The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Pennsylvania’ category

The End to Cabin Fever

As it was for much of the United States, we experienced cold weather and bitter wind chills at the end of January.  On the morning of February 2nd Pennsylvania’s legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, which means that Spring is right around the corner.  I hope that Phil is correct in his prediction.  Regardless of whether he is right or wrong, Spring will be here on March 20th.  Here, in Northwestern Pennsylvania, the weather forecast this past Saturday for the next several days makes it look like Spring is on our doorstep.

Spring is knocking on our door!

 

We went for a drive late Sunday morning into the early afternoon. 

A portion of our drive was along the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir.  Our first stop was at Big Bend Recreation Area, located just below Kinzua Dam, where we looked for eagles.  We didn’t see any.  

We continued our drive on Pennsylvania Route 59 to Pennsylvania Route 321 past Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.  We stopped here.

Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir

The “My Two Cents” Snowman at Sugar Bay

Bob built the snowman, while I was taking pictures of the bay.

Continuing our drive on Pennsylvania Route 321 we came to a T-intersection.  We turned left onto Pennsylvania Route 346.  At he New York state line Pennsylvania Route 346 becomes New York State Route 280.  We followed Route 280 to Allegany State Park.  

We drove through Allegany State Park, making only one photo stop.  We drove over a bridge and had gotten a few hundred feet further along the road, when I said to Bob “We have to turn around!  I saw something that I want to photograph!”.  Bob turned around.

A snow and ice sculpture I found in one of the streams at Allegany State Park.

A snow and ice sculpture

Bob said the snow and ice sculpture resembled a porcupine.  I thought it resembled a peacock or turkey, with its feathers fanned out.  

From Allegany State Park we made our way back home.  We returned home around 2:00 pm.  I am glad that we went for a drive.  What a beautiful day it was with blue skies, brilliant sunshine and a high temperature of 52 degrees!  I could feel my cabin fever breaking, as the sunshine beamed down through the moon roof and especially when I stepped out into the pleasantly warm outdoor air. 

Presque Isle State Park Day Trip

We left home at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 26th, en route Erie.  I did not like traveling on either Follett Run Road or Preston Road, both of which were snow covered and hilly.  The road surface for the remainder of our drive to Erie was good.  We drove to the following destinations, while in Erie:  Presque Isle State Park. Cheddars Scratch Kitchen, Best Buy and Sam’s Club.

Arriving at Presque Isle State Park, we drove around the peninsula, making a few stops along the way. 

Soon after entering the park, we noticed the trees were coated with white snow.

The snow-covered trees along Peninsula Drive were gorgeous!

We saw the new emergency intake tower, which often is mistaken for a lighthouse, at the Waterworks area.  Bob and I have always referred to the tower as a lighthouse.  I told Bob that the lighthouse was in a different spot, when we first saw it.  Bob said no it wasn’t.  I said yes it is.  Well, I am right.  I have photographic and written proof!

This was the old Waterworks Lighthouse.

The old Waterworks Lighthouse was removed in late 2017.  It is believed that the emergency intake tower was installed in the early 1900s. The valve apparatus has not been operational for decades,

The newly restored and repainted lighthouse was installed in September 2018.  It is located to the left of the original lighthouse and quite a bit forward of the sign seen in the photograph displayed above.  It was installed on land, not on water.  Donations helped to pay for the $80,000 project, with $50,000 coming from the Dan and Sallie Shipley Charitable Fund.

This is the new Waterworks Lighthouse.

Jayme, one of Bob’s coworkers, told Bob that he would be ice fishing on either Misery Bay or Horseshoe Pond.  We planned to walk across the ice to where Jayme was fishing.  As it turned out, Jayme didn’t go to Presque Isle to ice fish, as he had heard that the ice wasn’t good.  There were some ice fishing huts both on Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond.

Horseshoe Pond Houseboats and Ice Fishing Hut

This houseboat with a replica of the North Pier Lighthouse is my favorite of all the houseboats on Horseshoe Pond.

Panoramic Image of some of the houseboats on Horseshoe Pond and Ice Fishing Huts

Continuing around Presque Isle we stopped at the Waterworks area, located across Peninsula Drive from where we had stopped earlier to admire the new Waterworks Lighthouse.  We were on the lake side of the peninsula.

Lake Erie

Today was Snow Day at Presque Isle State Park.  At the event, organized by the Presque Isle Partnership, visitors could enjoy everything from dog sled and snow show demonstrations, to outdoor cooking and ice fishing.  Our interest in stopping at this event was to see a dog sled demonstration, which we did. 

Bob captured video of the dog sled demonstration, while I captured still images.  Bob’s video is short, only a little over a minute.  So please do click on the play button!

 

 

Dog Sled Demo at Presque Isle Snow Day event

 

Shortly before the dog sled demo we petted one of the Siberian Huskies, a beautiful girl named Meeka.  She was really soft!  Meeka was the lead dog in the dog sled demonstration that we watched.

From Presque Isle State Park we drove to Cheddars Scratch Kitchen, where we ate lunch.  Bob ordered from the “Lighter Side”.  The entree Bob chose was bourbon-glazed grilled salmon over seasoned rice, broccoli cheese casserole and a house salad.  I ordered from “Comfort Food”.  My entree was homemade chicken pot pie with a house salad.  We enjoyed both of our meals.

From Cheddars we drove to Best Buy.  In June 2017 I purchased a 10.5 in. 256 GB iPad Pro tablet.  At the time I was in a quandary.  Do I buy the 10.5 in. tablet or the bigger, more expensive 12.9 in. tablet.  I chose the 10.5 in. tablet because I thought the larger tablet would be too big for me.  In hindsight, I should have purchased the 12.9 in. tablet.  Well, today, I purchased a new 12.9 in. 256 GB iPad Pro tablet, along with a Smart Keyboard case and Apple Pencil.  The Smart Keyboard case was not in stock.  I am expecting delivery of the Smart Keyboard case by Tuesday, Jan. 29th.  The new Apple Pencil attaches magnetically to my iPad, a feature that I love.  So, I am a happy owner of a new iPad Pro tablet!  I plan to sell my 10.5 in. iPad Pro, along with its keyboard and pencil, as a package in the near future.

From Best Buy we drove to Sam’s Club, where we picked up a few groceries.  We renewed our Sam’s Club membership in December last year, after allowing the membership to lapse a few months prior when Sam’s Club closed in Jamestown, NY.  The Sam’s Club in Erie is farther for us to drive than it was for us to go to Sam’s Club in Jamestown.  After several months without a membership, we decided that we go to Erie often enough that a Sam’s Club membership would be worthwhile.  Besides I miss some of the foods and paper products that we would buy at Sam’s Club.  The reason for driving to Erie on Saturday was to go to Sam’s Club.

From Sam’s Club we made our way back home.  I didn’t believe snow was in Saturday’s forecast.  Well, it snowed the whole way back home!

Pennsylvania 2019 River of the Year

I read today that the Clarion River in northwestern Pennsylvania was voted the state’s 2019 River of the Year.

Here are a few photographs that I have taken over the past few years of the Clarion River.

Clarion River, August 2013

Clarion River, March 2014

Clarion River, April 2016

Clarion River, April 2016 on the First Day of Trout Season

Clarion River, April 2016. We enjoy riding the motorcycle on River Road.

Clarion River, May 2017 in Hallton, PA.

First Saturday 2019

It was such a pretty day yesterday.  Sunshine has been scarce the past few weeks.  It has been an unusual Winter season thus far.  We have had much more rain than snow.  So little snow, in fact, that Bob has not yet felt the need to use the snow thrower on our driveway.  He has not felt the need to use the snow shovel much either.

Yesterday on Facebook I noticed that a few friends of mine had something to say about our Northwest PA weather as well.

“I have a low grade fever and the type of headache that makes ya want to punch kittens. Yet – this is the first sunny Saturday I can remember in the last 3 months. We ARE going for a walk in the beautiful (retina scorching,head stabbing) outdoors!!” ~Sheila F.

“sure feels good to have the sun on my face after 3 weeks of permacloud in PA!” ~Allison C.

“Finally some sunshine…went for a ride around the Kinzua Dam….” ~Patti B.

Neither Bob nor I were feeling well yesterday morning.  I blame our intestinal distress on the side salads that we ate at Applebee’s the previous evening.  I recovered first and was able to keep a 10:00 am haircut appointment.  It took Bob longer to recover.  He did feel better in the afternoon, so we decided to enjoy the sunshine with a drive around the Allegheny Reservoir. This is the route we traveled.  The starting point is located a little less than 5 miles from our home.

We made only two photo stops, both at the beginning of our drive.  We stopped at Big Bend Recreation Area, located below Kinzua Dam.  I took pictures of the Allegheny River and Kinzua Dam from an observation platform located above the river.

Kinzua Dam at Big Bend Recreation Area

Kinzua Dam at Big Bend Recreation Area

Allegheny River at Big Bend Recreation Area

Look at that blue sky in each of the photographs displayed above.  It had really been a long, long time since we enjoyed a cloudless sky and abundant sunshine.

Our second stop was at Bent Run Falls, where I took a video of the rushing water.

 

As we departed the eastern fringes of the reservoir, the sun was slipping behind cloud cover.

A Facebook friend also went for a drive around Allegheny Reservoir and experienced blue skies turning into cloudy skies.

“We also went around the dam….I was surprised at the snow up on top of the hill…..and loved the water coming our of the spill way. …  got cloudy on us on the way back on I-86 but still a nice ride.” ~Patti B.

I expressed surprise, too, seeing the snow up on top of the hill.  Bob said we were at a higher elevation and it was shady; therefore, the snow stays on the ground for a longer time.  Patti also mentioned that the water level of the reservoir was so low.  We noticed the same, especially looking down on Sugar Bay (on the east side of the reservoir).  We saw people walking on a patch of land, way out into the reservoir.  We should have stopped at Sugar Bay, but we didn’t.

On the western side of the reservoir we drove to Webb’s Ferry, but we didn’t get out of the car.  By then we had lost the sunshine, and clouds once again covered the sky. 

We made one last stop before returning home.  We stopped at Scandia General Store, where we purchased a 12-inch sub, cheese curds and apple butter.  This was the first time that we have stopped at Scandia General Store.  We will be back! 

We returned home around 4:00 pm, at which time we ate our delicious turkey and ham sub.

We enjoyed the sunshine yesterday, while it lasted.  I wonder how many more days will pass before we see sunshine in abundance.

The 155th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Bob and I vacationed in Gettysburg earlier this month.  We attended Gettysburg Remembrance Day activities, toured the battlefield, and caught the last few minutes of the Gettysburg Dedication Day ceremony.  This blog post, my last in a series pertaining to our recent Gettysburg vacation, is about Gettysburg Dedication Day.

 

Monday, November 19th, marked the 155th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Each year since 1938, a ceremony has been held on November 19th to commemorate Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and to rededicate Soldiers’ National Cemetery (now known as Gettysburg National Cemetery) where Lincoln spoke on November 19, 1863. The date of November 19th was formally designated as Dedication Day on November 19, 1946 . 

Bob and I attended this year’s Gettysburg Dedication Day ceremony at Gettysburg National Cemetery the morning of November 19th.  We just missed hearing “President Lincoln” recite The Gettysburg Address.  We caught the last chorus of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

Dedication Day Ceremony at Gettysburg National Cemetery – Wayne Hill sings “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

 

We also witnessed a Naturalization Ceremony, which neither Bob nor I had ever seen.

 

 

As the Dedication Ceremony was winding down, we moved farther away so that I could capture a photograph of the Speaker’s Rostrum and the crowd.

Speaker’s Rostrum

Speaker’s Rostrum

 

When the dedication ceremony concluded, we went for a walk on a paved walkway through the cemetery.  We followed loosely this virtual tour that I found and opened, as we began our walk.

Beyond the black iron fence is Gettysburg’s public Evergreen Cemetery. This cemetery was established in 1853.

 

Bivouac of the Dead plaque

There are several of these metal plaques located in the cemetery.  Each plaque contain excerpts from Theodore O’Hara’s 1847 poem “The Bivouac of the Dead”.  Looking beyond the plaque you see the first of the gravestones, laid out in rows, which mark the final resting place for over 3,500 Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg.

 

The Soldiers’ National Monument honors the fallen soldiers.

 

Gravestones

 

Note the penny with Lincoln’s head up on this gravestone.  We saw pennies on many gravestones.

 

President Lincoln at Soldier’s National Monument

 

New York State Monument

New York State Monument

 

November 19th was the last night of our 4-night stay in Gettysburg.  What a WONDERFUL vacation we had!  What a memorable experience we had of being in Gettysburg for Remembrance Day activities and the 155th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address!

We are looking forward to our next visit to Gettysburg!

 

Sachs Covered Bridge

Bob and I vacationed in Gettysburg earlier this month.  During the morning of Monday, November 19th (our last day there), we visited Sachs Covered Bridge.

Sachs Covered Bridge was built around 1852.

Sachs Covered Bridge is a 100-feet long, Town truss covered bridge and crosses over Marsh Creek.

Sachs Covered Bridge

During the Civil War both the Union and Confederate armies used Sachs Covered Bridge in the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath. It is reportedly known to be severely haunted as a result.

 

Gettysburg Battlefield Tour Part 3 of 3

This blog post continues our tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield.  Tuesday’s blog post pertained to Auto Stops 1-3 and provided notable events that occurred during the first day of the three-day battle.  Wednesday’s blog post pertained to Auto Tour Stops 4-9 and provided notable events that occurred during the second day of the three-day battle.  Today’s blog post pertains to Auto Tour Stops 10-16 and provides notable events that occurred during the second and third days of the three-day battle (July 2-3, 1863).

Day 2: July 2, 1863

 

Auto Tour Stop #10
The Peach Orchard

“The Union line extended from Devil’s Den to here, then angled northward on Emmitsburg Road. Federal cannon bombarded Southern forces crossing the Rose Farm toward the Wheatfield until about 6:30 p.m., when Confederate attacks overran this position.” – The Auto Tour

The 73rd New York Infantry Monument near the Peach Orchard with the Sherfy Farm Barn in the background

On our way to Auto Tour Stop #11 we passed by the Trostle Farm.

Trostle Farm Barn

This barn shows some battle damage.  Do you see the cannon hole in the brick?

Auto Tour Stop #11
Plum Run

“While fighting raged to the south at the Wheatfield and Little Round Top, retreating Union soldiers crossed this ground on their way from the Peach Orchard to Cemetery Ridge.” – The Auto Tour

I didn’t take any photographs at this stop.

Auto Tour Stop #12
Pennsylvania Memorial

“Union artillery held the line alone here on Cemetery Ridge late in the day as Meade called for infantry from Culp’s Hill and other areas to strengthen and hold the center of the Union position.” – The Auto Tour

The Pennsylvania Memorial is the largest memorial on the Gettysburg battlefield.

The statue of Winged Victory stands on top of the dome. The tip of the sword of the statue of Winged Victory is 110 feet high.

 

Auto Tour Stop #13
Spangler’s Spring

“About 7 p.m. Confederates attacked the right flank of the Union army and occupied the lower slopes of Culp’s Hill.  The next morning the Confederates were driven off after seven hours of fighting.”– The Auto Tour

I didn’t take any photographs at this stop.

Auto Tour Stop #14
East Cemetery Hill

“At dusk, Union forces repelled a Confederate assault that reached the crest of this hill. By day’s end, both flanks of the Union army had been attacked and both had held, despite losing ground. In a council of war, Meade, anticipating an assault on the center of his line, determined that his army would stay and fight.” – The Auto Tour

I didn’t take any photographs at this stop.

 

Day 3 – July 3, 1863

Auto Tour Stop #15
High-Water Mark

“Late in the afternoon, after a two-hour cannonade, some 7,000 Union soldiers posted around the copse of trees, The Angle, and the Brian Barn, repulsed the bulk of the 12,000-man “Pickett’s Charge” against the Federal center.  This was the climactic moment of the battle.  On July 4, Lee’s army began retreating.” – The Auto Tour

High-Water Mark is the location of the copse of trees mentioned in the Auto Tour.

High-Water Mark

Cannon across from High-Water Mark

On our way to Auto Tour Stop #16 we passed by the Memorial to the Grand Army of the Republic.

Memorial to the Grand Army of the Republic

This memorial is to Albert Woolson, the last survivor of the Grand Army of the Republic.  Albert went to war as a drummer boy at the age of 17. He died on August 2, 1956 at the age of 109.

The Gettysburg Battlefield is immense.  We spent 3 1/2 hours driving through the battlefield.  We could have easily spent many more hours there.  The grounds are peaceful and hauntingly beautiful when you think about the lives lost and the blood spilled there.

The last stop on the Auto Tour is Stop #16 at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  We did not visit the cemetery on the same day that we toured the battlefield.  Please check back soon for a blog post pertaining to the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

We finished our battlefield tour shortly after 12:30 pm.  We returned to the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center, from which we began our battlefield tour.  This was our second visit to Gettysburg.  Our first visit was in January 2016, at which time spent a couple hours at the Visitor Center.  During that visit we watched the showing of the film “A New Birth of Freedom”, narrated by Morgan Freeman.The film places the monumental events of the Battle of Gettysburg into the larger context of the Civil War and American history.  After watching the 20-minute film, we viewed the Gettysburg Cyclorama program, which immerses the viewer into the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Cyclorama program is an amazing, realistic presentation!  We explored the museum during that visit as well.  The museum features relics of the Battle of Gettysburg and personalities who served in the Civil War, interactive exhibits, and multi-media presentations that cover the conflict from beginning to end.  We didn’t see any reason to spend time at the Visitor Center this year.  I did get our National Park Service passport stamped at the Visitor Center.  I also purchased a Gettysburg hoodie in the Museum Bookstore and had my picture taken with Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln and me at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center (Photo by Bob)

 

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