Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire, USA
Every year my partner and I try to visit at least one new and different state fair. We like fairs, we work at our fair, and it's become a little hobby for us as well as an excuse to get away. It's fun to compare various fairs in terms of what they have to offer, and see how they stack up to ours and other popular fairs around the country.
And this year we were kind of stuck for an idea. The Wisconsin State Fair, in Milwaukee, has eluded us for the last two summers due to circumstances beyond our control. (Did I mention that I was in a play?) But in checking for end of summer or fall fairs I landed on the Eastern States Exhibition, better known as The Big E, in Springfield Mass. And the more I thought about it the more it seemed promising for a great mini vacation. We could spend a day or two in Boston, see the fair, and wait!... Isn't Six Flags New England right there as well? Perfect. Boston on Friday and Saturday, SF on Sunday, Springfield and the Big E on Monday, then home.
So we flew to Boston on Friday morning, which gave us the rest of the day to explore. The city was a quick train ride from our hotel and we had a blast wandering through various neighborhoods and attractions. First up was China Town and the theater district, then Boston Commons and the Public Gardens, which were both quite beautiful. Then up to the North End, Little Italy, the Quincy Market, the Freedom Trail, the Waterfront, and the Financial District. Whew. We capped off the day with a fresh-out-the-water lobstah dinnah with buttah and I was in heaven. Boston is an awesome place, everything I hoped for and more. I recommend it to everyone.
But that left us rather open on Saturday. We could've gone back to the city for more of the same, and I thought that was the plan, until we were standing by the car when Jim said to me "Didn't you say there is an amusement park in New Hampshire that you wanted to go to?" YES!!!!! And, to my delighted, excited surprise, off to Canobie Lake Park we went. It was only about a half hour drive and we got there about 30 minutes before the park opened.
I can't say enough about that fantastic little park. As some of you may have sensed, I'm a big fan of historic, traditional amusement parks and I fell in love the minute we walked through the gate. As for the coasters? Maybe nothing to write home about and Canobie certainly isn't trying to be home to the biggest, most thrilling rides. I did find a couple of interesting items, historically speaking, in Yankee Cannonball and Canobie Corkscrew, with the latter having started its life as Chicago Loop at Old Chicago, was the second Arrow Corkscrew ever, and is currently the oldest operating two inversion coaster. Yankee Cannonball is fun to see from the parking lot and has been there since its relocation to Canobie in the 1930's. It didn't quite deliver the air-filled, dog legged out n back experience I hoped for, but it was old and the trains still had the buzz bars. So I rode them both gladly, and we also enjoyed their latest steel coaster, Untamed. (although I thought it belonged at the other end of the park, but, oh well)
But the thing I liked about the place the most was,... wait for it.... The Charm! The lake setting was just beautiful, the landscaping was perfect, and the park was the perfect mix of modern and old fashioned. Upkeep was impeccable. I thought of Kennywood, Idlewild, Waldameer, and old Geauga, all mixed up in a blender. The flats were quirky, fast, and fun. (I rode the Caterpillar just for you, Mr. Gator) Other highlights included Mine of Lost Souls, the Sky Ride, the two-table Crazy Daisy/Cuddle Up, Rowdy Roosters (Flying Scooters), Turkish Twist (Rotor), Tiki glass maze, and last but not least, the historic Carousel. Seriously, being at that park made me think I had stepped into the pages of a real life RCT game. Even the food stands were in the shape of giant popcorn boxes, hamburgers, ice cream cones, even a grilled cheese sandwich. After a big day we drove back to Boston with me happy as a clam, pun intended.
And that left Jim to endure yet another amusement park day with me, as we had originally intended, for it was Six Flags on Sunday. I'll tell you about that experience, hopefully tomorrow, in Part 2.
Spoiler alert- Ugh.
I visited Canobie in 2013 -- it was part of ACE's Coaster Con that year. And that perfectly sums up my experience.
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx
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