COASTAL OHIO: EAST HARBOR STATE PARK

It’s literally been months since Rob and I have done anything just the two of us.  We were supposed to be going away overnight this weekend, but we just aren’t comfortable staying somewhere else or straying too far from home.  We decided to take advantage of the fact that we have babysitters available and are enjoying a day trip to the lake.  

Last summer we stumbled upon East Harbor State Park and loved it.  Earlier this week when we were brainstorming places to go on the lake, we knew we wanted to go somewhere where there wouldn’t be a lot of people and where we could social distance.  East Harbor State Park seemed the perfect option.

Nestled along the Lake Erie shore, East Harbor State Park is a hidden jewel.  Visitors can enjoy everything from boating, fishing and swimming, to picnicking, camping, and hiking.  Last year we enjoyed the public beach, and my guess is this trip will also result in some beach time.  We are interested in exploring the marina and perhaps the hiking trails.  We plan on spending about an hour or two here so it may just turn into reading our books and relaxing on the beach.  

Be sure to follow along with us on Instagram as I’ll be posting to my stories!

Slainte,

Shannon

MOTHERHOOD: AMONG THE WILDFLOWERS

Last week my mom and I took Lilly to a local flower farm.  I’m always looking for outdoor, social distance activities that L and I can do together and I’ve had a handful of friends recommend this activity to me.  I was truly thrilled with the experience and the farm itself, and I’m so excited to recount our adventures for you guys.  

A hidden jewel of Northwest Ohio, GardenView Flowers is a 60 acre family-run farm that specializes in designing beautiful bouquets for weddings. Not only does the farm offer the most gorgeous fresh-cut flowers for brides, but they also offer a U-Pick Garden and seasonal flower design workshops.

My mom and I had never been flower picking before and it was so delightful. It was seriously a very relaxing and very fulfilling activity! The flower farm opens daily at 8:00 a.m. We arrived around 10:00 a.m. and there were only a few other people there picking flowers. Upon arrival, we headed over to the cutest farm Flower Stop. The Flower Stop offers bouquets to go, dried flowers, and other gifts. It’s the most charming little building.

Adjacent to the Flower Stop is a check-in table where you pay for your experience and pick-up clippers and a cup/vase in which to place your picked flowers. Because Ohio is now under a mandatory mask order, I felt extremely safe. All of the staff and visitors were wearing masks and people were practicing social distancing. I was very pleased too with the disinfecting precautions the farm took to ensure the clippers and other supplies were cleaned in between uses. Plus, they offered hand sanitizer and complimentary bottles of water (it does get hot out in those flower fields)!

After we checked-in, we chose a field of wildflowers and started picking! The farm plants over 30 varieties of fresh-cut flowers and there was a colorful mix of varieties and textures from which to choose.

L and I were drawn to the bright pinks and purples, so we picked a lot of Zinnias, Cosmos, Dahlias, and Sweet Williams. There were also plenty of Sunflowers, Gladiolus, Snap Dragons, and Blue Ageratum. There were so many different varieties and colors and you could easily come home with multiple bouquets depending on the look and feel you are going for.

We picked flowers for almost an hour and I was actually kind of sad to leave! L absolutely loved smelling the flowers, helping us pick them, and frolicking through the many fields. Her face of pure joy really just sums up our experience. We definitely plan to return again and again. If you are local to Northwest Ohio and are looking for a family friendly, safe activity, flower picking at GardenView Flowers is a must!

Be sure to check out their website and follow them on Instagram!

Slainte,

Shannon

COASTAL OHIO: LOCAL’S GUIDE TO THE BEACH AT MAUMEE BAY

We’ve had several people reach out to us with questions about the beach at Maumee Bay State Park so I thought I would put together a quick little guide for anyone thinking about visiting! It’s no secret that our family loves this beach. It’s only a 25 minute drive from our house and the beach offers some gorgeous views of Lake Erie. And since it’s a state park, the beach and the marshy trails surrounding it are open to the public during Ohio’s Stay at Home Order (just make sure you social distance yourself from others and bring your masks!).

Even though the beach is currently open, there are some limitations due to the current public health emergency. For starters, there are no public restrooms available. Under the Ohio Governor’s Stay at Home Order, all public restrooms are currently closed. Second, it is mandated you practice social distancing, so make sure to remain six feet away from others (park rangers do drive around regularly). Third, and this is true all the time, there are no lifeguards on duty on the main beach so you swim in the lake at your own risk!

Even though it’s probably obvious, I do need to point out that Ohio beaches are much, much smaller than beaches on the East Coast, in Florida, or California beaches. Because they are so small, what they lack in amenities such as access to refreshments, they make up for in less crowds and a more relaxed atmosphere .

So, without further ado, here are a few tips:

  1. Bring your own beach towel, blankets, or chairs (I love to bring our Turkish beach towels from Anchors Aweigh Supply Co.).  During the summer months I recommend a beach umbrella, too. 
  2. Pack a picnic basket or cooler with snack and refreshments.
  3. Bring extra clothing – it’s always at least ten degrees cooler along the shore than it is inland. 
  4. Get there early, especially in the warmer months.  Because Ohio beaches are smaller, they do fill up quicker.  We always get there around 10 a.m., which is at least an hour or more before the crowds.  This past weekend we had the entire beach to ourselves and it was amazing!
  5. Bring toys if you have kiddos – shovels, pails, buckets, bath toys, etc. 
  6. If you are an adult, bring a book, some music, or a magazine. 
  7. The beach is more gravely than sandy, so just keep that in mind.
  8. This beach doesn’t boast a ton of shells, so if you are looking to search for seashells by the seashore you will be quite disappointed.
  9. I’m not an expert on high tide and low tide, but currently it appears as though spring low tide is between 10am-1pm.  I include this because you have much more beach to walk around on. 

Another local tip, if the main beach is too crowded, the park also boasts a 57-acre in-land beach and lake! It’s about half a mile from the main beach and offers a much quieter atmosphere. Plus, you can swim, fish, paddleboat, and rent canoes on this lake!

Hopefully if you are planning a safe trip to the bay, these tips will help and prepare you for a lovely day at one of Ohio’s many Lake Erie beaches. 

Slainte,

Shannon 

OHIO SPIRIT WEEK

The past couple of weeks have certainly forced me to break out my creativity when coming up with activities for L.  So far we have tried sensory bins, stickers, baking, gardening, legos, and cleaning!  We surely have been doing our best to stay home to help protect those on the front lines. 

This week the Ohio Governor’s Office is hosting Virtual Ohio Spirit Week!  Our family are proud Ohioians and we will happily be supporting Governor Mike Dewine and his team and participating in some fun, engaging activities with L.    

If you want to participate with us this week, below are the different themes for each day!  Remember, we are all in this together and it’s important we continue to stay home to keep others safe! 

MONDAY: PAJAMA DAY

Stay in your pajamas all day! I have been continuing to get dressed each day, so this will be a fun activity for me!

TUESDAY: GARDEN DAY

Get outside and plant your gardens, or in our case, we will be doing yard work! 

WEDNESDAY: SALUTE YOUR HERO

We are forever grateful for those who are on the front lines fighting this virus.  Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, truck drivers, firefighters, teachers, refuse drivers, city workers, grocery store workers, and everyone else who is considered essential!

THURSDAY: SPIRIT DAY

Show your love for your favorite sports team!  We will be showing our love for our Ohio teams.  We are a Buckeyes, Indians, and Redhwaks through and through. 

FRIDAY: PIZZA DAY

Order pizza in or make your own! We will be making our own version of pepperoni and bacon pizza – our favorite!

Thanks for joining us!  Stay safe and well. 

Slainte,

Shannon