butterfly house

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!

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