Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Conneaut Lake Park - 120 Years

Conneaut Lake park is 120 years old this year. The Park has quite a following of loyal fans. Back in the day, when the Lake was a thriving summer destination, I imagine it was beautiful. Unfortunately, she hasn't aged well.

Winters are tough in Northwest Pennsylvania. The summer vacation season at the Lake is short. And, even with that short tourist season, Conneaut Lake Park is only open three days of the week. In short, there's just not the money to maintain it as it needs to be. Some years, the Park just hasn't opened up at all.

The empty space below is where the Dreamland Ballroom once stood. Perry Como used to sing there! During the day he was a barber at the Hotel Conneaut, and at night, he sang at the Dreamland Ballroom. A few years ago, it burned down in the middle of the night. 

Not surprisingly, scenes of The Road were filmed here. In case you're not familiar with the book or the movie, The Road is a post-apocalptic story. As much as I'd love to see Conneaut Lake Park on the big screen, the book haunted me so much that I can't see the movie. I heard that an indie film maker shot a horror film at the Park this past winter.

There are a few unusual things about the Park, at least by what I'm used to in California. You don't have to pay to go into the Park. You only pay if you're going on the rides. It's also open to walk or drive through any time of day. I took these pictures when we walked around the deserted park one evening. The strangest thing about the park is that people live in it! There are cottages inside the park! During our walk, the park was completely abandoned, except for a few people sitting out on their porches.

The two pictures below were taken on the Park's Midway. Once, I'm sure, lively with games and food vendors, most of these stalls are now empty. And, like the rest of Conneaut Lake Park, it's much in need of repair.

I'm not sure what it is with the burned out buildings in the Park, but this one sits right in the middle of Kiddie Land. If I remember correctly, it used to be a bathroom.

I wish I could post pictures of Conneaut Lake Park looking beautiful on her 120th Birthday. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the state of the park. A lot of people work really hard to make repairs and to keep the Park open. It's a large and costly job, though. I'm still hopeful that somehow Conneaut Lake Park will be restored to the beauty she once was.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fun Finds - Vintage Fishing Reels

I love, love, love all of the fun vintage and antique finds we've discovered in Conneaut Lake. This is the best type of find, because it was free.
My aunt bought a cottage and has spent the summer fixing it up. Among the goodies she found in her attic were these fabulous vintage fishing reels. I love how she's displayed them on an old tray.


Friday, August 10, 2012

5 Fact Friday - The RV Adventure

Here we go again...another 5 Fact Friday blogger 'party'!

5 Facts about our crazy RV adventure this past week...

1) We had never been in an RV before. We'd never even been camping before!

2) The RV trip was an adventure!

3) The 'Good' parts of the adventure far outweighed the bad. The kids, especially our 10 year old loved it...Everything tastes great when cooked on a hibachi or campfire...We snuck away from the RV for a fabulous dinner out and some time at a wonderful Napa winery pool...RV people are very nice.

4) The 'Bad' parts are really yucky. RV parks are strange...Our Cruise America rental was really yucky...made-my-skin-crawl-yucky...The sewage hook-ups - ugh!..Our RV broke down...3 times...On the highway...In the end, it couldn't be fixed and we drove home a day early (thankfully I'd followed along in our car).

5) Surprisingly, I'd do it again! We learned a lot, so I'd change some things. First, I need a nice trailer. I've been eyeing cute vintage trailers on the internet. Look at my Pinterest board. You'll want one, too!

Have you been on RV (or trailer) trip? Do you have an RV? Would I be crazy to get a cute little trailer?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Conneaut Lake Park's Famous Blue Streak

Conneaut Lake Park is 120 years old this year. 120 years! The park is across the lake from our cottage. Not quite as old as the park, but still a classic, is the park's wooden roller coaster - The Blue Streak. Built in 1937 by famed roller coaster designer Ed Vettel, the Blue Streak continues to operate today.
I have to admit, I won't ride The Blue Streak. I won't let my kids ride The Blue Streak. It just seems so... rickety. That, and safety just doesn't seem to be the same in Conneaut Lake as it is back in California and in most of the country. Walking through the park, I can't help by wonder if rides have even been inspected.
The coaster's cars are below. They've seen better days. Unfortunately, the entire park has seen better days.
This is what I mean about safety being a little lax. The fence surrounding The Blue Streak doesn't surround the entire coaster. For some reason, there's a large gap in the fence. 

Despite the shortcomings, I love having The Blue Streak in the park. It's a piece of history. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

5 Fact Friday

Each Friday this month I'll be participating in a blogger 'link-up', where each participating blogger writes about the same prompt. Today is 5 Fact Friday, where I'll share five facts about...me.

1) I write about Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, where I spend summers. I adore Conneaut Lake! Most of the year, though, I live in California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The two worlds are like night and day. Maybe that's why I appreciate summers at the lake so much.

2) I got my first DSLR this past year. Up until that point, other than a high school photography class, I'd been using a point and shoot. I've been working like mad to master my new baby. I've taken a few classes, including a fun workshop from Kristina at Moms who Click.

3) It's really hard for me to write, or talk, about myself.

4) I love to read. Some of my recent favorite books - Wild by Cheryl Strayed and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I always have one book I'm reading and one book I'm listening to on tape. If my 'on tape' book is captivating (like Wild was), I find myself taking extra walks or driving the long way home just so I can listen a little bit longer.

5) My family is going on our first RV trip tomorrow. Wish us luck! We're not going far, which is good since my husband is terrified of driving the monster. He's also not much of a camper. The kids, though are thrilled. Any tips? I'm kind of stuck, and overwhelmed, on what to pack.

If you want to participate in the 5 Fact Friday, details can be found here. Join the fun - I'd love to hear about you!