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June 22, 2014

Sunday Travel Thread: Cheesetastic Edition [Y-not]

Well, summer is here so it's time for Family Vacations. So load up the station wagon, strap the dog to the roof, and apply plenty of sunscreen because today's Travel Thread is about those "cheesetastic" activities many of our Moms and Dads dragged us to in the summer.

BigCheese.jpg

What is "cheesetastic?" Well, to me it needs to be a place or activity that seemed SO COOL to your ten year old self, but when revisited by your adult self you should probably have a "What was I thinking?" moment. It should be cheap, both in cost and appearance, but deliver a huge bang for your buck in terms of fun times and memories. In other words, no Disneyland.

Ideally, it should also be the sort of place that attracts hobos and carney folk.


Our family vacations were pretty low-key affairs. Mom and Dad would load sister, dog, and self into the car and drive north to Massachusetts, where our cousins and grandparents lived. We'd stay with our relatives in our grandparent's 100 year old duplex and spend much of our time hanging out with our cousins. Typically that would involve playing in the alley near their house, visiting a true Mom & Pop corner store ("Michael's Market") for penny candy, and hanging out at their local park which had the cool old-fashioned playground equipment. Most of these activities seemed so cool and exotic to us because we grew up in a new "planned" community while our cousins lived in a fairly run down, economically depressed Mill town.

There'd usually be a couple of more organized activities during our week-long stays. A typical one was to go to the Windsor Locks to see the fish ladder. I found that fascinating for some reason. (Perhaps that's because another activity that was popular was my grandmother was to drag her daughter and granddaughters to attend the wakes of people they did not know! I am not kidding.)

But my favorite was to go to an amusement park located on "Mount Tom" called Mountain Park. Sadly, it is now defunct, but when I was a kid it seemed like such a fun place. It wasn't fancy. In fact, my recollection was that it felt dated even to my 10 year old self. But we didn't have anything like it near our hometown (that I knew of, anyway) so trips to "Monkey Park" were a approached with relish.

They had bumper cars! And, what's more, we were allowed to go on them. Wow!

Plus, cotton candy and an old-fashioned roller coaster that was just scary enough to get my heart pounding, without being too scary to ride.

It's closed now, but someone put together a video showing old pictures of Mountain Park so you can admire it in all of its cheesetastic glory:

What are some of your favorite cheesetastic vacation memories? Where do you take your kids now to give them that same feeling you had as a kid on your family vacations?

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posted by Open Blogger at 05:47 PM

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