Great Stay and Awesome Calamari at Sawmill Creek Resort

We Had An Enjoyable Stay At Sawmill Creek Resort

Dave and I were invited to visit Put-in-Bay Island and stay at the Sawmill Creek Resort, for a review. The resort was about 1/2 hour away from Catawba, where we got off the ferry. It’s situated on Lake Erie, although you can’t see Lake Erie from the room we were staying in. a

sawmill creek resort

As we drove into this golf resort, Dave realized he had stayed here several years ago, when he was on a company outing. My Dad also recalls staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort. My Dad recalls wonderful meals, great golf and a very nice resort. Dave went on a fishing expedition when he stayed, and was pleased when he realized it was the same place he had stayed before.

The decor is very outdoor, western comfortable feel. I love this atmosphere, and I know Dave would much rather have this style of decorating rather than “hotsy-totsy” fancy.

Sawmill Creek Resort

resort

We went to our room and it was an instant.. “Oh, this is NICE!”.  You know,  that initial impression you get when you first open the door to a new hotel. Nice, light colors, very clean and inviting.  I loved the fireplace we had in the room, and the couch that you could sit on to relax.  The king size bed had the most comfortable pillows!  I will say that the mattress itself was ok. There was some kind of harder ridging on the edge of it, that kind of hurt the back of my legs when I first got in. Dave thought that maybe it was some kind of handles to move the mattress?? But once you were in, it was pretty comfortable.  I would have loved a balcony to sit out on. I felt like the room should have one. But we did have a nice big window to look out of.

sawmill creek resort

We went back to the front desk and were given a ride on a golf cart to see the beach area and go to the restaurant.  It was a nice little ride down to this area. I’m not sure if you have to always ask for a ride, or if you are able to take your own golf cart.. but it would be a bit of a walk without one. Cars can’t fit on the path.

sawmill creek resort

They have recently laid sod, and will soon be able to host weddings here.  What a beautiful setting!

huron

The beach is just beyond this grassy area.  It was kind of a wet, cool, rainy afternoon when we were there, so no one was on the beach – but it looks like it would really be nice.  I love that it’s secluded. To have your own beach front is always nice.

PIB 35

The manager then dropped us off at one of the restaurants at the resort, Mariner’s at the Mariner’s Village Marina. It was a fine dining restaurant and it was nice to have the owner there to greet us. We chose to eat out on the screened in porch, overlooking the marina. They have plastic chairs and tables out there, but still have them dressed up to look very nice.

mariners restaurant

 

I took up the waitress’s suggestion for a mint patty drink (and it was ok, but I should have just stuck with a glass of wine).  They brought out some bread that I thought Dave was going to die over! I think I had two small pieces and he finished the rest of this.  Butter galore, but it had a bit of a crisp edge to it. I’m not sure how it was prepared, but it was great.

Mariner's Restuarant

I love Calamari, but so often it’s a little rubbery or tough, so I’m always a little apprehensive when I order it.  We did get it.. and I have to say – to this date, this is the BEST calamari that I have ever had. OMG…  I didn’t know it could be this tender. I think Dave had just a couple and I ate most all of this. I had it with the pesto sauce. Just writing about this, I have a craving for it again!

calamari

Dave ordered the Seared Duck that was one of their specials, from the advice of the owner. He loved it. I had a bite of it too, and it was really good. I’ve not had that much duck to compare it to, but I know it was good.

seared duck

I had the Lake Erie Perch for my meal.  It was good, I don’t know that it stood out from other perch I’ve eaten, but I enjoyed it.  We walked back to our place. We weren’t real sure how to go, but took a path that lead through the golf course and made our way back.

I would recommend staying at the Sawmill Creek Resort, without hesitation.. but you know what I’m also going to suggest too.. right?  If you go, you have to eat at the Mariner’s Restaurant and order Calamari!

Our stay at the hotel was taken care of, but we paid for our own meal at The Mariner’s Restaurant. The thoughts, opinions and pictures are all my own.

You can find more information on the Sawmill Creek Resort Facebook page.

 

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My First Trip & Review of Put-In-Bay #Travel #Ohio

Put-In-Bay, Ohio is an island in Lake Erie

It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in Ohio all my life and have never been to Put-in-Bay. I’ve heard about it forever, but I never really had the opportunity to go or big desire. I had this offer to do a review of the island, and was told I could bring my family. I’ve always heard that Put-in-Bay was a “party” island, so I immediately said that I didn’t want the kids to come. But I was curious myself.  Dave and I set off for the island on a Saturday morning.

Put -in-Bay

It took us just under three hours to get there from the Columbus area. We met up with Ryan, who owns Green Door Mediaworks  at the Miller Boat Line to catch the ferry over to Put-in-Bay.  The day seemed a little questionable weather -wise.. but we lucked out. A few threats of rain, but everything bypassed us.

Miller Boat Line

 

Ryan was an awesome tour guide on our way to the island. He was pointing out all the little islands and explaining where things were, etc. He really knows the island and history.

With Miller’s Ferry you are able to take your car over to the island if you’d like to, but it isn’t nearly as much fun. We went up to the top to sit, where there were plenty of seats to enjoy the ride over.

Millers ferry

 

To me… part of the charm and the “feel” of the island was using the golf carts. It was so fun to just tool around in them. Of course, we could have gotten bikes (but thank goodness Ryan planned for us to get the carts and not bikes! I would have been dying with bikes!) instead of golf carts, but you can cover a lot more of the island in an afternoon with a cart.

bike rental

We all went to lunch at a cute place called Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern.  There was a darling outdoor patio, and a few tables with umbrellas that were outside of that. Although I didn’t try and soup or whisky, I really enjoyed it.  I did try two new things, walleye fries and a perch taco. The Walleye Fries were just pieces of Walleye that were cut in long narrow strips and deep fried, with some dipping sauce. Yum! I have heard my friends talk about fish taco’s for years, but have never tried one.  I decided to go for it. These were fried perch taco’s. Oh… so good! I had one, but wish I had ordered two. I will for sure get these again when I come back to visit the island the next time.

Goat Soup & Whisky Tavern

After lunch, Dave and I took off on our own and explored the island. It would have been fun to have been able to have eaten a few more meals on the island. There were several places I would have loved to have tried.

I think The Keys, sitting out on the water looks so fun! I love the way it looks, with the bright beachy colors. One thing I love to do when I go to a beach, or lake, or somewhere with water; is to sit and drink a nice glass of wine. Yes.. next visit for sure.

the keys

The Board Walk also has that water view and feel. It looks like a little finer dining. Maybe The Keys for lunch and then the Board Walk for dinner?

Board Walk Put in Bay

I love the outdoor seating at Hooligans Irish Pub, it just looked very comfortable.  It’s not over looking the water, but it is right in the center of town where you can see all the activity.

Put in bay

It was pirates weekend when we were there. There were cannon’s going off, a pirates market/craft show in the middle of the square and men,woman,kids and animals all dressed up as pirates.

put in bay

put in bay

newfie pirate

The square and feel of the island town was charming. I loved it. Everything was clean and well taken care of.  I had always envisioned this row of old bars, when I thought of Put-in-Bay. Not that I’d ever been here to see… but my entire thought of the island is different now.  There were plenty of places for people to drink, and there were plenty of people eating and drinking in them – but the atmosphere was fresh, clean and very island feeling. You tend to forget you are in Ohio.

Put in bay

put in bay

PIB

PIB

PIB

There are some sights to see on the island and things to do. We went to visit the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center and did a few activities there.

perrys cave

We went to visit the Butterfly House. There was a really nice gift shop inside and the actual butterflies are in a greenhouse style structure in the back.

The butterfly house

Going into the butterfly house, someone came up to us and gave us some information about the butterfly house. That was really nice. They were there to answer any questions, and to let you know how to be careful with the butterflies, so as not to harm them.

PIB

butterfly

We then went on the Perrys Cave tour. I have to explain that I’ve been in several caves and really enjoy going on cave tours, before I give my honest opinion on this cave tour.  This was a 20 minute tour.  We walked down a flight of steps to go down into the cave. You have to bend down part of the way, going down the step and small steps to a depth of only about 50 feet below ground.  This was a wet cave. Puddles of water to walk around, and water dripping off the ceiling. I know some caves can be wet, and others aren’t. Our guide did a great job of explaining things in the cave.  I can not however recommend this cave tour.  Maybe if you’ve never been in a cave, you’d find it worth the cost.  A good explanation for me would be, too much talk and not enough cave.  I felt like they tried to drag out the tour to make it at least 20 minutes. You walk, only about 150 feet into the cave and stop every few feet for a 5 minute talk. I heard a couple people saying, “Is this it?” and one little boy said, “Where is the rest of the cave, where does that go?”.   I felt very disappointed. Had Dave and I had to pay the $8 each to go into the cave (rather than it being part of my review), I would have really been disappointed.

perrys cave

There was a really nice putt-putt course. We always love a good game of putt-putt!

PIB putt putt

Driving around the island and seeing the sites, stopping for some ice cream and just wandering around was so relaxing. I really wish we could have stayed a few days.

put in bay

PIB

PIB

I can certainly recommend Put-in-Bay to anyone! If you love a beautiful, active and fun island, then you’ll love it here. I feel like we made a mistake in not bringing the kids with us. I would have no problem bringing them here.  I might not plan to have them in town on a weekend night, as I’m sure things liven up quite a bit – hence the party atmosphere.  But it’s not something you wouldn’t see in Florida or any other vacation zone that has bars and water.  I think they would have loved it here.

I’ll be sure to come back, but I want to plan on spending a little more time here… and of course – I’ll be sure to get a golf cart to get around!

golf carts on Put in bay

 

You can follow these handles to find out a bit more about the island.

@Put_in_Bay
@MillerBoatLine
@ShoresIslandsOH
@DiscoverOhio

Our ferry rides, golf cart, lunch, Perry’s Cave, Butterfly House, Putt-Putt and our night stay (review to come soon) were all paid for.  My photos, thoughts and opinions are all my own.

 

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Loved Mariano’s in Chicago

Wish We Had A Mariano’s In Columbus!

I had the opportunity to have a tour of the grand opening of the Harwood Heights Mariano’s Fresh Market last week. I walked out of that store really wishing that I would be able to shop there regularly.  Of course, that isn’t an option for me since I don’t live in Chicago, but I’d love Mariano’s to come this way!

marianos

The feel of the store was nice. It was very crowded since it was the grand opening and you could feel the energy and excitement that everyone had. What makes the store different?  There were many differences from stores I’m familiar with.

They have a $6 meal that you can purchase to take home, or eat in the store. You can pick the main course and a couple sides for a $6 or $10 meal. These foods looked like awesome home cooked meals. We were going to ate lunch while we were there and everything I saw, I was thinking… oh, I want to get THAT for lunch! Look at those pot pies! They were huge! I’ll tell you what, you wouldn’t be able to pick out these meals at a restaurant for $6!

Marianos

The bakery was incredible. Have you heard of Fruit Loop or bacon donuts? Look at some of the goodies.

marianos bread

They have their cake decorators work where you can watch them. I really loved that.

marianos

They have creativity rights to create fun! These little 5″ cakes were darling. Loved the cupcake cake!

marianos

I SO wanted to try one of these cream puffs, but I did refrain.

bakery

They had a grill set up in between the seafood and meat departments. You could ask them to take a salmon or steak and grill it for you right then!

grill

polish sausage

They have an extensive wine department. You can also create your own six pack of beer. I thought that was really unique. This particular stores has an extensive couple of international aisles.

international aisle

We were able to meet Mr. Mariano, the CEO of Mariano’s. He loves visiting the stores and stopping to talk to families shopping. He wasn’t too sure what “bloggers” were, but we helped to fill him in. It was nice to see him in the store, and was really friendly.

bob marianos

There is an huge floral department and the flowers were absolutely beautiful.

flower department

Sushi anyone? They had a sushi bar. I’ll admit that I didn’t try it myself. But they were making it fresh as it was ordered.

marianos sushi bar

It sure was pretty though, and three of the bloggers did have sushi for their lunch and loved it.

marianos sushi

Melissa @ConsumerQueen and I had a fresh salad and fresh fruit.

consumerqueen

Vivian King was our tour guide, and we’ve been working with her through Collective Bias. It was great to meet her in person. She had the ribs that were so awesome! There is a BBQ department that prepares them fresh in the store. We were able to try samples of them earlier. She said that she normally always gets the sushi at the grand openings, but she was straying from her normal today.

vivian king

This is what I really wanted to try for lunch, but from the samples that they had throughout the store, I was actually a little too full to get one for lunch. They had individual pizzas that they would make to order for you. I wanted a mushroom, onion one… my fav! Maybe next visit to Chicago!

marianos 20

Look at this monster sandwich! It looked, omg good!

marianos 19

I have never thought about “eating” a meal at a grocery store before. But that is very much the norm at Mariano’s.  You can come in for a glass of wine, pick out your meal and eat in the cafe. I will certainly be stopping back by to try some more of their meals on my next visit to Chicago.

I am an employee of Collective Bias and Mariano’s is our client.  I went on the tour to see the store, and took a lot (almost 300) photos while there. I decided to create a post because I was so impressed with the store, I was not asked to write a post, nor expected to. I just wanted to share with you all!

 

 

 

 

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Downtown Disney

Shop Downtown Disney!

Downtown Disney is nice because you don’t have to pay to go in.  Parking is free, entrance is free, it’s just a nice place to be able to shop and take pictures and eat!

downtown disney

The Lego store there is the coolest one I’ve ever been to.  The Lego sculptures are amazing, like the dragon in the water.  Elise had never seen anything like them.

downtown disney

We went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner.  It was around 3:30pm, so you could consider it either a late lunch or early dinner. We got a seat (which I was thrilled but surprised at, even at 3:30pm).  What a cool experience for a child (and adult!)

rainforest cafe

rainforest cafe

We did some pin trading with the Disney employees.  Did you know that the employees who have pins on a vest or lanyard will trade you any authentic Disney pin for free?  You decided which one of theirs you want and you can pick any of your pins to trade back. It is so cool, you ask one and a couple others in the area will come up and show you their pins.  Elise and I both had fun doing that.  One of the things I did on another trip was to buy some of the “surprise” dollar bag of pins at the counter and use those to trade with. This time I had ordered some trading pins off the internet for Elise to have fun with.

We had some Ghirardelli  ice Cream after dinner. Yum!

We did some shopping in one of the Disney stores and bought the boys a couple pins for their lanyards since they weren’t with us.

There is a new T-Rex restaurant that looked cool. We didn’t go in, but by the looks of the line, it looked popular.

Downtown disney

We had a lovely evening at Downtown Disney. This is an easy must do on any day of your trip. I’m glad we did go in the afternoon rather than in the evening, because a storm let loose right as we were leaving.

 

 

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Fort Rapids

Located in Columbus Ohio – Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark is fun anytime of year

The kids and I went to Fort Rapids in door water park at the end of 2010. I wanted to share this post from my Explore Ohio with Sandy blog with you, so I’m reposting it.

Fort RapidsWe were invited to go to Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort and decided to plan it around the triplets 10th birthday.  They turn 10 on December 30th, 2010 and we knew with the winter setting in, this would be a great time to go.

We arrived on December 29th and were able to get our park passes when we arrived about 2pm. (you can pick them up by 1pm day of check in)  We couldn’t check in our rooms until 4pm, so we decided to go have lunch since we were starving by then anyway.

Fort Rapids

We came back at 4pm and stood in the line to check in.  The lobby was beautiful, and right off the bat I noticed the western theme in everything.  Now… where else do you get cookies when you check in?  (I know of one other place I’ve been, but they gave you a single cookie, not a tray to choose from)

Fort Rapids Once we checked in we had to check the place out.  Saw this coffee bar, although I never did get a chance to go inside.

Fort RapidsWe had to figure out what this machine was.  It was outside the restaurant. You had to put in $2 to play. Then you tried to use the claw to pick up a lobster. If you got it up and out of the water you got to have it cooked up and served for free.  We saw some people trying later while we were eating dinner. It got noisy… they were all excited and both times thought they had the lobster, but both times it kicked off and got free.  It kind of had those loose kind of claws like the stuff animal machines do, so it didn’t have a very good grip on them, there was nothing to hurt them.

Check out the reaction when we walked into our suite called the Bright Angel Point Grand Canyon. It sleeps 12!

It was so much fun for the kids. There was so much to do and with them being 10 years old it was nice that they could be off by themselves while we just sat and relaxed. Dave read and I took pictures! lol (no.. Dave and I didn’t get in the water. Be sure to wear cool clothes because it is humid and warm in there. Great for the kids running around in swimsuits, not so great if you aren’t getting in or you have a new hairdo! lol )
There were life guards everywhere! They were regulating the slides and I don’t think you could look from your left to your right without seeing one.
Fort RapidsThis guy was funny. He saw me standing there waiting for the kids to come down the slide to try and get their pictures (which didn’t turn out.. by the way) and he said.. hey.. get me in action. He started a slow motion run.  lol Cracked me up.  (there was no one in the water by the way, he was the guard at the bottom of the slide)

Fort RapidsLike I said.. the western theme was throughout not only the hotel, but also the waterpark. This was up in the air as decoration for part of the waterpark.

Fort RapidsThere was an adult area huge whirlpool tub. No kids allowed.  So the adults can get away from it all too.

Ft RapidsA really large and nicely done kiddie area. This was one of the cute dumping water features in that area.

Fort RapidsNow here is one of the water dumping features for the big kids!! lol

fort rapidsThe kids loved it.. Even the littler slides were fun.

Fort RapidsA and Kim’s from @craftymamaof4  – son were having fun together.

Fort RapidsThere was basketball for you to play in the water too.

Fort RapidsThis is another one of Kim’s sons.

Fort Rapids
The kids loved the lazy river. It was a popular place and would get pretty crowded, but the kids didn’t mind.
fort rapids
There were all kinds of people here. From babies to elderly. You also realize how big tattoos are now too! LOL Until you see people in their swimsuits, you don’t realize how popular they are. omg!
I’m adding this picture… just because I think it is cool.
fort rapidsWe left the indoor waterpark after several hours and went back to our cool suite to shower and change. Then off to dinner.

We would have liked to stop off in the cool game room, but we never did find the time.

fort rapidsAs I stated in the video, we weren’t overly impressed with the food.  There was a good selection on the buffet and the prices were good. Dave and 2 of the 3 kids got the buffet. They graded their meals  a C-, C and B+.  The main problem was that some of the food was kind of dry.. I think from sitting out. They do keep them covered nicely.

fort rapids I ordered from the menu and got a burger and was excited to see the broccoli salad with it. I had a few bites and then stopped.. there was too much dressing on it. Too much mayo taste.  The burger was kind of dry also.  I left part of the crust and the edges of the burger.  A also ordered from the menu. He got a hot dog and loved it! He gave it an A+…. said it was the biggest and best hot dog he had ever eaten. But it took quite awhile for our meals to come. The others had finished eating… 2nd helpings before our food came out.  I would have to say that this was the only slightly negative thing that we experienced.

Everyone there was extremely helpful.  Other than the people checking me in, I’m sure no one else knew I was doing a review.  They provided this cake for the triplets birthday. It was in the room when we got there. fort rapidsI don’t think this was only because I was reviewing. My guess is that this would be a service that anyone would receive.  We didn’t have any forks or knife, plates etc.. in the room – so we stopped by the bar area and asked if they had some forks and plates we could use.  She  did and then when she couldn’t find a knife for us to cut the cake, she went into the restaurant to get us one.

crafty Mama of 4Kim from Crafty Mama of 4 was there with her family the same time we were. That was fun. Our kids and husbands had never met, and the kids got to play some together at the waterpark. They came over and shared the cake with us for the kids birthdays.

fort rapids There were 2 king beds (one up and one down)  and the other downstairs room had 2 queens. (we thought they seemed smaller than our queen at home, so I would have guessed doubles, but info says they are queen) and then a small little room with a set of bunk beds. The couch also pulls out to a sleeper sofa.

The room across from ours was having a family reunion here. Some were from the DC area, others from IL and they met in Ohio and stayed together, visited and the kids got to play. Great idea!!

fort rapids The suite was unbelievable! There was 2 stories, 4 bedrooms (2 down and 2 up) 3 bathrooms, the living room with fireplace and a kitchenette area. There was no running water in the kitchenette. So that was just a little strange. We had to take our drinks to the bathroom to dump them out. But no biggie. There was a little dryer there that you could dry your suits! We didn’t use it to see if it worked though.

You don’t have to get a suite though, there are all kinds of different options for rooms, from your basic hotel room to the family villas.

The suite we stayed in was the Bright Angel Point Grand Canyon and cost $499 for the night, but with taxes it came to $599.  It comes with 12 indoor waterpark passes.  The passes are good from 1pm of your check in day.. and extend to the end of the day on your check out day (check out is 11am, but there are lockers that you can change in after you swim if you have checked out).

You can get day passes to the waterpark also. They run $26.99. (prices may vary)

Be sure to visit.. and tell them Sandy from Explore Ohio with Sandy sent you!

Thank you Fort Rapids… we had a wonderful time!

Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort
www.FortRapids.com

4560 Hilton Corporate Drive
Columbus, OH 43232

877-33-SPLASH (877-337-7527)

Disclosure: Our 1 night stay in the Bright Angle Point Grand Canyon suite and 10 waterpark passes were provided at no charge. We paid for our own meals. The pictures, video and opinions are my own.

 

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Geneva on the Lake

The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva On the Lake, Ohio

Geneva on the Lake

Dave and I were invited to visit The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva On-The-Lake and I was more than thrilled! Living less than three hours away from Lake Erie, you would think that I would go up there more frequently.  But alas, other than our visit last year, this is only the second time I’ve stayed on the lake.

It is the perfect place for you to stay if you enjoy wine country – it’s in the heart of Ohio’s wine country, directly on Lake Erie just east of Sandusky. There are over 20 wineries near by to enjoy.  The Lodge has a wine shuttle that will take you several of them. But you do have to be sure and reserve your spot on the shuttle early because it sells out.

Geneva on the lake

Here is a video that shows you are weekend visit.

Looks great doesn’t it?

It was Easter weekend and cool, but sunny and pretty.  Dave is hoping that we’ll get a chance this summer to come back up. He wants to take the kids on a fishing charter on the lake.

We drove up to the area Friday evening so we could visit with his niece, Jamie and her husband Brian along with Dave’s childhood friend Kevin and his wife Kym. They suggested the winery Ferrante, which is close to the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake.  We had a really nice meal, along with some fun wine tasting at the restaurant.  We wondered why the restaurant wasn’t very busy when it was so nice, but realized later it was because it was pre-season and things were pretty quiet.

Geneva on the Lake

We drove over to The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake on Saturday.  The town of Geneva was really quant, but we didn’t stop anywhere, we just drove through.   We found the Lodge, but it was still too early to check in. We then went on past the Lodge and found the strip of Geneva on the Lake. It reminded me of Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach. I could just picture people walking up and down the sidewalks with all the open air places to eat and visit. I bet it is so fun! Other than being warm enough to take a boat on the lake, being able to enjoy this area I missed.

Geneva on the Lake

We found the Firehouse Winery open and had lunch there.  There was a small room on the second floor with just a few tables that over looked the lake.  We first thought that the winery was in the blue building, but discovered it was in the red barn looking building to the right in the picture above.

Picture this Ferris wheel with all the seats attached going around….  what a cool view that would be of the lake.

Geneva on the Lake

We walked along the lake, back behind the winery.  What a beautiful day!

Geneva on the lake

There is plenty to do and see in the area, even off season

Geneva on the lake

We went back to the Lodge and checked into our room.  Walking into the lobby you immediately had a feel of … “wow, this is a nice place”.

Geneva on the lake

There are several places that have groups of comfortable seats.

Geneva on the lake

Geneva on the lake

Then we had to check out our room.  The room was very nice.  We had a king room with a balcony and great view of the lake. Loved that!  There are other rooms that have options such as whirlpools, family rooms with bunk beds and a couple recently upgraded two-room suites.

Geneva on the lake

Check out the view we had from our balcony! See the gazebo? Guess what happens there?  Yes… weddings! Wouldn’t that be a beautiful setting? You wouldn’t have to worry about the hot sand of a beach wedding! lol

geneva on the lake

The Lodge at Geneva also has an indoor pool and hot tub (although we didn’t indulge on this trip) along with an outdoor pool that looks out on the lake.

geneva on the lake

We ate our dinner on Saturday night at the Horizons Restaurant in the lodge.  You walk into the restaurant to a really cool fireplace and buffet. It is really inviting.

geneva on the lake Then you look behind the fireplace and see an entire wall of windows looking out at the lake and the gazebo.  When it gets dark the gazebo is all lit with white lights… nice!

Geneva on the lake

I thought it was cool to see this couple sitting out by the water on the bench. The whole feel of the lodge feels romantic to me.

geneva on the lake

We had the breakfast buffet the next morning (Easter Morning). We did not stay for the Easter bunch that was taking place in just about an hour or so.  Our breakfast was nice, not spectacular but good. . My omelet was fine, but Dave said his french toast wasn’t very good. But the coffee and atmosphere were awesome.  I’m thinking the focus might have been on the brunch since it was such a special event and not the regular breakfast.

We checked out the marina on Saturday.  It seemed strange seeing a marine without any boats. Come May it will be full of boats.

Geneva on the lake

What a nice place to visit! It is actually just a walk from the Lodge at Geneva on the Lake.

Geneva on the lake

There are so many things to do. Obviously boating and fishing, but there is also canoeing, hiking, nature walks, golfing, a tour of historic covered bridges, lighthouses, museums, Underground Railroad sites, restaurants and entertainment. wow!

I would not hesitate to recommend The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake to anyone and I am recommending it to all of you!!

 

The Lodge & Conference Center at
Geneva on-the-Lake
4888 North Broadway
Geneva-On-The-Lake, Oh 44041

440-415-1527
www.TheLodgeatGeneva.com  

 

Our Saturday night stay, dinner and breakfast at The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva on-the-Lake. This did not influence my opinions. The pictures and video are all my own and are not to be used without my permission. (You are welcome to pin the pictures on pinterest though)

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Dunkin Donut Review

Dunkin Donut in Worthington, Ohio

Who doesn’t love donuts? I know I sure do! I was lucky enough to get to go as a part of the Tastecasting  to the new Dunkin Donuts in Worthington, OH
We got to taste donuts, coffees and breakfast sandwiches. I know I got an education to what they had. I never thought of anything other than the donuts…(which is usually enough in MY book!!) Ok…I will let you drool over the next couple of pictures…


Ok..we all know how wonderful their donuts are right?
But they also have some other really great products….some of which you can eat without feeling guilty

There is a menu of items called the DD Smart menu. They are a healthier option with calorie counts below 300 calories. This is the Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread Sandwich. It was really good!! Very filling and I just had a portion of one to sample. I will be getting another one of those for sure. Ok…so if I get one of those along with my donut it would be better than just eating donuts right?

I tried an iced coffee with cream and a shot of blueberry syrup in it. Now that was fun too. I sipped that all the way home and really enjoyed it.

This was the cutest little sample cup of their really yummy coolattas. These are on special until July 14th for only $1.99. Now…do not think they are tiny like my sample….look at the site. These are 16 oz sizes. I tasted the strawberry and vanilla. I do have to say that my favorite was the strawberry..although the vanilla really tasted good too. You can have them made with skim milk and they can fall into the DD Smart Menu with only 140 calories for a small. Yeah!

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SugarDaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties Review

SugarDaddy’s Sumptuous Sweeties Round Brownies!


Meet Mark, Tom, Allison and Brian. This is team Sugardaddy! (Minus Chef who was on vacation for our visit).
Mark and Tom are the creators and owners of all these goodies!
Tom would make up these wonderful brownie creations and Mark loved them and encouraged him to take his love of baking, his marvelous brownie creations, and creativity to the next level.

Together they formulated the name from Blondies their light or butter, brown sugar based brownies and Brunettes from their chocolate brownies. So what worked better than SugarDaddy’s Scrumptious Sweeties?


There are 17 flavors of these round brownies and blondies. For instance you have the Dark Berry, Auburn Original, Rich Mint, Tahiti, Fiery, Zanzibar, Chai Spiced and many more.

I have to say that the Rich Mint is my favorite…although I loved all the others too. I don’t think there would be any of all that I tasted…and I tasted a lot!!! I was trying just one bite of about all of the items.

Why round?

Tom and Mark did a lot of research and found that the majority of people do not like the brownie crust. They want the moist inside of the brownie. So they bake their brownies and then cut them round.
I think this is great. They do not let ANYTHING go to waste when it comes to their deluxe brownies.
They use the pieces that come from in between the round cuts to make 1 lb bags of “pocket change.” These little pieces of brownie are great for munching, using in a trifle, or paring with ice cream.

For those of us who love the crust…we are not forgotten!! They take the crust and double bake them to come up with Brownie biscotti! Oh…are these good! Brownie taste, crust taste, but so light and great with coffee.

So you think they would be finished right? Nope…more small pieces of brownie are used to make these fabulous Brownie Truffles! Oh my gosh!! Loved these too!!
They are color coded so you know what you are getting.

Here are a few that I got to taste. (Wish I had one right now as I am writing this!!)

This is the Auburn Original. It has triplet chocolate, chocolate ganache and kahlua.


The American Beauty with double chocolate, peanut butter, roasted peanuts, chocolate canache and creme de cacao. Soooo good.

So you would think there wouldn’t be anything left right? They take the smallest parts of the brownies and smash them and use them in the crust of their cheesecake!!
We got to sample it…yummy!

They have also begun to make ice cream and are working to develop more flavors. So that will be fun to see what new flavors they will be coming up with!


Ok…here is a really cool part. Not only do we like them….but they have already been discovered!
Tom beat Bobby on Bobby Flay’s Showdown, (you can find the video clips at the bottom of their home page.) enjoyed by Ellen’s Guest in her Green Room, used as the Snack of the Day on Rachel Ray and has tons of write ups.
They have been in business for only 4 years and have accomplished all of this so far!! Can’t imagine how big they are going to be in the next 4 years!
Here is the brownie that Tom beat Bobby with. It is the Tahiti Blondie: Roated Coconut, Sugardaddy’s special curry spice blend and roasted cashews. Now how is that for a blondie?

They have the cutest store!! This was just completed in February of this year. It feels so comfortable. There is a coffee station

Places to sit and eat and drink your coffee.

They have the cutest wrapping station gift bags and lovely ways to personalize your gifts.

Look at the cute personalized Gift Bag options you can send your goodies in to people!! Also note the Brownie cake sitting on the shelf. You can have this made with several days notice and I hear it is the bomb!!

I could go on believe me! But you need to visit their site..and investigate. What a nice alternative to the normal “flowers” that people send.
They only overnight their products. Why? Good question…because it is the only way to be sure their products are as fresh as can be. They bake them package them and send them the same day and then only overnight ship them. Here is another thing that is very unusual. They call you when your order has been delivered. Now how often does that happen?

Visit SugarDaddy’s web site to place your order!

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Creekside in Gahanna Ohio

June 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Explore Ohio, Restaurants & Places to Eat

Just to share something a little different today. A little light, fun and romantic place near my home town.

I went with my hubby to dinner last night in little ole’ Gahanna, OH. I had not been to the area they had completely built up as Creekside yet. Pictures looked nice and @creeksidenews is on Twitter, saying how nice it was, so we decided to give it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. We decided to pick Wine Guys Wine Shop for dinner. We were able to eat out at one of the tables outside. We did not have a creekside view, rather a street and fountain view…but it was still so quaint to sit outside and eat. They had wine tastings. Wait…they called them wine flights. You get 4 small (I think it was 2 oz) glasses of four different wines in the same grouping to taste. Then you can order after that if you choose. These equal about 1 1/2 glasses of wine and that is plenty for me.

They also serve food in tapas sizes. They are smaller portions than normal, so that each person can order 2 or 3 tapas and try different things. We ordered a bread plate, salad to share, pizza and the special which was steak kabobs. We had pizza and steak to bring home.
I kept telling my husband as we sat outside that it made me feel like I was on a vacation. I didn’t feel like I was in Ohio anymore. Isn’t that the ultimate complement?

We then took a walk along the creekside and here are some pictures of that. White lights decorated some of the trees along the way.


See the baby ducks? Look close!
Of course we had to stop and get ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery!!
We really enjoyed this. I told my hubby it was the perfect date night. I look forward to coming back.

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Bob Evans New Summer Menu!


The Tastecasting Group and the Chefs who fed us tonight!!


We were treated to a feast tonight at the Bob Evans at Graceland in Columbus Ohio. This Bob Evans got a new remodeling job. This is a prototype with the “Eat-In Kitchen“. It is a new comfortable feeling to it. (I didn’t get a very good picture of it….very nice though)
There were 20 of us there and we were treated to the new appetizers, main course and dessert along with ice cream floats. We had the chefs come out and talk to us. We had marketing, public relations, General Manager and several other people from Bob Evans there. They were checking out this new form of marketing that Tastecasting was offering them. We were checking out the new restyle of Bob Evans and the yummy food they were coming out with.
The new menu will be launched this Thursday May 14th. (except for the supreme pie which will be out in mid June)


These are the new Appetizers!
They are:
Itsy Bitsy Sandwiches – sausage with cheese and a pickle and the Bob-B-Q pulled pork sandwich with a pickle.
Loaded Baked Potato Bites – breaded and fried potato bites stuffed with cheddar cheese and bacon. It is served with ranch dressing.
Wildfire Chicken Quesadilla – grilled flour tortilla filled with chicken and all kinds of other goodies.
Blue Ribbon Apple Pie Fries – Battered and fried apple pie fries dusted with powered sugar and served with caramel dipping sauce. *My favorite*

Here is my plate! I did not try the quesadillas because the Wildfire BBQ sauce scared me off. But guess what…I tried it and it is not too hot at all. It is a sweet sauce with just a little bit of spice. Believe me…if I can eat it, it isn’t too spice. I am a spicy whimp!! (and I liked it) By the time I realized it, the quesadillas were all gone. They were popular and from what I heard, very good.

Floats!! I can’t remember the last time I had a good rootbeer float. They had cherry coke, coke and rootbeer floats. Very good. Hmmmm….think I liked it?


The Baby Back Ribs are slow roasted, fall-off-the-bone (and they really do) tender ribs glazed in the Wildfired Sauce. *my favorite*

Oven Roasted Chicken. This is oven-roasted, bone-in chicken breasts that are slathered in Bob Evans smoke-sweet wildfire sauce.

The Red, White & Blueberry Supreme Pie was heavenly! Rich cream cheese filling topped by a layer of fresh strawberries and blueberries and creamy whipped topping. This was soooo good!! It will not be out until mid June when the blueberries are at their peak. Can’t wait.

These were the two chefs that made this feast for us. Both were named Brian. Jules was in charge tonight for Tastecasting.

Make sure to visit a Bob Evans near you!!

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The Suisse Shop Review


Social Media can be used in many ways. Dan Harris had a vision to help local restaurants get some attention to help their business and for us to get to sample some real goodies and to make some new friends.

Everything looked so wonderful!! It smelled great. The Suisse Shop is known for their Tortes and pastries. They normally sell them by the full torte. But for this week (and only one other during the year) they have their special, “Torte by the Slice”. It gives us all a chance to taste any of the over 30 tortes they make. They only cost $3.50 per slice! And only $2.75 for the cheesecake. If you think what you would pay for this wonderful piece of dessert if you were in sit down restaurant you would probably be paying about $8.50 a slice.

The Suisse Shop has been in business for 26 years and is owned by a Swiss baker, Therese Whitfield. She and her family run the shop. They are are opened from 9am-7pm Tuesday through Friday. Mondays are from 9am-4pm and they are closed on Sundays.

They make fantastic wedding cakes and have made over 1500 in central Ohio.


Look at the plate I sampled!! I tried Black Forest torte, Buckeye cheesecake, Lemon torte, yellow torte, chocolate torte, german chocolate torte, coconut torte. They were all really good. I have to say that I did have a couple of favorites. I really liked the yellow, lemon and chocolate tortes. They had a very light buttery frosting. These were not “heavy” at all to me. I think the peanut butter cheesecake was the richest I tasted. Fantastic, but I wouldn’t be able to eat more than one piece.

They use the same ingredients when they make their cupcakes. They looked really good too. They also have mini torte cakes. There are 5″ tortes, 8″ and 10″ tortes.

Doesn’t everything look great? Guess what…it was!!

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Espresso Cafe in Powell Ohio

Espresso Yourself Music Cafe Review with TasteCasting

Last night I got to go to the cutest coffee house in Powell, OH. It was opened in an old church. There are bands that play and entertain you as you get to drink your coffee. They have a listing of bands and a menu at the web site Espresso Yourself Music Cafe.
The art work is all done by different artist and is for sale and changes regularly.


We were treated to a sample of a few different sandwiches. These were fantastic! I never really thought of a coffee house as having some really good food, but this one does! Eric who owns this coffee house and his daughter run it. He is very conscious of healthy food. His wife passed away 2 years ago of lung cancer and before she died they learned how to eat really healthy.
The smoothies have real fruit and antioxidants. I had the peach and it was wonderful!!! They also treated us to some (not as healthy..but hey, some of us still eat junk right?) warm chocolate chip cookies.
Thanks! I will for sure be back.

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The Culinary Table in Grandview, Ohio

The Culinary Table Review with Taste Casting


I was able to go to my first Taste Casting event tonight. It took place at The Culinary Table in Grandview, OH. This is a combination of three businesses that come together to create pure magic when it comes to social events, corporate events, wedding parties, receptions, cooking classes or catering. Wine and beer tastings are also on the upcoming venue. It is a “One Stop Shop for Everything” as Emily of Bellisari’s catering said. It was a large room (can seat up to 60), but not too large and it felt very comfortable. The decorations were beautiful and done by Natural Designs, which design beautiful and original floral design and decorating. They were featured at The Decorator Show House.


It all tasted as good as it looked! If you live in the central Ohio area and are planning a graduation party, wedding reception or if you want to have a luncheon for business..you need to think about The Culinary Table.

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