The Beauty Around Us

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

Ohio Vacation Day 4 (6/28/2021)

We walked down to the edge of the wetlands this morning. There was an adult bald eagle sitting in the snag on which we have seen one or two eagles often throughout the day, since our arrival on Friday afternoon. The lighting wasn’t good in that direction, so I didn’t take any pictures of the eagle. I did take pictures of a dragonfly and turtles.

Dragonfly at Wetlands at Airbnb
Turtles at Wetlands at Airbnb

It is hot and humid, even at 9:00 am. When I returned to the house, I was drenched in sweat from my neck up.

About an hour later, while sitting in the living room, I saw an osprey flying over the wetlands. Good thing I got my camera and went out on the deck. The osprey provided a bit of excitement, at least photographically.

An osprey flying over the Airbnb wetlands sees something of interest.
The osprey soared low in the sky over the Airbnb wetlands.
I lost the osprey shortly after I took this picture,
as it dove into the pond behind one of the buildings near the pond.

I stayed on the deck, camera in hand. Within seconds the osprey returned into view.

The osprey snagged a fish; a small bird gave chase.

Late morning/early afternoon we drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to the Ira Trailhead, and walked ¼ mile to Beaver Marsh. What a HOT and HUMID walk that was! We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife. We saw a great blue heron, snapping turtle (no picture), red wing blackbird and tree swallows.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Great Blue Heron
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Red-Winged Blackbird

I captured a few pictures of tree swallows, as we spent the most time watching their acrobatic flight.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Beaver Marsh
Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow
Two Tree Swallows

We returned to our rental Airbnb and ate lunch. I ate a picnic lunch indoors, and Bob ate Ramen Noodles that he found in the kitchen.

A storm rolled through around 5:00 pm.

It would have been very nice,
if this storm had taken the heat and humidity with it when it left.
That didn’t happen, though.

The temperature did drop 20 degrees, from 90 (with a heat index of 103) to 70. It didn’t take long, though, for the heat and humidity to return.

Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Brandywine Falls (6/27/2021)

We attempted to go to Brandywine Falls late this morning, but the parking lot was full. A sign said to try again after 5:00 pm. We went to the Boston Mill Visitor Center instead and lunch afterward.

After lunch we returned to Brandywine Falls. The parking lot was open, earlier than the estimated 5:00 pm reopening. We walked down to the waterfall overlook, took a few pictures there and along the boardwalk trail, and climbed back up to the parking lot.

Boardwalk trail to Brandywine Falls
The boardwalk trail to Brandywine Falls
winds around these huge boulders.
Selfie Time
Brandywine Falls (long exposure)

From Brandywine Falls we returned to our rental Airbnb in Hudson OH, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon and evening. Our Airbnb hosts have three parrots, whom I shared photographs of in an earlier blog post. We visited with Mickey this afternoon on our deck.

This is Mickey

How cool that Mickey sat on our shoulders!

Mickey on my shoulder
Mickey on Bob’s shoulder
Great Egret in Airbnb Wetlands
A Beautiful Sunset at Airbnb to end the Day

Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Boston Mill Visitor Center (6/27/2021)

After our walk around Kendall Lake, we drove to the new Boston Mill Visitor Center. The visitor center is located at the southeast corner of Riverview and Boston Mills roads in the Village of Boston in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I was attempting to take a selfie at this location,
as we were walking to the Boston Mill Visitor Center.
A fellow visitor asked if we wanted her to take our picture.
I said yes and thank you.
the Boston Mill Visitor Center

The original function of the Boston Mill Visitor Center building was a general store that was constructed in 1905 for the Cleveland-Akron Bag Company.

The new visitor center opened on October 25, 2019. The Boston Mill Visitor Center serves as a central, one-stop resource for visitors to plan their journeys in the national park and Ohio & Erie Canalway. The visitor center includes the main visitor center building (displayed above) and two smaller buildings nearby, which serve as public restrooms and office space. An outdoor pavilion and courtyard provide visitors with park information and resources 24/7, while indoor exhibits orient visitors to the park and its geography, natural resources, history, and surrounding areas.

The Boston Mill Station is located near the visitor center. We watched the 11:45am train arrive and leave the train station.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train approaching Boston Mill Station
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train at Boston Mill Station
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train departs Boston Mill Station

We see this train often, when in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So far we have not ridden the train. Some day we hope to ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train on its National Park Scenic Excursion.

We ate lunch at Fisher’s Cafe and Pub in Peninsula. It was our first time eating there. We have passed by this restaurant many times, while on other trips to this area. I always thought we should eat there sometime. “Sometime” was today. Bob ordered a Yellow Fin Wrap (Medium Rare Caribbean & Cajun Seasoned Yellow Fin Tuna, Wrapped with Romaine Lettuce. Thai Rice, Kung Fu Teriyaki Sauce on the Side) with potato salad. I ordered beer-battered fish and potato salad. Our meals were delicious and filling; our waitress was attentive.

Please return for a blog post about our visit to Brandywine Falls, also on Day 3 of our Ohio vacation. I hope to publish that blog post tomorrow.

Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Kendall Lake (6/27/2021)

I got up at 6:00 am this morning. Bob was already up. I made a cup of tea and drank it on the deck, as I watched the sun rise and listened to the birds singing.

Sunrise at our Hudson OH Airbnb

Bob went for a bicycle ride. I didn’t see him leave, as I did yesterday. He rode the same trail as yesterday but in the opposite direction. Bob rode as far as Brandywine Falls (the top of the falls) and back, for a total of 12 miles.

Later in the morning we drove to Kendall Lake in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Kendall Lake is a manmade lake that was created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935. It is the largest lake in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We hiked the 1 mile trail around the lake. The terrain varies with some stairs to climb, however the loop trail was fairly flat and not too challenging.

Kendall Lake
We accessed the Kendall Lake Trail near the parking lot.
Kendall Lake Trail
There are several trails at Kendall Lake. The trails are well marked.
The lake trail is the right-hand trail.
Kendall Lake Trail
Kendall Lake Trail
This portion of the trail was a short uphill climb.
This was our first view of Kendall Lake from the trail.
Kendall Lake
Yesterday we ate a picnic lunch in the building across the lake.
Kendall Lake Trail
We crossed over a small wooden bridge.
Kendall Lake Trail
We climbed up these steps.
Kendall Lake Trail
We had a good view of the fishing pier from the top of the steps.
Kendall Lake Trail
We climbed down these steps.
We were near the end of the trail here.
Kendall Lake
We walked to the fishing pier.
Kendall Lake
Canadian Geese
Kendall Lake
Canadian Geese in a Row
Kendall Lake Canadian Geese
Hey! Wait for me!
Kendall Lake
Red-Winged Blackbird
Kendall Lake
Barn Swallow

Leaving Kendall Lake, we attempted to go to Brandywine Falls but the parking lot was full. A sign said to try again after 5:00 pm. We went to the new Cuyahoga Valley National Park visitor center instead. Stay tuned! I will publish a new blog post soon about our visit to the visitor center.

Ohio Vacation Day 2 (6/26/2021)

I got up for the day at 5:45 am, as Bob was leaving for a bicycle ride. Bob rode a portion of the Bike and Hike Trail. He reached the trail by bicycling neighborhood streets across from our rental Airbnb. He got on the trail near the Bridgewater Blvd-Nottingham Gate Blvd-Terex Road intersections. He rode as far south as Bow Wow Beach. Bob said he rode 10 miles total.

While Bob was bicycling, I sat for a short time on the deck enjoying the view and birdsong.

We ate breakfast, after Bob returned from his bicycle ride. Bob had scrambled eggs and orange juice. I had orange juice and instant oatmeal.

We added another 10.15 miles to Bob’s total bicycle miles. We drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and rode the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (Please click on link!) from the Ira Trailhead to Peninsula and back.

After our bicycle ride, we stayed in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and drove to Kendall Lake.

We ate a picnic lunch at Kendall Lake.

There is a 1-mile trail around Kendall Lake. We hope to walk the trail another day.

Before returning to our rental Airbnb, we drove to Walmart and picked up a few more grocery items.

We stayed “home” for rest of the afternoon and evening and enjoyed the beauty of our rental Airbnb and its grounds. We walked down to the pond to check out the view of the pond from that vantage point.

Canadian Geese are frequent visitors to the wetlands at our Airbnb.
The wetlands at our Airbnb
Our Airbnb hosts have an aviary.
nside the aviary are three parrots!
This is Mickey.
This is Kiwi.
This is Pepe, who is blind.

Later in the afternoon I captured photographs of songbirds and eagles. I photographed the songbirds and eagles from the comfort of our deck.

Female House Finch
Male and Female House Finches
Red-Winged Blackbird
Baltimore Oriole Enjoying Grape Jelly
Two eagles in a tree snag in the wetlands
An eagle in the wetlands

In addition to two adult eagles, we have seen two juvenile eagles as well. The eagles are way, way out in the pond. The pictures of the eagles were taken with a camera lens having an effective focal length of 1200mm. The pictures are heavily cropped.

Tonight’s dinner was stuffed green peppers with baked potatoes.

We enjoyed a colorful sunset, before going to bed.

Sunset at Airbnb

Ohio Vacation Day 1 (6/25/2021)

We departed home at 9:30 am en route Hudson, OH. We stopped for breakfast at the Station 61 Restaurant in Youngsville, PA. We both ordered a western omelette with toast. Breakfast was delicious and filling. We were back on the road by 10:40 am. We arrived in Hudson around 2:00 pm. We passed by our rental Airbnb and drove to Szalay’s Farm and Market in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We ate lunch–a Polish sausage for Bob and an all-beef hot dog for me. For dessert we each had a fruit sundae.

Szalay’s Farm & Market
Szalay’s Farm & Market
We ordered our hot dog and sausage from the booth at the far right.
We ordered ce cream sundaes from the booth at the far left.
Szalay’s Farm & Market
We ate our lunch, while sitting in one of these gliders.
Szalay’s Farm & Market
An ice cream sundae

We get a fruit sundae, whenever we visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The cost was $5.00 the first time we got a sundae. The price is still $5.00. It is a GREAT buy!

We visited the Boston Mills Visitor Center, where I purchased a pocket size National Park passport.

Photo obtained from America’s National Parks website

Cancellation stamps from Cuyahoga Valley National Park will be the first stamps to be made in the passport.

We checked into our rental Airbnb, “Wildlife and Serenity in Hudson OH”, at 4:00 pm.

Our host and hostess, John and Deborah, met us in the driveway as we got out of our car. One of the first things pointed out to us was a pair of bald eagles on a tree snag in the middle of a pond in their back yard. We saw that eagle pair in the same spot several times, as we “moved in”.

This is the street view of our rental Airbnb. The listing refers to our rental as an apartment. We had use of this home from the front porch and everything to the left.
This is the back yard view of our rental Airbnb. We had use of the first floor of this home from the three windows on the left to the end of the house on the right. Deborah and John live in the rest of the house. We had use of the deck and shared the back, front and side yards. The deck looks out on a wetland, where the eagles hung out. This was our first Airbnb rental where we shared the house with our hosts. Deborah and John were accessible, but they would keep to themselves if that was something we had desired. We did share some conversation, in person and via text, with our hosts. Our first shared living experience was a good one.

Our rental space is an open floor plan, with the bedroom being the only room shut off from the other part of the house.

This is the view of the deck and the wetlands from the living room of our rental Airbnb.

After moving in, we went grocery shopping at the nearby Acme Food Market. We picked up fruit, lettuce, milk, eggs, water, beer and frozen dinners. Tonight’s dinner was chicken parmigiana with a tossed salad.

I went to bed shortly after 9:00 pm. Our king size bed is HIGH off the ground. The bed sits on top of deep drawers. A foot stool is needed to climb into bed.

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.

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