Lake Effect

When I was a teenager, I thought a lot about leaving Erie.

That desire to flee one’s hometown is probably endemic to teenagers everywhere, though.

In the years I have been living in Pittsburgh — not surprisingly — Erie has changed and grown. Now visiting as an adult, I find Erie a fun get-a-way, and a great place to go with my kids, in no small part because my parents live there still.

Yesterday we got home from a picture perfect weekend. The weather was ideal; the kids were fantastic; and much fun was had by all. I went to a spa (yes, Erie has a spa, has for about 10 years now — who knew?), out to dinner with my best friends in the entire world, met my husband for drinks when he final managed to get away from work and make the 2-hour drive. And that was just Saturday.

My best friends and I in front of the Freeport Bar. The conversation was awesome.

Sunday, I was forcibly (in a good way) reminded how fantastic roller coasters are to ride. I got to enjoy an amusement park — a far cry from the Waldameer of my childhood — and a water park with my children. Flora and Kate shrieked through every ride. The most fun was Waldameer’s version of the LogJammer — my dad water bombed the car my mother, Kate, and I were in. We got soaked, and I loved it.

The park worked out perfectly; we strolled around for a while with my parents and my Aunt N (one of my father’s sisters) and the three kids, then they took Michael home while Dan, Flora, Kate and I went to the water park.

We went on (almost) every water slide. I chickened out on the enclosed slides. It was so refreshing to just be a party of four, where we could pair off easily. Not surprisingly Flora wanted to be with her daddy, and Kate wanted to be with me.

The weekend was just delightful. We saw family and friends, ate good food (well, mostly. The Saturday restaurant was perfect if you liked fried food and meat. But the company made me really not care that my cheese raviolis clearly came out of a bag),  and the joy I took in my children, whether we were riding down water slides, running with sparklers, or just cuddling on the couch at the end of a long day, was just a reminder of how great a love I have. How blessed I am in my life.

Did I say “picture” perfect? Well, not quite. But it was still fantastic.

11 thoughts on “Lake Effect

  1. I feel the same as you do about Erie. Since I have moved away, we have become good friends with a great couple from Great Britain who own a beautiful B&B in Girard. We have also stayed at the Boothby Inn on 6th Street. Recently, my mother had knee surgery at Hamot. When my wife and I left the hospital at 4pm in the afternoon, we drove up State Street and said to her, “this is rush hour”. And once you get north of I-80, people know how to merge. People read the “Road Construction Ahead 2 miles” signs and get in the proper lane instead of being the ass that has to ride the under construction lane to the point of closure.

    There’s a lot I love about living in Pittsburgh, including the great city and county park system, all the great walkable, bikable city neighborhoods, terrific dinning, etc. Erie could learn a lot from Pittsburgh. But I miss that old place of mine on 29th and Cascade. Lots of great memories.

  2. First off–beautiful photo of the fam! Iam glad to hear that you have a renewed appreciation and love for your hometown. I envy that. My threshold for going home is two days. Once my mother is gone, I plan to probably never go back. Frankly, Corey and I feel that Pittsburgh is more of a hometown than anyplace else.

    By the way, we are going to be in Pttsburgh at Thanksgiving. We had better see you!

    • While I was in college and in my early 20s, visiting Erie was painful and I dreaded it. I didn’t mind seeing my family, but I just didn’t want to hang out there at all. So it’s nice now to see why my parents appreciate about it (it ain’t the weather), and it’s fun to go with the kids. Plus, I’m kind of freed from doing chores (like laundry, at my own house), so I get to concentrate more on actually having fun with my kids. Plus plus, I even get to sleep in sometimes, or go back to bed when Michael naps, as I did on Monday morning. Nonna will entertain the girls! It’s win-win!

      We can probably arrange something for Thanksgiving. Just give me the heads up when you’re here! Would love to see you guys too.

  3. Erie has a spa? Like a legit one that’s not a front for a happy ending? GIT AHT!

    I saw a commercial online for Waldameer the other day and didnt realize how its grown. I havent been there since high school and all i remember is a beat down park.

    I wanted out of Erie in the worst way but never thought I would actually do it because I was in my comfort zone. Though that was 13 years ago and I’m still getting grief from friends there for leaving. Kills me to see how much of the city is dying because they just wont change things.

    I’m heading up in a few weeks for a beer fest on the bay. crossing my fingers the weather is nice.

    • I know, right?

      It was more of a salon/spa, not quite as swanky as Sewickley spa or Nemocolin. But, hey, I had a gift card courtesy of my besties, and it was quiet time away from the kids for TWO WHOLE HOURS!

      Waldameer is pretty awesome these days. the Ravine Flyer II ranks right up there with some of the best coasters I have ridden. so, so FUN. And the water park is a blast. They should have just a plain old pool, but the Endless River and all the slides were a lot of fun. It was a total blast. You could park O and Lushie in the kiddie pool, and ride the slides with J.

      It’s interesting to me that Erie’s culture has expanded. My parents have really explored the scene, and always know what is what. They plan things for us for when we’re there, mostly kid-orientated, but we’ve done grown-up stuff too. I do love to visit now.

  4. The cultural diversity has really grown and is continually thriving because of the influx of refugees form once war torn areas. Erie has a relatively large Bosnian population now, along with a more recent influx of refugees from African countries. I noticed this influence in some of the newer eateries that have popped up.

  5. I was thinking about the Lazy River this weekend. I could have used something like that.

    I’m telling ya, Harborcreek is gonna be the next Cranberry TWP with all the McMansions I saw being built. Hopefully that pushes Wesleyville into cleaning up

  6. Harborcreek could never/will never be another Cranberry. Harborcreek Township is one of the largest townships in Erie County, and is still mostly rural. The only area left to grow for retail purposes is the former Harborcreek Mall.

    • Giant Eagle has bought the Eastway Plaza and is going to level it to build a GE mega shopping complex. Harborcreek Mall is being leveled for an upscale senior living. These aren’t rumors, they’re happening.

      Cranberry 20 years ago is what Harborcreek is now.

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