Over the weekend we met up with family for our last camping trip of 2014–and Ohio’s fall foliage was at its prime! This was our first visit to Geneva State Park in Geneva, Ohio, although we had attempted to go last year but at the last minute discovered we would be camping the same September weekend as Thunder on the Strip. Since that’s not our thing, we decided to take a rain check–and this year it was time to cash it in.
This small “resort” town is full of nostalgia and considered by some to be Ohio’s oldest summer resort town, dating back over 130 years. Since we visited late in the season, much of the town was already closed for the year–but we still found enough to keep us busy.
The campground was very nice with plenty of room between the sites. Although it is not a huge campground–there are approximately 100 sites, including four full hook-up–there are only two bathroom buildings and one shower house/bathroom. This shower house only has three showers on the women’s side and three showers on the men’s side for the whole campground. On a busy summer weekend I’m not sure the limited number of showers could adequately meet the demands of the campground. The bathrooms were very clean while we were there, but there were also very few people still camping this late in October–so we are not sure how well they are maintained during busy weekends. A sign in the shower house indicated that the shower house was only cleaned twice a week–whether it is cleaned more frequently during prime camping months we are not sure.
This weekend was particularly windy and rainy–boo–and after the showers moved through many of the sites were left with a significant amount of standing water in them. (In the chart below we have listed the sites that were the worst after the rain.) The kids were also disappointed with the playground, which only boasted a slide and swings that had already been removed for the season.
Except for these few downsides, though, the campground at Geneva State Park had a lot to offer. Most of the sites are fairly level and tree limbs have been adequately trimmed back. Each campsite had a paved pad, and the full hook-up sites also had a concrete pad for the picnic table area. The campground roads were in great shape and the kiddos loved biking and creating chalk drawings on them. There was a nice laundry facility in the shower house building, and it had two washers, two dryers, a big utility sink, and a folding counter.
From the campground there is a paved trail leading to the beach, marina, or into town. If you bring a boat to go onto Lake Erie the marina was well stocked and had several launch ramps for different sized boats. If you do not have a boat but want to fish out on the lake–which is dubbed the walleye capital of the world–DB Sport Fishing Charters is based out of the park marina. For campers who have a successful day on the lake, there is a fish cleaning station near the campground. During summer months, there are also guarded beaches where you can swim in Lake Erie.
We explored nearby Geneva-on-the-Lake a bit and found two places to eat that were great:
- Crosswinds Grille at the Lakehouse Inn is a field to fork restaurant and winery–the perfect stop for a great date night while family watched the kiddos. I had the pork chop and it was probably the best I have ever had!
- We also made it into town on Sunday morning to sample Madsen Donuts, which has been around since 1938. I highly recommend the cinnamon sticks!
Since the fall foliage was at its peak and it was forecasted to rain most of Saturday, we decided to stay dry in the car while touring the covered bridges of Ashtabula County. My recommendation is to go here and plan your route in advance. To visit all 18 covered bridges it would take you a couple hours. We started with the shortest bridge in Geneva and then did a few on the south and western tour (14, 15, and 16 in that order) and then headed toward Jefferson. We stopped in Jefferson for lunch and ate at the nostalgic Jefferson Diner–where they dish out some tasty desserts. From there we did the entire north and eastern tour (minus bridge No. 2; somehow I missed that turn). If you go in the order of the bridges, there are small white and brown signs that will lead you through all the turns–although some are easy to miss amid the shrubbery. It is also worth noting that some of the roads are dirt and it is very likely you will need to send your vehicle through a car wash if it’s a muddy day (see pictures in the metaslider). Overall this drive was a hit with adults and kids alike. Flash liked the bridges so much he could not wait to get home and use Legos to build his own covered bridge.
Another fun aspect of our visit to Geneva is that we met some fellow camping bloggers: Roz and Manny from 2 Adventurers Hit the Road … RV There Yet? We also had our new Touring Camper magnets on the van, so we got to chat with a few inquisitive folk and share about our website. In our conversations, people recommended we check out the Spire Institute–but we unfortunately ran out of time. Spire is one of the largest indoor, multi-sport training and competition centers in the world.
Other areas of interest in the region include winery tours, Brant’s Orchard (we stopped in briefly to bag some fantastic apples and pears), and the Historic Jefferson Depot Village (which was closed due to a wedding when we stopped).
Still to come: More posts on the new campfire foods we tried this weekend. We certainly ate well!
Date of visit: Oct. 17-20, 2014