Disclaimer: Please excuse the sappiness in the next couple of paragraphs. I promise it’s connected to today’s blog post.
Many reflections on love focus on the falling into it. That first attraction. The squishy feeling of butterflies in your stomach. The anticipation of a first kiss or date.
That’s my least favorite part of love.
Sure, I enjoy the occasional rom-com (especially if a British accent is involved). And I still smile when thinking about my first memory of Scott. I saw him tuning a piano and thought ‘Oh, that’s an old-fashioned thing to do. I bet he’s nice.’
However, my favorite part of love is everything that comes after you get to know someone. I love the habits and shared interests that Scott and I developed over ten years. Not just because it’s comforting, but because every week, he or I do something that surprises the other, breaks that routine, and reminds us all over again why we love each other.
For instance, Scott’s mom dug up a binder last week that was filled with stuff Scott drew when he was a kid. As long as I’ve known him, Scott’s always claimed that he can’t draw. So when I saw these imaginative character sketches and comic strips, I was blown away. They were amazing and showed me a different side of the fantastic, if not slightly odd, sense of humor I first fell in love with.
What does this have to do with the Lake Erie Shores and Islands, though?
Well, I realized on a recent trip to Sandusky and Put-in-Bay, that loving a place is very much like loving a person.
Our first summer after moving to Cleveland, Scott and I took a trip to Cedar Point and immediately became season passholders. It was the beginning of our love affair with the area and we tried stuffing in as many day and weekend trips to Sandusky, Port Clinton, Kelley’s Island and Put-in-Bay as we could. In fact, closer proximity to the Lake Erie Shores and Island area is one reason we looked at Avon Lake when we considered moving from the eastside.
Last month, I had an incredible opportunity to spend three days exploring the Shores and Islands area with other Midwest bloggers. Going into the blogger tour, I thought that it would be an opportunity to reconnect with some of my favorite Lake Erie stomping grounds.
What I didn’t realize was how much of the area I had been missing out on. It was all of these surprises that deepened my #LakeErieLove.
There were so many surprises, in fact, that I can’t fit them all in one blog post. So over the next month, I’ll be blogging once a week about what I learned about Sandusky, Cedar Point, and Put-in-Bay during my trip.
I also had a few random realizations that didn’t fit nicely into those posts, which I’m sharing today. Enjoy!
Surprise #1: Cedar Point’s Family Care stations are wonderful.
Although I’ll have a full post dedicated to Cedar Point, today’s story is about my stupidity and the Cedar Point’s Family Care and First-Aid station.
A piece of advice: Don’t go looking for your car keys by jamming your hand blindly – and forcefully – into your tote bag. There’s a good chance your finger may come into contact with something very sharp.
I learned this the hard way as we were leaving Cedar Point for the day, and the result was not a mere paper cut that could be patched with a band-aid (though I’m very thankful that Dominique at Midwest Guest had some at the ready).
Fortunately, a park employee was nearby and rapidly escorted me to one of the park’s Family Care stations.
Earlier in the day, we had a chance to hear from Bryan Edwards, Cedar Point’s Public Relations Manager. While talking about the park’s renewed focus on family fun, he mentioned the two air-conditioned Family Care facilities, complete with private nursing stations, baby-changing and infant-feeding areas, and a cooldown room where you can watch Peanuts movies with your kids.
The Family Care Centers are also First Aid stations offering over-the-counter medication, bandages and emergency care.
Little did I know that I’d have the opportunity to experience it all firsthand!
Although I didn’t have a chance to catch the names of the park employee and medical staff I met during this incident (I was distracted by my bleeding hand), their kindness and patience impressed me as I rollercoastered between panic, embarrassment and, finally, relief at not needing stitches.
No one wants to visit the Family Care station, but if you do, you’ll be in good hands.
Another Cedar Point safety tip I learned: The concession stands and vendors will give you a free cup of water if you ask for it. It’s better to come prepared, but if you’re overheated and need water, ask for it. You – and the park – want you to have fun. Don’t ruin it with heatstroke.
Surprise #2: SawMill Creek is more than a golf course … much more.
Every time Scott and I drive to Cedar Point, we pass Sawmill Creek Resort. And every time we passed it on previous trips, I saw signs for the golf course and thought that’s all it offered.
Color me surprised when I stayed overnight during our blogger tour. Nestled a little ways off of Cleveland Road is Sawmill’s beautiful 235-acre getaway.
In addition to that 18-hole Tom Fazio Golf Course, Sawmill offers a sprawling lodge, marina, restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, private beach access, tennis, and nature walks through the Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve.
I was only there for one night so I didn’t have a chance to check out all of the resort’s amenities. However, the outdoor pool+bar area was beautiful; the staff I spoke with at the frontdesk, in the Salmon Run restaurant and the Black Bear Saloon were very friendly; and the resort’s Native American exhibits added an educational touch to my strolls through the property.
Although the room I stayed in could have benefited from a few updates, it was still comfortable. Plus, the other amenities and resort’s peacefulness made up for it. I will definitely be checking it out the next time I’m looking for an overnight stay in the area.
Surprise #3: Check out ShoresandIslands.com, even if you know the area.
On trips to Put-in-Bay, I’ve seen the guidebooks and signs advertising the Lake Erie Shores and Islands organization. But it wasn’t until this tour that I recognized the full scope of their region and resources.
Their site is a huge help if:
My favorite part of the site is their interactive map of the full region linked to an Itinerary Planner. Since returning from the #LakeErieLove tour, it’s come in handy a few times. Most recently, it led us to the Tin Goose Diner when we were looking for a place to eat in Port Clinton. The 1950s-era diner and Liberty Aviation Museum are a must-see.
Come back next week for my post about downtown Sandusky. Until then, here’s a teaser photo of one of the things we got up to:
Disclosure: I was invited on a 3-night/4 day blogger tour of the Lake Erie Shores and Islands, in exchange for writing about my experience. Opinions in this and future posts are 100% my own.