 8 Places to Enjoy Perch in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands

Fresh from Lake Erie, yellow perch is a delicious dish that every visitor to the area must try. Just ask any local…perch is THE local dish of choice. Usually served fried, perch is small, delicate fish which is tasty by itself and excellent on a sandwich. We surveyed our Facebook fans about their favorite places to eat perch and we’ve put together a list of eateries in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands that will satisfy your craving (in alphabetical order): Perch Taco - Dockside Cafe

1. Boardwalk/The Upper Deck – Featuring fresh Lake Erie perch and walleye sandwiches & baskets with amazing views of the Put-in-Bay Harbour!

2. Dock’s Beach House – Beach-front bistro serving deep fried yellow Lake Erie perch sandwiches and wraps.

3. Dockside Cafe – Cooking up famous fish-tacos, locally raised beef burgers, and fantastic drinks. Dockside offers outside dining and is an excellent location to catch the sunset on Sandusky Bay.

4. Goat Soup & Whiskey – Home of the Original Perch Taco; lightly breaded, fried to perfection, wrapped in a soft tortilla with cabbage, tomato, green onion, and cheese and finished off with their famous Pali Wali sauce.

5. Jolly Roger Seafood House – A classic fish and chips restaurant on the shores of Lake Erie which specializes in perch and walleye, both of which are fresh caught and breaded/fried to order.

6. Lemmy’s Eatery – Family-owned diner offers lightly breaded perch, reasonably priced. Don’t miss “all you can eat” perch on Friday’s.Perch Sandwich - New Sandusky Fish Company

7. New Sandusky Fish Company –  Award-winning Lake Erie Perch sandwiches and dinners; offering carry-out and outdoor dining with an amazing view of the Sandusky Bay.

8. The Village Pump – Serving Lake Erie perch sandwiches, baskets, and tacos – try it with one of their famous Brandy Alexanders.

Can’t get enough perch? Visit the annual Lions Perch Festival in Marblehead, now in its 22nd year. This year it is August 23 and, in addition to yummy fish, the festival features a parade, LaFarge quarry tours, music, classic cars, vendors, and children’s activities. But the best perk is the perch!

Where’s your favorite place to enjoy some fresh, Lake Erie perch?

Two Day Getaway to Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands: Marblehead and Kelleys Island

Spend the day exploring the Marblehead Peninsula and take a relaxing boat ride to Kelleys Island, the largest U.S. island in the western basin of Lake Erie.

Day 1

Christi’s Just For Ewe Christi's Just for Ewe
Sample your way through this unique shop. Try on jewelry, apparel, and shoes; taste fudge, soup, tea, and coffee; try knitting, crocheting, spinning, or weaving; and get creative in the Art Class Retreat.

East Harbor State Park
East Harbor has unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation. Boating, fishing, swimming, picnics, 11 miles of hiking trails, and camping. Pack a picnic basket and enjoy the afternoon on the beach.

The Keeper’s House
This 1822 home offers visitors the chance to experience the history of the first three light keepers of the Marblehead Lighthouse.

Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
This state park features picnic facilities, fishing, walking trails, and the Marblehead Lighthouse. In use since 1822, this is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

Cleats Club Seat Grill
This full-service sports bar and restaurant features waterfront and patio dining, seasonal entertainment, and a menu to suit just about any taste.


Board the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line
The only passenger/vehicle ferry service between Kelleys Island and Marblehead runs daily year-round, weather permitting. During peak season, ferries run every half-hour and offer late night service on weekends.

Inscription Rock
The 32 x 21’ surface of the rock is covered with one of the finest examples of aboriginal art in the Great Lakes region. Known as a petroglyph, no one is sure what the unusual drawings depicted. The most widely accepted theory is that the large rock was used as a “message stone” where various Native Americans would make drawings noting that they’d been there, how the hunting or fishing had been and/or where they were headed next. The markings have been so eroded by exposure to the weather that it is difficult to see them. In 1969 The Ohio Historical Society erected a cover to attempt to preserve the rock.

Kelleys Island State Park
The park features hiking trails, camping, launch ramp, fishing, summer programs, picnic shelter, and swimming beach.

Kelley’s Island Wine Company
The Island’s only winery! They have the largest outdoor facility on the island with picnic tables, horseshoes, volleyball, a children’s play area, and plenty of room to throw a Frisbee or a ball! The Kelley’s Island Winery features a winery viewing area, a tasting room tavern, gift shop, full restaurant with dining room, and covered outdoor pavilions.

Glacial Grooves  Glacial Grooves
The world’s largest accessible glacial grooves, embedded with fossils that are 350-400 million years old. Located on the north side of the island, the grooves can be viewed from a walkway and stairs.

Historic District/Downtown
The entire island is on the National Register of Historic Places. The downtown area remains the heart of island activity where visitors can do everything from shop in unique shops to play miniature golf or enjoy a variety of delicious dishes from island establishments.

Kelleys Island Brewery
Sample handcrafted beers that are made 200 gallons at a time. Fresh yeast, hops, and grains are used to make these some of the finest beers obtainable. 

For more information on Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands, please visit SHORESandISLANDS.com.

New Look for Festival: Sandusky’s Toast of Ohio Wine Heritage Festival

Celebrating the area’s heritage as the largest wine-producing region in the nation prior to Prohibition, the tenth annual Toast of Ohio Wine Heritage Festival, will take place on Saturday, July 26th. The festival will feature more than a dozen Ohio wineries, gourmet food, live musical entertainment, and an art show. The festival grounds, in Veterans Park, located next to the Merry-Go-Round Museum at 301 Jackson St., downtown Sandusky, are open Saturday from 12-8 pm. Toast of Ohio

Admission for Saturday is just $5.00 per person and includes a souvenir Toast of Ohio wine glass and two complimentary wine tastings.  Admission fees benefit the sponsoring Merry-Go-Round Museum.

Tickets will be available to purchase for exchange of wine tastings. Wine tasting tickets are four for $3.00 and glass pours will vary by vendor. Food offerings will be provided by: Creative Cuisine, Sandusky; Grahm’s Goodies, Sandusky, and more.

Participating wineries include Paper Moon Vineyards, Firelands Winery, Meier’s Wine Cellars, Ferrante Winery, Maize Valley Winery, Stoney Ridge Winery, Humble Bee Vineyards, Quarry Hill Winery, Myrddin Winery, Matus Winery, D & D Winery, and Chateau Tebeau.

A variety of musical entertainment and family fun activities will occur throughout the day, including performances from The Brad Walk Trio and SandTown. The adjacent Merry-Go-Round Museum will offer special $2 admission from 10 am to 5 pm during the festival.

The Lake Erie Shores & Islands once featured huge vineyards that spread from east of Sandusky to the western region near the bay because of the lakeshore climate. The Toast of Ohio event was developed to celebrate the area’s winemaking heritage. Today, dozens of wineries still operate in the region.  Make a weekend of it with lodging packages available at SHORESandISLANDS.com and tour the area’s wineries. Call 1.800.255.3743 for information.

Other event sponsors include Ohio Grape Industries, Ohio Magazine, and Lake Erie Shores & Islands.


Fireworks Displays in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands for 2014

Fireworks Display at Cedar Point
July 3, 2014

Oak Harbor Independence Day Celebration
Along the Riverbank in Downtown Oak Harbor
From 5-11:30 pm, food, fun, and entertainment will be celebrated along with a spectacular fireworks display at dusk.

July 4-5, 2014
Fireworks at Cedar Point
Cedar Point, Sandusky
Two days of amazing fireworks at dusk.

July 4, 2014
Port Clinton Fireworks
Port Clinton
Fireworks begin at dusk. Best viewing area is Waterworks Park.

July 4, 2014
4th of July Fireworks
Lakeside Dock, Lakeside
At approximately 9:45 pm or dusk, fireworks will offer a spectacular finale to the day (gate fees apply).

July 4, 2014
Fourth of July Fireworks!
The island business owners and Friends of the Bay will sponsor a spectacular fireworks program at dark (9:45 pm). Fireworks display over the downtown harbor. Great views from Perry’s Monument and downtown.

July 4, 2014
Lake Erie Fireworks Cruise
Sawmill Creek Resort, Huron
Currently SOLD OUT; call for cancellations.

July 4, 2014
Fireworks Cruise
Goodtime I, Sandusky
Enjoy fireworks from the peaceful waters of Lake Erie. Family, fun, and pizza will be had by all! Tickets are only $15. Departs Sandusky at 9 pm and returns around 11-11:30 pm (depending on boat traffic). Call to make a reservation.

July 5, 2014
Red, White & Blues Bang
Huron Boat Basin, Huron
Enjoy entertainment beginning at 6:30 pm; fireworks at 10 pm.

July 11-13, 2014
Huron Riverfest
Huron Boat Basin, Huron
Awesome fireworks display over the Huron River on Friday, July 11th at 10:15 pm.

For a complete list of events, please visit SHORESandISLANDS.com.

One Dozen Shores & Islands Must-Do’s

There’s so much to love in Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands! Whether you prefer a getaway that includes lazy days at the beach, fishing with friends, and bicycling around an island, or one filled with exciting thrills like roller coasters, waterslides, and parasailing, the Lake Erie Shores & Islands is the ideal destination. It offers a coastal retreat with abundant recreational options to satisfy any number of interests. Visit soon and find your Lake Erie Love! Lake Erie Love

1.    Cruise to an island and take a tour, or rent a golf cart or bicycle and ride along the water’s edge at your own pace.
2.    Go to Cedar Point and be thrilled by the rush of breathtaking rides or the talent of live entertainers.
3.    Spend an entire day or two splashing in a refreshing, multi-activity waterpark.
4.    Fish Lake Erie or one of the many tributaries that flow into it, for some of the freshest catch-of-the-day.
5.    Enjoy the lake and go kayaking, canoeing, sailing, parasailing, boating, or Jet Skiing.
6.    Photograph the lighthouses, and if visiting in the right season, climb the spiral staircase to the top of the Marblehead light and enjoy the spectacular view.
7.    Explore numerous museums and enjoy hands-on exhibits or a docent’s account.
8.    Sunbathe or show off your talents building sandcastles at the beach.
9.    Sample locally-crafted brews and wines and learn about the process of production for each unique blend.
10.   Attend an annual festival and enjoy the entertainment while savoring the harvests of the season.
11.    Walk a nature trail enjoying the native flora and fauna of the region.
12.    Visit an animal park and pet, feed, and perhaps ride one of the animals.

Planning your Lake Erie Shores and Islands getaway is easy; use the Itinerary Builder at SHORESandISLANDS.com!