Put-in-Bay Days Music Festival in Key West

Sloppy Joe’s 13th Annual Put-In-Bay Music Festival February 9-11, 2017

Do you wish you were down in Key West right now at the Put-in-Bay Days Music Festival? So do we! The island may be cold now for the winter ice fishermen with good ice conditions, but it won’t be long before we reopen our doors for the Spring and Summer where shorts and sandals are always the standard. Here’s a few pics from Put-in-Bay Days last year so you can see what you either missed or can look forward too. Bobby is on stage right now tuning up his acoustic axe (10:00AM Florida time). But don’t worry, you can see all of these great island entertainers back up on the island in a few months!!!


Ray Fogg Sloppy Joes Key West Put in Bay Days
Ray Fogg Sloppy Joes Key West Put in Bay Days


Wednesday, February 8th

5:30 PM – 9:30 PM … PIB Jam Session with Pete, Ray, and Bob

Thursday, February 9th

12:00 PM – 2:30 PM … Bob Gatewood
2:45 PM – 4:30 PM … Ray Fogg
4:45 PM – 6:30 PM … Pete and Wayne
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM … Pat Dailey

Friday, February 10th

12:15 PM – 2:15 PM … Bob Gatewood
2:30 PM – 4:15 PM … Ray Fogg
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM … Pete and Wayne
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM … Pat Dailey

Saturday, February 11th

12:15 PM – 2:15 PM … Bob Gatewood
2:30 PM – 4:15 PM … Ray Fogg
4:30 PM – 6:30 PM … Pete and Wayne
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM … Pat Dailey

Pat Dailey Sloppy Joes Key West Put in Bay Days
Pat Dailey Sloppy Joes Key West Put in Bay Days

Sloppy Joe’s Bar has bottled up a bit of Lake Erie’s summer and will open it up in Key West Florida from February 9th – February 11th to celebrate one island’s culture to the other. Put-in-Bay’s best entertainers perform alongside Key West’s most popular performers. Scheduled to perform again this year are the absolute best performers that Put-in-Bay Ohio has to offer: the infamous Bob Gatewood, Pete and Wayne, Ray Fogg, and island legend Patrick Houston Dailey. Take it from us, if you want to go then book your hotel rooms for next year NOW rather than waiting, because finding last minute accommodations is near impossible (we tried last year)! This event is a great way to put some Put-in-Bay fun into a long winter season and see your island friends that you don’t usually see between seasons.

Pete and Wayne Sloppy Joes Key West Put in Bay Days
Pete and Wayne Sloppy Joes Key West Put in Bay Days

You have missed Put-in-Bay enough over the Winter, and the time has come to put an island back in your life. Flock to the southernmost place in the USA for the annual Put-in-Bay Days in Key West. At the World Renowned Sloppy Joe Bar island entertainers descend for 3 days of music that has echoed the Lake Erie region for years. The likes of Patrick Houston Dailey and Mike “Mad Dog” Adams are known to frequent this annual event. Many of the Put-in-Bay faithful attend this fun filled event each and every year. This awesome event has no cover charge, no tickets and no reservations will be taken. Just come as you are to Sloppy Joes and get ready for another memorable season on Putinbay. Cure your PIB Blues with this off-season must attend event. If you have never driven the majestic bridges leading to Key West, this is an excellent opportunity to do so. Fly in to Miami, rent a car and set your compass south.

Top 5 Attractions at Put-in-Bay Ohio for Summer 2017

Although it is on a small island, Put-in-Bay is Lake Erie’s largest resort destination. Once primarily a day trip mecca, Putinbay has now grown to include a huge variety of activities and tours with guests staying a week or more in our luxurious hotels & resorts and vacation home rentals. Along with excellent prices, Put-in-Bay also offers their exclusive Bay Bucks Fun Discount Coupons which provides discounts on activities and tours around the island. The discount coupons feature savings of over $400 on restaurants and shopping around the island. Of course, despite all the new attractions, the # 1 draw to Put-in-Bay is still its historic Perry’s Monument and International Peace Memorial.

So many things to do in Put-in-Bay, Ohio… still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Try something different – relax with a massage or learn some adventurous Lake Erie watersports. Put-in-Bay attractions, tours and activities. There is something here on Put in Bay for people of all ages.

Perry’s Victory And International Peace Memorial

93 Delaware Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

The Perry Peace Memorial and Visitors Center on Put in bay was built in honor of Oliver Hazard Perry, who defeated the British in a huge naval battle on Lake Erie that played a key role in the American victory in the War of 1812. Today visitors to Put-in-Bay can travel 317 feet up to the top of the monument to take in a spectacular view of the Lake Erie Islands and the shores of Ohio, Michigan and Ontario. At the base of the monument, Put in Bay park rangers give living history demonstrations. Admission is $3.00; 15 years and under are free.

A 352 foot (107 m) monument – the world’s most massive Doric column – was constructed in Put-in-Bay, Ohio by a multi-state commission from 1912 to 1915 “to inculcate the lessons of international peace by arbitration and disarmament.” Beneath the stone floor of the monument lie the remains of three American officers and three British officers. It is among the tallest monuments in the United States (the Gateway Arch, San Jacinto Monument, and the Washington Monument are taller). Although substantially completed in 1915, funding problems prevented the proper completion of a fully realized memorial complex. In 1919 the federal government assumed control of the monument and provided additional funding. The official dedication was celebrated on July 31, 1931. In 2002, 2.4 million dollars was spent on a new visitor center. The memorial is visited by 200,000 people each year.

Put-In-Bay Winery

392 Bayview Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Situated on the historic Doller Estate, come enjoy our majestic views of Put-in-Bays downtown harbor while sampling our world-class wines. We offer a tasting tour of the estate, individual samples, flights, glasses and bottles of wine and juice! Our staff prides ourselves in putting together the perfect flight to please any palate! Whether relaxing on our Victorian front porch or wine garden, our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here to make your experience one to remember!

Perry’s Cave At Put-In-Bay

979 Catawba Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Perry’s Cave, located 50 feet below Put in Bay, is open to island visitors for 20-minute tours. South Bass Island’s secret limestone cave is 208 feet long and 165 feet wide and has its own freshwater lake underneath Lake Erie. We suggest bringing a sweatshirt and comfortable walking shoes, as the temperature underground drops to about 50 degrees.

Ohio State University Stone Labs At Put-In-Bay

878 Bayview Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Created in 1895 and located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island at Put in Bay, Frantz Theodore Stone Laboratory is Ohio’s Lake Erie laboratory. It is the nation’s oldest freshwater biological field station and the Island Campus of The Ohio State University. The Laboratory offers college-level courses each summer with faculty and students coming from all over the country. Since 1990, students from 40 Ohio colleges, 27 out-of-state colleges, and 257 high schools have taken these courses for college credit. The Laboratory also provides a facility for year-round research, offers special conference facilities and speakers, and develops and offers custom-designed Aquatic Workshop programs for grades 4 through adult with over 5,000 participants annually.

Kimberly’s Carousel

50 Delaware Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

For only $1.50, you can take a ride on Put-in-Bay’s original 1917 Herschel carousel, one of the last merry-go-rounds in the country that’s still up and running. Kids love riding the cow, chicken, rooster, horse and pig, but any islander will tell you that Put-in-Bay’s favorite animal on the carousel is Pete the Perch. You can buy tickets next door at the Carriage House.

Top 5 Water Activities at Put-in-Bay Ohio for Summer 2017

Scuba dive, jet ski, snorkel, try other water sports, golf carts, beaches, parks, museums, monuments, massage, mini-golf and more. Tours and excursions on South Bass Island! From day trips for ferry boat passengers to longer tours in the historic buildings and monuments of Put in Bay. Beaches! Check out the island’s many miles of beautiful shoreline and scenic Lake Erie views.

Put-in-Bay, Ohio… it’s a fun place to be; not far off either and convenient and happening. It has lots of options to do and spend some quality time. Water sports like any shoreline town, kayak, canoe, jet ski, rent a boat, parasail, and on and on. Or just lie in the parks and have a beautiful view of the mighty lake erie. Pool parties, sunday classic car parades, biplane rides… So much to do. Rent a golf cart for the day and you are set to explore the island. There is also a good variety of shops, pubs, and bars to grab a beer.

Put-In-Bay Watercraft Rentals

1523 Catawba Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals located at the South Bass Island State Park, offers a variety of things to do. Fully equipped with kayaks, wave runners, dinghys, and power boats, Put in Bay Watercraft Rentals allows you to further explore the island and its waters.

Jet Ski At The Bay

14 Bath Street, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Jet Ski at The Bay is your only downtown jet ski rental option. As you get to know the island, you will discover that there are two ways in which you can ride a jet ski in Put in Bay; the first is to rent the equipment yourself and enjoy your own excursions, the second, bring your own. They are located in downtown Put-in-Bay on the waterfront adjacent to Toledo avenue. Jet skis rent by the half hour and can be reserved online.

Kayak At The Bay

760 Bayview Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Kayak at the Bay is located on Bayview Avenue down from the Doller Mansion and offers single and double sit-on-top and sit-in kayaks for cruising the Lake Erie islands. Whether you choose to stay in the harbor or go on an adventure around the island, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Floats, water bikes, and ski tubes are also available for rent. Located one block from the Jet Express.

Put-In-Bay Parasail

341 Bayview Avenue, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456

Put-in-Bay Parasail is located one block from the Jet Express. Parasailing is a great way to see Put in Bay. The parasailing headquarters is conveniently located by the Boardwalk on the docks. Enjoy the windy breeze as you tour the island’s beautiful terrace. By sailing from a 600 foot towline, taking off and landing on boats with flight decks allows you to remain dry. Parasailing is safe and fun for ages 3 and up, and no experience or athletic ability is necessary.

Jet Express Ferry Boat

3 N Monroe St, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Ferry service to Put in Bay Ohio… where the Jet Express Ferry ride can be half the fun of getting to South Bass Island Put-in-Bay. Relax and ride while enjoying a narrated tour of the history of the island. All-aluminum ocean-approved catamarans, the Jet Express are built in the USA. Traveling at speeds in excess of 40 mph the catamarans are among the fastest ferries in the world, yet the sleek twin hull design glides through all weather conditions with unmatched smoothness. Triple deck design provides beautiful viewing from an open air observation deck or from two stylishly appointed passenger lounges with tinted windows, carpeted decks and cushioned seats. Providing Early Morning/Late Night Service to downtown Put-in-Bay, board the Jet Express for the most convenient and most comfortable transportation to the island.

Put-in-Bay’s Top 10 Places to Dine

Everyone always asks us the same question… where is the best place to eat at Put-in-Bay? With over 2 dozen different dining options, we decided to come up with our Top 10. What do you think?!?

Mr. Ed’s Bar And Grille

Mr. Ed’s is definitely the place to be for lunch, dinner or late night on the island. The happy hour prices are unbeatable – some of the best on Putinbay – as are the bands (always crowd pleasers) and the rooftop bar upstairs (the view of downtown Put in Bay is amazing). The sports bar feel of the afternoon, where you can eat wings and watch the big game on one of 15 plasma TVs, segues into an all-night indoor and outdoor party after dark.

The Boardwalk

A lakefront restaurant serving some of the freshest seafood on the Ohio islands, including its world-famous Lobster Bisque – what’s not to love? The menu for this casual family dining restaurant includes choices from a seafood lover’s dream, like perch, Alaskan King Crab, and shrimp, as well as burgers, fries, and pizza. A great mix of live bands can also be found at The Boardwalk. Getting to Put-in-Bay by your own personal boat? The Boardwalk has 80 mooring buoys and a harbor taxi for diners.

Chicken Patio

The Chicken Patio, located in downtown Put in Bay next to the Roundhouse, has been an island staple since 1952. It is not high class. It is not fancy dining. It is just incredibly good food! There is one thing on the menu and that’s it… the Half-Chicken Dinner. The chicken is grilled over a 21-ft. open pit and is slathered with Chicken Patio’s own famous wine-based barbeque sauce. Dinners also come with a roll, potato salad, and sweet corn on the cob. Bon appetit!

Frosty’s Family Pizza And Bar

Enjoy a crisp and refreshing ice cold island beer in one of Frosty’s frosted beer mugs! Combine that with a slice of pizza and a game of pool with your pals, and you’re in Put-in-Bay heaven. If you’re up before the middle of the afternoon the next day, stop by for a delicious breakfast.

Press House Joe’s Bar and Restaurant?

With a motto of “Beer is Food. Eat at Joe’s,” how can you go wrong? Stop by Joe’s Bar to get a personal vibe and some local color – you’ll swear you’re in old Key West. Joe’s also serves surprisingly affordable sandwiches and dogs and has a carryout beverage store onsite. Did we mention that Joe himself is a pretty cool guy with lots of good stories?

Put-In-Bay Brewing Company

We have one brewery on Put-in-Bay island, and this is it. The Brewing Co. is home to a secretly great pizza, late nights (open until 2:30 a.m. daily), live entertainment and at least three different beers brewed right here: Ole Cotton Top Irish Red, Summer Brew and Fat Man’s Friend. If you are lucky, you may visit while the Watermelon Wheat or Christmas Ale is on tap… it goes fast! Kids and adult menu offer wide variety of appetizers, pizzas, wings, sandwiches, ribs, steak, perch, South of the Border menu and Putinbay’s only Beer Cheese Soup. Dine in or takeout.

Blu Luna

Situated within the Harbor Village complex, Blu Luna has a variety of options for all tastes. Wood fired pizzas and fabulous martinis are a few examples of the great offerings this eatery offers. Enjoy views of Perry’s Monument from their outdoor patio. Stop by and check out one of Put-in-Bay’s newest offerings!

Put-In-Bay Winery

Situated on the historic Doller Estate, come enjoy our majestic views of Put-in-Bays downtown harbor while sampling our world-class wines. We offer a tasting tour of the estate, individual samples, flights, glasses and bottles of wine and juice! Our staff prides ourselves in putting together the perfect flight to please any palate! Whether relaxing on our Victorian front porch or wine garden, our friendly, knowledgeable staff is here to make your experience one to remember!

Put In Bay Pizza Company

Located within the Put in Bay Resort complex, the Put-in-Bay Pizza Company caters to the entire island and specializes in free delivery to guests of the Put-in-Bay Resort and Bay Lodging Resort. An extensive Italian restaurant features thin and thick-crust pizza, strombolis, grinders, and larger-than-life salads. Open late every night and until 3am on weekends. Don’t miss out on this PIB favorite!

Chocolate Cafe

The name alone will get your mouth watering. The Chocolate Cafe and Chocolate Museum at Put-in-Bay has a multitude of items relating to this favorite snack of many. The gift shop has trinkets, t-shirts and unique gifts for all of your chocolate lovers. Decadent chocolate and ice cream is also available for your delight. Open for breakfast!

History – The Battle of Lake Erie

The United States Brig Niagara in Erie, Pennsylvania is a reconstruction of an early 19th century warship of the United States Navy. On September 10, 1813, nine small ships defeated a British squadron of six vessels in the Battle of Lake Erie. This pivotal event in the War of 1812 secured the Northwest Territory, opened supply lines and lifted the nation’s morale.

Six vessels in Perry’s Fleet, including Niagara were constructed in Erie. Building of the American squadron was a remarkable feat, given Erie’s mere five hundred inhabitants and remote location. Shipwrights, blockmakers, blacksmiths, caulkers, boat builders, and laborers were recruited from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and elsewhere. Materials to construct the vessels were imported from other regions of Pennsylvania including iron from Meadville and Pittsburgh; canvas for sails from Philadelphia; rigging, cannon shot and anchors crafted in Pittsburgh. The cannon were brought from Washington, D.C. and Sacketts Harbor N.Y. Because there were no sawmills, the lumber had to be cut, hewed, and squared by hand.

Daniel Dobbins, a Great Lakes shipmaster living in Erie, was assigned by the Navy to direct construction until experienced builders arrived. In February 1813, Commodore Isaac Chauncey, Great Lakes Naval Commander, hired Noah Brown, a New York shipbuilder to complete the six vessels. Brown also designed two of the four schooners and the two brigs, Lawrence and Niagara.

In March 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry took command. By late July, Perry completed the vessels and raised volunteers to augment his sailors.

A significant number of the skilled sailors were free blacks, many landsmen and soldiers were also enlisted due to a shortage of men.

On August 1, the British squadron withdrew its blockade and the American ships emerged from Erie harbor. For the next month Perry trained his crews and watched the British squadron at Fort Malden, Ontario (Amherstburg, near the mouth of the Detroit River).

On September 10, the British under Commodore Robert Heriot Barclay and the Americans under Perry met in battle near Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Perry’s flagship Lawrence engaged her counterpart, while Niagara, for unknown reasons, did not close the enemy. Nevertheless, the Lawrence held fast and continued a heavy bombardment. After she was completely disabled, with most of her crew wounded or killed, Perry transferred by boat to the undamaged Niagara, sailed her into close action, broke the British battle line, and forced Barclay to surrender. In the aftermath, Commodore Perry wrote his famous report to General William Henry Harrison: ” We have met the enemy and they are ours: two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop.”

After the war, Niagara served as a station ship in Erie until 1820, then was scuttled there in Misery Bay. To celebrate the centennial of the battle in 1913, Erie citizens raised the hulk and rebuilt her, using many of the old timbers. Niagara, towed by the USS Wolverine, visited Great Lakes ports and participated in ceremonies at Put-in-Bay on September 10, 1913.

Following the commemoration, Niagara returned to Erie. In 1931, the state took custody of her and began a major restoration that was delayed by the Great Depression. Her hull was completed in 1943; masts and rigging were finally installed in 1963.

By the early 1980s the Niagara was again severely decayed. International Historic Watercraft Society was contracted to design and build a reconstruction of the Niagara. The present ship is a new vessel, incorporating both known and conjectural design features. Some original timber is installed in non-structural places.

On September 10, 1988, the Niagara was launched in Erie ceremonies marking 175th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie and the ensuing peace between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Why I Love Put-in-Bay

Recently, we asked our guests what they liked most about Put-in-Bay. Answers ranged from short to long and covered just about every attraction and event at Put-in-Bay. Some loved the ferry rides, some loved Christmas in July, and some just enjoyed thinking about youthful summer island vacations. Here are three of our favorite Put-in-Bay stories that we think you will enjoy.

1 – People Watching

The wondrous island of Put-in-Bay is teeming with attractions. Those with historical significance like Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial commemorating the Battle of Lake Erie, to those with nearly mythical auras like the Roundhouse Bar. Still, there is something that I enjoy the most while spending time on intriguing PIB.

The attraction that I like most at Put-in-Bay is the World-Class people watching. Folks from all walks, regions and nationalities descend upon PIB each Summer. From guests to employees, there are many interesting people to meet and watch. There is an endless supply of entertainment sitting on a bench in DeRivera Park on any given day. Multiply the previous statement by a thousand if that day happens to fall on a Friday or Saturday. The overwhelming joy and elation from the thousands of revelers creates an environment that is truly electric. This energy, this force, is the very factor that keeps many guests and workers coming back year after year to basque in this crazy, enigmatic place called Put-in-Bay. I love to meet people who have never been to the island. I love to plant the seed in their minds that they will most certainly return at some point, likely sooner than they could have even imagined to this beautiful island! The draw to PIB is certainly magnetic, with some of the groups touting ten and even twenty years plus of annual trips to the rock. This remarkable attraction extends beyond the downtown area. Hop on a golf cart, the preferred mode of travel on Put-in-Bay, and continue your exploration of the people watching capital of the Midwest. As you leave your bench in the park, head West down Delaware Ave. A string of eclectic watering holes, shops and restaurants flank the street, beckoning revelers to come and seize the day. Turing left on Catawba Road will bring you by Put-in-Bay Town Hall where the PIB Police are stationed. Heading south, you may witness a loving couple completing their nuptials at one of two churches. Stop by South Bass Island State Park and witness a kid skipping rocks off the beautiful Lake Erie shore or a group heading out on Jet Skis in the Summer sun. Continue down Meechen Road towards the airport. Gaze in amazement as planes and helicopters take off and land at 3Whiskey2, the aptly given moniker for the Put-in-Bay Airport. Turning left onto Langram Road, you can peer to the right and see the stunning new Put-in-Bay Condos. Expansive, panoramic views await at the premier vacation rentals on the island on prime Lake Erie waterfront property. The people watching continues as one heads due North down Langram, heading towards the fabled downtown Put-in-Bay area.

Although it may sound strange to pick people watching as my favorite attraction, once you experience it for yourself, you too will understand my choice. There are few places on this planet that harness the power to immediately put people in such a carefree, relaxed state just by merely stepping foot on its soil.

2 – Butterfly House

The attraction I most enjoy on the island is the Butterfly House. The Butterfly House imports thousands of exotic butterflies each year from South America. You walk through an enclosed habitat that houses these butterflies and as you walk, the butterflies land on your arms and hands. My nieces enjoy this attraction because they love seeing the beautiful butterflies of all different colors, sizes, and species. When you leave the butterfly house, there is a reasonably priced gift shop that features anything and everything butterfly related. You can’t visit the island without also exploring the Butterfly House!

3 – The Whole Island Experience

Just about an hour from my home, lies what I believe to be one of the best kept secrets in the USA, Put-in-Bay. I’m not the only one who thinks this small town located on South Bass Island off the Ohio shoreline is pretty great. This Lake Erie island town was recently nominated as one of America’s Coolest Small Towns by Budget Travel magazine.

I could tell you everything that I think is great about Put-in-Bay, but it would be as long as a book! Here are some quick snippets which help sum up the island experience.

Put-in-Bay is known for its wineries and many festivals that it holds throughout the year. Three years ago, it was confirmed that Johnny Depp even made an appearance for the annual Put-in-Bay Pirate Fest, though that wasn’t public information until after the event was over. Does anyone want to venture a guess as to which pirate he decided to impersonate? Yep. None other than Jack Sparrow. I’m sure there was more than one person who said to him, “Wow! Has anyone ever said you look just like…”.

Don’t let the parties scare you off. Some festivals create an adult atmosphere and if you’re looking for a family friendly weekend, you may not want to visit during that time. But most of the time, you’ll find the island is big enough for everyone and makes the perfect spot for a quick getaway, romantic escape, family reunion, corporate event or family friendly vacation. My tip, visit during the week in early September and stay in a waterfront condo, bed and breakfast or cottage away from downtown. It’s not at all crowded, it’s quiet, the weather is perfect, and most importantly… rates drop after Labor Day.

Downtown Put-in-Bay is dotted with charming buildings and some of them even have a pretty colorful history, which you’ll enjoy learning about during your visit. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely want to stop at the Original Bay Fudge shop (aka The Candy Bar). We even bought a chocolate covered Twinkie. Yum.

There are wonderful places to relax and grab a bite to eat both in town and on the water. If you try the Conch Fritters at The Keys while taking in a gorgeous Lake Erie view, you just may forget that you’re still in Ohio.

Do YOU have a favorite island experience or memory to share? We would love to hear from you! Send us an email via the contact form and tell us all about it!

Have You Ever Been Under Put-in-Bay?!?

For all of the attention paid to Put-in-Bay’s night life and attractions like Perry’s Monument, the underground caves still draw huge crowds… about 80,000 people a year to the Crystal Cave and its neighbor across the street – Perry’s Cave – also brings in up to 1,000 people a day.

It’s 42 steps down a winding, stone staircase from Heineman’s Winery to Crystal Cave, home of the world’s largest geode – almost 40 feet in diameter – and a natural marvel of bluish-white crystals bursting forth from a sodium sulfate wall. The cave is a big reason the winery still exists. Cave tours are an enduring part of Put-in-Bay’s history, and the village’s two caves that remain open to the public continue to draw big crowds.

The family-owned Heineman’s Winery was one of 17 operating on South Bass Island before Prohibition. When Prohibition shut down the wineries, Heineman’s survived in part because of the crowds drawn to the cave’s crystals and the money raised from tours. Workers digging a well at the winery discovered Crystal Cave in 1897.

Perry’s Cave‘s origins go back almost a century earlier, when Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry is credited with discovering the cave and using clean water from the cave’s underground lake to nurse some of his sick, thirsty men back to good health.

There used to be four caves open to the public, on an island where it’s estimated there are 25 to 30 caves on private property or obscured by wooded areas. Now it’s just Crystal Cave and Perry’s Cave across the street, both still drawing full tours of people interested in what’s going on below Put-In-Bay.
Crystal Cave

For a first-time visitor to Crystal Cave, the staircase is steep and it’s not a bad idea to watch your steps as you descend 40 feet into the cave and a world where it’s 54 degrees all the time. The original cave was much smaller. People have removed some of the crystals so they could bring tours below ground.

The crystals found in Crystal Cave are known as celestite, composed of the compound known as strontium sulfate. It’s a bluish-white translucent crystal, soft and brittle, and it’s extremely hard to polish and use for jewelry. The hardness of celestite is 3 on the Mohs scale. By comparison, a diamond rates a 10 on the scale.

Each crystal in the cave has 10 exposed faces and the angles are the same on each crystal. Celestite is not used for anything in particular, though large crystals and geodes are prized by collectors. Geodes usually range in size from a softball to a basketball. Crystal Cave is 30 to 35 feet across at its widest point. None of the other caves contain the large celestite crystals found in this cave, but small pockets of the material are known to exist in the area.

There are no particular uses for the crystals, although they were mined and used in fireworks at one time. Some people come to the cave to meditate and be near the crystals due to their perceived healing properties. No one knows how old the crystals or how they formed.
Perry’s Cave

Where Crystal Cave’s focus is centered on the geode, Perry’s Cave offers the slow drip of natural rain water from its ceiling and the pointy landscape of stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls in every direction.

The cave is 208 feet long by 165 feet wide. All of the stalactites and stalagmites on the cave’s walls, ceiling and floor were created by heavily encrusted calcium carbonate deposits. These deposits formed from centuries of water dripping from the ceiling. Perry’s Cave is a naturally formed limestone cave that emerged about 20,000 years ago. Water from glaciers pushed two layers of limestone up from the ground. One of the layers collapsed and the other stayed up, forming the cave.

In 1813, Commodore Perry used water from the cave to save some of his men from dysentery. The original owner of the cave cut off the cave’s stalagmites at their base and sold them. A subterranean tunnel in the cave goes 60 feet down and turns 100 feet to the left. The cave’s owner sent divers down in 1993 to explore the tunnel. The cave’s water level rises and falls with that of Lake Erie, indicating subterranean connections.
Caves’ Popularity

Perry’s Cave, as an attraction, draws between 800 to 1,000 visitors daily when it’s busy, with 30 to 35 people on a given tour. An arch out front of Heineman’s was built with celestite taken from Crystal Cave.

In the lobby of Heineman’s, near the cave entrance, there are black-and-white photos showcasing the village’s history. One of those photos features Daussa’s Cave (which later became known as Mammoth Cave). Dausssa’s Cave held an underground cave big enough that visitors could boat into the cave’s water.

The village’s caves and wineries sometimes get overlooked by tourists when they think about Put-in-Bay’s history. In Put-in-Bay’s heyday around the turn of the 20th century, the Hotel Victory was considered at that time the world’s largest summer resort with roughly 800 rooms. Hotel Victory had trolleys that ran to the caves. It also used water taken from Perry’s Cave to supply its guests with drinking water.

When people think of Put-in-Bay, they think of it as a place to party. But it is so much more than that!

What Happens at Put-in-Bay in the Winter?

There’s a bit of protocol everyone on South Bass Island Put-in-Bay should observe during the winter. When that rare car comes by, be sure to wave. You probably know the driver, and he or she knows you. That’s because once the last visitors leave on the ferry or by airplane after Halloween, life on Put-in-Bay in Lake Erie drops into winter tempo. It becomes even quieter and more remote once the last ferry boats leave the dock at the end of December when there is too much ice to keep the ferry open.

From that point on until the ice breaks up in mid to late March, island life goes into hibernation. Not that people simply curl up and sleep until the spring thaw like bears. Folks still drop in at the Wrinkle Room downtown for a brew and dinner and one of the many euchre and football leagues that run all winter. There are a couple of restaurants open through the winter months so the 150 to 200 islanders who live here have a place to socialize and vary their routines.

There are two churches on Put-in-Bay, an island general store, a hardware store, a coffee place and one gas station still open for business. The only bank is open for just a few hours one day of the week. The post office is open on days the mail and newspapers can be flown in from “America.” That’s the term some islanders used to describe that distant mainland.

The season is over, but many of the island’s personnel stay on South Bass during the ice months. They are not alone. Ice fishermen are making their way over by air or by sea for what has become the island’s one winter industry.

Many of you who have visited Perry’s Monument or just gone to Put-In-Bay to have a wild summer fling see the place as a wild hive of tourists. I’ve seen the place on Chrstmas in July, and it’s a madhouse. But on Thanksgiving the downtown was deserted. Most of the bars, restaurants and gift shops were boarded up. All the kids playground equipment and picnic tables were broken down and piled up for the long winter. Not a soul was on the streets, even though some Christmas lights were out. Just one restaurant, the market and wine store were open for business and few cars were parked outside.

At night the silence is unearthly. That’s especially true for those of us who live in cities and can’t sleep without the sound of distant sirens as our lullabies. Stars appear in abundance at night in the clear winter skies and there is even rumor of the occasional hike (since the elevator is closed) up to the top of the monument to blow off some New Years Eve fireworks.

Someone once told me real islanders stock up. Some can live without a television set (not much to watch up here anyway) or even without a computer, but nobody lives without a freezer or two. Stocking up is a way of life. People take the ferry to “America” before it stops running and return to Put in Bay with a car full of bathroom and kitchen essentials and frozen foods.

They told me many visitors simply can’t picture life under these conditions. They can’t imagine what it would be like not to make their daily shopping trips or drives. The idea of having to stock up seems to puzzle them. Yet, they said there are old-time islanders who won’t make the “trip to America more than two or three times a year.”

Islanders know each other quite well and, in the main, get along. There are times when the fog is so thick or the snows so heavy that airplanes are grounded and folks have to wait for mail or specially needed items. There is no pharmacy, doctor or dentist at Put-in-Bay. In case of trouble, there is one emergency medical person who can call in help by helicopter. “In the summer when you hear a helicopter taking off you think it’s probably some tourist who got in a golf cart accident,” someone said. “But in the winter you know it’s somebody you know.”

She said islanders work hard from spring to autumn to make their livings. So the winter break is often fairly welcome. It’s a time when friends who don’t have time to socialize during the tourist season finally have time to drop into Tippers and do just that.

There are a lot of oddities to the isolated life, but for the most part it is enjoyed by those who live it.

Put-in-Bay Island Wine Festival 2016

Put-in-Bay Island Wine Festival – OCTOBER 1 @ 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The annual Put-in-Bay Wine Festival will be October 1, 2016 at Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Sample more than 250 imported and domestic wines, including island wines from Put-in-Bay Winery and Heineman’s. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of good food, and excellent wine.

Plan a Fall visit to Lake Erie Shores & Islands where South Bass Island presents the Annual Island Wine Festival. Sample more than 400 foreign and domestic wines, including island wines from Heineman Winery and Put-in-Bay Winery, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of good food and excellent wine. Other activities include winery tours and a large Silent Auction that benefits the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society.

Admission is $6 and includes a souvenir wine glass. Sample tickets are $1 each and sold at the door and in the tent. Most samples are $1 – $4. There will be retail bottle sales so you can take your favorite wine home with you. There will also be great silent auction items, including: vacation packages, large bottles of wine, and other fine gifts. The silent auction benefits the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society.

Date: October 1
Time: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Address: 392 Bayview Ave., Put-in-Bay, OH 43456


Want to go to the Winefest by boat?!?

Take a trip to Put-In-Bay for the day! The Jet Express will depart from Black River Landing in Lorain and head to Put-In-Bay for the annual Wine Tasting Festival being held there. The Festival runs from 11AM until 6PM. Enjoy samples from over 100 different wineries as well as the great sights the island has to offer.

Depart: 9:30AM
Return: 7:30PM

Adult: $49
Child: $9

The ticket prices are for the Jet Express trip from Lorain to Put-In-Bay and back. Admission to the Wine Festival is not included in the ticket prices, but admission to the Wine Festival is only $6. With your admission, you get a souvenir wine glass and get to sample hundreds of foreign and domestic wines, including island wines from Heineman Winery and Put-in-Bay Winery. Sample tickets are $1 and most samples are in the $1-$4 range.


A solid weekend of free food, free entertainment, free adult beverages, and a gathering of friends at Put-in-Bay is coming soon! September 30-October 2.

The Putinbay.com Fall Ball Customer Appreciation Party is an annual 2-day celebration sponsored by www.putinbay.com. This Put-in-Bay party is designed to thank you, our guests, for choosing to stay with us on the Island during the season. Island Club Rentals and Put-in-Bay Condos guests are invited to join in on the fun and take part in this Put-in-Bay tradition. To be part of the Fall Ball party call 216-898-9951 to reserve your spot on Put-in-Bay before it is too late! We have less than a dozen homes and condos left for the weekend!

The main site of the Fall Ball extravaganza is in the Island Club on the first street to the right after entering off of Put-in-Bay Road. The cul-de-sac of the Island Club is closed down, and a stage, tables and chairs are set out for you to party under the Put-in-Bay sun. Each year we proudly offer some of the finest Put-in-Bay entertainers. The Fall Ball party in past years had appearances from Mike “Mad Dog” Adams, Ray Fogg, and Bob Gatewood from the Calabash band. For many years, Put-in-Bay’s Fall Ball has enjoyed the musical stylings of J.D. Owen and other Island entertainers such as Moving to Boise and the Poptart Monkeys. This two day event starts on Friday with a meet and greet at the Island Club with live Put-in-Bay entertainment and beer. Here you can enjoy an icy cold beer from the draught truck and enjoy some live entertainment al fresco. As dusk nears, the party moves to Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grille to continue the night in beautiful downtown Put-in-Bay. On Saturday the fun begins again back at the Island Club, with more great music and beer. We fire up the grills and prepare juicy burgers and hotdogs to enjoy on Saturday while listening to great Put-in-Bay entertainment. There are also firepits set up around the perimeter to provide warmth and ambiance during the Fall Ball party. This year’s featured band is 4TH DAY ECHO!

Don’t miss out on this Put-in-Bay Island favorite. We want to thank you for your continued business with us on Put-in-Bay and have a very fun way to show you our gratitude. Come together with 1500 others and take advantage of this fun-filled Put-in-Bay party. What says thank you better than an icy cold beer and a juicy cheeseburger? During the Spring Fling and Fall Ball events, many Put-in-Bay businesses offer discounts for our guests. These events have become some of Put-in-Bay’s most sought after events, so be sure to make your reservations EARLY. You dont’ want to miss out! The Island Club and Put-in-bay Condos gets full quickly for the Fall Ball so give us a buzz at 216-898-1105, and we will be glad to assist you! And if for some reason you miss out on the fun or if you have fun and want to do it again… look forward to the Put-in-Bay Spring Fling, our annual customer appreciation party on the first weekend in May!

To make a reservation, please visit www.islandclub.com or call 216-898-9951. We would like to thank you for your interest and we will SEE YOU AT THE BAY!


The party is hosted at the Island Club Home Rentals subdivision and is exclusively for guests of the Island Club, Commodore Resort, Put-in-Bay Resort & Conference Center, Bay Lodging Resort, Victory Station Hotel, Put-in-Bay Villas, Put-in-Bay Condos, and the Edgewater Hotel.


Friday night we gather with about 1500 people and bonfires with 15 kegs of complimentary Frosty Cold Adult Beverages! Saturday from 1pm to 8pm we have a street party with over 2000 hamburgers, hot dogs, brats and assorted side dishes, along with 30 more kegs of frosty cold adult beverages.


There is always incredible music for our party guests. J.D. Owen plays all weekend. The Saturday headliner act, 4TH DAY ECHO, also plays at Mr. Ed’s later in the evening. In the last few years, our guests enjoyed music from Pat Dailey, Bob Gatewood, Ray Fogg, Movin to Bosie, and many many more.

Call 216-898-9951 or visit www.islandclub.com for reservations.