Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, Ohio

South Bass Island is a small island in western Lake Erie. Located three miles from the south shore, it is a popular recreation spot, home of the Perry Monument and the town of Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

Kelleys Island isn't the only island in Lake Erie . . . South Bass Island is just a few minutes away by jet boat. To get there, go to The Casino at 104 Division Street (at the corner of Division and East Lake Shore Drive), which is on the south shore of the island. The Casino Restaurant & Marina has food, fun, and dockage. Island-hoppers can board a boat to Put-in-Bay and Sandusky at the end of The Casino's dock.

This water-jet propelled catamaran is called The Jet Express. The jet boats have been in service since 1989, and the company has been doing business as the Put-in-Bay Boat Line since 1961. In a conventional ferry, the 12 1/2-mile crossing between Kelleys Island and South Bass Island takes 1 1/2 hours. In this boat, the trip takes 20 minutes. There are many ports-of-call for this boat line, including the Canadian islands.

About 300,000 people board these boats each year, from May through September. The ride on the lowest deck is very quiet and comfortable; almost suitable for conducting business. The ride up top is like a Cedar Point rollercoaster, especially when the wind is blowing. On the middle level, passengers can either sit in the cabin or outside. A one-way inter-island fare is $11 for an adult.

Many of South Bass Island's 750,000 annual visitors arrive at this dock. A jet boat usually arrives every two hours; there is arrival and departure service from the early morning till late at night. The Jet Express docks on Bayview Avenue right on the lake. Visitors can step right over to Perry's Monument, the Boardwalk restaurant, shops, cafes, and a park.

Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial is seen here on Flag Day 2013 (June 14). Perry's Monument is located on South Bass Island and is only five miles from the U.S.-Canada border. It was created as a memorial for the soldiers and sailors who fought in the War of 1812. The Battle of Lake Erie commenced in September 1813 as U.S. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry moved his fleet through the lake to protect the Ohio Valley and counter the British Royal Navy.

Perry's Monument stands at 352 feet (107 meters) tall. This is the back of the granite monument, which is the world's largest doric column. Construction on the monument begin in 1912 and was mostly completed in 1916. Three U.S. and three British officers were buried under the monument's stone floor. Under the back plaza are clean, modern amenities; plus, an air-conditioned visitors center with gift shop is just steps away.

The summer of 2013 saw many exciting events in and around South Bass Island's Put-in-Bay as it marked the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie from the War of 1812. This American naval re-enactor is actually a National Park ranger. Yes, the historically accurate, replica rifle does indeed fire; its intended use was to snipe at British officers.

Visitors to Perry's Monument can pay $3 and take a completely restored antique elevator up to the observation deck. The deck offers a commanding view of Lake Erie from all directions. Maps with a compass rose are positioned in each corner of the deck. Looking north, Middle Bass Island is in the foreground, North Bass Island is just beyond it, and just over the International Boundary is Canada's tiny Hen Island. Perry's fleet sailed to the northwest of the Bass Islands on September 10, 1813.

The Boardwalk restaurant at 341 Bayview Avenue is an exciting first stop upon arrival in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island. (Note the Jet Express docked in the background, under the sign.) There is outdoor dining and indoor dining. In addition, fresh walleye and perch sandwiches and baskets are available from The Fish Shack just out of view on the right side of this image.

This view of The Boardwalk restaurant shows the dockage that enables visitors to get to other points of interest, including Middle Bass Island. The Middle Bass Ferry line runs from mid-May through the end of September between Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island. The adult fare one-way is $6. Other ferry lines, like the Miller Boat Line that docks at the southern end of South Bass Island, offers service between Catawba, Put-in-Bay, and Middle Bass Island.

Here is directional signage at The Boardwalk restaurant in Put-in-Bay. Distances are in nautical miles, which equal 1.151 land miles, via water-route. Leamington, Ontario, Canada, is only 26 nm from South Bass Island. Ferries from Leamington on the Ontario mainland regularly arrive and depart from Sandusky, Ohio. Leamington encompasses the southernmost point on the Canadian mainland, which is Point Pelee National Park.

DeRivera Park is just across Bayview Avenue from the Boardwalk. The park has a lot of attractions (plus amenities) on its seven acres, including a gazebo, big shade trees, foot-friendly grass, war memorials, and a limestone fountain. This park, managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, was named after Spanish immigrant Joseph DeRivera who encouraged German settlers to come and establish wineries on the island.

The fountain in DeRivera Park is made from limestone. Though it is not apparent where this limestone came from, there was a large limestone quarrying operation on nearby Kelleys Island from 1896 through 1960. Bayview Avenue borders this park on the right-hand side. On the left is Delaware Avenue where the world's cheesiest pizza can be found at Frosty's.

This World War II era howitzer stands vigilant in DeRivera Park on Flag Day 2013. Other War Memorials in the park remember the War of 1812 and World War I. In the present day, the U.S. Coast Guard, Ninth District, patrols the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie, and is based in Cleveland.

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