New & Noteworthy in 2015

June 10, 2015

So much to Love!

Ohio's Lake Erie Shores & Islands offers so much to love; we just can't stop singing about it. Neither can up-and-coming Nashville singer/songwriter Walker Hayes. The “Lake Erie Love” single is available for download on iTunes and the video can be viewed at

Rougarou Unleashed

Cedar Point introduced a dynamic new riding experience by unleashing Rougarou™! Named after a terrifying werewolf-like creature in French folklore, the former Mantis coaster has been completely overhauled to include new floorless trains. Riders enjoy an epic journey at speeds reaching 60 mph as their feet dangle just inches above the track and the murky waters below.

Hotel Breakers at the Cedar Point Resort

Located along the mile-long Cedar Point Beach, Hotel Breakers has completed its two-year transformation into the ultimate resort destination. Along with a new exterior, the modernized hotel has a new entrance portal, classic interior finishes, and newly-furnished and remodeled rooms.

New Hotel at the Cedar Point Causeway

The Sortino family, owners of several hotel properties in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands will bring a brand-new Holiday Inn Express & Suites into the Rain water park complex. The new project stands five stories tall with views of the Sandusky Bay and Harbor Marina. The hotel will include 73 rooms and suites.

Flagship Niagara to Visit Put-in-Bay through 2020

A replica of the U.S. Brig Niagara, which was the flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813, will visit South Bass Island each year for the next five years, excluding 2017. U.S. Brig Niagara will visit Put-in-Bay on the third weekend in June each year.

New Hands-on Experiences at African Safari Wildlife Park

The popular drive-through safari park is adding new exhibits for 2015 including Kangaroo Korner, Rabbits Row, and Giraffe Adventure.

Upscale Takeout at Kelleys Island

KI Taste by the Lake opens in Caddy Shack Square and will offer delicious coffee, donuts, and bakery items. Additionally, the new eatery will offer upscale prepared food selections such as hot breakfast sandwiches, frittata, and more.

Kelleys Island Goes Mexican

The K.I. Cantina is open as an addition to the Kelley’s Island Wine Co. A bar specializing in house-made margaritas complements the wineries tasty food options, such as specialty pizzas and flatbreads and small plates.

New Craft Brew in Sandusky

Ferndock Brewing Company is planning a downtown brewery that will open in 2017. For now, the brewer’s first offering is the Sandusky Pale Ale, which can be tasted locally at Volstead Bar, Crush Winebar, Zinc Brasserie, Small City Taphouse, and Cameo Pizza.

New Local Distilleries

The Put-in-Bay Brewery is now ready to market its in-house distilled liquor. Island Vodka and Island Rum will be available at the island restaurant/brewery and is also sold at Bassett’s Market and Kroger in Port Clinton. The Oak N' Harbor Distillery is a small, veteran owned and operated, hands-on artisanal micro distillery located in beautiful downtown Oak Harbor.

Stand-up Paddle-boarding in Marblehead

Opening in Marblehead, Nalu Standup Paddle & Surf offers boards and paddles for rent or sale, along with accessories, clothing, and sundries. Paddle lessons, excursions, group outings, and standup paddle yoga will be offered by the shop.

New Hampton Inn & Suites at Ohio Turnpike

Opened in late 2014, the 4-story, 52,000 square foot inn features 70 rooms – a third of those rooms are twice the size of a standard hotel room. The brand-new hotel also features a meeting room, indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness room, as well as an outdoor grilling deck accessible from the pool area. The former Hampton Inn next door is now a Country Inn & Suites.

Inaugural Film Festival

The Sandusky State Theatre premieres a four-day Lake Erie Film Festival on September 17. The festival will showcase independent filmmakers whose recent films include shorts, documentaries, and features. There will be workshops in script-writing and film scoring led by industry experts, and a script competition.

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

The National Park Service recently added the Rush R. Sloane House in Sandusky to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Sloane House joins Sandusky’s Facer Park on the Network to Freedom.

From Elementary School to Inn and Winery

The Red Fern Inn at Rocky Point Winery welcomes guests in its four units, all with lake or quarry views, full kitchens, and private bath. A boutique winery also offers a limited menu from neighborhood restaurants. The building was built as a school in 1893.

Liberty Aviation Museum Continues Expansion

The Liberty Aviation Museum opened an additional hanger, acquired a fully-functioning Ford Tri-Motor aircraft, and is planning the eventual launch of a PT boat. The “City of Port Clinton” offers public rides and travels the country as an ambassador for the museum and the region.

Improvements at Lake Erie Island State Parks

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is implementing improvements at all Lake Erie Island state parks. Projects include improved campsite hookups, boating access, restroom upgrades, and hiking trails. $6 million has been allocated specifically for renovating the old Lonz Winery property at Middle Bass Island State Park to create a facility that will invite a future public-private partnership.

Hunting Lodge Becomes Bed & Breakfast

Formerly a private rod and gun club, Millsite Lodge bed and breakfast features gorgeous common areas, meeting space with catering kitchen, game room, trout fishing on one of Ohio’s premier trout streams, skeet shooting, and 10 sleeping rooms with private bath and full breakfast each morning.

New Local Restaurants and Shops Abound

A plethora of new locally-owned shopping and dining options have opened in the area recently.

  • The Milan Wine Post - Located on the square in historic Milan, The Wine Post offers a great selection in fine wine and craft beer for carryout or to enjoy in the Back Bar.
  • Vine & Olive - Vine & Olive is a specialty Mediterranean store featuring a selection of baked goods, imported market items, wines, and prepared foods.
  • Tokyo Rock – A welcome update at the entrance to the Cedar Point causeway, Tokyo Rock is a Japanese Hibachi steak house and sushi bar.
  • Great Lakes Grinders – Shoreline Park, on Sandusky’s waterfront, welcomes a sandwich shop offering more than 50 different food selections. The carryout will operate from June-September.
  • DeMore’s Shoreside Café – Located at the Shelby Street public boat launch, this small café will offer salads, seafood, and specialty sandwiches seasonally.
  • Downtown Sandusky now offers two options for ladies boutique shopping, Fabulous Female near the State Theatre and Newport on Market, an offshoot of Newport Dry Goods in Port Clinton. Popular men’s boutique, Erik’s Clothing, has relocated to Water Street.

Sleep on a Boat

Moon and Back Getaways offers “live aboard” and boat rentals. Live aboard, like a hotel room on the water, ports of call include Sandusky, Put-in-Bay, Kelleys Island, and Middle Bass Island.

Island Speakeasy

Red Moon Lounge, a 1930's-style speakeasy, has opened inside Put-in-Bay’s Park Hotel. Red Moon features handcrafted cocktails, including original drinks such as the Crescent Moon, Half Moon, Full Moon, and Moonstruck. The new bars name is in homage to the adjacent Round House Bar’s signature red exterior.

Erie Social Shuffleboard Club & Bar

Now open on the Marblehead peninsula, this club features six regulation-size shuffleboard courts with raised viewing platforms, as well as a deli and bar.

For more information on all that is new for 2015, contact Lake Erie Shores & Islands Public Relations Coordinator Jill Bauer at


Tagged: shoresandislands, sandusky, put-in-bay, cedar point, what's new, travel, lake erie love, lake erie, kelleys island, port clinton, ohio, new & noteworthy