Lakeview on the Lake is a retreat, an escape from the ho-hum, the generic and the everyday, a place to just "be." My husband, Joel, and I stayed there from June 1-8 and can't thank Demaris and Kelly enough for sharing their piece of paradise with us. We stayed in the Bungalow, which was spotless and only 2 years old. Perfect for privacy and loved having a place to ourselves. Demaris showed me some of the other accommodations -- motel room, Annie's Retreat, cabins, one of the RVs and the suite, and all are impeccably clean and comfortable. Lakeview has an accommodation for every budget, which makes it an attractive spot.
It is conveniently located to Erie and Presque Isle State Park, the wineries and the peaceful little town of North East. After hiking the trails at Presque Isle, kayaking and fishing the lagoons and bays at the park, visiting the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, lying on one of the park's beaches, and visiting the U.S. Brig Niagara and Maritime Museum, the Lakeview was a wonderful place to return to each night. As soon as you make the left turn into their property, it feels like another world -- a world apart from all the hustle and bustle -- where you can see a female eagle and her yearling soar above the trees, hold a drink in your one hand and your love's hand with the other and be still and watch the sunset, wake in the morning to the soothing sounds of mourning doves, chuckle at the antics of fox squirrels and chipmunks and sit outside at night and read with hardly any noise from the road and only the distant calming sound of a train. And is there anything better than sitting on your porch in the morning and being greeted by the property owners' Chesapeake Bay retriever, Joey, a chestnut-colored four-legged welcoming party who happily bounds toward you with his tongue lolling.
This is a relaxing place on a beautiful piece of land that makes you feel like you are hundreds of miles away from all your cares. The propery has a lovely pool, picnic tables, hammocks and grills and nice landscaping with towering old trees that offer plenty of shade.
There are many advantages to staying at a property like this where the owners live there and take pride in their property and their home. When we noticed a stain under the front of our SUV the second morning there, our first thought was "Oh, no." Kelly recommended a mechanic he uses at a nearby garage, and the man was kind enough to check out our vehicle and fix the problem. Something connected to the power steering needed tightened. The man fixed it at no cost, and in minutes, the vacation that could have been ruined was resumed. We are very grateful to him for helping us.
Demaris recommended a nice winery loop. We highly recommend Burch Farms for their baked goods and produce, and Heritage Winery for their fruit wines. All the wineries are unique and charge between $3 a person for tasting to $1, but Heritage is laid-back and very casual, does not charge for tastings and has a pour-your-own philosophy -- no tokens, no pretense, just great wine in a great setting.
The steaks at Ricardo's were some of the best we've ever had, the Freeport restaurant has good food at reasonable prices, and Bootleggers bar and restaurant close to Lakeview has a friendly atmosphere, inexpensive drinks and is a great place to watch Pittsburgh sports. Sandwiches there were memorable, but the potato soup, which won an award in the Souper Bowl, is delectable. Would have loved to have tried the artichoke, portobello and asiago soup, which also won an award. The Sand Bar sports bar and grill near the entrance to Presque Isle is a raucous and rowdy fun place with reasonably priced sandwiches, more than 30 beers on tap and outside patios.
If you have a canoe or kayak, definitely paddle the lagoons in the state park to Marina Lake and paddle Misery Bay to Horseshoe Pond to see the more than two dozen houseboats.
We highly recommend Dead Pond Trail and Gull Point Trail. Take binoculars! You never know what you will see. From the observation tower at the end of Gull Point, we saw a turkey, great blue herons and a mallard family with little ones. Keep your eyes open all around the park. We saw a mink crossing the road one day at dusk. On Dead Pond Trail and any of the sandy trails, look for tracks in the sand. You'll see deer tracks, racoon tracks and turtle tracks. Following the turtle tracks one day, we found a snapping turtle hiding in the tall grasses. One medium-sized turtle was in the middle of the path, and a very young turtle not much bigger than a 50-cent piece was on the side of the trail.
If you go to Erie and Lakeview, pick up a copy of the Erie Reader, a very helpful newspaper. We got one at the Environmental Center.
We would have loved to have stayed at Lakeview and in this area another week. There certainly is plenty to do. On the day we left, there was a craft fair at the lovely little park in North East, and I was wishing we could have been there for some of the summer fairs and festivals in North East and Erie and the summer concerts on the beach on Mondays at Presque isle.
When we checked out, Demaris was wearing a T-shirt that said, "North East...Like Key West Only Cooler."
We have traveled to Belize, Costa Rica, Ireland, all over the Caribbean, to many national parks and state parks, and to cities all over the coutnry. All were fascinating in a different way. We learned something from every place and every person we met.
But Lakeview and the area in which it is nestled prove that you don't have to spend thousands of dollars or travel hundreds of miles away to find beautiful natural landscapes, fascinating people, animals and, most importantly, tranquility.
It's all right here.