The Beauty Around Us

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

Corning Museum of Glass

We spent the night of Saturday, January 12, in Corning NY.  The purpose of our trip was to visit Corning Museum of Glass. Corning is an approximate 3-hour drive from our home in Warren PA.  We could easily have driven to Corning, visited the museum, and driven back home all in one day.  Spending the night in Corning, though, made for a relaxing weekend.

We arrived at Corning Museum of Glass around 9:30 am.  For the next 3 hours we toured the museum.  This was the first time either Bob or I visited Corning Museum of Glass.  As described on its webpage, the museum “tells the story of a single material: glass … The story of glass is a story about art, history, culture, technology, science, craft and design … Nearly 50,000 objects representing more than 3,500 years of history are displayed in the galleries…”. It would be a daunting task to see and read about each glass object in the museum in a entire day’s visit, let alone a 3-hour visit.  We didn’t even try to see or photograph everything. 

Mosaic Portrait This portrait shows Elena of Montenegro, who was queen consort of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy.

Stained Glass Window from Rochroane Castle

We did watch a 30-minute Hot Glass Demo, while at the museum.  The Hot Glass Demo was a live, narrated glassblowing demonstration.   A glassmaker took glowing gobs of molten glass on the end of a pipe and skillfully shaped them into a bowl.  A narrator talked through the process, and cameras inside the 2300°F furnace ensured that we didn’t miss a single step of the process.

Hot Glass Demo – Gathering a little glass out of furnace.

Hot Glass Demo – shaping and cooling glass

Hot Glass Demo – Glass goes back into the furnace.

Hot Glass Demo – Glassmaker goes back to the bench.

Hot Glass Demo – shaping and cooling glass

Hot Glass Demo – glass blowing

Hot Glass Demo – glass blowing

Hot Glass Demo – adding foot to bottom of glass

Hot Glass Demo – adding foot to bottom of glass

Hot Glass Demo – working on upper part of bowl

Hot Glass Demo – glass blowing.

After this step, the bowl was placed back in furnace and spun.

Hot Glass Demo – Bowl after spinning in furnace

Hot Glass Demo – Bowl after spinning in furnace

What an awesome demo!

We purchased our museum tickets online a few days prior to our travels.  Tickets may be purchased at the museum as well.  Tickets cost $20 for adults.  Kids and teens under the age of 17 are free.  Tickets are good for two consecutive days.

We left the Corning Museum of Glass at 12:30 pm and drove to Elmira NY, where we ate lunch at Old Country Buffet.  It had been a long time since we enjoyed a meal at Old Country Buffet.  The Erie restaurant closed its doors some time ago.

On our way to our night’s accommodation we stopped at Wegmans to pick up a few grocery items that we felt were needed for the rest of the day,  night and next morning.

From Wegmans we drove to our Airbnb accommodation.  It was a short drive, as Wegmans is only a mile away.  Check-in was 2:00 pm.  Our arrival was around 2:20 pm. 

We spent rest of the afternoon and evening at “home”.  We watched TV and surfed the internet.  We stayed in for dinner as well, having eaten two meals out already.  Lunch at Old Country Buffet was very filling.  We chose to eat a light dinner — a bowl of soup.  

I went to bed at 9:00 pm.  Bob followed about 1 1/2 hours later.

We planned to make a return trip to Corning Museum of Glass the next morning.  Our plans, though, changed.  I will write about our change of plans in my next blog post.

Our First AirBnB Stay

With our Discover credit card, we automatically earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases.  5% cash back can be earned each quarter at different places (e.g. grocery stores, Amazon, fuel stations), when offer is activated.  There is a potential for earning a lot of reward points, with Discover’s cash back rewards program.  We cash in our reward points for gift cards.  For several years we used gift cards to partially fund our stays at Best Western hotels.  Best Western gift cards are no longer available from  Discover’s cash back rewards program.  A new offering is AirBnB gift cards, which we used to pay for our first AirBnB stay.

We spent the night of Saturday, January 12, in Corning NY in a 2-bedroom house.  Our “home away from home” was small, but comfortable. 

This AirBnB rental is located over a garage, nestled in woods.

We climbed up several steps to reach the entry door.  Bob entered the door code, opened the door and we walked inside.  The entry door opens to a very tiny foyer, with a coat closet opposite the door.  

The first room you enter from the foyer is a small living room. 

Living Room

The living room is comfortably furnished by an arm chair, flat screen TV on a stand, coffee table and sofa.  Our hosts (Luke and Natalie) provided blanket throws for each seat in the living room.  For our viewing pleasure DVDs, local TV and Netflix were provided.  We found a notebook on the coffee table in which Luke and Natalie welcomed us to their home.

Luke and Natalie’s note welcoming us to their home.

I responded to our hosts’ welcome note, before our departure.

Leaving the living room, you enter the center hall.  At one end of the hall is a huge linen closet.  Inside the linen closet I saw, among other objects, bedroom and bathroom linens, a few games and perhaps toys for children to play with.  A small bathroom is located at the other end of the hallway. 


Toilet paper, Kleenex, shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, and toothpaste were some of the products provided by our hosts.

Three other rooms are reached by way of the hallway: two bedrooms and the kitchen. 

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #2

Queen-sized beds predominate both bedrooms.  Our hosts provided bed linens, towels and wash cloths. The beds were very comfortable and provided for a good night’s sleep.


The kitchen contains all the essentials of cooking and dining to include cookware, dinnerware, utensils, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, Keurig coffeemaker, spices, Pam spray and so much more.  We found coffee pods and creamer, as well as bottled water available for our use.  We didn’t open it, but there was even a bottle of wine provided!  Cleanup was a breeze too.  Dish soap, sponge, paper towels and tea towels were provided.  We did very little cooking during our one-night stay.  We did heat up soup for dinner, had a light breakfast of instant oatmeal and a banana, and took advantage of the Keurig coffeemaker and microwave.  I would have no difficulty preparing a meal in this kitchen.

A door in the kitchen, by the table, enters the laundry room.  This room looks like it could have been a porch at one time.  A washer and dryer are located at one end of the room.  A laptop friendly table with printer, room for a laptop and two chairs is located on the opposite end.  There is a door in the laundry room that leads outside to a patio and to the spacious back yard, both of which would be very welcoming on Spring, Summer and Fall days.

All photographs, with the exception of the notebook, contained in this post are screenshots from the AirBnB listing.  Lucas gave me permission to use the photographs in this blog post.  The complete listing for this AirBnB rental may be seen by clicking here.

This AirBnB rental, which is located on a quiet street, is a very nice accommodation.  The rental cost was less than $30 more than the cost of a hotel room with two queen bed at Americas Best Value Inn, located in nearby Painted Post.  Our “home away from home” was much nicer than staying in a room in a hotel!  I highly recommend this AirBnB rental to individual travelers, couples, and families with two small children.

Thank you, Luke and Natalie, for sharing your home with us.  We hope to make a return visit! Subscription Not Renewed

Yesterday was the first day in a year, when having the opportunity to do so, that I have not opened to research my family tree.  I allowed my subscription to expire.  I do plan to subscribe again to but, for now, I am taking a break.  I plan to take advantage of time saved by not researching my family tree to accomplish other projects.  

I spent several hours yesterday working on my blog.  I removed Flickr-embedded photos and replaced them with uploaded photos.  Why am I doing this?  Click here to find out.  I have been blogging since March 2009.  I anticipate spending many, many hours on this project.  I hope this project can be completed before Flickr Pro comes up for renewal on November 1st.  My desire is to cancel my Flickr Pro subscription and save $49.99/year. 

Here are a few other projects I have in mind.

• Thoroughly clean our house to include cupboards, closets, etc.

• Improve my photography skills 

• Learn how to take advantage of all that Family Tree Maker offers me.  At the present time I use Family Tree Maker only to sync my online family tree.  Family Tree Maker has many more features that I want to become knowledgeable of.

• Continue publishing new blog content

By the way, these are not resolutions for the new year.  I tend to break new year resolutions soon after making them.  As a result I don’t make new year resolutions any longer.  I do hope, though, that I maintain my motivation to put in the effort to work through some or all of these projects.



Wickett’s New Mat

I went to lunch with my friend Valerie C. yesterday.  Valerie picked me up at home at 11:30 am, and we went to Applebee’s.  We ordered from the lunch menu.  I had loaded potato soup and half of a club sandwich.  Valerie ordered the loaded potato soup as well and, if I recall correctly, a Crispy Chicken Salad.  Our lunch selections were delicious, but the free-flowing conversation between Valerie and me was best.  Even though Valerie and I live within a couple miles of each other, we do not see each other often.  We do keep in touch via Facebook.  Both Valerie and I think lunch once a month is a great idea.  I am looking forward to our next lunch date.

Last month I asked Valerie if she could make a catnip mat for me similar to one that I saw on a friend’s Facebook post.  Valerie made me two catnip mats!  She gave the mats to me right before leaving for Applebee’s.

I placed a couple tablespoons of catnip inside one mat last night.

Wickett was rolling around on the mat, within minutes of laying the mat on our living room couch.

This morning, when I got up, I found Wickett lying on her new mat.

Good morning, Wickett!

The new mat is on the center cushion of our couch, where Wickett usually lies when Bob and I are sitting in the living room.

Wickett’s new catnip mat

The catnip mat should cut back on the amount of cat hair that we have to remove from the couch!

The catnip mat is reversible. This is the design on the other side of the mat.

I am undecided on where to place the second catnip mat.

Consultation with Jones Pest Control

Facebook is a great resource for obtaining information about local businesses.  Yesterday I needed to contact a pest control company about our mouse problem.  I asked for recommendations for pest control on Facebook.  Several members of the “You Grew Up in Warren PA if…” group recommended Jones Pest Control.  I telephoned the company and spoke with Shawn Jones, who stopped by yesterday afternoon. 

I HIGHLY recommend Shawn Jones.  Same day service was much appreciated.  He was very thorough in looking for places where mice may be entering our home.  He found likely entry places and recommended packing said places with steel wool.  He recommended strategic locations for placement of mouse traps as well, based on where he saw mouse droppings and carried-in birdseed.  I was very satisfied with Shawn’s consultation service.

When Bob came home from work, we went to Lowe’s and purchased steel wool and mouse traps.  Bob set six mouse traps, four in the basement and two in our living room closet.  He will stuff the holes with steel wool another day.

I got up at 5:30 am this morning, just before Bob left for work.  I went to bed last night, feeling that the mouse traps would do Wickett’s job.  I slept fairly well last night.  Oh, I did keep a light on in my bedroom.  Wickett awakened me a few times during the night.  Being able to see Wickett, when she awakened me, helped me to rest easily.

Bob checked the mouse traps this morning.  He didn’t find a mouse in any of the traps.   I didn’t find a mouse in my bed either!  

One day soon Bob will stuff the entry places with steel wool.  We hope that doing so will stop mice from entering our home.



One of my Worse Fears Realized

I didn’t sleep well last night.  Wickett awakened me around 11:30 pm by jumping in my bed with a mouse.  It was pitch black in my bedroom; I didn’t see the mouse.  I did feel Wickett’s wet nose(?) on my face.  I sleep lightly.  Ever since December 30th when I found a dead mouse on my comforter, I sleep even more lightly.

I sat up quickly, promptly left the bed, and turned on the light.  Wickett may very well have had a mouse in her mouth.  Her behavior indicated so.  Wickett was circling around on the bed (hunting), with her nose on the bed sheets.  I left the bedroom and walked into the living room.  I was prepared to sit up all night in our reclining chair.  I couldn’t relax.  After a few minutes, I got back up and walked into the bedroom.  

When I returned to my bedroom, Wickett was under the bed chasing the mouse.  She came out from under the bed, and zeroed in on my camera bag that was lying on the floor next to my bed.  I lifted up my camera bag.  There lying alongside the wall and the side of a bookcase headboard was a mouse.  I knew it!  

Wickett picked up the mouse and carried it into the hallway.  She dropped the mouse.  The last I saw the mouse was at the end of the hallway.  Observing Wickett’s behavior, I believe the mouse scurried behind our refrigerator.

It was 1:30 am, when I finally decided to go back to bed.  I left on the kitchen lights and my bedroom light.  I pulled the bed covers over my head.  I slept even more lightly, if that is even possible, until 6:30 am.

We have had mice in our house from time to time.  Either the cat or a mouse trap catches them.  One of my worse fears is a mouse in my bed.  That fear has been realized, twice now.  Bob suggested that we call a local pest control company for advice.  I countered his suggestion by saying that we should have the pest control company come to the house and find out where the mice are getting in.  I am making that telephone call now!

First Saturday 2019

It was such a pretty day yesterday.  Sunshine has been scarce the past few weeks.  It has been an unusual Winter season thus far.  We have had much more rain than snow.  So little snow, in fact, that Bob has not yet felt the need to use the snow thrower on our driveway.  He has not felt the need to use the snow shovel much either.

Yesterday on Facebook I noticed that a few friends of mine had something to say about our Northwest PA weather as well.

“I have a low grade fever and the type of headache that makes ya want to punch kittens. Yet – this is the first sunny Saturday I can remember in the last 3 months. We ARE going for a walk in the beautiful (retina scorching,head stabbing) outdoors!!” ~Sheila F.

“sure feels good to have the sun on my face after 3 weeks of permacloud in PA!” ~Allison C.

“Finally some sunshine…went for a ride around the Kinzua Dam….” ~Patti B.

Neither Bob nor I were feeling well yesterday morning.  I blame our intestinal distress on the side salads that we ate at Applebee’s the previous evening.  I recovered first and was able to keep a 10:00 am haircut appointment.  It took Bob longer to recover.  He did feel better in the afternoon, so we decided to enjoy the sunshine with a drive around the Allegheny Reservoir. This is the route we traveled.  The starting point is located a little less than 5 miles from our home.

We made only two photo stops, both at the beginning of our drive.  We stopped at Big Bend Recreation Area, located below Kinzua Dam.  I took pictures of the Allegheny River and Kinzua Dam from an observation platform located above the river.

Kinzua Dam at Big Bend Recreation Area

Kinzua Dam at Big Bend Recreation Area

Allegheny River at Big Bend Recreation Area

Look at that blue sky in each of the photographs displayed above.  It had really been a long, long time since we enjoyed a cloudless sky and abundant sunshine.

Our second stop was at Bent Run Falls, where I took a video of the rushing water.


As we departed the eastern fringes of the reservoir, the sun was slipping behind cloud cover.

A Facebook friend also went for a drive around Allegheny Reservoir and experienced blue skies turning into cloudy skies.

“We also went around the dam….I was surprised at the snow up on top of the hill…..and loved the water coming our of the spill way. …  got cloudy on us on the way back on I-86 but still a nice ride.” ~Patti B.

I expressed surprise, too, seeing the snow up on top of the hill.  Bob said we were at a higher elevation and it was shady; therefore, the snow stays on the ground for a longer time.  Patti also mentioned that the water level of the reservoir was so low.  We noticed the same, especially looking down on Sugar Bay (on the east side of the reservoir).  We saw people walking on a patch of land, way out into the reservoir.  We should have stopped at Sugar Bay, but we didn’t.

On the western side of the reservoir we drove to Webb’s Ferry, but we didn’t get out of the car.  By then we had lost the sunshine, and clouds once again covered the sky. 

We made one last stop before returning home.  We stopped at Scandia General Store, where we purchased a 12-inch sub, cheese curds and apple butter.  This was the first time that we have stopped at Scandia General Store.  We will be back! 

We returned home around 4:00 pm, at which time we ate our delicious turkey and ham sub.

We enjoyed the sunshine yesterday, while it lasted.  I wonder how many more days will pass before we see sunshine in abundance.

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