The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Pennsylvania’ category

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 4

We departed the Birdhouse Inn Confluence Airbnb at 8:00 am, en route home.  We had a very nice, relaxing stay in Confluence.  We plan to make a return trip here one day.

We stopped for breakfast at Zambo’s Country Cottage in Rockwood, PA.  The restaurant is located in the middle of nowhere, farm country, less than 30 minutes from Confluence.  The service was excellent, and the food was delicious and filling.  Bob ordered a western omelet and rye toast.  I ordered two pancakes, eggs, bacon and wheat toast.  The pancakes were huge.  I boxed half of them and my toast and placed the box in our cooler.  We were back on the road at 9:05 am.

In Penn Run, PA we made a slight detour by driving into Yellow Creek State Park

The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake occupies about 1/4 of the 2,981-acre state park.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to visit Yellow Creek State Park.
The sky was blue and reflected so beautifully on the lake.
Yellow Creek Lake

After taking these pictures, we turned around and returned to Route 422.  The park would be a nice place for a picnic, had it been lunchtime.

We returned home around 1:30 pm.  Wickett, our cat, was really happy to see us.  She ran up and down the hallway, tail raised high, as we carried stuff into the house from the car.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 3

We awakened to rain on Day 3 (September 28th) of our wedding anniversary getaway. I got up shorltly before 7:30 am and made a cup of tea. I sat outside on the side porch in my pajamas and bare feet, drinking that cup of tea, and listening to the falling rain.  The Birdhouse Inn Confluence Airbnb has two covered porches, one in the front and the other on the side.  The side porch is my favorite.  The rain started earlier this morning, around 4:15 am, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The rain stopped falling mid morning, but stayed cloudy all day.

My knee is back to its usual discomfort, so we decided to hike the Ferncliff Peninsula in Ohiopyle. We arrived on the peninsula around 11:50 am.  We followed Ferncliff Trail along the rocky Youghiongheny River to where we could see an overlook of the Ohiopyle Falls. 

There are two trails in this picture.
Ferncliff Trail is to the left and right; Oakwoods Trail is straight ahead.
We took Ferncliff Trail on the left and exited the hike on Oakwoods Trail.
Hiking Ferncliff Trail to Youghiogheny River
One of several fossils
that we saw along Ferncliff Trail
Bob on the Ferncliff Trail
Youghiogheny River, as seen from Ferncliff Trail
First view of Ohiopyle Falls from Ferncliff Trail
Bob took this picture of Ohiopyle Falls,
after hiking down some several stone steps.
Ohiopyle State Park Visitor Center,
as seen from the Ferncliff Peninsula

My right knee is weak and wobbled a bit sometimes, while navigating the rocks along the Youghiogheny River.  Soon after the waterfall overlook we came across a trail that led up away from the river toward the center of the peninsula. The first few feet of that trail was eroded, steep and difficult. Bob had to pull me up one of the steep steps.

I gave Bob a thumps up that I was able to climb up off the rocky trail along the Youghiogheny River.
We took the Buffalo Nut Trail to cut across the peninsula, to shorten our hiking distance. 
Buffalo Nut Trail was much easier to hike
than the Ferncliff Trail!
We saw lots of moss-covered tree branches, while hiking Buffalo Nut Trail.

At the end of Buffalo Nut Trail we hopped onto Oakwoods Trail that took us back to Ferncliff Trail and our origin point. 

We turned right onto the Oakwoods Trail.
I took the 360 degree video that follows
at this point on Oakwoods Trail.
Please have volume ON for the video.

We made it back to our origin point by 1:15 pm.  We enjoyed our hike on Ferncliff Peninsula.  I feel I have accomplished quite a bit in the past two days—the 10 mile bicycle ride on Monday and this hike.

After our hike we went to lunch at the Yough Roadhouse Bar & Grill just outside of Confluence.  We sat at the bar.  There was one other couple there, and one girl behind the bar.  The girl behind the bar was the only one there to wait on customers.  We sat at the bar to make her waiting on us easier.  Bob ordered a fish sandwich with chips, and I ordered chicken strips and beer-battered fries.  Our meals were delicious.  The service was excellent.  We enjoyed the conversation, too, with the other customers and our waitress.  The other customers are staying in Confluence as well, at a campground.

After lunch we returned “home”, where we relaxed for rest of the afternoon and evening.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 2

I got up on September 27th at 7:00 am, after a good night’s sleep. Bob got up about an hour later. Shortly after 9:00 am we drove to the nearby Confluence Food Market handpicked up a few groceries. Back “home” Bob made us breakfast — scrambled eggs, sausage links and orange juice.

Around 10:00 am we left on a bicycle ride, which you may find details and photographs of by clicking here. This blog post begins where the bicycling blog post ends.

Shortly before 3:00 pm Bob returned to Ohiopyle from Confluence. I met Bob in the Ohiopyle State Park parking lot. Bob loaded my bicycle on the carrier. Then, we walked back to the Ohiopyle Falls overlook for one last look.

Bob and I at Ohiopyle Falls

Nearby the falls overlook we happened upon a cat.

The cat’s tag reads:
I live in Ohiopyle. I am not a stray.

Tonto is not an ordinary cat. There are many articles on the Internet about Tonto. Click here for one of the articles I found about Tonto.

On our way back “home” from Ohiopyle we visited three sites — Cucumber Falls, Baughman Rock Overlook and Youghiogheny Dam. 

We hiked down to Cucumber Falls. Thankfully the hike wasn’t too far, as my knee still hurt from our earlier bicycle ride.

Cucumber Falls

The waterfall was OK, but I was disappointed that the water flow was low.

All we saw from Baughman Rock were trees.  The view from there is supposed to be Pennsylvania’s deepest gorge.  We didn’t see the gorge; all we saw were trees. 

Baughman Rock Overlook Trailhead

The view was disappointing, after hiking up Baughman Rock’s steep face.  That hike was painful for me. My knee complained loudly! The view from Baughman Rock will be beautiful, when the leaves change color. When the trees shed their leaves I believe, then, the gorge will be seen.

Our last stop before returning “home” was at Youghiogheny Dam.

Youghiogheny Dam

We drove across the dam and back.

Youghiogheny River Lake was established in 1944
with the construction of the 184-foot high, 1,604-foot wide Youghiogheny Dam.

We returned to our Airbnb, the Birdhouse Inn Confluence, around 4:45 pm.  We spent rest of the afternoon and evening at ”home” relaxing and allowing my knee time to recuperate.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 1

This past Sunday, September 26th, was our 23rd wedding anniversary.  We celebrated our anniversary with a mini getaway–3 nights at an Airbnb in Confluence, PA.  

Before leaving home, Bob made us omelets for breakfast.  We put the dishes in the dishwasher and started the cleaning cycle.  We packed the car.  Bob placed our bicycles on the carrier.  We left home at 8:15 am, en route Confluence.

We made one stop in Ebensburg and arrived in Confluence between 12:00 and 12:30 pm.  Check in wasn’t until 3:00 pm.  We drove by our rental Airbnb.  There was a car parked outside the front porch, which we supposed belonged to the cleaner(s).  

We had a few hours to kill, so we decided to do some sightseeing.  We saw a sign on our way to Confluence for a nearby covered bridge.  We drove to the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge and checked it out.

Lower Humbert Covered Bridge

The Lower Humbert Bridge is a 126 1/2 feet long Burr Arch truss covered bridge. It crosses over the Laurel Hill Creek in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. The bridge was built in 1891 and rebuilt 100 years later. It is one of ten remaining covered bridges in Somerset County.

The Lower Humbert Bridge is a Burr Arch truss covered bridge.
Bob and I at the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge

From the bridge we decided to drive to Ohiopyle State Park.  We parked near the Visitor Center and walked a short way along the Youghiogheny River.  We enjoyed the view of the Ohiopyle Falls.

Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River

We visited the Visitor Center as well.  I picked up a map and brochure for the park.

We returned to the Birdhouse Inn Confluence Airbnb shortly before 3:00 pm.  The cleaner was still there but left as soon as she made one last bed.  The Airbnb is a cute 2 story house.  There are two porches, one in the front and one on the side.  I love the side porch.  It is where we sat, waiting for the cleaner to finish up.  The chairs are comfortable, and the view is a cornfield in front of a hill.

Shortly after 5:00 pm we walked to the River’s Edge Cafe, where we had a 5:30 pm dinner reservation.  The walk took only a few minutes, so we were early for our reservation. 

We ate our anniversary dinner at the River’s Edge Cafe.

We sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the view and sound of the Youghiogheny River.  Dinner was excellent. Bob ordered a Oak Barrel steak dinner; I ordered a Smoked Barbecued pork chop dinner.

After dinner we went for a short bicycle ride to the Confluence Town Square.  Our bicycle ride took us over the Casselman River on a bike/pedestrian bridge. In all we didn’t even ride a mile from our “home” to the town square and back “home”.

Pymatuning Day Trip

This past Saturday (June 19th) Bob suggested that we drive to Pymatuning State Park. A change of scenery appealed to me.

The highlight of our visit to Pymatuning was seeing the Pymatuning Dam and the area near the dam.

Pymatuning State Park Dam and its Environ

Pymatuning Dam is located at the southern end of Pymatuning Reservoir. We have visited Pymatuning several times. This was our first visit to the dam and its surrounding area.

Our first stop was at Shenango River. We crossed over Pymatuning Dam via Dam Road. We turned right onto Water Trail Drive, which led us to the Shenango River.

Pymatuning State Park – Shenango River
We saw this great blue heron on the opposite side of the river.
We noticed a trail that appeared close to where the heron was located.
We walked over the pedestrian bridge to reach Sugar Creek Run Trail.
It was a short walk to where the great blue heron was perched.
I managed to capture this picture, through the foliage,
before the great blue heron took off.

Our second stop was on the reservoir side of the dam. We backtracked and drove back over the dam. We pulled into the parking lot for pavilion shelter #3.

Pymatuning State Park
the Dam Gatehouse, as seen from Pavilion Shelter #3 grounds

We, then, drove back across the dam but only half way. We parked across from the Dam Gatehouse.

Pymatuning State Park – Dam Gatehouse

According to signage at the site, the “castle-like stone gatehouse allows water flow through the dam. Water enters the gatehouse through a 20-foot-wide diversion channel and travels 280 feet to the outflow conduits.”

Entry to the Dam Gatehouse was barred.
Dam Gatehouse

We walked back across Dam Road and visited the outflow area.

Pymatuning Dam Outflow
Pymatuning Dam Outflow.
We walked down two staircases to get closer to the outflow.

The Pymatuning Dam Outflow forms the Shenango River.

Leaving Pymatuning Dam and its environ our next stop was at the Linesville Spillway, where we saw lots of carp, ducks and geese.

The Geese, Ducks and Carp are fed bread at the spillway.
Pymatuning State Park – the Spillway
You can’t see the Spillway in this picture. We are walking toward the Spillway.
Geese, Ducks and Carp at Pymatuning Spillway
The Spillway, which you can’t see, is behind us.
We are walking back to our car.

It is said that ducks walk on carp at the Spillway, but we didn’t see that.

Leaving Pymatuning State Park in our rearview mirror, our next stop was for lunch in Spartansburg. We ate lunch at the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

This is the Dutch Treat Restaurant.

Bob had an egg sandwich with French fries and coleslaw. I had a BLT sandwich with French fries and applesauce. Our meals were delicious. Service was OK. It would have been better, if Bob had gotten the lunch he ordered–a steak salad. Bob should have been tipped off, when the waitress asked if Bob wanted coleslaw. A salad has a coleslaw side??? I did notice that the waitress was hard of hearing AND she was tired–overworked from lack of help. Bob decided to let it go. He saved $8.00 on our lunch price. The egg salad sandwich was a lot less expensive than the steak salad.

After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to Clear Lake.

On our way to Clear Lake we saw a white goose.
We checked out Clear Lake from a small bridge that crosses over the lake.

We returned home, after lunch. It was a good day, even with the rain that came in the afternoon.

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. 

Overnight Getaway

We returned home late this morning from an overnight getaway.  We spent the night at Best Western in Erie PA, using a $25 gift certificate that expires later this month as partial payment.  We earned the gift certificate from a prior stay at a Best Western hotel.  I believe we will earn another $25 gift certificate from this stay.

We departed Warren shortly after 9:00 am yesterday and arrived at our hotel around 2:45 pm.  We made a few stops en route the hotel.

Before leaving Warren we stopped at Tim Hortons, where Bob purchased a cup of coffee.

Our second stop was in Findley Lake NY.  We saw nothing of interest and moved on.

Upon arriving in Erie we drove the perimeter of Presque Isle, stopping briefly to capture photographs of ducks and Canadian geese in a swamp area.

Pair of Mallard Ducks at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

Pair of Canadian Geese at Presque Isle State Park (Erie, PA)

That goose on the left was very noisy!  Two Canadian Geese, equally noisy, flew overhead just moments after I had returned to our car.

We ate lunch at Cheddars Scratch Kitchen in Erie.  Bob ordered Creamy Garlic Tilapia & Shrimp over rice, with broccoli cheese casserole and southern green beans.  I ordered a chicken tender platter, with salad and French fries.  Both meals were delicious.  

Our final stop before going to the hotel was at the Erie Zoo.  When the zoo reopened last year during the COVID pandemic, timed tickets were required for entry.  Timed tickets are required again this year, but NOT for the month of March.  We used our membership card to enter the zoo.  We went for a stroll through the zoo.  I didn’t take too many pictures.  The majority of my pictures were of an orangutan family.

Erie Zoo Wild Asia entrance

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutans

Erie Zoo Bornean Orangutan

We had considered taking our granddaughters to the zoo, if Stacey’s employer had her scheduled to work in Erie on Monday.  We could have driven the girls to Erie, and Stacey could have taken them back home.  I am glad, though, that I did not approach Stacey with my idea.  The majority of the animals were quiet or not visible.  The merry-go-round, playground and train ride were closed, as were all the food vendors.  We will take the girls to the zoo in April, when it is warmer (and hopefully more of the zoo will be open).  Our present zoo membership expires on 30 April.  I have not yet decided, if we will renew the membership.

As I wrote earlier, we arrived at the hotel around 2:45 pm.  We checked into room 408, a two queen bed suite.  We had eaten a late lunch and knew we wouldn’t be hungry for dinner.  Other than Bob driving to a nearby fuel station to pick up water and snacks, we stayed in for rest of the day.  We had a relaxing afternoon and evening watching TV, for the most part.  We particularly liked the science fiction movie “Divergent”.  This movie is old, having been released in 2014.  We had never seen the movie and are interested in watching the next two sequels, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant”.

Now for the next day …

We were showered, dressed and had eaten breakfast by 8:00 am this morning.  Rather than grab a “grab n go” breakfast at the hotel, we ate breakfast at the nearby Cracker Barrel.  Bob ordered a double meat breakfast; I ordered Grandma’s Sampler.  Breakfast was delicious and filling.

After breakfast, we began our drive back home.  We drove home via Route 5, along the shores of Lake Erie.  We made three photo stops.

Our first stop was next door to North East Marina in North East, PA.

This lighthouse-shaped building is near the North East Marina in North East, PA.  The body of water in the background is Lake Erie.

After a quick search, I couldn’t find any information on the Internet about this building.  The next time we are in this area we plan to stop at North East Marina and make some inquiries.

Our second stop was at Barcelona Harbor in Westfield NY, where we saw more seagulls.

Seagull in Flight

This is the same Seagull in flight.

Two Seagulls

Several Seagulls

Our third stop was at Bournes Creek Falls, located a couple miles from Barcelona Harbor.

We saw Bournes Creek Falls for the first time in January.  The waterfall looked a lot different today than it did in January!


We continued on to Dunkirk NY, where we left the shores of Lake Erie and headed south.

We returned home at 11:30 am.  Our kitty, Wickett, sure was happy to see us.



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