John Mellencamp was right.
I left Ohio. I left the North Coast. I left Lake Erie with no plans to reside in Ohio permanently again. Time and experience, however, can change everything.
I’ve been lucky enough to live in extraordinary places: Key West; Denver; Summit County, Colorado; Charleston, South Carolina. These places are all astonishingly beautiful with plenty of activities. While living in these iconic spots, I never thought of the area I grew up in as iconic or beautiful. Sure, it had moments. Sunsets over the lake were pretty and Put-In-Bay was always a good time, but nothing like the mountains of Colorado or the harbors of the Florida Keys.
Time and experience can change one’s perspective. While living in these destination locations, my wife, Nikki, and I traveled often. I worked in the travel communications industry, so I was always looking for story ideas and news hooks. No matter where in the world we visited, I could always tie something back to the Lake Erie Shores & Islands area: a restaurant in Munich, a winery in Cali or marina in Riveria Maya. It was always, “You know, there’s a place like that on Lake Erie.”
We started to return to Sandusky and the North Coast frequently and began to see opportunity. We bought a house in Sandusky as a “second home” and slowly remodeled. Our visits became a game of “What new business opened now?” We finally saw it, as so many local business owners already have, this place is remarkable, and people need to know about it. Enter – an old brothel on East Water Street that will soon be home to Green Door Mediaworks.
Guilty of saying negative things about my hometown, I now cringe when I hear “this place is boring” or “typical Ohio.” Wrong, just look around, take a walk, jump on a boat, grab a glass of wine, ride a roller coaster. Sure, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today without leaving Ohio, but it turns out that just made returning so much sweeter. Nikki and I didn’t have to leave Colorado. We both had successful careers and our “dream house.” Yet, now I write from our “dream location.” The North Coast is entering a Renaissance Era and I hope you’ll join us.
So it turns out John Mellencamp was right. . .
“My bed is in a small town, and that’s good enough for me.” – J. Mellencamp