Story Ideas

Put-in-Bay (South Bass Island) and Middle Bass Island, Ohio

  • New Miller Boat Line Ferry Coming in 2019: Miller Boat Line will add a new passenger/vehicle ferry to their fleet in 2019. The new ferry will supplement their current operations servicing the Lake Erie Islands of Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass. The ferry will be roughly 140′ in length with a carrying capacity of 26 standard vehicles and up to 600 passengers. Miller Boat Line, a family owned business, is the largest ferry service on Lake Erie and was founded in 1905.
  • Heineman’s Winery and Crystal Cave: Ohio’s oldest family owned winery celebrates its 130th Anniversary in 2018. Heineman’s survived Prohibition by selling unfermented grape juice and running the Winery’s caves. Today the third, fourth and fifth generations of Heinemans share the family wine making tradition. Much of the wine is from grapes cultivated on the Lake Erie Islands.
  • Lake Erie Island Music Festivals: The 2nd annual Put-in-Bay Music Festival will be June 9, 2018 at Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial.  The 2nd annual Middle Bass Island Music Festival will be July 14, 2018 at the historic Lonz Winery. The island vibe comes together with eclectic music and a splash of history to make these Music Festivals unique. Miller Ferry travels from Catawba to the islands of Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass.
  • Birding: The Lake Erie Islands are centered along a major North American migratory path, making for excellent spring and fall birding. Many bird species have been identified on South Bass Island. For information on events, bird banding and tours contact Lake Erie Islands Conservancy.
  • Freshwater Studies: In the harbor of Put-in-Bay stands sentry the six acre Gibraltar Island, home of Stone Lab. Operated by The Ohio State University, this lab is the nation’s oldest freshwater biological field station and each year welcomes hundreds of students and educators for credited biology courses. During summer, the public is invited to tour.
  • Nature & Wildlife Programs: The Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center works with The Ohio State’s Stone Lab and the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy to bring Wild Tuesdays to Put-in-Bay. This is a family-friendly event with hands-on experience with nature and wildlife. It takes place at the Nature & Wildlife Center on Meechen Road on Tuesdays during the summer months.
  • Walk the Island Shores & Woods: The Put-in-Bay Township Park District and Lake Erie Islands Conservancy offer a number of locations to get out and stretch your legs, look for birds, enjoy the wildflowers or just take a walk in the woods. On your island visit, check out the Scheeff East Point Preserve shoreline, the Dutchman’s breeches in spring at the Jane Coates Wildflower Trail and Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods, and sit and enjoy the cliffside sunset view at the Massie Cliffside Preserve.
  • Vintage Sports Car Racing: Put-in-Bay hosted sports car races that were conducted by the Cleveland Sport Car Club and the Northeast Ohio Region of the Sports Car Club of America from 1952 to 1959. Every year car enthusiasts gather at Put-in-Bay to race their favorite vintage sports cars in remembrance of these historic island street races. This unique event attracts racers and people from all around the world. Public viewing at the Put-in-Bay Road Race Reunion is free.
  • Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial: At 352 feet high, Perry’s Memorial is the fourth tallest man made National Park Monument. The Memorial is dedicated to the pivotal September 10, 1813 Battle of Lake Erie fought between the United States and Great Britain, America wrested control of the American Midwest from Britain. Perry’s Memorial also stands sentry over the United States and Canada, the longest undefended border between any nations in the world. After months of a major refurbish, the observation platform reopens with a public event in May, 2018.
  • The Benson Ford Ship Home: Featured on Home & Garden TV’s Extreme Homes, Travel Channel, The British Daily Mirror, MTV Extreme Cribs, the Ship Home stands out as one of the most unusual dwellings in the Midwest. Fashioned from the bow of a former Great Lakes freighter, the home-to-be was barged to the island. Perched on the western shoreline of Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, the ship home is easily viewed from aboard the Miller Ferry to Middle Bass Island or from a private vessel. For more info visit shiponthebay.com.
  • Ohio Craft Beer: Put-in-Bay, Ohio has enthusiastically embraced craft beer. This trend has flowed from a nationwide movement as craft beer sales grow at a record rate. The island’s only microbrewery, The Put-in-Bay Brewing Company, offers a selection of handcrafted, island-brewed beers. Their neighbor, The Reel Bar, will also be serving a wide range of Ohio local craft beers on tap this season. Also serving up many options of craft beer is Frosty’s, with 30 different kinds of craft in the can/bottle and 20 draft handles.
  • Lonz Winery, Middle Bass Island: In 2014 the state of Ohio set aside part of an $88 million capital improvements plan for the Ohio State Parks for the rehabilitation of Lonz Winery on Middle Bass Island. Work began in 2015 on the historic landmark which was dormant for over 10 years. The project was completed in 2017 and the Lonz Winery is open for public tours, group outings, meeting and weddings.
  • Other Ideas: Explore ruins of the historic Hotel Victory in the South Bass Island State Park, Put-in-Bay School (currently with 76 students), Put-in-Bay Yacht Club home of the annual Inter-Lake Yachting Association sailing races, classes for kids including art, bible camp, eco-camps, Wild Tuesdays, swimming and sailing classes, Bay Paddleboarding and more. There are over 1,700 shipwrecks in Lake Erie with over 60 being around Ohio’s Lake Erie Islands.
  • Put-in-Bay & Middle Bass Island Events
  • Personalized Media Visits: We’ll be glad to arrange your customized media visit of Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass Island and Gibraltar Island. Contact Katrina Reed (Communications and Public Relations) at katrina@millerferry.com, or Cheryll Rose (Marketing and Group Sales) at crose@millerferry.com. We can arrange transport, contacts and suggest venues. Ideas include History, Breweries and Wine, Recreation and Outdoors, Caves, Family Fun, Perry’s Monument, Entertainers, Church Tours, Food, Nature and Eco Tours, Arts and Music, Kayaking, Put-in-Bay School, Winter Island Life and more.

Miller Boat Line and Islands – Quick Facts

  • Of Ohio’s 262 miles of Lake Erie Shoreline, 43.2 miles are island shoreline. (Source; “Resources of the Lake Eire island Region. Cooper / Herdendorf)
  • Miller Boat Line is the only scheduled means of transporting freight, cars and commercial vehicles to the islands of Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass. It’s the only scheduled ferry service to Middle Bass Island. We also provide freight charters to North Bass Island and Rattlesnake Island.
  • Since its beginning, Miller Boat Line has been family owned. Started in 1905 as a fishing charter, water taxi and ice harvesting business, the company has grown to become the largest ferry service on Lake Erie.
  • William (Bill) and Mary Ann Market bought the boat line from Mary Miller in 1978. As a tribute to the founders and the company’s long standing reputation in the ferry service, the name “Miller” remains today.
  • Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island, Ohio are located halfway between Cleveland and Toledo in the western basin of Lake Erie.
  • Miller Boat Line employs 100 people during peak season. Several employees have been working for the company for more than thirty years.
  • Put-in-Bay is three and a half miles long, about a mile and a half wide.
  • Year round Put-in-Bay population is about 450 and Middle Bass is 45.
  • The name “Put-in-Bay” is probably derived from our secure harbor, a place where a ship can “put into the bay” for refuge from temperamental Lake Erie storms. Also, a 1700’s map created by the British, names the harbor “Pudding Bay” perhaps because it is shaped like a pudding bag, commonly used in the ship’s galley (kitchen).
  • Approximately 750,000 people visit the islands of Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island, Ohio each year.
  • Put-in-Bay School on Catawba Avenue is home to 76 students (2017-2018) with 17 teachers. Five students from Middle Bass Island and one student from North Bass Island commute via motorboat or plane daily to Put-in-Bay for classes. The Senior class consists of 4 students that will graduate in 2018.

For all press inquiries or personalized media visits, please contact

Katrina M. Reed
Miller Boat Line
P.O. Box 239
Put-in-Bay, Ohio 43456
Email: katrina@millerferry.com
Telephone: 440-823-1230

Julene Market
Miller Boat Line
Email: lakeeffects@aol.com

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