Best state park we’ve seen and then heading east

Maumee Bay State Park is what a real campground/park should look like.  All the other states should take a lesson.  We had spot #63 and enough room here for at least 3 other units by other standards.  Level, paved parking spot over 50 ft long, with grass, picnic table, trees, a pond out back and within walking distance of the beach on Lake Erie!  Sad to have to leave this one.

We drove on across Ohio while continuing to marvel at the fields of corn.  All the while we were driving on the Ohio turnpike just south of the Lake Erie shoreline.  Another great lake!  We continued to see large fields of corn.  Then we worked our way just around Cleveland heading towrds Erie, PA.  Amazing how fast you can cross a state when you are traveling 65 MPH on a turnpike.  Bad thing is there are no nice roadside parks and the only stops are at the service plazas which are jammed with travelers.  As we got closer to Erie the landscape began to change and more rolling hills and small farms. Then we noticed vineyards on both side of the road. I checked and discovered we were driving through the Lake Erie Wine Country, formerly the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail, located on the south shore of beautiful Lake Erie in Pennsylvania and New York. There are wineries, villages and beaches that are nestled among green rolling hills in the midst of 30,000 contiguous acres of luscious, fragrant grape vineyards. The majority of those 30,000 acres are native grapes of the Labrusca variety. In the past 50 years, however, abundant and diverse varieties of wine grapes have been planted in the region with fantastic results. Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and hybrids like Vidal and Vignoles are whites that generally do well in the region, as do the following red varietals: Blaufrankisch (Lemberger), Dornfelder, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and hybrids Noiret and Chambourcin. These grapes thrive here, producing exquisite fruit for exquisite wines. We actually saw about 40 miles of vineyards on both sides the highway.

We drove on 20 more miles to our destination for the night, Findley Lakes, NY which is just over the border. What a quaint, small resort town we discovered.  We drove on a narrow 2 lane road winding past a variety of houses with some Victorians built on the banks of Findley Lake which is a small lake only 3 miles long.  We drove slowly into the Paradise Bay Park off of Hwy 426 and Shadyside.  The owner there is the nicest man, very helpful and showed us to our overnight site.  It had rained there and this place is on a hill and in the woods but our spot was level.  Lots of seasonal people here but was still very quiet. We hooked up the power and water then drove back about 10 miles on small roads to get more diesel.  On our way back we stopped at Z’s on the Lake for an early dinner of New York style pizza on the deck while overlooking Findley Lake and Main Street in town.  Then back to our abode for a good night’s sleep.

The Village of Findley Lake was settled by war of 1812 veteran Alexander Findley who in 1815 built a dam to power his mill and thus created the lake from two ponds. The settlement that grew up around the mills prospered and by the 1890’s you could just about buy anything you needed in Findley Lake. The Lakeside Assembly on the southwest shore entertained and inspired during the summers between 1895 and 1915 with programs that rivalled Chautauqua Assembly, at the Chautauqua Institution . The Assembly was reached by two steamboats, the Silver Spray and the Daisy.


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