Lunch, Maumee Bay State Park, and a B&B With A Railroad

On Thursday, fellow Monroe News blogger Mike Ingels reviewed the Monroe Street Grille on his Expatriate Monroe blog.

Well, just for that, yesterday, we went for a hike!

Ok, I have to admit, the hike had been planned for a few days. And we did it partly as a way to actually have our first picnic of the summer in an amazing location. Mike’s review really had nothing to do with it. Sure is a strange coincidence though … ūüėČ

What we found after leaving Maumee Bay State Park was also … well, keep reading, and you’ll see what I mean …

The afternoon started with a late picnic lunch at the top of the massive steps at the Lake Erie lakefront of the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park on Cedar Point Road east of Oregon, Ohio.

The cooler on the left is a heater/cooler made by Coleman. It plugs directly into the cigarette lighter (or, as they’re labeling them now, “power port”) of a vehicle and can switch between heating and refrigeration functions. The juice pouches we’d put in the thing were so cold they were partly frozen!

Here’s a better look at how these steps run along the lakeshore:

The two-mile hike along the boardwalk in the wooded and marsh area east of the lodge is well-marked as to what things are.

Unfortunately, as Briahna found, our search for wildlife in the area only showed evidence of other kinds of “wildlife”. At this point, we were able to talk to the kids at length about respect for our natural areas, especially those set up for family explorations.

Halfway through the hike, at the two-deck observation tower, we all took a lengthy break.

Fortunately, at about the mile-and-a-half point, another hiker we’d met at the observation tower¬†hurriedly came around a corner and motioned my kids to follow him, but quietly. Respect for wildlife had suddenly became a reality for the kids.

Once we returned to the lodge and drove around to the swimming lake (no swimming is allowed from the park property in Lake Erie), I made it a point to do a small photographic study of the Snack Bar. This building is very reminiscent of similar buildings along the eastern seaboard, particularly in the Boston and Cape Cod areas.

Along with offering snacks and small lunch-style meals, the Snack Bar rents boats by the hour for use in the non-swimming areas of the swimming lake.

On our way to the park we’d passed a Bed & Breakfast that looked quite nice. It had a wrap-around porch, and there were quite a few people enjoying breakfast at tables¬†on that porch. On our way back, we realized the house was surrounded by a pair or narrow rail lines! I turned the van¬†around, pulled into the driveway, went to the door … and was greeted by Linda Brinkman, Innkeeper of the B&B Railroad Depot. Five years ago, Linda’s husband Nate, a boilermaker by trade, had put together the ridable train that surrounds the house. At the time, the house was a third as big as it is now. Being a commercial contractor, Linda, as she put it, “blew the roof off” the one-story house and expanded it into¬†her dream of having a¬†Bed & Breakfast¬†that the home¬†is now.

All of this, again, is quite a coincidence. One of the dreams Mary and I have is that of owning our own Bed & Breakfast, where I can cook breakfast meals in the mornings for anyone who’s staying with us. What we found at the B&B Railroad Depot is incredibly similar to the kind of thing we’ve discussed. While giving us a tour of the house, Linda also gave us the current breakfast menu. At this time, guests can chose from omelets (including seafood), crepes, pancakes, fresh fruit, muffins … oh yeah, this is our kind of place! And that’s certainly my kind of menu.

My dad has been a railroad nut for most of his 84 years. Not only that, he and mom love breakfast as much as I do. The next time they’re down for the weekend, we’re pretty sure where we’re all going to stay.


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  1. And now for my favorite recipes…

    Volume #1: How to cook spaghetti.


  2. Hey Dave, ever eat Asian Escolar fish? I just had some last night. It was called Asian BBQ Escolar with a wasabi cilantro sauce. It was blackened and spicy, spicy, spicy, but I still got a hint of the cilantro. It’s a dense fish with a buttery flavor. I’ve never been dissappointed with any of the catch at Cafe West in Trenton. The menu specials also had some sort of plank roasted salmon with a pineapple sauce, and halibut with crabmeat in some sort of Alfredo sauce. There was more to it than that but since I didn’t select those, I don’t exactly remember the whole description.

    I recommend going there yourself. There are always Maryland crabcakes, calamari planks, escargot, raw oysters, and oysters Rockefellar on the appetizer menu. And the main selections and/or specials are always done differently than usual, like the pineapple and salmon.

    It’s a really good gourmet restaurant not only for the fresh catch of fish, but the venison, duck, and lamb dishes also. My husband who does not like venison, has ordered it there more than once. Anyone that is avoiding farm raised anything like myself, has a whole array of selections to choose from. The vegetables and sides are done to perfection. The desert tray had my husband choosing a piece of peanut butter chocolate pie to go. He’s not a sweets person, but that pie caught his eye. I had a bite. It was like eating a Reeses peanut butter cup, only better. Imagine.

    Cafe West is right on the corner of Biddle or Jefferson and West Rd. in downtown Trenton. Oh, I had a fabulous Mojito cocktail there also. It’s not always available because the mint used in the drink is not easy to come by. I remember talking to your wife about making the mistake of growing invasive mint plants, maybe we should start growing the mint needed for this particular cocktail because they are really good.

    Oh, and the price is not bad at all. My husband had 3 Merlots, yes I count, I only had iced tea, but we had a calamari appetizer also, salads with a spring mix, the main entree with green beans, and of course rice, pasta, or potato choices, and he got a dessert to go for $62.00. Try Cafe West.

  3. Thanks, Ria. Sounds great! I’ve had Asian-style Escolar before, but I’ve never been to Cafe West. We’ll have to try it sometime.

    I love when other people such as Mike or yourself write restaurant reviews. The reviews end up being quite honest, whish is how a review should be. I can then actually decide if I want to go to the place or not.

  4. Hey Dave
    Did you happen to see how much it costs an hour to use a paddle boat or Canoe at Maumee Bay State Park??
    Im wondering because next weekend which is July 7th and 8th my family will be camping at Maumee Bay State Park. Maumee Bay state Park is having a Lighthouse festival on July 7th and 8th so if you and Mary dont have anything todo on any of those days then you guys can come up to Maumee Bay State Park and go to the festival they have fireworks Saturday night when it gets dark. I cant wait to go camping to Maumee Bay State Park. Let me know if you guys plan coming up to Maumee Bay State Park on Either of those days it would be so much fun.

  5. Hi Jill! The boats weren’t too much an hour. It seems to me it was $6, but don’t quote me on that. I do remember it was very reasonable. We were going to rent a couple, but the rentals close earlier than the Snack Bar itself and we were too late for it that day.

    We’ll be out of town the weekend you’ll be at Maumee … sorry! We’re headed up to visit with Teen Tech that weekend, and to pick up Adam (my 14-year-old) and bring him home. We’ll keep trying!

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