Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Explore Geneva-On-The-Lake

Photos by OHventures (unless otherwise noted)

A tourist attraction for decades, the village of Geneva-On-The-Lake in Ashtabula County has long been known for its 1950s style "Strip" of arcade games and carnival foods along the coastline, and its impressive collection of more than 20 wineries spanning the countryside. I am a HUGE fan of heading up to Geneva-On-The-Lake to take a trip in what feels like a far-off land. The Lake Erie shores add a perfect backdrop of seemingly endless blue waters, and you can find an array of things to do on a weekend or week-long visit. 

There's enough to please any type of adventurer: the wino, the active outdoorsman, the historian, and even the laid-back relaxer in your group! Here's a collection of some of the best things to do when you explore Geneva-On-The-Lake.

1. The Lodge at Geneva-On-The-Lake (4888 N Broadway, Geneva): The romanticism of Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline is encapsulated to perfection at the upscale yet affordable Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake. Immaculate views of the state's northernmost shore and an array of activities and attractions for folks of any age are at your fingertips when staying at the Lodge. Dine at the Horizons

2. Lakehouse Inn & Winery (5653 Lake Road East, Geneva-On-The-Lake): While there are many wineries along the coast, I am rather fond of the Lakehouse Inn & Winery mainly due to the picturesque and breathtaking view! The wine was of course very good as well and a very affordable wine-tasting sampler is available. Sitting on the patio on a beautiful sunny day overlooking the lake makes you feel like you are in wine country in Italy or France. Truly one of the most relaxing experiences you can take!

3. Wine Shuttle Tour (board at 4888 N Broadway, Geneva): The wine shuttle pulls right up to the front entrance of The Lodge at Geneva-On-The-Lake and takes thirsty tourists to 4-5 wineries in the area, and returns to the Lodge approximately 5 hours later. Anyone is welcome on the shuttle (even those who are not staying at the Lodge), but reservations are required at $20 a person. You can request to visit certain wineries, and we suggest: Kosicek Vineyards; one of the most widely known wineries in the area, Ferrante Winery; an old church which was converted into a winery, South River Vineyards; Old Mill Winery, Grand River Cellars, and the aforementioned Lakehouse Inn.

4. The Ferris Wheel at Old Firehouse Winery (5499 Lake Rd. E. Geneva-on-the-Lake): Nothing brings back memories of childhood like a ride on an old-fashioned Ferris wheel! The Ferris wheel in Geneva-On-The-Lake can be found next to the Old Firehouse Winery (which, as the name suggests, is a winery built in an old firehouse) with rides costing just $2.75! It's a classic throwback to festivals and amusement parks of yesteryear, and the last standing relic of the now defunct Erieview Park. 

5. Geneva State Park (4499 Padanarum Rd, Geneva): This 698-acre state-run park is situated along the Lake Erie coastline, and has thick forestry and marshy inlands. You're sure to find a number of enticing activities at Geneva State Park,: hiking six-miles of multi-use trails, biking (see below), fishing, hunting, boating, archery, swimming, picnicking at the Crabapple Picnic Area, staying in one of the deluxe cedar cabins, or camping on one of the many campsites.

6. Lake Erie Shoreline (multiple addresses): The "On-The-Lake" portion of the city's name of course refers to the fact that it is located directly on the shoreline of Lake Erie - and it would be a sin to not spend at least some of your time in Geneva-On-The-Lake actually ON the lake. You could visit the shoreline in the aforementioned Geneva State Park, or find another public portion of the beach to visit. Use this time to swim, fish, suntan, picnic, skimboard, or just soak in the sights!

Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor

7. The Pickled Pepper (4949 Golf Ave., Geneva): There's a slew of great spots to grab food while at Geneva-On-The-Lake, but the Pickled Pepper stood out to me on a recent visit! Located on "The Strip," this neon green and yellow restaurant looks straight out of a Jimmy Buffet song, as if it belongs in a beach town like Key West. It has amazing bar food like wings, coconut battered shrimp, burgers, and jalapeno poppers, all paired nicely with a cold (non wine) alcoholic beverage and some live music!

8. Covered Bridge Tour (various locations, self-guided): Ashtabula County is the epicenter of covered bridges in the state. With a total of 18 of these historic structures, Ashtabula has more than any other county in Ohio, helping it to fittingly earning the title of the Covered Bridge Capital of Ohio. Another claim to fame is that one can find both the longest and the shortest functioning covered bridges in the entire United States right here! You can hop in the car and take along with you an official map of all of the covered bridges in Ashtabula County, planning your path through the countryside that will get you to see the most covered bridges possible. Or, if you happen to be partaking in the wine shuttle tour provided by the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, you can ask your driver to take you to a few of the bridges on your way to and from the local wineries.

9. Eddie's Grill (5377 Lake Rd., Geneva): Another worthwhile dining locale on The Strip of Geneva-On-The-Lake is Eddie's Grill! This iconic restaurant is straight from the 1950s era, complete with a working jukebox, a walk-up outdoor ice cream counter, a next door video game arcade, and all of the famous classics unchanged since its inception in 1950. Get the footlong chili dog with fries and a root beer float, and you won't be disappointed!

10. Water Works Water Slides (5485 Lake Rd., Geneva): This is the only item on the list I haven't experienced firsthand, but it's something on the bucket list (although I am still trying to figure out if there is an age limit...). These are 2 giant twisty-turny waterslides right on the shore, next to the Old Firehouse Winery on The Strip. A great way to cool off (again, if they allow adults, that is...).

11. GOTL Bike Trail: You can bring your own bike or even rent bikes from the front desk of the Lodge at Geneva-On-The-Lake so you can take a cycling adventure on a tame lakeside trail. The trail can be seen on the map above (outlined in blue), but you can also take the bike on the streets of GOTL, to the arcade or "The Strip." Just don't wine & bike! 

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