On Saturday, March 31st, after another scrumptious breakfast at our hotel, we once again drove to Assateague Island and visited the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We saw deer off in the distance, crossing through the wetlands.
We watched deer pass through the marshland, as the sun rose.
Bob said one of the deer had antlers. I didn’t see that deer.
In addition to the deer, we saw egrets, a view of the Assateague Island Lighthouse from Toms Cove, several water birds at Toms Cove and a belted kingfisher (!).
Assateague Island Lighthouse,
as seen from Toms Cove
Bufflehead Duck at Toms Cove
We spent about 30 minutes at the wildlife refuge.
Several hours passed by, after we left the wildlife refuge.
Yesterday’s blog post detailed how Bob and I spent Thanksgiving Day. Today’s blog post is about our drive back home from Niagara Falls.
We crossed over the Rainbow Bridge from Canada into New York. Our first stop was in Niagara Falls, but not at the falls. We stopped at the Old Stone Chimney.
Old Stone Chimney
The Old Stone Chimney is a masonry chimney, which was built as part of a two-story barracks on the site of the French “Fort du Portage,” or “Fort Little Niagara,” by Daniel de Joncaire in 1750. The Chimney has been repurposed several times since by British and American interests and relocated three times (1902,1942 and 2015). The Old Stone Chimney is currently located between the Niagara River and the Robert Moses Parkway east of the Adams Slip along the bike path on the river. We have passed by it several times driving to and from Niagara Falls. This was the first time that we stopped at the Old Stone Chimney. What a beautiful location! Standing in front of the Old Stone Chimney, the skyline of Niagara Falls Canada can be seen in the background.
As we did on Thanksgiving Day, we chose not to cross over Grand Island. Our route home took us down the east side of the Niagara River through Tonawanda. We made a couple stops in North Tonawanda. Our first stop was at Fisherman’s Park, where we visited two memorials: a U.S. Marine Corps Memorial and a U.S. Navy Seabee Veterans Memorial.
U.S. Marine Corps Memorial
The next four photographs are pictures of the U.S. Navy Seabee Veterans Memorial.
This sculpture is what caught my eye on Thanksgiving Day, as we drove by the park.
It was 11:00 am, when we departed Fishermans Park.
East Hill Foundation
The lighthouse caught my eye, as we drove through North Tonawanda on Thanksgiving Day.
The gate was locked, so I took pictures through the fence.
East Hill Foundation sits alongside Niagara River.
From North Tonawanda we followed I-290, I-90 and Route 219 through Ellicottville, NY. We stopped in Springville at Ponderosa for lunch. It had been a while since we ate at Ponderosa, as we do not have that restaurant near to our home. The buffet food selections were extensive. Everything we ate was delicious, especially the stuffed peppers. I went back for seconds of the stuffed peppers.
We were back on the road at 12:45 pm.
We drove through Ellicottville to Allegany State Park, where we made one photo stop. We stopped at Bridal Falls.
It’s a short (~.25 mile) hike to Bridal Falls from the Program Site 62 sign on ASP Route 1.
Bob found these memorial stones near Bridal Falls.
One last parting shot of Bridal Falls
It was around 4:30 pm, when we returned home. What a wonderful Thanksgiving mini vacation we had! I hope that your Thanksgiving holiday, was as nice as ours!
[NOTE: I uploaded this blog post during the afternoon on October 10 but backdated the published date to September 29, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]
The beginning of a new day
Bob, Jim, Sandy and I departed our Flight of Fantasy beach house at 7:00 am, en route Ocracoke Island. A little past Duck, two deer walked across N.C. Route 12. The deer are small here and darker in color than they are in Pennsylvania. We hopped onto U.S. Route 158 at Southern Shores.
We made two stops: one for fuel and the other for breakfast at McDonalds before leaving U.S. Route 158 and hopping back onto N.C. Route 12 to Cape Hatteras. We began our drive down this part of N.C. Route 12 at 8:03 am.
We arrived at the Herbert C Bonner Bridge around 8:10 am. One lane was closed due to bridge construction, but we were held up only a short time for the closure. Along N.C. Route 12 we encountered standing water in front of sand dunes and excavators moving sand. There was standing water and sand on the road, as we were driving through Rodanthe. There was standing water on the road in Avon. There was a lot of standing water at Hatteras Village shortly before the ferry terminal. We arrived at the Hatteras ferry terminal at 9:20 am.
Hatteras ferry terminal
We are in line to board the ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island.
Sandy and I went to the bathroom and ran back to our car, as it was moving toward the boat! We boarded the 9:30 ferry at 9:29 am.
Moving away from Hatteras Island
There are only five vehicles on our crossing.
Our ferry boat was not crowded.
We have ridden this ferry at least two times before. This is the least number of vehicles we have seen on a crossing. The ferry has always been full! By the way we planned for a 10:00 am crossing. Being able to catch the 9:30 am crossing was a bonus! The crossing wasn’t as smooth, as I remember. We were a bit more buoyant, with waves rocking us up and down. We were fortunate to catch a 9:30 crossing, as there was no 9:30 crossing on the N.C. DOT schedule that I looked at. A crew member told me they were on the fall schedule, which was not provided on the website.
Jim looks like he is enjoying the ferry crossing.
We arrived on Ocracoke Island an hour later. There was some sand on the road between the terminal and the town of Ocracoke. It is a 13-mile drive from the ferry terminal to the town of Ocracoke.
At approximately the halfway point between the ferry terminal and the town of Ocracoke we stopped to see the fenced-in Ocracoke ponies and the beach across the road. The ponies were at the barn, behind wooden railing. We took a walk on the boardwalk trail to another observation area, hoping to see ponies grazing in the open field.
Sandy on boardwalk trail to look for ponies.
There were no ponies in the open field. We did encounter several spider webs and a bird, while on the trail.
The bird sang a lovely song for us.
At the beach, located across the street from the pony enclosure, we enjoyed watching the shorebirds and found some pretty seashells.
Ocracoke Island shorebird
Ocracoke Island Shorebird
Ocracoke Island Shorebirds in flight
Ocracoke Island Shorebird
Jim and Sandy leaving the beach, walking back to our car.
Sandy has seashells in her hands.
I wish I had thought to take a picture of the seashells that Bob and I collected. We gave the seashells to our granddaughters, upon our return home from vacation.
A main form of transportation in the town of Ocracoke appears to be golf carts and bicycles. Both transportation methods were seen throughout the town.
While in the town of Ocracoke we visited the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and the David Williams House Museum.
The Ocracoke Preservation Society is located in the restored David Williams House. This was the first time Bob and I visited the Ocracoke Preservation Society. Admission was free; donations readily accepted. Inside is a museum that consists of permanent and changing exhibits depicting island life from days gone by, as well as a gift shop.
Before leaving the town of Ocracoke, we ate lunch at Jason’s Restaurant. We pulled into Jason’s Restaurant at 12:30 pm. Bob and I ate at Jason’s the last time we visited Ocracoke Island. We once again enjoyed great tasting food and excellent service.
We departed Jason’s Restaurant at 1:20 pm, en route the Ocracoke ferry terminal. I telephoned ahead of time to determine the fall schedule crossing times. The next ferry would be leaving at 1:30 pm, followed by a 2:00 pm crossing.
Ocracoke Island Ferry Terminal
We are in line waiting to board the ferry to Hatteras Island.
Hurricane Maria caused some road damage at the Ocracoke Island Ferry Terminal.
We caught the 2:00 pm ferry to Hatteras. There were many more vehicles on this crossing than the one from Hatteras. We arrived on Hatteras Island at 2:55 pm. On our way to the Ocracoke ferry terminal I learned that Denise and Nic and Nancy and Donnie had also come to Ocracoke Island. They were eating lunch about the same time as us, across the street at Howard’s Pub. Denise said that she texted me to ask if we were still on Ocracoke Island. I never received that text, while on the island. I learned the next day that the sending of Denise’s message had failed. Internet service is a bit sketchy on Ocracoke Island.
The Circle of the Stones used to sit in the exact spot where the lighthouse stood for more than a century before it was moved to its present location. The stones, each weighing 3,000 pounds or more, are engraved with the names of the 83 keepers of the lighthouse since it was originally built at Cape Point in 1803. The stones are arranged in a semi-circle to form an outdoor theater called Keeper of the Light Amphitheater.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has not always resided in its present location. In 1999, because of the threat of shoreline erosion, the lighthouse was relocated 2,900 feet from the spot on which it had stood since 1870.
In September 2012 when Bob and I visited the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, we drove over to the original location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Original lighthouse location (September 2012)
In September 2012 the Circle of Stones marked the location of the original lighthouse, before it was moved. Those stones now form an outdoor theater called Keeper of the Light Amphitheater. I shared a picture of the amphitheater earlier in this post. This article explains why the Circle of Stones was moved.
This year we once again drove over to the original location of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. But for the informative sign in front of the beach area, we would not have known the location of the lighthouse before it was moved to its present site.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the beach near where the original lighthouse was located.
Continuing our drive North, we planned to stop at the Inn at Rodanthe. The entrance road was flooded, so Jim took a picture of the house made famous by the movie “Nights at Rodanthe” from the passenger seat when Bob pulled on the berm of N.C. Route 12.
We planned an ice cream stop at Dairy Queen, while on Hatteras Island. The two Dairy Queens that we passed, though, were closed. We stopped at Dairy Queen in Kill Devil Hills, having our dessert before dinner.
We returned to our beach house around 6:30 pm.
Tonight’s dinner was hamburgers, baked beans, cole slaw and potato salad. For dessert we had cake and ice cream, in celebration of Brenda’s birthday. We sang happy birthday to Brenda, and she blew out her candles.
Video courtesy of Bob. If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link.
For Jim’s account of today’s activities, please click here.
[NOTE: I uploaded this blog post during the afternoon on October 8 but backdated the published date to September 28, the date of the day’s activities detailed in this post.]
I appreciate the force of nature. The past two days we have experienced consistent strong winds and angry seas. Today, as I watched the sun rise while sitting on the beach, the wind was calm and the waves seemed almost normal. I haven’t seen one yet, but I heard that the pelicans are back.
The dawning of a new day
The wind is calm, and the waves seem almost normal.
If you are not able to view the embedded video, please click here for the direct link.
Bob took this picture of me sitting on the sand, capturing today’s sunrise.
The sun has risen!
What a fine day for sightseeing!
We were en route Bodie Island shortly after 9:00 am, arriving there around 10:00 am. For the next 45 minutes we admired the lighthouse from various vantage points.
A boardwalk that leads to an overlook of the wetlands offers very nice views of the lighthouse.
Sandy is walking on the boardwalk toward the wetlands overlook.
Sandy and Jim on the wetlands overlook
Bodie Island Lighthouse, as seen from the wetlands overlook
Before leaving Bodie Island I heard a National Park Service employee say that the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry would begin crossings again at 1:00 pm today. This information was good to know, as we are planning a trip to Ocracoke tomorrow.
From Bodie Island we attempted to drive to Pea Island Wildlife Refuge, but the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge was closed until 1:00 pm to allow for time to remove sand and water from the roadway on Hatteras Island. We made a U-turn at the bridge and drove to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills.
After paying the admission fee of $7.00 each, we found parking in the parking lot in front of the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center for the Wright Brothers National Memorial is closed for a renovation project. The visitor center has been closed since November 2016 and expected to reopen in late summer/fall of 2018. A temporary facility near the parking lot has an information desk where you can speak to a National Park Service employee, five small poster-style exhibit panels to learn more about the Wright brothers’ story, and a bookstore.
During our visit we walked to the First Flight Boulder and Flight Line which mark the location where the Wrights first flew, peeked into the reconstructed Wright brothers’ camp building and hangar, walked to the top of Big Kill Devil Hill to the base of the Wright Memorial, and saw the 1903 Bronze Sculpture of the First Flight featuring a life size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer.
Wright Brothers Flight Line
The numbered markers mark the landing spots of the Wright Brothers’ first four flights on December 17, 1903.
First Flight Boulder
The boulder marks the spot from which the Wright Brothers’ first flight was made. The picture displayed above shows the flight path as well.
Sandy and the First Flight Boulder
Wright brothers’ camp building and hangar
Big Kill Devil Hill and Wright Brothers Memorial
Sandy stayed inside the car, while Bob, Jim and I hiked to the top of Big Kill Devil Hill.
Wright Brothers Memorial on top of Big Kill Devil Hill
The view from the top of Big Kill Devil Hill was spectacular!
Jim is photographing the view from the top of Big Kill Devil Hill.
We could see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Life size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer
1903 Bronze Sculpture of the First Flight
(Wright Memorial in the background)
This sign provides information about the first flight witnesses. I read the sign, but was more interested in recreating the scene shown on the sign. As I positioned myself to take a picture, other tourists began walking up to the bronze sculptures for a closer look. Getting the picture I wanted meant waiting until those people departed the grounds.
Jim, Bob and Sandy found the only shady spot to wait for me,
while I waited to take my picture.
I like to think that I am a patient person. My patience was just about running out, when the grounds were vacated. I had to quickly compose my picture, as I noticed more tourists arriving.
My recreation of the photograph of the first flight witnesses
We were glad that it was possible to drive to the base of Big Kill Devil Hill, as well as to the Sculpture of the First Flight. The three points of interest were spaced far apart!
Prior to leaving on vacation, Jim learned that a friend (another member of the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club of which Jim and Bob are members) would be vacationing in the Outer Banks at the same time as the four of us. “Rabbi” and his wife Vonna were vacationing in Salvo on Hatteras Island, until they were evacuated earlier in the week. We didn’t think we would be able to meet up with Rabbi and Vonna because they had gone home to Virginia. Jim received a message (today I believe) from Rabbi that they were back in the Outer Banks and staying in Kitty Hawk. Jim and Rabbi made plans for the six of us to meet for lunch at 1:00 pm at Mama Kwans Tiki Bar & Grill in Kill Devil Hills.
The first thing I noticed at Mama Kwans was the old van covered with stickers. I took a picture of Rabbi, Vonna, Jim and Sandy beside that van, after we had eaten lunch.
Sandy, Jim, Rabbi and Vonna at Mama Kwans
Rabbi attended at least one VROC motorcycle rally that Bob and I attended. That rally was the Wolfman Wandering Rally #3 held in Richmond, Kentucky in June 2009. Rabbi doesn’t recall meeting Bob or me at that rally; we don’t recall meeting him either. Rabbi is planning to attend the 20th anniversary of the Southeast Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (SEVROC) rally in May next year. Bob and I plan to attend that rally as well. So, we will meet again….
After lunch we returned to Flights of Fantasy (our vacation beach house), returning there around 3:00 pm.
Much of rest of the afternoon and evening was spent relaxing in (or sitting on a deck of) the beach house. Sandy and I did go for a short walk to beach access 7, a boardwalk that leads to the beach.
Sandy at the Beach Access 7 Boardwalk
The view from the end of Beach Access 7
The green house is our beach house.
Sandy at the end of Beach Access 7
The green house is our beach house.
Sandy and I returned back to our beach house just in time to see the sun set.
I photographed Brenda photographing the setting sun.
Tonight’s dinner was leftovers.
I retired to our bedroom around 8:30 pm, as many of my fellow vacationers were sitting down to watch the football game—Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers.
From Chittenango Falls State Park we drove to Verona Beach Lighthouse and then drove around Oneida Lake. A friend suggested that we visit The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango NY, en route the lighthouse. We planned to visit the animal park but opted not to do so, when we saw how busy it was! We were stopped for several minutes in traffic that was entering the animal park.
According to a Wikipedia article, Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within the state of New York. The lake is about 21 miles long and about 5 miles wide with an average depth of 22 feet. The shoreline is about 55 miles. While not included as one of the Finger Lakes, Oneida is sometimes referred to as their “thumb”. Because it is shallow, it is warmer than the deeper Finger Lakes in summer, and its surface freezes solidly in winter.
The Verona Beach Lighthouse is one of three identical lighthouses on Oneida Lake. The other two lighthouses are located in Brewerton and Frenchman’s Island. The Brewerton Lighthouse was constructed to mark the juncture of the western end of the lake with the Oneida River. The Frenchman’s Island Lighthouse was constructed to mark a pair of islands in the southwestern portion of the lake. The Verona Beach Lighthouse was constructed to mark the entrance to Wood Creek Canal from the eastern end of the lake. We saw only the lighthouse at Verona Beach.
The Verona Beach Lighthouse is approximately 85 feet tall.
Construction of the Verona Beach Lighthouse was completed in the summer of 1917.
Picturesque beach view from Verona Beach Lighthouse
Leaving Verona Beach, we began our drive around Oneida Lake. We stopped for lunch at Y HILL Express, located in Blossvale at the intersection of Routes 49 and 13. Bob had a chef salad for lunch, with a big chocolate chip cookie. I had a tuna melt sandwich with a soft serve twist ice cream cone. Lunch was good and our least expensive meal so far on this trip.
We made two other stops, while driving around Oneida Lake.
We stopped at Lakeview Park in Cleveland. The park overlooks Oneida Lake.
Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park
This lovely gazebo honors those who died on September 11, 2001.
Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park Gazebo
Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park Gazebo
Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park Gazebo
Our last stop, during our drive around Oneida Lake, was in Brewerton. We visited the Oliver Stevens Blockhouse Museum on the grounds of the former Fort Brewerton. You may read all about Fort Brewerton and the blockhouse by clicking here.
Replica of Oliver Stevens Blockhouse
The Oliver Stevens Blockhouse houses a museum with collections of local artifacts, including native materials. Here are a few photographs inside the museum. All photographs were taken on the second floor of the museum.
This is what we saw, when we reached the second floor of the museum.
Note the arrowheads above the rocking horse.
These arrowheads were found on the Fort Brewerton grounds and nearby locations.
A Model of Fort Brewerton
From Brewerton we continued our drive around Oneida Lake to Bridgeport, where we headed south to Green Lakes State Park — the subject of my next blog post about our weekend getaway to the East Syracuse, NY area.
Bob and I took advantage of this past weekend’s lovely weather. We spent several hours both on Saturday and Sunday enjoying the abundant sunshine and warmer temperatures. The temperature rose into the low 60s on Saturday. It was a little cooler, with temperatures rising into the low 50s, on Sunday but still very nice day to be outdoors.
On Saturday Bob and I drove to Erie, where we spent several hours at Presque Isle State Park. I wish we would have brought our bicycles with us. I would have enjoyed riding our bicycles around the park, as we did one time last year. Instead of riding bicycles, we drove around Presque Isle State Park. We made several photo stops along the way.
We walked up the 100′ wooden deck for an overlook of the marsh on Presque Isle Bay.
Someone shared their love story on the deck of The Feather.
This is the view of the marsh on Presque Isle Bay from The Feather.
Our next stop was at the Perry Monument.
The Perry Monument is 101 feet tall and commemorates the victory of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10th, 1813.
Seagulls at the Perry Monument
Goose coming in for a landing at the Perry Monument
Our next stop was along Coast Guard Road, en route the North Pier.
Houseboats on Horseshoe Pond
Close-up picture of one of the houseboats on Horseshoe Pond
One of several seagulls flying over Horseshoe Pond
Our next stop was at the North Pier.
North Pier Lighthouse
Our last stop at Presque Isle State Park would be at the Presque Isle Lighthouse. Before arriving at that lighthouse, though, we made one other stop along the park road beside a swamp.
Presque Isle State Park Swamp
Crow in a Tree at Swamp
Our last stop at Presque Isle State Park was at the Presque Isle Lighthouse.
Presque Isle Lighthouse
Presque Isle Lighthouse Beach
On Sunday we spent the afternoon with our granddaughters, taking them on an outing to Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY — the subject of my next blog post.
It was a wonderful weekend to be out and about…a tease for the Spring to come.
Early afternoon on New Year’s Day we left on our first road trip in 2017…a day trip to Erie for dinner, shopping and some sightseeing.
We ate a late lunch at Texas Roadhouse, using a gift card that we obtained via Discover Card reward points. Neither of us felt like eating steak. Bob ordered the pulled pork entree with a house salad and green beans. I ordered the smothered chicken entree with a house salad and loaded baked potato.
After lunch we went to Wegmans and purchased a few grocery items.
From Wegmans we went to Michaels, where I picked up five photo boxes and a picture frame for the 3-5×7 prints from our granddaughters’ back to school photo session. I used a gift card that Bob gave me for my purchases. The picture frame fits perfectly in the space above the thimble shadow box.
New picture frame
I think I will keep the middle picture displayed in this picture frame and change out the left and right pictures yearly.
From Michaels we drove to Holland Street. A new sculpture interpreting Erie’s industrial heritage was installed at the corner of East 13th and Holland streets late last month. The sculpture, which consists of a horse pulling the world, represents the Erie region’s transition from an agricultural society to a manufacturing one. The lighting wasn’t great, so I didn’t take a picture of the sculpture. Now that we know where the sculpture is located, though, we can check it out again on another trip to Erie.
Our last stop before beginning our drive back home was at the South Pier.
The North Pier Lighthouse is reachable either by car from Presque Isle State Park or by boat.
What a beautiful start to the new year. We enjoyed the abundant sunshine and temperatures above freezing. We were surprised to find very little snow close to the lake. Snow began to disappear a couple miles before the lake shore. We had at least 6 inches of snow on the ground in our hometown of Warren, which is located about an hour’s drive east of Erie, when we left on our day trip.