The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Horses’

Kelsi and Party

Late last month I conducted a family photo session of a young friend and her family.  At the end of that photo session Chiana’s oldest daughter expressed interest in having her photograph taken with her horse, Party.  I promised Kelsi that I would take those pictures for her, after my husband and I returned home from vacation in New Hampshire.

I conducted a photo session of Kelsi and Party early yesterday evening.

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Kelsi’s sister and brother wanted their pictures taken with Party as well.

_LG25003 4x6Kelsi, Ana and Party

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Riley and Party

This photo session was a great idea, Kelsi.  Thanks for suggesting it!

Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 3 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.  We spent much of our second vacation day at the NASA Wallops Visitor Center and exploring Assateague Island.

On Saturday, March 26th, we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore at 6:00 am to watch the sun rise at 6:55 am.

_LG20575 4x6Assateague Island Sunrise

While on our way back to the hotel from the seashore, we made a couple stops along Beach Access Road.  Our first stop was at Little Toms Cove.

_LG20585 4x6The Assateague Lighthouse is visible across from Little Toms Cove.
We opted not to walk the Assateague Lighthouse trail this year.

_LG20586 4x6We saw Northern Shoveler Ducks on Friday.
We were rewarded with their presence again on Saturday.


We saw ponies at our second stop on Beach Access Road.

_LG20590 4x6Chincoteague Wild Pony

Back at the hotel we ate breakfast in our hotel room, as it was quite crowded in the breakfast room and too chilly to sit on the outside patio.

After breakfast we drove into the town of Chincoteague. At the draw bridge we turned right onto Main Street and followed it to the end, where there was a turn around.  We made three stops on Main Street.

Our first stop was at the Captain Timothy Hill House.

_LG20597 4x6Captain Timothy Hill House (c. 1800)
Oldest house on Chincoteague Island

The Captain Timothy Hill House is the oldest house on Chincoteague Island.  We were not able to tour the house interior, as the house was closed for the season.

Our second stop was at a house with a miniature replica of itself built beside a mailbox.

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A house and its miniature replica

Our third stop was at a yard sale, where I picked up the game Connect and four bags of small plastic toys for our granddaughters.

We made our way back to the traffic light at the draw bridge. We crossed over VA 175 and drove into downtown Chincoteague on Main Street. We were soon stopped by runners.

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Runners on Main Street

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A search on Facebook revealed that Saturday was the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  All proceeds from this event support the Chincoteague YMCA financial assistance program.  We did continue our drive on Main Street, slowly, encountering runners all the way and on the return trip.

_LG20606-photobacks-texture-templateChincoteague Island docked boat

The Chincoteague Channel runs alongside Main Street.  This boat was docked near where we turned around to return to downtown Chincoteague.  I applied a texture effect to the original photograph and love the result.

An Easter egg hunt followed the Bay to Bay 10K & 5K Run/Walk Event.  Upon our return to downtown Chincoteague, we parked across from the Robert Reed Park. We walked over to the park and watched the Easter egg hunt.

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Here comes the Easter bunny.

_LG20612 4x6The Easter bunny posed for lots of pictures.

_LG20620 4x6On your mark, get set and GO!

_LG20621 4x6Some children picked up Easter eggs near them,
while others ran to pick up the eggs the farthest away.

_LG20622 4x6Easter Egg Hunt

After the Easter egg hunt we made a return trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The highlight of that trip was a great blue heron.

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Great Blue Heron

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I watched this great blue heron for about 30 minutes.  The only movement the heron made, during that time, was to stretch its neck!

Later in the morning we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We parked at the Wildlife Loop and walked the ½ mile Marsh Trail.

_LG20645 4x6Marsh Trail Scene

20160326_154401604_iOS 4x6Marsh Trail Scene

_LG20649 4x6Marsh Trail Scene
The overlook was our destination.

20160326_154725075_iOS 4x6Marsh Trail Scene

20160326_155515283_iOS 4x6I am standing on the overlook.
You can see Marsh Trail, leading up to the overlook.

After walking the Marsh Trail, we drove along Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  A Chincoteague wild pony was closer to the Beach Access Road than it had been all weekend.

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Chincoteague Wild Pony

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It was very clear along the Assateague Island National Seashore, a big difference from Friday’s foggy scene.

_LG20665 4x6Assateague Island National Seashore

After leaving the seashore, we stopped opposite Little Toms Cove.

_LG20671 4x6My best photograph of the Northern Shoveler Duck!

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These wading birds were fun to watch!

UPDATE 4/1/2016: 
I emailed Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for help in identifying the birds in these two photographs.  The top photograph “features a greater yellow legs on the left and that bird is transitioning to breeding plumage. The other two birds are also yellow legs, but probably lesser. The bottom photograph “Few birds. Foreground is another lesser yellow legs. Far right is a long billed dowitcher. Smaller birds are dunlin and the other larger birds middle and left are short billed dowitcher.”  Thank you, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, for identifying these birds!

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Farther along Beach Access Road we spotted a Kingfisher, a first for both of us.

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Belted Kingfisher

We ate a late lunch about 20 miles from Chincoteague Island at Metompkin Seafood Market

20160326_183948054_iOS 4x6Metompkin Seafood Market

We found this seafood market by asking Siri, iPhone’s virtual assistant, where to find a good place to eat near Wallops Island.  Siri made an excellent choice.

20160326_181220969_iOS 4x6You place your order here, either for fresh seafood or for fried seafood.

The menu is behind the counter, but it is located outside on the patio wall as well.  While looking at the outside menu, a woman walked by and remarked “Order one of everything.  Everything is good.”

20160326_180425212_iOS 4x6Fresh Seafood

We both ordered fried seafood platters.  We waited 15-20 minutes, I believe, for our meals.  It was standing room only inside that tiny shack!  We struck up a conversation with a local man, who has been coming to Metompkin Seafood for 10+ years.  He told us everything on the menu is good.  We ate our meals on the patio outside.  The man with whom we struck up a conversation inside joined us outside at our table.  The conversation was pleasant, and our meals were very filling and tasted great!  We would definitely make a return trip to Metompkin Seafood Market!

Returning to Chincoteague Island, we made another trip to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It was after 3:00 pm, so it was possible once again to drive the car around the Wildlife Loop. We actually drove the loop two times. I am happy that we decided to drive twice around the Wildlife Loop, as we saw a deer the second time around.

_LG20692 4x6Wildlife Loop Deer

As we approached the deer, a car was in front of us stopped on Wildlife Loop looking at the deer.  The deer turned around and went back into the weeds.  The stopped car moved on.  We slowly approached the place where the deer had been.  Bob pulled off the road and turned off the engine.  I got out of the car, standing behind the hood.  We waited for a few minutes.  The deer popped its head out and quickly pranced across the road.  It really wanted to get to the other side!

Before returning to the hotel we drove to the Island Creamery for dessert.

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the Island Creamery

The Island Creamery, which sells homemade ice cream, is a popular place. It was busy, but the line moved faster than we expected.

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Bob ordered 2 scoops of Java Jolt ice cream; I ordered one scoop of Marsh Mud ice cream and one scoop of Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream. Delicious! I wouldn’t have ordered the Marsh Mud ice cream, if it hadn’t been recommended to me by a couple in line behind us. They told us, when that ice cream was first made, it was made incorrectly. However, everyone liked that ice cream, so they kept making it the wrong way.

We returned to our hotel, the Best Western Chincoteague, around 5:00 pm. I noticed that the hotel cleaning woman had placed an Easter chocolate on each of our pillows.  What a nice touch!

We checked out of the hotel at 5:00 am on Easter Sunday and began our drive back home. Our ETA was 12:53 pm.   We made a few stops on the way home, the longest stop being at Cracker Barrel in Hagerstown MD.  We stopped there for breakfast.  We both ordered the Sunrise Sampler.  We returned home around 2:30 pm.

We are talking already about our next vacation in Chincoteague!


Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 2 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.

On Friday, March 25th, we ate breakfast around 6:30 am at the hotel. Our complimentary breakfast selections included scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, a variety of breads and bagels, cold and hot cereals, a variety of hot and cold beverages, waffles, and pastries. After breakfast we returned to our room and enjoyed a second cup of tea/coffee, while sitting on our third floor balcony. The rain, which was in Friday’s forecast, had not yet started. It was a breezy 57 degrees. I was comfortable sitting outside, with a fleece jacket on.

A little later in the morning we drove the 12 miles to Route U.S. Route 13 for gas at the Exxon station. When we reached the U.S. Route 13-Chincoteague Road intersection the night before, the fuel station had just closed for the day. Bob wanted to get gas there to earn Plenti points. There is a Food Lion store next door to the Exxon station. We made a quick stop there to pick up a few grocery items. We returned to the hotel to drop off our purchases. Soon afterward we left the hotel and drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island.  The Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel is very close to the wildlife refuge, less than 1 mile away from the gate.

There is an admission fee charged to enter Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, unless you are on foot or bicycle. Daily admission costs $8.00 per vehicle. A weekly pass costs $15.00. We purchased the weekly pass, as we planned to visit the wildlife refuge on Saturday as well. When I am 62 years old, in 2 more years, I will be eligible to purchase a lifetime national park pass for $10.00. That pass will be a worthwhile purchase!

We followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore. (See Google map of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge provided below.)


We saw a fawn soon after passing through the wildlife refuge gate. I missed the shot, as I didn’t have the camera ready to shoot.  It was a windy and rainy morning; the lighting poor.

_LG20373 4x6Seagull at Assateague Island National Seashore

_LG20378 4x6Northern Shoveler alongside Beach Access Road, across from Little Toms Cove

We returned to our hotel, when the rain began to fall so hard that it was difficult to see anything.

Late morning we visited the NASA Visitor Center, which is located on Wallops Island about 5 miles from the Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel. According to its About Us webpage, the visitor center “features exhibits about aeronautics, orbital and sub-orbital rockets, scientific balloons, current missions, and the history of Wallops Flight Facility. In addition to exhibits, the Visitor Center also features an auditorium, a Science on the Sphere Theater, an observation deck, as well as numerous free public programs, events, and group tours of the facility. The Visitor Center also serves as the viewing site for rockets that launch from Wallops Island. Located inside the Visitor Center, the Gift Shop, open seasonally, offers models, patches, games, clothing and a variety of NASA souvenirs.”  The outside grounds has rockets and aircraft used for space and aeronautical research including a full-scale four stage reentry vehicle used to study the earth’s atmosphere.  I took several photographs, while at the visitor center.

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The Nike-Cajun sounding rocket
is able to carry a 77-pound payload to a height
of about 90 miles and has been used at Wallops
since 1956.

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Four-stage Reentry Vehicles were used to study phenomena
associated with high speed reentry
through the Earth’s atmosphere including
radio transmissions during reentry conditions.

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 Space suit seen inside auditorium

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In the auditorium we watched an informative 20-minute film about the space mission.

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Bob took this picture of me wearing a space suit.

_LG20390 4x6This is the view from the observation deck.

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This rocket was visible from the observation deck.
A much better picture was possible from the ground.
Little Joe was used to test the Mercury Spacecraft prior to manned light.
Monkeys Sam and Miss Sam were launched from Wallops
utilizing this rocket vehicle.

We walked behind the Visitor Center and found three more exhibits.

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This rocket was not identified.
Bob said to say it was a UFO.

_LG20395 4x6The Astrobee F, a solid-propellant sounding rocket first launched from Wallops Island in 1972,
could lift a 200-pound payload to about 260 miles altitude.

_LG20397 4x6The Aerobee 150, a liquid-propellant sounding rocket with a six-foot solid-propellant booster,
was used from 1955 to 1985.  It could lift a 150-pound payload to 160 miles altitude.

After visiting the NASA Visitor Center, we ate lunch at Royal Farms.  Royal Farms is a privately owned chain of gas station/convenience stores headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The store is very reminiscent of Sheetz, a gas station/convenience store with which we are familiar.

After lunch, on our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, we stopped briefly at the Public Landing at Queen Sound located on Wallops Island alongside VA 175.  Two seagulls were vying for my attention.

Queen Sound Seagulls

We soon made our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We followed Beach Access Road, once again, to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

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Friday’s weather was quite changeable…heavy rain, thunder and lightning to heavy fog to sunshine with temperatures in the upper 70s. I have never seen fog such as in these two photographs, while at the seashore.

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Everyone still had fun!


We turned around at the seashore and was again driving along Beach Access Road.

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We watched this egret for quite some time alongside Beach Access Road.  The egret sat in this tree for a long time.  All of a sudden, the egret flew to the water below.  I missed photographing the short flight.  We watched several more minutes, while the egret fished.

_LG20442 4x6Egret fishing

Our next stop was the Woodland Trail.


This is Woodland Trail (photo taken by Bob).  It was shocking to see how much the area had changed from when we walked the trail in past years.  There were so many dead and fallen trees that the area looked barren. An Internet search revealed that this area suffered from a southern pine beetle infestation that killed many trees this past fall.

_LG20448 4x6We saw this pair of Vultures, soon after beginning our walk on the Woodland Trail.

The Woodland Trial is one of the best places to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague.  You have to walk about a half mile into the trail to get to the observation platform from which you can see the ponies.  There are signs marking the way to the pony viewing so you can’t miss it.  We saw several wild ponies grazing off in the distance.

_LG20453 4x6Chincoteague Wild Ponies

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Wildlife Loop, which opens to vehicular traffic at 3:00 pm.  While driving around the loop, we saw an egret, a pair of Mallard Ducks, and a pair of Canadian Geese.

Wildlife Loop wildlife

We, then, returned to hotel and relaxed for about 1 1/2 hours, until 5:00 pm.

We ate dinner at the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, conveniently located next door to our hotel. This was our first meal besides Sheetz-like sandwich wraps and fast food burgers that we ate since leaving home on Thursday at 12:30 pm. Bob ordered a prime rib dinner. I ordered a meat loaf dinner. We each ordered dessert too. Bob had a slice of coconut cake, and I had a slice of chocolate cake. Service was excellent, and dinner was delicious.

We returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after dinner. We drove the Wildlife Loop once again. Then we followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  I watched the ocean waves for a time, while waiting for sunset.

_LG20493 4x6Assateague Island National Seashore

We watched the sunset from the boardwalk Toms Cove Visitor Center.

LJG20503 4x6Toms Cove Visitor Center

LJG20507 4x6Sunset across Little Toms Cove

LJG20540 4x6Sunset across Little Toms Cove

At 7:30 pm we returned to our hotel, where we stayed for rest of the night.

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Afternoon Hours

Our friends, Kris and Bob, were supposed to meet us at our hotel at 11:00 am on Saturday, April 4. The four of us planned to walk from the hotel to the Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant for lunch.  At 10:30 am Kris sent me a text saying that Bob got called into work very early in the morning, and he was still not home. Kris said she would send me a text when they were on their way. At 11:47 am, Bob still hadn’t come home from work (and Kris said it would take them 30 minutes to drive to Virginia Beach), so Bob and I went for a walk on the boardwalk to the King Neptune statue. It wasn’t a long walk.  Our hotel was located at 29th Street, and King Neptune was located at 31st Street.

Approaching the King Neptune statue

King Neptune is a 34-foot, cast bronze statue.
The statue was created by Virginia-based sculptor, Paul DiPasquale.


We returned to the hotel by way of the beach.

We saw the horses up close and personal. The horses wear poop bags. We had wondered who cleaned up the horses’ poop, as we observed them walking the beach from our hotel room balcony.

We live near an Amish community.  Bob said that the Amish in Sugar Grove, PA should be required to place poop bags on their horses!

 I really enjoyed seeing the horses on the beach!


At 1:25 pm Kris sent a text saying that Bob would not be leaving the office until 5:00 pm. Before coming home he had to drive to the UPS hub in Norfolk to get parts on a flight to the UK. The four of us would not be getting together after all. We were very disappointed, as we were looking forward to seeing Kris and Bob. Kris and Bob moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia 6+ years ago, and we haven’t seen each other since their move.

Bob and I ate lunch at the Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant, the restaurant at which we had planned to eat lunch with Bob and Kris.

Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant

The atmosphere at Abbey Road Pub was casual and cozy.  Service was a little slow.  Our lunches, though, were good. I ordered a Chef Salad, and Bob ordered Crab Cakes.

We returned to our hotel after lunch, spending more time on the balcony of our 8th floor hotel room.

I was setting up the camera to capture a self-portrait of Bob and me.  The photograph shown above was a test shot.  I just happened to take the picture just as a seagull passed by.

Bob and I on our balcony

I was supposed to be reading, while sitting on the balcony.  I didn’t get much reading done.  The seagulls kept pulling my attention away from the book that I was reading!

I will wrap up Day 3 of our Easter vacation in my next blog post.


An Unplanned Daycation

When I awakened the morning of Wednesday, October 1, I discovered that Bob had taken the day off work. Bob said that he didn’t feel like going into work, so he called his boss and asked would it would be okay if he took a vacation day.  I decided, also, to take off work (editing wedding pictures) so that I could spend the day with Bob. We went for a ride on the motorcycle.

Our first stop was for gas at Kwik Fill. Our second stop was at Tractor Supply, where Bob returned an item that he had purchased yesterday. Our third stop was at Wegmans in Jamestown, NY. While Bob was inside the store buying a couple bags of bean coffee, I was outside taking pictures of the pumpkins on display.

Pumpkins at Wegman’s

Pumpkins at Wegman’s

Pumpkins at Wegman’s

Our fourth stop was at Van Tuil Photo & Imaging in Erie PA, where I purchased a camera bag. I have purchased so many camera bags over the years.  I can’t seem to find that one perfect bag.  I hope that this new camera bag serves its purpose well for some time to come!

From Van Tuil’s we rode to Presque Isle State Park.

We ate a picnic lunch at the lagoon picnic area.


We have visited Presque Isle State Park numerous times in the 16 years that Bob and I have been married.  There are still many places that we have not explored on the peninsula.  The lagoon picnic area was one such place.  What a lovely spot for a picnic!

Lagoon Goose

After lunch, we rode rest of the way around Presque Isle State Park. We then began our way back home.

We made three  stops on our way back home. Our first stop was while en route Findley Lake, NY.

We pulled off the side of the road so that I could take a picture of this pastoral scene.

In Findley Lake, after a refreshing glass of iced coffee and a cookie for Bob and a glass of iced tea and a muffin for me, we took a very short walk along the main street.

Swartz Mill

At one time a horizontal water wheel furnished power for both a saw mill and a grist mill at this site.  This vertical waterwheel has been constructed near the site of the original. I believe the only purpose of the present waterwheel is that of a tourist attraction.

Findley Lake

Our last stop before returning home was at Chautauqua Institution, where we admired the color Autumn foliage across Chautauqua Lake.

Looking across Chautauqua Lake from Chautauqua Institution

It was a wonderful unplanned daycation for Bob and me.  Before too long we will be putting the motorcycle away for the Winter.  I am happy that we were able to take advantage of this beautiful day by sharing an activity that we both enjoy!

Horse Show

On Sunday, June 1, Bob and I attended the Grand Valley 12 and Younger Horse Show at the Grand Valley Show Ring located on Goodwill Hill Road in Grand Valley, Pennsylvania. A friend asked that I photograph her 5-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old friend, as they participated in the horse show.

Our friend’s 5-year-old daughter and friend

This was the first time either Bob or I attended a horse show. We saw horses of many sizes, colors and temperament. The boys and girls showed a wide berth of skill, some brand new to horse showing and others who have been showing for years.   We watched several classes of competition to include Grooming & Showmanship, Walk-Trot, Lead In, Egg & Spoon, Costume and Barrels.

Below is a slideshow that displays all photographs that I took during the Horse Show.

North Carolina Vacation – Day 3 of 9 (Biltmore Estates: Geese, Sheep and Horses)

We spent Days 3 and 4 (May 13 and May 14) of our North Carolina vacation at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC. After admiring Biltmore House and the Library and South Terraces, the Walled Garden and Conservatory, and the Azalea Garden and Bass Pond, we returned to our car by shuttle bus and drove through the estate grounds to the lagoon.

the Lagoon

At the lagoon, we spread a blanket on the ground under the shade of a tree.  The photograph of the lagoon shown above was our view, as we ate a picnic lunch.  Our picnic fare was the same as other days: tuna salad and crackers, peaches and a couple sugar-free chocolate chip cookies.  We should go on a picnic more often.  Lunch was so relaxing.  After lunch, I entertained myself by watching and photographing the many geese and baby geese at the lagoon.

We drove to the other side of the lagoon and were rewarded with a magnificent view of the backside of the Biltmore House.

Lagoon view of Biltmore House

While on the shuttle bus ride, the driver pointed out two barns, one housing sheep and the other housing horses.  We stopped at both barns on our drive through the estate.

The sheep and lambs were in the pasture grazing.





Carriage and trail rides are available at the horse barns.  We didn’t go on a ride; however, we did enjoy looking at the horses.

Two Horses

Carriage & Trail Ride Barns

A farrier was in the barn shoeing this horse.

This is a smart dog.  It is staying out of the way of the horse’s hoofs!

We returned to our hotel around 2:30 pm, where we relaxed until it was time to leave for dinner.

Dinner was at Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  We met our friends, Karen and Pete, at the restaurant.  Pete and Bob used to be coworkers.  Karen and Pete moved to North Carolina several years ago.  Whenever we visit this part of North Carolina, we make arrangements to meet Karen and Pete for dinner.  Dinner was good, as was the conversation.  Karen and I are Facebook friends, and we keep in touch there.  However, nothing compares to a face-to-face conversation.   Much of the conversation centered around Bob’s workplace and coworkers that Bob and Pete both knew.  Before leaving the restaurant, Pete gave me a painting of two Carolina Wrens.  We now own three Pete Ferry original paintings!

imageThis covered bridge scene was the first painting that Pete gave to us.
Pete mailed this painting to us.

 imagePete gave us this painting of the ocean last year, when he and Karen visited us at our home.

imageThis is the newest addition to our Pete Ferry original paintings.

Pete is a talented painter.  His paintings are gorgeous!  Thank you, Pete, for your wonderful gifts.  We will treasure them always!

We returned to the hotel around 6:30 pm.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our room.  Before retiring for the night, we watched a movie on Amazon Prime (Bob packed the ROKU).  The movie that we watched was called “Flight of the Phoenix”.  The movie was about survivors of a plane crash in the Mongolian desert working together to build a new plane.  We enjoyed the movie.  Hugh Laurie was one of the characters in the movie.  It was interesting to see him cast in a different role than that which he was cast in the TV show “House”.



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