Gated community Lakeside is a nearby gemWritten by Judy Pfaffenberger | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I am often amazed at how few people in the Toledo area are familiar with Lakeside, Ohio between Catawba and Marblehead. It is what is known as a “Chautauqua.” Lakeside began in 1873 as a Methodist camp-meeting retreat and soon became part of the Chautauqua Movement in the U.S. A Chautauqua is (and I quote from the Lakeside brochure) “ a community welcoming all people to gather and participate in life-long learning opportunities through the four pillars: religion, education, cultural arts and recreation.”
Lakeside is a gated community with a gate fee from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day with the exception of the three weeks around the Ohio Methodist Conferences in early June. The daily gate fee this year is $18 for adults, $12.50 for youth 12-18, and children under 12 are free. It also costs $9 per day to bring your car in. This is certainly not inexpensive, but those who go there to make use of the many facilities and take part in the activities generally feel that it is a good value. (The famous Chautuaqua in upstate New York charges over $40 per day.)
The following areas nurture the mind: educational seminars (such as the Civil War, creation and evolution, financial planning, foreign policy); environmental seminars, youth music programs, symphony pre-concert talks, Heritage Society lectures, historic tours, health seminars, and Women’s Club speakers and book reviews.
To nurture the body Lakeside offers shuffleboard, swimming, sailing and boating, tennis, yoga, fitness classes for women, a supervised children’s playground, adult bicycle trips, and miniature golf (extra charge). There is a 2 mile walking trail around the perimeter of Lakeside and Life Trail Outdoor Wellness Park featuring 10 exercise and stretching stations.
Spiritual life involves Sunday worship, weekday morning chaplain’s hour and evening praise, God Squad for children 4-9, Middle Grade Ministries for ages 10-14, and teen ministries.
Other programs are: organized playground games, kids’ nature program, family picnics, puppet shows, youth music programs (Fun with Music, Ring and Sing), Where in the World (world geography and culture for kids), Rhein Center arts and crafts (extra charge), and historical tours.
During the gated season Lakeside features a program, included in the gate fee, every night except Sunday in the 3000 seat Hoover Auditorium. From July 30 – Aug. 19 the Lakeside Symphony performs seven concerts. Some of the other programs this summer are: The Return (Beatles Tribute Band), Second City, Kenya Safari Acrobats, Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers, John Ford Coley Band, The OSU Alumni Band, The Chenille Sisters, and Mike Albert and the Big “E” Band.” The complete schedule is available at www.lakesideohio.com or call 866-952-5374 for a brochure.
The annual Women’s Club Tour of Homes on the fourth Thursday of July is an interesting was to sample Lakeside.
Lakeside offers a variety of places to stay including the historic lakefront Lakeside Hotel, the more modern Fountain Inn, cottage rentals, bed and breakfasts, and a campground.
The only restaurant in Lakeside open year round is Sloopy’s Pizza, which also offers pasta, sandwiches, and salads. The dining room in the Hotel Lakeside has the prime location with a wonderful view of the lake. The other main restaurant on the grounds is the Patio which is open all day and has a Friday All-You-Can-Eat Fish special. A few snack shops fill out the food choices.
If any of you remember the popular Abigail Tea Room, it unfortunately is no more.
Of course visitors can enjoy also many other restaurants in the Marblehead, Catawba, Port Clinton area including the popular Mon Ami.
Besides the “official” activities, I have some personal favorites. My afternoons are usually spent sitting in an Adirondack chair on the deck of the pavilion, reading a page-turner but taking breaks to look out over the beautiful blue lake. Even on the hottest days, a cooling breeze makes it a pleasant pastime. I also enjoy just walking or biking around the grounds gazing at the interesting cottages. Many of them are over 100 years old and lovingly cared for. Some are the Victorian gingerbread style similar to the ones in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.
Lakeside has several shops in its tiny downtown for those who need a shopportunity fix.
This quaint community is also a great base for exploring the peninsula and making excursions to Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island. It is truly an ideal part of vacationland for summertime fun but can also be a nice day trip in the spring or fall.