Kicking off my blog posts from our trip to Lakeside, Ohio! We had an amazing trip there a few weekends ago, and I can’t wait to chat all about it. I had never even heard of this town before, but I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go. It was a very unexpected, yet amazing weekend. So for a little bit of background — Lakeside Chautauqua is known as Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile. For 140 years, they’ve welcomed families to their community to take part in an experience dedicated to nurturing mind, body and spirit. They offer a ton of spiritual opportunities, educational lectures, cultural arts performances, entertainment and recreational activities during their 10-week summer program. To be honest, when I signed up for this trip with their marketing team, I had no idea what I was getting us into… but it ended up being one of the best experiences.
This trip was sponsored by Lakeside Chautauqua. All opinions are my own!
So Eric and I headed off on our adventure to Lakeside, which is about 3.5 hours from Grand Rapids, so really not bad at all! We arrived, parked, and met up with their marketing team so they could take us into town. The entire town (which is about one square mile) is gated off, so you need daily passes to get in, which was the first interesting thing! So we got there, and hopped on their golf cart for a little tour of the town. Cars are welcome, but most people get around by bike, golf cart (either renting or using the shuttles) or walking. So the next interesting thing was that we quickly learned that this is a no-alcohol community…. which I mean, is totally fine, but definitely something we were not expecting. Hahaha. So none of the restaurants served wine or beer, and Eric and I were like cracking up for a second. Then I just embraced that all weekend long and it was honestly super fun to not have the bar scene/culture. Like, it made the weekend truly special, I honestly think! And I love my wine! 🤣
So we got into town, had a little tour, and first had lunch at Bluebird Café. They had a really cute outdoor seating area that overlooked the dock and Lake Erie. Eric got the brie, pear, and fig sandwich and I went for the caprese sandwich. After that, we checked into our hotel at Fountain Inn! Honestly, the staff was so incredibly nice. The vibe of the hotel was very 70s old-school church-feeling, but it was just like… an experience. I don’t know how else to explain it. I loved it in the weirdest way. We checked into our room, which had a small kitchen, and a full assortment of DVDs to watch at night including a four-part Nicholas Sparks collection. 🤣 I mean, c’mon, I’m all set. Hahaha!
So for dinner, we had reservations at Hotel Lakeside. This spot was one of my favorites during our trip. The hotel was historic (built in 1875) and beautifully decorated. It reminded me of a place you’d stay on Mackinac Island actually. So we enjoyed dinner there, which had a view of Lake Erie! Eric got the perch sandwich, and I ordered the crab cakes (which I totally loved). There are only a few places to eat in the community, so if you’re planning on going, you’ll need to make a reservation, for sure! After dinner there, we mostly walked around taking in the sights. Just a quick walk from the hotel is the Lakeside Dock which is so pretty, especially for watching sunsets.
After walking down the dock and back, we headed into the little “downtown” part of Lakeside, Ohio. We had ice-cream vouchers to Coffee & Cream, so we decided to check that out first. They had a few different kinds of soft-serve — all so good! I had the traditional chocolate and vanilla twist; Eric went for vanilla. This weekend was just so… slow, which I loved. Mostly families are around, enjoying the small things like riding their bikes, getting ice-cream, playing games, going to see a movie in their little one-screen historic theater. This place was just like… vibes straight out of a movie. Everyone just moved at a slower space, was so friendly, and I finally just felt like I could let out a breath of air. It was just like, exactly what I needed.
After ice-cream, Eric and I headed over to Hoover Auditorium. So as part of their 10-week summer program, Lakeside offers all sorts of free different entertainment (comedians, musicians, lectures, etc.) so the night that we were there, a comedian named Brian Regan was there. I had never heard of him before, but apparently he has a special on Netflix, so we figured we’d check it out. So we walked over there, the entire auditorium was packed, but we were able to snag a couple of seats. And it was so much fun. I just cracked up, the windows were open in the auditorium, so it was just like… a breezy summer night, with the entire crowd laughing, with just like the best vibes. If there is just one word I can use to describe this weekend, it would be VIBES. This place had all the best vibes. We had so much fun on our first night. After the show, we grabbed some snacks to go from their local diner — The Patio — and went back to our hotel to watch movies in bed. Such a perfect first night in Lakeside. I’ll be back with more from our trip, so stay tuned!