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Wintry Views along Lake Erie: Presque Isle State Park, Ice Dunes, Wineries, & More

It is incredible seeing the Lake Erie region in the winter time. It is a stunning contrast seeing the transformation of the region from a summer beachside retreat, complete with sandy beaches, swimmers, wildlife, speedboats, sailboats, and more, into an icy moonscape filled with ice dunes and caves, crisp air, ice fishermen, and more. There are not many places that I have visited where the contrast between seasons is so huge, and it is truly spectacular. This region is always a favorite of ours for getaways, since there are always so many cool and relaxing things to do.
 The view from the bluff on which Lakeview on the Lake Motel sits upon, near the borough of North East, PA.
 Ice Dunes and Caves on the shores of Lake Erie at Freeport Beach, near the town of North East, PA. As the temperatures get below freezing, the waves of the lake freeze into these unique formations, that look vastly different every winter season.
It is not advisable to walk out onto the lake in these areas, since the dunes are fragile and can give out at any time, especially as the temperatures warm up.

The Lake Erie Wine Country Wine and Chocolate Festival is what we spent most of our time doing during this specific trip. The many wineries, stretching from Erie County, PA, up into New York, are open daily and well worth checking out. For more information on visiting the wineries, check out this summary, and this other summary from some of our prior visits. Lake Erie Wine Country is so much fun to explore, but especially during their special food pairing events.
The Bicentennial Tower in Erie on Presque Isle Bay.
 Ice fishermen and winter windsurfers were out on Presque Isle Bay near the start of Presque Isle State Park. 
This year has not been quite as continuously cold as previous years, where there was not even a portion of visible unfrozen ice. About half a mile down the road at Presque Isle State Park, from where the ice fishermen were set up, you could see the end of the icing on the lake, with the currents of the bay carrying ice chunks to the edge. It is a pretty neat thing to see. 

It was neat seeing the lake all iced over, but not seeing much snow on the ground. In the summer, this spot would be filled with swimmers, picnickers, the smell of barbecue, kites flying in the air, and the sounds of summer. In the winter it is a beautiful and icy moonscape.
Ice and sand in front of the Presque Isle Lighthouse
We highly recommend checking out the Erie Region in any season, but especially in winter. It is absolutely gorgeous.

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