OLEAN, N.Y. — One of the signs that spring has finally arrived in the Twin Tier area is the opening of Rock City Park every year in May.
On Monday, Cindy Smith, who owns the 505 Route 16 South park with her husband, Dale, was at the facility getting the ready to open Saturday for hikers, walkers, outdoor enthusiasts and those who enjoy picnics. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children ages 6 to 12. Admission includes the 45-minute hiking trail along the prehistoric ocean floor which contains the largest exposure of quartz conglomerate in the world. Visitors are also invited to stop at the fluorescent rock room, the history museum and gift shop inside the large park building. Beginning Saturday, the park will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. COVID-19 safety guidelines are followed inside the building.
Assisting Smith the spring cleaning inside the building was her longtime friend, Betsy Zampogna, former owner of the Ho-Sta-Geh restaurant.
Before starting their clean-up and preparing the shop for visitors, Smith and Zampogna shared a few laughs and memories.
“I’m going to help (Smith) put the sweatshirts and clothes back out today” on the racks and shelves, Zampogna said, noting she also helps the Smiths at other times at the park.
While the park will not host an arts and crafts show this year for Mother’s Day, Smith said they are looking at other activities to stage during the summer.
“We couldn’t do (the arts and crafts show) last year because of COVID, and we just decided to let it go one more year,” Smith explained.
She does hope, however, to host other craft sales on a smaller basis.
“In the summer I’m hoping to do what I saw on the way home from Florida — the pop-up markets,” Smith remarked. “It’s where people who would have been a vendor at our arts and crafts show, can come in and set up a booth for the day … they’ll have their own tents” to sell their items. She said more information will be posted on Rock City’s Facebook page in the future.
“Our regulars, who used to be our vendors, were extremely disappointed that we’re not doing the arts and crafts show” but now have the option to sell their wares at other times during the season, she added.
Smith said a couple of new developments at the business is the Rock City Park name was painted on the company truck’s side doors, and a new picnic pavilion will be constructed as the old one is believed to have collapsed from high winds in March.
“We have a contractor who will rebuild it … I think it can be salvaged,” Smith said of the pavilion, which has only its roof remaining on the ground.
Smith said she is looking forward to the upcoming season, as people enjoyed the outside activities offered at the park last year.
“We’re always busy, but we were so busy last year because COVID kept individuals and families in their homes,” she recalled. “This was an option to actually get out and hike and have a picnic. A lot of them came and spent the day.”
On a final note, Smith said the park expects to host the annual gem and mineral show in the fall.
“That will be going back to our regular schedule,” she conjectured.
For more information on the park, its history, directions and general rates visit the website www.rockcitypark.com or call (716)372-7790.