Lake Erie and Niagara Falls in a Weekend

My parents recently asked if they could take the kiddos to their cabin in the mountains for some bonding time before the school year started back up again. They were looking forward to swimming in the lake, making s’mores, and tossing horseshoes. I felt this was the perfect opportunity to have a rare weekend away with just my husband. When I told him my plan, I was excited to hear that he already had a destination in mind. His boss had mentioned a really nice State Park on the shore of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania. He wanted to check it out. So, J. took a vacation day and we tossed some clothes in a tote bag and headed out. Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA was our destination.

301 Peninsula Drive
Erie, PA 16505-2042
Phone: 814-833-7424

We took a long walk along the beach and had fun looking for sea glass among the thousands of smooth colorful stones washed onto the sand.

The weather was beautiful. There were lots of people taking advantage of the bicycle rentals and the trail along the perimeter of the park. But, we preferred checking out a couple of the short hiking trails in the center of the island. We also enjoyed seeing the lovely lighthouse here as well. It’s a neat brick building that I really thought resembled a church.

This park is known for fishing. But, I think it would be fantastic for kayakers as well. Believe it or not, you can actually surf here too.

After getting in quite a workout from hiking all over the island, we decided to test our luck at the nearby Presque Isle Downs and Casino. J. had a good time playing Ultimate Texas Hold’em and slot machines. We ate dinner at Churchill’s Bourbon and Brew Bar and Grill. It was a casual meal and reasonably priced. Miraculously, Jason ended up winning at the table games and the slots. His winnings ended up paying for the entire weekend!

Presque Isle Downs & Casino is located just south of I-90 Exit 27 in Erie, PA
8199 Perry Highway
Erie, PA 16509

Next, we headed to Clymer, New York. I had booked us a room at Peek’N Peak Resort. It’s an all season resort near Findley Lake, NY. It’s a higher elevation at this ski destination. So, pack a sweater, even in the summer. We were here in July, and it was only around the high 50’s at night and in the early morning.

My favorite thing about this Inn was all the stained glass throughout the property. There was a regal Bavarian style to everything. It was definitely romantic.

There are numerous activities here including pools, a spa, Segway tours, ziplines, and golf. But, I had booked a sailboat tour back in Erie for the next morning. So, we headed to our spacious room and got some sleep.

Then, bright the next morning, we headed out into the crisp morning air to meet our captain.

Unfortunately, we got a call from the marina and there had been a scheduling mistake. There would be no wind in our sails after all. So, after a quick Google search, I realized we were only about 1 1/2 hrs. from Niagara Falls, NY. So, we changed course and headed north.

Niagara Falls State Park is clean and easy to navigate. We had fun taking pictures and doing some urban hiking.

There is a boat ride tour called Maid of the Mist and another attraction called Cave of the Winds here. But, the lines were insanely long and the idea of crowding into a limited area with the Corona Virus still a concern, wasn’t really my idea of a good time. Instead, we shied away from the people and enjoyed all the different vantage points of the falls.

It’s a beautiful area and we walked and walked and walked until we were exhausted. Then, after my husband talked me into just “a few hands” at yet another casino he spotted on the drive in, we headed toward home.

A surprising highlight of our trip was a steak dinner at Evan’s in Bradford, PA. This was hand’s down, the cleanest restaurant I’ve ever seen in my life. I assumed that maybe they had just opened. But, nope. They’ve been in business for about three years. The location was odd. It was essentially in a strip mall.

But, the food was really fantastic. One of my sides was “rodeo beans” which were so good, I began searching for a recipe on Pinterest as soon as we were back to the Jeep. We got a slice of homemade peanut butter pie to enjoy later on the road. It was one of those rare times when an unassuming restaurant surpasses your expectations. If we lived closer, we’d eat there all the time. The best steak dinner out we’ve had in a long time. If you are in the area, be sure to check it out.

We passed through lots of small towns on the way home and just had fun talking and listening to the radio…just the two of us.

Check out this local art. It’s a tree made entirely of skis.

Overall, we had a great time. If you enjoy casinos, beautiful views, and romantic inns, add Erie and Niagara Falls to your travel list.

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