If I had to describe myself with one word it would be artist - a visual artist and an artist with words. My artwork is included in Ohio Online Visual Arts Registry. I'm working with various galleries in the Midwest to promote my oil paintings and abstract light photography.

 

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Kelleys Island

Image:  The Sand Beach at Kelleys Island State Park is always popular on hot sunny days.

Lake Erie’s Quiet Island

© Becky Linhardt 2010

What makes a vacation memorable – the people, the place, the view?  As a travel writer, I have visited some very fancy places but my tastes are much simpler.  Kelley’s Island, Ohio is one of my favorite places to kick back and watch the world go by.  The book that I wrote about the island is now out of print but I still hold a place in my heart for the island and its people.

The short ferry ride, about 30 minutes, from Marblehead helps to slow the world’s hectic pace.  Golf carts and bicycles rule the roads here.  No need to rush anywhere. Speed limit on the island is 25 mph.  Sidewalks are plentiful and in the summer often busy with visiting day trippers.   The Inn on Kelleys Island and some of the island’s Bed & Breakfasts are an easy walk from restaurants and shops in the small village center.

What’s Special

Lots of natural beauty

Almost a quarter of the island is protected within nature preserves and the Kelleys Island State Park where there are 6 miles of trails to hike and the Sand Beach slopes gently into the protected waters of North Bay.

Audubon Ohio has named the island an IBA

Recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) The Kelleys Island Audubon Club is very active and has special birding events in May and September during migrations times for the birds.

Monarch Butterfly

Late August and into early September, Monarch Butterflies use the island as a stepping stone to make the long flight across Lake Erie.  A special mid-September Butterfly Festival celebrates their annual migration.

Camping by the beach

The State Park Campground is VERY popular.  Many of the shaded campsites have views of the North Bay and sometimes you can see all the way to Canada’s Pelee Island.

A fascinating geology

The Glacial Grooves, adjacent to the state park campground, reveals the pattern the glaciers of the last ice age gouged out of the island’s limestone base. A short hike away is the Alvar is a shoreline limestone shelf that supports a hardy group of sometimes rare wildflowers and plants that survive in a challenging environment.

Inscription Rock

At the southern end of the island, weather-worn Inscription Rock hints at the Native American history of the island.

Kelleys Island Historical Society Museum

Early United States pioneers started farms and vineyards, quarried limestone, and entertained travelers.  Though the farms are gone, wines, quarrying and tourism are still important.  The museum is fun to visit to learn more about the island’s settlers.

Spring time Lilac Walk

Lilacs planted by early settlers are featured at a marked Lilac Walk that winds through a thicket of purple, pink, and white lilacs

Kayak Poker Paddle – 17 miles around the island

Feeling adventurous?  Bring your kayak to the island for the Poker Paddle in September.  The 17-mile circumnavigation of the island stops at 5 beaches of varying kinds – sand, shelf rock, pebble rock.

Biking

Traffic is light and the roads are mostly flat.  Lakeshore drive rims the south and west sides of the island and has great views to the mainland and to Perry’s International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay on neighboring South Bass Island.  Then there is “The Tunnel” that arches over a section of roadway in the state park.

As might be expected, sport fishing, sailing and power boating are also part of life on the island. Summer is still the “high season” but the life style is fairly quiet and that may be because so much of the island is protected.  My favorite time to visit is September when the weather is usually dry, the days warm, the nights cool.

www.kelleysislandchamber.com and www.kelleysislandnature.com

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.

 

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