Destination: Erie, Pennsylvania

In an attempt to pump up my driving stamina, Mike planned a day trip for me to drive, destination unknown, using only our new GPS. This way I would have to rely on the GPS to get me where we were going to. It was a great plan because generally, I only drive about 10 miles a day back and forth from work. As the trip date advances, I need to be able to handle long driving days.

As we started out on my mystery tour, we drove past a fun little diner in Geneva. Mary’s Diner was right there at 666 E. Main Street. Neither of us had ever seen this place before, so we made a detour for a light dinner. It has the look and feel of an old diner with stainless steel everywhere and red booths. Destiny was our server and she helped us make good meal decisions. We had a ball while we were there.

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I have such a love for the old-style diners. That is going to be one of my big searches on my trip. To find as many of them as I can and write about them. I do not want to lose that bit of Americana to all the big chain restaurants. I love diners and I want to support them as much as I can.

After our little diner repast, we started back on the road. Using only the GPS, I navigated through a detour, a lot of orange barrels and a few missed turns. Finally about 100 miles from home, we drive into a place I have never been to…Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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The sun was starting to set, but we still had some daylight, the breezes off the lake were cool and refreshing and everything was green and lush. I have seen Lake Erie from several different locations and I have even been boating once or twice in my life. But the view of Lake Erie from this vantage point was like nothing I had ever seen. Mike explained that it was because of the location of the lake, and a whole lot of other things I did not understand. All I know is it was stunning.

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I am still marveling today at how the very same lake can be so different. The sky was absolutely breathtaking as the clouds formed like little balls of cotton. The beaches were beautiful and well-tended. There are two lighthouses to view along with a lot of wildlife. We saw a crane sitting on a rock just looking around.

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Families were frolicking and sportsmen were fishing. It was one of the loveliest drives I have ever taken. The 25 mile an hour posted speed limit was just the right speed for me to drive and still be able to look around. The park is open all year from 5 am until sunset – there are longer driving times in the summer.

The park consists of 3,112 acres of beautiful lush land and many beaches. Presque Isle became a state park in 1921 (according to their website). It is so well taken care of and the atmosphere is very leisurely. Honestly, I am not a great outdoors person. I do not like bugs or sand particularly. But I loved all the walking and biking paths, thinking that maybe with such wonderful scenery I might enjoy actually being outside. The jury is still out on that one.

As a day trip, there is no camping in the park but some nearby, Presque Isle is the kind of place you could easily spend an entire day. Even if you do not swim, like me, you could find a great spot and read or write or just enjoy the beautiful lake, the amazing sky and wonderful beaches. I find it hard to believe that I have lived in this area all my life and have never been to Presque Isle. It just goes to show that there are many hidden gems right in our own backyard or a slight drive from our backyard.

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