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.
The 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.
Thirty of the 37 family members who attended this year’s Bell Family reunion
are shown in these two photographs..
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.
Electronic charades game in progress
“Flying a Plane”
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.
The 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).
Eleanor with her son and daughter-in-law
Lois with her niece (not a Bell descendant) and nephew
Ruth with her son, two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren
Dick and Mary Ann with their son, two daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren
Barbara 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.
Bob, his sister Cynthia and I
a 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.