By: Erin Callahan, Staff Writer
Erie, Pa. located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, is a small town that encompasses something different for everyone. You can find campfires on every beach in the summer, shred the slopes at a nearby ski resort in the winter, and catch a beautiful sunset over the water. Junior communication major Rob Baumann, a native of this lakeside city, admires its family atmosphere and the different adventure that each season brings.
Born and raised in Erie, Baumann described it as much more than a small town. The culture is diverse and friends are found everywhere, he said.
“It had that small town feel, but sometimes it had the big town feel as well,” he said. “I had a big group of friends, and all of our parents were connected in some way. But at the same time, since my high school was the biggest in Erie,
I was meeting new people every day.”
Baumann said the unexpected diversity of Erie created an environment that made him more culturally aware.
“You had a little bit of everybody,” he said. “We had a lot of international students, and other people were really rich while others were really poor. We were all intertwined, and I was friends with many of those different kinds of people. Even though we are a small town, I think we are much more diverse than people think.”
In accommodation to this diverse population, Erie offers many opportunities and activities to enjoy, Baumann said. And every season brings something new.
“In the summer, it’s all about water. We’re either boating, jet skiing, or having campfires on the beach. In the fall, we like to go out to a place called Buttermilk Falls. It’s about a 15-minute walk through the woods along the creek bed, and it’s so beautiful that time of year.”
Although Baumann said he prefers the summer and fall seasons, he said winter and spring have their own appeal as well.
“I go tubing and ice fishing here and there. We also have a ski resort not too far away from us. My friends who are avid skiiers and snowboards find that a good time. Spring, eh … it’s very rainy, and I swear we are always the last city to lose all the snow. Our spring never really lasts that long.”
There is one unique feature of Erie that Baumann said he recommends seeing, no matter the season. He said he and his family regularly visit the peninsula at Presque Isle State Park, slightly northwest of the city.
“It’s 11 miles one way and 11 miles back, and there’s one road that you can take all the way around,” he said. “There’s places to pull over and park, where one side is the bay and the other is the lake. A lot of people run and ride bikes there, there’s beaches and boating docks, and volleyball courts. It’s great scenery, with woods and water on either side of you during the whole drive.”
However, despite all of the great people and activities that Erie offers, Baumann said he was looking for something more, and that he didn’t want to support the stereotype: “If you don’t leave for college, you’re never going to leave.”
“Erie is like a bubble. It’s an obstacle that a lot of people can’t advance from,” he said. “I just personally think everyone should get out at least once. Dayton’s not the biggest town, but it does show me that there are other things out there. I would like to possibly raise a family in Erie because I loved growing up there, but in my 20s, I think I’d want to be in a more poppin’ city.”
“Erie really is one of a kind though,” Baumann said. “It offers everyone a little bit of everything, and I believe, as a town, it produces great people.”