The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Travel’ category

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 4

I got up for the day at 6:00 am.  Bob was already up and in the midst of making an egg and cheese bagel sandwich.  Bob said he got up around 5:00 am.  My breakfast was instant oatmeal and a banana.

Around 9:00 am Bob and I decided to go to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Bob walked to the refuge; I drove. 

Assateague Island National Seashore
It was a cloudy morning at the seashore, but so beautiful too.
Great Egret seen along Beach Rd, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

I picked up Bob, as he neared the Toms Cove Visitor Center. When I picked up Bob, he had walked 3.85 miles. 

We were back at our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, by 11:00 am. We ate lunch (leftover BBQ from the day before) and relaxed.

We returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge shortly after 3:00 pm.   We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and then down to the Toms Cove Visitor Center, where we turned around. 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Loop
One Great Blue Heron, Four Poses
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Loop
Seven Turtles hanging out on a tuft of grass

Denise and Nic sure picked the right day to drive up here.  We saw lots of Chincoteague ponies yesterday.  We didn’t see any ponies today. 

We returned to our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, around 4:30 pm.  Bob grilled two rib eye steaks for our Easter dinner.  The steaks were accompanied by fried potatoes, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We ate dinner on our screened-in porch.  

We watched a couple TV series on Hulu this evening–“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Lark Rise to Candleford”. The second TV series, “Lark Rise to Candleford”, was suggested to us by Bob’s brother’s wife. That series, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress, is set in 19 century Oxfordshire. We are enjoying each episode. I enjoy the show so much that I am considering the purchase of a book of the same name.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 3

Today, April 3rd, is the third day of our Easter vacation.

We had visitors today. Our friends, Denise and Nic, drove up from Virginia Beach this morning. They arrived around 10:00 am and left for home around 4:30 pm. The four of us had fun together sightseeing on Assateague Island at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and at the seashore. We went sightseeing in Chincoteague as well.

We walked the Lighthouse Trail at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Lighthouse Trail is a 0.25 mile loop that takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

Lighthouse Trail Informative Sign
Denise and Nic at the Assateague Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is 142 feet tall.

We walked the Woodland Trail as well. The Woodland Trail is a 1.6 mile loop that takes you through a beautiful pine forest.

We stopped at the overlook where Chincoteague ponies can sometimes be seen.

My recollection is that we saw one pony way off in the distance, too far away for a decent picture especially with a mobile phone camera.

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

The four of us at the Assateague Island National Seashore

We visited two parks in Chincoteague–the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park and the Veterans Memorial Park.

The four of us at the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park

These four Adirondack chairs are 10 feet tall and weigh more than 500 pounds.  The chairs arrived in Chincoteague in the summer of 2014 and promote the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan.  They had been located at Virginia’s Kiptopeke State Park since May 2012.  

Denise and Nic at Robert N Reed Waterfront Park with Misty of Chincoteague in the background
Bob and I at Robert N Reed Waterfront Park with Misty of Chincoteague in the background
Veterans Memorial Park Cross; Assateague Lighthouse in the background

From Veterans Memorial Park we returned to our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch –cheeseburgers. potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, chips and salsa and, for dessert, cheesecake.

Bob grilling burgers for lunch

We ate lunch on our screened-in porch.

After lunch we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and drove the wildlife loop. The 3.25 mile loop trail is open to walkers and bikers all day. Vehicles are permitted to drive the loop from 3:00 pm till dusk. 

We spotted an eagle nest, but we didn’t see the eagle.
Two Turtles hanging out on a tuft of grass

We drove back down Beach Rd and saw ponies, lots of ponies, in the marsh. We saw several egrets, too, both along Beach Rd and as we were driving the Wildlife Loop.

A Very Pregnant Chincoteague Pony
We saw the most ponies in one place during Denise and Nic’s visit.
One of several Great Egrets that we saw at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

We had a great visit with Denise and Nic. We are so glad they were able to make the drive up for the day.

Meanwhile, back at home …

Easter Vacation 2021

Today, April 2nd, is Day 2 of our Easter vacation.

We slept in a bit this morning.  Our later-than-usual awakening was most likely caused by our early departure from home yesterday and noisy hotel guests who kept us awake.  Those guests left sometime in the late evening. Do you find that strange? I do. Perhaps they were asked to leave?

We went downstairs for breakfast a little after 8:00 am.  Because of COVID-19 breakfast wasn’t the typical full hot breakfast, served buffet style.  Breakfast was still good, though, with selections individually wrapped.  I had an egg and bacon sandwich, a banana, cranberry juice, a banana nut muffin, and a cup of tea.    Bob picked up similar selections.  We carried our breakfast in paper bags to our room and ate there.

We checked out of the hotel around 9:00 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.

Shortly before 11:00 am we stopped for a potty break in Cambridge, MD at the visitor center (Sailwinds Park). It was only 36 degrees. It was a lot warmer during our stop there in late November last year. We enjoyed a walk in the park last year. Today we were happy to hurry to the bathroom and back to the car.

At 12:00 pm we met our friends Tom and Ellen for lunch at Evolution Craft Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD. Bob ordered a brisket sandwich with Sweet Potato fries; Tom ordered a pulled pork sandwich with French fries; I ordered chicken wings and a half order of fries; and Ellen ordered French onion soup and clams. We sat inside and ate our lunch. It was too cold to sit outside to eat, as we did in November. The food was delicious, and we enjoyed our time together. I don’t have a picture of the four of us because I forgot to have one taken!

We departed the brewery at 1:30 pm and arrived on Chincoteague Island around 3:00 pm. We had an hour to kill before the check-in time at our AirBnB. We drove around the island a bit, before heading out to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore.

Virginia’s Assateague Island National Seashore

We checked into our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores, at 4:00 pm. We unloaded the car and got settled in.

Meanwhile, back at home….

Easter Vacation 2021

Today, April 1st, is the first day of our Easter vacation. We will be on vacation through the 9th of April.

We departed our home in Warren PA at  6:00 am en route Chincoteague VA.  Bob programmed the GPS to avoid highways.

We planned to bring our bicycles with us to Chincoteague but decided not to do so, given the weather forecast for the day.  Bob commented a couple times, while driving, that he is happy that we aren’t transporting the bicycles, given today’s snow and rainy conditions.

Mother Nature is playing a trick on us today, on April Fool’s Day.  We encountered light snow flurries, as we left Warren, and heavier snow flurries past Ridgway.   The ground and house roofs past Ridgway showed a dusting of snow.

We stopped for breakfast in Clearfield at Dutch Pantry, our favorite breakfast stop when traveling East.

We stopped at  Fisherman’s Park at Conowingo Dam, where we  saw one eagle, a few great blue herons, and many vultures. 

I photographed the eagle, which was sitting in a tree across the river.

From Fisherman’s Park we drove over the Conowingo Dam.  It was a short distance to our hotel.

Bob captured video, during today’s drive.

We checked into the Best Western Chesapeake Bay North Inn in North East, MD around 2:00 pm.  We stayed here in November last year, while en route Chincoteague.  The hotel is our home for the night.  We will drive from here to Chincoteague, VA tomorrow.

Tonight’s dinner was take out at Hunan Wok, located across the road from our hotel.  Bob ordered Shrimp Lo Mein; I ordered Sweet n Sour Chicken.  Both meals were served with Roast Pork Fried Rice and Egg Roll.  Meals were reasonably priced and tasted good.  We ordered by phone, and Bob drove across the road to pick up our take-out dinners.  We ate in the comfort of our hotel room.

We watched a couple episodes of Law &Order: Special Victims Unit on Hulu.  We have a LONG way to go until we catch up to the current season, Season 21, as we are currently watching episodes from Season 8.

I went to bed, after watching Hulu.  Bob stayed up for a while working on the GoPro video of the drive here.

A Sunday Drive

We went for a drive this past Sunday.  We drove to Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk, NY.  From our home in Warren, PA it is an approximate 75-minute drive to the park. Upon arriving, we parked in the unpaved parking lot near the beach area. We went for a walk from the parking lot to the Dunkirk Light and back. 


We walked a total of 1.33 miles round trip, making several stops along the way.
This is the beach. I read that the beach is an excellent place to find beach glass. Before the beach is open for swimming I believe that the sand dunes will be raked onto the beach. Those sand dunes, at present, are covered in some snow, leftover from winter storms. We did not walk on the beach. Instead we walked along the tree line, on a cliff above the beach.
In front of and below the benches is the beach.
We passed by steps leading down to the beach (photo by Bob).
The cliff was steep in places, especially as we got closer to the lighthouse.
Dunkirk Lighthouse
The lighthouse is closed for the season. It reopens on May 1st.

From Dunkirk we drove to Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, NY where I photographed bufflehead and merganser ducks and the moon.

Female Bufflehead Duck with Fish
Merganser Ducks Landing on the Water
The moon sure was pretty!

Overnight Getaway

We returned home late this morning from an overnight getaway.  We spent the night at Best Western in Erie PA, using a $25 gift certificate that expires later this month as partial payment.  We earned the gift certificate from a prior stay at a Best Western hotel.  I believe we will earn another $25 gift certificate from this stay.

We departed Warren shortly after 9:00 am yesterday and arrived at our hotel around 2:45 pm.  We made a few stops en route the hotel.

Before leaving Warren we stopped at Tim Hortons, where Bob purchased a cup of coffee.

Our second stop was in Findley Lake NY.  We saw nothing of interest and moved on.

Upon arriving in Erie we drove the perimeter of Presque Isle, stopping briefly to capture photographs of ducks and Canadian geese in a swamp area.

Pair of Mallard Ducks at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

Pair of Canadian Geese at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

That goose on the left was very noisy!  Two Canadian Geese, equally noisy, flew overhead just moments after I had returned to our car.

We ate lunch at Cheddars Scratch Kitchen in Erie.  Bob ordered Creamy Garlic Tilapia & Shrimp over rice, with broccoli cheese casserole and southern green beans.  I ordered a chicken tender platter, with salad and French fries.  Both meals were delicious.  

Our final stop before going to the hotel was at the Erie Zoo.  When the zoo reopened last year during the COVID pandemic, timed tickets were required for entry.  Timed tickets are required again this year, but NOT for the month of March.  We used our membership card to enter the zoo.  We went for a stroll through the zoo.  I didn’t take too many pictures.  The majority of my pictures were of an orangutan family.

Erie Zoo Wild Asia entrance

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutans

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutan

We had considered taking our granddaughters to the zoo, if Stacey’s employer had her scheduled to work in Erie on Monday.  We could have driven the girls to Erie, and Stacey could have taken them back home.  I am glad, though, that I did not approach Stacey with my idea.  The majority of the animals were quiet or not visible.  The merry-go-round, playground and train ride were closed, as were all the food vendors.  We will take the girls to the zoo in April, when it is warmer (and hopefully more of the zoo will be open).  Our present zoo membership expires on 30 April.  I have not yet decided, if we will renew the membership.

As I wrote earlier, we arrived at the hotel around 2:45 pm.  We checked into room 408, a two queen bed suite.  We had eaten a late lunch and knew we wouldn’t be hungry for dinner.  Other than Bob driving to a nearby fuel station to pick up water and snacks, we stayed in for rest of the day.  We had a relaxing afternoon and evening watching TV, for the most part.  We particularly liked the science fiction movie “Divergent”.  This movie is old, having been released in 2014.  We had never seen the movie and are interested in watching the next two sequels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant”.

Now for the next day …

We were showered, dressed and had eaten breakfast by 8:00 am this morning.  Rather than grab a “grab n go” breakfast at the hotel, we ate breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel.  Bob ordered a double meat breakfast; I ordered Grandma’s Sampler.  Breakfast was delicious and filling.

After breakfast, we began our drive back home.  We drove home via Route 5, along the shores of Lake Erie.  We made three photo stops.

Our first stop was next door to North East Marina in North East, PA.

This lighthouse-shaped building is near the North East Marina in North East, PA.  The body of water in the background is Lake Erie.

After a quick search, I couldn’t find any information on the Internet about this building.  The next time we are in this area we plan to stop at North East Marina and make some inquiries.

Our second stop was at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield NY, where we saw more seagulls.

Seagull in Flight

This is the same Seagull in flight.

Two Seagulls

Several Seagulls

Our third stop was at Bournes Creek Falls, located a couple miles from Barcelona Harbor.

We saw Bournes Creek Falls for the first time in January.  The waterfall looked a lot different today than it did in January!

 

We continued on to Dunkirk NY, where we left the shores of Lake Erie and headed south.

We returned home at 11:30 am.  Our kitty, Wickett, sure was happy to see us.

 

Turkeys and a Deer

On our way home from Letchworth State Park a flock of turkeys crossed the road in front of us.  We stopped on Akeley Road in Russell PA in front of the yard to which the turkeys had crossed.

Turkeys and a deer along Akeley Road in Russell, PA

When I took this picture I didn’t see the deer in the background.  My focus was on the flock of turkeys.  As I lowered my camera, after taking this picture, I saw movement to the left.  I saw the deer’s raised white tail disappearing out of my sight.  I looked at the picture that I had taken.  I was glad that I had captured a picture of the deer in addition to the turkeys.  As a bonus, the deer was looking at me!

 

 

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