12 May 2014

2014 OHIO Put-in-Bay 1 - Puttin' In

This week we are meeting friends Tim (who worked with Mike at Northwest Airlines in San Francisco) and his wife Nancy. They both live in the Chicago burbs now and we usually meet up with them in May (their anniversary month) somewhere near "big water." It is usually Lake Michigan but this time it is Put-In-Bay Village on an island in Lake Erie off Ohio.

We departed Kalamazoo at 9:20am. Weather was 48 degrees, windy, but sunshiny. Along the freeway, signs of spring were finally quite apparent. The grass was intense green. The trees were various saturations of iridescent green. Makes us happy to finally see 50 shades of green. Lots of white and purplish wildflowers, too.

We hit one Michigan rest stop on the way. We were quite impressed by the huge row of solar panels which generates most of the electricity for the stop. There was also a pond with four heron-like birds wading around the edges. Long legs and necks  with pure white feathers stalking the minnows.

First real stop en route was Ann Arbor for some treats. Mike ran into the store while I waited in the passenger seat. I was peacefully in my thoughts when all of the sudden I am jolted back into reality. A red SUV had backed into our bumper and rear driver side panel. It was a small lot and the gal shimmied her way back and forth to get out of her tight parking spot. I got out and waited for her to stop and trade info, but when she finally was on the main exit path, she bolted. I could not believe it. It was a hit and run right before my very eyes!! How rude and irresponsible. I got her license though and a witness graciously  offered his info.

It turns out in private parking lots, police do not come to take reports. We had to go to the AA police station which was just a few blocks away. Thank goodness the car was still drivable. The process of reporting was quite easy and, with just a 50 minute delay, we were back on the road. It certainly could have been worse, so we are thankful.

Next was a lunch stop in Perrysburg, Ohio, just southwest of Toledo. It was a bit out of our way, but we had been there before and it was memorable, so we stopped again. We originally were here a couple of years ago just by chance. Later we found the place was a favorite of one of my best girlfriends and co-worker from United Airlines in San Francisco. Many years ago she lived in Toledo and this was her old hangout.

As we arrived, I called Suzi to tell her where we were headed. She got a big giggle out of that and said to have a martini in her honor.

I did have a martini, but one on the rocks rather than straight up. That was a happy medium in the event that I had to take over driving. Here's to you, Suzi! I had a quinoa and spinach salad and a wonderful lobster tart with perfect crust. Mike had a Stella burger and a Stella Artois beer.  We were not disappointed.

Next memorable area was Oak Harbor, OH. A very nice, quaint, and rich little town along the Portage River. Maybe check it out on the way home. Last stop on the "mainland" was the gas station for gas and grocery store for adult beverages and snack supplies (because we had no idea what might be on the island). In Ohio you can only buy alcohol at state run liquor stores and they are few and far between. This one was inside a very nice grocery store named Bassett's. Would love to shop there on a regular basis. I was a bit surprised to see so many folks of every age wearing camo. Seemed like the uniform of the day and it is not even hunting season. I guess this was patriotic camo.

Then on to the Miller Ferry. It was $58 RT for us and the car. The ferry ride was about 20 minutes in very rough water. Mike handled it well, but had to hang in the open air facing the horizon with the wind in his face. We were both glad to touch land on the island.

Our hotel was a two mile drive from there and we arrived a little after 2pm. Tim and Nancy met us at the front desk with hearty hugs. (It had been a year since we last met.) At the Bay Lodging Resort you cannot bring alcohol because they have their own bar. BUT the bar was not open for the season, so we discreetly carried our recently purchased refresher beverages to our room.

T & N had a suite so we spent most of our visiting time there. This hotel is the only one on the island with Lake Erie views from every room. The rooms have large screened in balconies. The weather was cool, but it was so wonderful to see big water again. (We sure miss the Pacific Ocean in Half Moon Bay.) We did a big catch up chit-chat and then walked the two blocks into town.

Put-In-Bay is pretty touristy. We're all glad to be here before the summer crowd overruns the place though. Sidewalks were empty for the most part and not all the restaurants or stores were open yet. The front desk recommended Mossbacks for dinner. It was a good choice. I ordered deep-fried sauerkraut balls for an appetizer. Everyone else thought they were so-so, but I loved them. For the main course Mike and Nancy had fish, I had a grilled veggie sandwich, and Tim had beef tips with noodles. Beer and wine all around. For dessert we had Key Lime pie and it was one of the best versions ever outside of Key West, Florida.

We were all a little pooped from the drive. So after a brief visit back at the resort, we parted ways for some couples quiet time. It was wonderful hearing the sound of the Lake Erie waves in the background as we drifted off to sleep.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.