Lake Erie Islands - Learn: The Village of Lakeside

I am giddy at Lakeside, as excited as the packs of Croc-wearing kids who clamor for ice cream after a day at the beach. What gets me is the potential of the place. Want to stroll along the lake with your morning coffee? Lovely. But if you prefer to, say, learn about boy soldiers’ impact on the Civil War, grow and brew herbal tea or improve your tennis game, you can do that, too. Sail a boat. Learn to draw. Go to the symphony. Or simply spend an entire afternoon at the tot hot spot — the enormous canopied sandbox in the park. The backdrop for all this is a splendid collection of Victorian cottages, cozy restaurants and tiny shops.

Know Before You Go: Lakeside, established in 1873 as one of the first Chautauquas in the country, is a gated village and, from June 21 through Sept. 1, a fee is charged for visitors and cars to support the many free activities, events and lectures offered throughout the summer. Adults are $16.50 per day or $115.50 per week. Children ages 12-18 are $11.50 per day or $80.50 per week. Children under 12 and seniors over 90 are free. Cars are $6.75 per day or $47.25 for the week. Cars may be left in the parking lot outside the gate. 1-866-952-5374;

• Where To Stay •
 - Our Favorite: Hotel Lakeside. The best place to stay for a night or two, this Victorian charmer was recently renovated. It’s located just a few minutes from the beach, the park and downtown. Enjoy a view of the lake — and a free Continental breakfast — on the gracious screened-in front porch. Rooms range from $75 to $165 a night; suites range from $155 to $195. 150 Maple Ave.

 - Other Great Options: If you’re staying a week or more, rent a house. Options range from snug one-bedroom cottages to grand old lakefront homes that sleep 24. Two companies handle rentals: Lakeside Chautauqua Realty (1-866-952-5374) and Street Sotheby’s International Realty (1-877-798-1123).

Web sites for both companies are linked at For information on the village’s six bed-and-breakfasts, two inns and campsite, visit or call 1-866-952-5374.

• Where to Eat
Our Favorite: Evelyn’s at the Abigail. Sisters Mary Martin and Peg Walsh visited Lakeside last fall and knew immediately that they must stay. They bought an old tearoom and reopened it this spring as a tribute to their late mother Evelyn’s home cooking. Homemade pierogies ($10.95), stuffed cabbage ($10.95) and chicken paprikash ($11.95) are a few of the more indulgent picks. But they also serve a tomato basil salad ($5.95) with fresh buffalo mozzarella, teriyaki chicken pita ($7.95) and more. 104 W. Third St., (419) 798-5561

Other Great Options: The Patio Restaurant (corner of Second and Walnut streets) is the place to grab a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner— mostly fried, always yummy. You can’t beatSloopy’s Sports Café for pizza or Italian (218 W. Second St.).Ooh La La! (220 W. Second St.) is good for morning coffee and scones, as well as fresh sandwiches for lunch. Summerstock Food and Flowers (318 W. Second St.) offers Ohio City Pasta, salads, sandwiches and smoothies.

• Include the Kids •
Visit Kids on Third Street, a darling toy store with finds from throughout the world that run on imagination, not batteries. 217 W. Third St., (419) 798-5321. Follow that up with a stop at one of the village’s nine places to buy ice cream.

• Can’t-Miss Events
July 12: The Golden Dragon Acrobats perform Cirque D’Or at 8:15 p.m. at Hoover Auditorium. Free.
July 13: The Fifth Annual Lakeside Wooden Boat Show brings more than 50 historic vessels to the village. Plus, a silent auction, food, music and speakers. Starts at noon on the Hotel Lakeside lawn. Free.
July 29 & 31: The Sound of Music takes the stage at the South Auditorium. Free.
Aug. 2: Lakeside Symphony Orchestra with Pointe of Departure Ballet. Ballet dancers Karen Gabay and Raymond Rodriguez will present excerpts of some of the world’s best-loved ballets. 8:15 p.m. at Hoover Auditorium. Free.
Aug. 9: Grammy Award winner Kathy Mattea performs at 8:15 p.m. at Hoover Auditorium. Free.

Learning at Lakeside

Below are a few of the hundreds of classes, activities and lectures available this summer at Lakeside. For a full list, visit For class locations, call 1-866-952-5374 or pick up a copy of the weekly Lakesider newspaper while in town.
If you want to... Do this
Draw better in one week Artist Bev Beatty leads this adult class. July 12 through July 19
Find your chi Certified instructor Polly Peterson Stout shows how. July 2 at 3:30 p.m.
Sail away The Sailing Center offers weekly lessons for $75.
Do the Lakeside shuffle Free shuffleboard lessons weekdays from 10-11 a.m. (Tue. 9-10 a.m.) Courts and rentals always free.
Cook a gourmet meal Sign up for classes at Lorenzo’s Culinary School. 162 Walnut St., (419) 798-4414;
Do a wicked backstroke Free swimming lessons for all ages held at the beach Monday through Friday 9:30-10 a.m.
Live a joy-filled life Inspirational speaker and author Nell W. Mohney shares how July 14-18.
Discuss foreign affairs Meet Fridays at 2:30 p.m. for a weekly forum.
Create stained glass Classes for all levels throughout the summer.
Write your memoir James Ryhal, author of Where the Water is Cold, leads this two-session workshop. June 30 and July 2, and Aug. 25 and Aug. 27
Spin the wheel. Pottery classes for children July 12 through 26. Adult classes July 26 through Aug. 9 and Aug. 23 through 30
Gain insight into the Civil War Lectures and seminars held throughout the week of Aug. 18.
Communicate in a new way Learn sign language. July 19 through July 26 and Aug. 2 through 9
Sweat Hit the 10 new exercise stations and walking trail in South Lakeside.
Stretch Hatha yoga classes for women meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. and Tuesdays (experienced) at 7:15 a.m. in the Upper Room.
Use a trebuchet Kids learn about this catapulting weapon from the Middle Ages. July 5 through 19
Understand global health challenges A series of lectures explores this topic. July 28 through Aug. 1.
Add flavor to your food “Clip and Sip” herb gardening class meets Wednesdays 8-9 a.m through Aug. 27.

Learn Elsewhere on the Islands
Johnson’s Island Museum and Confederate Cemetery. From 1862 to 1865, nearly 10,000 Confederate officers were housed at the Union Army’s prisoner of war camp on Johnson’s Island. Today, the island consists mostly of houses, but visitors can cross the causeway from Marblehead to walk through the Confederate cemetery. To see photos from the time, stop by the Johnson’s Island Museum and Information Center back on the mainland in Marblehead. Open till Labor Day on weekends and holidays from 1 to 5 p.m. 414 W. Main St.,

Insider Tips
1. Arrive at the side window of The Patio by 7 a.m. to get just-made doughnuts. Second and Walnut streets, (419) 798-9144

2. The kids are wonderful, but so is an hour with a good book. Every day but Sunday you can drop your children (ages 4 to 7) off at the fenced-in supervised playground anytime from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

3. Though the village is technically dry (you can’t buy alcohol anywhere here) beverages can be brought in and enjoyed in your own quarters (as evidenced by the assortment of margarita glasses found in a home we once rented).

4. Head out to the end of the 600-foot dock after midnight on a clear night. Bring your lounge chair and enjoy the stars’ evening show.Insider TipsThe Lakeside dock Daily morning shuffleboard lessons are just one of the hundreds of feel-good activities on tap at Lakeside.
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