Skip to main content

Western New York Explorer's Guide

The only comprehensive travel guide to the region

Home
About Us
Contact Us
Site Map
Member Login
About Author
Media Interviews
Testimonials
WNY Resources
WNY Attractions and More
Explore WNY blog
Upcoming events
Articles
Celebrate Black History
Naples, NY
Olean
Mayville Ice Festival
Mid winter getaways
Art and History Museums
Visit Aviation Museums
Hiking Trails
Welland Canal
Athenaeum hotel
Bemus Point
Cobblestone Trail
Niagara Pkwy part 1
Niagara Pkwy part 2
Rock Park
Clifton Springs
WNY Amish
Nature in Winter
Wine & Chocolate
Winter Wonderland
Outdoors in winter
Inside in winter
Old Fort Niagara
Power Vista
WNY Waterfalls
Corning
Dads and Cars
Artpark
Hershey
Native American
Lake Ontario Shore
Lockport Cave
Sonnenberg
Amish traditions
Day Trips Rock
Country Barn Quilt
Halloween in WNY
Fest of Lights
Chautauqua Holiday
NYC by Train
Chautauqua Wine Trail
Mayville Ice Castle
Outdoor winter fun
Chautauqua Institution
Farm Markets
Recharge at Chautauqua
Niagara Wine Trail
Local boat rides
Local beaches
Chautauqua County
Lewiston Jazz Fest
Hammondsport
Buffalo Waterfront
Pumpkin Fun
Chau Wine Trail LEL
Fall Road Trips
Off season getaways
Free attractions
Winter Fun
Spring Break
Taughannock
Winery Train
St Lawrence Seaway
Seaway Trail Journey
Welland Canal LEL
Sandusky
Cleveland
Fall Festivals
Scenic Fall Drives
Holiday Hollow
Shopping in NYC
Holiday Shopping Corning
Buffalo has Wright
Snowshoeing
Toronto
Elmira
Buffalo Religious Art
Ten must see getaways
Chautauqua and Erie
Welland Murals
The Tonawandas
Ten Hidden Places
Wing Festival
Presque Isle
Marble
Lewisburg PA
Victorian Christmas
Chocolate Trail
Fun with Grandkids
George Eastman House
National Historic Landmar
Thing for Wings
Olcott Beach
Little League Museum
Rock City
Glass Blowing
Queenston ON
Lawn Fetes
Chautauqua Co Bicentennia
Shaw Festival
Chautauqua County 2
Olcott Carousel
10 Hidden Gems
Chautauqua
Olcott Beach 2
Roycroft
Hot Dog Spots
Westfield
Canandaigua
Enjoy Presque Isle
One Tank Trips
Belhurst Castle
Shop in Lewiston
Cuba Cheese Museum
Pumpkinville 2
Snowshoe 2
Spooky Treats
Walkable Shopping
Norman Rockwell Museum
Fatima Shrine Lights
Christmas Lights
Albright Knox
Darwin Martin
Maple Weekend
Divine Mercy Shrine
Erie Canal
Rochester
Cape Cod
Cobblestone Trail 2
8 Great Fall Road Trips
Little Known Places
Buy Local
Made in America Store
Vidlers
Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Lovely Gardens
WNY Festivals
Erie PA Waterfront
Grape Discovery Center
Salt Sanctuary
Holiday Hollow 2
Historic Hull House
Buffalo Religious Arts Ce
Mall Madness
One day holiday getaways
New York City by train
Cabin Fever
Niagara on the Lake
Elmira 150th Anniversary
Carousels of WNY
Ontario Beach Park
Lockport Locks
USA Bird Supply Blog Arch
Backroads and Byways of U
The Buffalo News
September 9, 2010
 
 

Enjoy a getaway to Ohio’s MarbleheadPeninsula

 

            The sky was the most brilliant blue, with just a few wisps of white clouds, as I reached the top of the 77 steps that led to the observation deck on the top of the Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead, Ohio. I could see the outline of Cedar Point Amusement Park six miles across SanduskyBay, where my family and I had spent the previous two days. The quiet serenity surrounding the lighthouse was a sharp contrast to all the hustle and bustle of the amusement park.

 

            After going on rides for two days, it was time to do something a little less intense. Since our family enjoys visiting lighthouses, we decided that an afternoon at the Marblehead Lighthouse should definitely be on our agenda. Built in 1821, the still active lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation in the Great Lakes region. It is a very popular place for tourists; about 1 million people visit the lighthouse each year. In addition, it is one of the most frequently photographed places in Ohio.

            On our way to the Marblehead Peninsula we stopped at the Firelands Winery, where my husband and I sampled some wine, while our kids enjoyed grape juice. Established in 1880, Firelands Winery is one of Ohio’s oldest wineries, as well as the largest winery in the state. The vineyards are located on the nearby Lake ErieIslands.           

            After a short drive, we reached the lighthouse, which is located in MarbleheadLighthouseState Park. Established in 1998, it is one of the newest state parks in Ohio. We were fortunate enough to get on the next scheduled tour when we arrived at the lighthouse; only a limited number of people are allowed up in the tower at a time. Tours are offered weekday afternoons, Memorial Day to Labor Day, as well as on the second Saturday of the month, May to October.

            Our guide began the tour by telling us a bit of lighthouse history. The first lighthouse keeper was Benajah Wolcott, a Revolutionary War veteran. Every evening, Wolcott climbed the stairs and would light 13 whale oil lamps in the original light, which had metal reflectors to project the light into the night sky. As part of his duties, Wolcott also kept a log of passing ships and noted the weather.

            Tragically, Wolcott died after contracting cholera during the 1832 epidemic, after he insisted on giving Christian burials to the bodies of epidemic victims which washed up on the lake shore by the lighthouse. Back then, often the bodies of epidemic victims were simply dumped into the lake. After his death, his wife, Rachel, was appointed lighthouse keeper; the first woman lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes.

            Our tour group then slowly began ascending the spiral stairs to the top of the tower. Once we reached the top, we took our time soaking in the view and snapping photos. On a clear day, you can even make out the outline of a few buildings of the Cleveland skyline, 60 miles away. We could also see Perry’s Monument about ten miles away in Put-in-Bay on SouthBassIsland. We didn’t have time to visit Put-in-Bay on this trip, but it’s suppose to be a really nice resort community, so we will have to check it out the next time we are in the area.

            After carefully climbing back down the stairs, we headed to the adjacent museum located in an 1880’s era house, which once served as the keeper’s home. The museum, which was opened in 2000, has artifacts, photos, and documents focusing on the history of the lighthouse and of the MarbleheadPeninsula. Some of the displays include a 3 ½ order Fresnel lens, the last lens of that type to be used in the lighthouse, displays on local industry and of the Marblehead railroad system. A small museum shop features nautical themed items and lighthouse souvenirs.

            Afterwards, we drove two miles down the road to visit the original stone lighthouse keepers house, which was built by Benajah Wolcott in the early 1820’s. This limestone house is possibly the oldest dwelling in northwestern Ohio.

            Docents from the Ottawa County Historical Society are on hand to tell visitors about the Wolcott family and their home. While there was a keepers house right by the lighthouse, Wolcott’s main residence was this limestone home.

            The Keepers House is open Monday-Friday 1-5pm, June 1 to the end of August and during special weekend events during the summer, including Music in the Firelands on Saturday July 10, which features live entertainment, foods like fresh Lake Erie perch sandwiches and homemade pie, and a number of other activities.

            The annual Lakeside/Marblehead Lighthouse Festival which takes place Saturday October 9 features a Civil War encampment, hearth cooking demonstrations, blacksmiths, woodcarvers, and other old-time professions.

 

 

Resources

Firelands Winery (419-625-5474; www.firelandswinery.com) 917 Bardshar Road, Sandusky, Ohio.

 

MarbleheadLighthouseState Park (419-734-4424) 110 Lighthouse Drive, Marblehead, Ohio

 

The Keepers House (419-798-9339; www.thekeepershouse.org ) 9999 E. Bayshore Rd., Marblehead, Ohio

 

Marblehead Peninsula Chamber of Commerce (419-734-9777; www.marbleheadpeninsula.com) 5681 E. Harbor Rd.., Marblehead, Ohio.