“Wow!” said Martin Lengel of Parma as the shuttle bus rounded the corner and the Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge came into sight “That’s cool!” said Michele Moylan of Twinsburg, Lengel’s traveling companion. Lengel and Moylan were taking the covered bridge tour offered by the Lodge and Conference Center at Geneva-on-the-Lake. The three-hour tour, which is offered Sunday through Friday, is primarily for lodge guests, but when space permits, non-guest riders can purchase a seat for $15 each. Donna Spitler, front desk manager, said reservations are required and lodge guests are always given preference. A mid-week covered bridge package includes lodging, breakfast, lunch and tour for under $200. “It’s a deal, according to my brother,” said Moylan, who was celebrating her birthday with a trip to the lodge. A guest can get a seat on the tour for an additional $15, Spitler said. Spitler worked with shuttle driver Roger Kubat to develop the tour, which takes riders from the smallest (West Liberty) to the longest (Smolen-Gulf) covered bridge in the United States. In between those destinations, riders stop at the Harpersfield, Doyle, Netcher, Graham, Benetka and Olin covered bridges. Kubat gives the riders plenty of time to explore the bridges even as he shares the history and trivia of each location with the guests. Moylan said she was most impressed by the Graham Road bridge, “the one that doesn’t have a road” (it is the center of a metropark in Pierpont Township). The lodge leases a small fleet of shuttle vehicles, said General Manager Jeannette Petrolia. One of the mini-buses is 11 passenger, the other is 14. Both are kept very busy on the weekends shuttling guests between wineries. Lodge management hopes the covered bridge tours will do as much for the weekdays. “Basically, we were looking for another activity for our guests in the fall,” Petrolia said. “We wanted to take advantage of the fall foliage and the Covered Bridge Festival.” She said they plan to run the covered bridge tours through the end of October, perhaps a little into November if interest holds. Ron Bills, the lodge’s other shuttle driver, is also trained to run the route. Bills is a familiar face to wine shuttle users; he has been driving for three years, almost as long as the lodge has offered the service. “It was still in its experimental phase,” Bills said. A well-established amenity, the wine shuttle usually makes its first departure from the lodge around noon on Friday and Saturday. The drivers return to the lodge every hour, stopping at four wineries along the route. The last run is usually around 10 p.m. Bills is known for his hospitality, knowledge and knack for getting along with people who may have had a little too much to drink. He took up driving after retiring from a 32-year career with Caterpillar, but this summer Bills does not feel like a retiree. “We’ve had a really good year this year,” he said of the shuttle service. “I’ve been really busy this summer.” Bills said he likes the work because the riders are usually cheerful and looking forward to enjoying themselves at the wineries and the lodge. He often carts back partially full bottles of wine that they purchased at the wineries and had re-corked to stay fresh for enjoyment later in their stay. “There is no drinking in the van, however,” he said. On the covered bridge tour, the lodge provides a basket of bottled water, but guests must sip at their own risk, for restrooms are few and far between at the stops. The shuttle travels many of the county’s back roads; as Kubat travels along one such byway, he points out the county’s only Amish pizza parlor and a flock of lambs grazing nearby. “I wonder if they offer lamb pizza?” he says. The guests chuckle and anticipate the sight of the next bridge — and the lodge’s amenities after lunch. “I definitely want to hit the pool,” Moylan said. To book a covered bridge tour or learn more about autumnal packages at the lodge, call 466-7100 and dial “0” to talk to a front desk assistant. And, just in case you are worried about the three-hour part, the shuttle is not named “Minnow” and there is no Gilligan on this crew.
- Local News
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Sill Road will be closed for railroad repair at the CSX Railroad crossing between Middle Road and Route 20 Wednesday through May 28.
Area motorcycle riders receive blessing for safe riding season
More than 20 are motorcycle riders received a blessing, Sunday, for a safe riding season.
KSUA professor wins prestigious national award
Irene Edge has kept students on the cutting edge of information technology for decades.
Boaters gather in Ashtabula Harbor to pray for safe season
Safety on the water was the over arching theme of the 64th Annual Blessing of the Fleet Saturday evening in Ashtabula Harbor.
The earth will occasionally move under Ashtabula County
When the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812 leveled Missouri, the shock waves were strong enough to ring church bells in New York and break windows in Washington D.C. People in southern Ohio fled from their cabins. Closer to the quake’s epicenter, earth liquefied, sand volcanoes popped up and rivers appeared to run backwards. It was the first recorded magnitude 8.0 earthquake in North America, and to this day the strongest. Seismologists agree it could happen again. Some believe it could happen any time within the next 50 years.
Fishing derby draws hundreds to Conneaut
Two-year-old Mark Miller, of Wooster, wasn’t quite sure what to make of his success Saturday during the fishing derby at the Conneaut Fish and Game Club.
Monthly cruise-ins are an outlet for car enthusiasts in Andover
It all began 15 years ago when four young families got together and decided to form a group to share their love of cars with others and give back to the community.
Tradition draws thousands to Kingsville Township lawn sale
Parking spaces disappeared quickly Saturday morning as crowds began to gather for the 39th Annual Kingsville Lawn Sale.
Fifth man in Ashtabula murder case pleads guilty to kidnapping
Now it’s five out of six.
Walnut Beach restrooms and concessions will be ready in time for summer
They are working on the restrooms at the Walnut Beach concession stand in preparation for the summer season, but the city still is looking for a concessionaire, City Manager Jim Timonere said.
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