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Fun back at Greenbrier

September 04, 2000

Fun back at Greenbrier



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


GREENBRIER - Long before a visitor got to the trail's end to Greenbrier State Park's swimming area Sunday, the sound of people having fun was evident.

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Lively Latin music was playing from someone's boom box, children were splashing in the water and food was sizzling on grills. Throughout the park hundreds of families spent the final weekend of summer swimming at the state park's lake that was off limits last year because of the drought. Since the lake was so low, the lake also wasn't stocked with as much trout as in a normal year.

An estimated 215,057 people visited or camped at the park from January through July this year compared to 86,439 last year, said Susan O'Brien, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

"Attendance was better but we still had a lot of cold, wet weather that caused less visitation," said O'Brien.

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With more typical sultry summer weather this year, Greenbrier Park - which is less than 10 miles east of Hagerstown on U.S. 40 - is so crowded with visitors that many have to be turned away on weekends, she said.

On Sunday 300 people were at the park, mostly picnicking and swimming. There were a few people fishing from boats on the 43-acre man-made lake.

The day's weather forecast called for a chance of rain which Park Ranger Bob Haney said "made people gun-shy," and so they stayed away.

Those that did come to Greenbrier came to have a good time. All over the park people could be seen playing catch, Frisbee or energetically splashing in the water.

Lifeguards watch the beach from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during swimming season, from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Visitors can swim at their own risk from opening until sunset and during the off-season.

Others more inclined to more sedentary pursuits sunned themselves, played in the sand or laid on brightly-colored hammocks tied to trees in the woods.

A walk along the paved path that spans the length of the beach area meant dodging numerous children on bicycles or scooters. One man patiently tried to teach his toddler to ride a tricycle while others were busy videotaping their families' antics.

The 84-degree temperatures and high humidity made swimming in the 74-degree water refreshing, said Kelly Alfaro, 9, of Arlington, Va.

Alfaro's family picnicked with other relatives at the park including her cousin Flor Aparicio, 7, of Hagerstown.

"It was cold but I enjoyed it," said Alfaro.

As they sat on a bench munching on barbecue, the girls said they were taking a break from swimming and playing.

They tried their hand at making a sandcastle but didn't have much luck, she said.

"It was good but everyone kept stepping on it," said Aparicio.

After that they took turns burying each other in the sand.

Every time their families come Greenbrier they picnic at the same group of tables near the beach.

"It think it's really neat because it has everything we need. The sun, the sand, the (Greenbrier Park) store, and the water," said Alfaro.

Weighed down by three bags filled with picnic supplies and a child's pink plastic bucket and followed by his two children, Moshe Meyron decided on a spot under a tree near the beach.

The Meyrons of Rockville, Md., came to Greenbrier to celebrate the end of summer with friends at the park.

As Moshe Meyron busied himself putting suntan lotion on his daughter Sarai Meyron, 5, his son Shaul Meyron, 9, worked at inflating a green object which turned out to be a alligator float.

"It's just big enough for two," said Sarai Meyron.

Shaul Meyron brought along his fishing pole to try for a big one after a little swimming, he said.

When asked if he was a good swimmer, Shaul Meyron shyly replied "Yeah."

"But I'm better," his sister quickly added.

With that established, the miniature Esther Williams, dressed in a blue floral one-piece bathing suit with a blue ruffle, picked up her bucket and headed off toward the beach, not waiting for her brother.

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