TR: GAdv, Lake Compounce, SFNE
I decided to take a trip out to the east coast this past weekend. I came out from Cincinnati and decided to an aggressive trip which would include the following:
For those of you may be wondering "why in the **** is he doing all of that driving?", well...I'm asking myself that same question! Suffice it to say that 3 Point Challenge is a hobby of mine. The prize limits at that game present challenges, as most of the "good" prizes are limited to one per day. I had to hit parks multiple days in order to take full advantage of the prizes offered.
Beastmaster recently provided a great recap of a very enjoyable trip to Great Adventure in his report so I won't expound too much on his account. The day was beautiful and the company was a lot of fun. I'd like to thank Mike and Jen for coming out to the park, and the only thing that could have made it better was having a little bit more time before the crowds picked up. Aside from that, it was everything a day at an amusement park should be!
I left Great Adventure and headed towards SFNE. I ended up taking a sidetrip to Lake Compounce, however, as I really wanted to get a ride (my first) on Boulder Dash. I arrived at the park around 5:30 (with a park opening around 5). The park was pretty busy already, but what confounded me was the line to get tickets. Each of the lines to get tickets must have been 40-50 people deep! Sell tickets online already!! Thankfully a new ticket window opened and I bypassed most of the line.
I only got on two rides there, Wildcat and Boulder Dash. Wildcat has a decent layout, has buzzbars and has some nice pops of airtime. That's what I would have wanted to say after I got off the ride. Unfortunately, the ride is BRUTAL on the bottom of every drop and now ranks in my bottom 10 wood coasters. Good times!
Boulder Dash, on the other hand, is a shining example of what can be done with some creativity and the designers allowed some flexibility with the design. I love the fact that even after riding I can't remember the layout. The airtime is present although it's not quite as strong as it is on some other CCI creations. It's like a bigger, speedier Raven without the one "OMG" moment that Raven possesses. Boulder Dash is VERY good, however, and is definitely a top 5 contender. I'm really starting to appreciate CCI's creations (Shivering Timbers, Boulder Dash, Raven and Legend were all in top form this year).
I'll keep the Six Flags New England portion short as I didn't do much here either day because of the crowds. I did get two rides on Bizarro (one Saturday evening and one first thing on Sunday). Bizarro isn't running as well now as it was last season. It's still a very, very good ride, but honestly, I think that Supes at SFA is a better ride THIS year. I'm not sure if that's an indictment on Bizarro or a testament to how well Supes at SFA is running, but the proof is in the riding and I had more fun on Supes this year. I can see why Millennium Force picked up a few votes on Bizarro in the Golden Tickets this year.
Great Adventure, as reported elsewhere, was PACKED on Sunday. I got to the park around 8:30 Sunday evening and was greeted by an entirely full main and overflow lot. They were parking people in the Hurricane Harbor lot and there were about 10 full rows of cars in that lot. I overheard an employee say they had over 50,000 people in the park Sunday (on a sidenote...I believe Kings Island had a similar number of people on Saturday, so it must have been a busy weekend in a lot of places). I didn't ride anything Sunday evening as the lines were entirely too long.
Monday morning at Great Adventure was great. I wanted to get a Nitro marathon in and I was able to squeeze out eight rides in different rows before having to leave the station. Nitro is definitely more fun in the back row, but it's no slouch up in those first two rows either. When B&M reshaped their airtime hills on their hypers (starting with Silver Star in 2002), I firmly believe the airtime on every newer hyper is stronger in the front of the train. Goliath (SFOG), Behemoth, Diamondback, and Intimidator are all better up front IMO.
Just as a quick sidenote, there were two noteworthy restaurant stops on this trip:
Hartford Road Pizza:
This was a small Italian place (maybe 10 tables) just east of Hartford, CT. I walked in and noticed a calzone being put into a box for another customer. An otherwise non-worthy event ordinarily, but this particular calzone came with its own zip code! It was, by far, the biggest calzone I've ever seen and was at least a foot across. I asked the employee behind the counter if that was a special order calzone. She said "nope, that's our regular size. That's how they all come." I love America! Incidentally, I did not have the calzone. I ordered the pizza, an order of spaghetti (which came with soup) and an order of wings. The pizza was very good (I ordered a medium but this pizza would have been at least a large anywhere else. They make everything supersized there!). The spaghetti was also very good. The stars of the show, however, were the soup and the wings.
We'll start with the soup. It was called pasta fagioli, and as far as I could tell there was a little pasta, some beans, some beef, tomato, and a bunch of italian style seasonings including basil, oregano, and olive oil. The easiest way I can describe it is an Italian-style Texas chili. It was DELICIOUS. It was quite possibly the best soup I've ever tasted.
I didn't order the wings initially but I quickly changed my mind when I saw another customer have theirs delivered to their table. I'm so glad I did that, because they were absolutely fantastic. They were not sauced, which usually means that they lack significant flavor but that was not the case at all here. They had a nice, crispy, golden brown exterior and a crunch that exploded with flavor in every bite. I've probably had wings at over 100 places and these were in the top 3, perfect in every regard. I'm really glad this place isn't closer because I'd gain 10 pounds every week! Overall grade: solid A
Oliver - A Bistro:
This is a little bistro in downtown Bordentown, NJ. I've always wondered what it would be like to taste a 5-star quality meal and I found it here at a very reasonable price. I dined from their 3 course prix fixe menu. I'll spare you the same wordy analysis as above for two of the items (the roasted potato soup and their pan-seared chicken and risotto, both very good by the way), but I did want to point out one dish.
They had a bruschetta with mushrooms, goat cheese, and arugula that they served with a bit of truffle sauce they sprinkled on the arugula. OMG. The goat cheese and the mushrooms really complimented each other nicely and came together for a very smooth taste, which was quite a surprise given those two ingredients. The arugula and the truffle oil really added a lovely texture and complexity to the bruschetta. Fabulous dish and the highlight of the meal. Overall grade: A-
Thanks for reading!
Glad you got to hit all the parks you wanted to. SFGAdv is notoriously horrible at night during Fright Fest - good thing you stayed until Monday. Did you get on GL?
How did you do on the other 10 point challenges? Did you win me that 42" plasma TV yet? LOL!!!