My writing career began in Sandusky, Ohio. As a young professional I had the opportunity to report on this lakeside community while working at the Sandusky Register. In addition to being the home of America's Roller Coast -- Cedar Point -- and a number of waterparks, Sandusky, Ohio offers the perfect setting for a weekend getaway with quaint downtown shops, comfortable lodging, nightlife options and scenic views of Lake Erie.
Stay an extra night next time you visit Sandusky and see all that downtown has to offer. Here are some of my personal recommendations:
Where to Stay: The Cottage Rose is a piece of Sandusky history. Built in 1913 and furnished in the Victorian Era, this bed and breakfast is located only a few blocks from Lake Erie. Breakfast options are available with your stay here. Or consider Wagner's 1844 Inn, also downtown, and within walking distance of local attractions.
Where to Eat: For coffee and tea - Mr. Smith's Coffee House is a personal favorite. Enjoy a customized latte here with a breakfast sandwich or bakery item. Water Street Bar and Grille serves up both lunch and dinner. My favorite items on the menu are the burgers made-to-order! Upscale dining takes center stage at ZINC Brasserie where the menu contains French-inspired cuisine. Eating outside on the patio here is a great memory from my time living in Sandusky.
What to Do: The downtown streets are lined with various shops -- from antiques to local artisans and are open during business hours. Visit the Maritime Museum of Sandusky to learn about Lake Erie history. Also, the Merry-Go-Round Museum features unique hand-carved carousel animals from 1895 to present. I spent many an evening as a resident, and now as a visitor, walking along the pier and taking in the beautiful views at Sandusky's own Shoreline Park and Battery Park. The flower gardens outside the Erie County Courthouse are also breathtaking.
Nightlife: As the sun begins to set, visit one of the parks for a glimpse of Sandusky Bay shining in its brightest colors. Stay downtown for live entertainment, food and drink at Cabana Jacks or Daly's Pub -- both popular with locals and out-of-town guests. For a quieter evening, try CRUSH Winebar, one of downtown's newest additions. Here, I recommend selecting a bottle and sharing it with friends, or ordering a flight to try several wines.
For those leaving the mainland, the Jet Express docks in Sandusky Bay -- taking riders to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay both day and night. Also, the Friday Night Party Cruise on the Goodtime I regularly sells out-- so buy tickets in advance. For $20, each patron can ride to Kelleys Island, departing at 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. and returning at 11 p.m. or 1 a.m., respectively. Bring cash with you for food and drink and hold on -- it will be a wild ride!