Summer has always been one of my favorite times of the year, and when I was growing up, Summer always meant visiting my grandparents, cousins, and family at our family farm in Erie, Pennsylvania. I am so fortunate to have had a childhood where we could run wild and enjoy everything Summer has to offer. Visiting the farm meant catching pollywogs in the creek, eating wild raspberries as quickly as we could pick them, shucking corn and lima beans on the front porch, and our favorite part -heading to Waldameer at night to win prizes and be scared out of our minds on the rides. Our grandfather refused to take us one night for some reason so we embroidered “I am a Stinker” on his night shirt – I think that is one of the favorite memories for all of us.
Waldameer is still open on the shores of Lake Erie, – in fact it is the 10th oldest amusement park in the US. I was sure when I visited Erie again to start working on the newest Lifestylist® Designed community – The Hammocks at Millcreek if I visited Waldameer it would never be able to live up to my memories. Fortunately for me, it did.
My grandfather worked for the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad, so the trains were always one of our favorite rides when I was little. They are still there, and still have lots of happy kids riding them. The carousel is spectacular and since Waldameer first opened in 1896, the horses are probably some of the best examples you will find anywhere. I thought the park would feel small compared to the ones that are open today, but it’s truly the perfect size.
I had to try the Ferris wheel and the Ravine II roller coaster, and I’m going to apologize here to the kids that got stuck riding with me. I felt their pain – if I had to ride with an “adult” I would have been bummed too, but they were very polite. The views at sunset from the Ferris wheel were spectacular -you had the sunset to your left, and great views of Presque Isle to your right. Lucky for me it had rained most of the day so the crowds weren’t bad and the line was doable for the Ravine II roller coaster. This older wood beauty didn’t look too bad – it couldn’t possibly be as terrifying as I remember in my younger years. They wouldn’t let me take my camera with me but I kept my phone – was was determined to take a Vine video from start to finish. That great idea lasted less than a second – as soon as we started downward I started clutching to the safety bar and screaming like a girl. It was worse than I remember! The Ravine might not look scary, but those jarring turns and bends will keep you at the edge of your seat.
No visit to Waldameer is complete without a turn at the bumper cars. My Aunt Julie is the biggest kid I know and she was ruthless when we rode this ride. I can’t wait to take my grandkids to this treasure and to share my memories with them.