The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Lighthouse’

Chincoteague VA Vacation (3rd post)

As we had done each morning, while on vacation in Virginia, we got up around 6:00 am on Easter Sunday, April 17th.

We didn’t see the sun actually rise today,
as it was hidden behind clouds.

The temperature was around 50 degrees at sunrise.  The sun did break through the clouds later in the morning and gave us sunny skies.  It was a chilly day, though, with a high temperature of 58 degrees. The weather in Chincoteague was better than back in our hometown of Warren PA.  At sunrise the temperature in Warren was 31 degrees, with some snow on the ground!

Bob prepared Easter breakfast.
We enjoyed a breakfast of corned beef hash, eggs, toast and orange juice.

Late morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and parked in the Wildlife Loop parking lot.  We rode our bicycles from the parking lot, alongside Beach Road to the seashore. 

We passed by the Assateague Lighthouse.
We passed by Chincoteague ponies.
We saw a Snowy Egret.
We saw a Mallard Duck.
We rode our bicycles to Assateague Beach.

Back on Beach Road, near Toms Cove Visitor Center, a few birds held our attention for a while.

We saw seagulls in flight.
We saw another Snowy Egret.

The Snowy Egret was alone, until …

A second Snowy Egret arrived on the scene.
The first Snowy Egret chased the second Snowy Egret away.

We returned to the parking lot via Black Duck Trail and the Wildlife Loop (with a detour to Swan Cove).  The wind was fierce at times.  We rode flat ground but, even in first gear, I felt as though I were pedaling up a hill.  We rode 7.85 miles, and that was a wrap for riding our bicycles this vacation. The next day was chilly, windy and rainy.

Bob captured video with our GoPro7 camera, during our three bicycle rides. He prepared a video recap from our bicycling adventures.

We bicycled a total of 17.89 miles, while on vacation.

Our lunch was ice cream at the Island Creamery.  We visit the Island Creamery each time we vacation in Chincoteague. Bob had two scoops of Java Jolt in a cup.  I had two scoops of ice cream in a cup too — one scoop of Cadbuy Crème Egg and one scoop of peanut butter cup.

After “lunch” we returned to Airbnb “Tranquil Shores” and relaxed.

Around 4:00 pm we prepared Easter dinner –  grilled ham steak, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables and, for dessert, cheesecake. 

Early evening we returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove around the Wildlife Loop twice and drove to the seashore.  We returned to “Tranquil Shores” via downtown Chincoteague. We stopped briefly at Chincoteague Veteran’s Memorial Park. This is a lovely waterfront park, located on Eastside Road. The Park has tennis courts, basketball courts, playground equipment, fishing/crabbing pier, ball field, boat ramp, skate park, pavilion and restrooms. 

Back at “Tranquil Shores” we watched an episode of “Vera”, before going to bed.

Easter Vacation 2021 Day 3

Today, April 3rd, is the third day of our Easter vacation.

We had visitors today. Our friends, Denise and Nic, drove up from Virginia Beach this morning. They arrived around 10:00 am and left for home around 4:30 pm. The four of us had fun together sightseeing on Assateague Island at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and at the seashore. We went sightseeing in Chincoteague as well.

We walked the Lighthouse Trail at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Lighthouse Trail is a 0.25 mile loop that takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

Lighthouse Trail Informative Sign
Denise and Nic at the Assateague Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is 142 feet tall.

We walked the Woodland Trail as well. The Woodland Trail is a 1.6 mile loop that takes you through a beautiful pine forest.

We stopped at the overlook where Chincoteague ponies can sometimes be seen.

My recollection is that we saw one pony way off in the distance, too far away for a decent picture especially with a mobile phone camera.

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

The four of us at the Assateague Island National Seashore

We visited two parks in Chincoteague–the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park and the Veterans Memorial Park.

The four of us at the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park

These four Adirondack chairs are 10 feet tall and weigh more than 500 pounds.  The chairs arrived in Chincoteague in the summer of 2014 and promote the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan.  They had been located at Virginia’s Kiptopeke State Park since May 2012.  

Denise and Nic at Robert N Reed Waterfront Park with Misty of Chincoteague in the background
Bob and I at Robert N Reed Waterfront Park with Misty of Chincoteague in the background
Veterans Memorial Park Cross; Assateague Lighthouse in the background

From Veterans Memorial Park we returned to our AirBnb, Tranquil Shores. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch –cheeseburgers. potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, chips and salsa and, for dessert, cheesecake.

Bob grilling burgers for lunch

We ate lunch on our screened-in porch.

After lunch we returned to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and drove the wildlife loop. The 3.25 mile loop trail is open to walkers and bikers all day. Vehicles are permitted to drive the loop from 3:00 pm till dusk. 

We spotted an eagle nest, but we didn’t see the eagle.
Two Turtles hanging out on a tuft of grass

We drove back down Beach Rd and saw ponies, lots of ponies, in the marsh. We saw several egrets, too, both along Beach Rd and as we were driving the Wildlife Loop.

A Very Pregnant Chincoteague Pony
We saw the most ponies in one place during Denise and Nic’s visit.
One of several Great Egrets that we saw at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

We had a great visit with Denise and Nic. We are so glad they were able to make the drive up for the day.

Meanwhile, back at home …

A Sunday Drive

We went for a drive this past Sunday.  We drove to Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk, NY.  From our home in Warren, PA it is an approximate 75-minute drive to the park. Upon arriving, we parked in the unpaved parking lot near the beach area. We went for a walk from the parking lot to the Dunkirk Light and back. 

We walked a total of 1.33 miles round trip, making several stops along the way.
This is the beach. I read that the beach is an excellent place to find beach glass. Before the beach is open for swimming I believe that the sand dunes will be raked onto the beach. Those sand dunes, at present, are covered in some snow, leftover from winter storms. We did not walk on the beach. Instead we walked along the tree line, on a cliff above the beach.
In front of and below the benches is the beach.
We passed by steps leading down to the beach (photo by Bob).
The cliff was steep in places, especially as we got closer to the lighthouse.
Dunkirk Lighthouse
The lighthouse is closed for the season. It reopens on May 1st.

From Dunkirk we drove to Barcelona Harbor in Westfield, NY where I photographed bufflehead and merganser ducks and the moon.

Female Bufflehead Duck with Fish
Merganser Ducks Landing on the Water
The moon sure was pretty!

Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 7

Today (November 27th) is day 7 of our Thanksgiving week vacation.

Sunrise at Tranquil Shores, our airbnb rental

Late this morning we drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA.  We followed the Beach Access Road to Toms Cove, where we turned around.  

Our first stop, while on the Beach Access Road, was at the Lighthouse Trail.

The Lighthouse Trail takes you through the woods to the historic Assateague Lighthouse.

Assateague Lighthouse

Our second stop was at a marsh area, where we frequently see wild ponies.  We had not seen any ponies here since our arrival on Sunday, November 22.  We saw some wild ponies there today.

The wild ponies finally made an appearance in the marsh seen from the Beach Access Road.

Our third stop was near Toms Cove.

Assateague Lighthouse, as viewed from Toms Cove area

You will recall from yesterday’s blog post that the reason we chose to spend Thanksgiving week in Chincoteague was to participate in the Waterfowl Week Special Drive.  As I wrote in yesterday’s blog post, there is a 7.5 mile service road off the Wildlife Loop that is open to the public only during the Thanksgiving Day weekend.  The service road opens at noon and closes at 4:00 pm.  We drove the service road yesterday and again today.

We were parked alongside Wildlife Loop by 11:40 am, lined up to drive on the Service Road.  

The line waiting for access to the Waterfowl Week Special Drive

The cars began to inch forward at noon.  Yesterday it took us 1 1/2 hours to make the 15-mile round trip.  Today it took about 1 1/4 hours.  Yesterday was overcast; today was sunny.  We saw far less horses and waterfowl today than we did yesterday.  Bob didn’t have a memory card in the GoPro yesterday.  The GoPro was armed today.  This video shows very little wildlife, but it does show the terrain along Special Drive.



I took a couple photographs of the few wild ponies that we saw during our drive.

Two wild ponies

Three wild ponies

We ate lunch at Tranquil Shores.  We had leftovers–sweet and sour chicken with rice, cottage cheese, potato salad and applesauce.

I wanted to see the lit Christmas tree at the Robert N Reed Waterfront Park in downtown Chincoteague.  We drove there at dusk.

the Christmas Tree and me

Christmas decorations at Robert N Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

Sunset at Robert N Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

Aren’t the Christmas tree and the park, itself, pretty?

By the time we left the park, it was time to eat.  We chose to eat inside the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, located on Maddox Boulevard next to the Best Western hotel.   We had a choice to eat outside on their screened porch or inside the restaurant.  It was a bit chilly to eat outside; the restaurant was not full of people; the tables were socially distanced; we smelled Clorox as soon as we opened the door; and the wait staff wore face masks. All of those factors went into our decision to eat inside the restaurant.  This was the only restaurant at which we ate indoors, while on vacation.  Bob ordered a Chef Salad.  I ordered a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with French fries.  The service was good, and our dinners were tasty.  

From the restaurant we drove to Island Creamery, where the best homemade ice cream is served.  We ordered our ice cream inside and carried it out to the car to eat.  Yum!

We returned to Tranquil Shores, after our ice cream stop.  

It is our last night here.  We have had such a relaxing vacation.  I wish we didn’t have to go home, but at the same time I am ready to go home.

Maine Vacation: Winding Down

We ate breakfast at McDonald’s once again, after a break for a couple of days.  My meal of choice this past week has been a bacon, egg and cheese bagel, hash browns and orange juice.  Bob ordered two sausage burritos, hash browns and coffee.

This morning we visited the Maine State Aquarium, located in West Boothbay Harbor.  After paying the $7.00 each admission fee, we walked past the gift shop into the aquarium.  The first thing we noticed were two large touch tanks.  At center stage was a tank that held sharks and skates.  We petted a shark!  Its skin felt like sandpaper.  Inside the second touch tank, the Tidepool Touch Tank, were lobsters, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers and other invertebrates.  You could touch AND pick up any of the invertebrates in this tank.  Recessed tanks along the walls held a variety of species native to the Gulf of Maine.

We attended a talk on lobsters.  The Aquarium features lobsters in all sizes and colors.

This lobster was in the Tidepool Touch Tank.

We learned why a lobster is banded. The bands prevent lobsters from eating each other!

We met Neptune.

This is Neptune, a 14-lb lobster. His age is estimated to be between 15-18 years old.

We learned that fishermen bring the aquarium odd-looking lobsters, e.g. lobsters with multiple claws or lobsters with no claws and a variety of colored lobsters.

Our granddaughters would have enjoyed spending time at the Maine State Aquarium.  Not only would they have enjoyed the touch tanks, but they would have enjoyed the opportunity to do some sport fishing from the aquarium dock.  Rods and reels are available free-of-charge, and staff provides necessary instruction.  We watched some children fishing for a few minutes.  We didn’t see anyone catch a fish.  There were a couple lobster traps hanging from the dock, which were available to be pulled up.  One trap contained a lobster, which was dropped back into the water.  The trap that we pulled up had a crab in it.  We just dropped the crab and trap back into the water.

Leaving the aquarium, we returned to Pioneer Motel at 12:30 pm.

Around 4:30 pm we drove into Boothbay Harbor, where we enjoyed the refreshing breeze and bought pizza (2 slices each) at Pier 1 Pizza. 

Boothbay Harbor Footbridge

Boothbay Harbor Footbridge

Our Lady Queen of Peace Church

Boothbay Harbor Waterfront

Boothbay Harbor Waterfront (near where we bought pizza)

Boothbay Harbor Waterfront (near where we bought pizza).

Leaving Boothbay Harbor we drove to Southport Island to Newagen, where we saw The Cuckolds Lighthouse once again. 

The Cuckolds Lighthouse

Bob and I on dock with The Cuckolds Lighthouse behind us

We took Route 27 north to River Road through Damariscotta to the Mobil Fuel Station, where we filled up.  We will start home in the morning with a full tank.  We returned to Pioneer Motel around 7:30 pm.

This blog post concludes Day 8 of our 10-day Maine vacation (June 28-July 7, 2019).


Maine Vacation: A Relaxing Day

We didn’t eat breakfast out today, having purchased instant oatmeal in a cup and fruit last night for today’s breakfast.

Today was a relaxing day.  We did very little sightseeing, visiting places less than 20 miles away from Pioneer Motel. 

In the morning we drove to Ocean Point, located in the village of East Boothbay, where we went for walk alongside the ocean.  The ocean view, which included Ram Island Lighthouse off in the distance, was phenomenal.  As we were walking back to our car, we spotted two seals!  

Ocean Point – one of many seasonal homes

Ocean Point – A variety of flowers lined both sides of Ocean Drive.  The smell was divine. 

Ocean Point – more seasonal homes

Ocean Point – In the distance is Ram Island Lighthouse.  Beyond that lighthouse is another lighthouse.  I will update this blog post, when I determine the identity of that lighthouse.

Ocean Point – One of two seals!  The second seal is farther right, almost out of frame.

Ocean Point – Ram Island Lighthouse

Leaving Ocean Point we drove into Boothbay Harbor.  This was our second visit.  We browsed a few shops.  In one shop we purchased kaleidoscopes, one for each granddaughter.  In another shop we were surprised to find a maritime history museum of sorts.  The Windjammer Emporium blends a maritime history component with nautically themed merchandise.

This is one of many historical displays found in the Windjammer Emporium.  Shown here are models of two schooners: the Sherman Zwicker (left) and the Blue Nose.

Located along Atlantic Avenue in Boothbay Harbor is Fishermen’s Memorial.

Fishermen’s Memorial honors the proud independent Maine fishermen who lost their lives at sea.

While I photographed Fishermen’s Memorial, Bob enjoyed the harbor view.

A short distance farther along Atlantic Avenue is a giant statue of “The Old Lobster Fisherman”.

Old Lobster Fisherman Statue

This is a GIANT statue.

I am 5’6″ tall, and I reach only the Old Lobster Fisherman’s knees.

I don’t know how long the Old Lobster Fisherman has stood here.  My first visit to Boothbay Harbor was in 1983; he was standing there then.

We got lunch at the Subway in Boothbay and drove to a nearby park to eat. 

After lunch, we returned to Pioneer Motel, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon.

Around 6:00 pm we drove to Damariscotta Mills – home of one of Maine’s oldest and most productive alewife fisheries. 

Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder

Be sure to click on the link above for Damariscotta Mills to learn all about alewives and the fish ladder.

We made a return trip to Boothbay Harbor, where we ate dinner at the Harborside Tavern.  Bob ordered fish and chips; I ordered a harborside burger.  For seating we sat at a corner table, where we had a splendid view of the Boothbay Harbor footbridge and the water on both sides.

Bob’s Fish and Chips at Harborside Tavern

My Harborside Burger at Harborside Tavern

And, yes, I did eat all of the burger.  I didn’t eat all the bread, though!  The burger was delicious!  We had room for dessert, too.  We stopped at Wannawaf, located below the restaurant, for a small serving of ice cream in a cup, before returning to Pioneer Motel.

This blog post concludes Day 6 of our 10-day Maine vacation (June 28-July 7, 2019).



“Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” and More Lighthouses

Today was a long day of sightseeing.

On our way to Camden, we stopped for a delicious and filling breakfast at The Rockport Diner in Rockport, ME.

Leaving Rockport, we drove through Camden to Camden Hills State Park.  We paid an entry fee of $6.00 each to enter the state park. Our goal was to go to the scenic vista on top of Mount Battie.  We had two choices.  We could either hike or drive the Auto Road to the top of Mount Battie.  We chose the driving option.

Mount Battie Stone Tower

The Mount Battie Stone Tower was built in 1921 and recognizes “the services of the men and women of Camden in the World War, 1914-1918”.

From this vantage point magnificent views of Camden Harbor, Penobscot Bay and the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed.

Camden is “where the mountains meet the sea”.

“All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.”
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

It is believed that Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote the poem “Renascence”, while enjoying the view from the summit of Mount Battie.


Leaving Camden we drove to Marshall Point Lighthouse, which is located near the fishing village of Port Clyde.

Did you watch the movie “Forest Gump”?  Marshall Point Lighthouse is where Forest Gump concluded his long run.

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Lighthouse and Keepers House

Marshall Point Lighthouse

There were two lighthouses that we wanted to visit in Rockland: Owls Head Lighthouse and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.  We saw Owls Head Lighthouse first.

Owls Head Lighthouse

Owls Head Lighthouse

This last photograph was one of my favorites of the day.

We ate lunch at Rockland Cafe, which Bob’s sister had recommended to us.  It was a good recommendation.  Bob had a chef salad.  I had a chicken salad sandwich and clam chowder.  We had dessert too — blueberry crisp with ice cream for Bob and peanut butter pie for me.

After lunch we drove to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. 

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

The lighthouse is at the end of a 7/8-mile-long breakwater, so visiting requires a nearly two-mile round trip walk.   Bob walked on the breakwater about 3/4 of the way to the lighthouse.  When thunder and lightning started, Bob turned around.  I didn’t walk on the breakwater.  It had recently rained, and I did not have the confidence to walk the uneven rocks that I suspected were slick.  I entertained myself on the shore, while Bob was walking to the lighthouse, by photographing seagulls and talking to people passing by.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse with Seagull

After talking for a few minutes with a man, his wife and son they decided to walk out to the lighthouse (again).  They attempted to reach the lighthouse earlier, but turned around when it started to rain.  I told them to say hello to Bob, if they saw him on his way back.  He would be the man with the bald head.  I have to laugh again because, when I mentioned the bald head, the man patted his own head and said “like mine”.  Within a couple minutes the man and I had concocted a story to go along with the family saying hello to Bob.

“Hey, wait!  You are Bob, aren’t you?  Hello!

“Do you remember me? We went to high school together at Warren Area High School.”

Does Bob look confused?  He was confused for a few seconds.

This is the point in time, when the truth was told.

What fun that was!

Oh, Look! I didn’t have to walk out the breakwater to get a good picture of the lighthouse. I love my zoom lens!

You can see by looking at the map at the beginning of this post that we didn’t take a direct route back to Pioneer Motel.  We decided to see a bit more of Mid-Coast Maine.  It is a good thing that we had the Garmin GPS with us.   Data was not available on our mobile phones for most of our travels today.

This blog post concludes Day 5 of our 10-day Maine vacation (June 28-July 7, 2019).


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