Need some ideas on what to do in our region? Retiree Liz Allen has a bucket list for the year, and you are guaranteed to love it.By Liz Allen Contributing writer
When Lake Erie LifeStyle Editor Pam Parker asked me to compile a “bucket list” for 2017, I quickly agreed. I liked the idea of creating a calendar with events on specific dates and with suggestions about things to explore at your leisure.
To collect ideas, I consulted various calendars, including those in Showcase, this magazine and at visiteriepa.com and erieevents.com. I also did a mental scan of my favorite haunts and dreamed up excursions I’d like to try, searching for affordable, family-friendly ideas.
Because the Erie region offers so much to do year-round, my list is not exhaustive, and I skipped lots of perennial favorites, including concerts and festivals, because you’ll hear lots about them in the coming months.
If you prefer to map out your own itineraries, stop at the Intermodal Transportation Center, 208 E. Bayfront Parkway, and grab an armful of brochures for regional attractions. You can also download the “Hello Erie” app from VisitErie to be a tourist in your own backyard.
While you're at the Erie bayfront, drop into the Heritage Room at nearby Blasco Library, where you will find reams of books, files and directories to pique your interest in local history, because it’s wise to know where you’ve come from before venturing into new territory (the library also has a small collection of noted artwork).
And if you are inspired to choose your own adventure, share it with the hashtag #eriebucketlist. We’d love to know where you’re headed in 2017!
February is for ...
... Watching flicks
Before the Feb. 26 Academy Awards air on ABC, I want to take in some movies at an alternative venue to Tinseltown. The options include:
The Erie Art Museum, E. Fifth and French streets, where the Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania will present “Don’t Think Twice,” a dramedy about an improv troupe, on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $5. Visit www.erieartmuseum.org to learn more.
The Erie Movie House, 3424 West Lake Road. The proprietors hadn’t released their February screenings at press time, but they promise that movie patrons will find “a nostalgic vibe with lots of retro games and a comfortable atmosphere,” along with cheap admission and popcorn.
The Big Green Theatre at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive, is currently showing “Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet,” “Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West,” and “Journey to Space.” Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $6 for seniors (65 or older). Visit www.trecpi.org for show times and other ticket prices.
... Digging history
February is Black History Month, a good time to learn about how schools in Pennsylvania were desegregated when Elias Allen sued Crawford County in 1881 after his son was assigned to an all-black school in Meadville. Read about his court case and the response by the Pennsylvania Legislature at www.explorepahistory.com and visit the historical marker noting the case on South Main Street in Meadville, near the Second District School.
... Making connections
Movers and shakers are encouraging Erie residents to become entrepreneurs. Although I don’t quite fit that category, working from home as a freelancer can be isolating. February sounds like the perfect month to launch myself out of the house and into an office, albeit a temporary one, at Radius CoWorks in the Renaissance Centre, 1001 State Street, where a daily pass is $15. Learn more at http://radiusco.work/ or on Facebook.
... Going into stitches
I’m not crafty enough to take up knitting, crocheting or quilting, but I’d like to brush up on my sewing skills at Studio Z sewing classes, which I learned about on the Greater Kahkwa nextdoor.com neighborhood network site. “Grab three or more friends, decide on a date and we will create a private class for your group,” says Sue Zimmerman of www.StudioZErie.com. “Make it a ‘girls night out’ with BYO snacks and beverages. It’s fun!” Cost is $35 to $40 per class.
March is for ...
... Getting your Irish on
Erie never lacks for entertainment on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day.
But for a fascinating lesson on Irish history, consider a trip to Crossingville in Crawford County, where St. Philip Church, 25797 State Highway 98, was completed in 1847 to serve Irish immigrants building the Erie Extension Canal. At St. James Cemetery, you can find the gravestone for Fred McCarthy, who played Tonto on the radio version of “The Lone Ranger," under the stage name John Todd. All of this information comes from “The Rise and Fall of the Erie Extension Canal,” by David Frew and Jerry Skrypzak. Published by the Jefferson Educational Society, their book includes “The Canal Lover’s Bucket List,” including the authors’ “Route 18 Pilgrimage” from Girard to Beaver. Visit www.jeserie.org to buy the book.
… Celebrating women
March is Women’s History Month, and notable women connected to our region include Ida Tarbell, the muckraking journalist, and Florence Ellinwood Allen, the first woman to be appointed to a state supreme court (Ohio) and rumored in the late 1930s to be the first female named to the U.S. Supreme Court (that didn’t happen until Sandra Day O’Connor was named to the high court in 1981). There are numerous books about Tarbell, born in Hatch Hollow in Erie County and educated at Allegheny College, but Allen is not well known. She spent time in Girard, where her paternal grandfather was a dentist and a justice of the peace, according to attorney Richard Dana. He became interested in Allen’s history after his wife, Marianne Cezon, was elected as the first female judge in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Learn more and see photos of Allen at http://digitalcommons.kent.edu/allen_event/
... Going all sweet
The Taste and Tour Weekend, sponsored by the Northwest Pennsylvania Maple Association, is March 18-19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when lots of area sugarhouses will be open for tours, including Hurry Hill Maple Farm in Edinboro, the inspiration for Virginia Sorensen’s classic children’s book, “Miracles on Maple Hill.” Learn more at www.pamaple.org or http://hurryhillfarm.org.
... Hankering for dogs and more
I’ll join the throng when Sara’s, at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park, opens on April 1. Before then, when I’m hungry for a Smith’s hot dog (with Greek sauce), I’ll head to New York Lunch, 922 East Ave., where owners Stephen and Nina Paliouras have been making customers feel like part of the family since 1970. “Every stool has a story,” says their son, Gus, who drives up from Pittsburgh to help his parents. And if you like to eat local, mark your calendar for Erie Restaurant Week, starting March 6. Details will be released soon by the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.
April is for ...
... Taking a spiritual journey
Christian churches will be jammed for Easter on April 16, but this month or sometime soon, why not visit a new place of worship and build some bridges in our community? Terry Cavanaugh, an attorney and board member of Preservation Erie, recommends five houses of worship steeped in Erie history and close to each other along Sassafras and Peach streets: St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Joseph Bread of Life Catholic Church, Simpson United Methodist Church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and First United Methodist Church.
… Swinging pussy willows
Dingus Day takes place at the Polish Falcons, 431 E. Third St, on April 17, the Monday after Easter, when, per Polish tradition, girls are supposed to show their crushes by swatting boys with pussy willows. My husband and I didn’t witness any branches being deployed as date bait at our first Dingus Day in 2016, but the great food, Polish beers and polka music guarantee we will make a return visit.
... Planting roots
The Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier celebrates Arbor Day with a tree sale from 10 a.m. to noon on April 29. Learn about more L.E.A.F. programs as spring blooms at Frontier Park, 1501 W. Sixth St., at www.leaferie.org. When I need balm for my soul, I also like to walk the labyrinth, donated by the Carrie T. Watson Garden Club, in the western hollow of the park.
... Unearthing gems
The Great Lakes Beach Glass and Coastal Arts Festival, hosted by Relish, returns to the Erie Bayfront Convention Center April 29-30. It’s fun to see unique items created from beach glass and other natural objects and to hear water-related tales from vendors from far-flung places. To buy tickets, which start at $5, visit www.relishinc.com.
May is for ...
... Navigating our waterfront
I’ve always wanted to participate in Bike Around the Bay, to benefit Environment Erie, because the event has three options: 10-mile, 30-mile and 50-mile routes. To register for the May 20 ride, visit www.environmenterie.org. Sometime this year, my goal is also to walk the 13 miles around Presque Isle. A friend suggests doing this in intervals — two to four miles a day — until you’ve seen it all. You’ll get more miles under your belt, though, if you meander down Fisher Drive, to the marina and the channel, or past Beach 11, to see the houseboats at Horseshoe Pond, the U.S. Coast Guard Station and the North Pier.
… Exploring your neighborhood
Before I ever heard of Jane’s Walks, inspired by legendary urban activist and writer Jane Jacobs, I researched and led a historic tour of my street, Lincoln Avenue. Jane’s Walk celebrates its international festival May 5-7, when “citizen-led walking tours ... get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities and connect with neighbors,” according to www.janeswalk.org, where you can learn about Jacobs’ advocacy and sign up to do a tour in your own neighborhood.
... Expanding your boundaries
I knew that radical abolitionist John Brown led the raid at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, on Oct. 16, 1859, and that he had a connection to northwestern Pennsylvania, but I learned more about the John Brown Farm, Tannery and Museum in Guys Mills, in Crawford County, at www.visitpa.com, where I searched for multicultural heritage. Details aren’t posted yet, but the museum celebrates Brown’s birthday with a festival on the first weekend in May, where you can learn about this stop on the Underground Railroad.
... Admiring blooms
Ever since we visited Holland, Michigan, many years ago, I’ve wanted to see a riot of flowers in early bloom, and Clymer, New York, which also has a Dutch heritage, seemed to be a likely destination. But when I couldn’t find any details about the town’s annual tulip festival, I settled on an alternative, the Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk at Bentley Sanctuary in Jamestown, New York, part of the Audubon Community Nature Center. I also found dozens of other charming sites to visit at www.tourchautauqua.com.
June is for ...
... Following star-crossed lovers
I try to take in at least one production every year at All An Act Theatre, in the former Columbus School, 652 W. 17th St. The 2017 season offers the usual assortment of drama, comedy and suspense, but I’m intrigued by the production of “Romeo & Juliet,” with the Footlights Theatre program for students, opening on June 2. Visit www.allanact.net for the full schedule and more information.
... Rooting for baseball
The Erie SeaWolves, the Detroit Tigers’ AA affiliate, open their season at home on April 6, and by June, when school is out, the stands at the newly renamed UPMC Park will fill with fans. But my baseball buddies and I always talk about taking a road trip to see the ‘Wolves play the Akron Rubber Ducks, the Cleveland Indians’ farm club, and the Altoona Curve, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ club. Erie plays Akron June 26-29 and visits Altoona July 31-Aug. 3. Visit www.milb.com to learn about each ballpark and then scout out additional sights. I like the idea of visiting Boyer Candy Co., maker of Mallo Cups, in Altoona, and exploring Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Akron.
... Welcoming newcomers
World Refugee Day will be celebrated on June 17 and Erie usually hosts a celebration on or around that date in Perry Square, which is also a perfect spot to check out the various eateries north of the park, including Catfish Kitchen, Khao Thai, 28 North Gastropub, Tandoori Hut, Alkeme, and a new diner which had not opened at press time. You’ll also find interesting ethnic treats at the mall markets on State Street and Parade Street opened by former refugees.
… Using your “passport”
I’ve hung onto the “Erie County Recreational Passport,” produced in recent years by the Erie County Department of Health, Erie Yesterday, VisitErie and other sponsors, for great places to exercise while soaking up local history. One favorite is Corry’s Trail of Simple Pleasures. It’s a pretty drive to this part of Erie County, and you should stop at the Corry Historical Museum at 48-acre Mead Park. Inside, you will see the massive Climax Locomotive. Outside, you can also walk past the old Climax Manufacturing Co. on West Main Street.
July is for ...
... Smelling the flowers
The Bay City Gardeners took a break from its urban garden tour in 2016, but plans a comeback this July. This is a great way to discover hidden pockets of beauty in the city of Erie; I try to do parts of the tour by foot or bike after picking up a map at Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier or the JMC Ice Arena. But be prepared to drive if you want to see as many gardens as possible. Learn details at Bay City Gardeners Facebook page. To learn how a city can really benefit from opening up public and private gardens, visit www.gardenwalkbuffalo.com and then plan a trip to Buffalo.
… Laughing and learning
I make at least one trip a year to Chautauqua Institution, often on Sundays when there is free admission to tour the gorgeous grounds and admire the Victorian architecture. But I may spend more time than usual there July 29-Aug. 5 for “Comedy and the Human Condition.” In partnership with the new National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York, this week will “engage the mind and the funny bone,” according to www.ciweb.org. I also want to see comedian Jim Gaffigan at the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival on opening night, Aug. 3. Visit www.lucycomedyfest.com for details.
... Riding the bus
Roar on the Shore will dominate Erie’s entertainment scene July 12-16, but since I held on for dear life the only I time I ever rode on a motorcycle, I’ll try a different mode of transportation — I’m eligible to ride the bus for free now that I’m 65. Learn more about how get an ID and take the bus at www.ride-the-e.com.
... Playing mini-golf
I always take my grandkids for at least one round of golf at Harbor View, 36 State St. It’s fun to see how this miniature golf course uses every bit of precious space to full advantage. You can also play online at www.harborviewminiaturegolf.com
August is for ...
... Getting high
As a child of the ’60s (but one who never indulged in drugs), I like to joke with my baby boomer friends about my plans for spending one glorious day in Erie as summer wanes: visiting the Bicentennial Tower (it’s free on the first Sunday of the month); walking up the 131 steps of the tower at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center; then taking a gondola ride at Waldameer Park & Waterworld (I’m chicken to try the Ravine Flyer II). A friend also tells me that on a clear day, you can see Canada from Joseph Walczak Sr. Park at East 45th Street and Alan Drive in Erie; I haven’t verified that.
... Hitting the water
I can’t let summer pass without a boat ride. I always lasso friends and family into signing up for a free pontoon boat ride at Presque Isle State Park, and I try to take at least one round-trip to the peninsula on the Water Taxi. I’ve also been aboard the Lady Kate and the Victorian Princess, and glided on private sailboat rides on the Momentum and Lake Effect. Scallywags, the pirate ship, still awaits. You can learn about most of these boat rides at a kiosk and a sign on lower State Street, or visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/presqueisle/ to learn about everything to do at Presque Isle.
... Flirting with the circus
I loved going to Dan Rice Days in Girard when my boys were young because the festival exuded small-town charm. This is a great opportunity to check out Girard’s well-preserved downtown, to learn about Rice, the famous circus owner, and maybe to take a hike at the Pleasant Ridge Park Trail, 8271 Barker Road in Fairview.
... Expanding your mind
As colleges reopen for the fall semester, I like to check out their calendars for speakers and concerts, but did you know that adults who are 62 and older can audit courses for free at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania if space allows? Edinboro’s fall semester begins Aug. 28. Visit www.edinboro.edu/directory/offices-services/records/ to view offerings and learn how to register.
September is for ...
... Walking the bayfront
I like going in all directions on Erie’s bayfront — around Dobbins Landing, past the hotels and Bayfront Convention Center, through the public access points at the marinas and Liberty Park on the Bayfront Parkway, along the bluffs west of State Street and past Bayview Park, and east beyond Blasco Library, Donjon Marina, the Erie Sewage Treatment Plant, then north to the South Pier. In September, gardens are still in bloom but you’ll see the seasons start to change, and at the South Pier, you can walk out to see Lake Erie, Lampe Marina, Erie’s eastside coast and flocks of gulls.
... Thinking baseball
I can’t predict if the Cleveland Indians or the Pittsburgh Pirates will be poised for a playoff run in 2017, but I’ve always been intrigued by the signs I see along Interstate 80 for BPW Bats in Brookville, Pennsylvania, which makes baseball bats. Learn about the factory tours at www.bpwbats.com.
... Sipping wine
It took me decades to plunge into the pleasures of Lake Erie Wine Country. In the summer of 2016, when my college friends came to Erie to collectively celebrate our 66th birthdays, we picked two designated drivers, then visited Johnson Estate Winery in Westfield, New York, and South Shore Wine Company in North East, where knowledgeable staff helped us decide on which wines to sample (and buy). With nearly two dozen wineries in the region, the only dilemma is settling on which ones to visit. Learn more at www.lakeriewinecountry.org.
... Shuffling off to Buffalo
At the 2016 Irish Festival at St. Patrick Catholic Church, I met Rosanne Higgins, an anthropologist who has written four historical novels about Irish immigrants in Buffalo. I’ve also interviewed Laura Pedersen, whose books, including “Buffalo Gal,” paint an affectionate portrait of Buffalo, her hometown. Both women make me want to visit Buffalo to see firsthand how this lake city is being revitalized, including Canalside, described as a “waterfront playground.” Learn more at www.VisitBuffaloNiagara.com.
October is for ...
Every Halloween season, Brewerie offers tours of Union Station, where you might encounter ghosts, but the tours sell out quickly. I’ll keep alert this year for tour dates and deadlines, and I also hope to join “Cemetery Lady” Caroline Reichel for her guided walks through famous graves at Erie Cemetery.
... Hopping the train
The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad offers three-hour train trips from June through October, but it’s the fall schedule, when leaves are changing, that appeals to me. Rides leave Perry Street Station in Titusville at 11 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, with an additional ride on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. Fares vary for adults and children, but there is a senior discount ticket (60-plus) for $18. Visit www.octrr.org to learn more.
... Checking out the arts
There is always something interesting going on at the Performing Artists Collective Association at 1505 State St. I’m not avant-garde, but I like how the artists at PACA push boundaries and make me think. Visit www.paca1505.com to learn what’s in store.
... Tantalizing taste buds
October is Hispanic Heritage month, and that seems like a good reason for my dine-local mission to usher me to Latino’s Mexican Restaurant & Br, 1315 Parade St. Latino’s consistently draws rave reviews from out-of-towners who find the restaurant on websites.
November is for ...
... Touring the world
I always attend parts of the Jefferson Educational Society’s annual World Summit, which begins in early November, but this year, I plan to become either a “friend” of the JES, for $50, which entitles me to one Global Summit ticket and two additional JES lectures, or a “contributor,” for $100, which provides two Global Summit tickets and six JES lectures. The 2017 speakers, not yet announced, are always top-notch.
... Honoring our veterans
To commemorate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, I always stop by the war memorials in the triangular park at Glenwood Park Avenue and State Street, but this past year, I also walked through the cemetery at the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at East Third and Ash streets, where the earliest graves belong to Erie Civil War veterans. The fluttering American flags will stir your soul.
... Playing with pooches
We don’t currently have a dog, but I want to visit the Larry Fabrizi Dog Park, part of McClelland Park, off East 26th Street and Bird Drive in the city of Erie. It’s fun to see the dogs making friends, and now that the trails are ready at the park itself, this is a good opportunity to explore this big park on Erie’s east side.
... Buying local
I rarely go to holiday craft shows anymore; at my age, I’m trying to discard stuff, not add to my accumulation. But the Made in Erie Marketplace, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, is a delightful exception, because I find gifts for others. In 2016, the Marketplace was held at the Third Street Polish Falcons, but it might move to downtown for 2017. Check Facebook for details as November nears.
December is for ...
... Making a splash
I’m not a daredevil. At Waldameer Park & Waterworld, I stick to the Lazy River and the wave pool. But at Splash Lagoon, I have found myself riding big slides, after my grandsons egg me on. Splash Lagoon is pricey, but I take advantage when Scott Enterprises sells its Ultimate Gift Card at a discount in November and December.
... Walking the woods
I’ve hiked through Brown’s Farm in warm weather and gone cross-country skiing in winter at Asbury Woods, but I’ve never strolled through the nature preserve during the annual Winter Wonderland in mid- and late December. Check www.asburywoods.org for dates, times and prices.
... Highlighting Christmas
I just confessed that I am desperate to declutter my house, but during a trip through Sharon, Pennsylvania, which boasts a quaint downtown with local shopping and yummy restaurants, I got a craving to visit Kraynak’s Christmasland in nearby Hermitage. Learn about this family-owned business, which also sells shrubs and flowers, at www.kraynaks.com.
... Jazzing it up
My bucket list usually keeps me close to home most of the time, but two friends highly recommend a trip to Night Town in Cleveland, which includes restaurants, bars and a jazz club. “Named after the Dublin Red-Light District in James Joyce’s "Ulysses," Nighttown possesses the ambience of turn of the century New York restaurants,” according to www.nighttowncleveland.com. Does that mean I’ll have to finally tackle “Ulysses” in 2018? I think I’ll improvise! LEL
Source : http://www.goerie.com/entertainmentlife/20170129/erie-bucket-list-of-things-to-do-every-month-in-20174201