Fair warning, this is a long one.
After a fairly late night driving to Springfield from Great Escape with food stops on the way, we were excited to finally get some sleep ahead of what was sure to be another long day with a 2 hour drive to Canobie Lake Park and a 2 hour drive back to the hotel later that night. We also had originally planned on leaving Canobie early enough that we could get a couple hours in at SFNE that night. Long story short, we liked Canobie a lot more than we expected and spent a maximum amount of time there.
Canobie was always a park I was interested in. I knew it was an old park with a 1920s coaster which was the primary draw but I had also heard on here many times that Canobie is actually one of the nicest all around parks in the eastern US, or even the whole country. I found that to be a little hard to believe but went in with fairly high expectations anyways.
Upon pulling into the rather large (for a small park) parking lot I could see Cannonball already. Standing tall by the entrance. Then came the entrance itself which looks as if it could be the entrance to a major regional park. Very modern looking with a big park feel. It looked great but slightly worried me that Canobie would try too hard to feel like a regional park and lose their classic park charm in the process.
Those worries would soon be eliminated by taking our first steps into the park. Just on the way over to Cannonball we could see Canobie has done a great job keeping their classic buildings looking classic, with some modern and classic flat rides mixed in and out.
Then there was Cannonball. You can tell the station is still the original one from the 1920s or at least very similar to it. It was also beautifully landscaped with a water feature in front of it. We got in line and only waited about 20 minutes despite 1 train ops thanks to a great crew. Something I noticed was that the ops here do the standard "welcome back riders, how was your ride?" and hype up spiel that I'm not really used to seeing at smaller parks like Canobie. It's a small thing that makes the park feel like a bigger park when compared to other small parks and adds to the experience.
The ride itself was great. Runs like brand new even though its almost 100 years old with plenty of speed and airtime throughout. 10/10 from me.
Moving on we got a ride on Untamed, the park's Eurofighter. The area around Untamed looks great and modern. Another bit of big park feel. I should mention that I don't think looking modern is something that small parks don't do. Plenty of them do have modern features but Canobie does it in such a way that it feels as if a major chain company did it, and it looks great.
Untamed itself is fairly good for a standard Eurofighter with OTSRs with not as much headbanging as I expected. The supports painted to look like tree trunks is the icing on the cake for me.
Moving on we hit the part of the park that made me absolutely fall in love with Canobie. In between Untamed and the lake is a few flat rides, gardens and a picnic grove that runs down to the lake. This part of the park that includes rides like a caterpillar and an old fashion sky ride feels like the perfect step back in time. Standing in line for the caterpillar and looking over at families having a great time in the picnic groves and then looking at the lake with a few boaters here and there made me feel like I had stepped back in time to the golden age of amusement parks. Being 18 years old at the time of this trip I had never experienced a park that had that type of feel to it. I had only heard about it from my Grandma who frequented Cleveland Ohio's Euclid Beach and a few VHS tapes of other long forgotten Cleveland amusement parks. Thanks to Canobie Lake Park I felt like I had truly stepped back in time to an amusement park my Grandma would've visited and I will always love Canobie for keeping this part of the park the way it was (for the most part) back in the 1920s and 30s. (Feel free to skip this part if you don't care about a little sidebar further explaining my love for this section of Canobie Lake Park in particular)
At the time of our trip my above mentioned Grandmother had been sliding downhill with dementia, and the affects of a stoke she had had a few years ago that didn't affect her physically but hit her hard mentally, pretty quickly. We knew it was only a matter of months before she was riding roller coasters in the sky. She passed away in late November, only about 3.5 months after our visit. Her and I were very close and she is the one who got my mom hooked on amusement parks who then got me hooked on amusement parks. Unfortunately by the time I was old enough to ride roller coasters, her riding days had passed. So, being able to experience a park like Canobie that has a section of the park that my grandma could appreciate because of its similarity to parks she grew up with was super special to me. By that stage in her life she mostly just slept, and if she was awake she certainly didn't know who I was or what I was saying to her. So telling her about Canobie Lake Park was pointless. That being said, if she was healthy enough to have a conversation about Canobie Lake Park, I'm sure she would've really really enjoyed hearing about it and looking at pictures.
So I really really thank Canobie Lake Park for keeping this area of the park as classic as it can be so that I could, in a way, share an amusement park experience with my Grandma. I have only visited parks in the US, and none of them had this quality that Canobie does. Again, thank you Canobie.Back to your regularly scheduled trip report
After a nice walk that takes you in front of the lake and a ballroom, you run into the Boston Harbor section of the park. This is another part that makes you feel like you could be at a major park. I mean what small park has a giant shoot the chutes ride with some pretty decent theming all around it? On the surface it seems like the transition between the section of the park containing the caterpillar and Boston Harbor would be pretty awkward, but Canobie executes it perfectly.
Moving on from there you have more flat rides, new and old and the Canobie Corkscrew coaster. Canobie Corkscrew isn't much to write home about being a simple Arrow corkscrew coaster but, Canobie is a good home for this coaster.
You then enter the western themed section of the park which includes one of the better log flumes I've ever been on and a quirky dark ride that needs to be ridden to fully believe. It's a trip
While eating at the pasta place overlooking the lake (really good by the way) we realized how much we were enjoying Canobie, and decided Six Flags could wait another day. Unfortunately our day at Canobie was cut a little short anyways thanks to a pretty large thunderstorm, but it was still really cool to watch the storm roll in while sitting on a bench right on the lake. The rain started, and thus ended our amazing day at what is now one of my favorite amusement parks. I can't wait to get back, whenever that may be. Hopefully very soon.
On to some pictures.... Fair warning, I took a lot. I'll try to cut it down some.
Hope you enjoyed reading. Drop some comments below and look forward to the next installment which will be our day hitting Quassy, Lake Compounce, and SFNE.