The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts from the ‘Maryland’ category

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 9

Today, April 9th, is the 9th (and final) day of our Easter vacation.

The colors painted on the clouds at dawn, as seen from our AirBnB, Tranquil Shores, were very nice.

Red Sky in the Morning …

The car was packed, and we were on our way back home at 6:40 am.

It started raining, as we drove out of Chincoteague, VA.  

We stopped for breakfast at Denny’s in Fruitland, MD about an hour later.  Bob ordered a Western Omelette.  I ordered French Toast, scrambled eggs and bacon.

After drinking tea/coffee and orange juice during breakfast, it was only a matter of time before a bathroom break was necessary.   We stopped at the Bay Country Rest Area in Church Hill, MD. 

Pretty daffodils were in bloom all around the rest area.

We stopped to stretch at Caledonia State Park in Fayetteville, PA.  I photographed a small waterfall and the Caledonia furnace.

The waterfall was located alongside PA Route 233 N
near the US Route 30 and PA Route 233 N intersection.
Fayetteville, PA waterfall
Caledonia Furnace, an iron works that dates back to 1837

I began this post with a photograph of the clouds at dawn, with the caption “Red Sky in the Morning …” It rained off and on from Chincoteague to North East, MD.  It stayed cloudy, even though the rain had stopped.  We did see some sunshine for the last 2 hours or so of our drive. We returned home shortly before 6:30 pm. 

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 8

Today, April 8th, is Day 8 of our Easter vacation.

This afternoon we decided to make a return visit to the Assateague Island National Seashore in Maryland.  We saw a few ponies!

We stopped for dinner at Don’s Seafood and Chicken House near Pocomoke City, MD.   Our dinners were moderately expensive.  We were celebrating, though.  As of today, both Bob and I are fully vaccinated against COVID.  This was our first time to eat at Don’s.  Bob ordered crab dip for an appetizer.  Bob selected stuffed flounder, as his entree.  I chose southern fried chicken tenders.  Our meals were delicious, and service was excellent.

We had ice cream for dessert at Island Creamery in Chincoteague, VA.  Bob got a brownie sundae with Java jolt ice cream.  I got my usual, a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a scoop of peanut butter cup ice cream.

Easter 2021 Vacation Day 6

Today, April 6th, is Day 6 of our Easter vacation.

I started the day with an accident. The upstairs bedroom has low ceilings.  I ran into one of the ceiling edges this morning.  The ceiling edge hit along the upper, center part of my bang line.  I saw stars but did not pass out.  I have a small cut in my hairline.  That hit sure hurt!

[Note: This post is back dated. As of April 24th my head is completely healed.]

The highlight of our day was a day trip to Assateague Island, MD. We walked on the beach and collected a few sea shells. 

Assateague Island National Seashore
Tent Camping at Assateague Island National Seashore

We walked the Life of the Marsh boardwalk. 

Life of the Marsh Boardwalk

We saw several wild ponies.

Bob took this picture of me, with wild Ponies in the background.
Wild Ponies at Assateague Island National Seashore
Wild Ponies at Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Wild Ponies Strolling Down the Road
Assateague Wild Pony
Assateague Wild Ponies. Look! A Foal!
Assateague Wild Ponies – A Foal!
Assateague Wild Ponies
The Foal Approaching Its Mother
Hi Mama!
Do you see the foal’s tongue sticking out?
The Foal Wants Milk.

Those ponies are awesome, especially the foal!

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Oriole MD


This is our sixth vacation spent in Chincoteague, VA since 2015. Our main activities during vacation include photographing wild ponies and water birds at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, photographing wild ponies at Assateague Island, MD, and visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore in both Virginia and Maryland. We have ridden our bicycles at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and walked trails in both the refuge and at Assateague Island, MD. Today we decided to spread our wings a bit and visit another nearby locale. This morning we drove to Oriole, MD in search of a historic landmark that I had read about on the Internet.

Located at the intersection of the Champ and Oriole roads is the St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Registration Form for National Register of Historic Places, the church “is one of eighteen historic African- American churches recorded on the Somerset County inventory, and it is architecturally important as one of the most original with relatively intact exterior and interior finishes. Unlike most of the other churches in this group, St. James has not been used since the mid 1960s, thereby freeing it from many of the modern alterations that have been made to other churches for comfort or low maintenance concerns. The building has not been altered to any significant degree since the turn of the twentieth century and it is a rare, relatively intact survivor of late nineteenth century religious architecture as embraced by rural black congregations in Somerset County.

The St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1885. According to the African American Registry, “the church community was comprised of free Blacks, freed slaves and watermen … Over time, the congregation gradually disbanded and became too small to maintain the facility and, soon, the building was abandoned and eventually fell into poor condition.

This video was published on YouTube in May 2011, before St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was restored. There are many exterior and interior photographs contained within the video, along with personal recollections of the church.

The church is being restored through the efforts of the Oriole Historical Society.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, as it stands today.

Located across Champ Road is a nineteenth-century graveyard, with above grave markers.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery

Because of the high water table, graves cannot be dug to the standard depth.

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.

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 4 – Assateague Island MD

Today (November 24th) is day 4 of our Thanksgiving week vacation.

Today we drove to Assateague Island National Seashore (Assateague Island, MD).

… a short geography lesson …

Located on the East Coast along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is the largest, natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region that remains predominantly unaffected by human development. The Virginia portion of the island is designated as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of 448 acres in the refuge’s Toms Cove area maintained by the National Park Service.  These 448 acres are part of the Assateague Island National Seashore.  The Assateague State Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore are located on Assateague Island, MD. There are two entrances to Assateague Island. The island’s south entrance is at the end of Route 175, two miles east of Chincoteague, VA.  The north entrance is at the end of Route 611, eight miles south of Ocean City, MD. There is no vehicle access between the two entrances on Assateague Island. Vehicles must return to the mainland to access either the north or south entrance.

We drove through Pocomoke City on our drive to Assateague Island, MD and went through Girdletree on our way back to Chincoteague, VA.

 

While at Assateague Island National Seashore, we saw several wild ponies.

These two ponies were next to each other.

Three more wild ponies

All five of these wild ponies were located near each other, in a parking lot.

Also, we took a walk along the Life of the Marsh Trail.   An extensive boardwalk takes visitors out and over the salt marsh.

Life of the Marsh Boardwalk

Life of the Marsh Boardwalk

We enjoyed the trail, even though it was a chilly walk.  The temperature was in the upper 30s.

By 10:00 am we were on our way back to Chincoteague, VA.  As we were leaving the island, we saw two more wild ponies grazing alongside the road.

Wild Ponies

This year marks our sixth visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, VA.  We visited the Virginia portion of Assateague Island previously in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.  This is our third visit to the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, MD.  We visited the Maryland portion of Assateague Island previously in 2018 and 2019.

We didn’t stay long at Assateague Island, MD.  We prefer the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for bird watching and all things nature.  It is nice, though, to visit the northern portion of the Assateague Island National Seashore where we can see the wild ponies up close and personal.

There is more to write about for the 4th day of our vacation, so be on the lookout for Day 4 Part 2.

 

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