The Beauty Around Us

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Virginia and North Carolina Vacation: Day 7

Friday, August 26, was the third day of SEVROC.

We got up around 7:00 am and ate breakfast in our room.

After breakfast I sat outside our room, enjoying the crisp air of the morning. I also watched fog rolling over the mountains.

At 8:42 am a heavy fog was still rolling over the mountains.

At 9:00 am a few of our friends left A Holiday Motel to ride up The Rattler (NC 209) to Hot Springs.

They are off, with “Skid” in the lead.
Skid’s blog post will provide details and photographs of the ride.

At 9:30 am Bob and I left en route the Fred W Symmes Chapel. We traveled via Interstate or highway most of the way and arrived at 11:12 am.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel is located in Cleveland, South Carolina. The chapel is also known as “Pretty Place” because of its amazing view.

The Fred W Symmes Chapel
As I walked into the open-air sanctuary, I was filled with awe.
Such an incredible place to visit!
What a breathtaking view!

We left the chapel around 11:30 am and began the second part of our sightseeing journey. We visited several waterfalls, as well as a visitor center for the Pisgah National Forest.

Connestee Falls Park is located about 6 miles from Brevard NC, along U.S. Route 276. We took a very short stroll from the right rear of the parking lot to the viewing area for two waterfalls: Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls. There is a Connestee Falls that is a gated community. You need to drive past the gated community to Connestee Falls Park. There is a realtor’s office next to the park. I tell you this because EVERY SINGLE TIME we have visited Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls, we have turned into the gated community and were turned away!

This wheelchair accessible trail leads to an overlook of the Connestee and Batson Falls.
The viewing platform sits on top of Connestee Falls.
Panoramic view of Connestee Falls and Batson Falls
I zoomed in to capture this picture of Batson Falls.
This video shows the Connestee Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill and joins Batson Falls, as it drops to the bottom of its hill.

From Connestee Falls Park we drove to another waterfall. Located a short distance from Brevard along Route 276 is Looking Glass Falls. It had started to rain, as we approached Looking Glass Falls. As a result, we didn’t hike down the trail to lower viewing platforms. We viewed the falls from the top viewing platform only.

Looking Glass Falls is 60 feet tall.

From Looking Glass Falls we backtracked a short distance and visited the National Forest Visitor Center Pisgah Ranger Division.  It was pouring rain; glad we didn’t have to park far from the building! I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp for Pisgah National Forest and looked at the exhibits.

This is a replica of the entrance gate that once stood at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest.
This is the only bear that we saw, while on vacation.

The rain stopped, as we drove through Brevard.

Our next stop was at another waterfall.

Shortly before reaching Highlands is Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls. 

Sequoyah Falls flow over a man made dam. 

Our next stop was at Bridal Falls. At one time it was possible to drive under the falls. The road under the falls has been closed the past few times, when we visited.

There wasn’t much water falling at Bridal Falls.

By the way this was our first visit in the summer in this part of the United States. In the past we have visited in May. Waterfalls have significantly more water flow in May.

Our last sightseeing stop was at Dry Falls.

Bob took this picture of me,
as we hiked down the stairs to the base of Dry Falls.
Dry Falls is 75 feet tall.
Dry Falls earned its name because you
can take a trail to walk behind the falls
and not get wet (well, not too wet).
Bob took this picture of me, when I was behind the falls.
I kept as close to the rock wall, as possible,
without hitting my head.
I stayed mostly dry.

Well, I stayed mostly dry behind the falls. It started to rain again on our hike back up the stairs. We both got fairly wet!

At 3:16 pm we began our drive back to A Holiday Motel. Wouldn’t you know the sun came out a few minutes’ drive past Dry Falls?

We ate dinner at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Waynesville and made it back to A Holiday Motel around 6:00 pm.

Tonight was the “hotel room crawl” at A Holiday Motel.  It had been a long day. We called it a night at 9:00 pm, without participating in the crawl.

Today’s Map

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.

Chambers on the Road

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