I'd talked some about Canobie Lake Park's decor, but wanted to bring up a couple points. First is that it's beautiful; even the stuff that needs repainting looks good. Second is that it's wonderfully diverse. There's the concession stands that look like the thing they're selling. There's the Turkish Twist that has that Arabian Nights theme for a Rotor ride. There's the Hunting Lodge theme around Untamed and its neighbor rides. There's the long cobblestone path of the Old New England section. There's rides that look to have neon and signage from the 60s and wear it proudly, as they should.
And there's smaller things. For example many of the park benches have animals carved into them. It's not just decorations in the side; the backs of the benches have raised sections to give room for squirrels or groundhogs or other animals. This seems to happen more near the kids rides, but it's fun. We also noticed there signs for the Petting Zoo which they set up in the fall months, as a less-scary part of their Halloween business.
We saw by the lake a big, dark building being refurbished. It looked kind of like it might have been a 40s or 50s-era grand ballroom probably converted to storage and administration. (It was also next to a small cage with peacocks, which the park had for reasons. Just past that was a larger cage with a couple chickens.) Being built on the outside were the porches for an old-time hotel. The sign nearby spoke of how the Canobie Lake Hotel used to sit adjacent to the park in the early 1900s and that there was a path, Lovers Walk, connecting the hotel to the park. And that all sounds charming. But then the sign reads:
The hotel was soon abandoned and the entrance to Lovers Walk was sealed. But this fall ... Lovers Walk and the Hotel, found intact, will be re-opened. And what lies within the walls of this historic hotel?
Canobie Lake Park SCREEMFEST -
Where Fear Meets Fun.
So how much of this is made up? That there was a hotel there seems plausible enough, and a Lovers Walk seems believable. Is any of this true? How much? I'd love to know, but of course that couldn't tell us.
Then there's Fried Dough. It's something I hadn't thought much about, but bunny_hugger pointed out how strong a regionalism this is. Or how obsessed they get with it in New England. The park map points out that downloading the park's official app gives you ever-present access to important stuff like the location of the nearest Fried Dough stand. We yielded to the inevitable and got some, which we enjoyed along with coffee and tea from the Cafe D'Or (that turned out to just be selling Starbucks, a surprisingly dull choice). We ate at tables just off the pavilion where A Tribute To One Direction was performing. The One Direction Performers we noticed didn't make it very clear that they were playing at being the bandmembers, rather than the actual band. I got to wondering if there are young kids who come away thinking they actually saw One Direction playing at an amusement park. I suppose it doesn't hurt much if they do.
The park also has a Funsquad, a group of serious-looking people who ride park vehicles around, descend on people, and have them dance and hula hoop until they're delighted. We didn't get caught up in their relentless campaign of spontaneous amusement, but we were in the outer reaches of it several times over. (Oh, I liked it, I'm just being silly. I am saddened to learn from Wikipedia that they used to have a brass band, drawn from local colleges with music programs, though haven't in decades.)
And then there's mascots. They've got at least four, says Wikipedia. The first one we saw was a mouse that I think was named Molly. Wikipedia also lists critters named Bruno and Dapper. But the shocking one was Patches, a patched-up teddy bear that we recognized as the same model as Waldameer's Wally Bear. rapidtrabbit is probably chuckling at my naivete, but I had no idea that mascots were just sold to any old park like that.
Well, we were gobsmacked. That's all there was to it. What a great park. The day was one of the high points of the trip.
Trivia: The X-15 test program's first phase, Contractor Demonstration, consisted of eleven flights: X-15 flights one through eight, ten, eleven, and seventeen. All were made by Scott Crossfield. Source: At The Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program, Milton O Thompson.
Currently Reading: Three Weeks In Quebec City: The Meeting That Made Canada, Christopher Moore.