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Thread: Gem Beach

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio

    Gem Beach

    This thread is for those of you who might want to share memories of some time(s) that you spent "summering" at the lake, the cottage, the cabin, the beach, the resort, etc.

    Gem Beach was a popular NW Ohio resort area. Located on Catawba Island (which isn't really an island.....it's a peninsula) along the shores of Lake Erie, about half-way between metropolitan Toledo and metropolitan Cleveland.

    Look into the crystal time machine......the time is 1960.....this Bear is all of twelve (12) years old.....

    Gem Beach is on the eastern side of the Catawba peninsula. We turn right and are immediately excited by seeing the giant wooden sign, proclaiming GEM BEACH, LAKE ERIE'S VACATIONLAND. The road goes back, through a wooded area, curves slightly to the right. Suddenly, older cottages are lining both sides of the road and perpindicular lanes shoot off in both directions, filled with more cottages.

    The road turns sharply right. If we would have kept driving straight we would have crashed into an old wooden restaurant. To the left of the restaurant is a huge dance hall, partially open to the weather and partially covered with a roof. Even at this age I know that you can get beer inside of a "cage" that is under the roof, accessible to those eighteen (18) or over. I also know that Friday and Saturday nights will be "a blast" at the dance hall, no matter what age.

    We can see the lake, visible between the restaurant and the yellow 2-story Bath House. To get to the beach you must pass through the Bath House. If you are staying at a cottage, you have a "cottage pass" to get in free. The 2nd floor is the Penny Arcade, with wide wooden steps going up. A young boy tends to spend a lot of time in the Penny Arcade.

    To the right of the Bath House is the Skating Rink, with shutters that are opened on skate nights, letting the cool Lake Erie breezes slide in. The beach itself is a typical western Lake Erie beach, with a long gradual walk before you reached deep water and a wonderful sandy bottom. In the 1950's and the early 1960's the lake was quite clean, especially in this area.

    Every year we would rent a different cottage at Gem Beach. Also, my uncle owned a cottage so we also stayed at his place. Some of the cottages, including my uncles', were in a neighborhood across from the Skating Rink, just west of the giant boat marina.

    Later in this Bear's life, I would return to Gem Beach. I did some drinking at and in "the cage". I met a future girlfriend while partying at the beach.

    Today, all of the old wooden buildings are gone. The cottages are still there, but most of the owners are now boaters who keep their boats docked at the huge marina. Excellent walleye and smallmouth bass fishing is available just outside of the harbor, on a much-cleaner Lake Erie.

    Enuf about me. Do you have some memories of your times at "that summer place"?

    Bear Splashing Jennifer

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Which one? We had a cottage in Wisconsin, where I would spend the days fishing, swimming, boating and playing in the woods with my cousins. I ended up working for several years not very far away. My Canadian grandparents had a second home on north shore of Lake Erie, and visits meant either days out on the lake or at one of the farms. We would spend a few more days each year in Michigan (JNL and I stopped there to sample the wine). Of course, summers also meant two or three weeks spent in the mountains or elsewhere in the west. I can't imagine having the time for all of that now, but I sure would like to.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    Grew up "summering" at the Jersey Shore
    where I learned to
    bodysurf in the ocean, sail (AMF Sunfish), operate a motorboat (17 ft w/ 115hp), waterski (never learned to slalom);
    and worked in a grocery store.

    Worked at a summer camp on a lake in the Adirondacks for two summers.

  4. #4
    Growing up halfway between the Peedee and Catawba basins, I spent most if not all weekends from about the age of 6 to the age of 15 at the lake. Most times just for the afternoon on sunday but occaisionaly for the entire weekend. Many fun times as well as many lessons. One of which was don't antagonize pop and then get him to pull you skiing. Paybacks can be rough!!!!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    This thread is for those of you who might want to share memories of some time(s) that you spent "summering" at the lake, the cottage, the cabin, the beach, the resort, etc.of ...[snip]...
    I'll just cut my heart out instead.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
    Nov 2004
    Not Cliff Island, Maine :(
    As a child, we always spent our summers at Cliff Island, Maine.

    It's an island that is seven miles off the coast of Portland, Maine. The farthest island to receive ferry service. The ferry takes several hours to actually get there form Portland, but it's worth it. The cabin we stayed in is just rustic enough to make the experience unique, but cushy enough to make an extended stay possible. We would often stay there for a month or so as a child.

    There's alot to do. There's cliffs (surprise), blueberries, deer, mosquitoes, clams, lobsters, mackerel, mosquitoes... My family's into board games... so we would spend every day playing boardgames until the sun came up.

    Unfortunately, due to family squabbling (amongst the owners), we don't go there anymore... but someday I will return.

    There was a movie filmed there... While the movie was as entertaining as watching golf, I did enjoy watching it, simply because it reminded me of those great summer trips.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    May 2003
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    I'll just cut my heart out instead.
    I couldn't have said it better myself.

    We have a real ****ing set of ****ing charmed ****ers, here, don't we?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian plankton's avatar
    Feb 2003
    coastal rainforest
    Ipperwash Beach near Grand Bend, Ontario.

    Naples, Florida.

    Attean Pond, Jackman, Maine.

    btw, jordanb, you're cute

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Floridays's avatar
    Jul 2002
    South FL
    Every summer, until I was about 12, my family spent a couple of weeks at Ocean City, MD. It was great! I absolutely loved the boardwalk and can still remember the smell of the wood and the greasy food and the sounds from the arcades.

    We moved away after that, but I would still fly back every summer and go with my grandmother. When I was 17, my best friend in MD and I drove to OC for our first wild girls' weekend! Stayed in an old hotel on the boardwalk (the Mayflower; I don't think it's there anymore) and I drank my first Long Island Tea.

    It's hard to find a beach with a real boardwalk anymore. Sigh.

    Now that I live 4 miles from the beach, it's like a permanent vacation!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
    Oct 2003
    In Wasteland of Cedar Trees
    Here are three of my gem beaches:
    - the Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (love those sand dunes);
    - Juno Beach at Juno Beach, Florida, just north of West Palm Beach; and
    - Parlee Beach in Shediac, New Brunswick, not too far from Moncton and the Confederation Bridge that connects PEI and NB.

    Some of the other beaches I've been to:
    - Balm Beach in Balm Beach, Ontario, west of Midland and 1.5 hours northwest of Toronto.
    - Treasure Island near Tampa, Florida
    - Jupiter Beach, north of West Palm Beach
    - a beach somewhere on Palm Beach
    - Juno Beach, France (where Canadians landed during the Normandy invasion)
    - Birling Gap near Eastbourne, Sussex, England, which is part of the Seven Sisters
    - Kitslano Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia.
    - beaches in and around North Sauble Beach and Southampton, Ontario (NW of TO)
    - the beach many tall sand dunes at Slanthill, Ireland, a 15 minutes ride southwest of Sligo, Ireland.

    Can't wait to see more sand dunes. I just love them.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
    Nov 2003
    at Babies R Us or Home Depot
    I've never been 'summering'. However, my brothers and I did spend quite a few days fishing with my grandad at Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs. I never ate fish as a kid, but I wanted to catch more fish than my brothers.

  12. #12
    Jun 2004
    Being here in MO we drive up to the Lake of the Ozarks almost every weekend of the summer (still do), it is cheezy but fun anyway. Lots of boating, skiing, laying at the pool...it always makes for a nice Friday knowing the whole family will be getting together for the weekend and the boys LOVE it...I got to grow up going there and now they will too.

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