Top 5 Reasons You Need To Experience The Lakehouse Inn & Winery, Geneva-On-The-Lake

Recently I was one of 7 invitees for a VIP Travel Writers event at The Lakehouse Inn & Winery in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio.

Geneva-on-the-Lake is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie in Ashtabula County, about an hour’s drive east of Cleveland.  It has traditionally been a concord grape supplier of Welch’s, but in recent years vineyards began switching to viniferous grapes, supplying more than 20 wineries now operating in the area!

Opened in 2000, The Lakehouse Inn & Winery is owned and operated by Karen and Sam Fagnilli.  They started out as a bed and breakfast, but soon started making their own wine from local grapes.   If you ask them, they don’t have a big master plan; they’re just looking to combine what their customers want with what they enjoy.

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery has quickly become a year-round destination for some of the best wine, food, and lodging in Geneva-on-the-Lake.  Spending a few minutes with the Fagnilli’s, you’ll immediately see their passion stretches well beyond their front door and to the entire Ashtabula County.

One of Karen and Sam’s goals is to change the perception of wine in the Geneva, Ohio area from just a beverage to a food that is paired with other foods.  This new perception would help elevate Ohio wines to the level of many of the other wine regions of the world.

During our VIP event, we had the opportunity to experience all that The Lakehouse Inn & Winery has to offer.  Then we explored some of the amazing attractions throughout Ashtabula County.

We had such a great time that I had to put together my Top 5 reasons you need to visit Geneva-on-the-Lake and experience The Lakehouse Inn & Winery for yourself!

Lodging Options

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery has 4 lodging options to fit just about any style or group-size:

Traditional Rooms

For our stay we got to experience one of their 5 Traditional Rooms.  These rooms are 100 square feet in size, with a private bathroom.  You can choose between king and queen beds.

Not a lot of space, but definitely didn’t feel cramped with 2 of us occupying the room.  They are cozy, clean, and well maintained.

Suites

The second room type available in the Inn are the 3 Suites.  These rooms range from 250 to 375 square feet in size, complete with a private bathroom, sitting room, basic kitchen, and standard size Jacuzzi tub.

The suites feel large for their size, and are great for up to 2 adults and 2 children.  All 3 are located on the second floor of the Inn, with the Lake Erie Suite providing some great views of Lake Erie.

Cottages

The Lakehouse Inn has 3 Cottages connected by an enclosed porch and private patio.  Each cottage is 450 square feet in size, and offers 2 bedrooms a private bathroom, full kitchen, living room, and access to an outdoor patio and charcoal grill.

The cottages are very roomy, providing a great home away from home.

The Beach House

The Beach House is a beautiful, detached building, on the shores of Lake Erie.  Housed above the former wine cellar and tasting room, it has a very spacious and open feel.

The large, one-room building is split down the middle to separate the kitchen, dining and living area from the bedroom and bathroom.  Both sides open up to a fireplace at the north end, and walk out to a patio overlooking the lake.   The Beach House makes the perfect romantic getaway in Geneva-on-the-Lake!

Farm-to-Table DINING

The Lakehouse Inn is definitely doing their part to turn Geneva-on-the-Lake into a Farm-to Table mecca with their on-site restaurant, Crosswinds Grille.  With an ever-changing seasonal menu and one of the only places along the southern shore of Lake Erie that you can actually eat on the lake, there’s a reason there’s a wait to get in during the summer!

Head chef (and the owners’ son), Nathan, has developed close relationships with some of the area farmers.  So close in fact that he can tell you exactly where everything on your plate came from, how it was grown, and when he personally went and picked it up.  Nathan’s passion has even led him to started his own local, whole-animal butchery, Na*Kyrsie Meats, specializing in artisan style charcuterie and salami.

For our visit we had many opportunities to test out the menu at Crosswinds Grille, including wood-fired pizzas and an amazing 5-course dinner complete with wine-pairings:

1. Roasted Rainbow beet salad paired with 2016 Apple Cider wine 2. Shrimp & grits paired with 2015 Grand River Valley Barrel-fermented Chardonnay 3. Parmesan & carnival squash risotto paired with 2015 Grand River Valley Pinot Noir 4. Boneless short rib paired with 2016 Grand River Valley Merlot 5. Maple ice cream, Bissell paple syrup, Seven Brothers wheat whiskey

Every guest was left raving about the food and wine.  They even took the time to accomodate guests with dietary restrictions, something Karen mentioned she is proud of and aims to continue to increase at Crosswinds Grille.

One of the highlights of the entire trip for me was to have the opportunity to have dinner with some of the local farmers.  We met Floyd and Amy Davis of Red Basket Farm and were able to learn a lot about the efforts, struggles, and saticfaction that makes up their growing seasons.  Red Basket Farm is even leading the way with their Farm-to-School programs in Ohio!

The Spa at The Lakehouse Inn

Located directly across the road from the inn is The Spa at The Lakehouse Inn.  The building also houses an event space, comfortable fo rup to 40 people.

The Spa is warm and inviting, and the staff is amazing.  For my massage I had Meghan, who was very friendly, passionate about her craft, and very talented at her work.  From what I heard from the other guests, my experience with Meghan was definitely typical of what you can expect that The Spa.

What better way to unwind after a day of exploring Ashtabula County, or get ready for a glass of wine on the patio by the lake than with a little pampering?  The Spa is open daily, offering a wide range of offerings including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and hair services.

Northeast Ohio Wineries

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery offers year-round tours, tastings, and accomodation on the shores of Lake Erie.  Karen and Sam began with tours of the county, teaching guests about wine and pairing wine with other foods.  As the tour business began to explode they started focus more on their own wine production and left the tours up to other tour operators.

The wine at The Lakehouse Inn & Winery are made with locally grown grapes, with little exception.  They make all the varietals you’d expect from this area, including Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Blush, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Due to the presence of other local fruits, don’t be surprised if you find wines made from apple, maple, peach or strawberry!

Wine is available for purchase in the winery and outdoor patio by the glass or the bottle.

Ohio is the 6th largest wine producer, and 9th largest grape producer in the United States, so it’s no surprise that some really great products are emerging.  Here are 4 locations we had the pleasure of experiencing:

South River Vineyard is one of the most unique wineries I’ve ever visited, producing some really nice wines housed in a beautiful old church!

M Cellars is a boutique winery with very knowledgable staff offering some great wines, including the rarely found locally: the Rkatsiteli Russian varietal.

Kosicek Vineyards is run by 3rd-generation farmer Tony Kosicek and his wife, Mauri.  Opened in 2012, it’s a beautiful winery overlooking their vineyard, and producing some mouth-watering whites, and delicious ice wine.

Red Eagle Distillery taps into its long history of moonshine liquor production, and was the first legal whiskey distillery in the area since Prohibition.

Geneva-on-the-Lake Attractions

The attraction of Geneva-on-the-Lake goes well beyond its wineries.  Here are a few of the highlights we foudn during our stay …

The Ashtabula Barn Quilt Trail is one of the area’s fastest growing attractions with nearly 100 barn quilts on barns, bridges, and other historical sites.  Each quilt tells a story, and so does the location they are hosted on!

Home to 19 Covered Bridges, ranging from America’s shortest (18 feet) to the longest (613 feet).  Ohio loves their covered bridges, and are proud of the attention and care put into maintaining them.

Ashtabula Harbor is an historic area best known as one of the last stops along the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800’s!  The Harbour has undergone a recent resurgence to become a vibrant entertainment district known for its historic buildings, local retail shops, and eclectic restaurants.

As you can see, this was an incredible event that I was honoured to take part in, and I invite you to add Generv, Ohio to your list of travel destinations.

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery is definitely a place I’ll be returning to, and I can’t wait to see how the entire Ashtabula County continues to mature as a wine destination.

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Resources

Here is a list of the resources mentioned in this post:

The Lakehouse Inn & Winery – A year-round destination for some of the best wine, food, and lodging in Geneva-on-the-Lake.

Crosswinds Grille – Providing an ever-changing seasonal menu and one of the only places along the southern shore of Lake Erie that you can actually eat on the lake.

Na*Kyrsie Meats – Specializing in artisan style charcuterie and salami.

The Spa at The Lakehouse Inn – Open daily, offering a wide range of offerings including massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and hair services.

Red Basket Farm –  Leading the way with their Farm-to-School programs in Ohio.

South River Vineyard – Picturesque winery housed in an old church.

M Cellars – Local boutique winery producing some unique varietals.

Kosicek Vineyards – Beautiful winery overlooking their vineyard, and producing some delicious ice wine.

Red Eagle Distillery – The first legal whiskey distillery in the area since Prohibition.

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