I joined several of my girlfriends from college on an unforgettable girlfriend getaway in Sandusky. You might not think of Sandusky as a typical destination for a weekend away but we found so many ways to take our adventures to the extreme with a good mix of downtime in between. The Shores and Islands region has so much to offer visitors.
My friend Melissa and I started our daytrip with a visit to Kelleys Island. This was a new adventure for both of us. We rode the Jet Express ferry from downtown Sandusky that goes directly to Kelleys Island. We checked out a golf cart and decided to stop for lunch. You can drive vehicles on the island but with the slower speed limits it’s WAY more fun to explore in a golf cart.
I’m a firm believer in asking for advice from the locals when you visit a destination. We were fortunate that the employee at Portside Marina took the time to show us all of the points of interests to help us make the most out of our visit to the island.
Lunch Stop at the Village Pump
Known for their Lake Erie Perch and Brandy Alexander (brandy, Creme de Cocoa, Heavy Cream and Nutmeg. Whats not to love on in that), the Village Pump was a stop recommended to us by several people. We tried the perch and then later came back before we left the island to try the Brandy Alexander.
Other Points of Interests
A few other notable points of interest were Inscription Rock ,with over 100 engravings from Indians on a limestone boulder, East Quarry trails for gorgeous scenic trails, Kelley’s Island Wine Company ( make sure that you check out the KI Cantina next door where we got the chips and queso), and if you like beer there is Kelleys Island Brewery. If you are looking for a scenic location to eat by the water try Dockers and for sunset try the West Bay Inn. If you want to take a dip in the water visit Kelleys Island State Park.
A gem that you can’t miss during a visit to Kelleys Island is the 10 acre sculpture garden. When I find a combination of art and nature, I’m in my happy place. When we arrived at the location we discovered the artist and founder relaxing with a book. Charles was gracious enough to pause his reading to show us around the property while answering my endless questions.
Charles is pictured above with his favorite piece, “So far no farther.” The sculpture is special to him because he spent so many hours on it, 330, if I remember correctly. Charles taught at The Columbus College of Art and Design for 34 years and his works in a variety of mediums have appeared in galleries all over the country. Seriously, go visit this place!
The Glacial Grooves were a big reason for why I wanted to visit Kelleys Island. They are the largest and most accessible in the world which are 400 feet long, 35 feet wide and up to 10 feet deep, suggesting the tremendous power of the ice that formed them. So of course I needed to see them for myself.
There are several informational plaques located around the fencing. You cannot step on the actual grooves to help preserve them for future generations.
I attended and spoke at a session at Bloggy Con and one of the perks of attending the conference and staying onsite at Hotel Breakers was 5 tickets to Cedar Point on Friday, Saturday AND Sunday. That meant 3 days of full throttle fun! On Friday night we went on all of the big thrill rides which included a sprint across the park through the scary section to make it to Maverick before the line closed at midnight.
Friday night is perfect for people who enjoy the scary stuff and Sunday is always a good day to visit the park because the lines tend to be shorter the later it gets in the day. We even ended up going on the slingshot that takes you 350 ft in the air. (the launch takes place around 1:14 in the video)
The video package was definitely worth the price because the expressions on my friend’s face were priceless!
The experience was definitely scarier to watch than to actually experience. The ride was so smooth and peaceful providing incredible views of the water from the sky. I had tried a Slingshot in high school during spring break in Florida and this experience felt way more smooth!
Staying onsite at Hotel Breakers is definitely the way to go because you can walk back and forth to the park depending on your schedule and interests. Your parking is included and you also have a beach, indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, and a large fire pit area perfect for large groups.
Downtown in Sandusky is experiencing a revitalization thanks to many local businesses and restaurants who are dedicated to making Sandusky an all year destination. Enjoy a view of the water from the only rooftop bar in town at Moseley’s Public House located inside and above Hotel Kilbourne, Sandusky’s only boutique hotel.
We were also invited to preview some of the menu items from Ryan and Nikki Whaley’s newest business venture, OH Taco located adjacent to Moseley’s. Be on the lookout for their grand opening in October and make sure that you definitely order the Lobster Queso… and the Churros.. and the Salad…and of course the Tacos. Honestly after trying a sampling of the menu, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything you order.
That nights we tried the Lobster Queso ( House Queso which includes hot sauce, diced green chiles and tomatoes with large chunks of lobster and a touch of sherry vinegar), Black Beans (carmelized onion and ancho chiles), Walnut + Goat Cheese + Dates salad w/ honey & orange vinaigrette, Grilled Fish Taco (Smashed avocado, spiced tilapia topped with pineapple & citrus slaw), Carnitas al Pastor Taco (12 hour braised pork topped w/ cabbage and honey pineapple vinaigrette), Mezcal Chicken Taco (Mezcal marinated chicken thigh with apricot mole, crema, carmelized onion and fresh cilantro), and Bavarian filled churros spiced with cinnamon and chili served with coffee dark chocolate sauce.
A Throwback Drink
You will also want to make a special stop at Volstead Bar for handcrafted prohibition style cocktails. I should also note that Volstead is a speakeasy that is intentionally discreet from street view. Once the bar is at it’s capacity at around 24 seats, you will need to wait for a seat to be open in order to enter. The green light above the window lets you know if there are seats available and if so, how many. The red light means that there is no seating available. A handcrafted cocktail takes time so keep that in mind while you wait and say hello to our new friend Christopher who does a great job there.
Tour Sandusky by Segway
Learn more about the history of downtown Sandusky on a 1 or 2 hour tour with Sandusky Segwaves. Your tour begins with a hands on safety training to make sure that you feel comfortable with the machine and then travels to points of interest thoughout downtown Sandusky including a story about the boy and the boot.
I’ve taken several Segways tours in various cities but this was my first one with an audio earpiece which really made a difference. I was so impressed by our tour guide Jim who also happens to be the owner. He create a fun and informative tour and he also has big heart. Each month he selects a local charity to donate to and he also donates his personal tips to a non profit that helps give children with cleft palates a surgeries for their smiles.
Kalahari Indoor Waterpark
Our final overnight was at Kalahari Indoor Waterpark. You don’t need kids to have a good time here. You can relax in the wave pool, enjoy the 21 and up swim up bar, or test out more of the waterslides. In our case, we did all of the above. The most comical parts of our waterpark experience were surfing the Flowrider and the Tanzanian Twister that twists you into a funnel and then drops you several feet into a pool of water. I’d share the video but I’m a good friend.
I’m so grateful for my weekend away with my girlfriends from college. Although we don’t see each other as often as we would like due to geography, we always seem to pick back up where we left off when we are back together. Sharing adventures is one of my favorite things to do with the people that I care about and we got to cross off quite a few during our weekend in Sandusky from first visits to Kelley’s Island, first rides on thrill rides, slingshots, waterslides, and a Segway.
Thanks again to Shores and Islands for hosting a portion of our visit.