The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Benezette PA’

Benezette Daycation

There is an elk herd located an approximate 1 1/2-hour drive from our house.  We like to drive to Benezette, PA a few times a year to check out the elk herd.  Yesterday was one of those days that we went in search of elk.   The overcast, cold day didn’t provide much motivation to get out of the house.  When we drive to Benezette, we usually leave early to mid-morning.  Yesterday we left home late, around 1:00 pm.

There is an area known as “the saddle” that photographer friends have hiked numerous times, looking for elk.  Bob and I had never been to the saddle area, until yesterday.  After parking our car, we hiked up to the saddle area.  There is a path that surrounds the saddle area.  We stayed on the path for our first saddle hike.

We didn’t see any elk during our hike in the saddle area.  However, we were rewarded with wonderful views of the countryside!

After our hike in the saddle area we returned to Winslow Hill Road.  Immediately, we saw an elk herd in a field across the road from the Winslow Hill elk view area.

I spotted one elk with spikes.
He spotted me too!

After a few minutes, we continued on our way down Winslow Hill Road.  We stopped for an early dinner at the Benezette Hotel.  The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.  Bob ordered a steak salad; I ordered a taco salad.  Bob had to help me eat the taco salad, as it was huge.  Both salads were delicious and reasonably priced.

After dinner we drove back up Winslow Hill Road to see if the elk herd was still grazing in the same area.  They were!  I took some more photographs.


We drove back down Winslow Hill Road and turned right onto Route 555.

We saw more elk at Benezette Store Campground.

An elk at the Benezette Store Campground

I am happy that we got out of the house yesterday.  Our visit to Benezette provided us with fresh air, blue skies and sunshine and, yes, elk views!

Sunday Drive: Benezette to Warren

Bob and I went for a drive on Sunday.  We were gone all day and covered a little more than 200 miles.  We drove along the Clarion River; through Brookville, DuBois and Reynoldsville; saw elk in Benezette and ate an early dinner in St. Marys before heading back home.

In yesterday’s blog post I shared photographs taken during our drive from Warren to Benezette.  The portion of our drive from Benezette and back to Warren is highlighted in the following map.

Today’s blog post shares photographs taken while in Benezette.

Upon arriving in Benezette, we continued to drive on Rt. 555 to Grant Hill Road.  Grant Hill Road eventually turns into Winslow Hill Road.  I noticed a sign that read chains were required for travel on Grant Hill Road.  Chains were not needed on Sunday, as the road was clear of snow and ice.  I can see, though, where chains would be needed when the road is covered with snow and ice.  Grant Hill Road is very steep!

Our first stop in Benezette was at the Dents Run Elk Viewing Area along Winslow Hill Road.  We didn’t see any elk in this area; however, we did enjoy the view.

MacDarvey Castle is visible from the
Dents Run Elk Viewing Area.

Our next stop was on Dewey Road, at Elk Viewing Area #348.  We didn’t see any elk, at first.

There were blue signs posted all along Dewey Road.

I was reading one of the signs, when Bob said “there they are!”.  I looked in the direction in which Bob pointed.


An elk herd was resting near the top of a hill.

We returned to Winslow Hill Road and had just passed by the Winslow Hill Elk Viewing Area, when we spotted another elk herd!

Elk Seen on Hillside just past Winslow Hill Elk Viewing Area

elkBob took a picture of me photographing this elk herd.

We continued our drive down Winslow Hill Road to the Elk Country Visitor Center.

This was the only elk that we saw at the visitor center.

After our stop at the Elk Country Visitor Center, we made one other stop before leaving Benezette.  We turned onto Gray Hill Road from Rt. 555.  Gray Hill Road becomes Mt. Zion Street, along which is a field on which stands a wooden cross.  You will not be able to see the cross from the road.  Watch for “the cross” signs on both sides of Mt. Zion Street.  There is no parking lot, so you have to pull off on the side of the road as best as you can in order to park.  You will walk across a field to reach the cross.

There is a sweeping view of the countryside from the cross.

The Cross

We returned to our vehicle and continued driving on Mt. Zion Street to Rt. 255.  We followed Rt. 255 into St. Marys, where we enjoyed steak dinners at Hoss’s Steak and Sea House.  After dinner, we departed St. Marys and made our way back home to Warren.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.  The morning started out cloudy and cold; however, by afternoon bright sunshine made the temperature bearable and brightened the day considerably.

Day at Camp

Bob and I spent the better part of the day, Saturday (July 13th), at my brother’s camp in Jay Township near St. Marys, Pennsylvania.   Most of my brother’s family was there, as well as a few of Jim and Judy’s friends.  Everyone had fun that day, especially the children.

More Fun

My brother’s camp

My sister-in-law asked me to take a picture of all the children at camp.  This photograph shows all the children that were at camp, minus one.  My brother was gathering up the children for this picture.  When these six children were in the wagon, I asked Jim if all the children were here.  He counted them and said “yes”.  We missed one … sorry Kaitlyn!  I do have a photograph of Kaitlyn, though.  She can be seen in the second collage displayed above, in the photograph of the hula hoop contestants.  Kaitlyn is the girl on the far left.



We left camp around 7:45 pm.

We saw this deer within minutes of leaving the camp.

When we reached the end of the camp road, a right turn would take us home.  A right turn also would make us drive into the setting sun.  The sun was very, very bright.  Rather than drive into the setting sun, we opted to turn left and go into Benezette to see if we could find any elk.

We saw a few elk.
This one lone elk, though, provided the best photo  opportunity.

By the time we made it home it was 11:00 pm.  What a great day we had!  I am happy that we were able to spend time with my family.  It had been six long months since we last saw them.

Benezette Elk Camera Club Picnic

I recently joined the Benezette Elk Camera Club.  Most of the club’s social get-togethers are on the Internet, via Facebook.  A picnic is held twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall.  Club members come to Benezette from near and far to socialize in person and, of course, to see the elk.

Bob and I attended yesterday’s picnic.  We traveled by motorcycle.  It was a chilly 43 degrees when we left home at 8:00 AM, but it warmed up nicely through the day.  It didn’t get so warm, though, that my leather jacket didn’t feel comfortable while riding.    Bob and I had a great time at the picnic. It was good to meet everyone and chat face to face.


This is a photograph of the club members (and friends and spouses) who attended this year’s Spring picnic.  Thank you, David, for giving me permission to use your photograph in my blog.  David is a fine photographer.  You can find his photographic artistry at his Facebook page, David L. Schmude Photography.

Bob and I did not go to look for elk, as the others did.  We didn’t want to ride when it was dark outside!  We did, however, see 3 elk on our way home, not far from the picnic grounds. The elk were grazing near the road, on private property. Elk are impressive, especially when they are close by and you happen to be on a motorcycle!

We hope to see everyone again in September at the Benezette Elk Camera Club fall picnic!

Family Visit and an Elk Sighting

On Saturday (March 10) Bob, Raphael and I enjoyed lunch and conversation at Hoss’s Steakhouse in St. Marys, Pennsylvania with my brother, his wife and their 6-year-old grandson. Raphael had seen Jim and Judy in July 2008, when he last visited. It was the first time Raphael met Kaleb. Can you believe it? I forgot to take a picture of Raphael with Jim, Judy and Kaleb!

After lunch Bob, Raphael and I went to Benezette. Jim, Judy and Kaleb returned to camp, where they were spending the weekend. In Benezette we stopped at the Visitor Center.

Raphael in front of the Elk Country Visitor Center

We didn’t see any elk at visitor center. We drove up Winslow Hill and saw a large number of elk grazing on hill, too far away for a great-looking picture. We did see four elk on private property along Route 555. I photographed the closer of the four elk.


Benezette Elk

Yesterday, after admiring the variety of chainsaw sculptures at the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, Bob and I decided to drive to Benezette in the hopes of seeing one or more elk. Before sharing photographs that I took of the elk, I want to share with you what we did prior to arriving in Benezette.

Our first stop, after leaving Ridgway, was at Elk County Medical Center in St. Marys, PA. My friend Gretchen’s son, Trevor, was in the hospital after suffering a perforated lung. I met Gretchen through her blog, Gretchen’s Travels, and we met in person at last year’s Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. You can read about that meeting here. We met Trevor at the Rendezvous as well. I guess we didn’t make any impression on him, though, because Trevor doesn’t remember meeting us! I did what I came to the hospital to do. I gave Gretchen a hug. In fact, I gave her two hugs. I wanted Gretchen to know that she had the support of her friend. Gretchen’s husband was at the hospital as well. Randy, it was nice to meet you finally! Trevor was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, February 16. Hopefully he will be released from the hospital today.

Our second stop was at Hoss’s Steak and Sea House, also in St. Marys. We enjoyed steak (me) and chicken and ribs (Bob) for lunch, accompanied by the bountiful salad and dessert bar. No one ever leaves Hoss’s hungry!

After eating lunch we drove to Benezette. We stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center first. We didn’t see any elk in the field, as we circled around the parking lot. There could have been elk at any of the viewing stations; however, we didn’t get out to look. The weather had turned cold and blustery, and I had no desire to brave the elements! We continued on to the Winslow Hill viewing area.

Winslow Hill Elk Herd
as seen from Dewey Road

After photographing the elk herd, we returned to Route 555. Just prior to Route 555 we saw four elk, located a lot closer than the Winslow Hill Elk Herd!

These elk were grazing on private property
near the intersection
of Winslow Hill Road and Route 555

After viewing the elk, we returned home. What a wonderful Saturday we had! I hope your Saturday was just as enjoyable.

An All-Day Motorcycle Ride

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a ride.  Bob and I left home about 9:00 AM for a 10.5 mile stretch of road that neither of us had been on before. Bob heard about this stretch of road on the Internet. State Route 3001 runs between Emporium, PA and a point west on route 120 between Emporium and St. Marys, PA.

We headed out of Warren on Route 59, where Bob planned to pick up Route 46 south out of Smethport, heading toward Emporium where the famed SR 3001 was supposedly located. Our first stop was at a visitor’s center on route 59 near Wolf Run Marina. I needed to put on a sweater and also took some pictures here.

Allegheny Reservoir Overlook

Bob at Allegheny Reservoir Overlook

We met a retired couple here who were taking a navigation break looking at their map. He wanted to take some back roads and was asking Bob about the unpaved road leading from Jake’s Rocks, and where it led to. As Bob explained, the wife protested to her husband that they didn’t need to take any more back roads this trip. In speaking with the couple, we learned that she was a retired bus driver and he was a retired police officer. They both spoke of the motorcycles they had and adventures they had on them. We didn’t have time to get a word in edgewise, but it was fun listening to them. When we were ready to pack up and continue on, we had to interrupt and say so.

In Emporium we stopped to fuel up, since we already had 35 miles on the trip meter when we left home. It read 105 at this stop, 70 miles so far. While we took a break and ate a Slim Jim, I noticed a large building on the hillside. It happened to be the Cameron County courthouse. I like to capture courthouse pictures in towns we visit, and this was no exception. We took a ride over to the courthouse.

Emporium, PA
Cameron County Courthouse

When we left the courthouse, Bob wanted to see the back of it, so we rode around the block that the court house occupied to get a look. Bob could tell at the first turn that his skills would be tested because the courthouse is on a hillside, and the first side street was kind of steep. At the top was a yield sign, and Bob was thankful he didn’t have to stop. He probably wouldn’t have anyway, because it would have been difficult to get going again. The next street over was easier to maneuver, since turning to a downhill grade is easier for him.

Back down to a main street in town, we found the street that would lead us to SR 3001. As we left town and crossed a couple of intersections, Bob finally saw the sign “10 1/2 miles of winding road ahead”. They weren’t kidding. Looking at the topo map the night before, Bob didn’t notice that the first curve we encountered was uphill and 90 + degrees. It kind of threw him for a loop, especially riding two up, but he maneuvered through it using most of the available road. Luckily, nothing was coming the other way.  We stopped a short distance up the road at an overlook that views Emporium.  There was a lot of mountain laurel on this stretch of the road too.

Route 3001

Route 3001 Emporium Overlook
You can see the Cameron County Courthouse in the center of the photograph.

The speed limit on SR 3001 is 35 mph, which is generous. Many of the sharp turns had gravel in the road, so Bob was taking it especially easy through them. The road condition is good for the most part, with a few bumpy areas. There are several markings on the road, apparently for future construction fixes. Around one curve was a large white tailed doe standing in the road watching us approach. As we got closer, she decided to get out of the way, which was nice. A short blast of the air horn encouraged her to move only a slight bit faster.

After 10 and a half miles of winding road, we approached route 120, west of Emporium. This was the last time Bob had to finesse with clutch and balance for this ride. It was an uphill stop on an intersection that was pretty much blind to the right. Inching as close as he could to route 120 without going into the eastbound lane, we waited for an eastbound car to pass. After it did, we successfully completed the left hand turn and were on Route 120 west headed for St Marys.

In St. Marys, we visited Decker’s Chapel. The chapel was built by Michael Decker after a back injury. Some say it is the smallest chapel in America.

Decker’s Chapel

This Bible was lying on the altar, opened to the day’s reading.

A few miles down the road from Decker’s Chapel is Rose’s Hilltop Diner. When Dad was alive, he enjoyed eating at Rose’s Hilltop Diner while at his camp. Bob and I try to stop at Rose’s Hilltop Diner for a bite to eat whenever we are in the area. As we walked into the diner I thought I recognized one of the waitresses behind the counter. I asked this waitress if she was married to Randy. She said “yes”. I know that she was trying to place me by the look on her face and the sound of her voice. The waitress behind the counter was my cousin (by marriage). We started chatting on Facebook earlier this year. Yesterday was the first day we met in person. It was a pleasure to meet Chrystle. I hope that our paths cross sometime again in the future!

Rose’s Hilltop Diner

Chrystle and I

It was in the middle of the afternoon when we stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, PA. We knew it was unlikely but hoped to see an elk. We didn’t see an elk, but we did see a nicely restored Hudson in the parking lot.

Restored Hudson

After we stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center, we decided it was time to head for home. We took Route 555 to Weedville, backtracked up Route 255 toward St. Marys, and then turned north on the familiar to us Route 948. Stopping in Ridgway, we fueled up again. 74 miles on the trip meter here, 144 miles so far. About 50 miles to reach home, we continued out of Ridgway on Route 219, turning on Route 321 to Kane, where we finally picked up Route 6 back into Warren.  We made an ice cream stop at the Dairy Delight on the corner of Routes 59 and 6. While there Bob listened to a voice mail left by a friend who was having computer trouble. The friend was on the way home, so we made a stop there before returning home (subject of next blog post).

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