Erie, Pennsylvania….located in the northwest corner, and part of Pennsylvania that neither Greg nor I had ever been to. It’s in the ‘other’ part of Pennsylvania. We spent about a week exploring the town and while we were able to entertain ourselves just fine, we probably could have been content staying there a few less days. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really nice things about Erie, but for some reason we got bored….and that might have been because we were anxious to get our Michigan exploration started.
Erie does have some things going for it. First, it is home to Pennsylvania’s only surf beach and if you didn’t know better, it really looks and feels like you are hanging out at the ocean (minus the really big waves). And second, it tries really hard and has a lot of activities and events going on all the time. We didn't have to look hard at all to find things to do.
With that being said, the town appears to have a mismash of a cool beach town combined with a defunct industrial town feeling; hard to explain, but odd. We saw a portion of downtown that had quite a bit of activity going on—shopping, dining, etc. and then we saw another part of downtown that hadn’t seen any revitalization in years….or ever. Also, not sure if it’s the town’s official slogan or not, but we did see the motto “Believe in Erie” in a couple of spots, as if the town was trying to convince the residents to hang in there!
If you look closely, there is a parrot on the shoulder of the guy in the white t-shirt!!
Believe in Erie!!
We stayed at Lampe Campground, which is run by Port Erie, and while the campground is very nice, there’s no onsite presence at all—no one working the office, no camp host, nothing. Which, other than check in, we would be totally fine with, however there is only a phone number hanging on the office door if you want to check in, and if you attempt to call the number, it goes to voicemail….which of course, is full. So when we arrived and couldn’t find any help (in person or phone), we just picked a spot and called it home. Until. Well, until the day after we arrived and someone flagged down the guy cutting the grass to check them in (they had been there for three days already), and with the office “staffed” we stopped by to check in and pay, and then discovered we had been assigned a spot and had to move. No big deal in the whole scheme of things, just a nuisance that could have been prevented if there was some sort of presence, even if it was someone who just answered a phone when you called!! Okay, rant over.
Lighthouse right off the pier next to the campground (across from the State Park)
The highlight of Erie (in our opinion) is Presque Isle State Park. “Presque Isle” means peninsula (lit. "almost an island") in French and the park contains an arching, sandy peninsula that jets into Lake Erie. The park has a 13 mile biking/hiking loop throughout and is a great ride, which we did on a two different occasions. The Park is home to about ten various beaches so lots of different options to choose from, with many of them having concession stands. We checked out a couple of the beaches during our rides, but didn’t hang out for too long….mainly because a few weeks earlier we had spent a week just hanging at the beach in NC.
Another lighthouse at the park; it's in the process of being restored
A section of the park had these floating houses on them. Sort of cool....until you start thinking about all the logistics of your house floating in the middle of the water.
Oh, and bugs....I bet they get lots of bugs.
Between the City of Erie and the Port of Erie, we were able to stay entertained with a few other activities. The City sponsored a street festival—Celebrate Erie—which was a four day celebration including various entertainment acts, numerous food and drink tents, a chalk walk and other festival-like things. We checked it out one night and enjoyed listening to the music, grabbing a beer, admiring the chalk art and of course doing a little people watching.
Nothing says festival like a green man!!
Take that back. Nothing says festival like a good turkey leg.
Yes, this was for real, and no, we did not enter the contest!!
Part of the chalk walk.
This was our favorite!!
Documented UFO sighting at Presque Isle State Park on this date. You can read about it here!
And these folks putting the finishing touches on their chalk art!!
Selfie at the fountain!!
Overall, a great way to entertain ourselves one evening and it was free, so hey, can't beat the price!!
Our last activity, again free, sponsored by the Port of Erie was cardboard boat races, which were, well, adorable! Different age groups (kids) competed with their homemade cardboard boats and they had to paddle to a designated spot, then paddle back. All but one of the boats that we saw remained seaworthy, although the captaining and paddling may have needed a little practice. But in their defense, guessing with a cardboard boat you probably can't do a lot of practicing!!
Very cute sailors in some pretty seaworthy cardboard boats!!
And the sail was a good idea for part of the race, until it worked against the on way back. Again...adorable!!
This was the boat that didn't make it. Had to be fished out the minute it hit the water!!
Close race, but four against two! The dragon boat won!!
Aside from cardboard boats, there was also a lot of other boating activities in the area. We hung out one evening at a little tiki bar and watched many boats sail/float by....kind of made us miss our days hanging on the Chesapeake.
Nice views and the Centennial Tower on the left
Well, that wraps up our week in Erie and yes, we do believe in Erie (for a three to four day visit!!) Next stop--Michigan! We appreciate you following along and will have a couple of posts soon that will cover our multiple stops in Michigan!