Middle Bass Island, Ohio

Ohio's Middle Bass Island is due north of world-famous Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. The slower-paced Lake Erie charm of this island is just a boat or ferry ride away from Marblehead Peninsula.

Middle Bass Island is in the Western Basin of Lake Erie, and is accessible by ferry, charter boat, or private plane. The journey begins on the very northern tip of Ohio's Catawba Island at the Miller Ferry dock. (The gift shop here has nice amenities.) There is a state park and marina, general store, and some nightlife on this quiet island.

The South Bass had left Middle Bass Island at 8:15 am and is now arriving at the Catawba Island dock at 9 am on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014. Vehicles unload first and then the passengers. Vehicles and passengers will board for Middle Bass Island in just a few minutes.

The historic Lonz Winery estate greets ferry passengers at the dock. This structure, built in the 1940's, sits empty now due to a catastrophic patio collapse some 14 years ago. Recently, the State of Ohio purchased this property and then designated $6 million to redevelop it within the next two years.

The state park encompasses many natural attractions. (Note the renovation here of the Lonz Winery estate.) State park-goers can hike left to access Fox Road, which leads to a restaurant, a quaint resort, a primitive campground, a general store, a decked-out marina, and downtown Middle Bass.

The Middle Bass Island State Park Campground is right off Fox Road in the southwestern end of the island. This campground has 20 reservable non-electric sites; future electric access may be part of the current $6 million state redevelopment.

Each campsite has a fire ring and a picnic table. The single amenity here is portable. The swimming beach here is small and unguarded but the view is amazing. Across Fox Road is the new, comprehensive Harbormaster building and marina, which campers can use for showers and electric.

Another fixture on Middle Bass Island is the General Store. It opens in early April and closes up in November. This store has friendly staff and just about anything an island-goer or cottager could want. Uncle Joe's pizza is delicious and can be eaten in the store's comfortable restaurant with satellite TV. Some supplies are flown in.

The town of Middle Bass has its own Fire, EMS and Post Office. The MBI Post Office is around the corner of the white building and closes briefly at 9 am each day so the Postmistress can get the mail from the airport. Postage and snacks are available here. As of 2000, 95 people live here year around and stock up on supplies for the four winter months when the ferry doesn’t run.

The Harbormaster Building at the newly renovated Middle Bass Island State Park Marina overlooks 190 boat slips. This facility has a gift shop, helpful staff, laundry, indoor and outdoor tables and chairs, showers, restrooms, library basket, and friendly boaters. The marina is open from the mid-spring through the fall.

There are glacial grooves all throughout the Western Basin, which resulted from glacier movement through the region some 300,000 years ago. In this image are Devonian-era limestone striations, where boulders trapped in the glaciers carved out the scratches seen here. This is located near the Harbormaster Building.

J.F. Walleyes is one of the best things about Middle Bass Island. (Another establishment, Hazard's Resort, is just down the road.) The food is good and the ice cream is great. It's open from early May through late October; there is live entertainment most Saturday nights plus other events.

This is the Blue Lagoon at J.F. Walleyes on Middle Bass Island. Just to the right (out of view) is a tiki hut with additional seating and serving areas. Some of the servers come over from the Mainland on the ferry. Up the ramp is another fun area with a mini-lounge and part of a boat.

This is the view from the fishing pier, which is near the ferry dock. In the center of the image is the 12-acre Ballast Island, which is privately owned. The scuttlebutt is that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry used rocks from this island to add ballast to his ships. Lost Ballast Island is just to the right.

Another beautiful day ends on Middle Bass Island. It's just after 5 pm and here comes the last ferry trip off the island. (The smaller Sonny-S goes between Middle Bass Island and Put-in-Bay.) The ride lasts about 45 minutes. Passengers can ride below or they can ride inside or out on the top deck.

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