I grew up in Niagara Falls, NY, and Ashtabula, OH, so I've made many trips around the Great Lakes.
Ashtabula, OH, is a harbor town with a large settlement of Northern Europeans. The crafts, antiques, and food selections are wonderful. The wineries in Ashtabula County are all worthy of a traveller's attention.
Traveling east from Ashtabula about 45 minutes is Erie, PA. There is a lovely island state park on the route, Presque Isle, with typical shoreline activities as well as a view of the working freighter in the shipping lanes. The bayside provides picnic areas and relaxation opportunities.
Further on east are many more miles of grape vines, on into New York State. Along both I-90 and US20, are also many older towns with personality and charm, some with American Native influence. From Buffalo, NY, you can cross into Canada (if you have a passport to get home) and the Welland Canal where boats can pass around the falls. It's a fascinating visit--the same process as in Lockport, NY, on the Erie Canal, but where you can see huge yachts mixed with working freighters and ocean-going vessels.