The Beauty Around Us

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

A Day in Erie

We spent the day Saturday, July 30, in Erie with my brother Jim, our sister-in-law Judy, and their dogs Piper and Ru. Jim and Judy arrived in Erie on Friday and spent two nights there. We met around 10:45 am near Sara’s Restaurant, along the road to Presque Isle State Park.  We drove around Presque Isle, making a few photo stops. 

Our first stop was at the Perry Monument.  I didn’t take any pictures during our walk at Perry Monument.

Our second stop was at the North Pier Lighthouse and then the houseboats on our way back out to the main park road. 

We walked first to the beach side of North Pier Lighthouse.
We then walked the North Pier to the lighthouse.
This houseboat, with a lighthouse, on Horseshoe Pond is my favorite.
According to this article, there are 24 houseboats on Horseshoe Pond.

Our third stop was at the Presque Isle Lighthouse. 

Presque Isle Lighthouse, with art show

We browsed the various artists’ wares for sale, but didn’t buy anything. 

Presque Isle Lighthouse

There is a fence surrounding the lighthouse property. The beach is behind me. There was a gate to the beach; however, it was locked. We tried to walk on the beach to where the gate is located. The beach is badly eroded.

Judy walking on a trail on a sand dune at Presque Isle Lighthouse beach. Some of the sand let go, and Judy slid down the dune. She had some difficulty getting back up, as the sand kept giving way. I didn’t go any farther on the trail, than where I am standing taking the picture!

While Judy, Jim and Bob attempted to make their way to the beach side of the lighthouse, I photographed the beach itself. By the way they didn’t make it to the lighthouse.

Presque Isle Lighthouse Beach
Presque Isle Lighthouse Beach

I believe if we had driven past the lighthouse a short way that we may have been able to walk back to the lighthouse.

From the lighthouse we drove to Smugglers Wharf, near Dobbins Landing, where we ate a late lunch / early dinner. 

Smugglers Wharf Restaurant
Photo obtained from Library of Congress

It was the first time that any of us had eaten at this restaurant.  We were not able to get patio seating. We were seated inside the restaurant with a view of Presque Isle Bay. We requested a table with a view, so that Jim and Judy could keep an eye on their dogs, who stayed in the car with all windows down. With the exception of Jim, we ordered seafood. Jim ordered chicken. Our food was good.  The service was OK.  Our waiter didn’t ask if we wanted anything other than water to drink or if we wanted any dessert.  He saved us money because we didn’t order any drinks or dessert!

After lunch/dinner we walked around Dobbins Landing.  

Dobbins Landing

We enjoyed seeing an old pirate ship. The pirate was squirting water at those passing by. He didn’t squirt water at us.

Old Pirate Ship near Dobbins Landing
Jim and Ru on a Seal at Dobbins Landing

The pirate on the old ship attacked the Skallywags Pirate Ship.  There was ship-to-ship water cannon battles.  It was a bonus that we were able to see the show unfold at Dobbins Landing.

Scallywags and Old Pirate Ship near Dobbins Landing

We parted ways at Dobbins Landing.  We are very glad that we were able to meet up with Jim and Judy and spend the day with them. I can count on one hand the number of times we have spent the day together in Erie.

A Meet & Greet

The L.L.Bean Bootmobile stopped by for a meet & greet with the Zippo Car this morning, from 9:30 am until 11:00 am, at the Zippo/Case Museum & Flagship Store in Bradford PA. Bob and I live about an hour’s drive from Zippo Museum and Store, so we decided to meet & greet the Bootmobile too!

The L.L.Bean Bootmobile

In 2012, L.L.Bean celebrated its 100th anniversary by unveiling the Bootmobile – a 13-foot-high, 20-foot-long, road-ready replica of the iconic L.L.Bean Boot

The L.L.Bean Bootmobile and the Zippo Car

The L.L. Bean Bootmobile is on tour, traveling through 10 states in 10 days, to commemorate its 10th birthday.

The L.L.Bean Bootmobile stopped by for
a meet & greet with the Zippo Car.

We did visit the Zippo Store and Museum, briefly. We have visited Zippo many times over the years, and I chose not to take photographs during this visit. Inside the museum Zippo displayed plans for a renovated museum/store, to open in the summer of 2023. I will be sure to make a return visit then AND take pictures!

DeRuyter Lake Getaway: DeRuyter NY to Warren PA

We returned home from DeRuyter Lake on July 1.  We made three stops on our way home.  

Our first stop was at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, where we drove on Wildlife Drive. We saw several Great Blue Herons and a Great Egret.

Great Blue Heron and Great Egret at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Crazy Hair Day
Great Blue Heron at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Our second stop was for breakfast at Magee Country Diner in Waterloo NY.  We ate here in May, on our way home from our week-long vacation in the Auburn NY area. It was on our route home again, so we stopped for breakfast.

Our third stop was at Letchworth State Park.  Our Empire Pass provided free admission into the park. We entered via the Mt Morris entrance and exited via the Portageville entrance, stopping for photo opportunities.

Great Bend Overlook at Letchworth State Park
Inspiration Point

As we crossed the stone bridge, we saw a couple people bent down peering over the edge.

These two frogs caught their (and our) attention.
Inspiration Point
Upper Falls at Letchworth State Park
Middle Falls at Letchworth State Park

This concludes details of our DeRuyter Lake vacation.

Deruyter Lake Getaway: Day 3

Thursday, June 30, was our last full day at DeRuyter Lake.

We watched the sun rise from our water’s edge dock.
What a glorious sunrise!

We ate breakfast at Quincy Square Diner for the second day in a row.  Bob ordered the Quincy omelet, same as the previous day.  I ordered chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.  Both meals were delicious.  

Since our arrival at DeRuyter Lake, we have seen an elephant in a field on our daily drives into the village of DeRuyter. We stopped at the field this morning, and I took a picture of the elephant.

I Spy an Elephant

According to “Concrete sculptor John P. Kennedy created the DeRuyter mastodon in 1992 when he was just starting to make life-like creatures out of foundation material. He’s since branched out into all sorts of critters, generally of the non-extinct variety…”

We visited two waterfalls in the morning.  Delphi Falls is 4.2 miles from our Airbnb, and Chittenango Falls is located an additional 10 miles from Delphi Falls.  This was our first visit to Delphi Falls and our second visit to Chittenango Falls.

We had a personal tour guide at Delphi Falls.  A local woman stopped to talk with me, while I was waiting for Bob to complete his business in the port-a-john. 

Delphi Falls County Park is located in Madison County, NY. The park used to be the home of a private person.  The property was made into a park only recently.  The house is still standing.  The waterfall would have been visible from the backyard of the residence.  Our “tour guide” walked with us the short distance to the waterfall. 

Our first view of Delphi Falls
The falls trail was easily navigable.
Our “tour guide” took a picture of
Bob and me at Delphi Falls.

Chittenango Falls is located in Chittenango Falls State Park. The main attraction at Chittenango Falls State Park is its picturesque 167-foot waterfall. 

We visited the top of the falls first. It is easy to see the top of the falls. Just walk from the parking area towards the Gorge Rd Bridge. Please note the footbridge at the end of the video. We hiked to that footbridge.
Chittenango Falls – Top of falls

It is a bit more difficult to see the bottom of the falls. We hiked down hundreds of steps, descending 170 ft into the gorge.

This video shows the falls trail to the first overlook and the trail leading away from that overlook.
First Overlook of Chittenango Falls

We hiked all the way down into the gorge.

The footbridge at the base of Chittenango Falls
Bob and I at Chittenango Falls
View of Chittenango Falls from footbridge

As I wrote earlier this was our second visit to Chittenango Falls. We visited Chittenango Falls 5 years earlier on July 2, 2017.  As shown in my blog post written about that day, the water gushing over that waterfall was impressive.  The trail to the base of the waterfall was only partially open in 2017.  During our second visit, there was much less water falling over the waterfall.  We were able to hike down to the footbridge to view the waterfall at its base.  I am glad that we were able to see Chittenango Falls from that vantage point. What a beautiful view!

Before returning to our Airbnb we stopped in the village of DeRuyter for lunch at the Coal Yard, where we enjoyed deluxe cheeseburgers and onion rings.  

We returned to our Airbnb, after lunch, and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon and evening. 

Bob played his ukulele often, while we were on vacation.
This is the dam at the north end of DeRuyter Lake.
We enjoyed the view across DeRuyter Lake.
This is an island in DeRuyter Lake (looking south).
We enjoyed the view across DeRuyter Lake.
We enjoyed the view across DeRuyter Lake.

We enjoyed watching the activity on the lake.

This is just some of the activity on the lake. We saw several kayaks, as well as a few people swimming in the lake.

Our three-night vacation at DeRuyter Lake was very nice. We would like to make a return trip one day to Airbnb “DeRuyter Lake NY House for 2 on Water’s Edge“.

There is one more blog post about this vacation, so don’t go away 🙂

Deruyter Lake Getaway: Day 2

We spent much of Wednesday, June 29, at Airbnb ”DeRuyter Lake NY House for 2 on Water’s Edge”.

I watched the sun rise from the comfort of our dock, taking a few pictures and videos as I did so. 

Sunrise at Airbnb “DeRuyter Lake NY House for 2 on Water’s Edge”

The steam rising from the water made sunrise that much more special.

The sun in all its glory

We showered and got dressed.  The Airbnb has a small septic, so small that our hosts request passionately that we conserve water.  The following notice was posted on the refrigerator: 

“Every drop of water used to cook, clean, shower goes into a tiny septic system that has no leach field. We beg you to conserve! To help we have provided disposable eating utensils, face and body wipes and Castle Soap that can be safely used in be the lake! Yes, jump in the lake, lather up and rinse rather than fill the septic with shower run off.”

We didn’t bathe in the lake, but we were conscious of how much water we used during our 3-night stay.

We ate breakfast at Quincy Square Diner in the village of DeRuyter. Quincy Square Diner was across the street from where we ate dinner the precious day.

Breakfast Specials at Quincy Square Diner

We both ordered a Quincy Omelet with toast.  Inside the omelets were cheese, sausage, ham, green peppers and onions.  I didn’t want sausage in my omelet, so my portion of sausage was added to Bob’s omelet.  I ordered a glass of orange juice, and Bob ordered coffee.  Both meals were delicious; service was good.  We overheard a conversation shortly after being seated.  A man said it is coming up on a long weekend.  Another man said “everyday is a weekend”.  That remark made Bob and me chuckle.  Retirement is wonderful; life is good!

We spent the day at the Airbnb generally doing nothing. It was a great day of relaxation. In no particular order, this is how we spent our day.

We did our Bing searches and solved the Wordle game of the day.

Bob played his ukulele.

We ate a picnic lunch at the table on our dock.
I took a nap for an hour. 

I started reading a new Fern Michael’s novel “No Way Out”.
Relaxing at Airbnb “DeRuyter Lake NY House for 2 on Water’s Edge”

I shared this photograph on Facebook and had a couple people ask how I took this picture. I placed my Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader on the dock, snug against a railing. I opened my camera phone and, then, I propped my iPhone on my Kindle and flush against a railing. I sat down. Using the camera remote on my Apple watch, I took our picture.

We did leave the Airbnb a few times, after breakfast. We made two trips to the DeRuyter Lake General Store, located at the south end of the lake. The General Store is stocked with bait and tackle, camp firewood, ice, beverages, beer and wine coolers, ice cream, CBD oil and more. The General Store is where one goes to launch a boat and fill up with marine fuel.  I believe kayaks can be rented there as well. I purchased a DeRuyter Lake long sleeve T-shirt  on our first stop and two King Cones on our second stop. We drove to Heritage Hill Brewhouse for dinner.

Heritage Hill Brewhouse

We both ordered BBQ platters. The meals and service were good. The view from the Brewhouse was fantastic, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the view. If you scroll through the Facebook page, though, you will see pictures of the view. 

DeRuyter Lake Getaway: Day 1

We left home on Tuesday, June 28, around 6:30 am, en route DeRuyter Lake NY.   DeRuyter Lake is located approximely 30 miles southeast of Syracuse.

We made two sightseeing stops on our way to DeRuyter Lake. 

Our first stop was at Pratts Falls County Park in Pompey.  There was a collection box for a $2.00 entrance fee at the entrance to the park.

Pratt’s Falls County Park was originally the site of Onondaga County’s first sawmill and flour mill.

The highlight of the park is Pratt’s Falls.

Located near the signage displayed in the picture shown above is the crest of Pratt’s Falls.

The best vantage point to view Pratt’s Falls is from the end of the Falls Trail.

Pratt’s Falls Trail

We crossed under Falls Trail sign and followed the trail for a few steps. We came to a split in the trail. We took the trail to the left and hiked down some steps. If we had taken the trail to the right, we would have walked the entire 0.6 miles. We shaved off a few steps taking the trail to the left. I like to save hiking steps, whenever I can!

We hiked down and back up these steps,
while on the Pratt’s Falls Trail.
Bob and I at Pratt’s Falls

Here is a short video that I took, while at Pratt’s Falls.

Our second stop was at Tinker Falls in the Labrador Hollow Unique Area, located in Cortland County, NY. 

There was merely a trickle of water
falling off the ledge at Tinkers Falls.

Here is a very short video clip that I took, while at Tinkers Falls. You can hear the water falling (what little there is!).

We arrived at Airbnb “DeRuyter Lake NY House for 2 on Water’s Edge” at 2:00 pm.  

We let ourselves into the Airbnb with a key, the whereabouts of which our hosts had told us.   Bob carried in everything from the car.  There are steps down to the house, so I carried very little inside.  I did make the beds, a full size bed and a queen size bed.  We were told to bring pillows, sheets and blankets.  Each bed was covered by a blanket and a bedspread.  Each bed had four pillows.  I took the blankets and bedspread off each bed and made them with the sheets we brought.  I put pillowcases on two pillows for each bed.  I folded the blankets and bedspreads and placed them, along with the extra pillows on the couch in the tiny loft at the top of the stairs.  We left the pillows we brought from home in the car. I believe the request to bring our own bedding is a leftover from pandemic days. After settling in, we relaxed on the dock at water’s edge, enjoying the sunshine, cool breeze and the sound of lapping water.

At 5:00 pm we drove the short distance (~3 miles) to the village of DeRuyter. We went shopping for bath towels, which we had been instructed to bring with us.  Unfortunately, we left our bath towels on a chair in the kitchen at home, necessitating the purchase of new towels.  We stopped for snacks too.  We stopped at Dollar Tree and Big M in the village of DeRuyter NY.  The stores were right next to each other.

After shopping, we ate dinner at Shelly’s Restaurant. It was Taco Tuesday, and Shelly’s had Mexican and taco specials.  We decided we didn’t want Mexican.  Bob ordered a Grilled Buffalo Chicken sandwich with potato wedges.  I ordered a turkey tomato melt with macaroni salad.  Both meals were good; service was good too.

We spent rest of the evening at the Airbnb enjoying the lake views from our dock, but also from inside the house while watching TV.

Sinnemahoning State Park

We visited some place different last week. We departed Warren around 10:00 am on Friday (June 10), en route Sinnemahoning State Park.

According to the Pennsylvania DCNR website, Sinnemahoning State Park is “located near the center of the Pennsylvania Wilds’ scenic steep valleys region [and] encompasses 1,910 acres of beautiful scenery and outstanding wildlife habitat.  Situated in Cameron and Potter counties, the park is nestled between the green-shouldered ridges of Pennsylvania’s Elk State Forest and Susquehannock State Forest.  The park is long and narrow and includes lands on both sides of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek — a major tributary to the Sinnemahoning Creek. At the southern end of the park, a 145-acre reservoir created by the George B. Stevenson dam provides excellent fishing and water recreation opportunities.  The abundance of wildlife within the park provides visitors with opportunities to view bald eagle, coyote, elk, and bobcat.  In addition, the park’s geographic location is excellent for visitors to explore the other treasures of the Pennsylvania Wilds region.

Our first stop was at the Sinnemahoning State Park Office and Wildlife Center.

Sinnemahoning State Park Office and Wildlife Center
This map shows where we were.

We enjoyed the nature exhibits at the wildlife center.

There was a tunnel that passed by this exhibit.
Children would enjoy going through the tunnel!

We saw a sign for “Arch Tree” soon after leaving the Wildlife Center. This was our second stop.

Arch Tree? What could that be?
Follow the mowed path to the Arch Tree.
the Arch Tree

Our third stop was at the Sinnemahoning State Park boat launch on the George B. Stevenson reservoir. 

We helped an elderly woman at the boat launch.  She was at the boat launch
and couldn’t get out of her kayak.  
We helped the woman step out of the kayak.
Bob then helped pull the kayak out of the water and carried the kayak farther down the boat launch.

See the pontoon boat in the background? We hope to one day take a tour of the reservoir in that boat!

 Our fourth stop was at the George B Stevenson Dam and Spillway.  

George B. Stevenson Dam
George B. Stevenson Dam
George B. Stevenson reservoir,
as viewed from the dam
Opposite the dam is this view of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek.
We later walked to this creek.
George B. Stevenson Dam and Reservoir

We drove to an area below the dam.

George B. Stevenson Dam spillway. See the bridge?Across the bridge is from where the previous two photographs were taken.
As we wandered around the area below the dam, we came across a cemetery. After a few minutes of online research, I discovered that this is Smith Cemetery.
This is the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek. It lies below the George B Stevenson Dam. I shared a photograph earlier of this creek from the dam.

According to Wikipedia, the First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek rises south of Coudersport and flows 33.4 miles south, joining Sinnemahoning Creek at Jericho. Freeman Run joins the First Fork at the community of Costello in Potter County. The East Fork joins 5.6 miles downstream at the community of Wharton in Potter County. The First Fork continues for 11.8 miles to the George B. Stevenson Dam. 

The First Fork continues for 8.2 miles to join Sinnemahoning Creek at the community of Sinnemahoning in Cameron County.

Our last stop, before heading to Benezette, was in Driftwood.  We ate a late lunch at the Driftwood Saloon & Grill. We sat on the deck and ate our lunch. I ordered a hot roast beef sandwich; Bob ordered a grouper sandwich. Both meals were delicious. 

We looked for elk in the Benezette area, but we didn’t see any.  i think we returned home around 6:00 pm.

What a wonderful day trip! I am sure we will visit Sinnemahoning State Park again one day.

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