These are the signs we saw all over Sandusky, Ohio. Intriguing, because I didn't remember ever seeing them before; albeit the last time I was in the city, I didn't go around town (it was a family matter visit, no recreation involved). This time though, we were looking for things to do that were fun because we were on summer vacation, woohoo!! This was our destination for our stop-where-we we-want-along-the-way road trip, and we were so happy when we arrived. I went straight to my mom's, visited for awhile, slept for a bit, and woke up raring to go! Of course, grandma and little man were already up, had eaten and were goofing around. They both commented on my snoozing in so long (I'm usually the earliest riser in this whole family). :) It was going to be a good vacation!
My mom brought me a cup of coffee (ahhh, it's good to be 'home') and I remembered the signs. We talked about what to do for the day, and I pulled up the Lake Erie Shores & Islands website. I'll link it here so you can take a look if you are in the area too (or will be in the near future) because that website turned out to be an online Gold Mine! The team that put it together (and as much info. is on there, it had to be a team?) was thorough. There were awesome and plentiful options galore!
Sandusky, Port Clinton, Huron, Catawba Island, Milan, Vermilion, and on and on and on. It had information for the city we were in, as well as every one close enough to take a comfortable drive. There it was, our to-do list in waiting, all in one big, fat, glorious nutshell. One of the first things we knew we wanted to do was head on over to Put-in-Bay. This is an island close to Sandusky, that I'd been to as a child (field trip for school) but my kids (3 who are now grown) and my mom had never seen. There are a couple of ways to get there, and the Jet Express, as detailed on the Lake Erie Shores & Islands sounded the best. It not only took you to downtown Put-in-Bay, where all of the action is, but it also got you there on a big, comfortable boat that goes fast! Yes! Oh yes, we were all in.
We headed to Jackson Pier in Sandusky, Ohio. Parking for the day at the pier was free (hurrah), or metered (if you wanted, but why would you?) and waited for our boat to arrive. You can get your tickets ahead of time online (a direct link to the site is available on the Lake Erie Shore & Islands website) or you can get them in person at the window on the dock. The Jet Express will take you to Cedar Point (oh how we love Cedar Point, the world's best amusement park for record-breaking roller coaster fun), Kelley's Island (I'd love to go there to see the glacier grooves!), and/or Put-in-Bay. The ticket prices are very reasonable, and the boat is a real beauty (or 'boats' I should say, because more than one boat is operating at any given time).
The inside of the boat had a lot of seating options. There were three decks to sit on...the first level with comfy booths or stadium seating. This area was nice for us because my mom is in her 70's and not overly prone to wanting to climb stairs. It was also inside and had an observation window in the front (so cool). There was a second deck that had a half inside/half outside seating area, and a third on-the-top, wind-in-your-hair deck (my name for it, not theirs). :) My mom needed a little help on the incline ramp to get on the boat, and every hand at the door reached out to her coming up (thank you, Jet Express!). I took her arm and we headed in. We sat in a booth on the first level.
The morning ride was a little choppy (we picked the earliest time to go, on a pretty windy day), but still smooth most of the way, and boy was it fast! It felt very safe, and it was definitely a comfortable boat ride. Because it was one of the first boats out that day, there weren't a lot of people on board, which was fine by us; that meant faster boarding and unloading times. :)
The views outside of the windows were nice. Cedar Point is in the background here, and little man was all eyes. He remembers that park, and it was definitely on our list of things to do.
I have to admit this backside view from the water (one you don't see at the park) of the Steel Vengeance Roller Coaster had me excited too. No one in my family had been on this yet, at this point of our trip, and it looked like a real gem. If you look closely, you can see it is a steel/wood hybrid coaster. The steel track is built into a wood frame! We already knew all about this ride and were eager to give it a try (soon!), but if you wanted to learn more about what you were seeing, you could look it up online. My WiFi worked on the boat ride.
I'm a sucker for a boat scene, so I was loving the areas we would pass where boats were docked. I may or may not have taken ninety-eleven pictures as we were passing these kinds of areas.
We passed some of the other area islands as we were going, and the announcer would fill us in on where we were at, and what it was we were seeing. We learned that some people stay on these islands year-round. That's definitely not something I'd want to do, that water freezes over solid in the winter, but kudos to those who do! I can definitely see the appeal of staying in the summer though!
When our ride came to an end we were, just as promised, dropped off right in the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay. That is important because the other ferry that brings passengers, drops them off on the other side of the island (or at least that's what I read online, and I didn't see a boat dock for them on this side). I didn't want to travel to play, we'd already traveled on the boat. I just wanted to delve right in, and with the location of the Jet Express dock, we got to do exactly that...
|See those great observation windows at the front of the boat??|
We waved 'so long' to our boat, and headed out on our way. I'll be writing more about our vacation time at Put-in-Bay soon! You know, I was initially just going to write about Jet Express briefly, at the beginning of my 'island-hopping for the day' blog post, but the ride in and of itself was so pleasant, I decided to feature it. If you are going to Cedar Point, Kelleys Island, or Put-in-Bay, I highly recommend getting there via Jet Express. I also recommend visiting the Lake Erie Shores & Islands website, even if you are familiar with the area (I grew up in Sandusky and still found wonderful things to do!) for finding events, places, and a ton of things to do while you are in the area.