Lighthouses of Southern Lake Erie

Cleveland, Ohio
March 24-26, 2000


March 24, 2000

For our first lighthouse trip of the new year, we decided to start making our way around Lake Erie. Having already covered from Buffalo, NY south to Erie, PA, the next lighthouse sat in northern Ohio. We packed up the car and before we knew it were on I-90 heading out of Buffalo towards Ohio. The first stop was at Ritz Camera in the Walden Galleria to pick up a 1000mm telephoto lens.

Our first lighthouse stop was at the Conneaut West Breakwater Light in Conneaut, Ohio. To get there, get off at exit 241 and take Ohio Route 7 into Conneaut. Then follow Route 7, it will piggyback on Ohio Route 20 (take a right) and then a left onto Broad Street (still Ohio Route 7). At the end, it will turn into Limestone Drive. This is the marina where you can get decent pictures. You will definitely need a telephoto lens, a boat, or some really good hiking shoes to get a good picture. The light sits well out on the breakwater. Reverse the route back to I-90 westbound.

Our next stop was at the Ashtabula Lighthouse. To get there, get off I-90 at exit 229. This will put you on Ohio Route 11. Follow this to the end, this will be Ohio Route 531 (Est 6th Street). Make a left onto 531, follow it until your cross a draw bridge. Just after the bridge, make a right onto Hulbert Street, the second street. follow this to the end, Walnut Street. Make a right onto it and follow it to the end. This will put you at Marine Museum and a small park. From this park, you can see the lighthouse if you look towards the lake. Again, the lighthouse sits way out on the breakwater. The pictures that I took are somewhat distant, and that was with the telephoto lens.

Once again, reverse the route to get back out to the Interstate. This time get off at exit 200 onto Ohio Route 44. From Route 44, you will make a right onto Ohio Route 2. Stay on this for about a mile until you get to Fairport Road. You will make a left onto it and head towards the lake. The road will try to veer off, but stay on the left hand side. Soon you will see the Old Fairport Harbor Main Lighthouse. At the end of this road, there is a marina. From this marina you can see the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse.

By now it was getting late in the day. We headed into downtown Cleveland following Route 2. It was at this point that we decided it would be best for us to head over to Sandusky, then work our way back towards Cleveland. Sandusky was about an hour and a half to two hours away and it made more sense to travel this in the dark rather than waste precious daylight during the day. We stopped for dinner, and then were back on I-90 heading west. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Sandusky. It was pretty nice and had an indoor pool. It was nice to go swimming and relax for the rest of the night.

March 25, 2000

The next morning we were up pretty early. The first lighthouse we hit was Marblehead Lighthouse. We followed Ohio Route 2 to junction Ohio Route 53. Take Ohio Route 53 to Ohio Route 163. You will make a right onto 163 and follow that quite a ways (about 9 miles). The lighthouse is somewhat hidden due to a buffer zone of tall trees from the road. Look for St. Mary's Church sign, the lighthouse is the first left just past that sign on Lighthouse Drive.

Now follow Ohio Route 163 all the way back to Ohio Route 53. This time, make a right onto Ohio Route 53 and follow it to the end. At the end you will come to Miller Ferry Lines at Catawba Point. From here you will get onto the boat to take you to South Bass Island. Once out into the open water, you will begin to see the South Bass Island Lighthouse and the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. Since the ferry schedule was running once an hour and we were limited on time, we just stayed right on the boat and headed back to the main land. The pictures I got were from the boat using telephoto lenses.

The next lighthouse that we visited was the Port Clinton Lighthouse. To get there take Ohio Route 53 back to Ohio Route 163. You will make a left onto 163 and follow it into Port Clinton. When you get to the draw bridge, if you look off to the left hand side, you will see the lighthouse. We parked just before the bridge to get the pictures that we got. I used a 500mm telephoto lens. This allowed me a nice close up shot without being able to get close to it. This was as far west as we went in Ohio, from this point on we were heading back towards Cleveland.

We reversed the directions and headed back to Ohio Route 53 and then back to Ohio Route 2 heading east. Our next stop took us to Cedar Point Amusement Park to try and find the Sandusky Harbor Pierhead Light. We got off Ohio Route 2 and followed the signs to Cedar Point. This took us across Cedar Point Causeway. We then stopped at the Guard House and asked where it was. A guard pointed us in the direction of Cedar Point Chausee and said that it could be spotted from the beach. We followed Cedar Point Chausee north to the gate of the park and followed a little foot path to the beach. Sure enough it was there. However, while looking through my 1000mm telephoto lens, I spotted another lighthouse well to the north. In fact, it was so far away that it looks like a little dot. After spending some time on the site's mystery page, it was determined that it was Marblehead Lighthouse. I thought it looked like that light, but I didn't think it would be viewable from this point.

The next lighthouse we visited was the Huron Harbor Pierhead Light. To get here you will follow Ohio Route 2 eastbound and get off at Ohio Route 13 and head towards the lake. Make a right onto Cleveland Road East (Ohio Route 6). You will go over several bridges, one over water and the next over railroad tracks. Make a left onto Tiffen and then a left onto Nickel Plate Drive. This will take you into Nickel Plate Park, a great place to view the light. Again this light sits out on a breakwater, I used a 500mm telephoto to get a nice close up shot. After this, we headed back to Ohio Route 2. You can also follow Ohio Route 6 right into the town of Vermilion.

The next lighthouse we visited was the Vermilion Replica Lighthouse. If you came from Ohio Route 6, you will make a left onto Main Street, if you are coming from Ohio Route 2, get off at Ohio Route 60 and follow that north into Vermilion. It will zig-zag over South Street and Liberty Drive, but will end up at the Inland Seas Maritime Museum and the Vermilion Lighthouse. Make sure you go in the museum, it is very informative. Once again, to get to the next lighthouse, you can take Ohio Route 6 or head back to Ohio Route 2. We opted to head back to Route 2 since it wasn't to far and had a higher speed limit.

Head east again on Route 2 and get off at Ohio Route 58. This will take you into the City of Lorain, Ohio. We stopped at Pizza Hut to get some lunch. By now, it was maybe about 1:30pm...our goal was to get into Cleveland by 7:00pm at the latest. After Pizza Hut, we continued north on Leavitt Road (Ohio Route 58) and made a left onto Ohio Route 6. Follow this up to Oberlin Street and make a left. This will take you back to the Water Treatment Plant. If you stay to the left hand side, you can go behind the plant to the boat launches. This is the best place to view the Lorain West Breakwater Lighthouse and the Lorain East Breakwater Lighthouse. After taking a few pictures from here, we headed back up Ohio Route 6 to Lakeview Park. This is another good area where you can get pictures. Once again, these two lighthouses sit out in the lake on break-walls, so a boat or telephoto lens will help the most. I used a 1000mm telephoto lens and was pleased with the pictures I was able to get.

And now, last but not least, we headed into downtown Cleveland. Follow Ohio Route 2, it will turn into Interstate 90 also. Get off at East 9th Street. This will be where everything is, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Browns Stadium, Great Lakes Science Center, and of course the Cleveland Breakwater Lights. The best place to get the pictures of these two lighthouses are from the Port Of Cleveland. So when you come up on east 9th Street, make a left and cross back over I-90. Then make a left onto Erieside Ave, this will cross you right in front of the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Make the first right just after the Great Lakes Science Center and follow that to the end. I stopped at the guard house gate and asked the guards where the best place to photograph the lighthouses would be. He pointed just inside his gate and let me in. I went to the end of the parking lot / water front and took pictures of the Cleveland West Breakwater Lighthouse and the Cleveland East Pierhead Lighthouse.

The last lighthouse that we visited was the Cleveland East Entrance Light. This is another one of those lights that shows a skeletal frame with legs, but when I viewed it, it was just a round light. But nonetheless an aid to navigation. After this, we went into the Great Lakes Science Center. This was a pretty neat place with a ton of hands on activities, etc. We stayed at the Sheraton in downtown Cleveland for the night.

March 26, 2000

We got up and had breakfast. We arrived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right when it opened at 10am and spent about 2 hours in there. After that, we headed back to Buffalo.

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