The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Pennsylvania’ 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.

Mid-Week Getaway: Third and Final Day – Return to Trough Creek State Park

On the morning of Thursday, March 24, we returned to Trough Creek State Park.  Our first stop was at the Balanced Rock Trail.  We walked across the suspension bridge, as we did the prior day

The Suspension Bridge on the Balanced Rock Trail

The prior day I photographed Bob, as he walked on the suspension bridge.

During our second visit, Bob photographed me while I was crossing the suspension bridge.

We continued on the trail to Rainbow Falls. 

Balanced Rock Trail
Balanced Rock Trail
Balanced Rock Trail
Rainbow Falls
Bob crossed over the bridge beside Rainbow Falls and continued the hike to the Balanced Rock.
I stayed at Rainbow Falls, while Bob hiked up to the Balanced Rock.
Bob took this picture from the Balanced Rock Trail.
Do you see me on the bridge?

While Bob was hiking, I was taking pictures of Rainbow Falls.

I LOVE this long exposure picture of Rainbow Falls!

I had to, of course, take a selfie of me and the waterfall.

Rainbow Falls and me
The Balanced Rock
(photo by Bob)
Bob took a picture of our car from the Balanced Rock.
Bob hiking back from the Balanced Rock.

There is a short, a very short, clip in the above-displayed video where it looks like Bob lost his balance, while hiking down from the Balanced Rock. He was just messing with me 🙂

Bob said the climb to the Balanced Rock was steep; the trail was slippery in places.  He ended turning the wrong way and ended up on a trail that was even worse than the trail to the Balanced Rock.  At one place on that trail, he had to climb underneath a fallen log. Bob said I decided correctly to stay at Rainbow Falls.  I enjoyed staying at the falls.  It was peaceful there, with the only sound being the falling of water.  On our way back to the car, as we crossed the suspension bridge, three men crossed too.  Boy! Did that bridge sway and bounce!  

Bob and I with the Balanced Rock behind us

From the Balanced Rock Trail we drove to the Ice Mine. 

Ice Mine

According to this Ice Mine “is an artificial adit, probably a prospect hole for early iron miners. The ice is formed by cold air from the crevices of the surrounding rock which flows into the adit during spring and early summer. It stops at the end of summer, depending on the outside temperatures, and the ice starts to melt.  For this to work, the rock must have decent crevices, allowing a continual air current flowing through the rock. The hillside is formed by loose boulders with numerous clefts. During winter a convection of cold air happens, which cools down the rocks and gets warmed by the rock. The temperature difference is the reason for the air flow. In spring the convection changes its direction, now the warm air from outside gets cooled by the cold rocks and leaves the boulders at the foot, right where the Ice Mine is located.  The cold rocks get warmed by the air current, as much as the air is cooled down, and so the convection comes to an end usually by late summer.”

Ice Mine entry steps
Ice Mine adit

As we were driving out of the state park we made one other stop.  I liked a stream of water of which I caught a glimpse.  The stream of water is Laurel Run, which flows under Trough Creek Drive to Trough Creek.

Laurel Run

I think the foliage in the picture of Laurel Run is Mountain Laurel. Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron are abundant in Trough Creek State Park. I would love to return to the park one day and see these shrubs in bloom.

From Trough Creek State Park we drove back to Ridenour Overlook, where we had stopped on Tuesday on our way to the airbnb.  I had hoped for a nicer view with better weather.  The view was not better.  It was overcast and the mountain tops were in low-hanging clouds.  I didn’t take any pictures.  In fact, I didn’t even get out of the car!

At this point Bob and I discussed the purchase of rechargeable walkie talkies.  When Bob was hiking to the Balanced Rock, it would have been helpful if we had walkie talkies.  Our cell phones had no signal.  Bob could have used a walkie talkie to let me know it was taking longer than expected on the trail because he made a wrong turn.  I was beginning to worry because he was gone longer than expected.  We decided to buy a pair of walkie talkies at Walmart in Duncansville PA.  Bob placed the order, and we began our drive there.  We stopped in Huntingdon for lunch at Hoss’s Steakhouse.  After lunch we continued our drive.  We picked up the walkie talkies and drove back to our airbnb.  

What a nice afternoon it was!  We enjoyed some time in the sun, sitting on the patio at our airbnb.

Relaxing on Patio at Airbnb

We returned home from Martinsburg on Friday, March 25. What a wonderful 3-night vacation we had! Guess what?!? We just booked another 3-night stay at the same airbnb for early summer!

Mid-Week Getaway: Day 2 – Aitch and Trough Creek State Park

The morning of Wednesday, March 23, we did some sightseeing.  Our first stop was at Aitch, where an old railroad bed has been transformed into a fishing pier.  We parked in the parking area and walked across the fishing pier.

Aitch Fishing Pier
Aitch Fishing Pier

I read that Aitch is a great place for birdwatching.  We saw only seagulls.

Our second stop was at Copperas Rock in Trough Creek State Park. Copperas Rock is a large overhang along the Great Trough Creek. These rocks are located directly adjacent to the park road. 

Copperas Rocks
The colors of this overhang are caused
by the weathering of the iron in the rocks.
Copperas Rocks has a nice picnic area.
Signs were present that warned of falling rocks.
This picture shows the 2001 Rock Fall at Copperas Rocks.

Our next stop was at the Balanced Rock Trail. 

Balanced Rock is visible from the road
near the start of the Balanced Rock Trail.
Balanced Rock Trail Sign
This sign points the way to Balanced Rock.
The Balanced Rock Trail takes you over a suspension bridge
and past Rainbow Falls.

We walked over the Great Trough Creek, via a suspension bridge that moves as you walk across it. 

Balanced Rock Trail Suspension Bridge
Balanced Rock Trail Suspension Bridge

It started to rain.  We walked back over the bridge and returned to the car. 

I photographed Bob, as he walked back over the suspension bridge.

We plan to make a return trip to the park tomorrow.  The forecast is for better weather tomorrow morning and for most of the afternoon.

We left the park via forest roads and made our way to Mamie’s Cafe and Bakery in Martinsburg. 

I like the mural on the side of Mamie’s Cafe.

Mamie’s Cafe was recommended to us by our Airbnb hosts.  Bob ordered a toasted Reuben sandwich; I had a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.  Both sandwiches were served with a pickle and chips.  We walked out of the cafe with homemade no bake cookies.  This was a good recommendation. The food and service were excellent.

After lunch we returned to our Airbnb rental, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon and evening.  How did we spend our afternoon and evening?  Bob took a nap.  I uploaded a few pictures to Facebook.  I started reading a book on my Kindle.  For dinner we ate leftover fried chicken, pasta salad and potato salad.

Mid-Week Getaway: “Mountain Living Close to Raystown Lake” Airbnb

We spent the nights of March 22, March 23 and March 24 in Martinsburg PA at “Mountain Living Close to Raystown Lake” Airbnb.

This is the first picture that I took of our Airbnb. There wasn’t much of a sunset Tuesday evening, but at least there was some color in the sky. Most of the day had been overcast, with the sky showing shades of gray.

Sunset at “Mountain Living Close to Raystown Lake” Airbnb

The next three pictures were taken on Thursday.

The sun was trying to break through the morning fog.

Our Airbnb was located on a hill about 1/4 mile from the main road to Martinsburg PA. We walked that 1/4 mile a couple times during our 3-night stay.

I took this picture during a late afternoon walk on Thursday.
Our Airbnb is the last house on the left.
Our Airbnb “Mountain Living Close to Raystown Lake”

We did not have full use of this house.  Our hosts live in the main level; The Airbnb is an apartment located in the basement.  The apartment is entered through the garage.  There are six steps up into the apartment.  The basement apartment is laid out well, felt spacious and was very comfortable.  

The bathroom is located on the right as soon as you enter the apartment.  The bathroom is actually two small rooms.  One room houses the toilet and a sink; the other room houses a shower and washer and dryer.

Located on the left, as you enter the apartment, is a large living room.

In the living room is a generous 3-seat sofa that, when you sit, you sink into comfortably; a coffee table, a gas fireplace that heats up the space exceptionally well; a TV; two end tables; an arm chair; and bookcases (the three double bookcases shown in this picture and one single bookcase), all filled to the brim with books.   

Located straight ahead, as you enter the apartment is a small, but cozy and functional, kitchen. 

View of Kitchen from the living room

In the kitchen there is a small table for two; a refrigerator; and plenty of counter space with drawers and cabinets underneath and cabinets above the refrigerator and microwave. There is no oven or stovetop; however, there are appliances provided from which meals can be prepared (e.g. microwave, Keurig coffee maker, a large toaster/oven, countertop electrical twin burner, and an electric skillet).
There is additional seating for three along the countertop.
Next to the kitchen is a small room.
Note, too, the open door. The bathroom is through that door.
The small room next to the kitchen contains a hide-a-bed sofa on one wall and a table on the opposite one. Through patio doors is the master bedroom.
I LOVE this wall mural!
The master bedroom contains a comfortable king-size bed, two bedside tables, and a dresser.  There is also a wood-fired stove.  There is access to a patio through the master bedroom.
Master Bedroom Dresser
Master Bedroom Wood Fireplace

Our hosts, Ruthie and Peter, were personable and friendly. They respected our privacy, but they were readily available if we had any questions. We highly recommend that you consider this Airbnb, if you are in the Raystown Lake area.


Mid-Week Getaway: Day 1 – Warren PA to Martinsburg PA

We returned home on Friday, March 25, from a 3-night stay near Raystown Lake in Pennsylvania. We departed Warren PA at 8:15 am on Tuesday, March 22, and arrived at Raystown Lake, near Huntingdon, shortly before noon.  We enjoyed the lake view from two overlooks — Ridenour Overlook and Hawn’s Overlook.  These two overlooks offer views of northern Raystown Lake. Both overlooks are easily accessed from the same parking area.

Ridenour Overlook of Raystown Dam

Hawn’s Overlook is located about 300 yards, about the length of three football fields, from Ridenour Overlook.

The trail to Hawn’s Overlook
Hawn’s Overlook of Raystown Lake
(looking to the right)
Hawn’s Overlook of Raystown Lake
(looking to the left)
Bob took this picture of me at Hawn’s Overlook

Leaving the overlook, our next destination was the Raystown Lake Visitor Center. The GPS took us directly across from Raystown Dam, which we viewed from Ridenour Overlook.

Raystown Lake Dam

From the dam we followed a gravel road along the Raystown Branch Juanita River to Route 22. We turned left onto Crooked Creek Road and made our way to the visitor center.  At the visitor center we enjoyed the view of the lake from the back deck of the visitor center.  Inside the visitor center we looked at several exhibits on display.  There is also a very nice gift shop inside the visitor center.

Raystown Lake Visitor Center
Seven Points Marina, as viewed from
the deck of the Raystown Lake Visitor Center
Raystown Lake Visitor Center exhibit
Raystown Lake Visitor Center exhibit
Raystown Lake Visitor Center exhibit
Raystown Lake Visitor Center exhibit

Leaving the Visitor Center, we made our way to our Airbnb in Martinsburg PA. It was an approximate 30-minute drive. A day or two before Ruth, our Airbnb host, had stated that we could check in early, if desired. Check-in time was 3:00 pm. We checked in around 2:30 pm, after eating lunch at a nearby Subway.

Around 4:00 pm we drove to Giant Eagle in Roaring Spring (about 6 miles away) and picked up a few groceries, as well as dinner — fried chicken, pasta salad and potato salad.

Stay tuned for my next blog post in which I write specifically about our Airbnb accommodation.

Day Trip to Erie

Yesterday we drove to Erie.

In Erie Our first destination was Presque Isle State Park, where we drove around the peninsula.  We saw Canada Geese, ducks and a Great Blue Heron.

Canada Geese in the Air
Two Female Mallards on a Log
Great Blue Heron

We ate lunch at Underground BBQ.  Bob had a chopped brisket sandwich; I had a pulled pork sandwich.  As a side dish, we both got macaroni and cheese.  Lunch was good.

After lunch we drove to the nearby Giant Eagle, where Bob got his first shingles vaccine.  Bob’s health insurance pays 100% of the vaccine cost.  He will need a second vaccine in 2-6 months.  I want to get a shingles vaccine as well.  My health insurance doesn’t cover the vaccine shot.  It appears that my prescription plan will cover a small percentage of the cost.  I checked the vaccine cost at Good RX.  It is the least expensive option.  I will get my first Shingles vaccine this week or early next week.

Our next stop was Sam’s Club, where we filled up our fuel tank and added to our pantry.  We paid $3.64/gallon for fuel, which was less expensive than $3.75 at Sheetz.  I checked fuel prices today online. Sam’s Club is now charging $3.69/gallon, and Sheetz is charging $3.89/gallon. Imam glad that our car is fuel efficient.

Our next stop was at PetSmart to buy cat litter.

We left Erie from PetSmart, en route home.  We stopped at Save a Lot in Corry to buy a few more groceries.  Then we stopped at Tim Hortons for dessert – tea for me and coffee for Bob with a Boston Creme donut for me and an oatmeal raisin cookie for Bob.

Benezette Weekend Getaway: Day 3

This blog post contains photographs and details of our third, and last, day of our weekend getaway. If you missed Days 1 and 2, you may catch up by clicking here.

On December 20 we drove home, leaving from Weedville around 8:00 am, after eating our oatmeal breakfast at the Airbnb.  We didn’t see any elk at the Airbnb during our stay, as we had hoped.  Elk are not predictable!  

Before leaving the area, we went for a drive to Benezette.  We looked for elk at places where we had seen elk the previous day and on Saturday afternoon.  There were no elk at the Mt Zion Historical Park.  There wasn’t any elk at either the Benezette Store campground or at the field past the Benezette Store.  We went for a drive on Winslow Hill.  We didn’t see any elk at the Elk Country Visitor Center or at the Winslow Hill viewing area.   As I wrote earlier, elk are not predictable.  We did see a few elk this morning at a couple other places, but not nearly as many as we saw the previous two days. I did not write down the location where we saw these elk.

Five Bull Elk
We believe these elk are the same ones that we saw
at the Mt Zion Historical Park the previous day.
A Bull Elk and Two Cows
Two Bull Elk, Sparring
One Bull Elk

On our way home we stopped at Joey’s Bakery in Ridgway PA for a mid morning snack.  The bakery items were slim pickings by the time we arrived.  We did find a couple to our liking, though, and purchased tea and coffee as well. 

We returned home around 11:30 am. We had a wonderful stay at ”Creekside Cabin”. Both of us agree that we want to spend more time at this Airbnb, possibly in the summertime 2022.

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