I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Cedar Point.
In fact, I was there with my family, gazing longingly at the Millennium Force and Top Thrill Dragster roller coasters just last week. Indeed, this is the year I'm finally going to summon up enough courage to tackle the latter.
No, no, the cold hasn't pushed me completely over the edge of sanity; I was simply catching a glimpse of my beloved Sandusky skyline as we visited the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company's indoor water park resort, Castaway Bay, which is open year-round.
Kerry and I packed Kyle and our almost 16-year-old niece Kelly into the car last weekend for an overnighter intended to convince us that we'd left dreary Ohio for climates much warmer and brighter.
And guess what? While you're there, you do almost forget that it's northeast Ohio - and February. Almost. The seagulls shivering on snow-covered posts in the adjacent Lake Erie pier tend to smack of winter, but I digress.
It wasn't our first trip to Castaway Bay, but surely, it was our "fun-nest," as Kyle pointed out.
Not only does the water park boast a sunny, balmy 82-degree Fahrenheit forecast every single day of the year but it also gives winter-weary Ohioans a reason to get up on a chilly mid-winter's morn. Here's some of the reason why.
The water park houses thrill slides such as Rendezvous Run, Paradise Plunge, Pineapple Pipeline, and Tropical Twister, plus two wave pools (life jackets are required), and a Cargo Crossing (a rope bridge challenge). Naturally, just like any outdoor water park, there are toddler areas and food shacks aplenty, as well.
All that notwithstanding, the place is just really cool. The ambiance is authentic and the amenities are plentiful.
I mean, there's something for everyone to do at any given moment. For instance, while the boys hit the slip-n-slide stuff, Kelly and I enjoyed a bite in Ebb & Eddy's Island Sweets & Eats.
And speaking of Ebb & Eddy's, I'm all about the double entendres. As a writer, I've got to hand it to those who conceptualized Castaway Bay. Every aspect of the resort is dubbed with a nautical or tropical moniker that is slyly dual-descriptive. Heck, even the east parking lot is called the Nor' Easter.
Nowhere is Castaway Bay's wry sense of humor more evident than in the main lobby, which consists of a cozy fireplace, oversized and brightly-colored deck-chair sofas and stools, and the replica of a pirate ship - the "Miss Fortune" - that billows up to the Crow's Nest on the hotel's top floor.
A mechanical macaw named "Big Mamma" croons old nautical favorites atop Miss Fortune, as well as Jimmy Buffet classics (etc.), each one with the verses customized to fit the park and its comedic theme. Cute and clever.
Beyond that, you've got to love a place that offers a luxury spa, interior access to TGIFriday's, random greetings from Charlie Brown's nemesis Lucy van Pelt, and free cocoa and a photo op with the Red Baron-battler himself, Snoopy.
Plus, on the off chance that you might still be under-stimulated, there are board games available at the front lobby desk at any time. Seriously.
Oh, and did I mention Kelly won a Wii?
That's right. My niece was casually playing a game of skill in Crabbie's Quarter Deck Arcade when VOILA!
Wii were all quite impressed with her handiwork. It was the perfect topper to an ideal weekend getaway.
Yep, just a short hour-and-a-half drive from Warren sits a little slice of eternal sunshine. And just think, in a mere 75 days, Cedar Point opens for the summer season.
Happy rest of winter, all!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.