The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘Friends’ category

Year in Review 2020

Bob, Wickett and me at our house on New Years Eve

Amazon Photos made this Year in Review slideshow for me.  Please click on “slideshow” to view the video.  Keep clicking until the slideshow begins.

The slideshow features Bob and me, Stacey and our two granddaughters, my brother and his wife, three great nieces, a few of our local motorcycle riding friends, and some of our friends with whom we were fortunate to spend a week with in the Outer Banks, and lunch with friends in Salisbury MD on our way to Chincoteague VA.

What great memories to remind me that 2020, with all that was bad about it, still had good things!

 

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 2

Today, November 22nd, is the second day of our Thanksgiving week vacation.  Breakfast was from 7:00 am-10:00 am today at our hotel — the Best Western North East Inn, located in North East, MD.  We went downstairs for breakfast a little after 7:00 am.  Because of COVID-19 breakfast wasn’t the hotel’s typical full hot breakfast, served buffet style.  Breakfast was still good, though, with selections individually wrapped.  I had a hot egg and bacon sandwich, applesauce, a banana, orange juice, a chocolate chip muffin, and a cup of tea.  Bob picked up similar selections.  We carried our breakfast to our room on a tray and ate there.

We checked out of the hotel around 8:40 am and began the last leg of our drive.  Today’s destination is Chincoteague, VA.  As was the case yesterday, the GPS is programmed to avoid highways.

We made a bathroom stop in Cambridge MD at the Dorchester County Visitor Center.  A monument caught my eye.

This is the “Flying goose” monument fountain.

You can see the “Flying Goose” from several viewpoints or see it up close.

“Flying Goose” monument fountain

Returning to our car from the “Flying Goose” monument, we spotted a lighthouse off in the distance.

View of Choptank River Lighthouse from Dorchester County Visitor Center

We hopped into the car, drove 1 mile to Long Wharf Park and parked the car.

Bob and I with the Choptank River Lighthouse in the background

Choptank River Lighthouse

Choptank River Lighthouse

and one last photograph of the picturesque lighthouse

Choptank River Lighthouse

At 12:15 pm we met Tom and his girlfriend, Ellen, for lunch at Evolution Craft Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD.  We sat outside and ate our lunch.   

Lunch with friends at EVO Brewery in Salisbury, MD

Bob ordered a pulled pork sandwich with French fries; Tom ordered a brisket sandwich with French fries; and Ellen and I ordered  Brioche French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream. 

Brioche French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream

A little background … Tom graduated with Bob’s brother, John, who is 9 years older than Bob.  When we got together for lunch, I believed that I had never met Tom and that Bob and Tom hadn’t seen each other since high school.  During lunch Tom mentioned John’s 50th birthday, and I had a vague recollection of a photograph taken during John’s 50th birthday celebration.  I found that photograph, upon our return home.

Photograph Taken on the Occasion of John’s 50th Birthday (October 2000)

Apparently in October 2000 Tom, his wife Anne (who died in May 2019), and Bob and I celebrated John’s 50th birthday together.  The four of us are in the back row on the left.  

… Fast forward to 2018 …  

Bob and Tom became Facebook friends in August 2018.  Tom and I became friends on Facebook a few months later, in January 2019.  Tom likes photographs that I share on Facebook.  He has left many complimentary comments over the years.  We message each other occasionally too.  It was via Facebook Messenger that we made plans to meet on our way to Chincoteague, VA.  Tom, Bob and I believed an outdoor setting would be the safest way to meet, given COVID-19.   

… Back to the present …

Our respective lunches were delicious, and we enjoyed our time with both Tom and Ellen (whom we met for the first time today).  We hope to meet up again one day. 

 

I think it was 2:30 pm when we left the brewery.   We drove to Food Lion in Oak Hall, VA.  We picked up a few groceries and then drove to Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental in Chincoteague, VA.  We arrived at the rental shortly before 4:00 pm and got settled in.  Tranquil Shores is home through Saturday, November 28th.   

Our Airbnb rental was cleaned to COVID-19 standards.  We could smell the disinfectant, when we walked into the house.  The house was spotless.  When we stayed here before, pre-COVID, the refrigerator wasn’t completely emptied out in between guests.  The refrigerator was completely emptied, when we arrived today.  The empty refrigerator, in and of itself, gave me that little extra feeling of safety.

Tonight’s dinner was Sloppy Joes, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a small platter that contains 8 slices of cheesecake, four different flavors.  We will enjoy cheesecake for a few days this week. 

 

 

Outside is Safer

According to medical experts COVID-19 transmits more easily when inside closed areas, where there is less ventilation or room for airflow.  Generally, your risk of contracting the virus is remarkably lower when you are outside. This is because there is more space to separate from others and there is more natural airflow.

Bob and I went for a walk in our neighborhood this afternoon.  A neighbor’s backyard scene caught my eye.

What a great way to watch TV (golf in this instance) with friends!  

The temperature was around 45 degrees.  These two men look toasty warm, don’t they?

Kelsi and Party

Late last month I conducted a family photo session of a young friend and her family.  At the end of that photo session Chiana’s oldest daughter expressed interest in having her photograph taken with her horse, Party.  I promised Kelsi that I would take those pictures for her, after my husband and I returned home from vacation in New Hampshire.

I conducted a photo session of Kelsi and Party early yesterday evening.

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Kelsi’s sister and brother wanted their pictures taken with Party as well.

_LG25003 4x6Kelsi, Ana and Party

_LG25008 4x6
Riley and Party

This photo session was a great idea, Kelsi.  Thanks for suggesting it!

Blended Family

When family members do not share a household, it can be difficult to get everyone together for a family portrait. Wendy, who is the mother-in-law of a young friend of mine, telephoned me late last month.  Wendy asked if I was available to take photographs of Chiana and Ben’s family, as all four children were together for a few days.  I didn’t hesitate; I provided Wendy with an affirmative response.

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A moment in time.  A memory preserved.

Motorcycle Ride to Austin Dam

Bob and I belong to a local motorcycle riding group called 2 Scoop Cycletherapy.  Bob and I and some of our motorcycle riding group friends went on an all-day motorcycle ride on Sunday, July 17. The ride was planned and led by our friend Mark. Our destination was the Austin Dam in Austin, PA.

According to its website the Austin Dam broke in 1911 “and water engulfed much of the town of Austin and claimed over 78 lives.  In 1994 the Austin Dam Memorial Park Association was formed and they since have worked diligently to preserve the dam remains and to create a beautiful natural park.”  Bob and I visited the dam ruins a few years ago. Our friends had never been there.

Sykes Vista

The view of the dam ruins from Sykes Vista was overgrown with weeds. I had to stand on top of a wooden rail to get a picture of the dam ruins.

From Sykes Vista we rode into the Austin Dam Memorial Park. The entrance to the park was on the left a short distance from Sykes Vista. I should mention that the park entrance road, which I believe is a mile in length, is a narrow, gravel road that is steep in places.  The road is especially steep on the descent into the memorial park.

Mark, Bob, Scott and Paul and Debbie making the descent
into Austin Dam Memorial Park.
Faye, Donna and I walked down the steep gravel road.

We did ride 2-up on our way out of the memorial park and up the gravel road.  I asked Bob if it was a wise choice for me not to ride down that steep gravel road with him.  He said yes, as he was able to handle the motorcycle better without a passenger when driving at a very low speed.

Paul at the Flood Victims Memorial

Austin Dam Ruins

The eight of us at Austin Dam Ruins

The Nutschke Pavilion contains pictures and accounts
about the flood of 1911 on its walls and on a couple of tables.

I mentioned earlier that Bob and I visited Austin Dam one time before.  That visit as in October 2013, which you may read about here. I noted improvements since our earlier visit. There were informative maps located under glass on picnic tables in the pavilion. A park attendant was on hand, who talked about the tragedy that occurred in that area on September 30, 1911.  There were permanent bathroom facilities available, rather than a port-a-john.  The Austin Dam Memorial Association newsletters found on its website are full of information pertaining to the past, present and future of the Austin Dam.  The Bayless Pulp & Paper Co. Mill ruins are also nearby.  We passed by the ruins, while riding on State Route 872.  We didn’t stop, as Mark did not see anywhere to pull off.  According to one of the newsletters, there is a place on State Route 872, along Freeman Run, to stop and observe the ruins of the paper mill.  The park attendant informed us that a trail is being planned that will link the Austin Dam ruins with those of the paper mill ruins.  One of our friends remarked that he likes the kind of motorcycle rides that stay in your head for a while.  Our visit to Austin Dam was that kind of ride.

Ride to Benezette, PA

Bob and I went for a motorcycle ride on Saturday, June 25. We departed home at 9:30 am, en route Benezette PA. Our first stop was in Ridgway PA.

We parked on South Broad Street, beside the courthouse.

Parked on South Broad Street in Ridgway, PA

Elk County Courthouse
Ridgway, PA

As I do whenever we pass through Ridgway and have no time constraints, I telephoned a friend who lives in Ridgway. Gretchen answered my call, AND she was in Ridgway. She wasn’t at her house, though. She was at her parents’ house, which is in Ridgway as well. Gretchen gave us directions to her parents’ house. A few minutes later we crashed her dad’s birthday BBQ.

I LOVE this picture of Baby “A”, Bob and me. Baby “A” is Gretchen’s granddaughter. We crashed Gretchen’s father’s birthday BBQ so that we could meet this beautiful and precious baby girl and, of course, to see our friend. Baby “A” is 6 weeks old in this picture.  Thank you, Gretchen, for taking this picture of the three of us!

After a short visit with Gretchen and her family, we left for our next destination, lunch at Rose’s Hilltop Diner in Weedville, PA.

Rose’s Hilltop Diner

This diner was Dad’s favorite place to eat, while at his cabin in the “mountains”. I had hoped to see my cousin, Chrystle, who waitresses at the diner. We didn’t see Chrystle, as she wasn’t working that weekend. Bob ordered a Reuben sandwich with onion rings. I ordered a club sandwich. The food and service were excellent.

After lunch, we rode to Walmart in St. Marys. I purchased a lightning cable to charge my iPhone, while riding the motorcycle.  I had forgotten to charge my iPhone before leaving on our ride.  I am sure that the lightning cable will come in handy on other rides too.

From Walmart we rode to Benezette, to the old schoolhouse pavilion. We stopped at the pavilion to wish Cora and Dave congratulations on their marriage, which had taken place earlier in the day. Family and friends were gathered at the pavilion to celebrate their wedding.

Cora and I knew each other only via Facebook, via the Benezette Elk Camera Club group. We became Facebook friends in May 2012. We met in person for the first time at her wedding celebration.  I walked up to Cora, soon after she arrived at the old schoolhouse pavilion.  I said hello to Cora and asked if she knew who I was.  It didn’t help Cora identify who I was, when I said that I was a member of the Benezette Elk Camera Club.  The camera club has over 300 members, and Cora has not met everyone in the club.  When I said that I lived in Warren, I could tell there was recognition on Cora’s part.  She asked tentatively “Brenda?”.  I said close enough, that my name is Linda Gross.  It was nice to finally meet Cora in person, after 4 years of being Facebook friends.

Congratulations Dave and Cora!

Bob and I spent about an hour at the pavilion. We visited with a few other camera club group members in addition to Cora. Some of the club members we met 3 years ago at a club picnic in Benezette at the same location as the wedding celebration.  Some of the club members were new to us, known until then only via Facebook.  I am hoping that Bob and I can attend the next Benezette Elk Camera Club picnic, which will be held in late September.

From the old schoolhouse pavilion we rode to the Elk Country Visitor Center and to the elk viewing site on Winslow Hill. We didn’t expect to see any elk, given the time of day and how hot it was. We didn’t see any elk, as expected.

Oh WAIT!
We did see one elk, this one, while at the Elk Country Visitor Center.

I guess we should have stuck around for a longer time at Cora and Dave’s wedding celebration.  Cora said that two deer and a elk came to visit!

We returned home around 5:00 pm, after a stop at Bob’s Trading Post in Kane, PA for pizza and ice cream.

 

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