Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH

Back to Ohio!  Maybe 2 more entries before I return to Chicago.

One of the more enjoyable destinations when visiting Ashtabula is a drive west to Geneva-on-the-Lake, which is basically an old cruising strip and linear carnival.  And if you're wondering where all the biker bars are in northeast Ohio, look no further.

This is the type of summer resort town that you might find on the east coast, not on Lake Erie.  There are wine gardens, putt-putt golf courses, arcades, water slides, hamburger joints and bars.  Lots of bars.  This is where local folks come to relax, especially those that can't afford an expensive vacation.  Given the current economy, I wouldn't be surprised if Geneva-on-the-Lake received a big bump in visitors. 

In addition to the strip, there are tiny cottages and bungalows that people can rent for extended stays. According to my wife, most of these were strictly seasonal (meaning uninsulated) until recently.  Unlike an amusement park, this is a real place, and must be a lot of fun late at night.

The buildings are worth a study in themselves.  Many of these look temporary, but must have been in place for 50 years or more.  Above are two connected Quonset huts.  These were a popular and cheap way of creating space after WWII.  Some of the buildings look like old frame houses converted to commercial uses, but others look like elaborate hot dog stands that just kept growing.

I can't help but wonder how a town like this develops.  There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason, but somehow it works.  Other, more modern developments have located on the edges of the district, but they're too far to impact the character of the area.  I have to wonder when the tipping point is reached- when there are too many cars and people to be absorbed into the network of spaces.  But I've been there maybe half a dozen times, and have yet to see it overwhelmed.  And sure, they don't have enormous roller-coasters, but no one is charging you $45 just to walk around.  And $45 can sure buy a lot of insanely sweet Ohio wine.

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