The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Moon’

Chincoteague VA Vacation (1st post)

We spent 5 nights at AirBnb ”Tranquil Shores” in Chincoteague VA. This is the fourth time that we have stayed at “Tranquil Shores”. We plan to return next Spring as well.

We arrived at “Tranquil Shores” around 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 14th. We left Chincoteague to return back home at 7:30 am on Tuesday, April 19th. This blog post and the next few that follow will provide details of and photographs from our Chincoteague vacation.

We got up around 6:00 am on Friday, April 15th. We sat outside on our screened in porch, drinking tea / coffee, listening to the morning bird songs as we awaited the sunrise.

Chincoteague Island Sunrise

We ate a breakfast of eggs, sausage and waffles at “Tranquil Shores”.  

After breakfast we drove to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and bicycled the wildlife loop (approximately 3 miles). 

Wildlife Loop: Tern with Fish
This is one of several ponds found on the Wildlife Loop.

After our bicycle ride, we drove to Assateague Beach, stopping at Toms Cove Visitor Center.  

Tom Cove Visitor Center

We walked on the boardwalk and, inside the Visitor Center, I got my National Park Passport cancelled with a rubber-stamp ink marking that recorded the name of the park and the date of our visit. I purchased a collectible Passport stamp set for 2022.  There are 10 stamps, one National and nine regional. 

We are lunch at Metopkin Seafood. We have eaten here a few times over the years. The food is ALWAYS delicious. Bob ordered a crab bites basket.  I ordered a fish and fries basket.  We added 6 hush puppies to our order.

After lunch we drove to Assateague Island MD.  We stopped at the Assateague Island Visitor Center, where I stamped my National Park passport, and we bought a “Night Sky” buff for Bob. 

“Night Sky” is new merchandise
for the National Parks store.

Before leaving the Visitor Center, we walked the Rackliff House Trail.  The main trailhead is located behind the Visitor Center and is about a 1-mile loop. There is a spur off that loop that connects to another trailhead located at the Assateague State Park headquarters. We walked that trail too.

Rackliffe House Trail
We really liked how the trees
formed a canopy over the trail.
Rackliffe House Trail
Looking across to Assateague Island MD
Rackliffe House Trail
On the left is the Milk House.
Behind the Milk House is Rackliffe House.
On the right is the Kitchen Garden.

We were only able to explore the grounds, as the Rackliffe House was closed.

The trail continues from the house to the Assateague State Park Aviary.  The birds were outside but behind a fenced enclosure.  We were not able to see any of the birds. I haven’t done a lot of bicycling or walking so far this year. I decided to wait at the state park, while Bob walked back to the Visitor Center.  He picked up our car and came to get me.  We drove onto Assateague Island. 

Assateague Pony
More Assateague Ponies

That evening we enjoyed watching the moon rise over Chincoteague Island.

It is really nice that we can see the sunrise and the moonrise from the comfort of “Tranquil Shores”.
The moon was so beautiful that night!

South Carolina Vacation: Myrtle Beach

Having recovered apparently from the previous days illness, we decided to drive to Myrtle Beach in the late morning on Tuesday, February 15th. It was about a 15-minute drive.  We parked along 7th Avenue and walked the boardwalk from 7th Avenue to 14th Avenue and back. It was a chilly and windy walk to 14th Avenue. 

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
You can tell how windy it was
by looking at the flags.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
This is the SkyWheel.

The SkyWheel is not a carnival ride, but a modern, safe observation wheel towering 187 feet or about 20 stories in the air. The SkyWheel has fully enclosed gondolas with glass windows and doors for optimal views and photography. The gondolas are heated and cooled allowing for year-round operation in any type of weather. A flight includes 3 revolutions and lasts about 10 – 15 minutes. We didn’t ride the SkyWheel. I don’t care for heights!

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
Beyond the palm tree is Pier 14.

Pier 14 provides opportunities for shopping, dining and fishing. The Pier was closed for the season.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
This is the view from Pier 14.

With the wind behind us, it felt warmer as we walked back to 7th Avenue.

We viewed Pier 14 from the beach.
We viewed the SkyWheel from the beach too.
Myrtle Beach boardwalk
This is a closer view of the SkyWheel.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
The sculpture in front of the SkyWheel
is called “The Goddess of the Sea”.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
“The Goddess of the Sea” sculpture

On our way back to Surfside Beach we stopped at The Market Common. The Market Common is Myrtle Beach’s premiere dining, shopping and entertainment destination. We didn’t go shopping; we didn’t attend any entertainment event. We did, however, dine. We chose the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant for lunch. Bob ordered the Ahi Tuna Salad (togarashi & sesame seed crusted seared Ahi tuna, romaine, cabbage, pickled cucumbers, wasabi vinaigrette, wonton strips, sriracha drizzle).  I ordered the CBLT Sandwich (grilled chicken, bacon, Swiss, crispy onions, tomato, lettuce, fresh avocado mayo, brioche bun).  Both entrees were good; the service was excellent.

After lunch we returned to our Airbnb ”Seaside Cottage”. We would be leaving for home the next day, so we packed. We relaxed too, especially enjoying the warmth of the backyard porch.

Bob and I relaxing on our back porch.

Oh, and I can’t forget the moon. We saw the moon each and every day, while in South Carolina. The moon became more and more beautiful, as the week progressed.

Full moon
Viewed from our backyard

Isn’t the moon gorgeous?

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!

Full Snow Moon Followed by a Snowy Day

Various Native American tribes had various names for the different moons of the year, tied to natural phenomena that reliably occurred alongside them. February is a snowy month in the northern and eastern US; hence the full “snow” moon.

The moon rise last night happened at 6:06 pm, but it didn’t rise above the hill that blocked its view until 6:50 pm.  The moon had been full 7 hours previously, so the moon that rose wasn’t completely full.

The Almost-Full Snow Moon

Four minutes later the moon had risen a little higher in the sky.

The Almost-Full Snow Moon

It was a bit chilly last evening, waiting for the moon to rise over the hill so I could see it! I had enough of the cold, so I didn’t wait for the moon to rise above the tree!

The snow moon was followed by a snowy day.

Snowy day

Currently there is a winter weather advisory in effect until 6:00 am tomorrow morning.  Mixed precipitation is expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches and ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch are expected. Snow fell during the late morning and is expected to continue through mid afternoon.  The snow is expected to change to sleet by late afternoon, then over to lighter freezing rain this evening.

Front Royal, VA to Waynesboro, VA via Skyline Drive

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina.  Earlier this week I uploaded a blog post about the first day of our vacation.  This blog post provides details and photographs of our second day of vacation.

We checked out of the Quality Inn Skyline Drive on Monday, May 15, at 6:20 am, after a complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We drove straightway to Skyline Drive; the north entrance was located within 2 miles of our hotel.  For the next 9 1/2 hours we drove the entire length of Skyline Drive (105 miles), from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap.  We stopped at LOTS of overlooks and hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls. Here are some of the photographs that I took at the overlooks.

Signal Knob Overlook
Mile 5.7 Elevation 2,090 feet

From the Signal Knob Overlook you can see Signal Knob, the northernmost peak of Massanutten Mountain.  You can also see the south fork of the Shenandoah River.

Gooney Manor Overlook
Mile 7.3 Elevation 1,930 feet
Skyline Drive Deer
Hogwallow Flats Overlook
Hogwallow Flats Overlook
Mile 13.8 Elevation 2,665 feet
Browntown Valley Overlook
Look at that moon!
Browntown Valley Overlook
Mile 14.9 Elevation 2,890 feet

The view at Browntown Valley Overlook looks straight out across the Browntown Valley to the Massanutten, with Signal Knob at its right-hand end.

Range View Overlook
Mile 17.1 Elevation 2,810 feet

From the Range View Overlook you can see Skyline Drive beckoning you on to the next overlook.

Little Devils Stairs Overlook
Mile 20.1 Elevation 3,120 feet
Hogback Overlook
Mile 21.0 Elevation 3,385 feet
Pass Mountain Overlook
Mile 30.1 Elevation 2,460 feet
Marys Rock Tunnel
Mile 32.4 Elevation 2,510 feet

Marys Rock Tunnel is 610 feet long; it was blasted through the ridge about 1932.

Hazel Mountain Overlook
Mile 33.0 Elevation 2,770 feet
Hazel Mountain Overlook
(Photo by Bob)
Hazel Mountain Overlook
This was such a serene setting!
Jewell Hollow Overlook
Mile 36.4 Elevation 3,320 feet
Jewell Hollow Overlook

There was a sign at Jewell Hollow Overlook that discussed wall construction.  The sign read: “In the 1930s, stone walls in Shenandoah National Park were built in two styles of masonry: dry-laid and ashlar.  Dry-laid walls,  like those here at Jewell Hollow Overlook, could be built by less-experienced stone workers, like the young men of the CCC, since they require only moving and aligning heavy stones–more muscle than skill…”

We saw this pretty Indigo Bunting,
while at the Jewell Hollow Overlook.
Stony Man Mountain Overlook
Mile 38.6 Elevation 3,100 feet
Profile of Stony Man
at the Stony Man Mountain Overlook

Skyland Resort is located at mile marker 41.7 and sits at Skyline Drive’s highest elevation, 3,680 feet.

Skyland Overlook
Mile 41.7 Elevation 3,680 feet
Timber Hollow Overlook
Mile 43.3 Elevation 3,360 feet
(Photo by Bob)
Crescent Rock Overlook
Mile 44.4 Elevation 3,550 feet
Crescent Rock Overlook
Franklin Cliffs Overlook
Mile 49 Elevation 3,140 feet

What can I say about Dark Hollow Falls.  I have hiked the trail to the falls three times.  The first time was with Mom in June 1994.  I was 38 years old at the time; Mom would be 56 years old in a couple months. The second time I hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls was with Bob in May 2001.  I was 45 years old at the time. Sixteen years later I hike down that trail once again to the bottom of Dark Hollow Falls. 

From the parking lot, which is located at mile marker 50.7 and at an elevation of 3,425 feet, the trail is a round trip of 1.4 miles.  The descent is about 440 feet, which means you have to climb back up from the falls 440 feet!  A trail description states that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes.  

This year the thought of hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail caused me trepidation.  I had a scare, while at Bushkill Falls earlier in the month. We were hiking around the Main Falls. We planned to do more hiking than that, intending to see more waterfalls than only Main Falls. I got lightheaded, shaky. My breathing was not good. My heart was beating very fast. My chest started to hurt. I sat down on a wooden rail for quite a while, until everything returned to normal. Then we began the climb back to the car. It took a while because I had to make lots of stops.

I had no trouble hiking down the Dark Hollow Falls trail.

Dark Hollow Falls
The hiking pole was a great help on this trail.
Dark Hollow Falls Trail
This part of the trail was bad enough going down;
I wasn’t looking forward to the upward climb!
Dark Hollow Falls
Dark Hollow Falls
(Photo by Bob)

Will I ever see Dark Hollow Falls again?  I hope so, but I told Bob that this may be my last visit to the falls.

I took it very slow on the climb back up the trail, resting frequently. Thankfully I never experienced what I did at Bushkill Falls, while hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail. But, man was I exhausted from that hike. Toward the end I began to feel quite weak from low sugar, I think, as we had not had anything to eat since 6:00 am. I mentioned earlier that a trail description stated that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes.  It took us about 2 hours to make the round trip…not bad considering all the stops I made.

Less than a mile south of the Dark Hollow Falls parking lot is Big Meadow.  We ate a picnic lunch (Bumble Bee meat spread and crackers and pineapple) at Big Meadow. We also bought Blackberry ice cream (for me) and peanut butter pie (for Bob) for dessert. I believe the blackberry ice cream is available only on Skyline Drive. It is the only place I have had that ice cream flavor. When we planned our drive to Maggie Valley, via Skyline Drive, blackberry ice cream and a Shenandoah National Park t-shirt were on my list of must-haves. In addition to the ice cream, I purchased THREE t-shirts.

It was 2:10 pm, when we continued our trip south on Skyline Drive. It wasn’t long afterward that I began to feel motion sickness. Bob parked the car at an overlook. We reclined the front seats for “20 winks”. I think Bob needed a rest, as he fell asleep for a short long time. As for me, I wasn’t feeling any better. I ended up throwing up the ice cream and pineapple that I had for lunch. I felt better, after throwing up.

We exited Skyline Drive at 4:10 pm. We didn’t make any other photo op stops at any outlooks past Big Meadow.

About a mile from our hotel we stopped at a car wash in Waynesboro. The car needed a bath, as it was covered with pollen dust and a bird had crapped on the hood.

We checked into Best Western Waynesboro around 5:00 pm. Our room number was Room 414. It was a very nice room, a two queen bed suite. The sitting area, with its couch, two comfy chairs, one end table and a coffee table, was quite nice. The living and sleeping areas were separated by a half wall.

At 6:00 pm we drove to a nearby Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Bob ordered steak; I ordered chicken fingers, which Bob helped me eat.  My stomach seemed to have settled; dinner didn’t upset it further.

After dinner we watched an episode of “Elementary” on Hulu.

We went to bed around 9:30 pm.

Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Evening Hours

Continuing on with blog posts about our Easter vacation in Virginia, today’s blog post concludes Day 3 of our vacation.

During the evening hours of Day 3 (April 4), we stayed in our hotel room and watched TV (“House of Cards” on Netflix and “Bones” on Hulu Plus), read, surfed the Internet, watched the seagulls and beach activity from our balcony, and checked in on Facebook from time to time.  I did take a short walk on the beach to capture some photographs of the waves,

I love the lighting of the waves!

I liked how the setting sun added a golden glow to everything.

Seagull coming in for a landing

Our hotel

As I was leaving the beach and returning to the hotel, I happened to notice Bob standing on our hotel room balcony.  As I mentioned in previous blog posts, our hotel room was on the 8th floor of the Best Western Oceanfront.  You can see Bob standing on the balcony of the room in the middle along on the top row.

I had hoped to be able to see the full moon rise.  I wasn’t disappointed.

April’s full moon is named the pink full moon, aptly so.  What a beautiful sight!

After watching the moon rise, we packed and prepared for our morning departure.  Our time in Virginia Beach was almost over.  Our vacation, though, still had time remaining.

Next stop:  Chincoteague Island, VA.

Weekend in Ohio – Days 3 and 4

September 7th was our last full day in Ohio.  Bob and I were showered, dressed and standing on “Top -o- World” by 6:50 am.

Top -o- World at
Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort
(photograph taken the day before)

We watched the sunrise together at 7:01 am.

The humidity and cool temperature (49 degrees!) added fog to the air.
The sunrise with fog was very pretty indeed!


Bob and I ate breakfast at the campground cafe. We ordered 2 egg cheese omelets with diced ham, home fries, toast and sausage. Orange juice and tea/coffee were complimentary. Breakfast was reasonably priced and very good.  After breakfast Bob and I walked to the West Terrace to say goodbye to our VROC friends. Everyone, except Mike, had already departed. Mike said we missed everyone else by 10 minutes. We said goodbye to Mike. Then we hopped on our motorcycle and went for a ride.

What beautiful countryside to ride in!

 We rode to Mohican State Park, near Loudonville OH.  We saw a fire tower, a covered bridge, a gorge overlook and a memorial shrine to Ohio’s deceased veterans.

According to the Mohican State Park website,
this is one of the last remaining fire towers in Ohio.

The Mohican Covered Bridge crosses over the Clearfork River.

Clearfork River

Clear Fork Gorge
The view from this overlook would be spectacular in the Autumn!

Memorial Shrine to Ohio’s Deceased Veterans

This shrine houses records of all of the names of Ohioans who lost their lives in all wars and conflicts. Printed books are available to look through, and hand written books containing all of the names are displayed under glass.

Leaving Mohican State Park we rode west and ended up in Bellville OH.  We ate lunch in Bellville at K.C.’s Steak & Ribs. Bob ordered a steak salad. I ordered grilled chicken. For dessert we shared a chocolate chip Cakie (a cookie and cake combination).  If we are ever in the Bellville area, we would definitely eat at K.C.’s again.  The food, service and ambiance were very good.

After lunch we began the ride back to the Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort . We made two stops on our way back to the campground.

Nice-looking barn!

This barn is located about half way between Bellville and Butler on Ohio State Route 97.  We passed by the barn on our way to Bellville.  When I realized that we would be passing by the barn again on our way back to the campground, I watched for it.  I asked Bob to stop so that I could take a picture.

Before we departed Bellville, Bob had programmed our route into the GPS.  He must have forgotten to instruct the GPS not to take us on dirt / gravel roads.

Riding Down Crooked Road, south of Butler OH

On Saturday, during the group ride with our VROC friends, I caught glimpse of a covered bridge. I made a mental note of the location,of that bridge. Bob and I found the “Bridge of Dreams” covered bridge during our ride.

Bridge of Dreams
located near Brinkhaven, OH

The Bridge of Dreams is 370 feet long and spans the Mohican River.  It is the second longest covered bridge in Ohio after the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, and third longest covered bridge in the United States.

The Bridge of Dreams is closed to motorized traffic but is often used by Amish buggies.  In fact, while we were at the river’s edge looking up at the bridge, we heard an Amish buggy crossing overhead.  I would have loved to capture a photograph of an Amish buggy crossing this bridge!

We planned to eat dinner at the campground cafe, same as the night before. Our plans changed, though, when I discovered that the kitchen and camp office/store closed at 4:00 pm. We ate dinner at East of Chicago in Shreve, located about 3 miles from the campground. Bob ordered a buffalo chicken salad. I ordered a personal size pizza with pepperoni and a side salad. The food was good.

The moon was almost full our last night in Ohio.
We were able to see it from our cabin’s porch swing.


The next day we departed Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, en route home, at 7:20 am. Our first stop was an hour later on U.S. Route 62 near Canton OH.  We stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant.  We made it home around 1:30 pm.   What a wonderful weekend we had!

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