On the Road: False Advertising and a Pot of Gold

As my husband and I ease on down the road toward retirement, we think about where we might like to plant ourselves. Since I have always wanted to live near a lake or an ocean we have been looking at places along the Great Lakes. I check real estate listings, wondering what we can afford with a view of the water. Well, in one case of false advertising, my question has been answered.


On the first day of our vacation, we were in northern Ohio and found ourselves with some extra time in our traveling schedule. We decided to take a quick gander at one of the places we had been looking at online. Chesapeake Lofts in Sandusky, Ohio, looks very appealing on the Internet. The condominiums are in a renovated factory building on a pier extending into the Lake Erie waterfront, and overlook Kelley’s Island. You can see Cedar Point in the distance; it’s a great location. Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t live up to the artist’s rendition.

I probably should have known (husband says that he warned me) that the neighborhood was at best a gentrifying area. The condos are rented out and apparently have a low owner occupancy rate. The comments online tell a story of a blighted neighborhood, transient occupancy, and dissatisfied owners. Now that I’ve seen it for myself, I’m not surprised.

The first thing we encountered as we walked along the sidewalk adjoining the condo development was a sign announcing that the adjacent canal was the site of the storm drain overflow and that the canal was unsafe for swimming, water skiing, and fishing due to possibility of raw sewage dumping into the canal.

Someone really should have told the fish.

As we continued our walk down the path, getting closer and closer to the lake, we encountered these cute little lights.

Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, those are dead bugs that haven’t been cleaned up. Thousands of them. I know that the squeamish among you are now shrieking over the travesty of someone actually buying into this condo complex. What kind of a management company allows a mess like this to stay on the sidewalk for more than a few hours? Yuck, yuck, and triple yuck.

As we walked back toward the car, our final view of the neighborhood was the abandoned buildings lining the street that the Chesapeake Lofts web site refers to as the“Paper District.” Really?

As with any vacation, we ran a risk and depending on your “adventure quotient,” you could say that our risk paid off. We know for a fact that it will be a cold day in you-know-where before we retire to the Chesapeake Lofts, so we can cross that one off of our very long list of possibilities. It’s similar to a college search; the more colleges a student looks at, the more likely he or she is to pick the one that’s right.

And, as with some sad stories, there was a pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow. We ended our day’s drive with a visit to my cousin’s home near Pittsburgh. Theirs is a magic circle of love and faith centered around this beautiful lake.

After a challenging day of driving, we were happy to call their guest room home for the night. Hopefully we’ll find a lake, too, where we can start a charmed  life story in our retirement.

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