Tom and I have enjoyed our summer and we are coming to the end of it. Appropriately enough, we are bookending the summer with visits to Lakeside, Ohio. Lakeside is a place with a lot of memories for us. It has always been a place that we have shared with my parents. Most years we spent at least a week there. In recent years we haven’t been there as much, but we went two days this year. We went at the beginning of the season and at the end.
Lakeside is a summer Chautauqua. The Chautauqua movement started in the 1870’s as an educational movement dedicated to intellectual and moral self-improvement. Although the movement was strongest through the 1920’s, there are still places that align with the Chautauqua movement and offer summer classes and entertainment in a resort-style environment. Lakeside, Ohio, is a quiet town of 200 year-round residents during most of the year. But, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, it blossoms with visitors, activities, and educational opportunities. When Mom and Dad owned a cottage there, they enjoyed the classes on different topics and the nightly concerts and programs in the auditorium.
This summer was the first in three years where the season felt “normal.” There were concerts and worship services in Hoover auditorium which had been missing the last two years. The movie theater was open again. Each week had a chaplain and an educational theme with speakers from all over the United States.
Our first visit, bookending the beginning of the season, was the second week of June. We took Mom and Dad up for the annual “Contributors Dinner.” This is a dinner hosted by the Lakeside Association for everyone who is a donor to the association. We were able to spend a little time with Karen Graham, the pastor of the Lakeside United Methodist Church. Her summers at Lakeside tend to be very busy with programs, weddings, and memorial services. The day we went, she had just come back from Annual Conference. She was also getting ready for worship the next day and a memorial service the next afternoon.
Karen has a church-owned golf cart and she lets Mom and Dad use it when we come to Lakeside. They tool around in that and visit places and people they want to see. Tom and I usually spend time walking along the shore of Lake Erie and talking with Karen.
Our second visit this summer was the last week of August, bookending the end of the season. We met Karen at her church and she gave Mom and Dad a lift to the historic Lakeside Hotel where we were eating lunch. Tom and I had never eaten at the Lakeside Hotel before, that we can remember. It has a beautiful dining room. Because many of the summer staff, being college students, had returned to school, there was just one waitress for the entire dining room. She did a really good job considering how many tables she had.
We had sandwiches and salads for lunch. I was too busy enjoying the company to take pictures of the food. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, which was listed on the menu with burgers, fried fish, and other sandwiches. Expecting a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, I was a little disappointed when it was served cold. It was good, but not quite what I had been expecting.
After lunch Mom and Dad took off in the golf cart to visit some friends. The day was absolutely perfect, clear but warm and not humid. Tom and I walked with Karen along the lakeshore drive and the length of the pier. We arranged to meet Mom and Dad at the miniature golf course at 2:30. We thought it would be a great day to play a round, but the golf course was closed. Limited hours because of limited staff.
Instead, we decided on some consolation Toft’s ice cream at The Whistle Stop. Alas, it too was closed. So we went to the Patio, which had fewer ice cream flavors but was at least open. I ordered first and got a half scoop of vanilla and a half scoop of Feelin’ Dangerous. The Feelin’ Dangerous was chocolate ice cream with brownie bits and peanut butter cups. The blend was very good and my two small scoops were just right.
Everyone else laughed at me because I was being so difficult. Karen (the Lakeside insider) got a Junior Scoop of Brown Butter Bourbon Truffle. She got more ice cream than I did, even though she wanted less. Dad got a regular scoop of Moose Tracks. Mom wanted just a little ice cream so she ordered Feelin’ Dangerous in a cone. She got a BIG scoop on top of her cone and couldn’t eat all of it. Tom, wanting the least amount of ice cream, ordered a small soft-serve twist cone. He got the most ice cream of any of us. The ice cream was twice as tall as the cone! We all laughed about ordering different sizes and how much ice cream there was.
After enjoying our ice cream, we headed out, thanking Karen for her hospitality and generosity with her time and golf cart. I love to spend time with Karen and I wish we didn’t live so far apart. Fortunately we have a great excuse to go visit her, at least in the summer time. We may have to make bookending the season a summer tradition.