Come and unplugVermilion’s Cottages at the Water’s Edge offer the vacationer a relaxed, “vintage” experience

Looking for the most-tricked-out, high-tech vacation rental in Northern Ohio?

Don’t look at the lakeside Cottages at the Water’s Edge.

What this Vermillion spot is offering instead is the bliss of a day gone by.

“We say we’re a step back in time,” says Property Manager Amy Hoffman. “We don’t have any TVs in any of the cottages.

“We’re just encouraging everyone to be outside and by the lake and spending time with those that they came with.”

Although she also provides marketing and outreach for the organization Main Street Vermilion, Hoffman has been in the small city only since 2019, after marrying into the family business. The Cottages at the Water’s Edge are owned by husband Paul’s parents, Dave and Therese Hoffman.

One of the properties available at Cottages at the Water's Edge. (Photo/Courtesy of Amy Hoffman)And they’ve had it since 1985, but it’s been in family for years longer – as Miller’s Sandy Beach Cottages and then Sy Sans Beach – and the place’s existence dates back decades earlier. The office, where Amy works, was once a barn and a stop on the the Lake Erie Interurban Train that ran from the late 1800s to the late 1930s, according to the history on the business’ website.

So you can understand why even as improvements are made to at least one of the 16 cottages each year – older ones used to have outhouses, but rest assured each boasts a bathroom – keeping the “vintage charms” is important to the Hoffmans. 

Only 12 of the cottages are available to rent for short periods of time, the other four serving as what they call “seasonal” rentals. And the Hoffmans must be doing something right, as one seasonal cottage has been rented to the same party for roughly three decades, while, Amy says, the newest seasonal renter has been coming for nearly 10 years. 

Hoffman says Vermilion is a great choice for anyone looking to spend time in the area, with unique shops and restaurants – some of them high-end – as well as fun parks.

“It’s a great family-friendly atmosphere,” she says. 

The family’s little empire has expanded in recent years via two other Vermilion rental options, Beach Town Getaway and Walnut Grove Estate, owned by the younger and elder Hoffmans, respectively. 

As for the Cottages at the Water's Edge, for those of you who need to stay somewhat plugged-in, we have good news: There is WiFi. (There’s also bad news: “It’s not always the strongest,” Hoffman allows.)

OK, this isn’t where you’re going to binge the latest Netflix show. It’s a place to make memories and maybe recall a few old ones with those you love as you take in a gorgeous sunset over Lake Erie after a day together.

“There’s a lot you can do from here,” she says, “or if you want to do nothing at all, it’s a great place for that, too.”