The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘McKean County PA’

The End to Cabin Fever

As it was for much of the United States, we experienced cold weather and bitter wind chills at the end of January.  On the morning of February 2nd Pennsylvania’s legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, which means that Spring is right around the corner.  I hope that Phil is correct in his prediction.  Regardless of whether he is right or wrong, Spring will be here on March 20th.  Here, in Northwestern Pennsylvania, the weather forecast this past Saturday for the next several days makes it look like Spring is on our doorstep.

Spring is knocking on our door!


We went for a drive late Sunday morning into the early afternoon. 

A portion of our drive was along the eastern side of the Allegheny Reservoir.  Our first stop was at Big Bend Recreation Area, located just below Kinzua Dam, where we looked for eagles.  We didn’t see any.  

We continued our drive on Pennsylvania Route 59 to Pennsylvania Route 321 past Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.  We stopped here.

Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir

The “My Two Cents” Snowman at Sugar Bay

Bob built the snowman, while I was taking pictures of the bay.

Continuing our drive on Pennsylvania Route 321 we came to a T-intersection.  We turned left onto Pennsylvania Route 346.  At he New York state line Pennsylvania Route 346 becomes New York State Route 280.  We followed Route 280 to Allegany State Park.  

We drove through Allegany State Park, making only one photo stop.  We drove over a bridge and had gotten a few hundred feet further along the road, when I said to Bob “We have to turn around!  I saw something that I want to photograph!”.  Bob turned around.

A snow and ice sculpture I found in one of the streams at Allegany State Park.

A snow and ice sculpture

Bob said the snow and ice sculpture resembled a porcupine.  I thought it resembled a peacock or turkey, with its feathers fanned out.  

From Allegany State Park we made our way back home.  We returned home around 2:00 pm.  I am glad that we went for a drive.  What a beautiful day it was with blue skies, brilliant sunshine and a high temperature of 52 degrees!  I could feel my cabin fever breaking, as the sunshine beamed down through the moon roof and especially when I stepped out into the pleasantly warm outdoor air. 

Indian Foods Dinner

Tim, one of Bob’s high school classmates, invited us in early September to join he and his wife for a traditional Indian Thanksgiving dinner. That dinner, the 58th Annual Indian Foods Dinner, was held yesterday at 1:00 pm.

The Indian Foods Dinner is sponsored by the Jimersontown Presbyterian Church. The dinner was held at the Seneca Nation of Indians Administration Building in Salamanca, NY. When we arrived at the administration building around noon, Tim and Kathy were already seated at a table set for eight. We gave our names to the cashier, then Tim’s name, then Kathy’s name…reservations were under Kathy’s name. We paid our $13.00 each and joined Kathy and Tim. Bob sat next to Tim. I sat next to Kathy. As I wrote earlier, Bob and Tim know each other from high school. Bob remembers Tim from a younger age in the neighborhood and riding the bus to high school together. Bob had never met Kathy. I knew Tim only from Facebook. He commented on photographs that I posted in the You Grew Up in Warren PA Facebook group and was, in general, a frequent commenter on other posts in the group. Conversation flowed quickly. Bob and Tim reminisced; Tim, Kathy and I initiated the small talk that begins the process of getting to know one another. We were joined by a woman. I didn’t catch her name. She sat down next to Bob. Just before the pastor of the church welcomed us to the dinner, Wayne and Lori  joined us. Lori sat next to me; Wayne sat next to Lori. Another woman joined us, sitting down next to Wayne. I didn’t catch her name either.

We were welcomed to the dinner by the pastor of Jimersontown Presbyterian Church. He, then, introduced us to Tyler Heron. Tyler is one of the organizers of the dinner, as well as one of the preparers of the traditional foods. In addition, Tyler is featured in the film “Lake of Betrayal” narrating portions of the film and appearing in segments of the film. Lake of Betrayal is the story of Kinzua Dam. The film examines the US government’s taking of Native lands for dam building and the extraordinary fight the Seneca Nation undertook to protect its sovereignty and ensure its cultural survival. This film will be aired on PBS November 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm. A short word of prayer was said, after Tyler spoke to us. Then it was time to eat.

The menu for the Indian Foods Dinner included Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes with gravy, Green Beans, Hulled Corn Soup, Roast Venison, Boiled Corn Bread, Pumpkin Pie, Cranberry Sauce, Cole Slaw, Fry Bread, Apple Cider, Coffee and Water.

My plate of food (minus the venison)
I gave my venison to Bob.

The food was delicious.

During dinner, conversation continued to flow nicely. New friendships were initiated. I really enjoyed Tim, Kathy, Lori and Wayne’s company. Kathy and I are the same age, as are Bob and Tim. Lori is a few years younger than Kathy and me. Lori is older than Wayne. Kathy, Lori and I are all older than our husbands. Some of the things I learned about our new friends include the following. Kathy traveled cross country years ago. She slept in a pop up tent that was attached to a pickup truck. Kathy and Lori are nurses. Wayne and Lori moved to New York from Texas recently. Wayne and Lori enjoy travel. Everyone likes to eat at Sprague’s Maple Farms and at The Plaza in Warren. Wayne and Lori have a blended family. Lori and Wayne have six children; no grandchildren.  I believe we are well on our way to new friendships.

It was 3:00 pm, when we said our goodbyes and parted ways. Tim said we should do something together again. I hope that we do. We had a good time.

Leaving the Seneca Nation of Indians Administration Building, Bob and I drove to Allegany State Park.

DA211811Seneca Nation of Indians Administration Building
(view from ASP 1 overlook)

From ASP 1 we enter Allegany State Park’s Red House area.  We made stops at Stone Tower, the Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge and the Red House Administration Building.

DA211819Stone Tower
The Stone Tower dates from 1933.  It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps,
as part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal effort.

The lure of Stone Tower is the panoramic view afforded from its vantage point.

DA211815View from Stone Tower

DA211818View from Stone Tower road

Our next stop was at the Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge.

DA211827Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge

The Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge was built in 1989. It is a pedestrian bridge. In addition to foot traffic, the bridge is used by bicyclists and, in the winter, by snowmobile riders.  Its 110-foot length spans Red House Creek.

Our last stop in the Red House area was at the Red House Administration Building.

The Pumpkins in the Park event was just ending, when we arrived at the Red House Administration Building.

I found this flyer on the Allegany State Park’s Facebook page.  The information about this event indicated it was in its second year.


We received an Autumn welcome
at the Red House Administration Building.

IMG_20171021_155841Bob took this picture of me with a large smiling pumpkin that we found
on the grounds of the Red House Administration Building.

We left the Red House area and drove to Quaker Lake.

DA211837Quaker Lake

Our plan for Allegany State Park was to take some pictures and hang out until 7:00 pm, when Paul Crawford would be performing at the Quaker Bath House in the lakeside room.  According to promotional information about the concert, Paul has been playing contemporary and classic rock, contemporary country, and some originals for over twenty-five years. Paul is the administrator on a few Facebook pages that feature the Allegany State Park. I have enjoyed his photography on those pages for a few years but have never heard him play guitar and sing.

DA211840Quaker Lake
Across the lake is the Quaker Bath House.

Bob and I decided a 4-hour wait for Paul’s concert was too long. I took a few pictures in the park, and then we left for home. I hope in the future we have another opportunity to hear Paul perform.

On our way back home from Allegany State Park, we stopped briefly at Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir in McKean County, PA.

The water in the Allegheny Reservoir is quite low.

A father and son, with kayaks, arrived at Sugar Bay as we were leaving. They would have to carry (or drag) the kayaks quite a distance before reaching open water.

What a great day!  We ate a very tasty dinner; we made new friends; and we enjoyed Autumn’s beauty at Allegany State Park.


Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent the day with my best friend — my husband, Bob.

We awakened early and watched a couple episodes of “House of Cards” before 9:00 am. “House of Cards” is an American political drama television series.  The entire first season, 13 episodes, premiered on February 1, 2013, on Netflix.  A second season of 13 episodes premiered on February 14, 2014.   Netflix announced on February 4, 2014 that the show had been renewed for a third season.  Both Bob and I enjoyed watching “House of Cards”.  We watched the last episode of Season 2 last night, after returning home from my birthday drive.  We look forward to Season 3.  It will be a long wait.

After watching a couple episodes of “House of Cards” yesterday morning, we went for a drive.  Our final destination was the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, NY; however, we made a few stops along the way.

Our first stop was at Kinzua Dam.

While at Kinzua Dam, we spotted a couple eagles standing way out on the ice.  I barely had time to get my camera from the back seat and exchange a 12-50mm lens for a 75-300mm lens, before the eagles flew off.  I need to learn how to capture good pictures of birds in flight. My pictures are grainy and blurry. Part of the problem is that I don’t have enough reach with my camera lens, even though my 75-300mm lens provides an equivalent focal length of 600mm. The other problem I have is focusing on a moving object, especially when I have only one opportunity to lock in that focus.

This is the best picture of an eagle in flight that I captured yesterday.

From Kinzua Dam we continued on Route 59 to McKean County, where we turned left onto Route 321.  This route was most picturesque, with the trees frosted with snow and the overcast sky giving way to blue skies.

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Upon reaching the intersection of Routes 321 and 346, we turned right onto Route 346 (towards Bradford, PA).

Marilla Reservoir

After a quick photo stop at Marilla Reservoir, we continued on Route 346 to Bradford.  We turned left onto Route 4009, which we followed to Allegany State Park.

Our first stop was at Science Lake.

Quaker Lake

Bob, with Red House Administration Building in background

Bob took this photograph of me, with Red House Administration Building in background

Red House Administration Building

We started our drive outside the park from the Red House area.  We drove along ASP Route 1 to the park’s Salamanca, NY entrance.

We saw young deer grazing alongside ASP Route 1.

There is a scenic overlook just past the Salamanca entrance to Allegany State Park.  The overlook provides a spectacular view over the valley and to the hills in the distance.

The road seen in this photograph is Interstate 86.
In the distance there is a farm.
If you see yellow farm buildings, you have located the farm.

I have always wanted to photograph this farm. I admire it each time we pass it Interstate 86.  I never stopped to take a picture because of the fast-moving traffic. When I recognized the farm from the scenic overlook, I was so happy that I had my long lens with me.

Valent Dairy Farm, as seen from ASP 1 overlook

From the scenic overlook, it was only a few minutes’ drive to the Seneca Allegany Casino.  We arrived at the casino in the early afternoon. We ate lunch at Thunder Mountain Buffet.  The casino has a special promotion on every Sunday through Thursday through February 27–buy a buffet and get $15 free slot play.  Bob and I received $15 each. I received an extra $5 credit because it was my birthday (another promotion). Bob received an extra $10 credit on his card. We don’t know why, although I think it was because he had enough points on his card to qualify for $10 free slot play. According to the “Free Slot Day Every Day You Play” promotion, Bob should have received an email informing him of the $10 free slot play.  As far as I know, he didn’t receive that email (or he overlooked it).  We had a good luck at the casino!  I left the casino with $46 and change; Bob left with $19 and change. I didn’t spend a penny of my money. Bob did spend $33 for our lunches, which was my birthday present.   It was nice that he got back $19 of that expenditure.

It was a great day overall, one of my favorite birthday celebrations.

First Sighting

It wasn’t at our house, but it wasn’t far from our house.  We drove only a short distance before we had our first sighting.

This is the first snowfall of the 2012-2013 season.  I know it is too much to hope for that this will be all we see this season.

We went for a drive today.  Rimrock was not our destination.  I need to sort through, edit and upload the photographs from our destination.  I’ll share photographs and details of today’s daycation with you in my next blog post.

Sunday Drive: Sugar Bay on Allegheny Reservoir

Bob and I went for a drive this past Sunday (July 22).  We made four stops, while on our drive.  This blog post shares photographs from our first stop, which was at Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.


an Osprey on its nest

Nine Geese all in a Row

One Lone Deer on the Far Shore

The deer made a hasty retreat when Bob and I were joined by a man, woman and their dog.

This photograph shows the lovely view of Sugar Bay from our vantage point.

Allegheny National Forest

Late this morning Bob and I went for a drive through a portion of the Allegheny National Forest located between Sheffield and Kane.  Our drive took us about 30 miles from our Warren, PA home.

We made one stop in the forest. That stop was alongside the East Branch Tionesta Creek.

Tionesta Scenic Area

Tionesta Scenic Area

We had hoped to see some deer, maybe a bear, while riding through the scenic area. The only wildlife we saw were birds. It was a pleasant drive all the same, and one that I am sure we will make again someday.

An Afternoon Spent with Tom and Heather

We have two families – the families that we were born into and our Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) family. We have strong ties to both families. We spent yesterday afternoon with Tom and Heather, two members of our VROC family, whom we met briefly at the Wolfman’s Wandering Rally in June 2009.

Tom and Heather at Wolfman’s Wandering Rally 2009

Tom was looking at me, as I took this picture. Heather is sitting beside Tom, behind her mother. Although we had not seen either Heather or Tom since June 2009, we kept in touch via blogging and Facebook.On June 18 I received a Facebook message from Tom. He and Heather were planning a short camping trip to Evangola State Park, which is located along the shores of Lake Erie in New York between the cities of Dunkirk and Buffalo. Tom expressed an interest in riding through the Allegheny National Forest on Saturday and asked if I had any tips as to what is a must-see while around that area. I replied to Tom’s message the next day, providing him a list of places to see while in the Allegheny National Forest. I told Tom that Bob and I would be happy to ride with Heather and him, if they wanted to meet up with us. Tom replied to my message that same day. He and Heather would definitely like to meet up with us.Tom and Heather arrived at our house around 11:15 AM this past Saturday. Soon after their arrival we departed for downtown Warren. After Tom and Heather had topped off their fuel at Kwik Fill and took a few photographs of downtown Warren, we were on our way to the Allegheny National Forest.We followed the Allegheny River to Kinzua Dam.

Our first stop was at Kinzua Dam.

Our second stop was at Rimrock Overlook, which provides a lofty view of the Allegheny Reservoir.

Bob, Tom and Heather at Rimrock Overlook

Heather, Bob and Tom on stone stairway that leads to the base of Rimrock Overlook

Stone Stairway

Leaving Rimrock Overlook we backtracked a little ways to Jakes Rocks Overlook. Here we enjoyed one last look at Kinzua Dam.

Tom and Heather at Jakes Rocks Kinzua Dam Overlook

Leaving Jakes Rocks we took Longhouse Scenic Drive (FR262) to SR321, where we turned right towards Kane. Before reaching Kane we stopped for lunch at Bob’s Trading Post.

After lunch we rode through Kane and Mt. Jewett to Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Tom and Heather at Kinzua Bridge State Park
In the background is what is left of Kinzua Bridge.

It has been 8 years since Kinzua Bridge was blown down by a tornado. Remnants of the bridge still lay on the forest floor. I wrote a blog post about the Kinzua Bridge in September 2009. If you are interested in reading that post about Kinzua Bridge and seeing a few more photographs, you may do so by clicking here.

From Kinzua Bridge State Park we made our way to Quaker Lake at Allegany State Park in New York, where we said our goodbyes. I’m so happy that Tom contacted me about his and Heather’s plan for riding through the Allegheny National Forest. Bob and I enjoyed Tom and Heather’s company and enjoyed riding with them. The chilly and wet weather couldn’t put a damper on the good times that we shared.

Tom uploaded a blog post about our ride through Allegheny National Forest as well. Please visit Tom and Heather’s blog, “Tales from the O.C.”, to read his description of the day’s ride as well as view additional pictures from the ride.

Click here for a map of Saturday’s ride.


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