By Bruce Stambaugh
There are lots of places I would love to visit in the world. But every Fourth of July, you can find me with my wife at Lakeside, Ohio.
Why do we keep going back? I’ll be a typical man and answer that question with another question. How can we not return?
We find the summer resort a respite from our busy schedule. A random survey of Lakesiders would likely reflect that common answer.
You could argue that respite can be found in plenty of other locales, too. But there is only one Lakeside, and the best way to appreciate it is to visit there.
The quaint town on the shores of Lake Erie mushrooms from 600 year-round residents to 3,000 summer vacationers. Gate fees are required from mid-June through Labor Day weekend.
I could list 100 reasons why we savor Lakeside each summer. But I’ll pare it down to a pertinent few pleasures we experienced during our latest stay.
First and foremost has to be the renewal of relationships with friends, some who we only see at Lakeside. Of course, we stay in touch via email or phone. But we only see most fellow Lakesiders while we are actually at the Chautauqua on Lake Erie
We enjoy where we stay, and we always board at the same hospitality house. We like our hosts and their guests, most of who return the same week annually. We have a lot in common, share food, stories and values.
We cherish the familiarity and ambiance that Lakeside affords. Doughnuts at The Patio Restaurant, ice cream from Coffee and Cream and pizza from Sloopy’s are all part of the Lakeside experience if we so choose
But we value the special surprises that always seem to plop in our laps. We run into friends from home or people we know that we had no idea even knew about Lakeside. It’s always fun to reconnect and discover how each found the resort town.
This year we had an extra special treat. A resident of Lakeside that we got to know through our hosts at Maxwell’s Hospitality House invited my wife and I for a ride on his restored 1968 Lyman inboard motorboat.
With the temperatures and humidity at the wilting stage, we leaped at the opportunity. The wooden boat, originally built in nearby Sandusky, glided through the slightly wavy water with ease. We cruised past Lakeside just beyond the dock.
During out week’s stay, we also took in some of the evening entertainment that comes with the price of admission. Workshops, museums, tours and worship are also available for children through adults
Each morning I stretched my legs by walking the two-mile parameter of the lovely village. Walkers, runners, bikers and dog-walkers alike bid each other a friendly Lakeside hello or a nod
Besides the exercise and human interaction, I got to absorb beautiful gardens, charming restored cottages from Lakeside’s beginning in 1873, watch night hawks glide, stroll along where old trolley tracks once ran and glimpse tennis matches on both asphalt and clay courts.
I enjoyed a personal Lakeside moment, too. I found a lakeside bench under the generous shade from the large stand of old growth trees and watched the ferries shuttle between Marblehead and Kelley’s Island.
In that Norman Rockwell setting, time seemed to simply stand still. That alone is reason enough to treasure our annual Lakeside vacation.