My legs dangled off the dock. The sun played on the lake’s surface, shooting off sparkles that glistened like gems. A horn sounded. My husband pointed at the half-dozen sailboats. “They’re lining up.” One crew worked furiously to maneuver its sail, their boat already past the start. The small craft rocked into position, the horn sounded again, and all the sails filled, chasing the finish.
We watched the beginnings of the boat race during our couple’s getaway at Lakeside, the Chautauqua on Lake Erie, near Sandusky, OH. About a four-hour drive from Cincinnati, this resort, like all Chautauqua communities, offers beautiful natural surroundings in addition to a full calendar of education, recreation, and arts and entertainment, all with the purchase of a gate pass.
In season — should you take the kids — they can take free sailing lessons, among other options, and parents can enjoy lectures, yoga, tennis and countless other activities. Complimentary concerts entice visitors, too.
Wandering along the dock, we found artists involved in friendly competition. Painters set up their easels and canvases and we paused and admired their work — landscapes of the lake, beach houses, trees and flowers and watercolors of bicycles.
Bicycles may be the dominant form of transportation at Lakeside. Like most people there, we parked our car in the entrance lot, rode the shuttle down to our hotel and never missed our minivan. We walked everywhere, strolled and dreamed. ‘’Yes, we’d like that house.” “No, not that one. Too small.” “This one would be perfect — great view and access to the beach.’’ We relaxed on a bench and took in the view. A stairwell of stones led down the sloping hill, covered in wildflowers. Two boys splashed in the waves while their mom kept a watchful eye from an inflatable raft. We continued our walk until we reached the tennis court, and then returned to our hotel through town, stopping at the ice cream shop along the way.
We stayed at the Hotel Lakeside, a National Historic Landmark built in 1875 where the lobby beckons visitors to relax, chat, read and listen to the piano. The café offers delicious gourmet dinners, and I loved bringing my complimentary continental breakfast items out to the large wrap-around porch to watch people by the lake along with the bustle of chairs and tents going up on the lawn in preparation for the day’s activities.
In fact, I loved everything about the Hotel Lakeside — except our bed’s mattress — but you can request another room if your’s doesn’t meet your needs. Since each guest room is unique, go ahead and find your favorite. Decorated and furnished with period antiques, there is no Internet or television, but we didn’t mind. Guests come here to unwind and many request the same room year after year.
I can certainly understand why they keep going back. Everyone at Lakeside is warm and friendly, the community is beautiful, there’s much to do, and it’s a pleasant place to simply relax, like we did on our last evening. The two of us sat by the fountain, holding hands, watched the sun set over Lake Erie, and then we headed home.
236 Walnut Avenue, Lakeside, OH 43440
866.952.5374 or 419.798.4461