Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Shenandoah Caverns

Today's post is one of an attraction that I haven't fully covered in the past. Two years ago, I did a post on American Celebration on Parade, a parade float museum at Shenandoah Caverns in Northern Virginia. However, I didn't cover the caverns themselves (a few pictures are later in this post) as well as another fun diversion at the complex, Main Street of Yesteryear - a showcase of vintage department store window displays. Its entrance branches off from the Caverns gift shop. Like American Celebration, it's completely free as a stand-alone attraction.
These Rose Parade bears apparently fit better here than in the American Celebration warehouse next door. They decorate a staircase that takes you to the main exhibit area.
You can see one of the bears in the background of the below image. 
All of the displays are animated. They activate with a motion sensor and run on a timer. This cannot be something easy to maintain.
The most spectacular display is this three-ring circus, using figures from a variety of old displays, some dating back to the early 1900s. It's hard to get a good feel for these through still images, but seeing all the figures moving at once is really cool!
Here's one final example of one of the dioramas.
Since we're already here, we might as well actually give Shenandoah Caverns some financial support and visit the Caverns themselves! This Christmas-colored pixie is their old mascot, not used as much as it once was. There used to be images of them plastered all over area billboards holding banners in their hands and feet that said "Come See" and "Follow Me." 
Some wonderful vintage signs of the pixies can still be found in the caverns.
I can't tell you anything specific about these stalagmites and stalactites, but I will say that Shenandoah Caverns has a scenic and interesting tour - but then again, I haven't been to any cave to compare it to!
They do use some colorful lighting in some areas, like this underground pond.
The final attraction at Shenandoah Caverns is the Yellow Barn. Similar to American Celebration on Parade, it can double as an events center but is open for free during Caverns hours, showcasing a classic car collection and a model railroad in the rafters.
I'll in Vermont visiting my aunt right now and am planning to stop at some fun places, so keep an eye out for some new topics soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Waldameer 2021

Waldameer ("woods by the sea" in German) is one of my favorite parks to visit. Located in the northwestern corner of Pennsylvania, they've expanded rapidly over the past 15 years while still retaining a wonderful old amusement park feel. Waldameer also has a scenic setting on Lake Erie and a solid ride collection with a few classics.
Ravine Flyer II opened in 2008 after years of planning and will forever be one of my favorite roller coasters!
The oldest ride in the park is the 1951 Comet coaster. Since I visited with an enthusiast group, we got "exclusive ride time" on it before opening, and the park's 87-year-old owner came by and told us some stories of when they built the ride. He's been working at the park since he was 11.
Waldameer's attention to detail can be seen in the skillful landscaping of this simple kiddie ride.
It was fun to experience the park's Pirate's Cove funhouse again, as it was closed last season. I'm amazed that this 1972 walkthrough exists in such a well-preserved state!
The Whacky Shack is a fantastic 1970 darkride. Along with Ravine Flyer II, it makes up one of the best attraction lineups of any park for me.
I like how the picture below captures the moment the car is entering the building.
This paint job on the Shack's rotating barrel is new this year.
There's nothing like a good Sky Ride, and the Waldameer version runs right down the main midway. The building on the right houses the park's carousel, which is sadly a newer fiberglass machine. The park's antique 1908 carousel was sold piecemeal at auction in 1988 to fund the addition of a water park.
Here are a few examples of views from the Sky Ride.
I tried the "miniature" or "tilt-shift" effect with this shot.
I'll wrap up this report with an image of the L. Ruth Express, the park's C.P. Huntington train that runs along one side of the property and back.
I hope you've enjoyed these photos of Waldameer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

More Fun Along the Lincoln Highway

Picking up from two posts ago, here are some more sights along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania (with one extra). The "Coffee Pot" in Bedford is an example of novelty architecture. It fell into major disrepair before being restored and relocated by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. It's a tiny building, and you can't go inside.

Bedford is also home to a cool old art deco Gulf station that has been operated by the same family for generations.
This train station is a museum in Everett, just east of Bedford, but it was not open on our visit.
The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor's main goal is to promote one of the road's best-preserved stretches through Pennsylvania. One of the ways they do this is by getting local trade schools to create "roadside giant" sculptures, like this quarter. Other examples include a giant gas pump, Packard, and fruit truck.

It's easy to tell which year this log church was built. Open to the public, it has a wine glass pulpit and a perilous upper balcony.
The popular name of the view below is "seven mile stretch." We set our odometer, and it came out as a lot less than seven miles!
A special sight along the Lincoln Highway is these concrete markers. Planted during a cross-country promotion trip by the Boy Scouts in 1928, these markers' installation was the last hurrah before the Lincoln began to fade out of the mainstream. There are only a hundred or so left in their original locations, which can range from a parking lot to a private lawn (below right).

This lookout was once the location of the famous "Ship Hotel," which claimed that you could see three states and seven counties from this spot. What do you think?
This is a pretty big leap forward in history, but an offbeat stop along the Lincoln is the "Big Mac Museum." It's not so much a museum as a few displays in a McDonald's, with the "World's Largest Big Mac" (!!!) in the Play Place.
Irwin, PA - where the "museum" is located - was the headquarters of the franchisee whose chain invented the sandwich. However, the restaurant at which the Big Mac was actually first served is less than ten minutes from my house.
Switching gears once again, this time off the Lincoln Highway, here's a wacky landmark in West Virginia, a collection of large fiberglass statues at a private home. You're allowed to stop and take pictures. It's a destination of sorts for fans of "Muffler Man" statues (like the one at center).
I don't know if there's anywhere else where you can see fiberglass statues riding a roller coaster.
As you pull away, make sure not to miss Santa!
I hope you've enjoyed these roadside finds!