Other mainstays promise to loom as large as ever, including the 420-foot Top Thrill Dragster and the Millennium Force, guaranteed to elicit screams from riders experiencing a 300-foot drop at 93 miles per hour. With 16 thrill rides, Cedar Point is a coaster lover’s dream. Many of the park’s attractions are also designed with children and parents in mind, such as the Dinosaur’s Alive exhibit, where nearly 50 life-like dinosaurs roar at guests who dare to walk the paths on Adventure Island. On the midway, rumbling bellies can find appeasement in favorite foods based on local recipes: The legendary thick cut twice-cooked french fries and the many-flavored treats of Toft’s Ice Cream, headquartered just down the road. There’s sit-down dining, too, at Famous Dave’s Legendary Bar B Que restaurant, and fine-dining at Bay Harbor. “Cedar Point is the perfect destination spot for families. You can be young and on the midway or 92 and sitting remembering memories of your time on the beach. There is something for all ages,” Edwards said. For those who venture beyond the amusement park, another world awaits.
Guiding Light Marblehead Lighthouse draws visitors from all over. Rising up out of the Lake Erie coastline, the Marblehead Lighthouse beckons tourists and boaters alike. Operating since 1822, it is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. From its perch on the tip of the rocky shores of the Marblehead Peninsula, it has been faithfully guiding boaters along dangerous, shallow waters and offering safe passage into Sandusky Bay for nearly two centuries. It is ironic, perhaps, that Marblehead Lighthouse has become a siren luring more than a million tourists every year to this slice of land on Ohio’s northwest shore. This 19th century lighthouse is the most photographed site in Ohio. “It is a real lighthouse you can touch and climb,” says Diane Rozak, a naturalist at the lighthouse. “You cannot do that at too many lighthouses. It’s beautiful, it’s romantic and it’s stunning. It’s a great place to reflect, walk, do what you want.”
photo by marge beaver
East Harbor naturalists and volunteers run tours at the park, open from May 28 to August 30. From June to August, park tours are noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4-6 p.m. Sundays. The lighthouse itself is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the second Saturday of each month, from June though October. The Marblehead Lighthouse Festival is all day October 12. On a clear day, visitors can see to Avon Point — about 30 miles across the lake — as well as the islands of Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island. Afterward, tourists can picnic as they enjoy stunning views of Lake Erie’s white-capped waters. A nearby formation of rocks jutting into the lake offers a particularly suitable spot to bask in the lake breeze, a welcome respite from the heat of a summer day. The U.S. Coast Guard operates the lighthouse and maintains the beacon,
but the Ohio Department of Natural Resources actually owns and maintains the Marblehead Lighthouse tower. And while the lighthouse is now automated, a keeper’s house stands ever vigilant next door. In a nod to history, visitors should venture to the original Keeper’s House at 9999 E. Bayshore Road. It’s just a few miles away and well worth the drive. Built in 1822 as the personal home of the first appointed lighthouse keeper, Benajah Wolcott, and his wife, the Keeper’s House maintains all the glory of its storied history. The first three keepers of the Marblehead Lighthouse lived at the home until 1841. They kept constant watch over the everchanging waters of Lake Erie, where thick fog can quickly shroud the cluster of small islands near the bay. Today, the original Keeper’s House is operated as a historic museum. For hours call 419-798-9339 or 419-798-5832. — M.T.
The Voice of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior