I didn't really know what to expect when my girlfriend and I pulled off the highway and into Findley Lake last weekend for the 16th annual Harvest Festival.
We had never attended the event, and I'm sure I could count the number of times I've been on Main Street in Findley Lake on one hand. Quickly, we realized, that needs to change because Findley Lake is a cool little place.
From interesting shops to diners to a beautiful lakeside view, we found there was quite a bit to occupy our short time on Main Street.
The place was packed for the festival, which was great to see. Both parking and admission were free, and it looked like people - children and families in particular - were having a great time.
During our visit Saturday afternoon, we heard some live music and met some friendly people. We walked all the way up Main Street from Shadyside Road, passing dozens of vendors before hitting Route 3 by Our Own Candle Company - which sponsored the event, along with the Findley Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.
Fall being our favorite season, we picked up some seasonal decorations at the candle company before heading back down the street. If you like decorating, I'd recommend a visit to the store. There were plenty of items to look over.
The Marion LaBar Walford Water Wheel Overlook Building was another highlight of our walk down the street. According to Tour Chautauqua's website, the visitor center honors the history of the original dam and mill built in 1815 by Alexander Findley.
Before hitting the road, we had to stop to get our picture taken by the historic Findley Lake landmark - an anchor from a Lake Erie shipwreck. According to the accompanying plaque, the schooner "Mautenee" was shipwrecked near Ripley in Lake Erie during a gale storm in 1905.
"In 1906, George Fox transported the one-ton anchor using horses and a log cart to his Findley Lake home on North Road," the plaque reads. "He hung the anchor from the schooner's life boat davit in his front yard. The Dunlap family later purchased the home and anchor. The anchor and davit were moved to this site in 1993."
If you're looking for a good time to visit the Findley Lake area, next month would be a good place to start.
The 26th annual Fall Fest at Peek'n Peak will be held Oct.12-13, and Oct. 19-20. Plenty of entertainment is already lined up for the festival, including musicians, crafts, food and "the famous pumpkin cannon." Visit findleylakeinfo.org for more information.