Friday, March 21, 2014

Lakeside Vacation

Last summer, I vacationed at Lakeside, Ohio, a community on the shore of Lake Erie.   My kids played along the beach of the world's largest fresh-water lake, while I relaxed or played tennis.  My family enjoyed free daily concerts from orchestras and performers.  Free lectures on historical and scientific topics were also offered.   I marveled that despite having nearly ten thousand summer residents, crime is seldom heard of, and bicycles are often left about unlocked.

Lakeside Ohio is known as a "Chautauqua", an American community movement which emerged in the 1870's, when a Methodist minister combined a church revival meeting with lectures from noted speakers and performances by musicians and actors.  Chautauqua grew to become an American summer tradition, and yearly Chautauqua assemblies emerged, many organized around a particular faith.  But by the 1930's, as radio and other sources of information and entertainment spread, the tradition had largely died out.

But it did not end completely.  Lakeside was created intentionally as a town in 1873, with individual lots leased to homeowners on a 99 year renewable terms.  In keeping with the temperance movement of that era, leases forbid the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverages.  Although most leaseholders chose to use their residences only in the summertime, others became year-round residents.  A railroad station, church and hotel were built, and restaurants and shops opened to cater to summertime visitors.  During the summer months, the community is gated, and visitors are charged nominal fee to enter and partake in activities, which run the gamut from elaborate stage performances to family favorites such as rock painting.

And so Lakeside Ohio continues to this day.  I believe Lakeside continues to thrive as a summer destination because it succeeds in instilling a sense of community in its inhabitants and visitors.  The town also strikes a balance between public and private access.  While the community is gated, its bylaws allow anyone who pays who buys a ticket to enter, regardless of religion, race or creed.  Altogether the community has a small town feel, affords easy walking access from houses to shops, and provides lots of activities for families to do.  Spending a week at Lakeside Ohio is a great way for families to relax in a unique American environment.


  1. Great place to stay and unwind in a great country, but getting there is always a big problem.

  2. If you are interested in summer holidays, I want to reccomend this offer. Fantastic sea and beautiful beaches.

  3. Such a nice and superb place specially for the tourist one of my friend goes to this place after come he said to me that its heaven in earth new york atlanta bus and if you want to go to the Atlanta you must visit this site....

  4. I live in Ohio and there are plenty of place people can visit for vacation specially beaches have extraordinary beautiful after that i have plan to take tour of niagara falls trip from nyc because my family member insisting me..