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Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park and LEAF Open Market

I will start by saying that the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park (aka LEAF) is a truly bucolic place that is a central gathering place for the people of Erie, and a beautiful place to relax. I will go more in depth about the beautiful arboretum later in the article and will start with their biweekly LEAF Open Market, where farmers come and sell their goods, artisans sell their wares, and you can get all sorts of great and yummy handmade foods. It is fully dog friendly, and it is set up on the corner of the arboretum property, which means you can go in and get something, then go sit on a bench and take in the beauty of nature at the park, then head back in and get more stuff and shop. I even got the earliest head start on holiday shopping that I have ever done with some of the craft goods. The LEAF Open Market runs biweekly from summer through September. The arboretum is open year round though and is a perfect place to relax. 

LEAF Open Markets run biweekly on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm on the 8th street side of Frontier Park.

Dates as follows: June 17th, July 1st, July 15th, July 29th, August 12th, August 26th, September 9th, September 23rd

There is something really special about urban parks like this where the people collectively come, relax, and take in nature. It is a kind of energy that you really don't find anywhere else. I would argue that thriving parks in the center of a city are the lifeblood of a place, the thing that creates a community, and Frontier Park serves as the heart of Erie like that, a bucolic area to take in nature and gather as a community.
Sundae is a terrific ice cream company that makes delicious soft serve and desserts. The soft serve was so creamy and flavorful. I had no idea that they were vegan until after I was done eating it. Absolutely bonkers delicious.

The two of them trying to get more of the doggie sundae that they make. 

Handmade soaps

A view of the setup of the different vendors. Brit can be seen shopping over at the gourmet olive oil shop. There were also candle stands, wood carvers, farmers, bakeries, and more.

Now for a tour and background on the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park. The vendors are set up in the corner of the park, and some great food places are located on the southern edge of the park, including Altered State Distilling, which is home to fantastic cocktails and food, and Romolo Chocolates. Coupled with the Open Market and the beauty of the park, you have an awesome place to spend an afternoon, like we ended up doing. The arboretum was proposed in 1997, planted in 1998, and then formally opened and dedicated in 2001, thanks to funding allocated by Governor Tom Ridge, who originally hailed from Erie. 

Frontier Park was founded long before that, but the addition of LEAF, with its more than 300 varieties of trees with more than 1000 specimens but now with the landscaping and planned plantings, the park has the feel of a botanic garden, with plantings optimized for beauty and recreational use. 

There are water features throughout the park land that include a creek and a pond, and the way they unfold has an almost dreamy kind of feel. Additionally, wildflowers are located throughout the property and really look great in the late summer and early fall. The topography of the park is utilized beautifully, with so many nooks made to just sit on a bench and relax, along with paved paths throughout the park to exercise on, walk your dogs, go bicycling on, and more.

The park has all of the makings for great adventures for these two pups. They love to take in the sights, smells, sounds, and feels of these kinds of places. 
And what better place to get out that puppy energy for Buddy.

They even went down to the creek for a drink, though we cannot let Buddy in just yet as he was still healing at that point. CeCe couldn't get enough of the water though!
The tree varieties are neatly labelled so you can learn about them. Even with this being a young arboretum, we are reaching the point of maturity for many of the larger trees. 

And as I mentioned earlier, Altered State Distillery, right across the street from the arboretum, is a great place to go and get some craft cocktails with their own spirits and some delicious foods. They also often have live music and more. Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park and the businesses around it have everything you need to have a wonderful and relaxing afternoon. 


Bucktail/Top of the World/Mason Hill Overlook: a 360 Degree View in Elk State Forest

The Bucktail Overlook, also known as the Top of the World Overlook, and the Mason Hill Overlook, is a pretty incredible spot that provides 360 degree views of the Sinnemahoning Creek Valley and the area of the Elk Herd in Elk State Forest. 
It is named after the heroic 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (13th Reserves) and the subsequent 149th and 150th Pennsylvania Regiments of the Union Army, helping guide our nation to winning the Civil War. 
The regiment's nickname is the Bucktails and they are renowned for their bravery and service in fighting off the Confederacy and preserving our nation. They wore Bucktails on their hats, which made them stand out amongst the many fighting groups of the Union. The grand view at the Bucktail Overlook, which is also referred to as the Top of the World, is certainly a great tribute to their service. 

The views here are so expansive, but I feel like they would be amplified with a fire tower or observation tower located at the center of the overlook area to help give an even more outstanding view. Perhaps something like a monument towards the Bucktails, similar to what they have in Gettysburg, to serve as both an ornate memorial to the people that enabled the future of Pennsylvania and our entire nation, and to give an even better view of the spot. 

Our two pups absolutely adored the grassy clearing at the overlook to take a break and play hard after sitting in the car on a nice scenic ride for a while.

We definitely recommend checking out this spectacular spot. It is within 20 minutes, just east of Benezette and within the range of the elk herd. The state forest road leading up to it is pretty substantial, with some divots and sharp curves, so keep that in mind during tougher weather conditions. You will definitely need to be dodging road hazards on the way up. Additionally, the renowned Fred Woods Trail a 4.9 mile loop trail with a rock city is located right nearby. 

It is located off Mason Hill Road, a state forest road in Elk State Forest.

Coordinates for the overlook:

41.349712, -78.153497

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