Put In Bay Blog

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Virus


The following piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Virus

I’m lucky that people recognize me with a mask. I can tell you it has been a challenge sometimes to know who we’re talking to when we meet friends on the street here in Put-in-Bay. I have wiped and sprayed and baked my mail all while observing the 6-foot rule since March. Doing just about everything possible to avoid the VIRUS. They call it COVID fatigue.

It started that first day in spring after the Governor lifted the lock down “shelter in place order” and we walked out on to Langram Rd. to see if anyone was here. Were they wearing a mask? Did they have underlying conditions? At first most people were on board with the “guidelines.” Why not?

When you embrace the COVID life you have extra time on your hands. You can clean out the attic, lose weight, spend less time shopping, and stay away from busy stores. Unfortunately, it’s so easy to become socially despairing during this pandemic. If we heed all the warnings we would have the most limited life. No time with our friends, no parties, no church. Forget about visits with the parents and grandparents. We’d miss weddings and funerals and other social gatherings.

But you know there are people out there that are sure it’s all a conspiracy and others I know that will testify that it is terribly real and they have been personally affected by COVID. It all depends on whom you talk to.

Some folks might even tell you a story about a person they love who had it and died. But you look around and see so many others that seem unaffected by the idea that a mysterious virus lurks around them, and they willingly broadcast their rejection of it. Not going to be swayed. Not going to wear a mask. No way. Not at the Island general, not today.

So finally, I figured out that not everyone’s on board, but that’s ok. Either way, I have doubled down on staying alive. Lots to lose nothing to gain from being wrong. Remember in Stanley Kubrick’s classic film “Dr. Stangelove” there is this unbelievable sequence of events that leads to the launching of a nuclear bomb. (Watch this movie, one of the 25 best comedies of all time)

There’s that climatic scene where actor Slim Pickens, cowboy hat and all, has to “save the world” by assisting the bomb out the bomb door of the B-51 bomber. Think of it as a metaphor for COVID. We all try to ignore or wish that “bomb” did not get loose but here we are.

I guess it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Many give in and venture into a COVID world with no mask or hand sanitizer feeling like they have almost no chance to change the virus trajectory. It’s at that point they decide that it’s easier to be scared of a stranger than a friend. That’s a false negative. Everyday against great odds, negative press, and constant fear, many willingly play a game of Russian COVID-19 Roulette.

Go to any bar here and you’ll see that people are having fun. Why can’t that be me? But we have to embrace it. There’s a good chance that before we get THE vaccine 70% of us will be exposed to COVID. Those annoying media “pundits” remind us daily to wear your mask, stay social distanced and save lives.

Remember, it’s easy to give in and on the upside loving the VIRUS has never been easier. Enjoy a few beers with friends, forget about social distancing, that mask won’t stand a chance. Like Slim Pickens ridding that nuclear bomb out the plane, you can visualize that In the end we’ll all be dancing check to check at the swim up bar! But not me!

Here I am still betting on being alive, being vigilant, socially isolated, on the “best practices” path all the way to the end, whenever that may be. As that famous WWII song tells us, “We’ll meet again, don’t know how, don’t know when.”

This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayonline.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!


Dogs and Catfish


The following piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.

Dogs and Catfish

By Gordy Barr

“Puppies are adorable. If they weren’t, you would return them” – Socrates

In times of crisis babies and puppies are sold in record numbers. Children are far more expensive. For those of us on a budget, puppies are a low-cost alternative.

According to Thesprucepets.com, puppy ownership can average between $1,400.00 to $9,900.00 per year depending on the size of the dog, the regional dialect, veterinary care, and your lifestyle (“Lets go to Paris for a month. Call the boarding kennel, Y’ALL!”).

On August 6th, 2020, my wife Kyle and I picked up Henry Lord Dashwood Barr from our breeder. Henry is an Australian Labradoodle and will grow to about 25 pounds.

Our current canine staff includes Marcy (12 YOA, 45lbs., Labradoodle) and Lily (9 YOA, 45lbs., Goldendoodle). Henry is 10 weeks and is our succession plan.

I am not sure if $9,900.00 a year is enough to budget for ownership. Henry enjoys the taste of upholstery, table legs, Persian rugs and expensive bedding. My arm is his personal chew toy and it looks like I have been fighting feral cats.

When the breeder was asked how to discourage this behavior she replied, “Simple, redirection.”

When my forearm is mistaken by Henry for a mutton chop, I simply have to redirect him to a toy. This can be a 24-hour task. Henry is part cannibal and seems to have developed a taste for human flesh. Mine. He never stops. He has no off button.

His first two nights he cried for hours. He missed his mother and his five siblings. Then he went into frat party mode. Like a seven-pound nuclear fusion reactor he played 24 hours straight and occasionally vomited for sport. He was remarkably house broken (as long as you let him out every fifteen minutes).

I thought Lily and Marcy would adopt Henry. Peace would reign over the house. Nope. Lily seemed weary of Henry’s nipping. He is a herder by nature and Lily looks like a sheep (white). For two weeks, Marcy ignored him.

Middle Bass has a disproportionate amount of dead catfish on its beaches. Dogs love catfish. Unlike Sheepshead or Walleye, Catfish have no scales and have a rubbery skin. On the beach the sun bloats the carcasses and inflates them like an oily balloon.

Marcy and Lily love rolling in Catfish. The freshly deceased ones pop when rolled on, releasing their oily fish goodness. What dog could resist?

When you have two dogs, you can mount a man-to-man defense. Coverage is simple. With Henry, we went from man-to-man to zone defense.

Henry is full of springs and rubber bands. He corners like a Ferrari and has the saber speed of a Prussian General. Off leash was a disaster. Henry found his first catfish and could not get enough.

There was a change in the culture of our household that night. After swimming all day and baths that evening, for the first time our exhausted dogs piled on to the large L.L. Bean dog bed together in our bedroom. Henry snored. Tails, wet noses and legs were mixed together. The subtle bouquet of catfish odor hovered like a small cloud by my beach glass collection. Our dogs were now bonded.

Like Napoleon, Henry still tries to herd the big dogs, but they seem more tolerant, almost amused. Henry has been accepted into the pack.

This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayonline.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!


“Our Perfect Storm”

The following piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please click here.

I remember reading the “Perfect Storm” and being transfixed by the author’s level of detail. The book by Sebastian Junger transformed this once in a lifetime meteorological event into a visual masterpiece. The book’s tone was dark and stormy, and the author continually flashes back to the crew aboard the fishing trawler “Andrea Gail” as it continues to edge closer and closer to the unpredictable super storm. Little did the crew realize what was ahead for them. First a key weather buoy malfunctions, then the vessel’s extended stern begins to show signs of stress underway, meanwhile the captain steers further away from shore looking for more swordfish to fill the half empty hold.

Meanwhile, friends and family gather to discuss what’s happening. That was us on Facebook in March and April unsure of what was ahead, trying to predict what the summer of 2020 would look like based on shifting and contradictory forecasts. Daily we shared stories of hope and despair. We sat in our homes on the island quietly waiting in a bubble of calm.

There were two scenes from the movie “Perfect Storm” that especially galvanized the situation for me cinematically, helping to transform this story of timing, mistaken forecasts, and best reckoning into a climatic rescue scene. The WBZ-TV Boston weatherman Barry Burbank is standing in front of the “green screen” describing the three tropical lows that are about to collide. For us it was Covid-19, politics and tourism coming together.

Meanwhile the swordfish trawler “F/V Andrea Gail” was heading straight into a monster wave. That’s us the community of South Bass Island, heading into turbulent “Covid” waters. Were looking for anecdotal information from our sister islands. Most had closed off traffic, double tied up the ferry boat at the dock and weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Neither did we.

When the “Shelter in place” order was being shared, we were shocked and scared of this hidden mysterious foe. It was like living under a wave ready to crash. The news media, TV and regional newspapers were ready to pronounce us ‘dead’ or conversely help us preach the prophecy of promotion and “reopening.”

Our shared story as the little island navigating the storm could and did go both ways like a flag in an oscillating storm system’s intensifying breeze. And as we went forward we remained in the distant but glaring search light of investigation.

As our season approached, some people were certain that the State of Ohio regulations, guidelines and enforcement would keep us safe, help us navigate the way home. Islanders and mainlanders alike grew restless. Surely if the storm had missed us this long, we would be able to safely steer through the turgid waters.

What happened next was never on anyone’s radar. Cottagers returned, the weather got nicer, and the governor raced to get Ohio businesses open. The surrounding states got mired in more and more cases of Covid-19 and their progress came to a dead stop on reopening. Their “crews” not willing to wait for their own state’s rescue, jump ship and head for ours.

May 21st the island opens for business, reluctant and timid, waiting to see what happens next. The people came. The next week we open up more. We can see the bright lights ahead. More people are coming than we ever imagined. We are underpowered and limited in capacity. It’s like the engine on the “Andrea Gail”. Designed to push a certain amount of weight on open waters, but never expected to breach bigger and bigger waves.

The people, like storm waves, began to wash over us day after day. Our crews grew fatigued of guidelines and procedures and the locals decide we were almost safely home. Off come the masks and 6-foot social distancing is mostly forgotten.

Bigger, more rogues waves that behave in ways we are inexperienced with, add to the islands success and woes. Some passengers, visitors and islanders, dance on the deck not worried about the safety of the islands bigger community. The glaring questions of TV and news arrive. “Why are you heading into the storm?” Don’t you see what’s ahead?” This is not a rescue beacon, it’s a search light looking for survivors. Looking past the diligent, hard working businesses that are trying to get this boat home focused on the few that forgot that a storm was coming.

The “perfect storm” is about the unpredicted enthusiasm of visitors, the reality that guidelines don’t influence people to follow the captain’s rules, rescue ships may be miles and days away and the glare of news media only really focuses on the next big story, and not saving the crew. The only way this boat gets home is if each person aboard realizes that their personal actions are the most important part to keeping them safe. Sebastian Younger revealed in his book’s narrative that despite the confluence of unknowns, that the crew of Andrea Gail could have gotten home and so can we.

This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayonline.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!


4 Best Golf Cart Rentals on Put-in-Bay Ohio

Welcome to Put-in-Bay! We have over 10 golf cart rental agencies, and if you’ve never been to the island it can be a pain to figure out which one is the best but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of the 5 best Put-in-Bay golf cart rentals:

#1 Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Depot

Coming in at the number one spot we have the Put-in-Bay Golf Cart Depot located just a short walk from the Jet Express ferry dock in downtown Put-in-Bay. They have 2, 4, and 6 passenger golf carts. Depending on availability you can have your choice between gas and electric carts. PIB Golf Cart depot carries top brands such as EZ-GO, Club Car, and Yamaha golf carts.

Not only that, they also have custom golf carts in case you want to ride around the island in style! They are the only company on the island that offers cool golf carts like this so make sure you click here to book now!!

#2 Island Club Golf Carts

put-in-bay island club golf carts

If you decided to stay with Put-in-Bay’s most iconic resort, then you’re in luck. Island Club now rents exclusively to guests! Not only do they carry carts from top manufacturers like EZ-GO and Club Car, they also make sure their guests are taken care by actively adjusting prices to insure they’re the lowest on the island.

Island Club has 2, 4, 6, and 8 person golf carts available for day rentals as well as overnight rentals. Electric golf carts are not available anywhere on the island for overnight rentals. Find us near the Miller Ferry dock on Put-in-Bay Rd. For more information on staying with the Island Club you can click here to go to their website. The choice is simple, book now!!

#3 Put-in-Bay Condos Golf Carts

Island Club Golf Cart at The Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos

The Put-in-Bay Condos are comprised of two different condominium complexes: The Poolview Condos and the luxurious Waterfront Condos. Here at Lake Erie’s most popular island condo complex you can find 2, 4, and 6 person carts available to rent exclusively by guests. Click here to book now!

#4 Bird’s Nest Resort

Bird’s Nest Resort now has BRAND NEW 2020 golf carts from EZ-GO available exclusively for guests of the resort to rent. Weekday rental rates are among the cheapest on the island for golf carts and to stay at the resort. They are located just across the street from the Put-in-Bay airport on Langram Rd. so you have a great view of all the awesome small planes that come through the island!

Why rent a golf cart? So you can see all the famous Put-in-Bay attractions you want at your own pace, and there’s no better place to get your brand new golf cart than Bird’s Nest Resort!! Click here to book your stay at Bird’s Nest Resort today!!

Traffic Laws

All golf carts available for rent on Put-in-Bay Island are registered as licensed motor vehicles, meaning you must have a valid drivers license and be at least 16 years of age or older depending on your rental agencies requirement. All carts are equipped with headlights, taillights, turn signals, and seat belts which must be worn at all times.

Every traffic law that applies to your regular car still apply to a golf cart, meaning you CAN GET A DUI and these charges will follow you off the island all the way to Cleveland or whatever city you’re from. Be smart while you enjoy your amazing time on South Bass Island!!



put-in-bay, oh 43456

put-in-bay, ohio 43456


Hotel Victory:  Put-in-Bay’s “Grandest” Memory

Hotel Victory

Put-in-Bay, or South Bass Island, is known as the crown jewel of the Lake Erie Islands. Ever since Commodore Perry stationed his fleet here in the harbor and defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, Put-in-Bay has symbolized freedom, joy, and peace.

The island offers a rich history, and tourists have been visiting Put-in-Bay for more than 200 years.  After the war, many sightseers came to the island to attend celebrations and festivals that commemorated the Battle of Lake Erie.  Others would pack lunches and picnic along the waterfront, making sure to leave the island by nightfall, as there were no hotels or lodgings on the island for tourists.  In fact, it wasn’t until approximately 50 years after the War of 1812 that the first overnight accommodations were born.

Perhaps the most famous—and certainly the “grandest”—hotel to ever occupy the island is known as Hotel Victory.

Hotel Victory
Hotel Victory


A Luxurious Put-in-Bay Opportunity

Although a few small hotels grew (and burned to the ground) from 1860 to 1880, visionaries began to see Put-in-Bay as the land of opportunity.  So, in 1887, a group of investors, spearheaded by J.K. Tillotson, sought to build a luxurious, grand hotel on the island.  When it was completed, Hotel Victory stood as the largest hotel in the United States at the time.

The financiers chose to build Hotel Victory at Stone’s Cove in South Bass Island State Park.  The hotel site covered 100 acres. Twenty-One acres were reserved for the hotel, while the remaining 79 were divided into 475 villa lots that were sold to interested parties.


A Cornerstone and a Celebration


As with other elaborate, island ceremonies that commemorated the anniversary of Perry’s Victory or celebrated construction of the Put-in-Bay Monument, the first major gala for Hotel Victory was a grandiose event.  At the Battle of Lake Erie’s memorial celebration in 1889, seven steamboats brought 8,000 people to the island to laud the placement of the hotel’s cornerstone.


Construction Begins on the Monument

An architect from Toledo, E.O. Falls, designed the plans for the hotel.  His vision was to have the hotel shine like a beacon from miles away as travelers approached the island.  The idea was a majestic, English, baroque construction that emulated structures during the reign of Queen Anne.  His blueprints included towers, brickwork, porches, and a host of other intricate details.

Without question, this project was a massive affair.  Builder George Feick (of Sandusky) had to assemble his own sawmill, dining hall, and dorms for his men to complete the project.  He employed 75 carpenters at one time in to create the largest hotel in the country.


The Grand Opening (and Even Grander Details)

Hotel Victory opened on June 29, 1892.  Yet, 275 men continued to work until all the details were completed four years later in 1896.  Upon completion, it was the “grandest” hotel in America.

Its main building was 600 feet long, 300 feet wide, and surrounded a courtyard.  A giant lobby connected the main building to the dining room, kitchen, and the servants’ living areas.  The two dining rooms could serve 1,200 guests at once.

The hotel featured a 30-foot long bar where cocktails flowed late into the evening (and early morning).  The estate featured 625 guest rooms and 80 private baths.

One mile of carpet decorated the halls, and 20,000 yards of carpet accentuated the rooms.  This incredible Put-in-Bay hotel included 16.5 acres of flooring, 1,700 doors, and 2,500 windows.

The property’s landscape was equally impressive.  The grounds championed a beautiful bridge that stood above a ravine.  A marvelous fountain captivated visitors’ senses, and, a few years later, so did an enormous swimming pool (100 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 8 feet deep) that featured a roof to protect from the sun.  More than that, an opulent boardwalk connected hotel guests to the shore.  In total, the hotel cost over $1 million, which is equivalent to about $30 million dollars today.


Financial Troubles and a Resurrection

Predictably, given the extravagant expenses, two months after Hotel Victory’s grand opening, the business couldn’t pay for its expenses.  Creditors pushed the hotel into receivership, and, to make matters worse, a few months later, the stock market crashed, and the hotel closed until 1896.

Business steadied the next few years…until a smallpox outbreak on the island in 1898 prompted a quarantine. The famous Put-in-Bay hotel was sold again in 1898 and the new owners hired the visionary Thomas McCreary as new manager.

Under McCreary’s oversight, the Hotel Victory experienced its greatest popularity and success.  McCreary was an exceptional publicist, promoter, and host.  He touted the hotel as “the” place to stay on the island, and, for years, his words were accurate.

During his tenure, McCreary hired a German sculptor (Alfons Pelzer) to design the Victory Monument on the hotel grounds.  22 feet high, the monument featured a winged woman holding a wreath in one hand and a staff in the other.

When McCreary died in 1907, however, so did any significant future progress.  The hotel closed again in 1909, and, within two years, the structure was covered in decay.  Hotel Victory received one last push and was re-opened in 1918 and then sold again in 1919.  Forecasters predicted that the country would experience an economic surge now that World War I had ended, and investors hoped that that the hotel would, once again, return to glory.


Hope Burns Away for the Hotel Victory

That hope was smothered on August 14, 1919 when a massive fire started at 7:30 p.m. on the third floor.   Crowds gathered on the island as flames ascended 75 feet into the air and could be seen as far away as Sandusky and Detroit.  Within an hour, Hotel Victory, the most extensive undertaking in the island’s history, was lost.

The Put-in-Bay Fire Department was able to prevent the fire from spreading across the island, but the blaze burned for several days while thieves looted the property.

Old legend suspected investors of arson, but that theory was quickly discarded, as they didn’t have much insurance.  The cause was assumed to be a faulty light wire, and damage estimates ranged between $450,000 and $1 million.

Colonial Fire
Colonial Fire


A Put-in-Bay Landmark

In 1938, the state purchased acreage on the old Hotel Victory site and built a new public park.  It is now a campground called South Bass Island State Park.  There are a few signs commemorating the ruins of the old hotel, such as the swimming pool and the Victory Monument. Grab a Put-in-Bay taxi and go check it out for yourself when you visit.

Today, when tourists visit the island and vacation at the luxurious Put-in-Bay Condos or the Island Club, they experience a taste of that freedom, joy, and peace that Hotel Victory once represented, and what Put-in-Bay will always offer.

Put-in-Bay Resorts, Lodging, and Island Info

Put-in-Bay lodging resorts are plentiful in Put-in-Bay Ohio. Hotels, Conference centers, and rental homes are all accessible by golf cart rentals or taxi services if they’re not within walking distance of downtown Put-in-Bay already. Check-in at hotels and rental homes is simple. The nightlife downtown is insane fun. You can expect to find swim-up bars, awesome restaurants, and famous attractions. Book your getaway today!!!

Lakeview lodging is easy to find and most places will have free WiFi. Outdoor pools are found at nearly all lodging places, including the Put-in-Bay Poolview Condos and Bird’s Nest Resort, as well as island Club Rentals. But enough about those places, the Put-in-Bay Victory Station Hotel is one of the most historic building on the island and makes a great choice for lodging! There’s a reason they’ve been around so long, they’re truly one of the best hotels on Put-in-Bay island.

History, Lodging, News

Best Put-in-Bay Hotels, Resorts, and Rental Homes


This island is known for many things, including some of the most diverse lodging options of any vacation destination. Here’s a list of the best and most unique Put-in-Bay lodging resorts, hotels, conference centers, and vacation rentals!

#1 Island Club Rentals

The entrance to the Island Club, greeted by its wooden sign.

Island Club is extremely unique, even for South Bass Island. Come during the week for family fun and enjoy the spacious living area and multiple bedrooms, insuring everyone retains a comfortable level of privacy while still being together. Then enjoy as the Island Club transforms on Friday night as the bachelorette parties and groups of friends take over the resort looking to have the time of their lives!


  • High Speed WiFi
  • Air Conditioning
  • Spacious Living Room
  • Outdoor Deck
  • Propane Grill
  • Outdoor Pool
  • HD TV

They have all the amenities you could ask for, including free Wifi, central air conditioning, outdoor deck and propane grill, cable with HBO, fully equipped kitchen and full baths, wet bar, and you can’t forget the outdoor pool that’s often referred to by veteran residents as “The Big Pool”. All of this including golf cart rentals and their very own taxi service. You don’t even need to go to the front desk! Book now!!!

#2 Commodore Resort

The Commodore Resort is located right in the heart of downtown Put-in-Bay, next to legendary swim-up bar “The MIST”. The Commodore is suitable for families or party goers alike. They offer a fairly large range of different sized rooms, including the favorite “Deluxe Jacuzzi King Suite” for romantic getaways! Book now!!


  • Free High Speed WiFi
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Hairdryer
  • Free Cable TV
  • Full Bath/Shower

#3 Put-in-Bay Condos

Real Estate Condos

The Put-in-Bay condos are comprised of two condominium complex’s: The Put-in-Bay Poolview Condos and the luxurious Put-in-Bay Waterfront Condos. Each one of these condos sleeps up to 12 people comfortably! You can’t beat the location, just next to the Put-in-Bay Airport but don’t worry, it’s not loud and is very cool to watch the small planes coming in and out. Book your lakefront condo now!!!!!


  • Great Lake Erie View
  • Full Kitchens
  • Swimming Pool access
  • Easy Check-in
  • Great Location
  • Full Baths
  • Free High Speed Internet

#4 Bird’s Nest Resort

The Bird’s Nest Resort is one of the best hotels or Put-in-Bay Resorts on the island. They offer a vast array of different rooming options, from smaller hotel rooms to full size stand-alone cabins. This place has cheap hotel prices with high quality delivery. This place sells out quick, book now!!!!


  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Microwave
  • Satellite TV
  • Tiki Bar
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Walking Distance From The Legendary Joe’s Bar

Bird’s Nest also recently added onsite golf cart rentals to their list of amenities this year. these carts are reserved exclusively for guests and they’ve got amazing rates so make sure if you stay with Bird’s Nest then make sure you rent with them!

Put-in-Bay Things To Do

There’s endless fun to be had on this Lake Erie island in Ohio, from unreal nightlife at bars like Mr. Ed’s and Joe’s Bar to famous attractions like Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, the Heineman Winery, or Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center!

To get to the island just take a Put-in-Bay Island ferry from Sandusky, Catawba, or Port Clinton. The two ferry services are the Jet Express and the Miller Ferry! The Jet Express is passenger service only while the Miller Ferry is able to transport vehicles as well as passengers. Click here for more info on their schedules.

What makes Put-in-Bay so special?

South Bass Island is special for a lot of reasons but what really makes it great is the fact that it’s one of those places that can be fun for kids and adults not only separately, but on the same trip. Take the kids to the “Put-in-Bay Winery” where you can check out their wine tastings while the kids get to check out the crystal cave. After that, head to Perry’s Cave and Family Fun Center for a little tipsy Putt-Putt! Then, while you’re on Catawba Ave, check out Joe’s Bar! They’ve got awesome food and drinks.

This is the type of fun you can’t get in an everyday city like Cleveland, this is the Key West of the North! Florida vacation vibes are no longer a plane ride away. Edgewater hotels are no longer just in states with a beach. Check out Put-in-Bay Ohio and the Put-in-Bay hotels! Lakeview dining is required.

Best Bars and Restaurants

As far as bars and restaurants go, Put-in-Bay has a lot of competition to pick from. Take your advice from the locals! At #1 we have Mr. Ed’s Bar & Grille. Mr. Ed’s has been a staple on the island for decades and hasn’t lost any steam! People love the environment and vibe the bar gives off. They’ve got great food and drinks paired with great entertainment and service. You can’t go wrong choosing Mr. Ed’s!

#2 Joe’s Bar

At #2 we have Joe’s Bar. Joe’s Bar is the only bar not located downtown and you can find just past Perry’s Cave and right before the South Bass Island State Park on Catawba Ave. They have amazing food, awesome live entertainment, and by far the most unique and spacious location of any bar at Put-in-Bay. The outside area has about 10 picnic tables to sit at and a great view. Did we mention they have best merchandise too? Come check out Joe’s Bar today!!!!!

#3 The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse is a staple of downtown Put-in-Bay. It might even be the first thing you picture in your hesad when you think of the island, and if you do then you’re not alone! The Roundhouse is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. It’s iconic “Whiskey Light” ceremony kicks off the islands season every year!

Visit Today!!

Come join the fun, we’d love to have you. There’s endless things to do on PIB and we know you’re tired of being inside all day. Come have some fun! Put-in-Bay hotels are very unique. The Miller Ferry is back running on its hourly schedule and all the bars and attractions are now open. What are you waiting for? Visit Today!!

Activities, Lodging

The Original Put-in-Bay Settlers

Put in Bay Harbor

Many travelers and residents alike know that Put-in-Bay, Ohio’s rich history is one of its grandest features. but not everyone knows about the original Put-in-Bay Settlers. For starters, it has a fascinating legacy of hotels and lodging, as well as famous. Additionally, the island played a significant role in the War of 1812, specifically the “Battle of Lake Erie”, and the famous Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Monument stands as a testament to this fact and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry alike.

Perrys Monument Put in Bay

Put-in-Bay, which is also known as South Bass Island, is a premier travel destination along the Lake Erie Islands. Visitors come from all over the globe to experience the island’s wonders. From the earliest Put-in-Bay Settlers to the current family and corporate groups. Tourists extend their stays over multiple days so they can explore all the riches that South Bass Island offers.

The War of 1812 marked a turning point in American – and Put-in-Bay – history. After the war, developers truly began to cultivate the island. But, many wonder…what about the years prior to 1812?

Lake Erie Islands

Indian Roots on Put-in-Bay

History suggests that the Erie Indians were among the first Native Americans to live in Ohio. As such, they were the first people to visit Put-in-Bay and the rest of the Lake Erie Islands. Scholars believe that the early Indians traveled north and south along the Warrior’s Path, which connected Lake Erie with the Ohio River. (This route is also known as the Sandusky-Scioto Trail and still exists today). The Indians would follow the trail from the south up towards Port Clinton. From there, they would paddle eastward along the shoreline toward Niagara Falls, or they would head west toward the Detroit River, island-hopping along the route. When unpleasant weather would arise, say, in the early spring or late fall, the Indians would find shelter on Put-in-Bay while they waited out the storm. During the winter, when the lake would freeze, many Indians would come to South Bass Island to hunt raccoons.

Scioto Trail

In the mid-1600s, the Iroquois Confederation defeated the Erie Indians, and they began to frequent the islands as well. By the 1700s, the Shawnee, Miami, Wyandot, Delaware, Ottawa, Seneca, and Tuscarora tribes all migrated to Ohio. Because of the various artifacts (arrowheads, axes, mounds, and skeletons) found on Put-in-Bay, it’s safe to claim that all these people groups visited South Bass before 1800. But, none of the Indians truly settled there.

Lake Erie Indians

Europeans Arrive on South Bass Island

In 1669, Louis Jolliet, a French fur trader, became the first non-Indian explorer to discover Lake Erie. A few years later, pioneer Robert de La Salle built a ship (the Griffon) and sailed along the lake with Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan missionary. Records indicate that Hennepin performed a Mass on Put-in-Bay, making him and La Salle the first Europeans to set foot on Put-in-Bay.

itinerary of de la salle

In 1685, the first British explorer made his way to Lake Erie. Johannes Rooseboom and a group of fellow traders made their way along the islands before skirmishes with the French and Indians forced them to halt their endeavors.

The Next Century: From Pudding Bay to Put-in-Bay

History isn’t clear as to what the next 100 years held on Put-in-Bay. We do know that in July 1789, an unknown group of European adventurers sailed along the Lake Erie Islands. During their journey, they made charts of the different islands, and they named one of them “Pudding Bay” because the harbor’s shape resembled a bag of pudding. Over time, the name evolved into its current “Put-in-Bay” moniker.

Put in Bay Sunset

South Bass Island Receives an Owner

While the early 1700s largely remain a mystery for Put-in-Bay, we do know that the states of Virginia and Connecticut (which were British colonies at the time) had claimed certain territories further west. Were they the original Put-in-Bay Settlers? This area was known as the “Western Reserve,” and it included the Lake Erie Islands. After these states declared their independence from British rule during the American Revolution, they ceded ownership of the islands to the newly-formed federal government.

In 1807, the government created the Connecticut Land Company and sold Put-in-Bay (and other islands) to congressman and judge Pierpont Edwards, who also happened to be the son of renowned theologian Jonathan Edwards.

Preacher Jonathan Edwards

French Squatters and Some Development on Put-in-Bay

When Pierpont Edwards sent an agent, Seth Done, to Put-in-Bay to canvass the island, he couldn’t believe what he discovered: There were a few French families living on South Bass! How they arrived…when they arrived…and how long they had stayed there…no one knows. But, Done brought laborers to the island in 1811 and cleared over 100 acres of land, effectively forcing the families out and becoming Put-in-Bay Settlers.

That same year, he brought 400 sheep and 150 hogs to Put-in-Bay, where they fed on the bounty of acorns and hickory nuts. This attempt to truly settle the island failed, however, when the War of 1812 began the following year, and the British arrived and began destroying wheat and other resources.

Experience a Taste of History on South Bass Island

Put-in-Bay lodging boasts a remarkable history. We’re proud to promote its legacy of progress and hope. So, come stay with us at the Put-in-Bay hotels, Put-in-Bay cabins, Put-in-Bay Condos, and the Island Club and experience a taste of history on your Put-in-Bay Island getaway!

Downtown Put-in-Bay attractions include golf cart rentals, bars, and bay restaurants. DeRivera Park is located right in the middle of downtown as well. You can ask about upcoming events at the visitors center during your bay vacation. You can also check out the South Bass island State Park for Jet Ski rentals from local island musician Bob Gatewood!

Put-in-Bay Condos

Put-in-Bay Ferry

Put-in-Bay has two ferry services: The Jet Express and the Miller Ferry Line. The Miller Ferry comes out of Catawba and the Jet Express has two locations in Sandusky and Port Clinton. Both ferry’s are family friendly, and half the fun of going to the island is getting to travel across Lake Erie on one! Come Experience the awesome nightlife at bars like Mr. Ed’s. Get a rental home from Island Club Rentals, or get a vacation rental condo at the Waterfront Condos next to the Put-in-Bay Airport (It’s very quiet don’t worry). If the ride ever seems long, just think about how long it took for the original Put-in-Bay Settlers to get here!

Why is Put-in-Bay Such a Vacation Destination?

The reason Put-in-Bay is a vacation destination is simple: You can be headed to the island for some family fun on the same ferry as a bachelorette party group, and nothing would be weird about it at all. Put-in-Bay does an amazing job of catering perfectly to both sides of the spectrum. During huge Island events like the “Pyrate Fest” you can bring your kids to see awesome reenactments and hunt for buried treasure, or go as a group of friends and have a ton of fun getting wasted with pirates. The island is simply all about fun for everyone.


Put-in-Bay, Ohio is Open!

Put-in-Bay, Ohio is Open!

Put-in-Bay, also known as South Bass Island, is the midwest’s best kept secret. The Lake Erie Island has gathered together its Chamber of Commerce and Business Owners to organize how Put-in-Bay will re-open.  With Put-in-Bay, Ohio being such a popular vacation destination in the United States, the so called “key west of the north” is now officially open to the public again after being closed due to covid-19! More information about Put-in-Bay being open can be found here!

Put-in-Bay Island asks its visitors to practice social distancing and be mindful when exploring the island. The Miller Ferry is running to offer a great Put-in-Bay ferry service

Put-in-Bay Lodging

Real Estate Condos

The Island Club Home Rentals, Put-in-Bay Condos (The best Put-in-Bay Resort), The Commodore Resort, The Bird’s Nest Resort and other bay lodging partners are open and accepting reservations. Whether you have a bachelorette party planned, or looking to have some family fun, Put-in-Bay island has a lot of fun things to do! Consider engaging in the nightlife at Mr. Eds Bar & Grille or enjoying the sunset from beautiful waterfront condos.

The Island Club and Put-in-Bay Condos are running their May Madness lodging specials. In addition, both rental home properties are running a travel safe travel secure promo code.  You can now book your vacation rental using the “Travel Safe Travel Secure” Promo code. Using the promo code allows guests to cancel for any reason up to 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival date. Lastly, a 10% discount will be applied to those who use the Travel Safe Travel Secure promo code! SOLD OUT!!!

For other current Put-in-Bay lodging specials, visit our dedicated Put-in-Bay Specials page! Your island getaway awaits.

Things to Do on Put-in-Bay

Put in Bay Sunset

As of May 15th in the state of Ohio, Put-in-Bay restaurants we’re allowed to open up their patio to customers. Meanwhile, on  May 21st we will see a return of customers for indoor dining establishments. Boaters can once again be accepted for their out of state fishing license and go for their fishing trip they were looking forward to all winter long. The Put-in-Bay airport is now open to Griffin Airlines who transports passengers to and from the island via air.

Unfortunately, fun common upcoming events like St. Patrick’s Day and the lighting of the Whiskey light had to be done virtually. The Put-in-Bay Island Guide Facebook Page held multiple virtual sunset concerts at the South Bass Island State Park with local entertainers to make the most of the situation.

Popular Put-in-Bay attractions include Perry’s Cave, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial and much more. All the great things to do on Put-in-Bay are easily accessible by a Put-in-Bay golf cart rental or Put-in-Bay taxi.

To read about what to do on Put-in-Bay, visit our Put-in-Bay Things To Do page.

Getting Here

Miller Ferry to Put in Bay

Both Put-in-Bay ferries are located in the Port Clinton/Catawba area. Visitors coming from both Cleveland and Toledo can expect to arrive to either the Jet Express or Miller Ferry is just over an hour. In addition, the Jet Express offers ferry service from Sandusky to Put-in-Bay. Keep in mind that then only ferry in which you can bring your vehicle over is the Miller Ferry!

Thank you for reading our blog! Check back soon for the latest Put-in-Bay news and Events!

Out of State Fishing Licences

Put-in-Bay Captain Park’s Lake Erie Fishing Charters

Put-in-Bay Ohio Fishing License

Walleye Fishing Put-in-Bay
Walleye Fishing Put-in-Bay


South Bass Island, Ohio  is known for a lot of things but one of the most prominent is the great Lake Erie fishing. You can find Yellow Perch, Smallmouth Bass, and is affectionately known to many anglers as the Walleye capital of the world. That being said, it attracts many fisherman from out of state and we love having them here, but due to Covid-19 the state stopped issuing licenses for non-residents but we have good news regarding Put-in-Bay fishing!

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has just put out a statement saying that they have begun to start issuing out of state fishing licenses them again and boat ramps will begin to allow out of state launches as well. So prep your fishing gear, print out your fishing guides, study those Western Basin fishing reports and start planning your next fishing trip with your friends or family because Put-in-Bay is going to be back in business before you know it!

The State of Ohio has also released new statements regarding how the Put-in-Bay restaurants can open and will undoubtedly be releasing a second statement soon about the parameters needed to be followed to open up more Put-in-Bay lodging home rentals. Golf cart rentals should be opening along with the island! For more news, info, and current updates check out Putinbay.com.

Put-in-Bay fishing Charters

On the island we have two main fishing charters:

The Put-in-Bay Charter Fishing Service is run by Captain Bruce and Captain Steve, and the Char-Tom Sport Fishing Charter is headed by Captain Tom and Captain Charles. Once the stay at home ban for Ohio is lifted, charter boats should be included in what is able to be open but make sure to be on the look out for more accurate reports coming up in the near future, possibly on the OHDNR or U.S. Coast Guard websites.

Fishing of all types, including ice fishing, is very prevalent on our island and we love it! Make sure to check out “Wharfside” for any more walleye fishing or any other types of fishing gear you need to update or replace, as well as checking out the island visitors center for upcoming events or any other island events to pass the time after you’re done.

If you have your own boat you can bring it to the island on the Miller Ferry out of Port Clinton. The Miller Ferry does NOT have a Sandusky location, that is the Jet Express and they are a passenger only ferry service. If you don’t have you’re own boat you can check out Put-in-Bay Watercraft Rentals down at the South Bass Island State Park.

Lake Erie Islands

There are several other islands in Lake Erie you should feel free to explore or at least take a look at from your boat while fishing here. There’s Middle Bass, home to a winery that collapsed and is being rebuilt currently that you can see from the water. Check out Rattlesnake, named for its formation of rocks coming out of the back of the island that look like a snake’s rattler, just be careful going in between them as it can get very shallow.

For the most adventurous there is one more island: Green Island. This is an unmarked island where a single house that burned down in 1807 still stands today. The journey there is treacherous and not to be taken lightly. If you think you have what it takes you can try to go and find it. Good luck!

Activities, News

Miller Ferry Travel Updates

Miller Ferry to Put in Bay

Miller Ferry COVID-19 News

The Miller Ferry is doing everything in its power to keep Put-in-Bay, Ohio safe during Covid-19. Due to the Corona virus they have posted an updated travel schedule found here:

The Miller Boat Line is doing their best to keep our favorite Lake Erie Island safe during this crisis. As of right now no non-essential persons will be permitted to go from Catawba Island Point (Port Clinton) to South Bass Island or Middle Bass Island. They appreciate everyone being understanding during these difficult times and are tirelessly working alongside other business owners on the island to work out a plan to be able to open their ferry service fully in time for the season.

All business on Put-in-Bay aim to abide by what Governor Mike DeWine recommends. If the stay at home orders are extended they’ll have no choice but to continue to stay closed. Make sure to keep checking out millerferry.com for new updates. This comes at an unfortunate time for the Miller especially as they’re almost finished constructing a brand new ferry the M/V Mary Ann Market.

As of now, the only people allowed to travel aboard the ferry must be an essential worker or an island resident/homeowner. Unfortunately, out-of-state fishing licenses have been temporarily made unavailable to limit the spread of the coronavirus. With the island being so small and only accessible by ferry or plane, it is important to take necessary precautions to keep the people of Put-in-Bay healthy.  Click here for more Put-in-Bay Covid-19 updates.

About the Ferry Company

The Miller Ferry has provided transportation services for both vehicles and passengers for decades. The passenger service and vehicle ferries depart from the lime kiln dock a the northern tip of Catawba Island. As the decades have passed, the ferry boat route over the Great Lakes remains the same.  Frequent trips that run of the half hour during busy summer months allow for the Miller Ferry to offer the lowest fares among Lake Erie Island transportation providers.

Ferry tickets can be purchased for either one way or round trip. It is not recommended that visitors bring their car to Put-in-Bay unless absolutely necessary. Parking is limited for cars and other larger vehicles in downtown Put-in-Bay. In addition, there is free parking provided at the mainland Ohio Miller Ferry dock. The Miller hopes to soon make its services available for a well-deserved island getaway.

Here is some more Miller Ferry information:

-Located about an hour from Cleveland, half hour from Sandusky

-Address: 5174 E Water St, Port Clinton, OH 43452

Thanks for reading!