The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts from the ‘Travel’ category

Gilbert Reservoir

We visited someplace new to us today.

There are three water supply reservoirs totaling over one billion gallons in upland reserves that serve the Bradford, PA water system:

1 – Gilbert Reservoir – 206 Million Gallons – Constructed 1888
2 – Marilla Reservoir – 120 Million Gallons – Constructed 1898
3 – Heffner Reservoir – 760 Million Gallons – Constructed 1956

Two of the reservoirs, Marilla and Gilbert, are open for free public access. Both the Marilla and Gilbert Reservoirs are located along Pennsylvania Route 346, approximately five miles west of Bradford. Both reservoirs offer awesome scenery and a wide variety of shared recreational opportunities. Visitors are encouraged and welcomed to enjoy miles of hiking trails, in addition to canoeing, kayaking and fishing at these two reservoirs.

We have visited Marilla Reservoir a few times. I have shared several photographs of Marilla Reservoir on Flickr that you may view by clicking here.

Across from Marilla Reservoir is a gravel road that leads to Gilbert Reservoir. Today we followed the gravel road for 4 miles UP, OVER and DOWN a hill.

_LG26287The gravel road dead ends at a parking lot located at Gilbert Reservoir.

The reservoir grounds have been upgraded recently.  A new trail leads to a new fishing pier.

_LG26290Gilbert Reservoir
This trail leads to a fishing pier.

The trail and pier are handicap accessible.

_LG26293Bob walked past the pier into the woods beyond.

Bob asked me to join him in the woods.

Don’t even go there! 🙂

Bob wanted to show me something that he had found in the woods.

_LG26298Bob found these butterflies, which were attracted to pieces of charcoal.

_LG26301Bob takes in the view from the fishing pier.

_LG26300This is another photograph of the reservoir from the fishing pier.

On our way UP, OVER and DOWN the hill from Gilbert Reservoir, as we approached Pennsylvania Route 346, we were treated to a magnificent view of Marilla Reservoir.

_LG26303Marilla Reservoir

The scenery at both Marilla and Gilbert Reservoirs is absolutely beautiful.  I am sure that we will make return trips to both reservoirs many more times.

The Rain Day That Wasn’t

Shortly before 9:00 am on Sunday, May 27th, we left our home in Warren PA, en route Letchworth State Park in New York. We arrived at Letchworth State Park at 10:45 am. The Castile entrance to the park was manned that morning, so our Empire Pass saved us the $10.00 entrance fee. We drove to High Falls and walked from there to Middle Falls.

_LG26121Walking towards the Upper Falls


Upper Falls

_LG26126Upper Falls

The direct link for this video of Upper Falls may be found here, in the event it doesn’t appear (or play) on your device.

We saw a snake on our way to the Middle Falls.

_LG26134Garter Snake seen on trail between Upper Falls and Middle Falls

_LG26136Middle Falls

_LG26139Middle Falls

IMG_20180527_113140Bob and I at Middle Falls

Returning to our car, we drove to the Council Grounds. The Council Grounds preserves a portion of the native heritage of the Genesee Valley.

_LG26143Log House Built by Mary Jemison


Next to the log house is a fenced-in area, in which stands a memorial to Mary Jemison.

_LG26153Mary Jemison Memorial
The remains of Mary Jemison are buried in this enclosure.


Mary Jemison Memorial


Mary Jemison Memorial

_LG26148Seneca Council House


The final structure standing on the Council Grounds is a viewing platform.

_LG26152Viewing Platform
I believe, at one time, that this viewing platform provided a place from which one could
contemplate the view over the Glen Iris towards the railroad trestle and Upper Falls.
From this viewing platform I contemplated the view of the Council Grounds.

_LG26149Contemplating the View of the Council Grounds

From the Council Grounds we drove to Inspiration Point.


We passed by a Civil War Monument on our way to Inspiration Point.

_LG26157The monument was decorated with flags in honor of Memorial Day.

_LG26167Inspiration Point

_LG26169Both the Upper and Middle Falls are visible from Inspiration Point.

We left Letchworth State Prak, after visiting Inspiration Point. We used the Castile entrance both entering and exiting the park.

It was around 1:30 pm, when we exited the park. We drove to Perry, New York and ate lunch at the Charcoal Corral.

20180527_170355735_iOSthe Charcoal Corral

The Charcoal Corral is a go-to place in Western New York for great char-grilled food and entertainment – including a drive-in, miniature golf, a video arcade, and much much more.  They have a restaurant and drive-in combo with an eat in dining area and an outdoor dining area. They also sell pizzas and ice cream. They have an arcade and putt putt golf. On select days they have inflatables for the children, cruise nights, talents shows and more. I wish we lived closer to the Charcoal Corral, as this would be an excellent place to bring our grandchildren.

In the photograph displayed above, the restaurant at the far left serves char-grilled food.  Pizzas are sold in the center, and ice cream is sold in the Ice Cream Parlor.

20180527_170711456_iOSInside the Charcoal Corral Restaurant
Food is ordered at this counter.
You have a choice to eat indoors or outside.

I ordered two pieces of white broasted chicken (breast and wing) with macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and a dinner roll. Bob ordered a taco salad. Our food selections were good, and the price paid was a good value.

After lunch, we walked a couple doors down, to the Ice Cream Parlor, and had ice cream for dessert (a twist custard cone for me and a peanut butter sundae for Bob).

We returned to Letchworth State Park after lunch. We entered via the Mt. Morris entrance at a little after 2:00 pm and made our way south through the park back to the Castile exit. We made several stops on our way south.

_LG26175We stopped at the Mt. Morris Dam Overlook.

_LG26177We stopped at the Hogsback Overlook,
which is so named because
the ridge jutting into the canyon resembles a wild boar’s high hunched spine.

We made three more stops before leaving Letchworth State Park.  We stopped at the Tea Table Overlook, Wolf Creek and the Big Bend Overlook.


The Tea Table Overlook is several hundred feet above the Genesee Valley Gorge floor. The Genesee River flows through the gorge.



Wolf Creek


One of the views from the Big Bend Overlook

We departed Letchworth State Park at 3:30 pm and began our drive home.

Upon reaching I-86 we decided to take routes 280 and 59 home. I was driving at the time and had been driving for only a short time. My knee started to hurt, with the pain radiating into my calf. I guess I overdid the walking, while at Letchworth State Park.  It was past time for Extra Strength Tylenol, which I take every 8 hours, as needed, whenever we are riding the motorcycle, driving the car, or doing a lot of walking. We pulled into the parking lot for Quaker Lake at Allegany State Park to change drivers. Who do we see in the parking lot, a few of our local motorcycle riding friends — Paul and Debbie, Scott and Donna, and Craig Myers out on on Sunday ride. Paul said they were on their way to Bob’s Trading Post for ice cream and asked us if we wanted to join them. We said “yes” and tagged along.

_LG26198Following our friends to Bob’s Trading Post

20180527_224758515_iOSBob’s Trading Post, with an eye-catching car parked in front of it

20180527_224036104_iOSPaul, Donna, Debbie, Craig, Bob, Scott and I at Bob’s Trading Post

After ice cream, Bob and I returned home via Longhouse Scenic Drive and Route 59.  For the first time I heard Longhouse Scenic Drive referred to as “LSD”.  What a hoot!

Bob and I returned home around 7:30 pm. I don’t know what time the others returned home, as we left a few minutes before they did. I don’t know what route they took home.

It was a long, but great day. The weather was much better than expected. We expected cloudy skies and an all-day rain with some thunder. We saw very little rain today. It was cloudy at times, but sunshine was plentiful too.

Willow Dale Cemetery

This past Friday Bob and I found my Aunt Alice and her husband Richard’s final resting place. Alice was my paternal grandmother’s first born child.

Alice was born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on 7 January 1907.  I do not know Alice’s father’s name, only that my paternal grandfather was not her father. I expected to find Alice listed on the 1910 census.  The 1910 census lists Alice’s mother, described as single, living in the same household as her parents.  Alice is not listed in the 1910 census.  Alice first appears in the 1920 census, where her address is listed as North Buffalo Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.  Alice’s mother married my grandfather in December 1911.  In the 1920 census my grandparents have five children, including Alice.  Alice is listed on the census, as having the same last name as her siblings.

According to ancestry information provided by one of my cousins, Alice married Harold Biggs, and a daughter named Clara was born about 1928.  Harold died in February 1929.   The death certificate lists the cause of death as acute fibrillation of the heart.  Harold was only 27 years old, when he died.  I found Clara listed in the 1930 census.  She was living in the same household as her paternal grandparents.  Clara’s age was listed as 2 years old in the census.  I have not found a listing for Alice in the 1930 census.

On 18 April 1931 Alice married Richard H. Evans.  Alice was 24 years old at the time; Richard was 55 years old.  The wedding ceremony took place in Allegany, Cattaraugus County, New York.  Both Alice and Richard were living in Bradford, Pennsylvania at the time of their marriage.  It appears that their residence continued to be Bradford until their deaths.  Richard passed away in April 1961.  He was 85 years old.  Alice passed away 30 years later, in April 1991.  She was 84 years old.  I never met Aunt Alice.

Richard and Alice are buried at Willow Dale Cemetery in Bradford, Pennsylvania behind a pond that Bob and I have visited or passed by several times over the past 19 years that we have been married.  I never knew, until recently, that my aunt was buried at Willow Dale Cemetery.

_LG20848 4x6

Willow Dale Pond is located in front of Willow Dale Cemetery.


Aunt Alice and her husband, Richard, are buried in the Veteran’s portion of Willow Dale Cemetery.

_LG25768This is the Veteran’s portion of Willow Dale Cemetery.
Aunt Alice and her husband Richard’s burial plot appears in the foreground of this photograph.


Veterans Memorial


Aunt Alice and Richard are buried beside each other.



I wonder why Aunt Alice’s grave marker does not display at a minimum her birth and death dates.


Richard was a Sergeant in the Spanish American War.

I began building my family tree in late December last year.  Genealogy is a very enjoyable hobby!

Easter Vacation – Chincoteague Island, VA and Returning Home

It am still blogging about our the day’s activities on Saturday, March 31st.  We visited two Chincoteague, VA parks upon our return to home base from Assateague Island, MD.

The Robert N. Reed Downtown Waterfront Park is located at the intersection of Main and Mumford Streets.

_LG25703A statue of Misty of Chincoteague stands at the entrance to the park.

_LG25708The Evening Star was docked at the park.

The seagulls look different than they do at home.

This is a Bonaparte’s Gull, I believe.


There are four Adirondack chairs in the park.  The 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.

20180331_193301597_iOSSomeone took our picture on the “LOVE chairs” in exchange for me taking their picture.


Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park, located on Eastside Road, is another lovely waterfront park. There is a great view of Assateague Island Lighthouse from Veterans Memorial Park.

Assateague Island Lighthouse,
as seen from Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park

_LG25715View from Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park
The bridge to Assateague Island can be seen in this picture.


We checked out of Best Western Chincoteague around 6:30 the morning of Easter Sunday, April 1st, but not before enjoying a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel.

We departed the hotel at 6:40 am.  Our drive home was uneventful. We made a couple bathroom stops and one fuel stop. We received a $0.10/gallon discount on the cost of fuel, as we did throughout our vacation.  I found information online about the fuel discount. Exxon Mobil is offering $0.10 off per gallon at participating stations on fill ups through July 10th when you pay through the Exxon Mobil Speedpass+ app. The promotion began on March 29th.  The fuel discount was a pleasant surprise.

We ate Easter dinner at Chili’s in Altoona, PA using a $25 gift card to offset the cost. Easter dinner was non-traditional. Baked ham was not on the menu. We ordered steak dinners. For dessert we shared a chocolate chip cookie with ice cream.

We returned home around 4:30 pm.

What an enjoyable vacation we had! We look forward to making a return trip to Chincoteague, VA.  It is always a quiet, relaxing time away from home, when we vacation there.

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD: Life of the Marsh Trail

As we were exiting the Life of the Forest trail parking lot, the first thing we see is a wild horse.  We drove across Bayberry Drive and parked.



After admiring and photographing the wild horse, we followed Bayberry Drive, north.  The third, and last, trail that we hiked while visiting Assateague Island, MD was the Life of the Marsh trail  The trail head is located on the first road on your right that you come to after entering Assateague Island National Seashore. As we were heading north, we turned left just before we would have left the National Seashore.

What do we see, as we enter the parking lot for the Life of the Marsh trail?  Wild Horses!

MVIMG_20180331_120314Great Photo Op!
(Photo by Bob)

_LG25676Assateague Island Wild Horses

Actually we saw one wild horse, as we entered the parking lot.  As we began our hike on the marsh trail, a second horse came around the bend of the trail into the parking lot.  If we had been a few seconds sooner reaching the trail, we would have come close to being face-to-face with a wild horse!

The Life of the Marsh trail was totally destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and has since been rebuilt, with a beautifully-maintained boardwalk.

20180331_160518612_iOSLife of the Marsh trail boardwalk

The 1/2-mile loop trail offers wonderful elevated views of a salt marsh and Sinepuxtent Bay.

We had hoped to see a lot of wildlife along this trail.

We saw an egret.

_LG25688We saw two more wild horses.

The wild horses are beautiful!

There is one section of the trail that leads down to the shore.

20180331_162439245_iOSYou can exit the boardwalk and get to the water.

20180331_162541887_iOSI joined Bob at the shore for a selfie photo op.

When we returned to the parking lot, the two wild horses that we saw earlier were still hanging around.

20180331_163620999_iOSWild Horses in the Life of the Marsh trail parking lot

Such a pretty horse!

MVIMG_20180331_123904I think that these people were a bit nervous about getting into their car.
(Photo by Bob)

It is sensible to be cautious.  These are wild horses. There are several signs that tell visitors to keep a bus distance from the horses. The horses are known to kick and bite and charge.

20180331_164124273_iOSThe horses look like they will be sticking around for a while.

We very much like both portions of the Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia.   We will be sure to include a visit to the Maryland portion of the National Seashore in future Chincoteague Island / Assateague Island vacations.

Just before leaving Assateague Island, we saw what I thought was a fawn grazing in a swampy area.  Bob parked the car, and I walked to the swamp area.  A jeep was parked in front of the swamp, with people taking pictures of the “fawn”.  A man walked up to me, from the vicinity of our parked car.  From him I learned that the “fawn” was full grown and not a white-tailed deer.

_LG25697This is not a fawn. It is a full-grown Sika Deer.

Sika Deer

After spending a little more than 3 hours exploring Assateague Island, MD we crossed over the Verrazzano Bridge onto the mainland.

We ate lunch at Hardee’s in Pocomoke, MD.   I saw photographs of Pocomoke.  It looks like a lovely place to visit.  Bob, we should add a couple more days to our vacation next time we go to Chincoteague Island, VA.

After lunch, we drove back to Chincoteague, VA.  We visited a couple parks in Chincoteague, before returning to our hotel.  I will share photographs from those park visits in my next blog post.

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD: Life of the Forest Trail

The Life of the Forest trail is about a mile north of the dune trail back up Bayberry Drive.  There was a sign on Bayberry Drive directing us to the Life of the Forest trail head.

Most of the Life of the Forest Trail, once a loop, was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, so the National Park Service built a new out-and-back trail.  The length of the trail is 0.4 mile round trip.

The trail does go through a forest, but the forest doesn’t seem to be the main emphasis of the trail.

Near the start of the Life of the Forest trail

Most of the trail is a boardwalk. Once out of the forest, the boardwalk overlooks a salt marsh and Sinepuxtent Bay.

20180331_152137487_iOSLife of the Forest trail Boardwalk

There are a number of viewing platforms built into the new boardwalk.

20180331_152229137_iOSSalt Marsh

_LG25663This Great Blue Heron seemed to have the run of the place.

The boardwalk overlooks Sinepuxtent Bay.

20180331_153652310_iOSBob and I on the Life of the Forest boardwalk trail

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD: Life of the Dunes Trail

In yesterday’s blog post I wrote that we hiked three nature trails, while visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland District).  The three hiking trails are: Life of the Dunes trail, Life of the Forest trail and Life of the Marsh trail.  In today’s blog post I will share photographs taken, while hiking the Life of the Dunes trail.

The Life of the Dunes trail is located at the end of Bayberry Drive, about three miles south of the Verrazano Bridge.

_LG25646Sign at Trail Head

The loop trail is of a 3/4 mile duration  The loop portion starts a short distance from the trail head.  We hiked clockwise around the trail.

The Life of the Dunes trail is made of sand and sand can change.  There are no confusing intersections or unmarked side trails; however, there are points where the path may be questionable.

_LG25647 Do you see the wooden fencing in the photograph displayed above?  The path was questionable at one point.  We just followed the wooden fencing along portions of the trail or followed directional markers. Also, there are numbered markers (see the #1 marker?) along the trail that correspond to a trail guide, which we did not have. I learned subsequent to our visit that a trail guide is available for purchase at the visitors center or can be downloaded here.  Pertaining to the first marker the trail guide reads: “In the desertlike conditions of the dunelands most animal activity other than birds is nocturnal. Search for tracks in early morning before the breezes have had time to obscure them. Look for a doodlebug’s (antlion larva) winding trail through the surface sand, a red fox’s dainty doglike pawprints in a fairly straight line or a boat-tailed grackle’s many wandering tracks.”

_LG25648This sign says to stay on the trail.

_LG25650Nature’s Artwork

There is a historic aspect of the Life of the Dunes Trail. In the 1950s developers built a 15-mile road here that extended to the Maryland/Virginia State line.  The road, named Baltimore Boulevard, was, at the time, the only paved road on Assateague Island.  Developers had also cleared land for more than 130 side streets along Baltimore Boulevard.  Baltimore Boulevard was destroyed by a storm in 1962.

_LG25652Pieces of Baltimore Boulevard

_LG25653You can walk on the asphalt or to the side of it.

Many people questioned the wisdom of 9,000 building lots on Assateague Island, after the March 1962 storm.  This great northeaster was the single most important event which led to creation of the national seashore in 1965.

The Thicket

Southern Red Oak

MVIMG_20180331_104124Linda sitting in the southern red oak tree
(photo by Bob)

Pertaining to the 12th marker, the trail guide reads “Exposure to salt-laden ocean winds has caused this southern red oak to adapt. Notice its short thick trunk and low spreading branches.  As seasons pass, fallen leaves accumulate and gradually decay adding organic matter and moisture to the sandy soil. The old oak has created a more hospitable environment for plants and provides acorns for white-tailed deer, red fox, raccoon, grackle, towhee, and brown thrasher.

Before leaving the southernmost portion of Bayberry Drive, we walked over to the South Ocean Beach.

_LG25660South Ocean Beach

At the South Ocean Beach there is parking, swimming (no lifeguards), fishing, restrooms/outdoor shower and limited wheelchair access.

In my next blog post, I will take you along as we hike the Life of the Forest trail.

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