For some, it's a trip to Disney World or several days' worth of sunny sojourning in wine-filled Napa Valley. For others, it's seven days with extended family members and friends hunkered down in a sprawling, several-floor beach house along one of the Carolina coasts. For yet others, it is "The Strip" a.k.a. "Sin City" - Vegas, baby.
However, for the Kimerer clan, the one summer spot that we religiously visit, without fail, every single year, is (drumroll, please) Cedar Point.
Why? Aw, heck so many reasons.
First of all, we (and more than three million other annual guests to the Sandusky hot spot) feel it is the single best amusement park in the nation. Period. Unofficially, there are roughly tens of thousands of us from the Mahoning Valley who contribute to that total. The Kimerers do our part to keep that number on the upswing.
Only at the Point can you ride two of the world's 10 highest roller coasters in one fell swoop: those being the Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force. I finally braved the former this summer for the very first time. Millennium I have ridden dozens of times in the past several years. And every single ride has been nothing short of total awesomeness.
Now this year, I was bound and determined not to go home from our annual pilgrimage without having conquered this coaster. So, with my son and niece in the car in front of me (it was the maiden voyage for Kyle as well, though Kelly is an old pro at the Dragster), I awaited the green light with my stomach in my throat thinking I might be starting to feel
Then BOOM, we shot out of the gate like a rocket (literally) and were back on the ground before I could finish thinking of that last word. It was nervous, just FYI.
"Best ride ever!" I laughed as we prepared to disembark Top Thrill. Other reasons Cedar Point is our summer destination of choice? Gatekeeper, the brand new and world's largest winged coaster (at least until some rotten other park builds one 4 centimeters longer).
It is super-looper-duper fun and just welcomed its millionth rider this past week, only two months into the season, BTW. Let's not forget the old standbys of Maverick (arguably my all-time fave coaster), Magnum and even Gemini, with its sweet-little twin track feature.
For the very, very brave, there's an adjoining Adventure Park and for water-lovers, it's Soak City all the way. Lest we forget CP's beloved boardwalk, which winds past the historic Breakers hotel and offers a breathtaking view of both the park and the Lake Erie shoreline especially in early morning during a run - just sayin'.
Then again, another advantage of the Point is its proximity to the Lake Erie islands. No Kimerer family trip would be complete without a zip over on the Jet Express, then golf cart ride around Put-In-Bay sightseeing and shopping - topped off with a stop at Tortuga's restaurant. This year the fun included our dear friends the Mauers who kindly followed our lead despite the pounding rain and tornado sirens we encountered on this year's island jaunt. It was almost as fun as Top Thrill, though the fear factor was a little more authentic.
Either way, only at Cedar Point do the college kids manning the rides take pity on weather-cursed riders and, at night's end, offer a courtesy second spin on Maverick's last ride of the evening to make up for some of the fun missed out during the thunderstorm-packed day.
Only at Cedar Point does everyone in your party from age 4 to 47 find something fun to do just about every second of the day.
Only at Cedar Point do your son and goddaughter look at you before the trip has even ended and say in unison, "What week are we coming back again next year?"
America's Roller Coast; a Kimerer must-stop this summer and ever more. Ride on!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and Cedar Point adore-er. Send her discount coupons for the Point and she'll add you to her will. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.