by Nikki Walton Stone
Oh, the exhilaration of rocketing down the steep track on a good roller-coaster ride in the summertime. Your stomach gets butterflies just thinking about it! Now imagine that feeling with the brisk winter air hitting your face as you whisk down an actual steep road with four friends on a toboggan: “Woah!” That sounds like a blast, doesn’t it? Well, with just a short trip to Eagles Mere, PA, you can take in some good old-fashioned wintertime fun on the Eagles Mere Toboggan Slide.
The Eagles Mere Toboggan Slide has been a tradition in Sullivan County for 114 years. Since 1904, the Eagles Mere Volunteer Fire Company has been offering visitors a chance to break out of their cooped-up cabin fever and race down an incredible man-made ice track at the intersection of Route 42 and Lake Avenue at the top of the hill.
Picture it: you can almost hear the laughter and happy shrieks of bundled up riders as they reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour heading to the bottom. That’s faster than Space Mountain — or even Splash Mountain — at Disney World, and at just $25 to rent a toboggan that fits up to five adults, Eagles Mere Toboggan Slide makes for an affordable and fun winter adventure with family and friends.
While you watch your friends complain on Facebook about the below-freezing temperatures, it is precisely those frigid temps over — a stretch of time — that makes this exciting seasonal experience possible. The slide opens for the season as soon as the icy track is complete. Comprised of over 1,000 blocks of ice, each weighing about 256 pounds, and hauled in by nine pickup trucks, the slide’s got some impressive heft.
Building it is no easy feat, and it’s all done by volunteers from the local fire company. It will actually take up to 380 staff hours to construct the long slippery course and make sure it’s ready for the public. And when it is finally ready, the track will be open Friday evenings from 6:30 until 9:30, Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Visitors are advised to confirm operating hours by calling 570-525-3244. Watch the Eagles Mere Toboggan Slide video on nepavisitor.com or visit their website, eaglesmeretobogganslide.com, for more details and to see just how much fun winter can be for tweens, teens, college students, and adults alike.
After your run, you can warm up by the fire while sipping a cup of hot cocoa and enjoying other refreshments at their on-site snack shack. Souvenirs are also available for purchase. Some visitors like to make the outing it a day trip or a weekend excursion in the historic village of Eagles Mere, where they can discover places like the Eagles Mere Auto Museum, featuring the ultimate collection of American-made automobiles from the ’50s and ’60s.
The unspoiled town also offers excellent shopping at places like the Common Good, a store that provides earth-friendly, locally handmade items like soaps, textiles, pottery, and even fishing lures. Excellent antiquing is to be enjoyed at places like the Moose Crossing, which features an antique wooden canoe and boat museum, along with shops full of local art, glasswork, and jewelry.
When it’s time to eat, Eagles Mere boasts some choice restaurants, so you can sit back and relax. You may like the inviting rustic warmth of the Barn Tavern, where families with kids feel welcome. At the Barn Tavern, you’ll find exceptionally welcoming service and generous portions. Rumor has it they serve up a dang good Delmonico steak, along with fantastic homemade soups, hot meals, great wings, and one heck of a delicious cheesesteak.
Amanda Ganly of Nicholson, PA, a 2017 visitor to the slide suggests you get to Eagles Mere early, “It is so much fun! Everyone should experience the thrill. People were lined-up, you can wait a bit to go down, but it is worth it. So much fun!”
Why be cooped up in the house all winter? The Eagles Mere Toboggan Slide opens up a whole world that’s just waiting to be explored, and it’s all a short drive away from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.