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Monday, June 2, 2014

Conneaut Lake Park and Pymatuning State Park, June 1st, 2014 Brit's Birthday!

Don't forget, our June Poll is up on the right hand side of the page. "Who is your favorite classic coaster designer?" 

So....Conneaut Lake! Where to start? Every year I have gone the park has seemed to improve slowly but surely. We had an absolute blast spending the afternoon at the park. There are so many things to do in this laid back place. Brit had surgery two weeks ago and is not quite able to handle coasters yet, but what better place is there to go than Conneaut in that condition? While the Blue Streak is a phenomenal ride, Conneaut has quite a few non-coaster or ride offerings that are very fun. Naturally, the first thing I did was ride the Blue Streak, but the selection of games, the mini-golf course, the boardwalk, the beach, and the views of the lake make this park a really fun place to spend an afternoon.
Here you can see the newly painted and redone entrance gates. These gates were falling apart last year, and as a result of the large service project that I helped take part in, defective wood was replaced and new paint was added. 
 It was a really sunny and beautiful day, with temps that I think were in the low 80s. It was just warm enough that you would bake in the sun. The shade provided by the wonderful trees at the park provide for the perfect setting on a day like this. Judging by the size of the trees, I would bet that many are close to, or over a century old. 
 I enjoy being greeted by two of my favorite rides as I walk in, the Flyers and a Paratrooper. 
The wooded midway is gorgeous. The park has really improved steadily each season and I want to see this progress continuing and some advertising in the Pittsburgh area and the Cleveland, Erie, and Youngstown metro areas to bring more folks to the park. There was a steady amount of people spread out over the park, but there could be even more. 
 The Tumblebug looked beautiful. Lenny and crew were doing some work to one of the drive chains and we missed getting a ride on it this time around.
 Blue Streak station! It was great to see lots of joy on the midway. The park was not crowded by any means, but there were enough folks to make it feel really alive. Great conditions for a relaxing afternoon.
 I usually say no BS, but I will make an exception for Blue Streak.
 Their carousel and shelter are breathtaking. Dating all the way back to 1905, this is the only remaining Harton creation. Harton was the creator of West View Park, the legendary park that was once located just over an hour south of the park outside of Pittsburgh. This is one the oldest carousels at its original park. 
 It is breathtaking and also has seen some paint love recently. 
 Another view of the carousel. It is so pleasant in this wonderful park. 
 Blue Streak!
 I helped rejuvenate the Devil's Den dark ride coaster last season. It was awesome to see the final product. Lenny put even more love into the ride last offseason. You can see more information about the renovation project in this video. I was interviewed regarding the project in that video by Jet 24 ABC Erie.

 The newly redone and upholstered chariots.
 The stunning new mural on the infamous "gum wall."
 The tickets are bought, now it is Blue Streak time!
 This is one of those few times I get to see myself riding since my significant other cannot ride coasters right now. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIT! I am in the last row. I thought I saw a kid in the third row when I was riding. I thought he was blocked by the big third row headrest, but maybe it was a ghost? Either way, it felt like I was alone on the ride. Very fun. Were those headrests original on the train? Did the other NAD Century Flyer trains have those? Did Thunderbolt have those?
 Heading up!
 Getting there!
 Almost there!

 Rush time! I was fully planted into the buzzbar!

 Now it is time for games! They have a wide selection of games. Their midway buildings are huge.
 The guy running the games was very entertaining!
 Darts time!
 The kiddieland is one of the best kids areas I have ever seen. They have a ton of rides, it is all shaded in the woods, and more. The kids have a great time and it is also very affordable. The park is a wonderful place to take a family, and an inexpensive alternative with a kids area as good as any.
 Brit with all of the loot!
 Mini-Golf time! It is a very fun mini-golf course where you can watch the Blue Streak the whole time. It is also deep in the woods, which is very nice. Just for some perspective, the Blue Streak is a very large coaster at 78 feet. These trees are at least 90-100 feet. A mature Hemlock Tree reaches about 100 feet and it can take anywhere from 200-300 years to get to that point. I wonder if these trees were planted at some point or if they were original growth. Either way, this section of the park needs to be entirely preserved. I am not a dendrologist, but I love trees and the age and height of these lend them to be preserved. The wood coaster that runs through them needs to be preserved as well. This section should be both a natural and historic landmark area.
Judging by this Postcard of the Conneaut Scenic Railway from CLP Junction, These are the same trees seen in this picture. They were very large back then, towering over the smaller Scenic Railway that was located in the same footprint as Blue Streak. I do not have a date on this postcard, but the coaster lasted from 1909-1936. It was also designed by T.M. Harton, the founder of West View Park and builder of the Conneaut's carousel.

 Look at the snap into that drop. That snap is as good as any coaster. Not many rides have that rapid of an ascent into the drop.
 There goes the train! Not a perfectly timed shot, but there is nothing like watching the art-deco stainless steel NAD Century Flyer trains buzz by. 
 Mini-golf is a blast by itself. Add getting the chance to watch a coaster as you play and you really have an awesome place.
 Here is one of the beautiful Hemlocks
 There goes the train! How many of you can come and fill more trains? This coaster and park need to be preserved and loved. The more I go to this park, the more I love it. It has lots of character.
 Back to the carousel!

 In addition to the Harton carousel, on the left of this shot you can see the shelter for the small Herschell Kids Carousel. I love the signature art deco Herschell stainless steel work on there as well.
 TOT GUN! I was dying laughing
 Off to the Boardwalk
 Lots of folks are dedicated to the park. The Boardwalk area looks awesome
 The area near around the lake was hopping. Folks were having a blast playing music, swimming, and playing volleyball. Fitting that they have a TOT GUN ride AND beach volleyball. They are making a small replacement for the Beach club with a tractor trailer container and a deck. It is in the process of being built, but there is still lots of fun to be had.
 Hotel Conneaut. What a lovely old building.
 We opted to go spend some time at quiet nearby Pymatuning Lake. We set up our chairs at the beach for a while and just took in the sights and sounds. I did not take any photos, but then we went to this landmark, the Pymatuning Spillway, where all of the Carp, Ducks, and Geese congregate in a beautiful preserve. It is the only place in the state of Pennsylvania where it is legal to feed the wildlife. The carp are so plentiful to feed that they actually jump over each other to get the food and the ducks will even walk over the carp fish. I never saw anything like it. 
 Carp fighting over some bread
 Such an awesome place.
 Geese and their young
 The Spillway became an immediate hit when it was built. During the 1930s, one of the favorite activities for families was going and feeding wildlife. It was an inexpensive way to take the family out in the midst of the Great Depression. The Spillway quickly became a famous place during the car age.
 I have never seen anything else quite like this.
 The fish would attempt to jump over the waterfall in both directions.

 The restaurants and food stores would take their stale bread supplies to the area to sell cheaply and get a return upon otherwise spoiled bread. These are postcards from the 1930s.
 "Where the ducks walk on the fish"
 This was a truly awesome day. If you are in the area of Conneaut, be sure to also check out Pymatuning. The whole area is really beautiful and it provides for a really relaxing and inexpensive day trip away from Pittsburgh. 

I implore you to go check out Conneaut. It is a wonderful little place that is really coming around. The rides are all fun, with many of them one-of-a-kind. It is an inexpensive family park with wonderful folks running it and a beautiful setting. There are lots of activities and rides to fill an afternoon with fun. Go and check it out! This may be the last season if we do not get out there and support the park. 

I have contributed a portion of the sales of my book to the park and as a token given a ticket for a free ride on the Blue Streak. This offer still stands if you order our book using the drop down menu at the top of the page. I am temporarily lowering the price from $21.95 to $15.00 including shipping and a free Conneaut Lake Blue Streak ride ticket with any order if you use the drop down menu at the top of the page. 

Get out and support Conneaut! We cannot afford to lose another part of our heritage and a place where the community can get together. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the trip report. I will be going out there sometime next week. The entrance gates sure looked better than my first sight of them last summer. I'm surprised by the games -- on our visit only one game seemed to be open and the midway was otherwise deserted.