Geneva-on-the-Lake is the perfect location for a romantic getaway! Take a wine tour, explore the covered bridges, and watch lakeside sunsets.
My husband and I wanted to get away for our anniversary but not wander too far from home. So when we were invited to experience the Signature Immersion Tour and enjoy a two-night stay at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, it was impossible to turn down.
Here’s everything you need to know to plan a perfect romantic getaway to Geneva-on-the-Lake.
Where is Geneva-on-the-Lake?
Geneva-on-the-Lake Ohio is located on the shores of Lake Erie. It’s in northeastern Ohio, pretty much right smack in the middle between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s just two hours from our home in Mansfield.
Geneva-on-the-Lake is known as Ohio’s First Summer Resort. It was a getaway for the rich and famous before it was even settled. John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone would make the trek to the area in the early 1900s for camping, fishing, and male bonding.
Geneva-on-the-Lake was a getaway destination even before the famous trio appeared with their servants in tow. The scenic views and breezes off the lake had been enjoyed by visitors since the end of the Civil War.
By the turn of the century, the well-to-do visitors enjoyed bridge, tennis, and even a casino. But it wasn’t until the invention of the automobile that Geneva-on-the-Lake become the bustling hub of fun that it is today – and not just for those with deep pocketbooks.
Geneva-on-the-Lake is best known for the small strip that runs along Ohio’s Lake Erie Coastal Trail that offers a nostalgic, old fashioned feel and looks like it’s rooted in the 1950s. You’ll find America’s oldest putt putt golf course at Allison’s Mini Golf, a Ferris Wheel at Old Firehouse Winery that offers stunning sunset views of the lake, and mom and pop diners and shops that line the street.
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake
If you’re looking for the ideal Geneva on the Lake hotel, look no further than The Lodge at Geneva. I loved it before I even stepped foot inside. Situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie, one couldn’t ask for a better location to relax, take in the views and enjoy a romantic getaway.
Initially, I had a couple of concerns: We’ve had to make a few modifications to how we travel since my husband’s back injury last spring. As always, I’m concerned if he will be comfortable especially in regards to sleeping.
This was also our first time traveling since the Coronavirus emerged. While I’m not overly fearful, I do believe in taking precautions as I have family members that are high risk.
Any concerns that I had about traveling for our anniversary slipped away as I stepped inside and learned of the Rest Assured program that The Lodge has enacted. This includes the use of masks by all staff and guests (as per the State of Ohio), extensive cleaning and disinfecting, and other changes to keep guests safe.
We were given a first-floor room with a patio where I spent much of my time taking in the evening views. There’s just something so romantic and calming about watching the sun go down on the lake.
Our room was large, comfortable, and very clean. The Lodge also offers cottages at Geneva-on-the-Lake.
Built in 2004, The Lodge is within walking and biking distance of both Geneva State Park and the strip on Geneva-on-the-Lake which are connected by a paved path that winds along the front of the park and connects with the bike path in the park and sidewalk on the strip.
The entire strip is about a mile to a mile and a half but if you walk there and decide that you’d rather not walk back to The Lodge you’ll find taxis in the form of golf carts that can run you back for a small fee. You won’t find an Uber in the area so plan accordingly.
A zipline, Swan pedal boats, and bike rentals were available pre-COVID and will hopefully be back at The Lodge next season. My husband and I planned ahead and brought our bikes from home.
Visit Geneva-on-the-Lake Wineries on the Signature Immersion Tour
Our main reason for visiting the Geneva on the Lake Lodge was to experience the Signature Immersion Tour. This wine tour is led by Lauren Fiala, the wine specialist for The Lodge, and is only offered once on Saturday and once on Sunday. You could take both tours as the wineries they visit are different on each day. But be sure to book early!
Guests meet in the lobby of The Lodge and depart on small tour buses for stops at three predetermined wineries that take about five hours to experience.
I was thrilled when I was invited and was excited up until the week before our visit. That’s when my social anxiety began to kick in and I began to worry about everything. What if the tour is too fancy? Will I wear the right clothes? Will the other guests be friendly? What if I hate the wine selections? What if my husband doesn’t have fun? You name it, I worried about it.
You would think this was my first winery tour (which it’s not). All that worry slipped away as we pulled into the parking lot for The Lodge and my excitement took over. Plus, as soon as we met Lauren, I was immediately at ease.
We gathered for our tour at noon and left soon after en route to our first stop. Before departing, we were all given information about the Grand River Valley as well as souvenir wine glasses and dark chocolate bars from local chocolatier Marianne’s Chocolates.
Our tour included stops at Grand River Cellars, Ferrante Winery, and Laurello Vineyards. We met representatives of the winery at each stop to learn about the winery, the wine, and light tastings and pairings.
In full disclosure, I will say that my husband does not drink any beverage with alcohol. And though I host wine nights in our home for my friends, he’s never found a wine that he liked, until this trip. I can’t say that he’ll ever love wine but since our tour, he does appreciate it.
Grand River Cellars
Our tasting at Grand River Cellars took place in “the cave”. The cellar was decorated with tables for two and white lights and though I thought it was perfect for a romantic day out, it was also ideal for the ladies on our tour who were enjoying a girlfriend getaway.
Each table was already set up with a tasting sheet, brochure, and plate with delectable looking treats. Kathleen led us through three different tastings and pairings.
This was a perfect first stop for my husband who was able to see how wine and food can complement each other. It was also a great reminder to me that although I may come across a wine that I think I don’t like if it were paired with the right food, that opinion may change.
At Ferrante, we were introduced to Andi where we learned a little bit about the history of the winery. Ferrante is a family-owned winery that began in 1937.
We toured the cellar, tasted a dry Reisling (who knew that was a thing) unfinished straight from the tank, and tasted Cab Franc directly from the barrel.
After our tour, we tasted the finished Reisling with bruschetta. Since my husband isn’t a fan of wine we compromised- he ate the bruschetta and I drank his wine. A win-win.
We met with Kim Laurello, at the final stop of the day, Laurello Vineyards. Kim and her husband Larry have operated the vineyard since 2002. We learned about the growing season in Grand River Valley while tasting several different wines including a Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and our favorite, a Peach Riesling.
We enjoyed the wine paired with wood-fired chicken with basil pesto and fresh tomato so much that we bought a bottle and sat on the patio to listen to the live music until it was time to return to the resort.
Before our experience with the Signature Immersion Tour, my husband didn’t drink anything stronger than a Dr. Pepper. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think wine tastings will be something that he’ll opt to join me on a lot in the future but on the other hand, since this was such a positive experience, I don’t think he’ll snub his nose either.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day at Geneva-on-the-Lake. The wine tour was incredible! In addition to learning about the Grand River Region, we learned about ice wines, casks, wine crystals, tannins, food pairings and so much more!
We also tasted Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Cab Franc, Chardonnay, and Maple Ice Wine – wines we may never have selected for ourselves. That’s the great thing about a wine tour – you expose yourself and your tastebuds to new experiences!
Book Your Getaway and Geneva-on-the-Lake Wineries Tour!
The tours do require reservations and are limited to only 8 people to allow for social distancing. If this is something that you’d like to do, make sure that you book your tour before you arrive at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake.
The Signature Immersion Tour is only offered on Saturday and Sunday and with only one tour available per day, they do sell out.
The tour costs $75 a person and includes the shuttle, a gift bag with a wine glass and chocolate bar, tastings, and light food on the tour. We were also offered a discount on wine purchases at each of the wineries. This was a FUN way to spend the day.
You can find information about the tour here —> https://www.thelodgeatgeneva.com/play/wine-shuttle
Where to Eat in Geneva-on-the-Lake
The Old Mill Winery, 403 S Broadway, Geneva, OH 44041
We tried some tasty morsels and light appetizers on our wine tour but I knew that wouldn’t be enough for my husband. We opted to grab dinner at The Old Mill Winery in nearby Geneva which was about a minute drive from the resort.
The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and we opted to dine inside the rustic, eclectically decorated establishment. Let me warn you that unless you are really hungry, you won’t need an appetizer here. We started our meal with a cheese plate and realized our mistake when the entrees arrived. The portions are more than generous. My salad was more than I could eat and my husband barely finished his food.
The service was great, the food was good, and the atmosphere was fun. We give The Old Mill Winery two thumbs up.
Horizons Restaurant, within The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake
Our stay at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake included breakfast both mornings at The Horizons Restaurant. I admit that I’m not much of a breakfast person but after sipping my coffee on the patio of the restaurant with the morning breezes blowing off the lake and on my face, I couldn’t wait to return the next morning!
My husband opted for the breakfast sandwich served with potato pinchers both mornings while I mixed it up with an omelet one day and oatmeal the next.
Whip-N-Dip Ice Cream, 4840 OH-534, Geneva-On-The-Lake, OH 44085
The closest ice cream shop to The Lodge, this a great stop to satisfy that sweet tooth! We stopped for a Banana Split and Turtle Sundae and then enjoyed them in the picnic area along the creek.
Zeppes Pizzeria Geneva, 5430 Lake Rd E, Geneva, OH 44041
Located right on the strip of Geneva-on-the-Lake, this local pizza chain is known throughout the Cleveland area. The menu consists of pizza, subs, pasta, salads, and more. You can take a short drive to the pizza place for pick-up or have your pizza delivered to the hotel.
More Things to Do in Geneva-on-the-Lake
Wine Tour – The highlight of our trip was the Signature Immersion Tour. This is so much fun whether you’re an experienced wine drinker or just looking to try something new. I highly recommend it!
Geocaching– We don’t go anywhere without looking for geocaches now and our app pulled up several nearby. You can find out more information in my post about geocaching for beginners.
Covered Bridge Tour– Ashtabula County is known for its covered bridges and has both the longest and shortest covered bridges in the state of Ohio. If you don’t want to drive the entire route to see all 19, you’ll find several within minutes of the resort.
Bike Riding– Pack your bikes so you can enjoy the path that connects The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake to the Geneva State Park. The bike trail is a total of six miles in length if you opt to ride all of it.
Beach Combing– Can you swim at Geneva-on-the-Lake? Yes! The beach is perfect for swimming, relaxing on the sand, or searching for beach glass. Make sure you read our tips for finding beach glass before you head out. And don’t forget your water shoes- the beach gets rocky as you enter the water.
Relax– The Lodge was so comfortable that we spent a great deal of time relaxing outside on the Adirondack chairs, enjoying the view from our porch, or even napping in the afternoon. After all, this getaway was all about relaxation.
Tips for Visiting Geneva-on-the-Lake
1. Book early! This resort fills up and, like most properties throughout the United States right now, is operating with limited capacity.
2. Reserve your Signature Immersion Tour and any other wine tours you wish to take. In addition to the Signature Immersion Tour, you’ll find there are additional tours and shuttles that you can take. Once again, book early to avoid disappointment in a sold-out tour.
3. Bring your bikes from home.
4. Pack your suits. You won’t be able to soak in the hot tub but both the indoor and outdoor pools are open. They do close periodically for cleaning but you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy some fun-in-the-sun in the outdoor pool or relax in the indoor pool which offers lake views.
5. Put on your walking shoes. The Lodge may be amazing but the real magic takes place each night at sunset. You’ll want to enjoy a stroll along the paved walking trail or grab a seat on one of the benches or Adirondack chairs situated on the lawn.
6. Don’t forget your camera! You’ll want to capture that sunset and the Gazebo on the property is the perfect backdrop for a happy couple or family photo.
7. If you plan to dine on-site at Horizons, I would suggest that you make reservations.
8. In addition to The Lodge rooms, you’ll find Geneva-on-the-Lake cottages available for rent. These are perfect for families and you’re treated just like a resort guest so you have access to the pools and workout room.
Geneva-on-the-Lake is a Perfect Getaway
Our trip to Geneva may have been our first but it certainly won’t be our last.
The Lodge is fantastic, our room was comfortable, the Signature Immersion Tour was a blast, Horizons restaurant serves delicious food (the outdoor patio views are great!), and the walking/bike path is a great feature. And don’t even get me started on the sunsets!
The Lodge has taken many precautions to keep their guests safe, and with the huge lawn and Geneva State Park next door, it’s not hard to social distance.
If you’re looking for a great getaway this summer or fall, I highly recommend this property.
My husband and I enjoyed our stay so much that we think it will be the perfect location for a family getaway this fall with our adult children. They’ll love the outdoor access The Lodge provides the strip on Geneva-on-the-Lake and the winery tour.
Find more information about The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake, the amenities, and wine tours that are offered and book your stay on their website.
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Thursday 20th of August 2020
Great post! Very informative and specific about your experiences which is so helpful. We are looking forward to our next visit to GOTL.
Saturday 8th of August 2020
Looks like a fabulous getaway, now I have another place to add to my Midwest travel list!
Tuesday 4th of August 2020
This looks like the perfect couple's getaway! I definitely want to try that wine tour.