Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Back to the Bay

It’s funny how perceptions can change over time. Could it really have been 20 plus years since we had visited Put-in-Bay, The Key West of the North as it’s nicknamed? Considering we've been married for 20 years, it had been at least that long.

View of the harbor from The Boardwalk.

As youngsters, we knew South Bass Island, aka Put-in-Bay, to be the place to escape the daily grind of work, get away with friends on a Saturday and, get a little crazy, or a lot crazy I should say. 

We opted to make the trip on a Thursday, the better weather choice, and hoped there would be less of a crowd.

The quickest way to the bay is the Jet Express in Port Clinton.

Getting there is half the fun
The quickest way to the bay is the Jet Express. Board at Port Clinton, sit on the top level for the best view, and enjoy the approximately 30-minute boat ride to the island. 

Sit on the top level for the best view.

If you plan on visiting on a day other than a Saturday, take advantage of the Jet and Cart for Two offer, which includes: two adult round-trip tickets and two-seater golf cart to zip around in when you get there for $100, which I highly recommend so you can explore the entire island. 

There are some exclusions to the offer though … it’s not valid the day of purchase so book in advance, on Saturdays or on blackout dates. For details, visit jet-express.com.

Heading out to Lake Erie.

A blast from the past
We arrived on the island around noon, picked up our golf cart, which was extremely easy and there were no lines. As we drove around, we were pleasantly surprised at how pretty the island looked with flowers blooming everywhere.

Pulling in to the harbor.

Next, we strolled around the downtown area and visited old haunts such as the historic Round House bar. The 1873 establishment is known for its mural-painted plaster walls, overhead canopy, live entertainment and buckets of beer. 

The last time we were there, it was wall to wall partygoers spilling drinks all over each other. However, this time and being a Thursday afternoon, there were a few dozen folks enjoying some beer and great live music.

The historic Round House bar.

A bite to eat
After our walk, it was time for lunch. There is no shortage of burgers and fries on the island; however, we were in the mood for something with more Florida flair. 

We chose The Keys, which not only afforded us gorgeous views of the lake and harbor but a Caribbean-style menu with dishes such as Blackened Mahi Tacos, Lobster Salad Sliders and Chicken Teriyaki and Veggies.

Teriyaki Chicken and Veggies at The Keys Restaurant.

Taking in the scenery
Following lunch, we hopped on our golf cart for two and set out to see what else there was on this 2 x 4-mile island. Our first stop was the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. Unfortunately, the observation deck, rotunda, and plazas are closed in 2017 for cleaning and repairs; however, the visitor’s center is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until October 1.

Heineman's Winery

From the monument, we headed northwest along the coast and enjoyed the ride while taking in the scenery of quaint cottages and beautiful homes situated just feet from the water. 

Also along our self-guided tour, we came across Heineman's Winery and South Bass Island State Park beach and campgrounds.

The garden at Heineman's Winery.

For the adventurous, we found a myriad of services on the island that offer activities such as charter fishing, parasailing, jet skiing, tubing and paddle boarding. 

Watercraft rentals.

A fond farewell
Prior to our departure, we wrapped up our island excursion with tropical cocktails from Rita's Cantina at The Boardwalk. 

Put-in-Bay was different this time around for us in a very good way, providing us with that relaxing, island getaway we were hoping for. 


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