Oct 27, 2014

Exploring Ashtabula's Wine Country

John and I like to break up our road trips by stopping at new places.
On our way to visit family in Ohio we had a wonderful stay at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.  Yes, there is more than one Geneva-on-the-Lake.  The one in Ohio is part of Geneva State Park where there is picnicking, camping, cabins, boating, trails, swimming,
fishing and more.  The Lodge is a beautiful resort with rooms that have great views of Lake Erie.  The first day we were there it was rainy and the lake was kicking up but the next morning the water calmed, the sun came out, and it was beautiful.  It was interesting to see the lake on two very different days. Wonder what it looks like in the winter. There is a lovely walk along the lake’s edge, great dining and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, both of which are heated.  

The hotel has its own bus that offers a variety of tours on a regular basis.  I took the Vineyard Tour which started at Pairings. It is not a winery but a newly opened, non-profit all-Ohio wine center offering award winning wines from all geographic areas of the state.  Besides wine tasting and flights they offer cooking classes and other events.  I like the concept of Cork & Canvas.  They insure that even novices will end up with a painting suitable for framing.  

Our next stop was the Winery at Spring Hill. They feature 22 different wines and an extensive menu. I liked their method of serving flights. Small glasses were placed on a paper placemat and labeled allowing the true wine lover to make notations. Our guide, Roger, said they have the best steak and that he and his wife love to eat there. While driving around Roger explained that the sandy soil which was the bottom of the lake in days of yore is great for growing the grapes but the awful winter of 2014 took its toll on the vines and many died making it a difficult year for wine making.  Our next stop was Grand River Cellars. They took us down into the wine cellar where the finer points of wine production were

explained. I couldn’t leave without buying their olive oil infused with dried tomatoes. At the M Cellars, one of the newer wineries, the
view of the vineyards was great. Each winery seemed to have something unique.  At M Cellars their handcrafted wooden rockers had a special place in the arm of the chair to hold the wine glass.  Great idea.  Across the road from M Cellar was Red Eagle Distillery where they make bourbon, rye whiskey, and vodka plus they have 10 craft beers on tap.  I could not resist the Gingerbread Cream Vodka cocktail.  There are many wineries in the area The Lodge tour does not always visit the same wineries.  All the wineries offer food from tapas to full course meals often with entertainment. 

Roger was an excellent guide who shared information on the local area and made an unscheduled stop at the smallest covered bridge plus drove through the main street of Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio’s first summer resort.  It is similar to Sylvan Beach on New York’s Oneida Lake.  It was basically deserted because the season was over but it looked like a “cool” place to visit during the summer. I’ll add it to my “Gotta’ Visit” list.