Thursday, August 1, 2019

An Erie experience

We are underway westbound in Lake Erie, bound for the harbor at Conneaut, Ohio. We motored out of Presque Isle Bay in Erie, Pennsylvania at mid-day. Seas are close to two feet on maybe four seconds, but they are behind us and we are having a good ride.

We made the Presque Isle entrance shortly after I posted here yesterday, and motored up the channel and past the downtown harbor area. We turned south past the convention center pier and dropped the hook just west of the new Marriott Courtyard hotel and a bit north of the water treatment plant (map).

Vector in Presque Isle Bay in front of the Erie waterfront.

That made for a short tender ride to the harbor, where we tied up at the free courtesy dock (limit two hours) to walk into town. A live band was playing at The Cove, a tiki bar attached to the spiffy Sheraton Hotel on the main city pier now known as Dobbins Landing. There was a huge turnout and they were playing our kind of music, but we had other plans for the evening.

This "pirate ship" tour, seen here from the pedestrian bridge, was coming around the corner just like this when we arrived in the tender, and we had to dodge him. It's the spitting image of the one in Baltimore that serenaded us nightly.

That involved walking a few blocks uphill into downtown, and eating at a sidewalk table at the well-rated Mexican joint on State Street, El Amigo. It was very good, and we enjoyed being right downtown, where a handful of other restaurants would make a stay of several days here enjoyable. We strolled the downtown a bit after dinner.

This morning I returned to Dobbins Landing stag to do some more walking. I stayed in the port area, strolling through the Sheraton, over the ~70' high enclosed pedestrian bridge to the convention center, and through the brand new Courtyard with its pleasant waterfront bar and restaurant before circling back around to the main port area. Several docks in the east basin were underwater, but the tiki bar at the east end appears open for business. I was hoping to spot the brig Niagara at the maritime museum but she was not there.

This is a Lake Erie "fish tug," a type of commercial fishing vessel unique to the lakes.

The pedestrian bridge afforded sweeping views over Presque Isle Bay and into downtown, so I did not feel the need to get another four stories or so taller by dropping five bucks at the Bicentennial Tower. Presumably I would have seen over Presque Isle and out into the lake from there, but I see plenty of the lake from right here in my pilothouse.

Easy to overlook, here in the height of summer, that winter here is harsh. This sculpture will be set out on the ice on Presque Isle Bay, and for a $5 ticket you can guess the date and time in Sping that it will break through the ice and sink to the bottom. Winner takes half the pot.

Long-time readers may remember that we stopped in Erie when we came through in Odyssey, staying at the Elks Lodge a bit further from town. That was a full decade ago, and back then there seemed little reason to venture downtown or to the waterfront. Since then there has been considerable urban renewal here. The waterfront in particular has undergone a significant transformation just in the last few years, and it's a pleasant space now for cocktails, dining, and entertainment.

Another fish tug. I think both of these are now tourist vessels.

Nothing particularly called us to stay in Erie beyond today, although I deliberately set a short target today so I could have the morning ashore. That said, it would have been a more interesting place to be pinned down for a few days than either Dunkirk or Barcelona, but that's just the luck of the draw with Lake Erie weather.

Sunset over the bay from our flybridge. Lots of folks gathered at the Courtyard for the same view.

Tonight's stop will be a simple overnight, and if the weather holds we will make an early start tomorrow. This will be another small-craft harbor, but there is at least an anchorage with adequate depth, and maybe even a bulkhead ashore we can tie to, if it's above water.


  1. Sean,

    Are you and Louise planning on stropping at South Bass Island and visiting Put-in-Bay and Perry's monument?

    Jeff Leedy

  2. Our next stop from here will be Sandusky, as I have long wanted to visit Cedar Point. After that we were trying to decided if we wanted to round the end of the lake and stop in Toledo, or just cut across with a stop in the islands. At the moment it's looking like the latter, in which case, yes, we will stop at Put-in-Bay.


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