Is that near Pittsburgh? Is there anything there? Where are you from again? These all questions sound familiar to someone who grew up in Meadville, PA. Read this article only Meadville natives would understand.
1. What’s Meadville?
When I came to school, this dreaded question came up repeatedly. Trying to explain where you live when you live in a town of just a few thousand can be difficult. I’m sure you’ve found this when you travel anywhere. My response is usually “one hour south of Erie and two hours north of Pittsburgh.” If that doesn’t work, usually I respond, “in the absolute opposite direction of Philly.” If that doesn’t work, just give up.
2. Dad’s Dog Food
I bet you can smell it now. That distinct smell of Dad’s Dog Food in the hot summer months. You can’t escape it no matter how much you try. But hey, at least the dogs are happy.
3. Allegheny’s Beauty
If you grew up in Meadville, PA and went to school here, you have probably visited Allegheny’s campus multiple times and noticed the beauty. Senior pictures? Pre-prom pictures? Allegheny is the place. The campus is 200 years old, adding an old-fashioned charm to the city of Meadville.
4. Crawford County Fair
You probably look forward to this week-long event all year long. It marks the end of summer—the last bang before the school year. Being one of the biggest fairs in the whole state, there’s something for everyone. You can stroll through the multiple barns full of different animals, gorge on delicious fair food, take a ride on the Ferris Wheel, and so much more. Teens congregate by the coin toss, and families walk the midway in search of dinner. Want to catch a concert? The fair usually holds two or three a year. It really is an exciting place for everyone, young and old.
5. What’s That Sign Say?
Ah, yes. The famous road sign art, famous if you grew up in Meadville, PA. In 2000, a few Allegheny College students teamed up with PennDOT to create this 1200 foot long masterpiece. It features a giant air balloon, the historic Bentley Hall of Allegheny College, a Ferris wheel that actually moves, and much more.
6. The Starbucks Situation
If you are not a Meadville native and you drive through the town, you may notice something is missing—Starbucks. For us, Starbucks is a luxury. Taking a trip to Erie always means stopping at the coffee haven. Luckily, Tim Hortons is pretty good too.
7. The Academy
Chances are if you grew up in Meadville, PA, you’ve been to the Academy Theater at least once. This charming building features many shows a year put on by local theater groups and dance companies. Whether you attend Friday night showings after a long week or brunch followed by a Sunday matinee, you are never disappointed leaving the theater.
8. Mom & Pop Shops
This town is littered with small restaurants and shops, full of things you can’t get anywhere else. My personal favorites include Julian’s Bar and Grill and the new Tarot Bean Coffee Company. What’s better than a wrap from Julian’s? Maybe it’s a milkshake from the E Street Eatery or breakfast at the Market House. While you are waiting for your food at the Market House, you can stroll through the other part of the building which sells many items from local vendors (the original paintings are my favorite). Whatever you may like, there is probably a local business for that.
9. Walmart Adventures
This one is more for the teenagers who grew up in Meadville, PA. It’s a Friday night and you are with your friends. You are bored out of your mind and if you haven’t realized yet, there really isn’t many teen hangout spots in Meadville. So where do you go? Walmart of course! I’m not sure why but Walmart seems to be the place to go when you are in need of an adventure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen videos of people in Wally-World on Snapchat. I have even ventured there a few times with my friends. Just don’t ride their bikes through the aisles. They really don’t like that.
10. Conneaut Lake
Just a few minutes’ drive from Meadville is the beautiful Conneaut Lake. Of course there is the amusement park open in the summer for family adventures, but Conneaut Lake is so much more! You can go out boating on those warm summer days, or in the fall you can attend the Pumpkin Fest. Then there is the historic Hotel Conneaut. While there are tales of the ghosts that walk the halls, that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful!
I have many memories of Woodcock from when I was a kid, as you probably do. The small campground is always full in the summer months. Nearby is the mile long dam where families take strolls together or maybe you go for a run. While it may not be the ocean, Woodcock does have its beaches! Kids splash in the water while people in kayaks pass them by. There also many beautiful maintained trails for biking and hiking. Woodcock is the perfect outdoor getaway.
Growing up in a town so small, there is an undeniable sense of community. While you are on your Walmart adventure, you may run into your 3rd grade teacher. One of your classmate’s families could own a local restaurant you frequent. Everywhere you turn at the Crawford Country Fair, you can see a familiar face. This strong sense of community is definitely my favorite part of growing up here, and I’m sure it’s one of yours if you grew up in Meadville, PA as well.