The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts from the ‘USA’ category

Leaf Peeping at Kinzua Bridge State Park and Allegany State Park

Wednesday, October 5th, was sunny and a typical fall weather day.  We decided to go on a leaf peeping drive. We left home around 8:30 am and returned home at 2:00 pm. 

Our first stop was at Kinzua Bridge State Park near Mt. Jewett PA.

The Viaduct, or Kinzua Bridge, once was the longest and tallest railroad structure at 2,053 feet long and 301 feet high.
The Viaduct was partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003.
The Viaduct was reinvented as a pedestrian walkway in 2011.
Stroll 600 feet out on the remaining support towers,
peer miles out into the Kinzua Gorge, and
gaze down through the partial glass platform
at the end of the walkway.
The foliage color is really nice this year!
Looking down, way down, from the bridge
The support towers taken down by the tornado still remain on the forest floor 19 years later.
Proof that Bob and I were at Kinzua Bridge State Park 🙂

Our second stop was at Allegany State Park, which we entered via Limestone Road near Bradford PA.  It has been more than 5 years since we used that entrance point to the park.  We used to enter the park via Limestone Road, when we wanted to avoid the park fee (not every visit but sometimes).  We have purchased the NYS Park Empire Pass for the past several years and will continue to do so. We no longer concern ourselves with the cost to enter a New York State Park. The Limestone Road was just as rugged as we remembered it. We didn’t drive all over Allegany State Park, as we usually do when we visit the park. Instead we visited only Science Lake and Quaker Lake.

Science Lake at Allegany State Park
This tree by the fishing pier at Science Lake was quite vivid. This picture doesn’t even come close to the brilliance that my eye saw.

During our many visits to Allegany State Park, I take photographs mainly at the northern end of Quaker Lake near the Spillway Overlook. The lighting wasn’t good at that end of the lake, so I concentrated on the southern end of the lake.

Quaker Lake at Allegany State Park
Quaker Lake, looking north
Quaker Lake

From Allegany State Park we drove along part of the Allegheny Reservoir, past Kinzua Dam,  and then home.  The leaves are definitely changing colors, but neither Kinzua Bridge State Park nor Allegany State Park have reached their peak color. If time permits, we may make a return visit in a week to one or both of the parks.

Bemus Point’s Fall Fest

We attended Bemus Point’s Fall Fest this afternoon. The Fall Fest began yesterday and continues tomorrow.


We parked along Sunnyside Avenue and walked to the Village Casino, window shopping at vendor booths along the way.

A portion of our walk was along Chautauqua Lake.
The Fall Fest included a classic car cruise-in.
We saw several classic cars being driven in Bemus Point.
We ate lunch outside at the Village Casino.
The Stow-Bemus Point ferry
made several crossings, while we ate lunch.
I ordered Chicken Lips and fries.
Bob ordered a Buffalo Chicken Wrap with potato tots.

Both meals were delicious.

After lunch, we walked from the Village Casino to the Bemus Point Golf Club. We found more vendor booths for window shopping. Several vendor items caught my eye, but no purchases were made.

We enjoy the walk alongside Chautauqua Lake so much.
What a beautiful day for a walk!
Beautiful flowers!
Scarecrows adorn the streets of Bemus Point.
I found a friend …

There was a classic car Cruise-In at the Bemus Point Golf Club. We strolled through the field of parked cars and trucks.

Webbs Ferry

Yesterday we ate breakfast at Wendy’s Cafe in North Warren.  I ordered a  “Small Big Breakfast” (2 eggs scrambled, half portion of home fries, half portion of bacon and toast).  Bob ordered an “Everything Omelet” (ham, sausage, bacon, veggies and cheese with home fries and toast).  Breakfast was delicious and filling.  

After breakfast, we went for a drive to and through Allegany State Park (near Salamanca NY).  Before reaching the park, we stopped at Webbs Ferry. 

Webbs Ferry is located in Pennsylvania in the Allegheny National Forest on the western shoreline of the Allegheny Reservoir.

This map shows the location of Webbs Ferry.

As you might suppose from the topographical map, Webbs Ferry is a boat launch for loading and unloading boats. We didn’t stop at Webbs Ferry to make use of its boat launch. From the parking lot there is a foot trail to a fishing pier. We climbed down two flights of stairs and followed a trail that wound through the woods to the fishing pier. If you prefer not to use stairs, the pier is reachable by walking the foot trail alone.

The Webbs Ferry Fishing Pier is 45-feet long.

The fishing pier is completely out of the water, preventing fishing and exposing needed repairs. The entrance to the fishing pier is blocked with caution tape. A sign indicates that the fishing pier will remain closed until repairs are done and a safety inspection is successfully completed.

The views at the fishing pier, though, made the hike down from the parking lot worthwhile.

View just left of the Webbs Ferry Fishing Pier

Webbs Ferry was our only stop. The drive through Allegany State Park was enjoyable, though, on such a beautiful day.

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 10 – Wytheville VA to Warren PA

We got up about 5:15 am on the morning of Monday, August 29.

We ate a complimentary breakfast in the hotel.  Breakfast was set up the same as it was in February, when we stayed at this hotel en route Surfside Beach SC.  An attendant got the food that we desired.  The man serving breakfast was friendly.  Perhaps he will remember us, when we stay again in February on our way to Surfside Beach.

We departed the hotel at 7:26 am.  There was a little fog, as we began our drive home. 

We made a brief stop in Fayetteville WV at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center, where I obtained a National Park Service passport stamp cancellation for the New River Gorge National Park. 

We viewed the New River Gorge
from the Visitor Center’s back deck.

A short boardwalk descends into the gorge for a view of the New River Gorge Bridge.

We walked, via a boardwalk,
to the first overlook of the bridge.
We chose not to walk down the 178 steps
to the second overlook.

It was a good travel day, until …

We left I-79 at Exit 99 onto Rt. 422 East to get out of the storm.  We exited onto Rt. 528 North to Route 8.  The storm is chasing us, but we would rather encounter it on slower-speed roads than on the interstate.  We caught up to the storm again, as we turned onto Route 8 from Route 528.  

There was a several minute delay from road construction, during the storm.   I don’t see how they can be working in this downpour.

We stopped at Eat n Park in Franklin for an early lunch / late dinner and to wait out the storm.  We hoped the time spent eating would allow the storm to pass through and out of the Warren area.

We returned home at 5:00 pm.  The storm and the short construction delay were our only hindrances to today’s drive. It was an easy drive home from Franklin, as we allowed the storm to get ahead us.  We did see evidence of the storm, along the way…small tree limbs, leaves, and pine cones scattered all over the road.  That debris is what we saw on our street, in our yard, and on our driveway. It appears tree branches snapped off a tree in a neighbor’s back yard, across the street from us, and scattered debris all over the neighborhood.

Bob was able to unpack the car, without rain falling down.  

Wickett was happy to see us.  She meowed and meowed her pleasure, rubbed up against us, and asked that we pet her over and over again. 

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 9 – Maggie Valley NC to Wytheville VA

We awakened at 6:00 am on Sunday, August 28. I surfed Facebook for a short time, checked email and did Bing searches.  Facebook, checking email and Bing searches in addition to reading a couple digital newspapers are my usual morning routine. We showered and got dressed.  We ate breakfast – oatmeal in a bowl and coffee/tea.  I ate a banana too.  We finished packing and then relaxed, as we do not have to leave Maggie Valley until 9:00 am.  In the past we have left by 6:00 am, one of the first to leave.  We are meeting Bob’s brother, John, and our sister-in-law Dorothy at 12:00 pm at Cracker Barrel in Statesville NC.  John and Dorothy flew from Hawaii to North Carolina on August 24 to visit with a friend, who is going into hospice care in Charlotte.  Google maps says that we are a little over a 2-hour drive from Cracker Barrel.  We will allow 3 hours for the 2-hour drive. 

We left A Holiday Motel at 9:00 am, en route Statesville NC.  We were among the few to leave last.

We met John and Dorothy at Cracker Barrel 11:45 am.  Shortly before their arrival, I checked us in for lunch.  A 25-minute wait turned into a 35-minute wait.  Dorothy ordered pot roast; I ordered meatloaf; and Bob and John ordered Barrel Cheeseburgers.  Our lunches were good, as was the conversation. The last time the four of us had been together was in Hawaii in September 2018. There was a lot to catch up on. The conversation continued, after lunch, outside on the porch. It was SO good to see Dorothy and John. We only wish our getting together was under better circumstances.

We ate lunch at Cracker Barrel with John and Dorothy.

We departed Cracker Barrel at 2:30 pm en route Wytheville.  We arrived at Comfort Suites Wytheville shortly before 5:00 pm.

We ate dinner at a nearby Subway.   We ordered two different six inch subs, potato chips and beverage.  We were back at the hotel by 6:30 pm.  I changed into PJs.  I was in bed by 8:30 pm.

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 8

How do you record what you want to write, as the narrative part of a blog post? I keep a digital diary, which is helpful especially when days or weeks or even years have passed before preparing a blog post. I use Day One for my journaling.

I accidentally deleted my diary entry for Day 8 (Saturday, August 27), as I was copying the entry to paste it into this blog post. I have no idea how the deletion happened. Two weeks have passed since August 27. I will try to remember as much as I can about this day. The photographs that I took that day went a long way to jogging my memory.

I do recall that we decided not to do any sightseeing, to stay instead at A Holiday Motel.

We ate breakfast in our room.

“Slammer” (Jerry) arrived mid-morning and mingled among friends and sharing Butterscotch Schnapps.  He shared butterscotch schnapps with anyone who wanted a taste.

Sandy, Jerry and Jim
Jerry and Susan
Katie and Jim, Jerry, Bob K and Mark
A Toast
Jerry, “Kudzu”, Bob K, Tim and Bob

Late morning Jim and Sandy and four other friends went for a short motorcycle ride.

Jim and Sandy, ready to ride

At some point Bob and I walked to a nearby ice cream shop.  It is an ice cream shop that we had been to prior to COVID.  When we walked in, I thought that I was in the wrong place.  It didn’t look at all familiar.  All seating had been removed.  I think the ice cream display counter was in the same place, but modernized with a huge mirror behind it.  I remember barrels of candy.  The candy was now in display cases all over the shop.  We ordered ice cream and ate it outside on the porch. I had a banana split; Bob had an ice cream sundae. I couldn’t finish the banana split, so Bob had some of that too. The ice cream was lunch for us 🙂

We stopped at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds fountain on our way back to A Holiday Motel. 

Pretty Flowers at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds Fountain
Maggie Valley Festival Grounds Fountain Selfie
Bob took this picture of me at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds Fountain.

When we returned to A Holiday Motel, I found that the girls had gone to the Purple Store and that “Flip” (Brandon) and Renata had arrived from Greenville SC with their 1-year-old son Kingston.

Kingston is the youngest person who attended SEVROC 2022 this year.

Several friends went to dinner at Guayabito’s Mexican Restaurant across the street.  We would have joined our friends, but we had leftovers from yesterday’s Sagebrush Steakhouse dinner.  We ate those leftovers for dinner.

This was our last night in Maggie Valley and the end of SEVROC 2022.  We packed and slowly made our rounds to say goodbye to everyone.  As we made our rounds, there were lots of hugs and handshakes and the words “so happy to see you” and “see you next year” exchanged. It sure was good to see so many of our friends, all of whom we hadn’t seen since 2018 or earlier.

Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 7

Friday, August 26, was the third day of SEVROC.

We got up around 7:00 am and ate breakfast in our room.

After breakfast I sat outside our room, enjoying the crisp air of the morning. I also watched fog rolling over the mountains.

At 8:42 am a heavy fog was still rolling over the mountains.

At 9:00 am a few of our friends left A Holiday Motel to ride up The Rattler (NC 209) to Hot Springs.

They are off, with “Skid” in the lead.
Skid’s blog post will provide details and photographs of the ride.

At 9:30 am Bob and I left en route the Fred W Symmes Chapel. We traveled via Interstate or highway most of the way and arrived at 11:12 am.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel is located in Cleveland, South Carolina. The chapel is also known as “Pretty Place” because of its amazing view.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel
As I walked into the open-air sanctuary, I was filled with awe.
Such an incredible place to visit!
What a breathtaking view!

We left the chapel around 11:30 am and began the second part of our sightseeing journey. We visited several waterfalls, as well as a visitor center for the Pisgah National Forest.

Connestee Falls Park is located about 6 miles from Brevard NC, along U.S. Route 276. We took a very short stroll from the right rear of the parking lot to the viewing area for two waterfalls: Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls. There is a Connestee Falls that is a gated community. You need to drive past the gated community to Connestee Falls Park. There is a realtor’s office next to the park. I tell you this because EVERY SINGLE TIME we have visited Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls, we have turned into the gated community and were turned away!

This wheelchair accessible trail leads to an overlook of the Connestee and Batson Falls.
The viewing platform sits on top of Connestee Falls.
Panoramic view of Connestee Falls and Batson Falls
I zoomed in to capture this picture of Batson Falls.
This video shows the Connestee Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill and joins Batson Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill.

From Connestee Falls Park we drove to another waterfall. Located a short distance from Brevard along Route 276 is Looking Glass Falls. It had started to rain, as we approached Looking Glass Falls. As a result, we didn’t hike down the trail to lower viewing platforms. We viewed the falls from the top viewing platform only.

Looking Glass Falls is 60 feet tall.

From Looking Glass Falls we backtracked a short distance and visited the National Forest Visitor Center Pisgah Ranger Division.  It was pouring rain; glad we didn’t have to park far from the building! I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp for Pisgah National Forest and looked at the exhibits.

This is a replica of the entrance gate that once stood at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
This is the only bear that we saw, while on vacation.

The rain stopped, as we drove through Brevard.

Our next stop was at another waterfall.

Shortly before reaching Highlands is Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls. 

Sequoyah Falls flow over a man made dam. 

Our next stop was at Bridal Falls. At one time it was possible to drive under the falls. The road under the falls has been closed the past few times, when we visited.

There wasn’t much water falling at Bridal Falls.

By the way this was our first visit in the summer in this part of the United States. In the past we have visited in May. Waterfalls have significantly more water flow in May.

Our last sightseeing stop was at Dry Falls.

Bob took this picture of me,
as we hiked down the stairs to the base of Dry Falls.
Dry Falls is 75 feet tall.
Dry Falls earned its name because you
can take a trail to walk behind the falls
and not get wet (well, not too wet).
Bob took this picture of me, when I was behind the falls.
I kept as close to the rock wall, as possible,
without hitting my head.
I stayed mostly dry.

Well, I stayed mostly dry behind the falls. It started to rain again on our hike back up the stairs. We both got fairly wet!

At 3:16 pm we began our drive back to A Holiday Motel. Wouldn’t you know the sun came out a few minutes’ drive past Dry Falls?

We ate dinner at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Waynesville and made it back to A Holiday Motel around 6:00 pm.

Tonight was the “hotel room crawl” at A Holiday Motel.  It had been a long day. We called it a night at 9:00 pm, without participating in the crawl.

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