The Beauty Around Us

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A Pocono Mountains Weekend Part 2

We spent the weekend of May 5 through May 8 in the Pocono Mountains.  As I have much to share with you, I plan to upload several blog posts about our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway.  This is the second blog post about our weekend.  You may read the first blog post here.

Leaving Bushkill Falls we intended to return to Route 209 North but inadvertently stayed on Bushkill Falls Road, which we followed to Route 402 before making a u-turn to return to Route 209 North. Later we learned that we could have reached our next destination, Raymondskill Falls, via Route 402.

Back on Route 209 N, before reaching Raymondskill Falls, we detoured purposely up Brisco Mountain to the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC).  What caught our eye, as we approached PEEC was the sphere on top of the main education building.

_LG21149Pocono Environmental Education Center’s Main Education Building
What is that sphere on top of the building?
It is a skyPod.

skyPod informative sign

_LG21151The skyPod is a 10′ diameter ball that goes through the roof of the PEEC building.

We had hoped to locate a picnic spot at the Pocono Environmental Education Center.  There is lots to see and do at PEEC; however, we didn’t see any picnic facilities.  Although there is much to do at PEEC, our stop turned out to be nothing more than a bathroom break.  Inside the main education building is the EcoZone Exploration and Discovery Room, which is open to the public for self-guided tours on specified weekend dates.  It wasn’t open, while we were there.  The EcoZone looked interesting in that it offered visitors the opportunity to explore places such as a beaver lodge, a bat cave, an eagle’s nest, a fossil pit, and more on a life-sized scale.  There are several hiking trails that vary in distance and difficulty located at the PEEC. The only one that interested us at the time, as we were chasing waterfalls, was a 3-mile loop trail to a waterfall (Tumbling Waters). The Center’s attendant said that the trail was moderately strenuous. We decided not to hike the Tumbling Waters Trail.  We did return to PEEC on Sunday, intending to hike the Two Ponds Trail.  This trail was described as an easy 1 hour (1.4 miles) hike, with the potential for seeing birds and wildlife along the trail.  It was raining, when we arrived at PEEC on Sunday, so we decided not to hike.

My next blog post will continue our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway and, yes, we finally arrive at Raymondskill Falls.


A Pocono Mountains Weekend Part 1

We spent the weekend of May 5 through May 8 in the Pocono Mountains.  As I have much to share with you, I plan to upload several blog posts about our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway.

On Friday (May 5) Bob came home from work at noon, and we were en route Stroudsburg PA at 12:15 pm.

Why did we go to Stroudsburg? There was a Bug Run scheduled for Sunday.  Each year, in the Spring, the Northeast contingent of VROC (NEVROC) rides the Bug Run in memory of Don “Foggy” Conner, a fellow rider and member of NEVROC. Bob made plans to go on the Bug Run a few weeks prior.  Our initial plan was for Bob to ride the motorcycle, while I drove the car.  The wet and chilly weather forecast for the weekend prompted us to travel only by car. We could have cancelled our hotel reservation had we done so 72 hours in advance. At the beginning of the week, however, the weekend weather looked promising.  Regardless of the weather and whether or not the Bug Run takes place, it will not be a wasted trip. We spent the weekend in the Pocono Mountains after all.  There is lots to see and do in the Pocono Mountains.

We arrived at Flower Field Inn & Cottages at 7:15 pm. Bob and I stayed 3 nights at Flower Field Inn & Cottages in April 2013.  Bob stayed there for 3 nights last year.   The Facebook page indicates that Flower Field Inn & Cottages is permanently closed.  We almost didn’t make a reservation because we thought the motel was closed.  On the off chance, we telephoned the motel and were pleasantly surprised to find that Flower Field Inn & Cottages is still open.  We spent 3 nights in Room 107, the same room that Bob had last year. The door was unlocked, key in room (as prearranged). We unpacked the car and unpacked our bags. The room is furnished with a dresser, small flat screen TV hanging on wall over the dresser, king size bed, sofa and coffee table, night stand, microwave, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker, ironing board and iron, and a small kitchen island with two bar stools, small bar sink, toaster, and counter top electric range. The kitchen island is new. It wasn’t here last year, when Bob stayed here. The bathroom is of moderate size and has all the necessities, including a hair dryer.

We ate a picnic-style dinner in our room, after settling in.

With the exception of the last 20 miles or so, the drive here wasn’t too bad. We had some rain, but no heavy downpour. Bob was still happy to be in the car, though, and not on the motorcycle. The rain, coupled with temperature in the mid 50s, would not have made for a pleasant ride. Traffic wasn’t bad. It was very foggy for several miles toward the end of our drive. I am happy that the fog lifted after a few miles.


We awakened at 6:00 am on Saturday (May 6), showered and got dressed. We walked the short distance (700 feet I think I read somewhere) to Triplets Family Diner. Bob ordered a 3-egg Farmers Omelet, which was stuffed full of bacon, sausage and ham, accompanied by home fries and rye toast and coffee. I ordered two scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, wheat toast and a cup of tea. Breakfast was delicious and reasonably priced. We were back at Flower Field Inn & Cottages by 7:15 am, where we relaxed for the next hour.

We chased waterfalls on Saturday. Our first stop was at Bushkill Falls. From 9:15-10:15 am we hiked the yellow trail. The main attraction on this trail is the Main Falls, which the trail circles around.

IMG_20170506_093949Bob took this picture of me looking at the Main Falls.

_LG21139Bushkill Falls – the Main Falls

_LG21142Much of the trail around the Main Falls is made up of boardwalks and stairs.


_LG21148Looking down, WAY DOWN, from the top of the main falls

I am out of shape.  I didn’t realize how much out of shape I was, though, until Bushkill Falls.  Step CLIMBING about killed me. I had to stop several times, while climbing the steps. I got dizzy a couple times and had to put my head down, leaning over the railing. I didn’t like the woozy feeling or the fact that I was having trouble breathing. I did it though! I am glad we opted not to hike the Red Trail, which was twice as long as the Yellow Trail and even more strenuous.

In my next Pocono Mountains Weekend Getaway blog post I will share more of our Saturday adventures with you.



Preschool Graduation

Our granddaughters graduated from preschool this afternoon.

Congratulations Harper and Juniper!
Job well done!

Harper and Juniper will enter Kindergarten in September, this year.  My oh my!  How time flies!

Family Visits

I visited a few members of my family this past Tuesday and Wednesday. Bob is acting boss this week at work and was unable to accompany me.

Although I enjoy visiting with my brother and sister-in-law and their entire family at once, I feel a lack of quality time with individual family units.  I was in search of quality family time, with available family members, during my solo mini vacation.

I departed home at 6:45 am on Tuesday, May 2, and arrived at my middle nephew’s home at approximately 10:20 am. It was a windy (the wind was gusty at times) and rainy (off and on) drive through Brookville, Punxsutawney, Youngstown and Indiana to Jared and Sara’s house.

I never knew that there was a Youngstown, PA even though it most likely was put on the map during President Trump’s campaign and subsequent election.  Driving through Youngstown, I passed by the Trump House.  I didn’t stop to take a picture. On hindsight I should have stopped!

I visited with Jared and Sara and their two daughters from 10:20 am until 2:00 pm.  During this time I talked with Jared and Sara, met my 8-day-old great niece Emma for the first time, and played with Kyla.  It was also the first time I had visited with Jared and Sara in their home.

Jared, Sara and I talked about a variety of things e.g. Kyla’s likes/dislikes, how my grandchildren and stepdaughter were doing…Emma’s birth…Bob and my vacation plans that include a week in the Outer Banks, which introduced a conversation regarding a cruise vs. a beach vacation..that we will see each other again in July at Jim and Judy’s camp…Jim’s construction work on the camp…Stacey’s vacation in Hawaii/scuba diving. There was very little lack of conversation during the entire visit.

I held Emma for at least 2 hours.  She slept the entire time that she was in my arms.  When Emma pooped, I handed her over to Jared. He changed Emma’s diaper and then fed her.

_XZ209058-day-old Emma

Sometime after my arrival and when Emma awakened from her nap, Kyla fell asleep.  When Kyla awakened from her short nap and Emma had been fed, I took a few more pictures.

_XZ20911Jared, Sara, Kyla and Emma

_XZ20910My two youngest great nieces
Kyla will be 2 years old in a few days.

Kyla has a ride-on bug.  I played with Kyla on the floor. She rode the bug, and we chased each other (with me on my hands and knees) around the room.

XZ020924Kyla and I

Too soon, it was time for me to leave.

From Jared and Sara’s house, I drove to Kittanning PA.  The drive to Kittanning was somewhat eventful. A tree branch was snapped from a tree and flew through the air like an arrow toward my moving car! The branch flew over my car, landing on the other side. Thankfully, the branch did not hit my car! It was good, too, that there were no other vehicles around me at the time. A little farther on my drive, Route 66 was closed due to an accident. I am thankful that the GPS rerouted me! I was about 25 miles from Kittanning at the time.

I checked into Quality Inn Royle in West Kittanning at approximately 3:30 PM. I cashed in a free night (10,000 points) for my night’s lodging. I relaxed in my hotel room until 5:15 pm. I met my brother and sister-in-law at Kings Family Restaurant around 5:45 pm. We had a wonderful visit, just the three of us, while we ate dinner.

XZ020925Jim and Judy at Kings Family Restaurant

I returned to the hotel around 7:45 pm. I video chatted with Bob for a short time, wrote in my journal, and went to bed soon afterward.

I awakened the next morning at 6:00 am, after a good night’s sleep.

My hotel room accommodation included a complimentary hot breakfast. I ate breakfast around 7:00 am.  I relaxed in my room until it was time to leave to go to my oldest nephew’s house.

I arrived at Michael and Kailey’s house around 9:00 am. I visited with Kailey and my youngest great nephew for the next almost 3 hours.  As was the case with Jared and Sara, it was also the first time I saw where Michael and Kailey lived.

Oliver was taking a nap on the couch, when I first arrived.

Oliver taking a nap

Oliver awakened within 30 minutes of my arrival.

_XZ30935-EditOliver and I

_XZ30941Kailey and Oliver
Oliver will be 1 year old in July.

_XZ30942Oliver is such a happy baby!

During my visit I played with Oliver, and Kailey and I chatted. We talked about shows we watch on TV. I think I interested Kailey in “Longmire” and “The Man in the High Castle”. We talked about upcoming vacations.Michael, Kailey and family will be vacationing at a campground in Maryland in July. We talked about a few opportunities for us to get together again…my granddaughters’ birthday party later this month…Oliver’s 1-year birthday party in July…CelebrateErie in August.

I was not able to spend time with Michael, Kaleb and Anna this visit.   Mike was at work, and the two older children were at school.  My brother and sister-in-law have one more child, a daughter, who lives at least 1,000 miles away with her husband and daughter.  Emily wrote that anytime I want to make a road / plane trip to her house, I have a place to stay!  I responded that I may take her up on that offer of a place to stay one day.

I left Kailey and Oliver around 11:45 am and began my drive home. I hadn’t made it too far, when I saw an accident…not along my route. The accident was near the intersection of Route 66 to New Bethlehem and Route 422 toward Indiana, on Route 422. I saw a small red truck on its roof. I was going towards the left lane to get on Route 28/66 toward New Bethlehem. I got only a quick glimpse…traffic was beginning to back up and there were several flashing lights and then the vehicle sitting on its roof. Later I learned that there were no injuries, only damage to the truck.

I returned home shortly before 3:30 pm, after making several stops along the way.  I stopped for lunch at Burger King in New Bethlehem.  I made a bathroom stop at Kwik Fill in Marienville.  I stopped in downtown Warren, picked up my stepdaughter Stacey, and drove her to the dentist.

What a wonderful couple days I had!  I found the quality family time that I was in search of.  I hope that each family member whom I was able to visit with felt the same way.



Grampa Bob and Gramma Linda’s Special Day with Juniper

We picked up Juniper, our almost 5-year-old granddaughter, at “Big Grandma” Chris’s house shortly before 9:00 am on Saturday, April 29, and left en route Erie.

In Erie we spent the day visiting the Erie Zoo, visiting the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, driving around Presque Isle and eating a late lunch at McDonalds.

We arrived at the Erie Zoo around 10:20 am. We lucked out by securing a parking space right in front of the main entrance to the zoo. I suspect our luck had more to do with Saturday’s weather (chilly and rainy) than our early arrival. After showing our membership card and ID at the gate, we were admitted into the zoo. We saw all the animals without getting too wet. We only got a quick glimpse of baby Otis (new orangutan) before mama orangutan covered herself and baby with newspaper and a sheet. A highlight of our Zoo visit was seeing a kangaroo and a baby wallaby and its mama on the walking path, rather than far from us behind the wood rail fence.  Juniper rode both the Wildlife Carousel and the train. Bob rode the carousel with Juniper, and I rode the train with her.  I put together this slide show to highlight our day at the zoo.

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This digital slideshow made with Smilebox

Before leaving the zoo, we purchased two bags of cotton candy, one for Juniper and the other for Harper. We spent approximately 1-1/2 hours at the zoo. We might have been there for a longer time if the playground was still there. The playground was removed recently. A new playground will be installed by late May.

From the zoo we drove to the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC). The TREC, which opened its doors in May/June 2006, is the gateway to Presque Isle State Park. Its entrance is across from Waldameer Park.  Bob and I hadn’t been there in a while, and it was Juniper’s first visit. There are more child-related activities there than we remembered. Juniper enjoyed her visit.

As we entered the lobby of the main entrance the first things to catch Juniper’s eyes were three floor-to-ceiling towers.  Each tower was filled with carved wooden scenes about Presque Isle.  Each scene had movable parts!

Three Towers of Carved Wooden Scenes About Presque Isle

Erie200702_009One of the many carved wooden scenes

The next thing that caught Juniper’s eye was a HUGE fish.

XZ290886Memories and Monsters Exhibit

The “Memories and Monsters” exhibit has the visitor walking through the middle of a HUGE fish into a small theater area.  This exhibit takes you back in time to the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s when things were very different on Presque Isle.

Near the big fish was a hands-on room, especially designed for preschoolers.

_XZ90895Hands-On Activity Room

Do you wonder what everyone is looking at through the windows?

XZ290889There is a bird feeding station outside the windows.
The bird feeding station was visited by a turkey the day we were there.

Before leaving TREC, we stopped at the gift shop. Juniper picked out two streamer toys, one for her and one for Harper. I found a picture of the same or similar toy for sale on Amazon.

When we left TREC, we drove around Presque Isle.

It was after 1:30 pm by the time we completed our drive around Presque Isle. We stopped at McDonalds, located near Presque Isle, for a late lunch.

As we were leaving McDonalds, I telephoned “Big Grandma” Chris to let her know that we were running behind. We were supposed to pick up Harper at Chris’s house and take both girls to “Little Grandma” Sue’s house, where they would be spending the night. The plan was to pick up Harper and arrive at Sue’s house between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. As we were running behind, that wasn’t going to happen. Chris ended up taking Harper to Sue’s house, and we dropped off Juniper there shortly before 5:00 pm.

What a wonderful day we had with Juniper!  We are looking forward to a similar experience with Harper in a few weeks.


Welcome Baby Emma!

Emma Elizabeth
(photograph by Jared, my nephew and Emma’s father)

Bob and I have a new great niece. Jared and Sara’s daughter, Emma Elizabeth, was born at 5:50 pm on April 24th. She weighed 7lbs. 12oz. and was 19 inches long.  Emma has a big sister, Kyla, who will soon be 2 years old.

Welcome to the family baby Emma!

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