Lakeside Chautauqua offers a different experience to all those who visit the Chautauqua community. Some are first time Lakesiders and others visit season after season.

Each family or Lakesider can chose any combination of activities from the four pillars – Religion, Education, Arts and Recreation – to create a one-of-a-kind Chautauqua experience.

Lakeside encourages its guest and residents to share their Lakeside stories because everyone has a Lakeside story and no two stories are alike.

This particular story is from Heidi Robertson and her family’s time spent at Lakeside.

Heidi was in search of a retreat to get away with her family before her daughter went off to college.

She has a friend who owns a cottage in Lakeside and decided to contact her friend about it. After their phone call, Heidi decided to make reservations at Hotel Lakeside and reserved a suite that could accommodate a family of four.

Built in 1875, Hotel Lakeside is a notable National Historic Landmark conveniently located on the shores of Lake Erie. This hotel is reminiscent of the Victorian era, featuring antique furnishings and a beautiful wrap-around porch showcasing the best views of the islands.

Open seasonally from Memorial Day weekend through September, the hotel includes 79 unique rooms. Online reservations for the 2015 Chautauqua season will be available in January.

After arriving, Heidi’s first impression of Lakeside was how darling, quaint, friendly and comfortable everything was.

“Whole style of it [Lakeside] is a unique, self-contained town with easily accessible things to do,” she shared.

The Robertson family created their Chautauqua experience by partaking in walks along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile, spending time on the dock and playing miniature golf and shuffleboard.

At first the kids had very little interest in playing shuffleboard but to make the most of their time in Lakeside, the family gave the game a try.

Learning to play shuffleboard resulted in the Robertsons playing game after game for a day and a half, breaking only for ice cream at Lakeside Coffee & Cream.

The family played with every possible combination of teams – kids vs. parents, boys vs. girls, etc.

No matter the team combination, it seemed that if Heidi was on the team, the team lost that game.

“I am okay with that; I just need another ice cream cone,” she joked.

During their visit to Lakeside, the family enjoyed a meal at The Patio Restaurant, Lakeside Coffee & Cream and Sloopy’s Sports Café.

The kids absolutely enjoyed Sloopy’s Sports Café; the family ate there two nights in a row.

Sloopy’s offers a variety of gourmet and traditional pizzas, as well as salads, sandwiches and pasta with the signature Sloopy’s Red Sauce.

Also during their visit, the Robertsons spent some time exploring the Lakeside Antique Show.

The Antique Show includes more than 85 dealers displaying antiques in one block of Lakeside with items for sale, including china, glassware, quilts, fine and costume jewelry, sterling, sports memorabilia and much more.

When asked if the family was looking forward to returning to Lakeside, Heidi replied, “Sure! I don’t know when but we would definitely come back.”

Based on the families schedule and the experience they are looking for, Heidi thought they would look for the right weekend during the second half of August to return to Lakeside.

She also continued to share that the length of their stay would be the determining factor if they made reservations at Hotel Lakeside or rented a cottage.

Lakeside offered this family an atmosphere of family fun and games. They also enjoyed learning some of the Lakeside history.

The four pillars of the Chautauqua experience offer endless combinations of activities, games and programs. Submit your unique story or favorite memory to share with other Lakesiders.

Now it is your turn to join The Front Porch conversation. What combination of Chautauqua offerings did you and your family chose to create your summer Lakeside experience?