Erie, Pennsylvania’s third-largest city, is a major port and industrial center in the northwest corner of the state. Located between Cleveland, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York, about 75 miles from each, Erie has a pleasant if somewhat declining small-town feel and many historic sites. Its role as a shipping point for the steel industry has been declining for years, but is being replaced by plastics and some high value-added manufacturing activities.
The lake is a popular destination for fishing and boating, and Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania’s largest state park, offers water recreation and good beaches. The downtown area is plain but a new waterfront redevelopment project is taking root with a new convention center and park facilities. The city has some minor cultural amenities and museums and a minor-league baseball team. The location with respect to Lake Erie makes it one of the cloudiest, rainiest, and snowiest places in the country (180+ days of precipitation per year).
The area is located on the southeast shore of Lake Erie. The terrain rises gradually away from the shoreline in a series of ridges. Cool lake breezes, which may reach several miles inland, temper summer heat waves, and days with temperatures above 90 degrees are infrequent. Autumn, with long dry periods and abundant sunshine, is usually the most pleasant season.
The lake moderates the temperature of cold air masses arriving from Canada but the same effect produces considerable cloudiness and frequent snowfall. The area’s 80+ inches of annual snow is by far the most in the state and some of the most in the country. Spring weather is variable but usually cloudy and cool. First freeze is mid-October, last is early May.