Ah, Ghost Town in the Sky. If you lived in South Carolina, you almost certainly found yourself subjected to this commercial at some point in time:
It was a staple of late night programming, often popping up in between brand-new episodes of DS9. Honestly, the commercials never really made me want to head up to the North Carolina mountains. I didn’t actually go until 2007, when Tommy over at ghettoassparadise threw together a little event with some early morning ERT.
Ghost Town in the Sky was the creation of one R.B. Coburn. Opened in 1961, the park was remarkably popular, becoming one of the biggest tourist draws in west North Carolina (okay, that’s a somewhat low bar). Unfortunately, it had fallen into disrepair and had closed for several years before new owners spent a considerable amount of money revitalizing it for the 2007 season.
We started out our day riding in vans to the park proper, about 4,500 feet up.
The park is technically located on a ridge of Buck mountain, which is fairly close to the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We took vans rather than the chair lifts because the park hadn’t opened for the day yet (it was much faster anyways).
In addition to vans and chairlifts, the owners were trying to restore the park’s inclined railway, but sadly they were never able to get it operational.
Lots of little low-key signs like this were around the areas we saw. The little waterfall was quite lovely, though.
As you can see, they had a lot of plans for 2008 expansions, including getting the park’s Cliffhanger rollercoaster up and running. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that a lot of these expansions didn’t happen.
The first ride we got to was Tumbleweed, a Schiff kiddie coaster. I don’t know why they bothered opening it up for us – it’s not like we had any kids with us…
Oh, wait. Credit whores are gonna credit whore (I passed).
Next up was a few trips on the park’s Fabbri drop tower, Geronimo Drop. If this thing was set up in a parking lot, no one would care…
But when this is your view from the top? Okay, I’ll ride it. The operator even held us up there for a while so we could take pictures and shoot video. And believe me, after 15 seconds or so you really start to think about how high up you actually are…
Can’t believe dude wore a damn Theme Park Review shirt to a GAP event. Some people…
Gunslinger was your basic run-of-the-mill Chance Yo-Yo. Again, nothing that would turn your head if you saw it at a carnival.
Giving credit where it’s due, the design of the ride was really well done and the new paintjob really popped.
For a basic old Yo-Yo, though, this was a lot of fun. The ride’s proximity to the edge really made it more exciting (and you really start to think about how strong those chains are).
Uh-oh. Looks like Karen was getting all arty on us.
Finishing out the trio of rides in this immediate area was Dream Catcher, a standard Hrubetz paratrooper ride. It should also be noted that they did a really nice job building up the wooden structures around the rides, reducing the traveling carnival appearance.
All in all, this little area of the park was rather charming.