Summer Fun Heritage Trail


Is a series of interpretive signs along Route 531, “The Strip,” or business district of Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio’s original and oldest summer resort town! For decades GOTL Ohio has been the summer playground of choice for tens of thousands of northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania residents. One village native has aptly called it, “The working man’s Cape Cod!” 

This site is dedicated to our visitors, who have given Geneva-on-the-Lake its vitality and longevity.

Interpretive signs at important sites

tell the big story of the resort. Look for 30 of these signs along The
Strip with more added every spring!

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Signs are just the beginning

to learning about our resort town. A QR code on every sign links visitors to a webpage at this site, where we will archive video interviews, photos and narratives about the location.





This is an interactive project

Use the comment form to email your story or memory. If you have photos or video available (even 8mm/super 8mm/16mm film) of your GOTL visits, let us know in the email and we’ll make arrangements to add it to the site!

The Virtual Museum

contains information on many more sites that are not marked with a sign. On these pages you will find photos, advertising, narratives, anecdotes and videos.


book kohleLooking for a book about GOTL?

Wendy Kohle’s “Geneva on the Lake, A History of Ohio’s First Summer Resort” is the source for GOTL history. Published by The History Press, it is available at Rees’ Drug Store, The Lodge and Conference Center’s gift shop and several other retailers in the Geneva area. The GOTL Visitor’s Bureau, on the west end of The Strip, also has the book for sale.


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Stay in touch with Ashtabula County

by subscribing to The Ashtabula Wave, our county’s online newsletter that features stories about the people, places and events in Ashtabula County. We’re more than a summer resort and destination; Great Things happen in Ashtabula County every day. Be a part of it!



who make the trail and this website possible are:

county-A-graphicAshtabula County Board of Commissioners/Lodging Tax (creative support and web administration)




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The Civic Development Corporation of Ashtabula County (CDC)

Geneva-0n-the-Lake Visitors Bureau



Stop in and visit us while in town. We are on the west end of The Strip, near the village recreation park.







Our guests remember:

Pirl Beach

I spent the summer of 1942 in Pirl Beach (at age 16) and worked part time for the manager pulling weeds and such. Also swam every day. My Pittsburgh relatives had reserved a cottage there for many years. My aunt and cousins stayed. My uncle commuted weekly in his Buick. The Pirl Beach manager used a Model T Ford truck for his chores.

Ken Ford

Memories of Ford's

Most of my summer childhood memories are at Ford’s! My parents met there right at the picnic table. We vacationed there every summer along with my grandparents and great aunt and uncle until they passed away. We made amazing friends there that we still vacation with on Putnam Drive!! I could never thank the Payne’s enough for my childhood memories. Playing Indians in the huge back yard, solving make-believe mysteries, playing release and listening to everyone playing penny poker when my sister and I should have been sleeping. I now bring my son to Geneva every summer. He is the 5th generation at Geneva!

Sara Turner Campos

Chestnut Grove

My extended family and I vacationed at Chestnut Grove from 1948-1964. Being from McKeesport, it was a dream come true to go there every summer. I currently live in Michigan but go back occasionally. Not too long ago, I found a post card of some of the cottages where the swings and horseshoe pit were and a local artist is making me a 24×36 painting of it. I can't wait to see it! So many wonderful memories and so few things left as reminders. It is nice to know that others still remember and care.

Michelle Turner ( a Chestnut Grove Kid)


We vacationed every summer at Idle-A-While in the late '50s and early '60s, partially because my aunt was the receptionist there. I often got to ring the bell summoning guests to breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room, which was staffed by co-eds from various universities. Evenings were spent playing bingo, fascination and other games on the strip or bridge and poker back at Idle-A-While. Great memories.
John Bloom

Read more memories or submit a memory.

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