Put-in-Bay Skyline: Our 24 Hours In The Midwest Key West.
Put-in-Bay has one gas station, one hardware store, one school–K-12–one library, one grocery store, one bank, one post office, and two cemeteries; it’s also one heck of a good time.
We arrived in the South Bass Island village on a sunny late summer afternoon. Beth and I weren’t sure what to expect. Our curiosity had been piqued by a cryptic message we had received from our good friend Ryan Whaley of Green Door Media Works:
“Downtown Put-in-Bay: After one night no explanation will be needed.”
Our first stop after getting our rental golf cart from Miller Marina was the unusually subdued Islander Inn, where we dropped our bags and freshened up. This is the place to be in the summer if bikinis, swim-up bars and a life-size Pirate Ship are on your itinerary. I’ve seen the proof and heard the stories–part of me still thinks I could handle a weekend at the Islander, but I know better. These days I’m more comfortable around rod iron tables, sipping well-crafted cocktails with people who have a passion for their hometown.
So as we pulled our golf cart into the tranquil grounds of The Goat, which is set on the grounds of one of the island’s original winery, I was delighted. My delight, however, soon turned to elation as a round of the Goat’s signature drink, the basil mojito, landed on our table followed by a delicious assortment of Sandusky staples–Perch Tacos and Walleye Fries–and plates of homemade comfort food.
With the sun now setting over the village, just as it had when U.S. Naval Commander Oliver Perry set sail from the island on Sept. 10, 1813 to confront the British in the Battle of Lake Erie, we parked our cart and crawled gently into the night. For the next few hours we mingled among the island’s 200 or so full-time residents in watering holes that were as varied as they were fun, discussing Put-in-Bay’s litany of summer events and its ties to the Florida Keys. Time seemed to standstill as we stood in the sands of Mojito Bay, an outdoor tiki bar, and then sipped beers from a Bucket of Beer at the storied Round House Bar as a funky band serenaded us to the hits of Vanilla Ice and Journey.
The next morning came too early, as it often does when you are having fun, but its low hanging sun was a welcomed sight. We had a big day ahead of us with visits to Perry’s Victory and International Peace Monument and Gibraltar Island’s Stone Lab on the schedule. But before to much movement, strong coffee and a big breakfast were in order, leading us to Pasquales Restaurant, consider by many as the best breakfast spot in town.
And as we drove through the village to the family restaurant in our standard issue white golf cart, I smiled to myself as I remembered Ryan’s cryptic message about Put-in-Bay, finally understanding just what he meant.
Know before you go
Put-in-Bay is located 15 miles from Sandusky. Its name may have come from some early maps of South Bass Island, which showed the harbor being named Pudding Bay, likely because it’s shaped like a pudding sack.
The islands one school serves Middle and North Bass Islands too. Students arrive by boat, plane or ATV across the frozen lake depending on the weather and season.
If you don’t own your boat or can’t mooch a ride off someone who does, then your best and cheapest bet is the Miller Boat Line Ferry ($7 one way).
Put-in-Bay has tons of events happening throughout the summer and early fall each year, such as Key West Days and the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial. You can check out the full calendar of events at VisitPutinBay.com
*We’d like to thank Lake Erie Shores and Islands for hosting us, and Ryan Whaley of Green Door Mediaworks for showing us around the islands and Sandusky. As always our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.
*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!