History of our home

1331 Langram Road, Put-in-Bay Ohio

Welcome to Freshwater Retreat! I am honored you chose my home in which to stay while on the island. This place is very special to me as I am a fifth generation island girl, whose family was one of the founding families of the island. 

My family came to the island right at the beginning of it being settled by Europeans. In 1854, Jose De Rivera, a Spaniard, for whom which our downtown park is named after, initially bought several of the Lake Erie islands as an investment. He parceled it off and sold it in sections. 

My great-great grandfather, Alfred Parker, was one of those men to purchase property. He and his wife sailed from London, England to Canada and they made their way to this little island in Lake Erie in 1860. At one point in early Put-in-Bay history, my family owned the area of the island called Parker’s Point. It still shows up on old maps. It’s stretches from the Lighthouse stands today, to about where the airport is, right across the street from Freshwater Retreat on Langram Rd! 

The Parkers didn't live in the home, but, according to my mom, since Alfred Parker was a skilled stonemason, he probably helped build this historic brick home. The house used to be the farmhouse for acres and acres of vineyards and over the years it was a home to one local family until the 70’s when it was pretty much left abandoned. As a child, this house was dark brick with broken windows. I remember thinking it needed love...

A couple by the name of Charlie and Betty Finkbeiner fixed the old girl up and used to hold cooking and sewing classes out of the home. It was named A Stitch in Thyme. Many locals remember that couple, who no longer live here, with great fondness.

Then, another couple bought the home and offered it to visitors as a Bed and Breakfast. They renamed it Wisteria Inn, due to the overhanging of beautiful wisteria along the walkway in the side yard. The couple sold the home to me in 2013, the day after my 40th birthday. What an amazing birthday celebration it was!

This island famous Wisteria consists of three trees and it almost all died out during the harsh winter of 2013, but I kept it alive after much love and care. It should be blooming for us again soon. Two new Maple trees have also been planted to ensure future generations beautiful fall foliage and shade.

After I bought the home, I renamed her, because she really did need a new and fresh look and feel. I began updating and fixing her up once again, like the Finkbeiners. In fact, the couple paid me a visit after I bought the old girl, and gave me details about what they’d done in their efforts to restore her. I will always be grateful for their visit that summer day. 

I began adding modern amenities with an eco-friendly air conditioning and heating system. Then, water-proofed the basement to allow clean air to pass throughout the home and prevent the yard from flooding each spring. New bathrooms were added, along with a spa-like steam shower. New beds were brought in, along with extra comfy eco-friendly bed toppers to ensure a restful night’s sleep. (Bedding is replaced every other season, or sooner.) Gardens were planted because I just love nature and gardening! I also planted  over 100 lavender plants to be used inside my Island Made products called OntkOrganix (sold inside our little shoppe next door.) The side room, or breakfast room, was enclosed while adding an outdoor shower.  All this was done for your comfort and relaxation,  because I really want this place to be a place of love and want you to truly retreat from your mainland life...

As I hope you can tell, this home is a work of love from me to you. Please enjoy and respect the old gal, as she is near and dear to all of us who rest our heads here.