If there is one thing that people who grew up on the East Side of the Maumee are proud of is the fact that they grew up on the East Side. And why shouldn’t they be? The west side of the river may have the Art Museum and The Mudhens, but the Eastside has one of the most iconic places in the country to get a hot dog plus one of the best places to sit and eat outside in the region.
Our geography makes defining Lake Erie troublesome. Sure, we can talk about the eastern side of the Maumee river but given the bay area formed by the river, we are also talking about the southern shore of Lake Erie. Confused yet? How about the whole region being considered the western shores of the lake. How about the aforementioned bridges being predominately north and south routes?
One of the great things about our Maumee bay and corner of Lake Erie is that it affords a great opportunity to leave the compass behind and just wander.
Bridges to Adventure
Although there are several bridges across the Maumee, the three best known (Anthony Wayne, MLK, and Veterans’ Glass City Skyway) give easy access to some amazing things to do while vacationing close to home. The bridges themselves carry a rich history and are themselves worth gawking at.
Besides admiring the bridges, the area all along the East Bank of the Maumee has a rich history. Spending some time along this side of the river offers excellent cruising opportunities along with good eats and some fantastic views.
So cross a bridge, grab a hot dog, and join us as we explore the East Bank of the Mighty Maumee!
Travel the Maumee, East Bank!
Hollywood Casino: Sure, it isn’t strictly local but it has become a local icon. Yes, they have reopened, and dropping by a casino for a couple of hours of casual gaming is a pretty touristy thing to do. Machines have been reconfigured for social distancing, and table games have been modified. The interior eateries are also open with smaller yet enjoyable menus. Most cruise ships have small casinos onboard. Any “cruise” along the Maumee can include some gaming as well.
The Docks: No matter what iteration of restaurant groupings are at The Docks, it is one of the best places to eat in the area. A great view, lots of outdoor seating, and a perfect way of staying in town but feeling on vacation. Dining Includes
- Kobe Bay: Sushi, sashimi, and hibachi selections. Live music 3-4 days a week
- Real Seafood: One of the better seafood places in town and managed by Main Street Ventures. Check out their raw bar and fresh catches.
- Hamburger Mary’s: A small national chain where you can “dine with the divas”. Of all the places on our Maumee River cruise, this one feels like it was plucked right from a tourist resort. Fun, kitschy, and an easy way to escape for an evening.
- El Vaquero: An Ohio and Michigan chain with upscale Mexican fare, El Vacarro might be the ultimate in dining al fresco along the river. Who doesn’t want to sit by the river, soak in the heat sipping a margarita and munching house-made chips? That alone reeks of vacation.
National Museum of the Great Lakes: Just down the road from The Docks, NMGL is perfectly situated in sight of the Veterans Glass City Skyway Bridge (the I-280 Bridge for those of you didn’t know its official name) and is an amazing facility to explore. Before trucking fully took over as a dominating shipping force, Toledo was one of the busiest freshwater ports in the world. This museum celebrities that shipping history from canoes to massive lake freighters. Of course, the Col. James M. Schoonmaker museum ship is docked on site.
Original Tony Packo’s: Sure, you can get Packo’s in several locations around the city. However, we are talking about history, exploration, and vacation. Visiting the Front Street location is more about pursuing the walls of signed hot dog buns than about getting a hot dog. Of course, as long as you are there looking at all the famous people who have visited, you might as well get some iconic Packo’s.
Veterans’ Memorial Park, Rossford: It is a true statement that the municipal park is, well, a municipal park. It offers the usual picnic tables, playgrounds, and outdoor grills. However, it is right on the Maumee and therefore has a boat launch, a nearby marina, plus fishing (with the usual Ohio licensing required). It is a perfect place to do a little “in town” outdoor activity with kids and family.
Maumee Bay State Park: Sure, it is not technically east Toledo but it resides so close to Oregon that we have to include it in our line up on the east side of the river. A wide-open state park that has tons of day-tripping opportunities plus camping and cabins to create a short and instant getaway. The links golf course in one of the more difficult in the area, not just because of the tall grass but because of the wind off the lake.
Sundance Drive-In: Another east of the river attraction and one of the last drive-ins left in the area. There isn’t much to say except it is a drive-in. Pack the kids in the car and go see a movie. Or, if you are feeling bold, grab your sweetheart and go see a movie the way your parents did.