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Boomers & Beyond, News, Plates & Places

PLATES AND PLACES JULY 2017 – Back to the Bay

Back to the Bay
–by Jennifer Ruple

 Jennifer Ruple

Jennifer Ruple







A view of the harbor from Rita’s Cantina at The Boardwalk at Put-in-Bay.

It’s funny how per-ceptions can change over time. Could it really have been two decades since we had visited Put-in-Bay, the Key West of the North as it’s nicknamed? It had been at least that long, considering we’ve been married for 20 years.

As youngsters, we knew South Bass Island, aka Put-in-Bay, to be the place to escape the daily grind of work, get away with friends on a Saturday, and get a little crazy, or a lot crazy I should say. With this in mind, I was leery of reporting on the island for a baby boomer publication.

We opted to make the trip on a Thursday, the better weather choice and hoped there would be less of a crowd.

Getting there is half the fun
The quickest way to the bay is the Jet Express. Board at Port Clinton, sit on the top level for the best view and enjoy the approximately 30-minute boat ride to the island. If you plan on visiting on a day other than a Saturday, take advantage of the Jet and Cart for Two offer, which includes: two adult round-trip tickets and a two-seater golf cart to zip around in when you get there, which I highly recommend so you can explore the entire island. There are some exclusions to the offer though … it’s not valid the day of purchase so book in advance, on Saturdays or on blackout dates. For details, visit

The Jet Express in Port Clinton, Ohio

A blast from the past
We arrived on the island around noon, picked up our golf cart, which was an extremely easy process and no lines. As we drove around, we were pleasantly surprised at how pretty the island looked with flowers blooming everywhere. Next, we strolled around the downtown area and visited old haunts such as the historic Round House Bar. The 1873 establishment is known for its mural-painted plaster walls, overhead canopy, live entertainment and buckets of beer. The last time we were there, it was wall-to-wall partygoers spilling drinks all over each other. However, this time and being a Thursday afternoon, there were a few dozen folks enjoying some beer and great live music.

The Round House Bar

A bite to eat
After our walk, it was time for lunch. There is no shortage of burgers and fries on the island; however, we were in the mood for something with more Florida flair. We chose The Keys Restaurant, which not only afforded us gorgeous views of the lake and harbor but a Caribbean-style menu with dishes such as Blackened Mahi Tacos, Lobster Salad Sliders and Chicken Teriyaki and Veggies.

Teriyaki Chicken at The Keys Restaurant


Taking in the scenery
Following lunch, we hopped on our golf cart and set out to see what else there was on this 2 x 4-mile island. Our first stop was the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. Unfortunately, the observation deck, rotunda, and plazas are closed in 2017 for cleaning and repairs; however, the visitor’s center is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily until October 1. From the monument, we headed northwest along the coast and enjoyed the ride while taking in the scenery of quaint cottages and beautiful homes situated just feet from the water. Also along our self-guided tour, we came across Heineman’s Winery and South Bass Island State Park beach and campgrounds.

And, for the adventurous, we found a myriad of services on the island that offer activities such as charter fishing, parasailing, jet skiing, tubing and paddle boarding.

A fond farewell
Prior to our departure for home, we wrapped up our island excursion with tropical cocktails from Rita’s Cantina at The Boardwalk. Put-in-Bay was certainly different this time around for us in a very good way, providing us with that relaxing, island getaway we were hoping for.

Heineman Winery



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