The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Family Reunion’

Foster Joseph Sayers Lake Boat Ride

We spent the past weekend at Bald Eagle State Park, where we attended the Bell Family reunion.

The 1,730-acre Foster Joseph Sayers Lake is the focal point for water-based recreation in the park. The lake is named for PFC Foster Joseph Sayers, a World War II hero. Sayers received the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery on November 12, 1944 near Thionville, France.

On Friday night, at our family reunion dinner, Dick had asked who would be interested in seeing the lake by boat.  Several cousins raised their hands, along with Bob, Cynthia and I.  Dick said he would contact a friend to see if he could set up boat rides on the lake.  On Saturday, while Bob, his sister Cynthia and I explored the park and nearby locations, ten of our cousins rented a pontoon boat for the afternoon.  As far as I know that left only Bob, Cynthia and I to go on the boat ride with Dick’s friend.

At 3:30 pm Bob, Cynthia and I arrived at the marina and looked for Dick and Mary Ann.  We found Dick and Mary Ann (and a few other cousins) on a hill overlooking the marina.

_LG23794 4x6Cynthia chatting with Dick and Mary Ann

Dick said that his friend (I think the friend’s name was Doug) would be there at 4:30 pm. So, for the next hour, we visited with Mary Ann, Dick and a few other cousins. When Doug arrived with his boat, a small motor boat, Cynthia decided she would not be comfortable riding in the boat. I had my qualms as well.  Would I be able to step into the boat over the seat?  I have an arthritic knee, which can be quite stiff at times.  Cynthia has at least one artificial knee.  She did try to get on the boat but wasn’t comfortable doing so. I was able to step into the boat over the seat, but I know it wasn’t a graceful sight!  Cynthia returned to The Nature Inn, while Mary Ann, Dick, their son Jim, Bob, and I went for a boat ride.

The Foster Joseph Sayers Lake is nearly eight miles long and has 23 miles of shoreline.  Our hour-long boat ride allowed us to see most of the lake.

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The highlight of our weekend at Bald Eagle State Park was spending time with our family. The most exciting time for me was the boat ride. I had never been on a motor boat before that held less than a couple hundred people!  At times the ride was more than exciting; it was exhilarating.


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Thank you so much, Dick, for arranging this boat ride. It was a most memorable experience!

 

A Walk in the Park

As I wrote in my previous blog post , we attended a family reunion at Bald Eagle State Park.  On Saturday, July 9, Bob, his sister Cynthia and I went for a drive to nearby Bellefonte, PA.

Cynthia discovered the opportunity for free distillery tours, on Saturdays only, for guests of The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, while reading the Nature Inn’s “welcome to Nature Inn” book in her room. Our destination in Bellefonte was Big Spring Spirits.

While Bob and Cynthia sampled adult beverages, I went for a walk in Talleyrand Park. Bob and I took a walk in this park two years ago, when we attended the Bell Family reunion for the first time. The park was beautiful two years ago.  The park is still beautiful!

_LG23757 4x6Big Spring Spirits is located in the red brick building.
I walked across the railroad tracks into Talleyrand Park.

_LG23759 4x6Spring Creek runs through Talleyrand Park.

_LG23764 4x6George Grey Barnard Sculpture Garden

According to a nearby sign, the George Grey Barnard Sculpture Garden was formerly a gas station.  The site was donated by Gulf Oil Corporation in 1978.  In 1983, the Talleyrand Park Citizens Committee installed the bust of Lincoln, cast from the original plaster head sculpted in 1917 by the famous sculptor George Grey Barnard (1863-1938).

_LG23780 4x6A suspension bridge crosses Spring Creek.

I enjoyed watching the ducks, during my walk through the park.

_LG23771 4x6I wasn’t alone.  Others enjoyed watching the ducks as well.

_LG23767 4x6a Mama Mallard Duck and a Duckling

_LG23778 4X6Talleyrand Park features a small waterfall on Spring Creek.

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This brick walkway is just as beautiful, as it was 2 years ago.

As I reached the end of the park, I received a message from Bob. Bob asked “Are you hungry? We’re having a snack.” I telephoned Bob and told him I would return to the distillery in about 15 minutes, to please save some of the bread, meats and cheeses for me.

20160709_163304925_iOS 4x6I joined Cynthia and Bob for a light snack at Big Spring Spirits.

From Bellefonte we made our way back to The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle, arriving there around 2:00 pm.

Bald Eagle State Park

We spent the past weekend at Bald Eagle State Park, where we attended the Bell Family reunion.

After an early morning breakfast on Saturday, July 9, Bob and I walked to Hunter Run East Launch. We followed Warbler Way and East Launch Road to the boat launch, which was a little over a 1/2-mile walk.

_LG23715 4x6Approaching Hunter Run East Launch

A man on a motorcycle passed by us, while we were walking down East Launch Road.  The man had a mission …. breakfast with a view.

_LG23720 4x6A lone man, eating breakfast, while gazing out across the water

We enjoyed the waterfront view, too, while sitting at another picnic table.  The tree swallows were fun to watch, also, as they made acrobatic twists and turns over the water.

_LG23723 4x6Hunter Run East Launch

There are several hiking trails at Bald Eagle State Park.  We walked only one trail — the Butterfly Trail.  The Butterfly Trail is 1.5 miles long.  We walked only a small portion of this trail back to The Nature Inn from Hunter Run East Launch.  I saw flowers, rabbits, and woodpeckers on the Butterfly Trail, but not one butterfly!

_LG23725 4x6Pretty blue flower

_LG23731 4x6Rabbit at entrance to Butterfly Trail

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Yellow Flower

_LG23736 4x6Downy Woodpecker

_LG23738 4x6Yellow and White Flowers

_LG23740 4x6Bob, on the Butterfly Trail, making his way back to The Nature Inn

We returned to The Nature Inn around 9:00 am.

Late morning Bob, his sister Cynthia and I went for a drive. We explored Bald Eagle State Park, using a DCNR Pennsylvania Recreational Guide brochure that I picked up at The Nature Inn.  Included in the guide was a map, which we used to guide us during our exploration of the state park. We hit most of the highlights of Bald Eagle State Park, at least the portion of the park that juts out into the lake. Our first stop was at Hunter Run East Launch, the boat launch that Bob and I walked to earlier in the morning.  We didn’t get out of the car at the boat launch.  We just looked at the water view, as we drove around the parking lot back to the boat launch entrance.

Our second and third stops were on F.J. Sayers Road.

The 1,730-acre lake that is the focal point of Bald Eagle State Park is named for Foster Joseph Sayers, a World War II hero. Sayers received the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery on November 12, 1944 near Thionville, France.

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Foster Joseph Sayers Monument on F.J. Sayers Road

In a blog comment my cousin, Chris, encourages everyone to read the Medal of Honor citation found on Wikipedia.  For easy reference, I have provided the citation here.

CITATION: Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 357th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Thionville, France, 12 November 1944. Entered service at: Howard, Pa. Birth: Marsh Creek, Pa. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in combat on 12 November 1944, near Thionville, France. During an attack on strong hostile forces entrenched on a hill he fearlessly ran up the steep approach toward his objective and set up his machinegun 20 yards from the enemy. Realizing it would be necessary to attract full attention of the dug-in Germans while his company crossed an open area and flanked the enemy, he picked up his gun, charged through withering machinegun and rifle fire to the very edge of the emplacement, and there killed 12 German soldiers with devastating close-range fire. He took up a position behind a log and engaged the hostile infantry from the flank in an heroic attempt to distract their attention while his comrades attained their objective at the crest of the hill. He was killed by the very heavy concentration of return fire; but his fearless assault enabled his company to sweep the hill with minimum of casualties, killing or capturing every enemy soldier on it. Pfc. Sayers’ indomitable fighting spirit, aggressiveness, and supreme devotion to duty live on as an example of the highest traditions of the military service.

We drove to the end of F.J. Sayers Road, which stops at the water.  F.J. Sayers Road is Old Route 220, part of which was covered when the lake was formed.  The Foster Joseph Sayers Dam is visible from the end of F.J. Sayers Road.  We didn’t realize it at the time that Old Route 220 is visible, as it rises out of the lake in the clump of trees to the left of the dam.

_LG23751 4x6Foster Joseph Sayers Dam

We made stops at Winter Launch, a boat launch that provides access for year-round boating; Skyline Drive Picnic Area, which overlooks the lake; the marina; and Hunter Run West Launch.  I didn’t take pictures at any of these stops.

From Hunter Run West Launch we left the park, turning left onto Pennsylvania Route 150.  We stopped at an overlook of the lake and, then, we continued on to Bellefonte.  This blog post provides details and photographs of our visit to Bellefonte.

_LG23755 4x6Pennsylvania Route 150 Overlook of Foster Joseph Sayers Lake
The marina is visible in the upper left half of the picture.

Before returning to The Nature Inn from Bellefonte, we drove to Foster Joseph Sayers Dam.

_LG23785 4x6Foster Joseph Sayers Dam

This 100-foot high and 1.3 mile long dam forms Foster Joseph Sayers Lake. Completed in 1969, the lake was formed by damming Bald Eagle Creek.  The lake is named in honor of PFC Foster Joseph Sayers, a World War II hero. Sayers received the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery on November 12, 1944 near Thionville, France. The 1,730-acre lake is the focal point for water-based recreation at Bald Eagle State Park.

Located on a hill overlooking Foster Joseph Sayers Dam is a memorial to PFC Foster Joseph Sayers.

_LG23792 4x6

PFC Foster Joseph Sayers Memorial

_LG23791 4x6
According to an article in Lock Haven’s The Express newspaper, the memorial stands 10 feet tall and consists of a 4×6-foot granite base supporting a statue of a soldier resembling a World War II private first class.  The statue overlooks the lake from above a 1776 mural flag.  The memorial was scheduled to be dedicated on May 25, 2012. The memorial includes a Veterans Walk of Fame.  Each brick bears the name of a veteran.  Any veteran who left the military with an honorable discharge or who died while in the service is eligible to be named on the walk.

_LG23790 4x6
Foster Joseph Sayers Memorial

Bob, Cynthia and I returned to The Nature Inn around 2:00 pm.

Around 4:30 pm Bob and I went for a boat ride on Foster Joseph Sayers Lake.

 

Bell Family Reunion 2016

We spent two nights (July 9 and July 10) at The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle State Park in Howard, PA.  The purpose of our weekend stay at Bald Eagle State Park was to attend the Bell Family reunion.  The entire inn was booked for use of the family.  The first Bell Family reunion was held in July 2010 and has been held every two years, in July, since then.  We attended our first Bell Family reunion in 2014.  If you click on the link for the 2014 reunion, that blog post will provide some genealogical information, as well as how the Bell Family reunion got started.  This year was the first time all reunion activities were held at one location.

We arrived at The Nature Inn shortly before 3:00 pm.  We were welcomed warmly at the front door by Dick and Mary Ann, who made the arrangements for the family reunion.  We checked in and settled into our room.  Our room was located on the second floor, room 202.  Room 202 is a large room with two full-size beds, two end tables, an arm chair, a desk and chair, and a dresser with a flat screen TV on top of it.  The bathroom is huge.  A sink, refrigerator and microwave is in one room.  The second room contained a bathtub and toilet.  The room includes a balcony, too, that overlooks hiking trails, a lake and a wall of mountains.

I took this video from our second floor room balcony.  Please click on HD for best video quality.

_LG23742 4x6The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle

 

We mingled with each other for the next 3 hours, while sitting in the lobby or on the covered porch. The air-conditioned lobby and shaded porch provided relief from the hot and humid afternoon.

The first event for this year’s Bell Family reunion was dinner. The family occupied The Nature Inn’s breakfast room.

_LG23692 4x6

Thirty of the 37 family members who attended this year’s Bell Family reunion
are shown in these two photographs..

_LG23693 4x6

The buffet-style dinner was served at 6:30 pm and included grilled salmon, roasted potatoes, salad, dinner rolls and, for dessert, NY style cheesecake.

After dinner Bob and I returned to our room for the night. Other family members gathered by the fire pit and enjoyed s’mores and more conversation.

 

On Saturday, July 9, I was showered and dressed and sitting on our balcony by 6:30 am enjoying the bird song, the fog lifting up off the lake, the cool breeze and the warm (not hot) sun beaming on me from the east.

We ate breakfast at 7:00 am. Only one other family member (Don) was as early as we were to breakfast.  Oh, Michael was in and out of the breakfast room too.  He and Don would be going for a walk along the lake shore that morning.  Breakfast selections included scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, hash brown potatoes, cold cereals, various pastries, bread and English Muffins, fruit, juices, yogurt parfait, tea and coffee. I know I missed mentioning some of the breakfast selections. There were quite a few items to select from.

After breakfast, Bob and I walked to the East Boat Launch. We took the park road to the boat launch and the Butterfly Trail back to The Nature Inn. I will share photographs from our walk in a separate blog post.

We returned to The Nature Inn around 9:00 am. We stopped at the breakfast room. Many more of our cousins were there, eating breakfast. Bob poured himself a cup of coffee. I picked up one of the yogurt parfaits. We sat down with Lois and Monica and conversed for a short time.

Returning to our room I took a second shower. It was hot and humid, during our walk. My tennis shoes got wet, while walking on the Butterfly Trail.  While my tennis shoes dried, we relaxed in our room.

Late morning Bob, his sister Cynthia and I went for a drive. We explored Bald Eagle State Park and nearby locations.  Our drive will be the subject of one or more blog posts, yet to be written.  We returned to The Nature Inn, from our drive, around 2:00 pm.

At 4:30 pm Bob and I went on a boat ride.  The boat ride will be the subject of another blog post, yet to be written.

Saturday’s dinner, the second scheduled reunion event, was once again held in The Nature Inn’s breakfast room.  The buffet-style dinner was served at 6:30 pm and included ham, twice baked potatoes, salad, dinner roll, and, for dessert, apple crisp a la mode.  Dick suggested that we not sit with the same people whom we sat with at Friday’s dinner.  What a great idea to mix socially with others!

After dinner, conversation and games continued on the covered porch.  Several of our cousins participated in an electronic charades game.

_LG23905 4x6
Electronic charades game in progress
“Flying a Plane”

_LG23906 4x6
It was dark, when realization hit that we had not taken any family photographs.  I was asked, again, if I would take the family photographs.  I came prepared this year, with a tripod.  I placed my camera on the top of a garbage can to take our family pictures at our reunion two years ago.

_LG23959 4x6The matriarchs and patriarch of the Bell family
Ruth, Eleanor, Barbara and Dick
Clyde, who is the fifth Bell sibling, passed away in April 2015.
Clyde is survived by his wife Lois (in front row).

_LG23925 4x6Eleanor with her son and daughter-in-law

_LG23936 4x6Lois with her niece (not a Bell descendant) and nephew

_LG23938 4x6Ruth with her son, two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren

_LG23954 4x6Dick and Mary Ann with their son, two daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren

_LG23934 4x6Barbara with her son, two daughters, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law and two grandchildren
One grandchild is missing from this picture.  He wasn’t feeling well.

_LG23957 4x6Bob, his sister Cynthia and I

_LG23961 4x6a group picture

We met many of our cousins at the family reunion two years ago.  We did, though, meet a few new cousins this year.  Two of those cousins I had been corresponding with via Facebook for the past two years, but we had not yet met in person.

 

On Sunday morning, before departing on our drive back home, we were able to say goodbye at breakfast to many of our cousins. We had an absolutely lovely time at the Bell Family Reunion. Thank you, Dick and Mary Ann, for putting together a wonderful family reunion!  It worked out so well to have all reunion activities at one location!  We are already looking forward to the next Bell Family Reunion in 2018.

 

 

 

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.

IMG_2929The 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.

P7126265 4x6Floyd 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.

P7126272 4x6Eleanor

P7126273 4x6Clyde and Lois

P7126275 4x6
Ruth and her family

P7126278 4x6Dick and Mary Ann and their family

P7126283 4x6
Barbara and her family

P7126286 8x10Bob, Cynthia, Larry and I

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

P7126308 4x6Dinner 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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