Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Everyday Getaway

Kelly's Island from the ferry
I love small towns. When I was a kid living in a small town the last place I wanted to be was the small town...but as I've grown up, I've discovered that small towns have a certain charm that you don't get in other places.

Next month, I have a new Harlequin Superromance coming out - gah! how is it nearly November already? - and it's set in a different kind of small town: an island small town.

I grew up in Missouri's lake country, and a few years ago we moved to RadioMan's Ohio lake country - specifically a small town on the shores of Lake Erie...and a stone's throw away from the Lake Erie Islands. Before I met RadioMan I didn't realize Lake Erie has islands, I thought it was just a lake - similar to the Missouri lakes I've known all my life.

They are different.

The Casino at Kelly's Island
The Lake Erie islands are so remote - even though they're within sight of the mainland - that families will go together to get groceries. Week to week one family will head to the mainland for grocery stock-ups and they'll pick up what is needed for the other families up there...and the favor is returned when the other families go into town. During the winter, when the lake freezes, they are basically island-bound because the only way to get to the mainland is to fly.

There are at least ten islands up here but only a few are inhabited: Kelly's Island is one of them. Kelly's is like a really, really small town...that you can only get to from a ferry boat. There are fewer than 1,000 people living there year-round. It's the kind of place you go to relax. Have a beer on the pier and watch the sun go down or camp on the beach on the North side of the island.

Another of the inhabited islands is South Bass and Put-In-Bay is the largest town. During the summer months thousands of tourists hit the island's B&Bs or one hotel or another. There are bars and restaurants, tacky tourist shops, jet skiing, camping...you name it, you could probably do it.

One of the things I love about both islands is that the best way to get around is by golf cart. There is something very vacation-y about getting into a golf cart to tool around an island and people watch. At Put-In-Bay the residents make up their own parade every Sunday - they get out their convertibles or dolled up golf carts and take up all the room on the roads for a while.

RadioMan and I have taken both our bikes and our scooters over on the ferry and tooled around for a couple of hours, but my favorite way to get around is still the golf cart. And my favorite time to visit the islands is the off-season, before the shops and restaurants are crowded with tourists, and while you can still run into an islander and chat about nothing in particular. To me, the islands are charming because of the small town feel.

Do you have a favorite 'local' getaway near you? What do you love about it?
~  ~
Kristina Knight writes contemporary romance with a smattering of sass, sex and (of course) drama, and she loves hearing from readers. You can stay up to date with Kristina through her new release newsletter or website.


dstoutholcomb said...

We have several we like along Maryland's Chesapeake Bay shores.

Claire McEwen said...

I live about an hour from the towns of Carmel and Pacific Grove. Both places are so adorable and scenic, and Carmel has this beautiful white sand beach. I don't get there often enough, but when I do, I feel so relaxed!

Mary Preston said...

The Lake Erie islands sound beautiful.

I live out in the middle of the countryside, albeit in a town, but to get anywhere you have to drive for hours. My getaway place in over on the coast. It just so happens I'm heading there next week. YAY!!

Christy said...

We've been to Presque Isle near Erie, but I'd love to visit some of the places you've described. As far as local getaways go, we have a state park nearby that's beautiful. It makes for a great afternoon "away".

Kristina Knight said...

Christy, I've never been to Presque - I'll look it up!

Mary, I love the beach. Any beach, but an ocean-beach is always my favorite!

Claire, I've seen amazing pictures of Carmel, but I've never been. I'd love to go, though!

DS, I love the Chesapeake area - so pretty!

Laney4 said...

Presqu'ile Provincial Park off of Lake Ontario. (Sounds like Presque Isle near Erie above, doesn't it?) Very peaceful there....

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