Our road trip to Put-in-Bay, Ohio began on a very hot and humid morning at our place in Mississauga. Let me first give you a little bit of a background on this vacation. Not many people from our region have heard of Put-in-Bay and perhaps you haven’t either! Put-in-Bay is a small village on South Bass Island in Ohio. It is located in Lake Erie and you can get there by ferry from the mainland (Port Clinton or Sandusky, Ohio). It is a popular summer tourist destination and only a very small amount of people live there all year around.
When I was traveling to Ohio to visit Cedar Point and a few other spots with friends back in 2010, I was doing some trip research online and came across Put-in-Bay. It appeared that there was just so much to do on the island that I put it on the back-burner for a different trip some other time. Last year, my best friend, Shannon and I decided to take our yearly summer trip to Put-in-Bay and had an absolute blast. We stayed over only for one night and decided that it really wasn’t enough time. As we were leaving the island last year, we had already made up our minds: that next summer’s trip would also be to Put-in-Bay but we needed to go for two nights instead of one, plus we needed to invite more people!
When I got home from the trip last year, I told Justin all about it (we had just started dating at the time). I told him that Put-in-Bay was a summer resort island where you drive golf carts around instead of cars, and before I could tell him anything beyond that…he was totally sold on going there! But more about the golf carts later….
This year, Justin and I decided to travel with my best friend Shannon, as well as two of our co-workers, Amanda and Kristine (pictured above from left to right: Shannon, me (Lauren), Justin, Amanda, and Kristine). Amanda and Kristine drove in a separate car and we did our best to drive alongside each other on our five-hour journey. We also had walkie-talkies in case we got separated at any point (obviously these only worked within a certain distance of being apart). Justin and I woke up bright and early at our place in Mississauga and left our home around 7:00am. We picked up Shannon in Dundas and met up with Amanda/Kristine at a Tim Hortons just off the highway in Hamilton, ON. Just after 8:30am, we decided to embark on our road trip towards Put-in-Bay on a three-day long vacation that was sure to be memorable and fun for everyone!
At the start, the driving situation was working out pretty well. Kristine drove right behind my car for most of the way in Canada. We both had our own GPS devices in case we really got separated, thankfully. When we got to the Canada-USA border crossing in Detroit, we lost each other. Our car went through the line-up first and since we couldn’t really stop anywhere just past the border, we took the first exit we saw to wait for them. This ended up being at a gas station in a very rough-looking area of Detroit. Beside the gas station was a half-burned up abandoned house and the area looked shady even in the middle of the day. We had a bad feeling about staying there too long and decided to move on, even though we couldn’t pick up Kristine/Amanda on the walkie-talkie. We knew where we would ultimately be meeting up for lunchtime, so we figured that we would end up meeting them there.
We drove to a restaurant near Toledo, OH called Flame Asian Tapas and Grill. I found the restaurant on Happy Cow in my search for a place that would be great for vegans (Justin and I) plus have lots of menu items for the omnivores in the crowd (everyone else). The restaurant served small tapas plates and larger entrees in the style of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai cuisine. Since we arrived to the restaurant first, Justin, Shannon and I decided to celebrate our vacation with the first beverages of the trip! I had a frozen banana margarita, Shannon had an apple martini, and Justin had a Corona.
Anyway, 5 minutes went by…10 minutes went by…15 minutes creeped up and we were wondering where they could be. Did they get stuck at the border? Did they get lost? We had the walkie-talkie sitting out on the table and all of a sudden, we heard some static coming through. At first, we thought it could have been the annoyed gentleman from earlier (we kept calling through on the walkie-talkie and someone on the same channel as us started getting pretty mad that we kept sending out calls!)…but we heard some excited screams and it was Amanda and Kristine! Soon enough, they joined us in the restaurant. As it turned out, they had an easy time at the border but their GPS did send them to a couple of strange locations that took them off track for a bit. It didn’t matter though as we were all re-united for some lunch!
Back to the food…Justin and I ordered some miso soup, veggie tempura, edamame, and black bean udon noodles. Yes, Amanda is looking rather terrified of the noodle dish in the photo above. Don’t be fooled…it was delicious! Everything there was really yummy and enjoyed by all. The meal was also priced ridiculously good for the quality of food and the portions – we ordered two drinks, plus all of that food for only $30! We are definitely used to restaurant bills totaling $50 or $60 so this was a nice surprise and a great start to the trip!
At this point, Port Clinton where we needed to take the ferry was only about an hour’s drive away, but we decided to drive one behind the other again. This time, Kristine led the way and for the next hour, we joked back and forth about things over the walkie-talkies about all sorts of random things! It definitely made the time fly by. Stay tuned for the next blog post about taking the Miller Ferry across to Put-in-Bay…where the vacation truly began!
Read more about our trip to Put-in-Bay, Ohio:
Driving to Port Clinton towards Put-in-Bay
Traveling to Put-in-Bay on the Miller Ferry
Staying at Bayshore Resort, Put-in-Bay
Put-in-Bay Nightlife, Day 1
A Golf Cart Tour of the Island
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Tower
Perry’s Cave and Joe’s Bar
Segway Excursion Around Put-in-Bay
Kayaking to Gibraltar Island
Our Last Evening in Put-in-Bay
Leaving Put-in-Bay on the Miller Ferry