When our family wants to take a hassle-free sailing jaunt somewhere close enough to reach in a couple hours, but large enough to have a bit of breathing (er, sailing) room, we usually end up at Atwood Lake. I use the term “we” loosely, as the main sailor (and boat owner) in our family is my dad. But he’s nice enough to let us join him on an excursion every now again, and by the time this summer’s temperatures started rising, we were ready to give our almost-three-year-old a taste of sailing.
Atwood Lake is located in Tuscarawas and Carroll counties, in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The lake itself boasts 28 miles of shoreline and 1,540 acres of water surface, three public launch ramps and plenty of space for fishermen, sailors and pleasure boaters.
Though we didn’t plan it, the day we visited also happened to coincide with the Alive Festival, and we could see one of the stages and hear music from on the water.
It should be noted that you don’t have to be a boater to enjoy Atwood. There’s a swimming beach, picnic shelters and hiking trails for land dwellers, or folks who would like to get a taste of the water (not literally, of course — I hope) can rent pontoon boats, fishing boats, sport boats or kayaks from Atwood Lake Boats. (Tubes, wake boards and water skiis also are available for rental by day, hour or week.)
The day we chose to stop by was sunny, warm and slightly less breezy than would be desirable for a quality sail, but with a toddler on deck, it was perhaps for the better.
We set off from the launch ramp near the dam on the lake’s western shore and cruised east, past Atwood Marina West and the beach that was crowded with Alive Festivalgoers. It was a busy day on the lake, and we shared the water with a number of pontoons and fishermen as well as fellow sailboats, all of whom were very courteous.
After awhile we threw in the anchor and swam in the shallow water off the shore where a number of other boats had also stopped to cool off. When we tired of playing catch with the beach ball, we docked at the lakeside Lighthouse Bistro for a tasty bite with a gorgeous view.
A little wet from the swim, we opted to dry out in the sun on the patio as we enjoyed our entrees. Dad’s and my salads were sizeable and delicious; my husband went with a Chipotle-marinated steak that, I’m told, did not disappoint. And as far as I can tell, Analeigh was pleased with the kids menu, though she was a little distracted by the view.
After another swim and sail, our littlest crew member took a snooze below deck while we continued to cruise back west, enjoying the scenery both on the lake and around it.
It may not have been the tropics, but it was pretty darn good.