Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Good Old Fashion Fun

on June 7, 2011

Summers growing up were filled with going to summer camp, Girl Scout Camp, and then a vacation with the family. Now that I’m older my summer tends to be made up of work and weekend get-away’s. Rarely do I take a week long vacation where I go away and play tourist for a week. Sometimes my vacations may involve traveling to visit a far away friend for a few days. There are some tourist spots usually involved but it’s mostly hanging with friends. There is one Summer activity that my family and I always make a point to plan. Our almost Annual trek to Knoebels Grove up in Elysburg, PA.

Knoebels is located very close to where my father grew up. He spent many Summer days there as a kid. As far back as I can remember we try to make at least one trip to Knoebels a year. When I was younger we would go camping in their campsites or stay with relatives and make it a long visit. When she was alive we’d go visit my great Aunt and she’d sneak me and my sister some money to use at the park. My dad would insist it wasn’t necessary. Being the matriarch she was she told him to shush and that she’d give us money if she wanted.

Apple with Warm Caramel, Whipped Cream, and Peanuts. So tasty!

The best thing about this park is it grows and changes where needed but certain classic aspects never change. Parking is always free. There is no fee to enter you just pay for what you ride. You can bring a picnic or buy their fantastic food.

(Seriously they win awards every year for their food).

There’s the old covered bridge that goes over the creek that will regularly flood the park. There are signs everywhere showing high water marks going back almost 50 years. There’s The Alamo restaurant where we always get Chicken and waffles. The Grand Carousel where you can actually reach for a brass ring. Growing up that’s was one of the main goals. To finally be big enough to reach the arm that dispensed the rings. I always get teary when I see a kid who has FINALLY reached out and plucked a ring from the arm. The look of joy and accomplishment. You never forget it (I’m a sap, I know).

The first hill of the Pheonix. you are required to wave to your friends waiting in the benches below.

This park is the home of my absolute favorite roller coaster…The Phoenix (This is the smoothest video I could find). A classic wooden coaster that’s gotten a bit rougher over the years but I still love it. It was resurrected from a closed park in Texas (Click here for the full story). I’m sure there’s a bit of nostalgic love that makes it my favorite but I know I’m not the only one. Once I think my back is up for it, this will be the first coaster I ride.

It used to be the home of my 2 favorite roller coasters. They had a fun compact steel coaster called the Jet Star. My sister and I loved that ride. We could ride it endlessly. One day we did. Like I said before, you pay for each ride. Except on hand stamp days. Weekdays you can pay a flat rate for a hand stamp for unlimited rides all day. One year we were camping at the park so we could stay until close. My parents were both completely tuckered out but my sister and I had energy to spare. Since it was later in the day there was no line to the Jet Star! We ran up with our hand stamps and hopped right on. Our parents settled into a bench ride adjacent and do the traditional wave as we scaled the first hill. Once the ride was done we ran off and immediately asked our parents if we could go again (“Please there’s NO line!”). They were tired and agreed. 27 rides later (I kid you not. We counted. Ask my sister) our parents declared it was time to go. I think we both nearly cried the year we came to the park and it was gone but at least we have that memory.

Over the years I have taken various friends along for the annual trek to Pennsylvania coal country. It is one of my favorite places to be and I love when I can share it. Thinking of it always makes me smile. I get a whiff of mechanics grease anywhere and I think of the smell of the older rides. I get a good whiff of that sugary smell that is always in the air at fairs and carnivals and mentally I’m suddenly at Knoebels.

For me Summer feels incomplete if I don’t make it to Knoebels. That reminds me. I need to find out when we’re going this year.

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