The Beauty Around Us

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

Maine Vacation: Warren PA to Amsterdam NY

Our Maine vacation officially began at 5:30 am this morning, when we departed home.  We programmed the GPS to not avoid highways (and to avoid tolls) between our home in North Warren, PA and Amsterdam, NY.  The predominant routes (all Interstate) that we followed were I-86, I-81, and I-88.

The only deviations from our drive to Amsterdam happened when we went in search of a Mobil Fuel Station.  The most notable out-of-the-way drive for fuel happened in Oneonta, NY.  We passed Cooperstown All Star Village.

Cooperstown All Star Village

Cooperstown All Star Village Ball Fields

This out-of-the-way drive for fuel took us 6 miles out of our way.  When we reached the Mobil station, it wasn’t even a Mobil station.  It was a Mirabito station, as was the previous out-of-the-way fuel station.  Bob has $40.00 in his Exxon Mobil Rewards+ program account that he wants to use to pay for gas.  

The last 20 miles to Amsterdam were via NY State Route 30.  We arrived in the City of Amsterdam around 12:30 pm and spent an hour walking on the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge and in Riverlink Park.

Amsterdam, NY
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge Artwork

Amsterdam, NY
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge
“Mother and Child at the Mohawk River” by Sculptur Dimitar Lukanov

Amsterdam, NY
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge

There were flower beds all along both sides of the bridge, which was very pleasant to see and smell.

Amsterdam, NY
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge
Wheel of Life

Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge
The beautiful Wheel of Life

Amsterdam, NY
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge
More flowers

Amsterdam, NY
Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook (MVGO) Bridge (as seen from Riverlink Park)

There were two imposing sights to see at Riverlink Park: the Painted Rocks of Amsterdam and the 9-11 Memorial.

Amsterdam, NY
Riverlink Park: Painted Rocks

The Painted Rocks of Amsterdam are Alice Manzi’s re-creation of a famous Mohawk Indian rock painting.

 

Amsterdam, NY
Riverlink Park: 9-11 Memorial

The 9-11 Memorial tells the narrative of that day, and Amsterdam’s connection to it.

Amsterdam, NY
Riverlink Park: 9-11 Memorial

This concrete and steel column from the P3 parking level of the North Tower survived mainly intact from the 2001 attack of the World Trade Center.  On the edging of the base are escribed two dates and two times: the date of the attack (September 11, 2001), date of dedication (September 11, 2015), the time that American Airlines Flight 11 turned south over Amsterdam (8:26 am), and the time it struck the North Tower (8:46 am).

– TO BE CONTINUED –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Blossoms

Bob and I went for a bicycle ride late this afternoon / early evening.  We rode to Pioneer Arboretum, located at the north end of the Warren-North Warren Bike/Hike Trail.

Aren’t the blossoms on these trees beautiful?

There are many beautiful trees in the arboretum; however, many of the trees were in the shade and would not photograph well.

I LOVED how the blossoms were climbing up the branches of this tree!

Total bicycle miles ridden: 3.40 miles.

Back Yard Photos

This week, on nice days, I began walking around our back yard and three of our neighbor’s back yards (with permission).  I carry my camera with me.

Sue’s Primose

Chipmunk on Greg and Mary’s Bird Feeder

This is the first Baltimore Oriole that I have seen this year.
I haven’t seen any hummingbirds … yet.
These bird feeders are in our back yard.

I plan to share more back yard photos, from time to time, with you.

 

Bicycle Ride Around Lake Wilhelm

We got a later start than on Saturday, but we went on another bicycle ride on Sunday.

We departed home at 8:40 am en route Lake Wilhelm, located at Maurice K. Goddard State Park near Sandy Lake, PA.  We arrived at the Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking lot at approximately 10:30 am and began our bicycle ride shortly afterward.  

Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking

The John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail is 12 miles long.  The paved, predominantly off-road trail is a pleasant, largely wooded loop around the northern and southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  The Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking lot, where we began our ride, is located on the lake’s north side.  This location was a good place to begin our ride around the lake, as the mileage count begins here.  The trail on the lake’s north side contains several sharp bends and short, steep runs that were challenging. Bob referred to the northern portion of the trail as a roller coaster ride. 

Lake Wilhelm trail

I had to walk my bicycle up some of the hill climbs.

We stopped briefly at this shelter to enjoy the tranquility.
The trail was not heavily traveled the day we rode our bicycles.
In fact we had the trail to ourselves much of the time.

Serenity!

We stopped briefly at the Lake Wilhelm Dam, which is about the halfway point around the lake.

The trail on the lake’s south side, some of which shares Creek Road, was much less challenging than the north side, with the exception of one hill climb.  There is a choice there, though, to follow the trail up the hill or stay on Creek Road.  I stayed on Creek Road, as I had my fill of hill climbs by then!  Bob chose to follow the trail up the hill. 

We stopped for a snack and a rest break at Boat Launch No. 1, along the south shore of the lake.  Our snack was whole grain peanut butter sandwich crackers. 

Boat Launch No. 1

Picnic areas are abundant and restrooms can be found at each of the four boat launches around the lake. 

While resting, I took several pictures of a tree swallow that was sitting on a tree branch. 

Tree Swallow

Hello Human. What are you doing down there?

 

I had just packed up my camera, when wouldn’t you know it, here comes an eagle soaring across the lake.  

Later, during our ride, we saw two osprey at their nest.  I didn’t take any pictures of the eagle, but I did take several pictures of the osprey.

Osprey in Flight

Osprey on Tree Branch

Osprey on Nest

Osprey Looking at Me!

I stopped riding at the marina, shortly before the bridge on Lake Wilhelm Road that crosses over the lake. I just didn’t feel like riding anymore.  Besides I had already ridden 12 miles–the distance around the lake.

Lake Wilhelm Marina

Bob rode from the marina rest of the way to the car, put his bicycle on the carrier and drove over and picked up me and my bicycle.  

We rode bicycles around Lake Wilhelm one time before, in June 2017.  The bicycles that we rode in 2017 were folding bicycles.  I expected the trail to be easier with our Specialized bicycles than it was with our folding bicycles.  It was easier, but still strenuous.

We were en route home at 1:45 pm.  We made two stops on the way home.  Both stops were in Titusville, PA.  We made a fuel stop at Sheetz and a lunch stop at Burger King.  We returned home around 4:00 pm.

What a great workout we had on our bicycles this weekend.  We rode 12 miles round trip on Saturday on the Allegheny River Trail and another 12 miles on Sunday.  Saturday’s ride (on a predominately flat surface) was much, much easier than Sunday’s ride!

Where will we ride next?  Stay tuned!

Allegheny River Trail: Emlenton to Rockland

We departed our home in Warren PA at 7:30 am en route Emlenton PA and the Allegheny River Trail.   We arrived on Main Street in Emlenton at 9:05 am.   We followed signs to the Allegheny River Trail.  Road signs pointed us onto the bike trail.  Bob was hesitant to drive on the bike trail.  I encouraged him to do so, and we came upon a parking area quickly.  The Allegheny River Trail is 28.2 miles of flat, smooth, asphalt surface from Emlenton to Franklin.  We chose to bicycle only a portion of the trail, from Emlenton to Rockland Tunnel and back. 

The beginning of the trail is bordered by a white fence for a short time.

Soon the trail is between the Allegheny River and a wooded hillside.

Seen from the trail

Note the 1917 date on the tunnel.

Dotter Access Area

Dotter Access Area. There are beautiful views of the river along the trail. This is one such view.

Dotter Access Area seen from the trail

Rockland Tunnel

The 2,868-foot Rockland Tunnel is pitch black.  Reflectors mark the trail edges and center.  We had strong flashlights mounted on our bicycles.  Bob rode through the tunnel; I didn’t.  Almost as soon as I entered the tunnel, I began to feel claustrophobic.  My arms and legs tensed up, and my balance felt off.   I stopped and turned my bicycle around.  As soon as I could see the light at the tunnel entrance, I began to feel better. 

I walked inside Rockland Tunnel a little ways to get this picture.

Bob has returned from riding through Rockland Tunnel.

We stopped at this bench for a short rest, while on our way back to the Emlenton trail head.

We enjoyed this view, while sitting on the bench.

I took this picture facing away from the bench.

I rode 11.12 miles round trip.  Bob rode a little more than me because he rode through the tunnel and back.  It was 11:37 am, when we completed our ride.

It was an excellent day for a bicycle ride.  It was overcast, and the temperature stayed in the upper 50s to lower 60s.

We plan to ride more of the Allegheny River Trail later this year.

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 7: Chincoteague, VA to Warren, PA

On Friday, April 12th, Bob got up at 4:30 am; I got up about 1 1/2 hours later.  We were both showered and dressed by 6:30 am.  We did most of our packing the previous night.  We finished packing this morning, loaded the car and began our drive back home.

We stopped for breakfast at the Ocean Deli, an obscure restaurant attached to a Spirit fuel station on Wallops Island, VA.  I just happened to notice a sign that advertised eggs, French toast, home fries, pancakes and bacon.  We ordered breakfast at the counter and sat down in the dining room.  Bob ordered a meat lovers omelet accompanied with home fries and toast.  He didn’t care for the gyro meat.  Otherwise, the omelet was good.  I ordered two scrambled eggs, home fries, toast and bacon. 

My breakfast at Ocean Deli

Our breakfast orders were delivered promptly.  The portions were large and very filling.

After eating breakfast we continued our drive back home.  We made a couple more quick stops on the way home, where we arrived around 5:15 pm.

Total miles driven Saturday through Friday were 1,275 miles.  What a WONDERFUL vacation; we are looking forward to a return visit to Chincoteague, VA!

Please click here, if you missed any of my Chincoteague vacation blog posts.  The link will take you to all posts tagged “Chincoteague Vacation 2019” and allow you to scroll from the most recent to oldest vacation post.  Thank you very much for following along on our vacation.

 

Chincoteague Vacation: “Tranquil Shores”

We spent 5 nights (April 7th through April 11th), at Chincoteague, Virginia in an Airbnb rental called “Tranquil Shores”.  Our host, Joseph, gave me permission to include details of his Airbnb in a blog post.  The complete listing for this AirBnB rental may be seen by clicking here.

Here is a Google Map picture of our Airbnb accommodation.

“Tranquil Shores”

“Tranquil Shores” is the right side of this duplex house.  We had use of that entire side of the duplex. The entrance to the home was via the wooden steps on the side of the house. We entered the door code, opened the door and we walked inside.  The entry door opens to the kitchen.

Eat-in Kitchen

The kitchen contains all the essentials of cooking and dining to include cookware, dinnerware, utensils, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, spices, and so much more.  We didn’t use it, but there was coffee grounds in the freezer for the coffeemaker.  We brought the tea kettle that you see in this picture.  We boiled water for hot tea and coffee.  Bob used an Aeropress to make coffee.

The kitchen and living room form a Great Room.

Living Room

There is access to a Screened Porch from the Living Room.

Screened Porch

The living room was comfortable, and we made frequent use of the screened porch.

In addition to the kitchen and living room, this Airbnb rental has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Two of the bedrooms (queen bed and twin bed) and one bathroom are located downstairs.  A washer and dryer are located in the downstairs bathroom.  The master bedroom (king bed) and second bathroom are located on the second floor.  There is access to a balcony from the master bedroom.  We made use of only the master bedroom.  The bed was very comfortable and provided for a good night’s sleep. Bed linens and towels are not provided in the rental cost. They are available, however, for an added fee of $10.00 per bed.  We saved $10.00 by bringing our own towels and bed linens.

 

Tranquil Shores, as seen from Maddox Blvd.

This AirBnB rental is located at the end of a quiet road.

This is the view of the road on which “Tranquil Shores” sits. The house is at the end of this road.

The rental cost was approximately $55.00 less than the cost of a King Bed with Balcony hotel room at Best Western Chincoteague, where we have stayed in past visits.  “Tranquil Shores” was a much nicer accommodation than staying in a room in a hotel!  We had lots more space, and we were able to eat in or eat out, as desired.  We ate breakfast and either lunch or dinner at home, during our stay.  Our view at “Tranquil Shores” was much, much better than at Best Western Chincoteague too.  At Best Western Chincoteague, if you booked a balcony room, your view was the McDonald’s Restaurant across the street.  Compare that view with the view from the screened porch and balcony of our Airbnb rental.

When I took this picture, I was standing at the edge of the property. The water seen in this picture is Eel Creek.

We enjoyed daily sunrises, sunsets and wildlife viewings, while at Tranquil Shores.

Snowy Egret on Eel Creek

Osprey flying over “Tranquil Shores”

Sunset at “Tranquil Shores”, as seen from back porch

Canada Geese on Eel Creek

Sunrise at “Tranquil Shores”

Tern Gull Flying Over “Tranquil Shores”

Sunrise, on the morning of our departure

I highly recommend “Tranquil Shores” to individual travelers, couples, and families.  You will be within a couple miles of downtown Chincoteague and Assateague Island where you can enjoy Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore.  We brought our bicycles with us and enjoyed rides in the neighborhood, several rides at the wildlife refuge, as well as one ride from “Tranquil Shores” to the wildlife refuge.

Thank you, Joseph, for sharing your home with us.  We will return!

 

 

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