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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Travellers Tales 2012 Supplemental: Marblehead Lighthouse and East Harbor State Park, OH

Part 3 of the Labor Day extravaganza, only two months late.

After we left Great Wolf Lodge, we spent the day at Marble Head lighthouse and the beach at East Harbor State Park. First, we needed breakfast or lunch, as it were. We stopped at a place called. Marblehead Galley.

I think it was under a different name the last time I had been out here, some 12 years ago. It was a tad busy. In fact, the server said that if we were having lunch it would be longer than if we were having breakfast. Apparently, there were a few big parties and they didn’t have everything switched over for the lunch menu… I try not to figure it out as my head begins to hurt when I do.

Another factor contributing to the long wait was a somewhat small seating area. However, the food was excellent. It was probably the meal I had that weekend. I had their signature waffle and it was delicious. The food was worth the forty five minute wait.

The Lighthouse was how I remembered it in my Cedar Point days. You could see all the way to the park. However, the beach was a bit of a letdown. Now, I’ve exclaimed to wife that Lake Erie beaches aren’t the same thing as the beaches of the Outer Banks. The sand isn’t sand color and the water isn’t very appealing. She continued to call me a negative Nancy about the whole thing.

However, when we reached the beach of East Harbor State Park, it looked like a post apocalyptic beach. The building, which used to house showers and restrooms was pretty well abandoned and simple plywood cubes were constructed in the entrances of the restrooms, serving as changing stalls. There was no bathroom, save a port-a-john in the parking lot. Along the beach side walls were a string of shower heads at shin level. That was your only way to wash off the scum.

As you walk down the ramp to the beach, a sign gives you all you need to know about the area. Now, usually, beaches will have warnings about the tides, lack of lifeguards, or general things you should not do. Except, how often do you see warnings about ingesting the water and watching for slime and algae?

My wife’s mood soured. My kid was all gung ho to get in the water but her mother wasn’t having it. “Toxic blue-green algae?”  My immediate thoughts from seeing the sign and state of the area was a bit from Creepshow 2, called "The Raft".

The lack of a proper shower just sealed the deal over the whole thing. Now, I truly hate to be right in these situations but I had just say, “Why do you not listen to me when I say that Lake Erie is not the ocean and it’s a bit of a cesspool?”

“Shut up!” was the only response she would give. Up the road a bit was what looked to be a newer station being built. It was all enclosed with fences and “Do Not Enter” signs. A passerby who had been coming to these beaches in her youth said that there were stations all up and down the beach, active, and clean. No more.

Eventually, we decided to leave, against our kid’s wishes. We let her play in the sand for about an hour before packing up and heading out. It was a downer moment on an otherwise fun trip.

Perhaps next year, we’ll find a new place to go, or as my kid expressed, “Let’s go back to Splash Lagoon.” Frankly, I don’t have a problem with that. I liked Great Wolf Lodge, but it wasn’t really built for adults. It was built for kids whose parents were happy to watch them frolic while they just stood around.

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