Guest Blogger: Randy Snow, Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors Chair
As my son and his family were traveling to Lakeside to visit us, as they approached the Thomas Edison Bridge, our grandson, Charlie, who was about 5 at the time, told his Dad, “Dad, this is the Bridge of Happiness” meaning they were coming to Lakeside.
As a family we started coming to Lakeside approximately 40 years ago for one week of vacation in the summer. We did that for about 15 years, and it was always the highlight of the summer for our family of my wife, me and our four children.
In 2000, we purchased a cottage in Lakeside, which we totally renovated and then sold in 2008, and purchased the home where we presently are located in Lakeside.
To Leslee, me and our family, since we purchased a home, Lakeside has been a great place for family get-togethers and family fun. There is no other place where the inter-generational opportunities and experiences can take place on a regular basis. It is truly a place where all of our family yearns to come whenever possible.
But in addition to being a place for family, it is truly a second community for Leslee and me. Not only do we enjoy Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile and the many other activities and programs that Lakeside provides, but we also enjoy out relationships with so many people.
The narrow streets, open front porches, community events and programs provide for a setting where you have the opportunity to meet and greet other Lakesiders and visitors on a daily basis. In fact, the grandson who called the Edison Bridge the “Bridge to Happiness” told me several years ago that he doesn’t like to walk with me anymore because I stop and talk to everybody. This is the essence of Lakeside.
Even though most Lakesiders are only here for the summer, the relationships that you develop here equal or exceed those relationships that you develop in your own hometown. It is amazing how many people yearn to get back to Lakeside each year to re-establish their relationships they have developed at Lakeside.
I believe one of the reasons that the sense of community is established so easily at Lakeside is because so many Lakesiders end up participating in the same events on a weekly and daily basis. For example, we all attend the same church services, many of the people attend the same educational programs, and we all attend the same evening performances in addition to the many other activities that go on in Lakeside on a daily basis.
This continuing familiarity gives you a level of comfort when greeting and talking to Lakesiders and even other visitors who you will see over and over again during the time that they are visiting. I have also had the added opportunity to become very involved in volunteering at Lakeside, first as a Board member and Board Chair of the Lakeside Chautauqua Foundation, and now as a Board member and Chair of Lakeside Chautauqua. This has certainly given me the opportunity to know Lakeside and many of the Lakesiders on a much deeper basis.
In summary, while Lakeside and the Lakeside community has been a significant part of the lives of Leslee, me and our family for many years, since purchasing a cottage and then a home here, Lakeside the place, and Lakeside the community, is very much a part of who we are.