A Very Erie Weekend: 48 Hours in Lakeside, OH

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sometimes I forget that Ohio has its own shoreline. We don't spend a ton of time at the beach, as I've never been much of a warm-weather gal, but the time we do spend at Lake Erie always reminds me how lucky we are to have the best of both worlds, all four seasons & our very own coast, albeit of the freshwater variety.

Just over an hour away from Cleveland is Lakeside, OH, a gated community on the Marblehead Peninsula jutting into Lake Erie. It's an easy drive down Rt. 2 West, & then you cross the Thomas Edison Bridge. The entire small Lakeside community is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, & it's a popular tourist destination in the spring & summer months. 

We were in town for the wedding of our friends Kyle & Katherine, who dubbed the event #cakeonthelake. We rented a cute cottage - OK, a "cute" million-dollar house - that was big enough to hold all of us & also seemed vaguely haunted. We found an old Mall Madness game on the third floor, which we'd dubbed "The Orphanage" because it held 10 twin beds; we found the words "RIP PAPA" written in the guest book. But the house itself was big & beautiful & right on the water, with quick access to the Lakeside community (which includes shuffleboard courts & a putt-putt course), along with the ceremony location itself.

Mike was an usher in the wedding, & our friend Lilly did a reading during the ceremony, so they both had to attend the wedding rehearsal. During that time, Lilly's husband Darren & I checked out the 700-foot pier that extends into the lake. It was such a windy day that on one side of the pier, waves crashed over the pier itself, while on the other, the water was completely calm & unmoving.

The wedding itself was wonderful, a full weekend full of festivities. At Friday night's rehearsal dinner, I tried low-country boil for the first time - minus the crawfish, because I'm a wuss of a Northerner - & despite a scary storm that night, the weather cleared up nicely for the early-afternoon ceremony on Saturday. It was windy but beautiful, & soon afterward, we all headed to the reception at the Catawba Island Club.

It was a really fun weekend, & as always, it was just so nice to get in some time with our group of friends. I'm constantly reminded of how lucky I feel to have found not just Mike but the entire group of friends that came along with him. They're such good people, & they have quickly become some of my favorite people; I feel so fortunate that they welcomed me into the fold so quickly & so warmly.

A few highlights: Just before the reception, Ohio State beat Tulane (both are the groom's alma maters); the bride publicly iced the groom for his birthday (yes, it was the same day as their wedding); the evening ended with a lot of boy-band music, including "MMMBop"; we sent off Kyle & Katherine with a trail of sparklers then headed back to our cottage for a low-key after-party.

We didn't get much of a chance to explore Lakeside itself, aside from the areas we hit up as part of the wedding weekend, but we did get to see a few spots. I'd love to go back - maybe later in the fall, as the leaves are changing - to see more of the area. It's just so cute! 

For Saturday morning brunch, we hit up Tin Goose Diner, a small, vintage diner now renovated & attached to the Liberty Aviation Museum. While you eat, you can look out over a small airfield where pilots land their old-timey planes! I got the hotcakes (so fluffy), & we also enjoyed the "hash brown stars," which are not actually hash browns but star-shaped tater tots. Ahhh, Ohio. 

Our rental house was about 100 steps from Coffee & Cream, the cutest little coffee shop slash ice cream joint. Between the ceremony & the reception, I stopped in & ordered a cinnamon latte with soy milk; when I went back the next day for the same thing, the barista remembered me and my order! How's that for small-town hospitality? I also bought a baseball ringer tee here that reads "THE LAKESIDE LIFE" because I am nothing if not a sucker for Cleveland tees.

Lakeside is full of golf carts, which the locals own & vacationers rent to get around the island (er, peninsula). Fun fact: My dad used to be a golf cart salesman, so I actually have a favorite brand of golf cart! I'm willing to set aside my general allegiance, though, to marvel over this one, which is designed to look like a mini antique car - hood ornament & all.

Early Sunday morning before we left town, we had "hangover brunch" with the bride & groom & their friends & family at the rental cottage that had housed the bridesmaids for the weekend. As we ate on the lawn, looking out over the lake, a bald eagle swept through the sky above us. What an incredible sight! Dozens of us stopped eating & watched as this huge, magnificent bird circled over us. I didn't get a picture of it, but now I understand why this statue sat outside the reception site...

Finally, on the way out of town, I convinced Mike to pull into a BP so I could photograph Handless Jacques, a 20-foot imitation Muffler Man who stands over Rt. 2 & is, well, handless. Apparently he used to hold a tray of food, but now he just looks out over the highway with nothing to offer but a vacant stare & a sad paint job.

I know Handless Jacques would've waved goodbye to us, if he could've. He still gave us a great (if morose) send-off as we headed out of town & back to our city lives! Seeya soon, Lakeside.

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