By D’Arcy Egan
The goal for Mike and Ginger Schenk was to build the premier recreational vehicle campground in northwest Ohio on the specious grounds of The Resort at Erie Landing on Darr-Hopfinger Road in Port Clinton. It has not been easy, and it has been expensive for new owners Diamond Properties of Mount Kisko, N.Y.
The timing in acquiring and renovating the troubled Erie Island Resort, though, could not have been better.
“The RV world is on fire these days, with the new recreational units designed to be truly a home away from home,” said Mike Schenk. “Because of all of the improvements we’ve made and the quality facilities we now offer at The Resort at Erie Landing, our RV campgrounds are full this summer.
“We’re adding 80 RV sites, as well, and by fall will have 180 RV sites,” he said. “The attractions that have been added range from beautiful new indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spas and a fitness center to a spacious children’s playground. We’re renovating our large boat Marina at Spiess Harbor, which has deep water access to the Portage River.”
Adjacent to the marina, Portage River Inn renovations should be completed in time for the 2020 season.
The 375-acre resort added a bocce ball court, as well as kayaks for paddling. The custom rental bicycles have been a big hit, said Schenk.
“The resort is a mile long, so bicycles are a great way for visitors and summer residents to get around,” he said.
The various RV Villages are becoming communities within the Resort at Erie Landing, said Schenk.
“People staying at the RV Villages are making friends, and many are coming with friends who own RVs and want to camp with them,” he said. “That can make for a great summer season, with so many nearby attractions in this vacationland region.”
Downtown Port Clinton is minutes away, and so are the convenient ferry services trips to the nearby Lake Erie Islands and a large fleet of fishing charter boats chasing abundant Lake Erie walleye. In nearby Sandusky is Cedar Point Amusement Park, Kalahari and Great Wolf resorts and many restaurants and wineries.
“The Resort and Erie Landing has been a bigger project than what we first thought it would be, but we have had the full support of owners Jim and Bill Diamond, who own five campgrounds around the country.”
The attractive RV Village campsites have been upgraded with quality sewer and water connections, and 50 amp electrical hookups. They can handle the many large, custom RV units that are towing boats or jet skis.
“Many RV owners want their unit to be a home away from home, and may feature two air conditioners, a dishwasher and microwave, a couple of televisions and a lot of other electronics,” said Schenk. “That requires a lot of electric power.”
To make sure the water lines are now up to snuff, Schenk shut down campground’s antiquated small water plant and tied into Ottawa County water lines to assure a constant flow of clean water.
While the RV Villages have been getting a lot of attention, Schenk has increased the number of rental cottages and 3-bedroom villages, all with full kitchens and large living quarters. At their grand opening, the Schenks had five cottages to show off. Now 17 are ready to rent.
“They’re perfect for family gatherings, especially reunions,” said Schenk. “It’s easy for us to accommodate groups of 20 to 30 people, and the grounds are so spacious it is hard to tell a big group is here.”
To encourage people who live around Ottawa County to visit Erie Landing throughout the summer, they have created The Heron Club membership. It provides visitors access to all of the amenities at Erie Landing, including the RELish Cafe, poolside bar, indoor and outdoor pools, indoor and outdoor whirlpool spa, kayaks, paddleboats, pond fishing, bocce ball, putt-putt, racquetball court and fitness center. Memberships, which are limited, are available for families ($500) and singles ($250).
“The most popular perk for Heron Club members are our special events, especially the live entertainment on the weekends,” said Schenk. A Bob Seger Tribute Band is featured on Aug. 31.
Looking ahead, members of the Heron Club will also be able to join the Heron Sporting Club in 2020, when the resort opens a new trap and skeet shooting range.
For more information on The Resort at Erie Landing, visit erielanding.com or call 419-734-2460.