13 May 2014

2014 OHIO Put-in-Bay 2 - Island Days

Wikipedia says the village of Put-In-Bay's 2010 year-round population census was 138. It swells to much more than that in the summer. Heck, our hotel alone has 50 units (more than 1/3 of the residents) and there were many more accommodations.

PIB is located on South Bass Island which is 3.7 by 1.5 miles in size and is about 3 miles off the mainland of Ohio at Port Clinton. The PIB name comes from the the time when sailing schooners would "put in" to the bay to shelter from bad weather. 

We were all up and rolling by 8:30am. Breakfast was at Frosty's (breakfast joint by day; bar and pizza joint by night). We could have ordered mimosas, but were still a little fuzzy from the night before.

After breakie we walked the quaint-but-touristy downtown. This is early in the season, so half of the businesses were open and half closed.

We made one stop to buy t-shirts and nail polish. Both change colors when hit by sunlight. I got an icy blue color polish that should change to lime green. We'll see. We checked into the island Visitors' Center to learn about all the attractions. We were spending only one full day here and hoped to make the most of it.

We noticed a small granite monument that was dedicated to the historic road races on PIB. This marker was on Turn One. Later we saw another marker at "Cemetery Curve." Races were run on the 3.1 mile course during 1952-1959 and reprised in 1963. "Reunion" races occur to this day. For more info, go to the Race Heritage Society website at: www.pibroadrace.com/history.html

A big attraction on the island is the third tallest U.S. monument at 352 feet (behind the Washington Monument in Washington DC and the Golden Arch-Gateway to the West in St. Louis, Missouri). It is dedicated to Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. His naval knowledge and strategy were key in the U.S. winning the War of 1812 over a much larger British Navy.

The monument was prepping to open for the season and a gift shop employee was accepting a Coke delivery. He said even though they were closed we could pop our heads in the Visitors' Center. He ended up giving us a great lecture on the history of Perry, the war, and the monument. Perry's most famous quote is "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." Grounds around the monument are lovely and an annual Boy Scout Camporee is held here. To find out more, go to: www.nps.gov/pevi/index.htm

From there we hopped in the car to tour the outer areas of the island. We came across this most unusual house which we had actually seen recently on TV. It was originally a ship built in 1924 for use by the Ford Motor Company. In 1986, after many years of service, The Benson Ford was scheduled to be scrapped. A couple rescued it, cut off the crew quarters of the front bow, and relocated it here atop an 18-foot cliff. It is used now as a private home. We did not get to look inside, but it was impressive just to see the outside. For more info, see: https://roadtrippers.com/us/put-in-bay-oh/points-of-interest/the-benson-ford-shiphouse

Next stop was the South Bass Island lighthouse on the most southwest tip of the island. It was built 1897 and glowed until 1962. At that time automation took over and the steel tower and light you seen in the background replaced the old-fashioned light to the right.

In 1967, Ohio State University took over the facility in collaboration with its Stone Laboratory which is located on nearby Gibraltar Island. It is also a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorological station, transmitting weather statistics from the island by satellite. Again, we were too early in the season for a tour. Read more at:

We didn't go there, but the OSU Stone Laboratory was established in 1895 and is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the U.S. To read more, go to: www.stonelab.osu.edu/about/

I must add, en route we saw our blooming lilac bush of the year. It was a deep purple and I could smell its lovely aroma front the car.

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