A 34-foot King Cat twin-hull catamaran sets sail on the waters of Lake Erie, its 900-horsepower engine churning up a frothy wake as it leaves port and enters the aqueous abyss. At Sara-J Sportfishing Charters, guests spend a sunny afternoon on the open water casting and reeling in the lake's bounty of fish. With more than 20 years of experience, captain Gary Carpenter is confident enough in his abilities that he promises that charters will either reel in fish by the end of their trip or passengers receive their money back. Tours set out in the morning or afternoon as captains pilot vessels towards schools of walleye, steelhead, or perch swimming beneath the surface. Passengers soak up the sun, nibble on snacks, and regale stories of reeling in their first bluegill or misplaced water-skier.
Customers at West River Kayak & Canoe take their pick from a fleet of kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards to cruise down the 27-mile Vermilion-Lorain Water Trail, a Class I–II waterway. Turtles, beavers, and deer make their homes along the banks and occasionally dart out to greet travelers as shale cliffs rear up in the distance. The shop's staff ensures that even boating newbies can wend their way through the picturesque scenery by offering introductory tutorials before each rental to impart the basics of paddling, from how to turn to how to rub two paddles together to make a fire for roasting hot dogs.
An old-fashioned pair of comedy and tragedy masks greet drivers pulling up to the marquee of Aut-O-Rama Drive-In. The vintage aesthetic is fitting for an establishment that’s been in business since 1965 and is now in its third generation of being operated by the Sherman family. Although the cinematic lot prides itself on being the first in the area to offer AM-radio sound, today, Dolby FM stereo bathes cars in field-filling acoustics as audiences take in a library of contemporary flicks. From the start of April to the end of September, first-run and well-worn films alike await vehicular cinephiles, who can munch on burgers, subs, and pizza, along with desserts such as ice cream and funnel cake. A food permit grants guests the privilege of toting their own snacks or gnawing on their own steering wheels.
The Five Seasons Family Sports Club houses tennis courts, a dining area, fitness facilities, swimming pools, and a full-service spa under one roof. Within air-conditioned indoor courts or on outdoor clay courts, racquet slingers compete in friendly bouts to sharpen swings, refine backhands, and showcase grunting abilities. Members can also break a sweat in exercise areas speckled with modern cardio equipment and weights or cool off in an Olympic-sized pool with diving wells and wading areas. Before meeting others for a postgame beverage at the lively café, clients can wander to the spa for a relaxing massage or partake in a sports workshop to gain a firm grasp on game mechanics.
Line drives sizzle and skid across the facilities at Staton Sports, where ballplayers polish their skills and veteran coaches prep athletes to compete in a variety of sports. Backed by stints with three MLB organizations, the center's president and CEO, T.J. Staton, heads a staff of coaches who bring a combined 20-plus years of professional playing experience to each practice, game, and training session. The center's field also plays host to traveling teams, and inside two party rooms, visitors gather to celebrate birthdays or exalt an adolescent bat's aversion to the peer pressures of cork.