LAKEWOOD, Ohio — A new light display in Northeast Ohio has the Gold Coast glowing. It’s a familiar spot that the locals know all too well, and it’s new name holds a special meaning.
You can’t throw a stone without hitting someone who has a story from Swingos on the Lake. The popular lakefront spot closed more than a decade ago, but it’s been reimagined and reopened as The Summer House.
This holiday season, The Summer House has a special light display in honor of owner Tony George’s son Michael.
“He loved Christmas so much, he loved the decorations,” George said.
Michael had Down syndrome and was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2018. He passed away in June of 2019. Tony named the new restaurant at the Carlyle Building "The Summer House" because Michael and his triplet brother and sister loved to vacation at Kelley’s Island and Clearwater beach.
“It’s been a rough year, but this restaurant was built in his honor,” George said. ”I think the blessing of this restaurant is what we do with the profits.”
Proceeds from The Summer House go to Awakening Angels— a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with autism and Down syndrome.
“My wife and I believe that Michael was given to us as a gift from god,” George said.
The Summer House light display features more than 85,000 lights.
“You can see this from the shoreway coming from downtown Cleveland,” George said.
Since orange was Michael’s favorite color, the first tree that visitors see is decorated in bright orange lights to welcome guests to The Summer House.
“When people come down the hill and see those Christmas lights, it just changes their whole attitude. It will illuminate the heavens because that’s where he is,” George said.
Though Michael may have lost his battle with Leukemia, his parents continue his with and his spirit helps light the lights at the restaurant.
“He was here for 16-and-a-half years,”George said. “We’re going to carry out his mission.”
Tony plans to add to the display next year. The lights at The Summer House will be lit in Michael’s memory through the New Year.
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