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Fall Aerials 2023 by 814 3

Seven Ways to Unwind and Explore in Erie PA: An Empty Nester’s Fall Retreat

Friday Nov 3rd, 2023

Embracing the freedom of fall and cherishing quality time together provides the perfect reason to plan an overnight, week, or weekend getaway before the holiday season’s busy pace takes over. The Erie region has much for you to choose from, whether it’s leisurely wine tastings and holiday shopping or scenic strolls and world-class sunsets. Take your time and explore at your own pace so your Erie getaway is relaxing and memorable. Here are seven suggestions to help get you started.

(Header photo by Patrick Grab, 814 Photo)

From Vine to Wine - Experience Lake Erie Wine Country

Lake Erie Wine Country is the largest grape-growing region in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains with more than 30,000 acres of vineyards and 21 wineries spanning 50 miles of shoreline from Harborcreek, PA to Silver Creek, NY. Fall marks the harvesting season for grape growers, an ideal time to drive through the area with your windows rolled down so you can breathe in the sweet fragrant aroma of grapes. From the historic stone cavern tasting room at South Shore Wine Company (pictured) to the beautifully restored 19th-century barn at Arundel Cellars, each winery has a distinct personality and a diversity of award-winning wines including fruity Niagara and Concords, French-American blends, European-style wines, ports, and dessert ice wine.

South Shore Wine Company aerial WEB v2

Engage in Erie’s Maritime History: Erie has a rich maritime history, particularly from the War of 1812. In what is often referred to as Erie’s proudest historical moment, Naval Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. Erie’s pivotal role is told throughout three floors of exhibits and the U.S. Brig Niagara at the Erie Maritime Museum. The Erie Cemetery, one of Erie’s oldest cemeteries (1851) is the final resting place of many of the war’s brave soldiers. It’s a quiet, scenic spot for reflection and remembrance. The Maritime Museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Erie Cemetery is open daily during daylight hours.

Go Shopping (and save!)

Fall is a great time to get a head start on holiday shopping and take advantage of seasonal discounts and Pennsylvania’s tax-free shopping on clothing and apparel. The Millcreek Mall Complex is a convenient, one-stop destination with more than 160 stores, satellite plazas, a food court, multiple restaurants, and comfy relaxation stations. The Shops at 5th and State is a stretch of welcoming storefronts in the heart of Downtown Erie, showcasing Erie’s love for local businesses. Local business entrepreneurs such as City Supply by Erie Apparel and Glass Growers Gallery  (pictured) are selling everything from artwork and photography to accessories and Erie-themed apparel. The walkable area is steps away from a unique dining experience, the Flagship City Food Hall, a new space with historical accents housing nine local vendors including The Straw Hat Sundae Shop, State Street Taco, and Noodlelove.    

Glass Growers Gallery by Glass Growers 2 WEB

Fresh Air Pursuits

Surrounded by Lake Erie on one side and Presque Isle Bay on the other, Presque Isle State Park is a 13-mile, 3,200-acre peninsula that juts out from the mainland. With its miles of beaches and trails, it’s the region’s top outdoor attraction for enjoying nature in a peaceful setting. Birdwatching is a popular pastime because the park is regarded as one of the top birding hot spots in the country due to its location along the Atlantic Flyway. It’s a pit stop for birds to stop, feed, and rest during their migration across Lake Erie. More than 330 species of birds have been documented here and during the fall, you will likely catch glimpses of great blue and green herons, horned and snowy owls, and even bald eagles. The uniquely designed observatory platform, The Feather, is near the Vista 3 parking lot and allows birders the chance to observe these birds in their natural habitat.

Indulge in Upscale Dining

Elevating your dining experience by indulging in exquisite cuisine is an essential component of a relaxing getaway. One of Erie’s beloved upscale restaurants Cloud 9 Wine Bar and Restaurant, may leave you on your own culinary high. Tucked away on the corner of East 10th and French Streets, Cloud 9 offers an expertly-crafted menu within an intimate casual-chic setting. The menu features French-inspired classic favorites and unique dishes that pair perfectly with their extensive selection of artisanal wines from around the world, including locally produced wines. Cloud 9’s menu changes with the seasons and currently, some of its features include burrata fromage, traditional French-Canadian poutine, duck with apricot/cognac demi-glace, and house-made Dacquoise.

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Take in a Show

In the heart of Erie’s Downtown District on State Street, the historic Warner Theatre (pictured), Erie’s most majestic structure, has hosted local, regional, and national performances for more than 90 years since being commissioned in 1929 by the famous Warner Brothers. Its longest resident is the Erie Philharmonic, one of the oldest professional ensembles in the country, performing at the Warner since 1974. Experiencing a philharmonic performance from inside this historic gem is nothing short of enchanting, combining captivating orchestral sounds with ornate décor and elegance. The Erie Philharmonic’s season runs September through May with outstanding symphonic and pops concerts including pianist George Li Plays Rachmaninoff (Nov 11) and Come Home for the Holidays Christmas Concert (Dec 2-3).

Stay the Night

Turn your trip into a getaway, and put your feet up at one of Erie's overnight lodging accommodations. The Erie region has a variety of lodging options that'll make you feel right at home.

The outstanding staff and amenities at the Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel are outshined only by the breathtaking waterfront views of Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, and Erie’s world-class sunsets. The hotel’s bar and restaurant, The Shoreline Bar & Grill, features a full-service outside patio, complete with fire pits, and comfortable seating, inviting you to unwind with a specialty cocktail, snuggle up together and have a front-row seat to Erie’s incredible sunsets. One step through the beautiful front doors of the Victoria Inn Bed & Breakfast in downtown Erie and it’s plain to see why this is one of Erie’s premier historic Victorian mansions. Examples of the era surround you from the 12-foot ceilings to the incredibly detailed, handcrafted hardwood moldings, mantles, and beautiful hardwood floors throughout the house. Guests are invited to enjoy a leisurely and delicious home-cooked complimentary breakfast that includes items such as brioche French toast and lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh blueberry sauce. 

Partner Spotlight

u pick 6 spotlight

U Pick 6 Craft Beer Pubs & Restaurants

Erie’s own local craft beer pubs are a must-visit! With 4 great locations, just pick one that’s convenient for you! A casual, family friendly dining experience with something for everyone! To view our menu, check out what’s on tap, or get to directions to our pubs, learn more now!”

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Hamot Spotlight 400 x 300

UPMC Hamot - See What Makes Us Different

UPMC Hamot is a 458-bed hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania, offering a full complement of inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital serves as a regional referral hub and is the only accredited trauma center in the region.

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erie events spotlight

Erie Events

Erie Events manages a four facility entertainment complex that includes the Warner Theatre, Erie Insurance Arena, Bayfront Convention Center and UPMC Park. These four venues host a variety of events that include world-class entertainment, family friendly shows and sporting events.

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814 photo Spotlight 400 x 300

814 Photo

Showcasing the incredible year round beauty of the City of Erie and its surrounding areas, commonly referred to as its area code "the 814". Explore some of Erie County's most breathtaking landscape photography.

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Farmhouse retreat Spotlight 400 x 300

Farmhouse Retreat

Your “Home Away from Home” short term rental sleeps 8 and is in a great location close to Erie Sports Center, Splash Lagoon, shopping and restaurants, as well as Steelhead Fishing. This restored 1881 Farmhouse is located on 10 private acres. Reminisce about bygone days when life was slower and simpler. With a long driveway and large yard, kick back by the firepit, watch wildlife or enjoy a beautiful Erie sunset from the back patio.

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The Cork Partner Spotlight 400 x 300 1

The Cork 1794

Open for Lunch and Dinner. Get ready for an experience like no other. An atmosphere where uncommon style, comfort and service seamlessly meld. Where food and beverages are expertly crafted to be beautiful, satisfying and truly special. A place that makes every day feel like a reason to celebrate.

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Two45 Waterfront Grille Now Open!

Savor an exquisite waterfront dining experience at Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, where culinary excellence meets panoramic views. This signature restaurant invites you to indulge in a delectable journey with a menu showcasing locally sourced ingredients and global inspirations while overlooking the serene waters of Lake Erie.

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the cove from the cove site

The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern

The Cove Bay-Side Restaurant & Tavern is sure to give you an unforgettable and care-free dining experience. Enjoy a nautical atmosphere with a beautiful view of Presque Isle Bay.

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Dobbins Landing Spring 2022 EB 2

Dobbins Landing

Located on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, the Port of Erie has been promoting industrial, commercial, and recreational opportunities on the waters of Lake Erie since 1959.

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Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales

Stop by Port Farms to check out the newest addition, Poverty Knob Farmhouse Ales. We offer hand-crafted beers and delicious sharable food year-round. The brewery is family and dog friendly with both indoor and outdoor spaces. We offer games, music and entertainment for all ages!

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ASCEND Spotlight 400 x 300 1

ASCEND Erie - Climbing | Fitness | Yoga

NOW OPEN! ASCEND fosters a community-centered climbing, fitness, and yoga experience by serving individuals and groups of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Located in Downtown Erie, ASCEND welcomes Erie visitors to stop in and give climbing a try!

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Tia Book Cellar Spotlight 400 x 300

Tia Book Cellar

Tia Book Cellar is an independent bookstore offering new and bargain books, unique gifts, puzzles, and games for all interests and ages. Located across from Gibson Park in North East, their brand embodies the local business model and the local grape heritage. Tia's believes that "there is always … local, an alternative, and a story." They look forward to helping you discover your next read or gift here.

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Mall Image Spotlight v2

Millcreek Mall

The Millcreek Mall features more than 160 stores, restaurants, and fun for the whole family on Upper Peach Street, Erie’s most popular shopping district! Shopping in Erie means no sales tax on clothing or shoes. Choose from a variety of hotels located on the Mall property and just minutes away at the intersection of Peach Street and Interstate 90.

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mazza spotlight

Mazza Vineyards and the South Shore Wine Company

The Mazza family welcomes you to explore 3 unique locations in Lake Erie Wine Country. Sip and savor award-winning wines at Mazza Vineyards and the historic South Shore Wine Company, both located in North East, PA, and be sure to visit their combination winery, distillery and brewery, Mazza Chautauqua Cellars/Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing, in nearby Westfield, NY.

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Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.

Just for fun!

Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row

Just for fun!

Experience family summer fun on more than 100 great rides, slides and attractions at Waldameer!

Award-Winning Compassionate Care

Voted Erie’s Choice Best Hospital for eight years in a row

Soak in the fun!

Experience 84 degrees all year at one of the top water parks in the country.

Ante-up, Erie.

Find true action with slots, table games, sports book, and horse racing.

One stop convenience.

Fill your tank, pick up fresh food from local brands, and a six-pack to go in 40 regional locations.