No matter how far away I live, I will continue to go there. I now live eight hours away in Philadelphia and I never miss a year at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, the amazingly fun Cedar Point amusement park. Just writing this and thinking about it makes me want to jump in the car and drive there so that I can hop on a ride and feel like a kid again.
I go back more than 50 years, in fact probably 70 years, to my visits with my parents to Cedar Point. We did not own an automobile, so then how do you get to Cedar Point in the 1940s? A large, beautiful boat, which I believe was even then called the Goodtime, left the Cleveland harbor in the morning for a lovely ride to Cedar Point, returning late afternoon. I really don’t remember going on rides, but we sure hit that beautiful beach where you could walk out into the water for what seemed like a mile before it got over my head. I remember the plaque on the beach honoring Knute Rockne, who devised the forward pass on the Cedar Point beach. My parents belonged to “The every other Saturday night club”: five couples, with the men playing pinochle and the women, mahjongg.
Once a year, they would all drive, with the kids, to Cedar Point. I remember staying at the old Hotel Breakers with another girl my age. The room had a sink but the public toilet was down the hall. We called room service and ordered ice and then realized we had to tip the bell hop as he continued to stand in the door. I remember taking a boat into Sandusky harbor, getting off and strolling the town. I drove my Grandma’s 1957 Chevy to Cedar Point for my shift on the train. My “costume” consisted of a big skirt, blouse and tennis shoes. I made announcements about keeping your arms in, etc. I have many wonderful memories of going to Cedar Point in the 1960s as a kid with my family. One is that you did not have to wait in long (or very long) lines for the rides. And if the ride wasn’t busy, you could actually stay on the ride and go again! At that time, they were more of an experience where you actually thought you were traveling through wild, unknown territory. When people hear that our annual family vacation is Cedar Point, they look with pity on us. That is, unless they are one of countless families that spend three nights at Hotel Breakers every year. Many family and friends would join us for our CP vacation. My boys (in their 30s now) have T-shirts from almost every year. I think if we had to select the top highlights of Cedar Point for us, they would be: *Family time at the kiddie pool at Breakers, with our coolers and lunches and alternating down to the beach to play ball in the water. It has become incredible now with the shows and firepits. *Just the simple family time of gathering in one of our rooms at 7:30 p.m. I have even put it our will that there be money for the adult kids and their kids to carry on. We had many a summer day, enjoying the treats of Cedar Point, but my most memorable was in the spring of 2017. My daughter was out of town and Mom and I were watching our two grandchildren. We decided to take them to Sawmill Creek Resort for a mini vacation. When we awoke on Saturday morning, the weather was horrible. With nothing to do, I suggested a ride along the lake to Cedar Point. When we arrived, we drove around all the little roads we came upon. After one last turn, my grandkids were all excited.
“Grandpa, do you know where we are?” they screamed.
No long lines, and no waiting to see what was next. A trip to Cedar Point is a highlight of anyone’s summer, but imagine such an outing in 1914 for four sisters from rural Monroeville, just south of Sandusky. The Seibel family’s berry farm demanded long, hot days of harvesting strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. To reward his daughters for their labor, Papa Seibel promised a trip to Cedar Point at season’s end.