Top 10 Lake Erie Cottages where to stay when the calendar reads vacation

Memorial weekend is upon us. That means time to make a break for Lake Erie Vacation Land, soak up some sun, and all of the nostalgia that defines Ohio’s coastline.

“Just imagine if you could still have a cocktail in the park. Put-In-Bay is still a hot spot even though that part is now restricted. You’re safe. You don’t have to worry about anyone hurting you out on the islands,” Theresa Jeremy associate at the Waterline Store for Miller Boat Line supplies the synopsis of what’s to come for Summer 2016.

For many, the time has come in life where crashing out at 3 am on a boat docked across the park from the Frosty Bar isn’t an option.

Prior booking, reservation and a room key is a must before boarding the Jet Express, Miller Ferry, or the Kelley’s Island Boat Line.

A tour through Port Clinton, Catawba Island, Marblehead, Lakeside, Kelley’s Island, South Bass Island (PIB), Middle Bass Island, North Bass Island, Pelee and Rattlesnake Island reveals: making reservations is rough.

North Bass is mostly owned by the State of Ohio. Paramount Distillers still cultivates vineyards on the island. There are less than two dozen islanders who live here year-round. There aren’t any public facilities on the island – not even a general store. Gibraltar Island doesn’t have overnight accommodations but you can take a water taxi from Put-In-Bay for a day trip to see the Cook Castle. Right now that property has a $4 M price tag attached to the restoration.

No wonder crashing on a watercraft is how most locals initially experience these idyllic islands. In 2016 Put-In-Bay still remains number one for fun. Not just on Lake Erie but the entire Great Lakes system.

10.) Coastal Floating Homes

Be ON the water with a boat dock outside of the door. Coastal Floating Homes are located at 545 West Lakeshore Drive in Port Clinton. A minimum two-night stay is required. Sleeps six guests. There’s a heated pool and guests are within walking distance to downtown Port Clinton and the Jet Express.

 9.) Catawba Island Chalet

Lemon-colored walls and a sleeping loft with twin beds covered in fish-patterned bedspreads plus a highchair have earned this chalet on Catawba Point the theme of “Family-friendly.” Children are welcome at this completely refurbished Chalet-style home located on Catawba Point. This is a one-bedroom home that has a sleeping loft and pull-out couch to accommodate even more guests. Nicely equipped with cable, internet and linens and priced right around $200.

8.) Island View Cottages at PIB 

Jump off of the Miller Boat Line Ferry, start walking towards the boardwalk and right past the golf cart rentals find Island View Cottages. Each sleeps six and the canoe decor will have guests swooning before they even reach the winery. The grounds are secluded and there isn’t anywhere on the website discouraging bachelor and bachelorette parties. Bring marshmallows. There is a fire pit. Call 419-285-RENT for prices.


7.) Middle Bass Historic Home 

Touted as having “The best sunsets north of Key West” this five-bedroom B&B is available to rent in its entirety. Whether celebrating a wedding or hosting a family reunion the views are so extravagant even politicians would brag about the features. One can take in two countries and five islands from the 110′ porch. The Middle Bass Ferry makes round trips to Put-In-Bay. Play horseshoes or wander on over to the Lonz Winery to sip on a glass of White Catawba all for less than $500 a night.

6.) Marblehead Sunset Villa

Relax in 2,500 square feet of style. Professionally decorated guests age five to seventy will enjoy the luxurious four-bedroom with an added upstairs family-room. This villa is located near Sandy Beach overlooking Cedar Point. Nicely furnished with marble and granite throughout and priced under $600 per night.

 5.) The Castle at Lakeside

Why stay in a cottage when booking a castle is a possibility! Located in the gated community of Lakeside near the tennis courts guests can play shuffleboard, relax in an armchair upholstered in bird fabric and head off into the water on a canoe to explore. This 2,200 square foot romancer seats ten people around the dining room table and has its own library. $245 per night.

 4.) The Old Nest at Kelleys Island 

The Adirondack chairs are inviting guests now to come, sit back with a glass of Kelleys Island Sunset Pink and enjoy the views of Lake Erie from this historic cottage. For $400 per night The Old Nest is on a private, nine-acre estate that has been in the family for over 100 years. Enjoy exclusive waterfront access. Inside find a rustic nautical theme throughout this five-bedroom escape.

3.) Moonrest Cottage, Pelee Island

Cute, cute, cute and more Canadian cuteness! Pelee Island is part of the Lake Erie Island system and the lowest appellation of Canada. Explorers can relax knowing there is this three-bedroom on the island’s east shore priced at $220 per night. The front door is steps away from Sandy Beach. Right now there is only one week in June and one week in July to claim this cottage on an island only inhabited by 150 people. Visit the Pelee Winery, go sailing, take in the shipwrecks in the surrounding waters; or….the intriguing exhibit on Al Capone and his Rum Runners who used Pelee Island as a point of embarkation to Ohio during the years of Prohibition. Moonrest sleeps six.

2.) Rattlesnake Island Club

Ohio’s largest country club on a private island. What happens at Rattlesnake Island stays at Rattlesnake Island. Island is owned by 65 businessmen. Want to mix business with pleasure? Do your research. Inquire about becoming a member here. Accessible via helicopter.

1.) Put-In-Bay Party Palace

Why sleep on a boat when for $1635.00 you can crash here. Check out these views from the eat-in kitchen. This 5,000 square-foot Lake House nestled ever-so-nicely on South Bass Island (Put-In-Bay) is going to entitle whomever has the key as King of the Great Lakes. Has several balconies and IS available this weekend. Grab your Jet Express pass and at least 13 of your best friends. Catering is available at this 5,200 square-foot PIB Estate.


Josie is an award-winning journalist and former TV anchorwoman. She grew up on Coastal Ohio and knows many of the nooks and crannies which make the region so spectacular.
Josie is an award-winning journalist and former TV anchorwoman. She grew up on Coastal Ohio and knows many of the nooks and crannies which make the region so spectacular.

Pancakes PUH-LEEEEASE! a new take on the Sunday morning staple

I remember the first time the smell of Betty Crocker’s Bisquick Original Pancake and Breakfast Mix wafted through the house. All of the females representing my Kindergarten class from Shupe Elementary in the uncharted Coastal Ohio town of Amherst (now population 25,000) had stayed the night to celebrate my sixth birthday.

The evening was an out-of-control blow-out on Elyria Avenue. One might reflect this evening was a precursor of what was to come.

Over one dozen young ladies showed up, sleeping bags in tow, with Holly Hobby, Strawberry Shortcake, ET, or the Care Bears beaming on top of the zippered stuffing. They were also toting gifts. One of which happened to be a Barbie Doll wearing a striking fuchsia one-piece to accentuate her over balanced body.

The calendar read the “early 80s” and life was grand.

We spent the evening jumping on the bed and feeding the family dog popcorn made in the Wear-Ever Popcorn Pumper. One of my classmates peed her pants in the excitement of the evening and we never crawled into the sleeping bags and closed our eyes.

When the sun arose to alert us blurry-eyed young ladies we had survived our first sleep-over together with my stay-at-home mom, (who had just reached the ripe age of twenty-seven) she made all of us initial pancakes on a stand-alone electric griddle. I wouldn’t take the time to use a fork, add butter, or pour maple syrup on top. I just grabbed the “J” and the “K” like a cookie and ate the fluff full of oil, egg and butter.

To this day, I’ve never ordered a stack of pancakes. The thought of sticking my fork into a pile of “goo” with sugar poured on top makes my stomach churn. My palate prefers egg white omelets made with fresh vegetables and eggs that aren’t from an actual animal.

With a side of fruit!

But, something this past week, maybe its from following Amy Weinstock’s new blog, “Earth To Amy” where I’ve seen all of the “goo” can be replaced with alternatives.

Maybe its because for the first time since age eleven I’m living again by my South Eastern European family and I feel as though I’m not alive if I’m not eating a pastry for two of my three main meals of the day.

This week I revisited that box of Bisquick in the back of the cupboard. I opened the box and made a couple of quick alterations.

  •  1 C of mix
  •  2/3 C of coconut milk
  •  2 T of coconut oil
  •  2 “eggs” = 2 T corn starch mixed with 6 T of hot water

Mix those ingredients together and heat more coconut oil on a hot griddle. Pour the batter and soon the sweet smells of Betty Crocker Pancakes without egg, milk, or vegetable oil will be transported through the kitchen.

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Perhaps, transporting one to another time. Pick a topping such as Wholesome! Organic Pancake Syrup, sprinkle fresh fruit on top, and you have yourself a pancake party.



Suddenbreakingnews: Coastal Ohio is Derby Crazy horses, hats, bourbon, and mint create merriment

“Me and A.J., my husband, and I went to the actual Derby in 2009 and that got me hooked with the fashion and everything. I already loved horses. We started having Derby parties at the house and then I saw the events at Kelley’s Island and we started coming here and renting a house for the weekend,” Cheri Camp Potter explains her elation over the Run for the Roses.

The Oak Harbor native boarded the Kelley’s Island Ferry Thursday night and is already ready to plunk down her paycheck on the long shot, Oscar Nominated, the horse who has a fifty to one odds in winning.

“A.J. is putting his money on Mo Tom,” Potter offers more on where the bets will be made and on the couple’s Derby party plans. “It’s fun. It’s so nice over here. We’re only an hour from home, but it doesn’t feel like we’re in Ohio. We hang out and go to different bars and restaurants. They’re having Derby hat contests.”

Mary Whittman, office manager with the Kelley’s Chamber of Commerce supplies, “The people come in their fancy hats and all the restaurants enjoy having people come in and watch the Derby. It’s always a fun day. The boats are running their early May schedule. Now that we have sun in the skies people are eager to get out here.”

Back in the Glass City Shelley Crossley, Community and Public Relations Manager for the Hollywood Casino, relays that as far as the race goes the televisions will be on in the Scene restaurant. But, bets aren’t allowed.

“You can’t book here,” Crossley confirms. “In this area the Sylvania County Club does a huge party. It’s a big deal.”


2015 Attendees, Picture Courtesy: Sylvania Country Club
2015 Attendees, Picture Courtesy: Sylvania Country Club

“It is one of the best attended and most fun parties they have been doing for years,” solidifies Carrie Serber the Marketing Director of the Sylvania Country Club.

Over 200 attendees are expected in bowties, seersucker, hats and all-out Kentucky style the region (separated from Ohio only by the Ohio River) is known for. The party starts at 5 pm Saturday, May 7 with an appetizer station featuring fresh fruit, cheese wheels, and blue grass watermelon and feta salad. Collectible Derby glasses are ordered from Churchill Downs. They’ll be filled to the brim with Mint Juleps containing mint grown on site at the club. Attendees expected are restaurateurs George and Michelle Mancy and Promedica executives.

April Cousino, Assistant Manager, attests the success of the event has been no “Exaggerator” since its inception.

“We have a hat contest. Dining certificates will be given away and two tickets to our wine club event. This is a very traditional party with very large hats,” Cousino confides.

After the dust settles, the main grazing station opens featuring bourbon marinated beef tenderloin. Velvet Jones plays from 6:30 – 10:30 pm.

Featured dessert is a Maple Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Photo Courtesy: Sylvania Country Club
Featured dessert is a Maple Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Photo Courtesy: Sylvania Country Club

East of Kelley’s Island, hats will be donned and bourbon poured on the porch at Cleveland’s SoHo Kitchen and Bar on West 25th Street beginning at 4 pm. Chef and Owner, Nolan Konkoski is the “Creator” of this reception designed around the racehorse.

“We host a classic Derby party in every sense of the word. We do complimentary appetizers until the race and have an a la carte menu people can order from. The appetizers are all Derby inspired. Pimento cheese on crackers, deviled eggs, Benedictine sandwiches and mini Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie Pies,” Konkoski clues us in on what will be coming out of his kitchen.

SoHo is a Southern bourbon bar stocking over one hundred different bourbons to be sipped. Bullit is one of the most commonly ordered to wet one’s whistle. To brush up on the other labels: Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Eagle Rare, and Colonel E.H. Taylor are all ordered at SoHo by the distinguished drinker. At this Derby soiree four different Mint Julep recipes have been concocted: classic, peach, ginger and strawberry rhubarb.

“We went through seven hundred Mint Juleps last year. There’s no cover charge. We do a best-dressed where the staff votes and then we give away prizes, Konkoski concludes. “We are usually packed full inside and out. This party gets bigger and bigger every year. We’ll have a tent up and are expecting probably between two hundred to three hundred people. We put TVs inside and out and turn the audio on when the race begins.”

From Mo Tom, to Oscar Nominated, Shagaf, and Cherry Wine; no matter which horse is chosen to win the affection of the hard-earned cash, Potter declares all this hoopla is really all about the hat.

Cheri Camp Potter's authentic Kentucky Derby purple hat is inspired by Prince.
Cheri Camp Potter’s authentic Kentucky Derby purple hat is inspired by Prince.

“My uncle got me a very expensive Derby hat. This is the real deal. It’s purple for Prince and my outfit is cute tailored beige shorts and a top which will really set off the focal point – the hat!”

 The 2016 Kentucky Derby Run for the Roses will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 5 pm Eastern.

Josie is an award-winning journalist and former TV anchorwoman. She grew up on Coastal Ohio and knows many of the nooks and crannies which make the region so spectacular.
Josie is an award-winning journalist and former TV anchorwoman. She grew up on Coastal Ohio and knows many of the nooks and crannies which make the region so spectacular.

North Coast: No Sharks ink for over the sink

North Coast: No Sharks provides a conversation piece in the kitchen. When the space is blank and boring add style to the home in 2016 with this Great Lakes blue print of the glacial water system responsible for dramatic climate. Covering the 216 and 305 area codes, this piece is a first edition created in downtown Cleveland and captures the energy of the area. Designed in ball point pen ink. For the luxury home — with a twist.

North Coast: No Sharks Josie, Style for the Home JK PR Sales & Design 216 305
Josie is an award-winning journalist and former TV anchorwoman. She grew up on Coastal Ohio and knows many of the nooks and crannies which make the region so spectacular.
Josie is an award-winning journalist and former TV anchorwoman. She grew up on Coastal Ohio and knows many of the nooks and crannies which make the region so spectacular. Fitness and Design are her passions.