The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Art’

Memorial Day Weekend: Saturday

On Saturday, May 23, we spent the day riding. We left home at 8:30 am. I had put the liner back in my leather jacket and dressed in layers, as it was only 36 degrees when we left home en route Niagara Falls.

Approaching Peace Bridge

We crossed into Canada via the Peace Bridge. We had no delay crossing into Canada; however, the border crossing guard was a bit brusque. After we (and others) had entered the lane to his booth, he closed the lane.  I believe his brusqueness was due to his desire to take a break or to end his work shift.  The guard had us remove our helmets, not an easy task when one hand is holding passports. He could see I was having a little trouble handling my helmet and handing over the passports to him. He made no effort to help ( e.g. he did not step closer to reach the passports). I had trouble putting my helmet back on.  I was wearing a dew rag that came off, as I removed my helmet.  I needed two hands to put the dew rag back on, so I just put on my helmet.  I stuffed our passports in my jacket pocket.  We stopped soon after getting on Niagara Parkway so that I could put on my helmet properly, with dew rag underneath it. Bob placed our passports in a locked cubicle on the dashboard.

We drove along Niagara Parkway to Niagara Falls, enjoying the beautiful views of Niagara River along the way.  We drove through Niagara Falls to Rainbow Bridge.

The crossing into the United States was more hectic than the crossing into Canada. There were cars and people EVERYWHERE! Niagara Falls State Park’s parking Lot 1, located near the Niagara Falls Visitor Center, was full. Niagara Falls State Park’s parking Lot 2, located on Goat Island near the entrance to the Cave of the Winds tour and Top of the Falls Restaurant, was full as well.  We were directed to another parking lot somewhere on Goat Island, but the line was very long entering that parking lot.  We decided not to go for a walk in Niagara Falls this trip.  I much prefer visiting Niagara Falls off season, or at least not on a holiday weekend!

We began our ride back home.  We traveled by way of Route 219.  We made a fuel stop in Springville, NY and ate lunch at the nearby Ponderosa Steakhouse.

Prior to arriving in Ellicottville, NY we stopped at Griffis Sculpture Park–the largest outdoor sculpture park in the United States. For over 42 years, the steel sculptures of Larry Griffis, Jr. and other international artists have been residing in the woods, fields, and even ponds of Griffis Sculpture Park. The 400 acre park is located eight miles outside of Ellicottville near Ashford Hollow, NY (Cattaraugus County). Griffis Sculpture Park is split into two sections, the Rohr Hill Road Site and the Mill Valley Road Site. We visited the Rohr Hill Road Site, where a majority of the sculptures are visible from the road.

We wandered about the meadow and the woods of the Rohr Hill section of the park, while I snapped pictures of some of the sculptures.

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

Griffis Sculpture Park

Who would have thought that you could find something so beautiful in a meadow in the middle of nowhere!

Rather than take Interstate 86 home, we drove through the Allegany State Park via ASP Route 1.  Our NY State Empire Passport provided free entry to the park.  We made two brief stops, while in the park.

We stopped at the Red House Administration Building, where we purchased a bottle of water at the Gift Shop.

We stopped alongside Quaker Lake.

From Allegany State Park we took Routes 280, 321 and 59 home.

We returned home at 5:45 pm. Our trip odometer indicated that we put approximately 280 miles on the motorcycle.  By the way, it began to reach a comfortable temperature around 3:30 pm!

A Visit from Santa’s Elf

On December 8th Bob’s sister, Cynthia, sent us a Facebook message.  Cynthia asked us where we would go if we could take the motorcycle and ride together to one of our favorite places to take photos.  Cynthia said that this was a VERY serious question.  We had to be sure we knew the answer we both agreed on, because once we decided, we could not change it!  After a few minutes of thought, Bob and I told Cynthia that we would go to the Finger Lakes Region, in particular Watkins Glen, New York.

Last night we received another Facebook message from Cynthia.  She wrote that we “must be on the “nice” list.. Santa sent me a message…’I could deliver it later tomorrow (Tues 12/23) or Wednesday 12/24.’ When will someone be home?” Bob told Cynthia that I would be here all day today, as well as Wednesday. Cynthia said that Santa would be at our house between 3 and 4 today.

Santa’s elf, not Santa, came to our house a little after 3:30 pm today. Now, IF Santa’s elf had been dressed as an elf, a photograph would have been in order. Santa’s elf, however, was dressed in civilian attire and arrived via a privately owned vehicle. Santa’s elf brought Bob and me a Christmas gift. Because the package did NOT say “do not open before Christmas”, we opened the package.

 

IMG_3468
Inside the package was a lovely portrait of our cat, Patches, that
Cynthia commissioned Ellen Paquette to paint for us.

It looks like Patches posed for the painting. The likeness is amazing.  Look closely at the painting.  Do you see the camera? the motorcycle? Watkins Glen Gorge?  What a WONDERFUL surprise!  Thank you, Cynthia, for such a perfect Christmas present!  Mrs. Paquette does extraordinary work!

Oh, who was Santa’s elf?  Santa’s elf was the artist herself, Ellen Paquette!

Memorial Day Ride

We went for a short motorcycle ride with our friends, Susan and Dave, on the morning of May 26 (Memorial Day).  We met at 8:00 am at a local fuel station and rode to Findley Lake, NY.  The purpose of riding to Findley Lake was to see that village’s Main Street Memorial Day parade.

 

mosaica1b5617cee3432d6a0c3cd8fd40f5dd6e9f9b142Findley Lake Memorial Day Parade

 

We would have watched the parade in our hometown of Warren, PA; however, Warren doesn’t have a Memorial Day parade.

After the parade, we rode into Jamestown.  We stopped at Tim Horton for coffee/iced tea and donuts.  We carried our Timmy purchases across the street, to Riverwalk Park.  After consuming our purchases, we went for a short walk along Chadakoin River.

Located at the base of this sculpture is a marker that reads: “Before white men came to this area the Indians blazed a trail between Lake Erie and Lake Chautauqua over which they, early explorers and settlers, portaged their canoes. At the Chadakoin River rapids the canoe was portaged again. Here is where the explorers rested and started a settlement which is now the City of Jamestown.”

Riverwalk Park
Our friends, Susan and Dave

After our walk in the park, we rode back to Warren.  We returned home around 12:30 pm.

 

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: Geese, Sheep and Horses)

We spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) of our North Carolina vacation at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC. After admiring Biltmore House and the Library and South Terraces, the Walled Garden and Conservatory, and the Azalea Garden and Bass Pond, we returned to our car by shuttle bus and drove through the estate grounds to the lagoon.

the Lagoon

At the lagoon, we spread a blanket on the ground under the shade of a tree.  The photograph of the lagoon shown above was our view, as we ate a picnic lunch.  Our picnic fare was the same as other days: tuna salad and crackers, peaches and a couple sugar-free chocolate chip cookies.  We should go on a picnic more often.  Lunch was so relaxing.  After lunch, I entertained myself by watching and photographing the many geese and baby geese at the lagoon.

We drove to the other side of the lagoon and were rewarded with a magnificent view of the backside of the Biltmore House.

Lagoon view of Biltmore House

While on the shuttle bus ride, the driver pointed out two barns, one housing sheep and the other housing horses.  We stopped at both barns on our drive through the estate.

The sheep and lambs were in the pasture grazing.

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

Sheep

Carriage and trail rides are available at the horse barns.  We didn’t go on a ride; however, we did enjoy looking at the horses.

Two Horses

Carriage & Trail Ride Barns

A farrier was in the barn shoeing this horse.

This is a smart dog.  It is staying out of the way of the horse’s hoofs!

We returned to our hotel around 2:30 pm, where we relaxed until it was time to leave for dinner.

Dinner was at Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  We met our friends, Karen and Pete, at the restaurant.  Pete and Bob used to be coworkers.  Karen and Pete moved to North Carolina several years ago.  Whenever we visit this part of North Carolina, we make arrangements to meet Karen and Pete for dinner.  Dinner was good, as was the conversation.  Karen and I are Facebook friends, and we keep in touch there.  However, nothing compares to a face-to-face conversation.   Much of the conversation centered around Bob’s workplace and coworkers that Bob and Pete both knew.  Before leaving the restaurant, Pete gave me a painting of two Carolina Wrens.  We now own three Pete Ferry original paintings!

imageThis covered bridge scene was the first painting that Pete gave to us.
Pete mailed this painting to us.

 imagePete gave us this painting of the ocean last year, when he and Karen visited us at our home.

imageThis is the newest addition to our Pete Ferry original paintings.

Pete is a talented painter.  His paintings are gorgeous!  Thank you, Pete, for your wonderful gifts.  We will treasure them always!

We returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our room.  Before retiring for the night, we watched a movie on Amazon Prime (Bob packed the ROKU).  The movie that we watched was called “Flight of the Phoenix”.  The movie was about survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert working together to build a new plane.  We enjoyed the movie.  Hugh Laurie was one of the characters in the movie.  It was interesting to see him cast in a different role than that which he was cast in the TV show “House”.

 

 

An Interlude

Bob took off work Monday and Tuesday. I planned Monday’s activities; Bob was in charge of Tuesday’s activities. As one would expect, Monday was filled with photographic opportunities. I am sharing the fruit of those photographic opportunities with you throughout this week.

We departed home (Warren, PA) around 9:00 am. We didn’t return home until 9 hours later! We drove through several western Pennsylvania counties. Our first stop was in Clarion, PA.  Our second stop was at Brady’s Bend Overlook and East Brady.  Our third stop was in Parker.  Today’s blog post showcases photographs taken while on the road between Parker and Cranberry, where we stopped for lunch.

 

 

 

There was no ice jam on the Allegheny River in Foxburg, PA.

Owl sculpture near the border of Venango and Clarion counties

According to a Weird Pennsylvania article, this owl sculpture sits in a field near a cemetery.  I didn’t see a cemetery.  I did see a picturesque barn, though.

Barn located across the owl sculpture, along Route 38
I believe this is an Amish barn,
as there were wagon wheels in the snow leading to the barn door.
I like the fancy window at the peak of the roof.

Continuing along Route 38, we saw a most colorful sight.

Multicolored caterpillar,
located near the intersection of Routes 38 and 322
in Cranberry, PA

We ate a late lunch at Bob Evans Restaurant in Cranberry.  We each ordered one of the 3-course dinner selections.  I chose the Potato-Crusted Flounder entree served with fresh steamed broccoli, a Farmhouse Garden Salad with Ranch Dressing, one slice each Banana Nut Bread and Chocolate Bread and, for dessert, a fresh fruit dish.  Bob chose a steak entree (if I remember correctly) served with vegetables, a Farmhouse Garden Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing, two slices of Chocolate Bread and, for dessert, a double chocolate cookie.  Bob Evans breads are high in calories and carbohydrates, but they are very delicious!

From Cranberry, we drove to the Kennerdell Scenic Overlook — the subject of my next blog post.

Something Red

I am in a Facebook group, called Photography Challenge.  This week’s challenge is “Something Red”.  This photograph of red tulips in a vase was my entry in this week’s photo challenge.

Tulips in a Vase

The tulips, leaves and vase are made of wood and once belonged to my sister-in-law.  I fell in love with this work of art, and it now sits on a cabinet in our living room.

I took this picture in our kitchen on the table.  Soft, natural light is coming in from the windows behind me.  I didn’t like the background (kitchen cabinets, counter top and stove), so I decided to place the flower vase on a different background.

Tulips in front of a waterfall

The waterfall is a digital background, which is included in one of the Photobacks packages that I own.

Photography can be such fun!

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