Ghost Town – 2

Moving along in the park…

Ghost Town in the Sky Round Up

I used to love riding round ups, but when I hit 22 or so I just quit enjoying most of the Twirl and Hurl attractions. I’ll still ride one occasionally, but I just don’t get much satisfaction from it. Like your mom.

Ghost Town in the Sky Scrambler

Undertaker was a Big Eli Scrambler. Again, me and spinners aren’t a great mix but I will still try from time to time. This one wasn’t too rough on me.

Ghost Town in the Sky Pony Rides

Ugh.  Just no.

Ghost Town in the Sky the ghost town

At last we’re reaching the eponymous “ghost town.”

Ghost Town in the Sky ghost town 3

This was the bread and butter of Ghost Town in the Sky during its heyday. There would be gunfights in the city streets and many characters wandering around and interacting with visitors. We didn’t have internet back then, okay?

Ghost Town in the Sky saloon show

Inside the saloon, guests could grab a bite and a drink while watching a performance.

Ghost Town in the Sky saloon show 3

Uh-oh. Sometimes the show would get disrupted by cowboys who had their eyes on certain performers.  Awkward…

Ghost Town in the Sky Saloon Show 2

While those guys sorted out their differences elsewhere, volunteers would be drafted from the audience to take part in the show. It was all pretty hokey, but still better than Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue.

Ghost Town in the Sky the ghost town 2

Unfortunately we didn’t see any gunfights or anything. Maybe our timing was bad?

Ghost Town in the Sky schoolhouse

Creepy mannequins in the schoolhouse are creepy (and I guess Tommy’s sister got in trouble too).

Ghost Town in the Sky museum

They had a small museum set up with lots of old picture from the park.

Ghost Town in the Sky Back in the Day

I mean, look at the crowd in this picture. This place really was jumping back in the day!

Ghost Town in the Sky cast members

And the popular characters…well, um. Western North Carolina, folks.

Ghost Town in the Sky Cliffhanger

We finished off our tour wandering around the Cliffhanger coaster.  This O.D. Hopkins coaster started off life in 1988 as the Red Devil coaster.  It operated without incident until the park initially closed in 2002.

Ghost Town in the Sky Cliffhanger station

The layout of the coaster was interesting – rather than using a traditional lift hill, the train left the station and immediately went into its first drop, leading to the one inversion.  Beyond that, it just kind of meandered around and ended with a lift hill back into the station. Probably would have been a lame ride if it wasn’t built into the side of a freaking mountain.

Ghost Town in the Sky ACERs on Cliffhanger

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to find out for sure.  After collecting dust and rust for five years, the coaster proved to be beyond saving.  The new owners dropped $6 million into restoring the ride, but all they were able to get were a few days of operation in 2009.

Ghost Town in the Sky group on the lift

Last I heard, they were either going to convert the structure into some kind of rope course or melt it down to build a giant cross on the top of the mountain. Neither one of those sound remotely appealing.

Ghost Town in the Sky skylift down

So that was it for our little tour.  We hopped onto the chair lifts and rode it back down to the parking deck.  The chair lift took a good ten or so minutes (according to a real estate listing for the park, this is the “largest chair lift in the eastern United States.”  Yeah.  And dogs can’t look up).

Ghost Town in the Sky skylift down 2

So I don’t know what the heck is going on here now.  They have a new name (Ghost Town Village), a working website, and plans to open for 2016.  I really don’t know what kind of shape they’re going to be in when (if) they reopen – the park has been closed for five years, and it looks like there’s been a lot of vandalism and trespassing up there.

UPDATE (June 2016): Oh, nevermind.  They’re not reopening after all.

Hey, you could have saved a few minutes of reading all this if you had just clicked on this video instead. Sorry, I guess I could have put the video at the beginning, huh?

By the way, there’s a place about ten minutes down the road called “Santa’s Land.” Don’t go there. It’s gross.

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