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.
For three decades, the Ohio Light Opera (OLO) has produced premier opera culled from around the world. The OLO attracts 22,000 aria-aficionados annually, to the chagrin of staffers saddled with sweeping up shattered monocles. In recent years, the company has expanded its repertoire to include Broadway staples such as Camelot, Loewe and Lerner’s rumination on the more musical moments of King Arthur’s reign paired with the more dramatic patches of his relationship with the Lancelot-lusting Guinevere. Alternately, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Pirates of Penzance illuminates the classic tale of a pirate-turned-police-officer’s quest to vanquish vandals of the high seas while winning the unbridled affection of the major-general’s daughter.
A Class III dealer of firearms and accessories, Midwest Gun Club equips its clients with more than just firearms. The company also offers classes, which range from concealed-weapon-permit courses to safe handgun practices and home-defense seminars. All class instructors have a background in the military or law enforcement or have experience in national competition. Along with classes, they help their pupils and visitors practice their aim and perk their ears like a hunting hound at an in-house shooting range.
In 2009, the Cleveland City Stars folded, leaving the Sixth City without a soccer franchise to call its own. Two years later, the group of local soccer supporters known as the 6th City Syndicate finally found a new team to cheer for as AFC Cleveland (its initials: A Fans' Club) joined the National Premier Soccer League, finally bringing the beloved sport back to Cleveland's glacially-formed soccer stadiums. Bolstered by the Syndicate's support, the team surged into the NPSL spotlight in its very first season, winning the first-ever Rust Belt Derby and upsetting the Erie Admirals to claim the Great Lakes Conference championship.
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.