The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Maryland’ category

Chincoteague VA Vacation (4th post)

We got up around 6:00 am on Monday, April 18th and saw another gorgeous sunrise.  

Chincoteague Island Sunrise

My breakfast was two bowls of oatmeal in a cup.  I included sliced peaches in one bowl.  I also ate an orange.  Bob ordered from McDonalds. With the exception of Bob’s McDonalds breakfast, we ate breakfast at our AirBnb “Tranquil Shores” throughout our vacation.

We ate lunch at “Tranquil Shores”.  We had plenty of leftovers to put together a very filling lunch.  Leftovers included grilled ham steak, macaroni and cheese, two hush puppies each and three shrimp each.  For dessert we had applesauce.

For dinner we ordered delivery (free anywhere on the island) from Famous Pizza and Subs.  It was our first time ordering from this restaurant. Our order was for two baked spaghetti with garden salad and garlic toast.  We added meatballs to one spaghetti order.   We shared the meatballs.   

Baked Spaghetti Dinners

We are happy that the restaurant delivered, as it was a chilly, windy and rainy day.   Dinner was delicious.  We could have easily split one spaghetti dinner with meatballs.  I couldn’t eat all of my spaghetti.  It will not go to waste, though.  I placed it in a storage container, and we will carry it home with us in the cooler.

So, this was a stay-at-home day. It was a relaxing day.  We read, surfed the Internet, and watched TV.  Bob played the ukulele. We packed for our drive back home.


We departed Chincoteague at 7:30 am on Tuesday, April 19th. It took us longer to get home than it took to get to Chincoteague because we told the GPS to avoid highways on our way home.

We ate breakfast at Dayton’s Restaurant in Salisbury MD.  This appeared a popular restaurant. There was seating available, but not much! It seemed the waitresses knew most of the patrons by name. The food and service were both great.

Early afternoon we stopped at Sheetz in Lancaster PA for a bathroom break and to pick up a light lunch/snacks. 

Our route took us over two mountains — Blue Mountain and Second Mountain — via seven-mile long Gold Mine Road. Gold Mine Road begins in Union Township PA off Route 443 and ends on Route 325 south of Tower City in Schuylkill County, near the Dauphin County line. 

We are on Gold Mine Road,
crossing over Second Mountain.
GPS indicated that we were in Jonestown PA.
We are on Gold Mine Road,
soon after crossing over Second Mountain.
GPS indicated that we were in Tower City PA.

It really was surprising where our GPS took us, when we told it to avoid highways.

The GPS directed us onto the Quehanna Highway,
near Karthaus PA in Clearfield County.
It was snowing, as we approached our hometown of Warren PA.

The next time we travel to and from Chincoteague, we will not avoid highways (unless we split the travel time into 2 days). We returned home at 7:14 pm, approximately 12 hours after we had left Chincoteague!

This concludes my account of our Chincoteague VA vacation. We are already making plans for a return trip next Spring. We plan to go in May next year. Perhaps the weather will be more consistently warm a few weeks later.

Chincoteague VA Vacation (1st post)

We spent 5 nights at AirBnb ”Tranquil Shores” in Chincoteague VA. This is the fourth time that we have stayed at “Tranquil Shores”. We plan to return next Spring as well.

We arrived at “Tranquil Shores” around 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 14th. We left Chincoteague to return back home at 7:30 am on Tuesday, April 19th. This blog post and the next few that follow will provide details of and photographs from our Chincoteague vacation.

We got up around 6:00 am on Friday, April 15th. We sat outside on our screened in porch, drinking tea / coffee, listening to the morning bird songs as we awaited the sunrise.

Chincoteague Island Sunrise

We ate a breakfast of eggs, sausage and waffles at “Tranquil Shores”.  

After breakfast we drove to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and bicycled the wildlife loop (approximately 3 miles). 

Wildlife Loop: Tern with Fish
This is one of several ponds found on the Wildlife Loop.

After our bicycle ride, we drove to Assateague Beach, stopping at Toms Cove Visitor Center.  

Tom Cove Visitor Center

We walked on the boardwalk and, inside the Visitor Center, I got my National Park Passport cancelled with a rubber-stamp ink marking that recorded the name of the park and the date of our visit. I purchased a collectible Passport stamp set for 2022.  There are 10 stamps, one National and nine regional. 

We are lunch at Metopkin Seafood. We have eaten here a few times over the years. The food is ALWAYS delicious. Bob ordered a crab bites basket.  I ordered a fish and fries basket.  We added 6 hush puppies to our order.

After lunch we drove to Assateague Island MD.  We stopped at the Assateague Island Visitor Center, where I stamped my National Park passport, and we bought a “Night Sky” buff for Bob. 

“Night Sky” is new merchandise
for the National Parks store.

Before leaving the Visitor Center, we walked the Rackliff House Trail.  The main trailhead is located behind the Visitor Center and is about a 1-mile loop. There is a spur off that loop that connects to another trailhead located at the Assateague State Park headquarters. We walked that trail too.

Rackliffe House Trail
We really liked how the trees
formed a canopy over the trail.
Rackliffe House Trail
Looking across to Assateague Island MD
Rackliffe House Trail
On the left is the Milk House.
Behind the Milk House is Rackliffe House.
On the right is the Kitchen Garden.

We were only able to explore the grounds, as the Rackliffe House was closed.

The trail continues from the house to the Assateague State Park Aviary.  The birds were outside but behind a fenced enclosure.  We were not able to see any of the birds. I haven’t done a lot of bicycling or walking so far this year. I decided to wait at the state park, while Bob walked back to the Visitor Center.  He picked up our car and came to get me.  We drove onto Assateague Island. 

Assateague Pony
More Assateague Ponies

That evening we enjoyed watching the moon rise over Chincoteague Island.

It is really nice that we can see the sunrise and the moonrise from the comfort of “Tranquil Shores”.
The moon was so beautiful that night!

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.

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