Monthly Archives: June 2011


6/19/2011 : Vermilion, Ohio : Coordinates N 41.425288  W 82.362378


The Vermilion River viewed from McGarvey’s Landing

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.

First Overnight Voyage

6/18/2011 : Put In Bay, Ohio : Coordinates N 41.656641 W 82.820159

Anchored at Put in Bay

Anchored at Put in Bay

After several weeks of day sailing we have worked out the kinks and gotten used to sailing and docking the boat, and we made our first overnight trip starting with Put In Bay. There is an event every year that is coordinated by a Columbus Ohio FM rock station, QFM 96, called the Put In Bay Breakfast Club. QFM 96 broadcasts their morning show from The Boardwalk restaurant on the upper deck and everyone starts drinking at 6 AM. It is usually well attended and always very entertaining. Some friends of ours from Columbus were staying on South Bass Island (where Put In Bay is) and we decided to meet them for the Breakfast Club.

Put In Bay has a history of drunkenness and debauchery that dates back to the late 1800’s and it gets pretty crazy on the weekends at night. The main street downtown is lined with bars and restaurants and some small touristy shops. Beyond the main street there are quite a few residential homes, hotels, B&Bs in addition to other sight seeing things to do. It is actually very cool for Ohio. Ferry service is available from Port Clinton, Sandusky and at the tip of Catawba. There are public docks and mooring buoys for boats to tie up. It is affectionately called “the Key West of the Midwest”. Below are pictures of some of our favorite stops.

The Boardwalk:
PIB 2011 07 04_04 cmpThe Boardwalk offers great waterfront views, fully stocked bars and pretty good food. They have excellent Key West Pinks shrimp and their own recipe for lobster bisque. Outstanding!

PIB Frosty Bar cmpThe Frosty Bar serves cold Labatt Blue drafts in chilled fish bowl glasses and there is always an interesting crowd in there. Their pizza is marginal at best, but somehow it tastes fantastic at midnight after some serious drinking.

Mojito Bay:
PIB Mojito Bay_2 cmpMojito Bay has a cool décor featuring swinging bar seats and a “beach like” sand floor.

Round House:
PIB Round House Bar cmpThe Round House Bar is actually round and has a big crescent shaped bar. They usually feature pretty good bands and there is almost always a crowd. It has an interesting history which you can check out at

We attended the Breakfast Club and afterwards hosted a mid-day happy hour with our friends aboard the boat.

PIB 2011 06 17_09 cmp

The day before, on the trip from Catawba to Put in Bay, we were getting a “low batt” message when trying to engage the autopilot. So we decided to dig in to that and try to get “Otto” working again. Anyone who owns a boat can attest to the fact that being a contortionist is a mandatory prerequisite for ownership, and this became a prime example in spite of the roomy design of Island Packets. We had no luck in finding any loose wires or voltage abnormalities so I will have to call Raymarine and figure out what to do next.

Some other very close friends who live in the Catawba area met us for dinner at Put in Bay, and afterwards we called it a night. Tomorrow we head for Vermillion.