Ohio's Lake Erie Coastal Trail is one of our favorite scenic drives. We've driven the 293-mile route in whole, or in part, many times over the years. This route is primarily Ohio's portion of the Lake Erie Circle Tour, and I did a round-up of highlights along the way here at Midwest Guest several years ago.
Here's a list of our experiences along the trail during our more recent travels:
Toledo is just a quick hop over the Michigan/Ohio border for us, and we often find ourselves visiting the fab Toledo Museum of Art for special shows like exhibits of the paintings of Edouard Manet and photography from the Golden Age of Hollywood or to celebrate milestones like the centennial of the museum's Beaux Arts-style building and the fiftieth anniversary of the museum's pioneering role as originators of the Studio Art Glass Movement. We also had the opportunity to visit the TMA's famed Glass Pavilion and to revisit Toledo's Old West End neighborhood with its many late-nineteenth and early-twentieth homes.
A cruise out into Toledo Harbor allowed me to view the lighthouse there from up close and catch a view of what remains of the Turtle Island lighthouse. I also visited the Toledo Zoo, which started with a single woodchuck, for the first time in many years and made time for a quick visit to Toledo's new Hollywood Casino. I also posted a list of some of our favorite Toledo attractions at The Wandering Educators' site.
We enjoy visiting Ohio's Maumee Bay State Park and staying in the lodge there. The park has a nice nature center with a naturalist on-site, as well as a shore-side bicycle trail, and there are plenty of other activities available to do at the park's lodge.
We always enjoy a short detour off of the main route to drive out along the Marblehead Peninsula to see the Marblehead lighthouse.
From the top of Perry's Victory and Peace Memorial
I visited Put-in-Bay many years ago, but Tim never visited the island town in the past, so we saw a lot of things for the first time traveling there last summer. The War of 1812 Centennial celebration was in full swing last year and continued as we visited Put-in-Bay and its 1812-related historic sites like Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, the town's historical museum, an antique car museum and a number of eateries and other attractions new to us.
It's fun to check out the big Easter basket in a park along the Lake Erie coast in Lorain. We also spotted an historical marker celebrating the town of Lorain as the birthplace of successful business woman and inspirational poet, Helen Steiner Rice.
I'd seen Cleveland's West Side Market many times on television shows about great eats, and the market, which celebrated its centennial year at its current location in 2012, lived up to its reputation as a foodie paradise. We enjoyed a meal in the market cafe and took home a bag of goodies to enjoy later.
West Side Market
Cleveland is a great food town, and one of its biggest boosters is celebrity chef Michael Symon. We managed to check out one of Symon's eateries, a burger joint called the B Spot, and another great place for everything grilled cheese from Chef Matt Fish called Melt.
Cleveland has some great bridges along its waterfront, including many designed by Zenas King. King became one of the nation's most prolific and best known bridge builders during the late 1800s and early 1900s, with many of this spans still existing today in Cleveland and elsewhere.
We visited the Cleveland Museum of Art several times over the years for special exhibits, but most of the museum remained closed to the public during those years. We finally saw the CMA early last year when much of the museum re-opened to the public after a multi-year renovation that continues today.
Chagrin Falls, on the east side of Cleveland, is worth a visit for its scenic waterfalls, arts scene and village shopping scene. You can visit the historic home of President James A. Garfield in Mentor, just a little further east of Cleveland along the route.
Geneva-on-the-Lake's rise to popularity began nearly 150 years ago as Ohio's "first resort" and continued as celebrity campers like Harvey Firestone, John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford began making annual visits there during the early 1900s.
Vintage 1950s Ferris Wheel at GOTL
Today, the GOTL area is home to Ohio's Geneva State Park, with its great beach, and the Geneva-on-the-Lake Lodge for year round fun. The area is also an ideal location for growing American grapes, which is a major factor in Ohio's ranking as one of the top ten wine producing states in the U.S.
Many people know Ashtabula County at the eastern end of the Lake Erie Coastal Trail in Ohio as home to many covered bridges and an annual festival celebrating the spans. Midwest Guest originally featured a five-part series of posts about the bridges (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), adding a sixth post in the series with a story about the county's newest covered bridge, constructed in 2011 We also enjoyed a meal at a restaurant inside of a vintage covered bridge.
I love the GPS in my car, but I also like to take a good map along with me on road trips. I particularly like the Ohio Atlas & Gazetteer.
Enjoy the trip!
© Dominique King 2014 All rights reserved