Sandusky – The beaches can be icy and the roller coaster calm, but the shore of Lake Erie can still be a great destination, especially during the vacation season.
Many travelers may think of the lake only as a hot-weather destination, but a quick getaway to Sandusky, which has seen a renaissance in recent years, can be a relaxing and even romantic diversion from the stress of planning, decorating, and decorating. the determination of vacations. what to do with Aunt Edna’s fruit cake.
Even with the beaches and theme parks closed for the season, visitors to Sandusky will still find an attractive downtown area filled with vacation spirit, as well as fresh food shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. And while museums and historic sites luckily aren’t that cool, they’re a lot of fun.
Whether your Sandusky vacation getaway is a couple’s weekend or a family day trip, the Merry-Go-Round Museum (301 Jackson St., www.merrygoroundmuseum.org) is a must.
The museum, which has been in existence for over 30 years, is simply a treat for anyone who is young at heart or open to a touch of old-fashioned whimsy.
Although the historic museum house was originally Sandusky’s main post office, its semi-circular Greek Revival facade appears to be designed specifically for a carousel.
And the heart of the museum is a fully restored Allan Herschell carousel, populated with a menagerie of animals old and new: horses, of course, but also a fun assortment of other creatures including a dog, a frog, a zebra and – my mount of choice – a very nice ostrich.
The museum also contains dozens of other historic carousel animals, many of which are over a century old. Visitors can occasionally watch the museum’s volunteer sculptors demonstrate sculpting and restoration techniques used on the museum’s own collection as well as pieces brought in for restoration by private collectors.
As a bonus, every evening until the end of the year the exterior of the museum will dance and shine with a brilliant light show to traditional Christmas music. And these lights are just a tiny fraction of the sparkling decorations that light up the entire downtown area during the holiday season.
An exhilarating way to enjoy the entire spectacle is aboard a guided holiday tour with the award-winning Sandusky Segwave (107 Columbus Ave., sanduskysegwave.com). Customers ride Segway scooters, a fun way to get around no matter the surroundings.
Guided tours leave the company’s downtown office and meander through the sparkling lawns of the Courthouse and Washington Park, descend Columbus Street past beautifully decorated private homes, and return to the community’s giant Christmas tree live on the Schade-Mylander Plaza, at the water’s edge.
Visitors looking for last minute holiday shopping will also find many interesting boutiques and shops in downtown Sandusky.
Anyone looking for a gift for me (or someone my age) will find an incredible variety of 1970s, 80s, and 90s nostalgia at Soda Pop’s, 209 W. Water St., nestled among the quaint and historic storefronts of Water. Street.
I also wouldn’t mind if Santa stopped by at Sandusky Wine Merchant, 211 W. Water St., which sells fine wine, beer and wine by the glass and is operated by the long-time restaurateur. Columbus date and wine expert Kevin Bertschi.
Located at 223 W. Water Street, the boutique Hotel Kilbourne offers comfortable accommodation in a historic building with lake and city views, ideal for a romantic and comfortable stay in December.
For more shopping, dining and entertainment, stop by the Marketplace at the Cooke (133 E. Market St., https://www.facebook.com/MarketplaceAtCooke/). In addition to shops and restaurants, the indoor site includes Noble Crafts, a tavern specializing in craft beers and also featuring ax throwing, bowling, Skeeball, pinball, and board games.
Finally, history buffs should consider a visit to the Sandusky Maritime Museum (125 Meigs St., www.sanduskymaritime.org) within a 15-minute walk of the County Courthouse.
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The museum is a great place to learn about the city’s rich maritime history. Exhibits including boat building, passenger ferries, local Underground Railroad connections, commercial fishing and, what is appropriate enough for a holiday visit, the town’s history as an ancient the ice harvesting capital of America.
For more information on all there is to see and do in Sandusky, visit Lake Erie Shores & Islands at www.shoresandislands.com.
Steve Stephens is a freelance travel writer and photographer. Email him at [email protected]