Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Day Trip Diaries : Lake Milton

One of my best friends texted me a week or so ago, she's moving to the UK. Permanently, or at least with no set move date back to the US. At the end of August. I had known this move was a definite maybe for the year 2016, but with a perfect storm, August 31st is now the day.

We were racking our brains for how we could hang out before she left, but neither of us had a whole weekend to spare. While Akron & Pittsburgh aren't terribly far apart, a 2 hour drive each way, just for one day of hang wasn't what we wanted to waste time on.

A quick Google search showed that Lake Milton was a pretty good halfway point. It's situated about 1 hour 15 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes away from Pittsburgh & 45 or so from Akron. There are 4 wineries within a 5 - 10 minutes drive from each other, and a few others if you're brave enough to drive 15 minutes. We decided to pack some snacks to munch on & make a day of it.

The drive was easy. I took 79 North to the Turnpike - which I took to Ohio exit 218. It's a few short turns from there. Worth mentioning - tolls on the way there will set you back $1.75 sans EZ Pass (which is me), but the way back is significantly more expensive, closer to $9 - since PA charges $6.60 just to roll your tires on into the state. Because of this, I took an alternate route home, which only cost me about an extra 10 minutes of travel time.

As I mentioned there are 4 wineries all within a 5 - 10 minute drive from one another. Our first stop was Lil' Paws, which we picked because they opened at noon & allowed us to bring our own food.

We shared a flight to find out which wine we liked the best & then shared a bottle between us. Their wine selection was definitely more towards the sweeter side, and each was named after a dog owned by the owners, past or present. They also had house made beer on draft, though we did not partake.

We decided to share a bottle of their Riesling, also known as the "Rusty" - but unfortunately most of their other wines were lacking in depth of flavor. Like when you make dinner, but it's just missing something & you don't know what.

And lest you think I'm a wine snob, I'm not, I usually rock out whatever is cheapest at the State Store.

Lil' Paws
17574 Mahoning Ave
Lake Milton, OH 44429

Pros : Bring your own food, open @ noon on Saturdays, outdoor & indoor seating
Cons : Wine is meh
Tastings : $.50 each, or $6 for 8 tastings + you keep the glass

Before heading to the next winery, Hallidays, we wandered down to the water of Lake Milton. There's a "boardwalk" of sorts that parallels a bridge and a gazebo right at the waters edge along with a picnic table.

After getting sunburned down by the lake we hopped back in the car & headed down the road to Hallidays Winery. The inside was charming & featured lots of tables, but lacked AC. So, we opted to head outside after choosing our wines + sangrias (they feature 3 different types of house made sangria on the weekends). Their outside area features 15+ picnic tables spread out, many with a view of the lake.

While the skies threatened a thunderstorm all afternoon, we were able to enjoy most of our visit at a table overlooking the water. We dashed under a tent set up outside, and finished our glasses. Within a few minutes the rain had let up & we headed for a walk.

And finally, what might have been my favorite photo of the day. If you follow me on Instagram (@15minutes_late) you saw this one on Sunday, but I couldn't resist sharing again.

Halliday's Winery
2400 NE River Rd
Lake Milton, Ohio 44429

Pros : Lots of seating, direct view of the lake, good selection of their wine, + beer & sangria for non wine drinkers, has their own boat dock
Cons : A tad pricey (our Riesling was $20), can't bring your own food, no AC
Tastings : $.50 each for a small .5oz - 1 oz pour, or $6.50 for 3 x 2oz pours, which was what we opted for.

Finally, it was on to what turned out to be our final stop of the day. It's amazing how time flies with good friends. We both lamented we were hungry, and were shocked when we looked at the time it was dinner time, no wonder!

We drove next to Myrddin Winery. It was a 5 minute drive from Halliday's, but easy to miss if you're not paying attention. A turn off the main road led us to follow a small sign claiming "Winery" before we got to a small gravel parking area. This led to the entrance and a small gravel path through the trees to their tasting area.

A word of warning, this place did not seem handicap accessible.

We were instantly charmed by this place, a million tiny lights everywhere, and a path through the trees to get to this place. Unfortunately it was sprinkling when we arrived, but there was lots of outdoor seating, tables, chairs, comfy couches, and tents, all wound with lighting. After we taste tested & ordered a bottle of their Riesling - and waited for the rain to stop. It did, and they were quick to hop outside, set up lights and wipe off tables and chairs.

We took a walk down to the lake // dock before settling under a canopy on some patio furniture. No sooner did we get set up then the rain came down in buckets. We scooted towards the middle of the canopy, but eventually the wind prevailed & we were getting pretty wet. We made a break for it and headed back inside to pack up & head out.

I think a sunny day would have seen this place packed. No direct views of the lake, but with a fire pit, lots of seating & plenty of shade it was our favorite place of the day.

Myrddin Winery
3020 Scenic Ave
Berlin Center, Ohio 44401

Pros : Super charming, lots of seating options, can bring your own food
Cons : Limited parking, no good lake view
Tastings : $.50 each, no flight available

All in all this was the perfect day trip from Pittsburgh. If I did it all again I might try to find a short hike around the lake for the morning, but I loved how close all the wineries were together, and that 2 of the 4 allowed you to bring your own food. The rainy weather was a blessing and a curse. Most of the wineries were nearly empty, and all the bands for the day were cancelled due to the poor weather forecast, so we lucked out big time.

What was your last day trip?
Do you meet up with friends halfway?
Am I the only one that tries to re-route around tolls because they suck and I already pay taxes and shouldn't have to pay extra money just to drive on roads?
I’m linking up with Amanda, LovePastaToolBeltA Little R&R +  Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderful Wednesday


  1. The third winery with the tinkling lights looks so charming. This reminds me how excited I am for a wine tour I'm doing with a group of co-worker girlfriends the last weekend in August! Nothing like sipping wine and chatting with good friends.
    Danielle @ afloat on a full sea

  2. Looks like such a great day! That last winery looks amazing! I really need to put "winery crawl" on my to-do list.

  3. What a great idea for a day trip! It's nice that it was pretty much half way between the two of you. I like that two of them also had non-wine options. Mike's not big on wine so he won't go wine tasting with me but I could drag him along if there was beer or sangria :)

  4. i hate tolls. i almost never encounter them here in the US though. i also don't really have friends that i can meet halfway, but that really is a good idea! and it looks like you all had a good day, the wineries are all so fancy and pretty. i'm sorry your friend is moving :( is that her home?

  5. Wine tasting with a view on a lake sounds awesome!

  6. So happy you were able to hang out with your friend before she moves. And what a fun day you had planned! :)

    I definitely have met up with friends half-way, especially if we could only spend a day, not a weekend together.

  7. I love you both made the effort to see each other. that's pretty special.
    ... ummm... how am I not following you on IG?

  8. I've never been to that area and need to go! I don't like sweet wines--pretty much all the local wines--but all the wineries sound great. And thanks for the tip on tolls!

  9. What a perfect day! Meeting in the middle is definitely a smart idea. I often do that with clients so I don't spend hours commuting!

  10. I'm totally bummed for yo that your bestie is moving away. BUT I'm so glad you were able to spend a fun day with her! We're big on taking day trips, and I love that you were able to find a bnch of stuff to do in the middle of you two!

  11. Wow there are some really pretty wineries in that corner of the country; what a great way to spend time with your friend. I hope you can go visit her in the U.K. some time!

  12. You know I love a good winery:) This looks like such a fun day! And that last winery looks adorable. I'm similar to you- I feel like I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to wine and usually stick with the cheap stuff haha. I love taking day trips with my friend. We live 3ish hours apart and that's a lot of driving for just a day. Usually we find something that's 1.5 hours away for both of us and it works out perfect!

  13. Ohh, this looks oh so picturesque! Love the views you got to take in, and while drinking wine. What a great combination! :)

  14. Ohh, this all looks fabulous! Glad you got to enjoy it with your friend!!!

  15. Looks like you found the perfect mid-way point for sure! I love wine tasting and this looks like a great way to spend time with a friend before she leaves. Thanks for sharing :D


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