CONNEAUT LAKE — Another wooden boat has made its return to Conneaut Lake.

It’s an 18-foot Chris Craft purchased in 1965 for $3,990 at Conneaut Lake Navigation Co. by Anthony DePaulo of Pittsburgh. The DePaulo family spent every summer on Conneaut Lake on the boat where the two sons learned to water ski until Anthony’s death in 1998.

When he died, ironically after suffering a sudden heart attack on his way home from a weekend at Conneaut Lake, the family sold the boat to a close friend of Anthony’s son, Dino.

There was one stipulation. If the man ever decided to sell it, Dino got first option to purchase it back. That happened recently, and Dino was thrilled.

“I learned to water ski when I was 5 years old on this boat,” said Dino, touching the boat with admiration. “My brother, Greg, and I grew up on the boat.” He recalled family picnic on the boat when his mother would drape a blanket over one side of the front seat to make a canopy to shade the children from the hot sun. “We had our own little tent,” he said. There they had their picnic lunch.

His father also taught many of the family’s friends to ski as well.

Dino, who is in the real estate business in Pittsburgh, wants to carry on the family tradition with his own children, Dominick, 2; and Anthony, 6 months; and his niece, Dana, 11.

For him, wooden boats and Conneaut Lake area a “classic marriage.”

Wooden boats used to be a regular sight on the lake, but they made way to the fiberglass as the newer models were easier to care for, according to Jimmy Chuey of Conneaut Lake Navigation Co.. He believes Dino’s boat may have been one of the last wooden ones sold by Conneaut Lake Navigation, which quit selling wooden boats in 1965.

Although Dino could take the boat to other lakes, he likes Conneaut Lake. “It’s a family-atmosphere lake,” he said, explaining that since it’s a natural lake, “it really never changes that much.”

He said people in the area know the history of the lake and are willing to share it. “You talk to people who know the shallow spots who grew up with the lake and with boating. They know you stay away from Wolf Island,” he said, noting it is too shallow for boating purposes. “It’s (the lake) not so big that you can’t enjoy it. Larger is not always better.”

Dino said he is one of a number of wooden boat owners who have restored their boats and have them back on Conneaut Lake. He believes more will come back.

“Classics are a constant,” he said. “Conneaut Lake is a classic and will always stay a classic. People will gravitate back to the classic lake as well as to classic boats. They never go out of style.”

Although Dino is from Pittsburgh, his family has owned a summer cottage on the east side of Conneaut Lake for close to 50 years. He liked the area so much that his family purchased a 168-acre property and visit the area year-round.

He hopes to pass on his family’s love of boating and family to the third generation of DePaulos so they too will share the memories of fun and relaxing as a family in the peaceful setting of Conneaut Lake.

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