When my sister and I were little both of our parents worked full time. Most of the week we stayed with our mom’s parents who babysat us until one of our parents got off of work. For as long as I can remember my grandpa had been retired from the Plain Dealer so when we were not in school we had plenty of time to explore our city while we waited for our grandma to get off of work.
However, every Wednesday my grandma had the day off from the doctor’s office she worked at. There are a couple of these Wednesdays that really stick out in my brain and will for the rest of my life (God willing). The one in particular is when we were loaded into the car and went for what felt like a really long car ride. In reality it was less than two hours.
My grandparents told us that we were going to go see the ducks walk on the fish. Now, even as a twenty-four year old that sounds exciting and worth the super long car ride. You can imagine how excited I was as a kid. I didn’t know what to expect. Was it a joke? How silly was it to imagine ducks walking on the backs of fish. How was that even possible? I was full of questions and couldn’t wait to have them answered.
Once we arrived there were people all around, we’d brought a few loaves of bread and walked up to the railing. Sure enough there were actual ducks standing on the backs of actual fish and they were all fighting for the bread that was being thrown to them.
It was one of the coolest experiences in my childhood. I remember chattering away with my mom and dad once they came to pick us up after work. I only remember going once and for a long time I thought that it was a place that I had imagined or dreamed but, but the memories were so vivid I wasn’t sure. That is until Justin and I ended up lost AF in the (what felt like) the middle of nowhere Ohio, and then turned out to be Pennsylvania.
A little bit of backstory – I’d looked this place up online last year when Justin and I were going back and forth on what to do to celebrate our anniversary. We wanted to go somewhere close by but somewhere that we hadn’t been together. After more Googling than I expected I found the place where the ducks walk on the fishes backs. Turns out there IS a name for it (Pymatuning Spillway in Pymatuning State Park) but for the most part everyone refers to it as the place where the ducks walk on the fish. I mentioned it to him but he didn’t seem super interested in it, so I ended up forgetting about it. At least I knew that I hadn’t dreamt the whole thing up though!
This year we decided that we were going to go and explore rural Ohio a little bit more rather than just take the freeway from point A to B while we got pumpkins for Halloween. We left early in the morning and had picked out more pumpkins than two people could ever need. We wound up in Mesopotamia first which was really cool. There’s an awesome general store that I don’t know how to explain to get to, but if you’re ever in Mesopotamia I guarantee you’ll be able to find it. From there Justin said he knew of somewhere else that he wanted to show me and it was still only noon and so I said why not?
He’d said 10 miles. So, after twenty minutes I was starting to think that he wasn’t really sure where we were going anymore. He said that he knew so I let it go, until we came to a sign that told us we were heading towards Youngstown and I was down for an adventure, but I also was pretty confident there wasn’t much for us to find in Youngstown so we got on the freeway and tried to pull up navigation. At that point we were just a few miles outside of Pennsylvania and the more I looked around at the map I realized exactly where we were heading towards. So I directed Justin to the spillway.
Once we got into the state park the views were gorgeous. There were lush trees everywhere and we even found a beach right off the road that we stopped at. I wish I had more pictures, but unfortunately I had to get a new phone and most of them were on VSCO and Phhhoto and got lost in transition. For context though, Cleveland Metroparks were named the best in the nation and Pymatuning State Park is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been to. If you’re ever anywhere nearby, I highly recommend a visit.
While we were there, there weren’t as many people as I remember when I was younger. The ducks weren’t really walking on the backs of the fish as much as I remember either and I know that for the most part I was more interested in feeding them than taking a bunch of pictures. So my pictures don’t really convey the real awesomeness, but you get a decent picture of what it’s like there. There were also a lot more geese than I remember being there, but again I think that could really be about the season.
Especially to the spillway! It’s just a few miles up from the beach that we stopped at and it’s such a fun, unique place. I definitely recommend bringing some bread along to give the ducks and fish, but if you don’t they do sell some at a little concession stand nearby. The parking was great, but we went at the beginning of fall and can imagine that it gets a little more crowded in the summer.
I’m currently trying to get into iCloud to see if any of my pictures were saved (believe me, I’ll be must more sad than you if there aren’t any pictures because that means all of my Saint Pablo pictures and videos are gone too), they should have been but they’re not showing up on my computer so I’m a little nervous. However, if I am able to get into it I’ll add pictures down below. If I cannot, then I HIGHLY recommend searching it on Google and checking the pictures out on there that you can find. It’s a really awesome phenomenon.
UPDATE! I got into my iCloud. However, the best pictures are actually on my Snapchat story which I thankfully saved. So, I’m going to put all that I was able to find down here. Again, while we were there it was pretty chilly so I don’t know what that really does to the fish and what not, but the ducks were not walking on the fish like they normally would. I’m sure you can YouTube or Google and find other images where there’s a lot more fish and a lot more ducks. Anyway, enjoy what I was able to find!
Proof that there really were ducks there!
Here’s just a picture of that beach we had found. And I really just think this is a nice picture 🙂