Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jet Away to Put-in-Bay! Late Summer Edition

Now that the kiddos are back in school and Labor Day is right around the corner, you may be thinking that summer is over. Fall isn't officially here until the end of September and you still have a lot of time to squeeze in some more summer fun. Why wait 'til next year? If you're thinking of an island escape, take advantage of the great weather, cheaper hotel rates and smaller crowds and jet away to Put-in-Bay.
One of the things on our Summer Must Do list was to visit the Lake Erie Islands. We hadn't been there in six years (crazy I know!), and we've been longing for a return visit.
Put in Bay, boats, Lake Erie
Jet Express contacted me to see if I wanted to try out their Put-in-Bay Kayaks and Caves Adventure Deal and we jumped at the chance to Seize the Daytrip. 
Jet Express, ferry, Put in Bay, Lake Erie Islands ferry
We headed to Port Clinton and headed to the Jet Express. They had our tickets waiting for us as well as a blogger swag bag with cool sunglasses that change color in the sun and t-shirts. I definitely recommend buying your tickets ahead of time because they sell out, especially on the weekends. And if you want to get outside seats, make sure to get in line early. They are first come first served.

The boat ride was super fast and really comfortable. In no time we were pulling into the downtown dock on Put-in-Bay. They drop you off right in the middle of town so you can start having fun as soon as you hit land.
Our first stop was to The Boardwalk to their famous lobster bisque. It's a PIB Must Do for sure! If you are doing the Kayaks and Caves Adventure Deal, make sure you head upstairs to The Upper Deck Boardwalk because the included coupon isn't good downstairs.
Boardwalk Put in Bay, Lobster Bisque, best eats on PIB
We knew we had a fun day ahead to we fueled up on burgers, bisque and Bloodys and headed over to get our bikes. Deal alert: They have a Bloody Mary bar from 10am to noon for $10. 
Put in Bay restaurants, seafood, lobster bisque, bloody mary bar
When we got to the bike rental, we learned an important lesson - get your bikes early, especially if it's a Saturday. Luckily we scored the last two bikes and were on our way.

We had a gorgeous day and rode all over the island. When we got hot, we toured the caves and made a pit stop at Heineman Winery. Even if you aren't a wine drinker, the Wine Garden is a great place to relax. It's not fancy, the wine is drinkable and they sell cheese plates. Plus, their grape juice is really refreshing and tasty! We learned that Crystal Cave is the world's largest geode - pretty cool!

Across the street is Perry's Cave Family Fun Center. It's a fun place to take the kids because in addition to the cave, there is also put-put golf, gemstone mining, a rock wall, and more. We went on the tour of the cave which includes an underground lake, an old well and tiny stalagmites and stalactites.
Our favorite part of the Family Fun Center was the Butterfly House. It was well worth the $8 per person to be surrounded by butterflies.
Our next stop was the kayak rental, but we chickened out. It was pretty choppy on the lake and we aren't the best kayakers. Nobody else was kayaking either so we figured our instincts were right. We would definitely like to go back and paddle around next time.
The bike ride made us thirsty, so we headed to the Put-in-Bay Brewery & Distillery. We tried a flight and had some nachos. Loved the wooden PIB shaped flight holder!
Put in Bay, craft beer, Strawberry Basil Wheat beer
The strawberry basil wheat was our favorite. The others were drinkable but could have used more flavor. We were hoping to try the Pass Out Bourbon Stout and the Ole Cotton Top Irish Red but they are seasonal brews.

As we were sipping and noshing, we found out my husband's cousin was on PIB for his bachelor bash, so we hopped on a taxi and crashed the party! We didn't want to cramp their style so we just hung out with them until they hit the bars.
Chris' bachelor party on PIB
By then it was time for us to catch our ferry and head home. The Jet Express offers late night service so we were able to pack in a ton of fun on our visit. We were both sad the day was ending, but are looking forward to visiting again soon!
Jet Express, Lake Erie Islands, ferry, Port Clinton ferry
A late summer or fall visit has a lot to offer ~ it's my favorite time to visit. There are all kinds of events going on in late summer and fall. Besides smaller crowds, cheaper hotel rates and the weather being perfect, here's five more reasons for you to visit now:

1. For all you country music fans - grab a lawn chair and your favorite cowboy boots and head to Bash on the Bay with Toby Keith August 31st at the PIB airport. 

2. For the history buff, you don't want to miss Perry's Victory Heritage Weekend on Sept. 8 - 10th. It's the 204th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. When we were there we watched a rifle demonstration. It's really interesting to think how important Lake Erie was in the War of 1812.
War of 1812 Soldiers, Put in Bay, Battle of Lake Erie
3. If Kelleys Island is more your speed, you can take the Jet Express on Sept.9th for Treasure Island Day - an island-wide yard sale.

4. Did you know that the Jet Express also has a Cedar Point route? You can Jet over to Cedar Point and check out the Last Blast of Summer & Food Truck Wars

5. And while it's not taking place ON the island, I highly recommend the Perch, Peach, Pierogi and Polka Festival in Port Clinton on Labor Day weekend. You can fuel up, take some free polka lessons, then head to Put-in-Bay for the day.
The Rum Republic, End of Route 1, Put in Bay to Key West
We had a ton of fun, and we didn't even end up here!
jail cell on Put in Bay
If you want to take advantage of the Kayaks and Caves Adventure Deal, the price is $150 and includes:
  • 2 round-trip adult Jet Express tickets (from Port Clinton)
  • Bike rental for 2
  • Kayak rental for 2
  • $25 gift certificate for Mossbacks or The Upper Deck Boardwalk
  • Crystal Cave tour for 2
  • Perry’s Cave tour for 2
  • 2 Heineman Winery tours plus tastings
  • Over $100 savings in exclusive coupons
The ferry tickets alone are $33 each so it's a great deal!

Follow Jet Express on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


* Disclosure: Thank you to Jet Express for partnering with me on this post.
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. *

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ride RTA Giveaway

This summer is flying by! There are so many fun things happening around #CLE and I’ve been doing my best to take advantage of as many as possible.

Events are fun. Trying to get there is not. One of my favorite ways to skip the traffic and avoid the outrageous parking fees is to ride the Greater Cleveland RTA. The Rapid is my favorite because it's so much fun. But even if you aren’t close to a Rapid stop, the RTA busses have stops practically everywhere, are really convenient and help you start having fun sooner.

Did you know that RTA has an app to make riding even easier? After downloading the app, you can PLAN, BUY and RIDE using your smartphone. No more fumbling for exact change or standing in line at the ticket vending machines!


And when you use the app, you can even SAVE. If you show your RTA pass at one of their partners, you get all kinds of deals and can enter to win prizes. For example, $2 of admission to the Zoo, $1 off hot dogs at Happy Dog and 25% off one pastry or coffee/tea at Blackbird Bakery.
We rode RTA to the Indians game last week and it was SO easy! We got to sit back and relax during the ride and hopped off right by the stadium. 
If you visit the RTA street team's station in right field on a Friday or Saturday, you can win T-shirts and other prizes. Our game was on a Thursday so I'm borrowing a photo from the RTA Instagram page to show you where to go: 
But the best part: not having to fight traffic on the way home. We walked to the station and let RTA do the rest.
If you haven't taken advantage of RTA, what are you waiting for! After you see how easy it is, you'll be saying #IGORTA!

Enter to win a monthly RTA pass so you can try it for yourself and you'll also get two Indians tickets. Enter below using the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Greater Cleveland RTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #IgoRTA to share how all the places that RTA takes you!

** Disclosure: I was provided Indians tickets and monthly RTA passes for my personal use and to giveaway to a reader in exchange for sharing my opinions with you.  As always, all thoughts are my own. **