When I walk into my room at the Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, the beam of light from the sliding glass door balcony is like a vacation welcome mat. As I step outside, the late afternoon sun glistens off of Lake Erie with the backdrop of a musician playing acoustic guitar on the patio of Horizons restaurant in the courtyard below. It’s the perfect start to a two-day getaway.
In the distance I see bikers, joggers, families, photographers, birders and peace seekers sharing the path that borders the lodge property and the shores of Lake Erie. One direction of the path goes for several miles connecting Geneva State Park, the marina, and the public beach.
The path’s other direction leads you past the stunning new family cottages that offer more vacation privacy for families and additional multi-use recreational trails.
I find a quiet bench just steps from the lodge to settle in for the main spectacle that happens at sunset. People start to gather and cameras come out to watch the northern Ohio sky transition with colors like a mood ring from pastel pinks and blues to vibrant, breathtaking oranges and reds that proceed nightfall.
Mornings at Geneva-on-the-Lake are busy with anglers heading out to fish for savory lake Erie walleye with DB Sport Fishing Charters, families enjoying the outdoor pool and public beach and hikers hitting the trails. In the winter, the trails become havens for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
I opt for fishing, hiking and shooting photos in Geneva State Park where I can seamlessly go from one activity to the next because everything is conveniently connected. This is a unique feature for park lodges, which oftentimes have amenities, and outdoor options spread out, meaning you either have to drive to do an activity, or use extra time just to get to another location.
One of the benefits of also having the marina connected to the lodge property is the ease of renting Jet Skis and Paddleboards, then walking steps back to your room to change for your next excursion. While I enjoy the amount of activities on the lodge grounds and spent an entire day doing as many of them as possible, the community surrounding the lodge is charming and where I spend my second day.
A popular past time in the area is visiting the many wineries for tastings. The lodge offers regular wine shuttles for tasting tours, which is a fun and convenient way to do a romantic weekend or girlfriend getaway.
Downtown Geneva-on-the-Lake, which is a one-mile strip, you find a summer resort town of yesteryear. You will find old arcades that have been resurrected, charming eateries, putt-putt, pubs and odd shops with names like The Wine and Bling Shop.
I make my way to Eddie’s Grill for lunch which has been a staple here since 1950. I belly up to a stool at the open-air bar table and enjoy listening to a man and his daughter reminisce about the last time they came here more than 40 years ago.
I order the fried fish and French fries and get a chuckle as the waitress punches in the price on the big-button old-fashioned register. It’s cash only here, which is how it’s been for more than 65 years.
The strip is like stepping back into a simpler time, where vacation memories were made by doing things with family, like enjoying a root beer, playing an arcade game or watching a magic show. That simplicity is what I find most endearing about Geneva-on-the-Lake.
After a few days of doing all the things that I enjoy, with no time schedule to keep, I wind down with one last Lake Erie sunset and milk and cookies from downstairs. This is such perfect spot for a family vacation, but I found just as much joy rejuvenating on a solo trip.