The lakefront path has been a Lakeside tradition for more than 140 years.
This special shoreline path is a place where sunsets are admired, worship takes place, healing begins, a marriage proposal is made, weddings are celebrated, fireworks delight, children share stories and Lakesiders engage in conversation.
The lakefront path is special and unique to each Lakesider. Everyone can tell a story about why it is so important and what it means to them. Through these stories, we understand how it serves to transform the lives of each Lakesider, whether visiting for a day, week or the entire summer. Obviously, it showcases the most dramatic view of Lake Erie where water, islands, skies and stars collide in a masterpiece of nature.
As part of this past year’s Lakeside Fund, Lakeside Chautauqua will enhance the lakefront path in an effort to claim and promote the title of being Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile.
Lakeside Chautauqua is currently removing scrub trees, green ash, toxic weeds and poison ivy that hug the rocks along the shore. Landscape crews have already started to remove the scrub between Oak and Poplar Avenues. Cracks were filled, and the entire lakefront path has been sealed. In addition, the maintenance and grounds staff is repairing and painting more than 92 benches. Work is underway, with more than a dozen complete.
Along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, 17 historic lampposts line the path. The lampposts will be restored to the deep green color.
In addition, there will be 34 flower baskets hung from the lampposts. These H20 Labor Saver flower baskets are 23” wide, self-wicking and wind resistant. Two baskets, each filled with cascading flowers, will be attached to the lampposts.
Lakeside Chautauqua staff first noticed these baskets at the Communities in Bloom Symposium in the fall. The flower baskets were purchased from Eckert’s Greenhouse & Perennials in Sterling Heights, Mich. The company was started in 1957 by Jim and Beatrice Eckert in Royal Oak, Mich. The business is now run by the second generation of Eckerts. Karl is the “king” of annuals and Jim maintains the perennials.
For 140 years, the shoreline has also been a place for conversation, which is core to Chautauqua. The first “conversation terrace” has been installed in front of the Beebe Memorial telescope viewing area, near Hotel Lakeside. Families, groups and couples can now gather to enjoy an afternoon or evening discussion. Individual seating has been added to the terrace. The terrace is made of cut sandstone and a beautiful garden will circle the area. Thanks to a generous gift from the late C. Nelle and Richard E. Sulzbach family, the terrace was completed as Lakeside celebrates the 141st Chautauqua season.
To captivate the eye in every season with vibrant colors and visual interest, while attracting hummingbirds and butterflies, gardens will be added along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile. These gardens, consisting of multi-season perennials and native plants, will be planted in select locations. First, irises, coneflowers, day lilies, hostas, daisies and black eyed Susans will be planted.
In the second phase, Ohio prairie grasses from the NASA Plum Brook Station and other native plants will be added.
The generosity of several Lakeside families has helped to ensure Lakeside Chautauqua’s claim as Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, which will strengthen the community’s reputation of being one of the most beautiful in America, both naturally and spiritually.
What are your favorite memories along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile? Where is your favorite place to sit and look out at the water? Tell us in the comments below.