The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Cemetery’

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 5 – Oriole MD

This is our sixth vacation spent in Chincoteague, VA since 2015. Our main activities during vacation include photographing wild ponies and water birds at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, photographing wild ponies at Assateague Island, MD, and visiting the Assateague Island National Seashore in both Virginia and Maryland. We have ridden our bicycles at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and walked trails in both the refuge and at Assateague Island, MD. Today we decided to spread our wings a bit and visit another nearby locale. This morning we drove to Oriole, MD in search of a historic landmark that I had read about on the Internet.

Located at the intersection of the Champ and Oriole roads is the St. James Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Registration Form for National Register of Historic Places, the church “is one of eighteen historic African- American churches recorded on the Somerset County inventory, and it is architecturally important as one of the most original with relatively intact exterior and interior finishes. Unlike most of the other churches in this group, St. James has not been used since the mid 1960s, thereby freeing it from many of the modern alterations that have been made to other churches for comfort or low maintenance concerns. The building has not been altered to any significant degree since the turn of the twentieth century and it is a rare, relatively intact survivor of late nineteenth century religious architecture as embraced by rural black congregations in Somerset County.

The St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1885. According to the African American Registry, “the church community was comprised of free Blacks, freed slaves and watermen … Over time, the congregation gradually disbanded and became too small to maintain the facility and, soon, the building was abandoned and eventually fell into poor condition.

This video was published on YouTube in May 2011, before St. James Methodist Episcopal Church was restored. There are many exterior and interior photographs contained within the video, along with personal recollections of the church.

The church is being restored through the efforts of the Oriole Historical Society.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church, as it stands today.

Located across Champ Road is a nineteenth-century graveyard, with above grave markers.

St. James Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery

Because of the high water table, graves cannot be dug to the standard depth.

The 155th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Bob and I vacationed in Gettysburg earlier this month.  We attended Gettysburg Remembrance Day activities, toured the battlefield, and caught the last few minutes of the Gettysburg Dedication Day ceremony.  This blog post, my last in a series pertaining to our recent Gettysburg vacation, is about Gettysburg Dedication Day.


Monday, November 19th, marked the 155th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Each year since 1938, a ceremony has been held on November 19th to commemorate Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and to rededicate Soldiers’ National Cemetery (now known as Gettysburg National Cemetery) where Lincoln spoke on November 19, 1863. The date of November 19th was formally designated as Dedication Day on November 19, 1946 . 

Bob and I attended this year’s Gettysburg Dedication Day ceremony at Gettysburg National Cemetery the morning of November 19th.  We just missed hearing “President Lincoln” recite The Gettysburg Address.  We caught the last chorus of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

Dedication Day Ceremony at Gettysburg National Cemetery – Wayne Hill sings “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”.


We also witnessed a Naturalization Ceremony, which neither Bob nor I had ever seen.



As the Dedication Ceremony was winding down, we moved farther away so that I could capture a photograph of the Speaker’s Rostrum and the crowd.

Speaker’s Rostrum

Speaker’s Rostrum


When the dedication ceremony concluded, we went for a walk on a paved walkway through the cemetery.  We followed loosely this virtual tour that I found and opened, as we began our walk.

Beyond the black iron fence is Gettysburg’s public Evergreen Cemetery. This cemetery was established in 1853.


Bivouac of the Dead plaque

There are several of these metal plaques located in the cemetery.  Each plaque contain excerpts from Theodore O’Hara’s 1847 poem “The Bivouac of the Dead”.  Looking beyond the plaque you see the first of the gravestones, laid out in rows, which mark the final resting place for over 3,500 Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg.


The Soldiers’ National Monument honors the fallen soldiers.




Note the penny with Lincoln’s head up on this gravestone.  We saw pennies on many gravestones.


President Lincoln at Soldier’s National Monument


New York State Monument

New York State Monument


November 19th was the last night of our 4-night stay in Gettysburg.  What a WONDERFUL vacation we had!  What a memorable experience we had of being in Gettysburg for Remembrance Day activities and the 155th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address!

We are looking forward to our next visit to Gettysburg!


Gettysburg Remembrance Day

Bob and I vacationed in Gettysburg earlier this month.  We attended Gettysburg Remembrance Day activities, toured the battlefield, and caught the last few minutes of the Gettysburg Dedication Ceremony.  This blog post is about arriving in Gettysburg and Remembrance Day activities.

We departed our home in Warren PA at 12:40 pm on Friday, November 16th.  We arrived in Gettysburg at approximately 6:15 pm.  We checked in at the Best Western Gettysburg.  We spent four nights at this hotel.  All four nights were free, as we used reward points for our entire stay.

All in all it was a good travel day.  Our only concern was making it safely to Gettysburg.  The previous day had brought lots of snow and ice to the area that we drove through on Friday.  Gettysburg received 8 inches of snow.  We are thankful that the roads were not icy, just wet. 

Our hotel room was nice and spacious.  We had two queen beds separated by a nightstand, desk and chair, arm chair with ottoman, small round table by the arm chair, three-drawer chest of drawers with a small flat screen TV on top of it, and plenty of lights.  The “foyer” had a closet and mini kitchen complete with refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, AND cabinet space.  The bathroom door was in the foyer.  There was nothing out of the ordinary about the bathroom.

I went to bed at 9:00 pm and, as expected, awakened early the next day.  I got up at 4:30 am; Bob was already up.

We went to breakfast at 6:00 am.  Breakfast was EXCELLENT, and it is by far the nicest breakfast room we have seen at a hotel.  Breakfast included food that we are accustomed to see at Best Western Plus hotels, plus one addition.  For the first time ever we saw a pancake maker.  It serves two pancakes at once.  Bob said the pancakes were good.  I had a waffle that first morning (and every morning thereafter).  The breakfast room attendant was talkative and provided valuable information about the afternoon’s Remembrance Day parade such as from where to watch the parade, to bring our chairs there early (we had chairs in the car but chose not to use them), and from what side of the street to watch the parade to avoid wind.  She also provided the names, locations and type of food served at several nearby restaurants.

Remembrance Day is held each year on a Saturday in November.  This year, Remembrance Day was celebrated on November 17th.  Remembrance Day honors the soldiers and civilians of the American Civil War.  Civil War reenactors have a big parade. There are also numerous side events throughout the battlefield where reenactors honor specific units at their monuments, placing wreaths and holding other ceremonies. At night, there are balls and other gatherings.  Weather permitting a luminary candle is lit on each Civil War soldier’s grave.

Being in Gettysburg for Remembrance Day activities it was easy to feel as though time had gone backwards.  As I stood (or sat) at our hotel window, I saw many people walking by dressed in the fashion of the early 1860s!

TestPeople dressed in the fashion of the 1860s pass by our hotel window.

We went for a walk through a small portion of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where we heard drums and bugles and fifes and saw one large group of Civil War reenactors and a couple smaller groups marching in the Cemetery. The reenactors stopped and honored members of their portrayed units who were killed or died from wounds at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Civil War reenactors honoring members of their portrayed units

Civil War reenactors honoring members of their portrayed units


The first Remembrance Day parade was held 62 years ago in 1956, the year that I was born.  The parade features Civil War living history groups.  The parade lined up on Lefever Street, made a left onto Baltimore Street, right onto Steinwehr Avenue and proceeded up Steinwher Avenue and made a left onto Taneytown Road, up Taneytown Road and then a left onto Cyclorama Drive where the parade dispersed.  We watched the parade from Taneytown Road.  The parade began at 1:00 pm and lasted just under 35 minutes. 

The Remembrance Day parade was really nice, with lots of union and confederate representation, lots of flags, civilians, horses, and at least two Abraham Lincoln’s!

Shortly after 5:00 pm we walked to the Gettysburg National Cemetery, where we walked along a pathway lit with luminary candles.  Luminary candles were lit on each of the 3,512 Civil War Union soldier’s graves.   

Remembrance Illumination

Remembrance Illumination

Remembrance Illumination

The lighted candles were a beautiful thing to see and a touching tribute to the sacrifices made by these Civil War soldiers.

In my next blog post about our Gettysburg vacation, I will share photographs and details from our battlefield tour.




A Saturday Drive: Warren PA to Fairview to Sandy Lake

We drove to Fairview, PA this past Saturday (April 8th), arriving at the John V. Schultz warehouse shortly after 10:30 am. We passed through Edinboro, en route Fairview, and stopped briefly at Edinboro Lake.

Edinboro is in the snow belt.

When we left home, there was a little bit of snow on the ground.  There was more snow on the ground in Edinboro.

According to a Wikipedia article, Edinboro “is a small college town [and]…a resort community”.  The centerpiece of the town’s resort community is the 245 acre Edinboro Lake.

Edinboro Lake (east side of the lake)

A short walk from this view is the Mike Ondo Beach, which is adjacent to the old Edinboro cemetery..

Old Edinboro Cemetery

See that little bit of sand in the forefront of this photograph?  That is the Mike Onda Beach, a very small unguarded beach on the east side of the lake.

Old Edinboro Cemetery

A pair of geese at Mike Onda Beach

I took this picture just before the goose at the back stretched its neck, looking straight at me, and the goose in front stepped into Edinboro Lake.  This pair of goose didn’t like that I was walking on the beach!

On the walk back to the car, this pair of Mallard ducks wanted a handout.  As I readied to take a picture, the ducks kept walking into my shadow.  I was able to capture a photograph of the ducks, when they must have realized I had nothing for them and walked away from me toward the lake shore,

A pair of Mallard Ducks at Mike Onda Beach

The purpose for today’s drive was to pick up a chair side table that we purchased a few weeks ago.  At the John V. Schultz warehouse we picked up a chair side table that we purchased a few weeks ago. The man, at the John V. Schultz warehouse, who brought out the table and loaded it into our car said he thought it was the smallest pickup he has ever had. The table fits nicely between our new recliner chair and sofa.  The end table that we have had for many years was too large for that spot.

Our new chair side table

From Fairview we drove to Grantham’s Landing Restaurant (Sandy Lake, PA) for lunch, arriving there shortly before noon.

Grantham’s Landing Restaurant

We ordered burgers and fries and shared an apple dumpling with ice cream for dessert. This is the second time we have eaten at this restaurant. The first time was last year for breakfast. We would eat here again, as we were not disappointed with either breakfast or lunch.

***To be continued***


Gettysburg Day Trip

This is the last of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.  We used the Best Western Shippensburg as a home base.  We visited the Thurmont, MD area on Saturday, January 2.  We visited Gettysburg, PA on Sunday, January 3.

Gettysburg National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center

We arrived at the National Park Service Museum and Visitor Center in time for the 9:00 am showing of the film “A New Birth of Freedom”, narrated by Morgan Freeman.The film places the monumental events of the Battle of Gettysburg into the larger context of the Civil War and American history.

After watching the 20-minute film, we viewed the Gettysburg Cyclorama program, which immerses the viewer into the fury of Pickett’s Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. We stood on a viewing platform that placed us with a line of sight that was level with the horizon.

One scene from the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting

We were fortunate that we viewed the Cyclorama program at a time when it was not crowded. We were able to see the action at other parts of the painting because the few other visitors standing around the viewing platform were not blocking the view. What an amazing, realistic presentation!

The museum features relics of the Battle of Gettysburg and personalities who served in the Civil War, interactive exhibits, and multi-media presentations that cover the conflict from beginning to end.

One of the museum exhibits

The cost of admission to the film, Cyclorama and museum was $11.50 each, including a AAA discount.  We spent almost 2 hours at the Visitor Center, after which we embarked on a tour of Gettysburg National Military Park to see the ground on which the Battle of Gettysburg took place. There are several guided tours you can do for various prices; however, we opted to do a 24-mile self-guided auto tour of the park.  The auto tour starts at the visitor center and includes 16 tour stops.  The route traces the three-day battle in chronological order.  We stopped at most of the stops depicted on the auto tour map.


Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #1
McPherson Ridge

McPherson Barn
The Battle of Gettysburg began about 8:00 am on July 1, 1863 to the west beyond the McPherson barn,
as Union cavalry confronted Confederate infantry advancing east along Chambersburg Pike.


Self-Guiding Auto Tour Stop #2
Eternal Light Peace Memorial

If you look closely, you will see the eternal flame in both of these photographs.





Self-Guiding Auto Tour Stop #4
North Carolina Memorial



Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #5
Virginia Memorial


Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #8
Little Round Top






From Little Round Top we drove down to the Valley of Death.

Looking up to Little Round Top from the Valley of Death

Devil’s Den



Bob took this picture of me at the Valley of Death.
In the background is Little Round Top.

Bob says there isn’t much support for that big boulder.


Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #10
The Peach Orchard


Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #12
Pennsylvania Memorial


Bob climbed the northwest corner tower.
Do you see Bob waving at me?


Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #14
East Cemetery Hill


Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #15
High Water Mark



Self-guiding Auto Tour Stop #16
Soldiers’ National Cemetery
This cemetery is the final resting place of the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg.
It is also where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address.


Soldiers’ National Monument
(near the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address)

New York State Monument



This was both my and Bob’s first visit to Gettysburg.  The Gettysburg National Military Park is immense.  We spent at least 3 hours driving through the battlefield.  We could have easily spent many more hours there.  The grounds are peaceful and hauntingly beautiful when you think about the lives lost and the blood spilled there.


We ate a late lunch at the Appalachian Brewing Company. We both ordered fish and chips. For dessert we shared a slice of peanut butter pie.   The food, service and atmosphere were excellent.

Our last stop in Gettysburg was at Sachs Covered Bridge.



We returned to our hotel in Shippensburg, PA around 5:00 pm.  Our trip back home was the next day on Monday, January 4.  This blog post concludes our Shippensburg Winter Weekend Getaway.


A Memorial Day Poem

A Memorial Day Poem

We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.

The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.

They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here ‘neath the sand.

I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.

Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,

Thanks for what you’ve given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.

     – by C W Johnson

An Overnight Stay in Niagara Falls

We spent the night of June 30 in Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada). We had hoped to meet up with my sister-in-law’s niece, while at the falls. Unfortunately that meeting did not happen. My sister-in-law’s niece, Gemma, is from England. Gemma and her boyfriend, Ben, were on vacation. Their last stop was Toronto, from which they had a day trip to Niagara Falls. Shortly before Bob and I were ready to depart home en route Niagara Falls, I received a telephone call from Gemma. Their schedule in Niagara Falls was more structured than she had thought, so they would not be able to meet us as planned. As it was too late to cancel our hotel reservation, we decided to make the trip to Niagara Falls.

We crossed the Peace Bridge from New York to Canada. We rode along the Niagara Parkway to Niagara Falls.

This was our first view of Niagara Falls, from the Niagara Parkway.

We arrived at our hotel (the Best Western Cairn Croft) shortly after 4:00 PM. After getting settled in our room, we took a short walk down Lundy’s Lane to the site of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane. Part of the battlefield site is preserved next to the Drummond Hill Cemetery.

Drummond Hill Cemetery

Site of the Battle of Lundy’s Lane
Soldier’s Monument

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Red Lobster, where we enjoyed a 4-course dinner. Bob and I each ordered broccoli and cheese soup and a garden salad. Our entrees were the Island Jumbo Coconut Shrimp (me) and Garlic-Herb Shrimp and Chicken (Bob). For dessert Bob had a slice of Key Lime Pie. I had the Triple-Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream. Delicious!

When we returned to the hotel we purchased a 24-hour shuttle bus pass for $10.00 each. Later in the evening we took the Falls Shuttle from a stop right outside our hotel door to the foot of Clifton Hill.

The sun had set by the time we arrived at the falls.

As the sky grew darker, we enjoyed the illumination of the falls.

Falls Illumination

Falls Illumination

Before catching the shuttle bus back to the hotel, we walked a short way up Clifton Hill taking in the nighttime lights.

Clifton Hill

The next morning we took the Falls Shuttle once again down to the falls. We enjoyed walking through a small portion of Queen Victoria Park.

Queen Victoria Park

View of the falls from Oakes Garden Theatre

Oakes Garden Theatre fountain

the American and Bridal Falls

Horseshoe Falls

View of Skylon Tower from a fountain in Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park fountain

We caught the 10:30 AM shuttle bus back to our hotel, hopped on the motorcycle and began our ride back home. As we had done the day before, we took the Niagara Parkway to the Peace Bridge. While on Niagara Parkway, I saw my very first cormorant.

I saw lots of cormorants, not just one!

I think these are Double-crested Cormorants. Please correct me if I am wrong!

Niagara Parkway Cormorants

Niagara Parkway Cormorant

It took us about an hour to cross over Peace Bridge on our way back home. There was lots of traffic because it was Canada Day and the start of the Fourth of July weekend in the United States.

I am happy that we went to Niagara Falls. We had a such a good time. The trip could only have been better had we met up with Gemma and Ben!

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