I’m sure you are all tired of hearing about our new house, so I will offer a change the rest of the week and talk about other things. One of those things is a recent adventure day to Lakeside Ohio.
Mom and Dad used to have a cottage at Lakeside and Tom and I went there every year for Annual Conference. They sold the cottage and have been going up for a week or two every summer since. This year they planned to be there for a week, but canceled their reservation when the pandemic happened. Instead we decided to enjoy a socially distanced day at Lakeside.
Lakeside is a summer Chautauqua, which means that there are concerts, lectures, and programs all summer long. At least in a normal summer. People rent cottages for a week and come with their extended families. You walk along the lake, swim at the aquatic center, rent a sailboat or go fishing on Lake Erie. Kids ride bikes down the middle of the street and you are more likely to encounter a golf cart than a car.
Tom and I especially wanted to go to Lakeside because our friend Karen Graham is the pastor at the Lakeside United Methodist Church. So we could check out what Lakeside was like during the pandemic and have a safe place for visiting.
We went up to Lakeside on a Friday in August. You have to pay a gate fee to get onto the grounds, which allows you to attend concerts, programs, and lectures and use the facilities. Karen had some passes waiting for us, so we didn’t have to pay (thanks Karen!). Even though Lakeside is offering very few programs or concerts this season, the gate fees are about the same as full-service years.
We went directly to Karen’s house and had a wonderful take-out lunch from The Patio on her patio. I’ve been eating at the patio since I was a teenager and it hasn’t changed at all. The dining room was as full as it is allowed to be and there was a brisk business going on at the takeout window. The food was good, but the company over lunch was better.
Karen described how this summer was different than previous years. Neither the East or West Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church met at Lakeside this year. The weeks of Annual Conference are usually the busiest of the summer. Hoover Auditorium, where the big name concerts are held, had been closed all summer. Several shops and restaurants had already closed when we went, even though it was the middle of August. The movie theater was closed. Lectures were virtual. The only concerts or programs were held at the Gazebo on the lakefront.
But, despite these changes, there was still plenty to do. Lakeside UMC provides a golf cart for its pastor, so Karen loaned the golf cart to Mom and Dad. I think they enjoyed tooling around in it for the afternoon. It allowed them to visit some of their friends and travel the length and breadth of the town. Karen, Tom and I walked down to the lakefront and watched people sailing for a while. Although things were relatively quiet, there were still plenty of people enjoying being at the lake. We played miniature golf (Tom won, of course) and then walked some more, stopping to talk to some people we recognized sitting on a bench. We got ice cream and ate it while we people-watched.
I had never seen the new Aquatic Center so Tom and I walked up there. It is beautiful! It is open, but people have to reserve a 1/2 hour spot. Hardly worth getting wet. Tom said if that had been there when he and John used to come, they would have been in it all the time. Then we returned to Karen’s for more conversation.
When Mom and Dad returned in the golf cart, we loaded back up in the car and headed home. We all agreed we had a wonderful day, thanks to Karen Graham and the relaxing, old-fashioned town of Lakeside.