This past weekend with the sun shining and a sense of recapturing childhood a little before a major life event like a wedding (mine is less than 2 weeks a way), my fiancee, Ro, and I decided to do a couple day trips, and these parks did not disappoint.

As a matter of fact, I think we are pretty lucky to have these classic parks so close by, each with lots of Northern New England character.

Day 1: Salem to Canobie Lake Park! I had been once as a pre-teen (the park seemed smaller than I remember), but seeing so much updated now and the many rides and attractions added was fantastic.

We had fun having a brew in the "Sons of Liberty" Tavern + riding the Psycho Drome, the Ice Jet and Sky Ride among others; we also marveled at the talent from Sinatra to Cher who'd performed in the Dance Hall, their appearances years ago immortalized in a walk of fame before the venue.

Last, though we didn't partake in the water park, steel drum music, margaritas and staff in Hawaiian shirts gave us the feel of a mini tropical vacation to end the experience at the park.

Day 2: First we headed up to Old Orchard Beach, and in addition to taking in the sand, some shops and a surf-side lunch, we enjoyed Palace Playland, which has been a beach staple for generations.

The park is still loaded with all the carnival classics, both rides and games and a few surprises including a cork screw coaster and flume ride. It had the feel of similar parks in Atlantic City and Coney Island, and the games and various food stands were fun.

​On the way back to NH, we stopped at York's Wild Kingdom, and while we passed on the zoo, we took in the Ferris Wheel and some put-put mini golf.

Now as far as I'm aware, the only other similar hometown parks remaining (again not including the big one in Springfield, Massachusetts) are Quassy and Lake Compounce down in Connecticut. And if you're really into a drive, there's Rye Playland just over the New York line as old favorites like Rocky Point in Rhode Island and Whalom Park in Massachusetts are now just fond memories.

Any other suggestions? Should we have included Story Land in Glen to our park hopping? What's your favorite amusement park in New England?

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