Erie is a dynamic place to be, and while there are many negative connotations ascribed to the city we call home for eight months — and for others, life — it does have a lot going for it.
One of my favorite things about going to Gannon University and being in Erie is the proximity to Presque Isle State Park. There are 3,200 acres of land, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and National Resources, and I know there are many miles of activities.
I was actually there Sunday to enjoy the last of the nice weather until next semester, and I was driving to my new favorite spot – Beach 11. On my way there, I realized how much there is to do. It seems like you could spend a whole summer there and still not experience everything the park has to offer.
Sunday, I utilized the relaxation aspect of Presque Isle. There’s nothing like pulling up to the beach parking lot, grabbing your folding chair, trekking down the beach and setting up camp by the water. Then you get to sit back, close your eyes as you listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves and the sun kisses your skin.
It was insanely relaxing, and when I needed to move, I tossed around a football. After about two hours, I packed up and headed to Sara’s, my other favorite Erie perk.
Something about ice cream, burgers and fries on a hot day is just so enjoyable. It’s the perfect cap to a trip to the beach, and I never get tired of it. Sadly, Sara’s will close up shop Saturday, but don’t worry — it will open up next semester around April.
My go-to is a cheeseburger, fries and drink, and then after I finish my meal I go back up to the counter and order, typically, a hot fudge sundae with vanilla or peanut butter ice cream, whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles.
I specify rainbow sprinkles because they always ask, “chocolate or rainbow sprinkles” and I once read that the more colorful your meal, the healthier it is. So there you go, health and fitness world — the best of both worlds.
Speaking of health and fitness, Presque Isle is great for that. If you’re a seasoned veteran of running, walking or biking, take on the 13 miles of roads or take your workout off road and hit the 21 miles of trails. If you don’t like the land, go for a swim in the lake. Either way you can find a way to earn that ice cream at Sara’s afterward.
Presque Isle and Sara’s will always be two of my favorite parts of Erie. I’ve made a lot of memories there, and I really enjoy all that there is to do there.
It’d be nice if Gannon could run a shuttle there each weekend during September and during the second semester when it’s nice outside to take students without cars.
To me, that is one of Gannon’s biggest selling points. Where else in the Northeast are you that close to all those beaches and still be in a college town? Either way, get out there and enjoy what Erie has to offer.