14 Fun Photos That Will Make You Miss Trail-A-Way Lake in Owensboro
I remember it just like it was yesterday. It was the Summer of 1987. I was in between my sophomore and junior years at Daviess County High School. We loaded up the car and headed out to Trail-A-Way Lake to spend the day. We did that a lot. I remember parking by the concession stand, getting out of the car and hearing Michael Jackson's "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" for the first time ever. It was the first release off Michael's Bad album. I was a huge fan and had been wanting to hear the song. Wouldn't you know it? I finally heard it at the lake, blaring out the speakers that were mounted on the concession stand.
After listening to the song, I did what I always did. I went to the concession stand, bought a Zero bar (that was my Trail-A-Way fave), then scoped out a place on the "beach" to set up shop for the day. From there, it was the usual trip around the many attractions at Trail-A-Way: the diving boards, the swings that flew over the water, and those slides! I freaking LOVED those slides- that insanely tall white one that was SO fast you'd fly about halfway across the lake when you zipped off the end of it and that long blue one that was fun, but could and would occasionally rip your flesh to shreds. LOL! I joke about that, but, if you ever went down it, you know exactly what I am talking about. One day, I decided to go down that slide on my stomach, but feet first. Epic fail! When I got to the end, the metal sliced my hip open and I flew into the water with a lovely open wound. I looked like I had been harpooned. But you know what, I didn't care. I got out of the water, made a halfhearted attempt at cleaning my wound that would make OSHA cringe and climbed the stairs and went down the slide again.
Of course, when we weren't swimming, there was a lot more to keep us entertained. I mentioned the speakers mounted outside the concession stand. A lot blared out of those speakers in those days. But the best announcements came from George Thompson himself. George and his wife Thelma owned Trail-A-Way and, in so many ways, George was that lake's main attraction.
He was like a celebrity to us. But he was always accessible. He was the star of the show. George climbed on his tractor, loaded all of us up on his trailer and took us for hayrides around the lake and into the woods. He raised and fed his carp, which were so well-trained that they landed him a feature on the television show That's Incredible. And he would occasionally put his skis on, get behind a speedboat and ski for us.
And while I certainly have fond Trail-A-Way memories involving my family and friends, my most vivid memories (besides the random Michael Jackson one) center around George Thompson. For so many young people here in Daviess County, he was a sort of Willy Wonka to us. Except, he didn't have a chocolate factory. He had this magical lake where we got to spend magical summers.
I have ENDLESS memories like these. Trail-A-Way was a major part of my young life. I grew up at Trail-A-Way and that lake was a staple of virtually every single summer.
Through my dear friend Dita Neely, who was one of George's granddaughters, I was able to locate some vintage photos of Trail-A-Way. Dita grew up around the lake and even worked there. She was a lifeguard from the ages of 12 to 18. And while I probably have some of my own somewhere, these Thompson family snapshots are EVERYTHING! Dita was a tremendous help finding photos and reliving memories so that I could share them with you.
Enjoy this tremendous walk (or swim . . . or hayride) down memory lane!
Vintage Photos from Trail-A-Way Lake in Owensboro
This morning, Dita joined Angel and me on the morning show to share some of her memories.
What are YOUR memories of Trail-A-Way? And, if you have photos, please share them with us on the WBKR Facebook page.