Monday, April 26, 2010

You gotta' love downtown Port Clinton

I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve driven through downtown Port Clinton. While the total wouldn’t make me a rich man it would help pad the wallet or even the savings account.

Truth is, I like Port Clinton. A lot. While it doesn’t have quite the New England charm as does downtown Willoughby, neither does Port Clinton have that gaudy and naughty feel and reputation of South Bass island’s Put-in-Bay, which seems to pride itself on being a tad, well, “seedy.”

Port Clinton is a family affair with its neatly manicured yards that front Lake Erie and the quite and shaded parts along the main drag and just before the road bends and eases its way across the Portage River.

My most recent visit to Port Clinton was an overnighter last week and before me and Paul Liikala took off for a morning of early spring walleye fishing with DB Sport Fishing Charters’ owner John Gribble. That story will appear Tuesday (along with a short video) as my weekly outdoors column.

For now my focus is on Port Clinton. Paul and I stayed at Our Guest Inn (419-734-7111); a nicely appointed and conveniently located motel that is anchored in the heart of downtown Port Clinton and across the street from the town’s mascot. This is a huge replica of a walleye which is used also (I believe) as the item that is dropped at midnight each New Year’s Eve in the town’s annual celebration.

Walleye is king here, no doubt, and you never can go far without being reminded of this fact. Then again, not to be overshadowed are the area’s fine migratory bird watching opportunities or the summer-time National Rifle and Pistol Matches.

Then too, Port Clinton is a major portal to Put-in-Bay whereby providing ferry service is almost a civic duty.

I suppose it’s going to be months until I again visit Port Clinton, or at least wave “hello” as i drive through town. That will be for the annual Fish Ohio Day where writers rub elbows with the Governor and folks from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Oh, yeas, I’m also planning on attending the National Matches. Regardless of how quickly I pass through town or maybe stop for lunch at Big Boy’s I’ll still smile and maybe give a little friendly wave. This is a really neat town to visit and I suppose for the people who live there enjoy calling it home.

For visitor information about Port Clinton, call the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau at 800-441-1271.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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