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Maumee Bay before the crowds

I beat the crowds to Maumee Bay State Park, just outside Toledo, at the bottom of Lake Erie.  My waitress this morning told me that when schools up here let out later this month, to watch out.  ‘We’ll be full the rest of the summer through Labor Day,’ she said.

As it is, right now there are people walking in windbreakers and the lone life guard at the pool has a hoodie and sweats on to beat the brisk wind coming off this huge lake.  So summer in its fullness is still a couple of weeks away.

I’m in town at the invitation of Dave Nolan, CEO of the Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau.  They’re hosting an industry golf event at this park on its championship golf course.  Dave’s bureau is our back cover advertiser in Small Market Meetings and we appreciate this chance to come say hello.  This is a Scottish links style course and the way the wind is blowing this morning, it will play like Scotland in every respect.  I’ve put together a team that includes a sales person from Cedar Point, a meeting planner from Whirlpool corporation and a fellow with a promotions company.

This state park bills itself as ‘where Lake Erie starts’.  It lies in a former marshland that was hundreds of square miles and centered around the Maumee River that runs here into the lake.  The marsh was left when Lake Erie was down-sized thousands of years ago and receded to its current size.  Most of the marshland is gone now due to hundreds of years of manmade intervention to bring development into this part of Ohio.

Lots of great wildlife still thrives here–bald eagles are coming back to the area and there are many species of snakes, frogs and birds in the area.  On a walk early this morning, I saw a flock of gulls and a flock of geese eyeing each other warily on the beach at this park.

I was pleased to find here at this state park, unlike the Kentucky state parks I’m used to, that I could have a beer with my Lake Erie perch dinner last night.    My waiter, Eddie, apologized for the meager selection.  ‘We’re between seasons for beer right now–usually we have lots of British and German beers, plus our local brand, Great Lakes.’  After dinner, two photographers with tripods and serious camera gear walked through the grounds to shoot the sunset over the bay.

Well, have to go.  Time to roll a few putts and meet my teammates.

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.