The Beauty Around Us

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

A Friday Drive

We went for a drive on Friday (January 6th), leaving Warren PA around 9:30 am.  It was a frosty morning, with a dusting of snow covering the ground and clinging to the trees.

Our first stop was at the Big Bend Recreation Area, at the base of Kinzua Dam where it meets the Allegheny River.

We walked from the parking lot the short distance to this pavilion.
The pavilion sits above the Allegheny River and overlooks Kinzua Dam.
Bob and I on the pavilion
Kinzua Dam

Our second stop was at the Zippo/Case Museum & Flagship Store, located in Bradford PA.

Zippo/Case Museum & Flag Store

Going to the Zippo/Case Store was the purpose for our drive.  Bob purchased a Zippo Butane Lighter Insert.  We wandered through the Zippo/Case Museum.

The Zippo Museum “Throne”
Zippo/Case Museum
An American Flag dominates this exhibit.
Zippo/Case Museum
American Flag
The American Flag contains approximately 3,400 red, white and blue lighters.
Zippo/Case Museum
An American heroes tribute
Zippo/Case Museum
“ZAC” is a 7-foot audio/kinectic ball machine.

We spent the majority of our time in the museum watching “ZAC”.

“ZAC”

Our next stops were at Allegany State Park. We entered the park via Interstate Road in Bradford. All of our stops were in the Red House Area of the park.

This snowy scene was near the intersection of ASP Route 2 and Ridge Run Road.
Red House Brook flows under a bridge, located between ASP Route 2 and Camp Allegany Rd.
All the bridges in Allegany State Park are beautiful.
The Thomas L Kelly Covered Bridge crosses over the Red House Brook.
Thomas L Kelly Covered Bridge
Our last stop in Allegany State Park was at the Red House Wetland.

From Allegany State Park we drove to Red Lobster in Lakewood NY, where we ate lunch. We chose from the Dockside Duo menu.  Bob chose Fish & Chips with Mozzarella Cheesesticks.  I chose Parrot Isle Coconut Shrimp with New England Clam Chowder.   Cheddar Bay Biscuits accompanied our meals, as well as Coleslaw.  A slice of Vanilla Bean Cheesecake was our choice for dessert.  We “doggy bagged” enough fish and shrimp for two meals and carried home the cheesecake too.  Neither of have as big an appetite as we used to have.

Lake Wilhelm and Grove City Prime Outlets

We went for a drive this past Monday (January 2nd), leaving Warren PA around 8:30 am.  Our destination was Lake Wilhelm, located about 70 miles from home.  Lake Wilhelm is a feature of Maurice K. Goddard State Park. The weather forecast called for cloudy skies, mild temperatures and only a small chance of rain.

The day looked promising, as we made our way to Lake Wilhelm.  It was foggy, but it looked like the sun would break through the fog.  However, when we arrived at Lake Wilhelm, we found the lake covered in fog. 

The fog didn’t look like it would lift anytime soon. 


We decided to go to Grove City Premium Outlets.  It was a good shopping day.  Bob found a pair of cargo jeans that fit him perfectly. and he found a pair of waterproof hiking boots to replace a worn out pair.  Bob donated his worn out boots and received a 20% discount. We had cover most of the time which was good, as it drizzled the entire time that we shopped.

After shopping, we made our way back home.  The weather improved, as we drove home.  100% cloud cover changed to partly cloudy skies.

Our Christmas and New Year Holidays

Hello friends! It has been a while since I published a blog post. My last blog post was published in October 29th. Did you miss me?

How were your end-of-year holidays?

Bob and I celebrated Christmas with Stacey and our granddaughters on Christmas Eve at their home.

Stacey prepared dinner. We had baked ham, accompanied with baked potatoes, broccoli and corn pudding.  Dinner was delicious.  After dinner we opened presents.  Everyone was pleased with their respective gifts. The last gift Harper and June opened was from Stacey, the game of Cards Against Humanity (the family edition).  We played several rounds of this game.  It is a fun game. There was much laughter from all of us.

Christmas Day was a quiet, low key day for Bob and me. Neither of us could sleep, so we got up at 4:00 am.  We had opened our Christmas gifts to each other by 5:00 am.  We buy from each others’ wish lists, although there are always surprises. We were happy with our respective gifts. We took a nap in the afternoon.  Bob slept on the reclining sofa.  I slept on top of the bed. We had Christmas dinner at 5:00 pm.  The main entree was spiral ham, warmed up from Thanksgiving  Day dinner.   We had divided the leftover ham into 8 ounce packages.  Christmas was the first time we have used the leftover ham for dinner.  Accompanying the ham was fried potatoes and onions and tossed salad.  Dinner was easy to prepare and delicious.

New Year’s Eve was a rainy, but mild, day.  We spent the day home.  We celebrated the end of 2022 by ordering pizza and chicken wings from The Cornerstone.  Bob picked up our order.  We watched several episodes of “Silent Witness” on BritBox and “Criminal Minds” on Paramount+.  We did not stay up to welcome the New Year.  We went to bed around 9:30 pm. We welcomed the new year at 6:00 am on New Year’s Day. We had plans to spend New Year’s Day with my brother and his family. Our plans were cancelled, however, because COVID found a couple members of my family. Thankfully, everyone has since recovered from COVID.

Three Night Getaway- Day 3: Niagara Falls Day Trip

We are back home, after a three-night getaway. We spent October 23 through October 26 at Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” in the town of Newfane. This blog post is about our third day at the cottage. You may read about our first and second day at the cottage here and here.

We left LaVida Cottage at 8:30 am en route Niagara Falls.  We stopped at Whirlpool State Park, before arriving at Niagara Falls.  At Whirlpool State Park we walked a short way to a scenic overlook.  

The Whirlpool at Whirlpool State Park

This was our first visit to Whirlpool State Park. Someday we would like to ride the Spanish Aero Car, seen in the top left portion of this picture, and see the whirlpools from that vantage point.

In Niagara Falls we parked at Niagara Falls State Park.  Our Empire Pass enabled us to park for free.   It had been 3 years since we last visited Niagara Falls.  This visit was a little confusing, as a new Welcome Center is under construction.  In the past we have walked through the Welcome Center to go to Prospect Point for our first view of the waterfalls. The old Welcome Center still stands but is blocked off by construction fencing. Once we got our bearings, all was good.  By the way, the new Welcome Center is expected to be completed in Spring 2023.

Prospect Point
American and Horseshoe Falls

In past visits to Niagara Falls we walk from Prospect Point to Goat Island to see Bridal Falls and Horseshoe Falls.  On this visit we drove to Goat Island, as my arthritic knee was hurting.  

Luna Island – Bob at the top of Bridal Falls
Luna Island
Bridal Falls and American Falls
Goat Island
Bridal Falls and American Falls
Horseshow Falls at Terrapin Point

I think we spent only an hour enjoying the falls, undoubtedly the less amount of time that we have spent in Niagara Falls.

We drove from Niagara Falls to Cafora’s Pizza and Pasteria in Newfane, where we enjoyed lunch.  Bob ordered baked ziti with meatball.  I ordered lasagna.  Salads and Italian bread accompanied our meals.

After lunch we returned to LaVida Cottage, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon and the evening.  Dinner was leftovers.

We returned home the next day around 11:30 am.

It was a very relaxing and enjoyable 3-night getaway.

Three Night Getaway – Day 2: A Day of Relaxation

We are back home, after a three-night getaway. We spent October 23 through October 26 at Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” in the town of Newfane. This blog post is about our second day at the cottage. You may read about our first day at the cottage here.

On the morning of our second day in Newfane we went for a walk through Krull Park to Lake Ontario.  Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” provides easy access to the park.  Directly across the street from the Airbnb is Park Lane.  A short walk on Park Lane takes you to the park.  I walked about 1 1/2 miles, before asking Bob to go get our car at the Airbnb.  My arthritic knee was hurting badly.  I sat outside Olcott Beach Carousel Park, while I awaited Bob’s return.  When Bob picked me up, he said it was another 1/2 mile walk to the Airbnb.

We decided to spend time at “LaVida Cottage” today. 

LaVida Cottage
Early morning light shining on the back yard
of LaVida Cottage.
The back yard ends at a cliff that drops to 18 Mile Creek.

Soon after our walk I took my kindle out to the fire pit and read. 

The fire pit at LaVida Cottage

Bob joined me and played his ukulele for a short while. 

Bob took this picture of me reading at the fire pit.

We met Michael, our Airbnb host.  He stopped by late morning to repair a pipe in the basement that was leaking.  He was a friendly and engaging person.

We ate leftovers for lunch.

We ate dinner at Gordie Harper’s Bazaar in Newfane.  Gordie’s is a family restaurant but also features individually owned shops featuring unique themes, antiques and collectibles.  We visited only the restaurant.

It was a wonderful day, relaxing at the cottage.

Three Night Getaway – Day 1: Warren PA to Newfane NY

We are back home, after a three-night getaway. We spent October 23 through October 26 at Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” in the town of Newfane. Newfane is a small Western New York town located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Niagara County.  If you look at the listing for LaVidaCottage, you will see that Burt NY is given as the location of the Airbnb. The town of Newfane includes the hamlets of Burt and Olcott, among others.

We ate breakfast at Wendy’s in North Warren, before leaving Warren.  Bob ordered a Big Breakfast (3 scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries and toast) with coffee and orange juice.  I ordered one scrambled egg, one chocolate chip pancake and tea.  Bob gave me two pieces of his bacon.  It seems Wendy’s is becoming our go-to place for breakfast, whenever we travel north. Breakfast was good, as usual.  

En route Newfane we made a brief stop at The Canalway Trail: Lockport.

Map of The Canalway Trail: Lockport
The Canalway Trail: Lockport

This bicycle trail being only 12 miles (a 19-minute drive) from Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” makes it probable that we will make a return trip one day to Newfane NY.

We arrived in Newfane around 12:30 pm. Check-in at Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” wasn’t until 3:00 pm, so we drove past the Airbnb and visited the Lakeview Village Shoppes, Krull Park, the East Pier, and the Harbor Overlook in Olcott. The Lakeview Village Shoppes were less than 1/2 mile from our Airbnb. 

Lakeview Village Shoppes overlooks Lake Ontario.
Lakeview Village Shoppes is home to a unique mix of specialty gift, clothing,
antique, and food shoppes on a boardwalk.
Lakeview Village Shoppes
Beautiful bouquet of flowers!
Lakeview Village Shoppes Autumn Decorations
Lakeview Village Shoppes is adjacent to the Olcott Lighthouse.

It was a short walk from Lakeview Village Shoppes to Krull Park.

Lake Ontario at Krull Park
Krull Park
Ye Olde Log Cabin in Krull Park is a replica of the log cabin built by
the Pioneers Association of Niagara County in 1888.
The cabin functions as a Niagara Pioneer and Olcott Beach history museum.
Unfortunately, the cabin was closed for the season.
I think it would have been interesting to take a peek inside.

Ever since we arrived in Olcott I noticed that Autumn was in its glory. Back home we are past peak, and many leaves have fallen off our trees. Olcott appeared to be at peak.

Krull Park
Look at the size of that leaf!
Krull Park
Perfect Autumn Leaf
We exited via this Entrance to Krull Park

We ate lunch (two hot dogs and curly fries) at Park Place Restaurant. We sat at the counter and ate our lunch.

This was our view, as we ate lunch, at Park Place Restaurant

We walked back to, and past, Lakeside Village Shoppes to the East Pier. Oh, I forgot to mention earlier. We mainly just window shopped, as we walked by Lakeside Village Shoppes. However, we did make one purchase — a bag of coffee that was marked down 50%.

We passed by the Olcott Lighthouse.
East Pier
The 18 Mile Creek enters Lake Ontario between the West and East Piers
View of Lakeside Village Shoppes and houses from the East Pier
Bob and I on the East Pier

From the East Pier we walked to an overlook of the Olcott Harbor.

Olcott Harbor Overlook

As we walked back from the harbor overlook to where we had parked our car, I stopped briefly to take a picture of a memorial that stands at the Lockport-East Main Street intersection.

This Civil War Memorial commemorates the residents of Olcott Beach who served in the Union and gave their lives
in the American Civil War (1861-1865).

We checked into our Airbnb, LaVida Cottage, around 3:30 pm after a grocery stop at Tops Market. We spent rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing at the cottage.  

More Leaf Peeping

We enjoyed another day of leaf peeping.  Tuesday, October 11, was a sunny and warm Autumn day. We drove to Wellsboro PA, where we enjoyed the scenic vistas at both Leonard Harrison State Park and Colton Point State Park

The following photographs were taken at Leonard Harrison State Park. Leonard Harrison State Park is on the east rim of Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. 

From Leonard Harrison State Park we drove into Wellsboro. We parked on the street in front of The Green. We walked across the street to The Native Bagel for bagels. My bagel was cinnamon and raisin with cream cheese.  Bob’s bagel was Asiago cheese with butter.  Both bagels were toasted and delicious.  We also had a cup of tea (me) and a cup of coffee (Bob).  We try to go to The Native Bagel, whenever we are in Wellsboro because we went there on our honeymoon.

After eating our bagels, we walked across the street once again and strolled through The Green.

The Wynken, Blynken, and Nod Statue is the centerpiece of The Green.

Leaving Wellsboro, we drove to Colton Point State Park. Colton Point State Park is on the west rim of the Pine Creek Gorge. The following photographs were taken at Colton Point State Park.

I took this picture, after parking at the first overlook.
First Overlook
This was the view from the parking lot, looking away from the first overlook.
Fiery Foliage
This was the second overlook. Look toward the sky underneath the bare tree branches. You can see the overlook at Leonard Harrison State Park.

On our drive back home we stopped in Coudersport at Cream ‘n Sugar.  Bob got a piece of chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  I got a small peanut butter cup ice cream.  The ice cream was from Penn State Berkey Creamery. We were aware that ice cream was available on the Penn State campus and that it was a well known creamery. The ice cream was smooth and creamy … delicious. Bob wished afterward that he would have gotten ice cream instead of the cake, although the cake was good too.

We enjoyed our day trip very much so.  It looks like we chose the day well to make the trip, as Wednesday was cloudy and today (Thursday, October 13), it is raining.

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