Things that hold lake erie shores

Lake Erie Shores, Islands and Cedar Point

posted by Momo Fali on September 5, 2011

For the 16 years that my husband and I have been together we have made a trip, 2.5 hours north, to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio every summer. It used to be us and a group of friends, but once we had kids it became a family getaway. We usually drive up on a Saturday afternoon, buy twilight passes for Saturday evening, all-day passes for Sunday, then drive home Sunday night. We never go anywhere but Cedar Point.

There’s a good reason for that. Cedar Point is awesome. If you like roller coasters, there is no better park in the United States. I’m not lying.

Amusement Today has voted it the best amusement park in the country for the past 13 years and BONUS! We can get there in under 3 hours. There are SO MANY great coasters at Cedar Point that it’s hard to say which one is my favorite. I’ve always loved Raptor, but Millennium Force is the most amazingly fast, smooth and exciting ride I have ever been on (watch this video to see it).

Maverick is the most unique and Top Thrill Dragster is quite a ride. And, I haven’t even come close to naming all of the coasters, let alone the other rides. My kids love roller coasters just as much as we do. Thank goodness, because I would hate to have to disown them.

But, there is one thing that’s wrong with liking Cedar Point so much; we never see anything else the Lake Erie shore has to offer.

This year we did things differently.

Do you ever feel like you have to take a break? That’s how I was feeling a few weeks ago. Like I was being pulled in so many different directions that I didn’t know which way to turn first. I needed a little getaway with my family to get myself centered again.

We drove to Sandusky on a Sunday morning and checked into our room at the Sawmill Creek Resort. This sprawling hotel is on well-kept grounds with a golf course on site.  The accommodations were nicer than where we usually stay for our Cedar Point trips, but if you take little ones, ask for a room near the lobby. It took us a long time to walk to the common areas like the pool, restaurants and gift shop.

The amenity most notably missing was that there was no wifi in the room. There was one dial-up source, but that meant that my husband and I couldn’t work at the same time (it should be noted, the blogger won that battle).

We had a 12:30 tee time that afternoon for the whole family and as we neared the very first green, rain came at us from every angle. With lightning suddenly striking, we floored our golf carts to the nearest shelter, which happened to be a storage barn.

After about 20 minutes, the rain slowed enough that we could drive back to the clubhouse and request a tee time for the next morning. They were happy to oblige.

So, there we were at 1:00 in the afternoon, and our plans were rained out. THIS is why you should stay at a hotel with an indoor pool. Between swimming and a trip to Walmart for snacks, we still managed to have a fun-filled day.

The next morning, we hit the putting green at 7:45am. Luckily, the weather was cooperating.

The course was beautiful and we, mostly, had it to ourselves.

The kids were even getting along.

After 18 holes of golf, we drove to the Miller Ferry in Catawba, where we pulled our car right onto the boat.

Then we climbed to the top level and enjoyed the ride to Put in Bay, which is a small Lake Erie island.

We started the afternoon with a tour of the Heineman Winery and Crystal Cave. The cave is the world’s largest geode and you can stand inside of it! I felt like Superman.

A tour of the winery followed, where my homemade-wine-making-husband had vat envy. These don’t look like our five gallon jugs!

Before we left the winery, we stopped for a glass of wine and the kids got grape juice. My daughter loved it…

…but, my son was unimpressed.

To distract him, we walked across the street to Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center and the Butterfly House.

We saw some gorgeous flowers and exotic butterflies.

This one hitched a ride.

By this time, the kids were getting tired. Okay, so was I. My husband insisted that we wait for a tour of Perry’s Cave, but let’s just say there was some serious whining going on. It was so HOT, which is why I am really glad we waited for that tour.

Perry’s Cave is deep underground and naturally air-conditioned at a delightful 50 degrees. It was dark, damp and kind of freaky, but it felt so good! Warning! Low ceiling!

After that, we were rejuvenated! The kids really wanted to run through Fort Amaze’n, which looked far too complicated for me. I, instead, watched from a viewing stand. The kids were sent in with a challenge to find four letters, stamp a card, then exit within 5 minutes. If you could do that, you got a free pass for a rock climbing wall.

It turned out to be too difficult for the kids as well. My husband jumped in to help our son and our daughter ended up crawling under the partition after about 15 minutes of trying to get out.

Because our golf game had been postponed until that morning, we didn’t have as much time on Put in Bay as we would have liked. We took a quick drive around the island, before taking the ferry back to Catawba.

Beautiful, isn’t it? Bet you didn’t know that Ohio looks like this.

After dinner, the kids somehow had enough energy to go swimming, which put the cherry on top of a very full day. We loved our visit to the Lake Erie shore and there was so much more we could have seen. I guess that just means we have to go back next year!

The next morning, we woke early and made our annual drive to Cedar Point. We spent all day on roller coasters, then changed into our bathing suits for some of the water rides. My son thought it was hysterical when I got completely drenched. Truth be told, I kind of did too.

We always have a fabulous time and this year was no exception. Cedar Point makes me feel like a kid again.

And, as an added bonus, the prize from the ball toss game made an excellent pillow for the ride home.

The good thing about amusement park prizes is that they don’t even mind if you snore.

A BIG thank you to Cedar Point and Lake Erie Shores and Islands for accommodations, ferry passes, a round of golf and attraction tickets!

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Momo Moments 2011

posted by Momo Fali on December 26, 2011

Last year, my husband told me that I should post a year-end recap. Because my brain is currently swimming in a sea of egg nog and peanut butter blossoms, this seems to be a good time to do it again.

In January, I traveled to Nashville and wrote my last Oprah Cliffs Notes. *sniff*

On Valentine’s Day, I posted the story that I would later read in front of thousands of people at the BlogHer Voices of the Year keynote. *gulp*

March, and looming swimsuit season, meant that I wrote about my battles with my weight. Again.

I rewarded my son upon my return from Seattle in April. Then he insulted me. Also, what else is new?

In May, he insulted a cashier.

And, in June he kind of called me a man.

In July, I asked Question of the Day XI and I took my daughter on a trip to Chicago to visit my friend, Melisa.

I traveled to San Diego in August and I almost didn’t come home.

In September, we visited the Lake Erie shore and I realized that I gained the confidence that I never had in my twenties.

I gave out running advice in October…you know, like “Never trust a fart” and I traveled to New York to mingle with professional writers and editors who probably don’t ever write about such things.

In November, I visited the Hocking Hills in southern Ohio and I lost my mind and tried to post every single day. I almost did it because it’s easy to write when you have a constant companion.

And, a couple of weeks ago, I gave you a peek into my lovely home.

Thank you to all of the readers who swung by here this past year. Also, thank you to the sponsors who gave away experiences, books, gift baskets, clothing, a coffee maker, a Kindle Fire and over $600 in gift cards to those incredibly awesome and influential readers. I am a lucky blogger.

Cheers, everyone. Here’s to a fabulous 2012 for all of us!


posted by Momo Fali on September 6, 2011

What is your natural instinct when something scares you? Do you cover your eyes? Scream? Run? Fight?

I hate being scared and my knee-jerk reactions prove it. Last year at the Boy Scouts’ haunted forest when the boys jumped out from behind the trees, I grabbed my daughter and used her as a human shield.

But, that wasn’t when she first learned about my impulsiveness. The poor girl once made the mistake of standing behind my bedroom door, underneath a white sheet and when I least expected it, she jumped out at me and screamed. I screamed too. I also hit her in the face.

Last week, my husband had just climbed the steps when I entered the dark hallway right in front of him. He said…something…who knows what it was…and it scared me because I expected the dark hallway to be empty. I hit him so hard in the chest that I thought, for a second, he was going to fall down the stairs.

Fair warning, if I hear something go bump in the night, I’m going to shoot it. Just sayin’. I can’t help the way I react.

This has never been more evident than a few weeks ago on a trip to Lake Erie. My family and I were taking a tour of a one-room cave. I was shoved up against the back wall with a large crowd between me and the only exit. My head was about six inches from the ceiling.

I looked down at my son who was staring at something above me when he said, very nonchalantly, “Mom, there’s a bat.”

I was sure I misunderstood.

“What, buddy?”

Again, he looked just past my head and calmly said, “There’s a bat.”

I turned around to see a mouse-like, winged creature within inches of my face.

I can only describe what happened next as half slow-motion, half George Constanza. I nearly trampled my own kids so I could get out of there.

What can I say? My motherly instincts are pretty awesome.

But, as I was getting ready to throw people to the side, the tour guide said, “It’s okay! It’s fake!”

The picture is so blurry because I was still shaking. You know, because of a Beanie Baby.

But, on the upside, I didn’t knock anyone out.