6/19/2011 : Vermilion, Ohio : Coordinates N 41.425288 W 82.362378
Vermilion is one of our favorite places to visit on Lake Erie. It is very picturesque, has good docking facilities, good protection from the weather, and many shopping and eating options within walking distance.
The town has maintained its charm and leveraged the waterfront along the Vermilion River and Lake Erie. In the early 1900s it was one of the only ports along the lake that catered to pleasure craft. Today there are 3 primary options for transient docking: Water Works public docks, McGarvey’s Landing (both maintained and managed by the Vermilion Port Authority), and the Vermilion Yacht Club.
As you enter the river from the lake, on the left will be a series of canals lined with homes. This area is called the Lagoons. Prior to 1928 this area was a wide beach and marshland. The area was dredged and lots were plotted to develop a summer home community. Most if not all of the homes are a cape cod architecture and have water frontage with private docks. Along the second canal is the Vermilion Yacht Club. The yacht club has excellent facilities and it is a very quiet place to dock your boat. The Lagoons has an excellent beach area that is arguably one of the best on Lake Erie. Nice sand, well maintained and very broad.
It is an easy walk to town center or to the commercial area east of downtown. There are many restaurants within walking distance, including one of our favorite restaurants – Chez Francois. Chez is an upscale, gourmet restaurant right on the river. You can dine inside in a formal atmosphere or eat on the patio overlooking the water in a casual atmosphere. They also have an excellent bar called Touche which has its own menu, including many items that are also served in the restaurant. The food and atmosphere are fantastic! They have several docks that can be used while dining at no charge, so you can bring your boat or you can dinghy over from where you are docked. The Water Works Port Authority docks are adjacent to the restaurant.
McGarvey’s Landing has dockage along the waterfront of Quaker Steak and Lube. It is a fun, casual restaurant that is known for their chicken wings. They have bands on the weekends and it gets pretty crowded. It can be noisy on the weekends but quiets down after 11 PM. It is fun to dock there and people watch.
If you walk to the commercial area east of downtown, within 20 minutes you can find grocery stores, pharmacies, West Marine, fast food, various restaurants and a hardware store.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day it is best to call ahead and reserve dockage as it gets very crowded. If you dock at McGarvey’s Landing make sure you say hello to Sailor, the golden retriever of one of the dock masters.