January 22, 2013


Too big!
Our Hens on Ice tour keeps the roller coaster of worldly destinations going! After a recent day trip to peck at The Big Apple (see video!), I left full and have been digesting back in America's mid-sized cities. I've found that even the seemingly dull or scary cities have had something nice to offer. I imagined Huntsville, Alabama as cockroaches and hate crimes, but it turned out to have a gorgeous, duck-filled park downtown. I envisioned Hartford, Connecticut as gang violence and collapsed factories, but it had a vibrant downtown of sassy restaurants, European architecture and a large park. So, if even Tupelo, Mississippi proved a little something to offer, I changed my initial image of Erie, Pennsylvania before we arrived. My image of a polluted lake and dreary weather had to be wrong - I was ready for a lakefront beach stroll and sassy cafes. Here are some highlights from our stay in Erie.

Give me all your biscuits!
1. The armed robbery at the Golden Corral. Our hotel in Erie was near many chain restaurants and box stores, which is a treat for us even if there aren't any sidewalks to get us there. (We had this problem before. Check it out!) My hotel room window had a nice view of a Golden Corral next door, and Lake Erie if I squinted. I've never eaten at a Golden Corral; no one in my family has. My dad always comments on how he'd like to eat there every time he passes the one by our house, while my mom refuses to eat there because they don't serve wine. Looking out the hotel window, I thought maybe I'd be the first in my family to sample The Corral this week. After a day of hibernating from the cold, the local news featured that very Golden Corral - not for best chicken nuggets or health code violations, but instead for an armed hold up! A masked gunman ordered everyone to the ground with his gun, robbed the register and fled into the woods. He's still on the loose and I've still never been to a Corral, but our hotel made the news footage.

Who got popcorn?
2. Our arena under construction. We've played a variety of venues with Hens on Ice. Sometimes we play in big arenas that house professional sports teams. Sometimes we play venues that were never meant to hold ice. And sometimes we put our ice on a baseball field, like when we played in the Toronto Blue Jays' home. Erie's venue was a new one for the list: one that was closed? As we approached the building covered in tarps and scaffolding, I thought, Oh, they must be building a new arena near wherever we're playing. Nope, that was our arena. Nothing boosts passerby ticket sales like an arena that looks closed. At least there were also tarps on the inside of the arena to keep the look consistent and block the seats that would've had the best view. Even some sparrows flew in to catch some shows! While I enjoyed their chirps and flutters, I think they still owe the box office $15 each for that bird's eye view.

3. The weather. We spent two weeks in Connecticut and I had finally accepted winter. Sure, it's cold and I cried a few times, but with two sweatshirts and a winter coat making me look like the Michelin Man, I could bare walking five blocks outdoors. I was ready for winter! Then came Erie. When I first stepped off the bus, Old Man Winter punched me with his bloated fist. But it was late at night and Old Man Winter is nocturnal, right? Well, he doesn't sleep in Erie. My ambitions to shop and eat at all the box stores and chain restaurants were dashed with Winter's backhand. I barely made it to the Mexican restaurant and Wal-Mart on our first day. For the rest of the week, I just looked out the window and shook my fist at the gray winter days. No one should have to be outside in that gloomy freezer! When I ran out of food, I resorted to hoarding cookies from the front desk and Applebee's.

Someone would pay good money for this view.

We left Erie on a bus, crunching and sliding through a white-out blizzard, but even a fake Mayan apocalypse couldn't stop us from getting out there. Erie probably has more to offer when Old Man Winter leaves for the southern hemisphere, but another hen can check it out for me.


  1. Eerie, Indiana was an American television series that originally aired on NBC from 1991 to 1992. The series was syndicated on The Disney Channel.

    The series revolves around Marshall Teller, a teenager whose family moves to the desolate town of Eerie, Indiana, population of 16,661. While moving into his new home, he meets Simon Holmes, one of the few normal people in Eerie. Together, they are faced with bizarre scenarios, which include discovering a sinister group of intelligent dogs that are planning on taking over the world, and meeting a tornado hunter who is reminiscent of Captain Ahab. They also confront numerous urban legends such as Bigfoot and a still-living Elvis Presley.

    Sounds like you were in the same place! :)

    1. Or at least a parallel Universe!