The Beauty Around Us

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Bell Family Reunion

We spent two nights (July 11 and July 12) in State College at the Best Western Plus University Inn & Suites. We traveled to State College via motorcycle, departing home around 10:00 am on July 11.  We checked into the hotel around 1:30 pm.  The purpose of our weekend stay in State College was to attend the Bell Family Reunion.

Bob’s sister, Cynthia, has a keen interest in genealogy.  The following information was related to me by Cynthia.  Bob’s maternal grandfather (Neil Bell) had 2 brothers, Floyd and Wallace (called Pat).   In the late 1930s, Bob’s grandparents lost everything in a house fire.  I do not know the whereabouts of Bob’s grandfather, after the house fire.  His grandmother went to work as a live-in cook for a rich family.  An accommodation was provided for Bob’s grandmother but not for his mother.   Bob’s mother would have had to quit school and go to work, but Uncle Floyd and Aunt Margaret said, no, we have five kids, what’s one more? So she went to live with them.   Bob’s mother graduated high school, while living with Uncle Floyd and Aunt Margaret.   Neither Bob nor Cynthia knew their grandfather.  It sounds like Bob’s mother and her father were estranged.  When she was young, Cynthia was told by her mother that her grandfather was dead.  Through Cynthia’s genealogy research, we learned that Bob’s grandfather actually died in 1984 and that he lived in our hometown of Warren until about 1964.   Cynthia’s genealogy research led to the discovery of Clyde, one of Floyd’s children, who lives near Warren in the city of Bradford.  Bob, Cynthia and I visited with Clyde and his wife, Lois, on November 11, 2012.   That visit led to an invitation to attend the Bell Family Reunion.  The people at the reunion were Bob’s mother’s cousins – Floyd and Margaret’s five children and their families.

I have another story to tell before providing details of and photographs from the family reunion.  Clyde’s brother, Dick, related to all of us how the Bell Family Reunion got started.  Sometime prior to July 2010 Dick and his brother-in-law Bud discussed having a family reunion.  Bellefonte, which sits in the middle of Pennsylvania, was chosen as the reunion site.  Bud said those who live in Alaska would have to come to Bellefonte; those who live in Arizona would have to come to Bellefonte; and those who live in Florida would have to come to Bellefonte.  Bud named other states, too, where the families live.  Everyone would have to come to Bellefonte.  Bud said that because Dick lived in Bellefonte that he and his wife, Mary Ann, would be responsible for planning the reunion.  The first Bell Family Reunion was held in July 2010 and has been held every two years, in July, since then.

The first event for this year’s Bell Family reunion was dinner at Damon’s Grill in State College.

Dinner at Damon’s

The family occupied a banquet room at Damon’s Grill.  Looking at the camera are Bob, his sister Cynthia, and Cynthia’s husband Larry.  Sitting beside Cynthia is Clyde and next to Clyde is Lois.  Clyde and Lois were the only family members whom we knew, when we walked into Damon’s.  Everyone welcomed Cynthia, Larry, Bob and I with open arms.  Dinner was at 6:00 pm. We spent the next few hours getting acquainted with our “new” cousins.

At 11:00 am on Saturday the family met at the Walker Township Park in Zion PA for a picnic. The picnic, which was catered, included pulled pork sandwiches, ham, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, watermelon, and chips. We spent about 4 hours at the park, getting better acquainted with each other.

Floyd and Margaret’s five children
and Bob’s mother’s cousins
Dick, Eleanor, Ruth, Clyde and Barbara

While at Walker Township Park, we took pictures of each family who attended the reunion.

Eleanor and son Michael

Clyde and Lois

Ruth and her family

Dick and Mary Ann and their family

Barbara and her family

Bob, Cynthia, Larry and I

At 6:30 pm the family met for dinner at the Nittany Country Club in Mingoville PA.

Dinner at Nittany Country Club

Dinner was served buffet style and included salad, cranberry relish, stuffed turkey, chicken cordon blue, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner roll and a variety of pies and cakes for dessert.  We spent about 4 hours at the country club, getting even better acquainted with each other.

Thank you, Dick and Mary Ann, for putting together a wonderful family reunion!

On Sunday morning, before departing on our ride back home, we were able to say goodbye at breakfast to many of our cousins who had stayed at the hotel as well.  I am very thankful of Cynthia’s interest in genealogy.  Without that interest, we would never have met Bob’s cousins.  We had an absolutely lovely time at the Bell Family Reunion. In addition to meeting “new” cousins, we have gained new friends.  We plan to keep in touch with our new relatives and are already looking forward to the next Bell Family Reunion in 2016.

 

 

A Weekend’s Ride – Day 3: Family Reunion

This past weekend (August 14-16) we rode more than 600 miles on our motorcycle. During the weekend we visited a museum, we rode around two lakes, and we attended a family reunion. I blogged about the first day and the second day of our ride over the past couple days. I will write about the third day of our ride — Sunday, August 16th — in this blog post.

The third day was the last day of our weekend ride. We had planned to come home the quickest way, via Interstate 86, as shown here.

We planned only one photo stop in Bath, NY, which was only a few miles west of Painted Post, where we had stayed the previous two nights. We stopped in Bath, NY, as planned. We visited the Bath National Cemetery, where I took a couple photographs.

Bath National Cemetery

Preservation of the Union monument
at Bath National Cemetery

If I had it to do over again, I would NOT ride the motorcycle on the cemetery road. The road through the cemetery is quite steep, which made for a heart-pounding ride (at least for me!). There is parking at the foot of the cemetery. I recommend that you park there and walk through the cemetery!

After visiting Bath National Cemetery, we continued our ride home on Interstate 86. When we reached Cuba, NY, we changed our minds about staying on Interstate 86. The road between Route 219 near Bradford, PA, and Jamestown, NY, is quite bumpy. We decided to avoid that part of Interstate 86 by taking back roads home from Cuba. After making a quick stop at the Cuba Cheese Shoppe, where we sampled a few varieties of cheese and Bob purchased a package of cookies, we rode to Portville, NY, via Route 305.

In Portville, we once again changed our minds about our route home. We decided to go home via Crooked Creek State Park, near Ford City, PA, in order to attend my family reunion. We programmed Crooked Creek Lake into the GPS and continued on our way. We arrived at the reunion around 2:45PM. We got a bite to eat, sharing the cookies that Bob had bought in Cuba, and visited with family members.

Bob took this picture of my great niece, Anna, and me.

One of the family reunion highlights for the children is the breaking apart of the pinata.

We left the reunion around 4:15PM. We returned home around 7:15PM, almost 7 hours later (and a LOT more miles) than anticipated! I am happy that we made it to my family reunion. It was good to visit with my brother and his family, my aunts, uncles and cousins. However, it was a long, an almost unbearable hot day. We were very happy when we arrived home. We went as far as we would care to in one day’s travel! Speaking of a hot day, the entire weekend weather in fact was sunny, hot and dry. Given that our summer to date has been cool and wet, it was a welcome change. However, when it is hot as it was this past weekend and you are riding a motorcycle, you cannot find relief from the heat by turning on the air conditioning! As I wrote earlier, the heat was almost unbearable.

We rode approximately 340 miles from Painted Post, NY, to our home in Warren, PA. We traveled 685 miles from Friday at 1:00PM to Sunday at 7:15PM. Someone once told me that when you ride a Nomad the rides only get longer!  Click here for a map of Sunday’s route.

Happy Birthday Anna!

Anna, 1 year old

Today is my great niece’s birthday. Anna is 1 year old today. Bob and I saw Anna this past Sunday. Oh my how fast she has grown! Anna is walking!

Anna, 1 year old

Yes, Anna still needs the security of something to hold onto. However, she will be walking on her own soon!

Happy birthday sweet Anna!

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