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On Ohio's Lake Erie Wine Trail: Getting to South Bass Island

July 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM | by | ()

Everybody knows the Wine Trails of Napa/Sonoma, Argentina, the Loire Valley and, more recently, NY's Hudson Valley, but this week it's all about Ohio. Yes, Ohio has wineries—lots of 'em actually—and we'll be sharing our favorites with you.

Today: Getting to the town of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, home to two excellent wineries

Now that we've covered two coastal Ohio wineries on the mainland, it's time to head out over open water to two more...on an island...in Lake Erie. Yes, you read that right. Not only does Ohio have excellent wineries, but it's also got excellent islands. We like to think of Put-in-Bay as the cheaper, more casual, Midwest version of Nantucket and, just like with Nantucket, there's few ways to reach it.

By Ferry:
· Miller Boat Line. This is our preferred method, as it's the fastest, most affordable and most reliable way, plus even on holiday weekends the crowds are manageable. The Miller Ferry leaves from its dock at the tip of Catawba Island. Google Map it—Google knows. There are several free parking lots for the ferry and the area is very walkable.

One-way adult fares are $6.50. Taking your bike? Add $2. Taking your car? Arrive early and add $15. The trip is around 15-20 minutes over to Put-in-Bay's Lime Kiln dock. From there you can chose to rent a golf cart ($11/hour for a 2-seater) or a bike at the top of the dock. Or hop in a taxi bus ($2.50 per person) to downtown.

· Jet Express. This is the most popular method as it looks coolest, but the crowds can be insane. The Jet Express leaves from downtown Port Clinton, right by the drawbridge. You'll pay for parking.

One-way adult fares are $14.99. Taking your bike? Add $3.50. Taking your car? Tough luck; the Jet Express doesn't ferry cars. The trip is about 45 minutes over to the Jet Express dock in downtown Put-in-Bay. You won't need a taxi to reach the strip of bars and restaurants as they're within easy walking distance. Still, to reach the wineries we'll discuss the rest of this week you'll need to rent a golf cart/bike/moped.

By Air:
· Private plane or helicopter. Put-in-Bay Airport (code: 3W2) is mostly served by private prop planes as the runway is only 2,870' long and unlit. The closest other airport (to make it a short flight) is Erie-Ottawa Regional. This route is actually quite a historical one, as Ford Tri-motor planes used to run the route all the time. Here's a first-person account of flying in one, when tickets were $7. These days, pricing totally depends on what plane you're requesting, how many flyers are going over, what airport you're leaving from and if you'll be piloting it or not.

Tomorrow: Back to the wineries!

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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For information or to take action on the duplicate and unnecessary over regulation of Ohio wineries by the Ohio Department of Agriculture please see: www.freethewineries.com or www.facebook.com/FreeTheWineries.com