The Beauty Around Us

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Maine Vacation: Our 4th of July

Our Fourth of July was different this year.  We didn’t attend an Independence Day parade.  We didn’t host (or attend) a picnic.  We didn’t even eat picnic food.  We did, though, go see a fireworks display.  It wasn’t a typical Fourth of July holiday for us, but we still had a very enjoyable day.

 

Bob went for a hike this morning at Dodge Point Reserve near Damariscotta. 

From the parking area, Bob followed a portion of the shore trail from Brickyard Beach to Pebble Beach, then back up to the old farm road returning to the parking area. Bob reckons he walked about 2.5 miles.  There were a few muddy areas, but Bob managed to navigate around / through them without getting muddy.

While Bob was hiking at Dodge Point Reserve, I was relaxing back at Pioneer Motel.  My main activities were reading and attempting to get a good photograph of a resident bird.

This picture is as good as it got. Bob says that this bird is an Eastern Phoebe.

Late this morning we drove to Thomaston to go to the Maine State Prison Showroom.  The showroom is an outlet for the crafts made by the inmates of Maine State Prison. 

The Window Display at Maine State Prison Showroom caught my eye!

We bought a yo-yo and a lighthouse bird feeder.  The merchandise is priced fairly and reasonable throughout Maine State Prison Showroom!

This is the bird feeder that we purchased at the Maine State Prison Showroom.

Leaving the showroom we followed Route 97 to 220 and back to Route 1, thereby seeing more of Mid-Coast Maine.

 

We ate lunch at Damariscotta River Grill and then returned to Pioneer Motel.

This evening we watched the fireworks in Boothbay Harbor from the Fishermen’s Memorial Park in front of Our Lady Queen of Peace church.

Waiting for 4th of July fireworks

The fireworks display was excellent.

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

– TO BE CONTINUED –

Maine Vacation: Peru VT to Edgecomb ME

We got up at 4:45 am this morning, which isn’t surprising as we were in bed by 9:30 pm last night.  I had hoped to see the sunrise.  We had a good vantage point from which to see the sunrise, but it was raining.  We did enjoy sitting outside on our covered balcony, though, while it rained.

The Lodge at Bromley provided a complimentary hot breakfast beginning at 7:00 am.  We were disappointed with breakfast.  We expected scrambled eggs, hot potatoes, a breakfast meat, waffles and a variety of pastries (donuts, muffins, etc.).  I guess Best Western and other chain hotels have spoiled us.  The Lodge at Bromley provided hard boiled eggs, miniature waffles because the amount of batter was insufficient, plain bagels, breads, yogurt, cereal, juices and hot beverages. You would think that the hot water would be hot at 7:00 am.  It was lukewarm.  I had to request hot water, which the staff quickly took care of.  With the exception of breakfast, our stay at The Lodge at Bromley was good.

We checked out of the hotel and was on our way to Edgecomb ME at 7:40 am.  As we did the prior day, we instructed the GPS to avoid highways.

Our first stop was in Springfield VT, where we went for a short walk.  The highlight of our walk was seeing a waterfall.

Black River Falls

Before reaching Springfield I read that the town had a waterfall and that it had been selected to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie, which, like the Simpsons TV show, is set in a town called Springfield.  I saw a photograph of the Springfield Movie Theater taken on July 21, 2007. The photo showed the marquee displaying the premiere for The Simpsons Movie as well as a giant pink donut.  During our walk I looked for a place resembling the photograph.  I found the movie theater but no marquee.  As we were walking back to our car, I stopped a policeman who was walking towards us.  I asked the policeman about the marquee.  I learned that the marquee and any other memorabilia from the premiere of The Simpsons Movie was on display in the Chamber of Commerce, which was closed when we passed by it.

Sign seen when leaving Springfield … OH, there’s the Simpson marquee!

Our second stop was at the Goode Shoppe Lollipop in New Hampton NH, where I purchased a lawn ornament.

Goode Shoppe Lollipop

Oh my!  So much to choose from!

Goode Shoppe Lollipop

The lawn ornament, though, that prompted a stop here was a lawn ornament that I had spotted in someone’s yard a ways back — a yellow cat on a bicycle spinner.

A new home for Kitty Bike Spinner

 

Our third stop was for lunch at Subway in Moultonboro NH.  We saw a baby bear run across the road, in front of us, less than a mile from Subway!

Our fourth stop was in Standish ME, at the Sebago Lake Overlook.

Lower Bay of Sebago Lake

This is a fairly new overlook. In January 2018 the Standish Town Council voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement with the Portland Water District to allow the overlook to be built on district property and maintained by the town.

The mountains seen beyond the lake are New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

We checked into Pioneer Motel in Edgecomb, ME at 3:30 pm.  We will spend the next 7 nights here, while we explore MidCoast Maine.  Pioneer Motel is a work in progress.  There are three single story buildings of rooms, two buildings in the front and one building in the back.  The two buildings in front have been turned into rental apartments.  The building in the back is the motel.  The owner is actively cleaning up the grounds and renovating motel rooms. 

Pioneer Motel
Our room is the first one on the left.

Pioneer Motel (expanded view)
Our room is the first room on the left.

Three rooms were renovated this Spring.  Our room has a new door, new windows, a patio door, new flooring, new furnishings and is newly painted throughout.  It was tastefully decorated with a white, gray and black theme. 

Our Motel Room
Before (Bottom) and After (photos provided by Pioneer Motel)

Our Motel Room
Before (Bottom) and After (photos provided by Pioneer Motel)

 

This is the view from our room. The two buildings are rental apartments.

I took that previous photograph from the porch. The porch is really LONG!

The owner said that he plans to create a screened-in porch for each of the room, with individual stairs leading to each room.

The owner is in the process of installing decks on the back of each motel room.

The owner said that he plans to place a bistro set (table and two chairs) on each deck.

At a cost of $350.00+tax for the week our room is a real bargain.  

 

We left in search of dinner around 5:00 PM.  We drove the short distance to the town of Damariscotta.  We ate dinner at Schooner Landing Restaurant. 

Schooner Landing Restaurant

We sat outside, on the dock.  Our view was the Damariscotta River.  I had a classic fish fry; Bob had Cajun blackened fish.  Schooner Landing Restaurant was a good choice for dinner.

We returned to Pioneer Motel at 6:00 pm, where we stayed for rest of the evening.

This blog post concludes Day 2 of our 10-day Maine vacation (June 28-July 7, 2019).

– TO BE CONTINUED –

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 2: Annapolis, MD to Chincoteague, VA

On Sunday, April 7th, at 7:10 am we departed the Best Western Annapolis and continued our drive to Chincoteague, VA.

We crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge about 10 minutes later.

Our first stop at 9:00 am was at the Salisbury Zoological Park in Salisbury, MD.  We arrived just as the zoo was opening.  

Salisbury Zoo – East Gate Entrance

We spent a couple hours walking around this wonderful, free zoo.  I created this slideshow to share with you some of the birds and animals that we saw, while at the zoo.

This was Bob’s first time at the Salisbury Zoo; it was my second visit.  My first visit was more than 30 years ago in August 1982.

Our second stop was for lunch at Subway at the intersection of Routes 13 and175.

After lunch, we crossed Route 13 and took Route 175 to Chincoteague Island, VA.

Our third stop was at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island, VA. 

Located on the East Coast along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is the largest, natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region that remains predominantly unaffected by human development. The Virginia portion of the island is designated as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of 448 acres in the refuge’s Toms Cove area maintained by the National Park Service.  These 448 acres are part of the Assateague Island National Seashore.  The Assateague State Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore are located on Assateague Island, MD.  This year marks our fifth visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, VA.

Admission to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is $20.00, which is good for multiple days.  We didn’t have to pay the admission fee, as I purchased a National Park Service senior pass in February 2018, when I turned 62 years old.

We rode our bicycles on the Woodland Trail.   The Woodland Trail, which takes you through a pine forest, is 1.6 miles round trip, paved and wheelchair accessible.  The trail is open to both walkers and cyclists.  A couple years ago many of the pine trees were damaged by a southern pine beetle infestation. 

We went for a bicycle ride on the Woodland Trail. This boardwalk leads to an observation platform from which you may see wild ponies.

We looked for wild ponies from this observation platform. We didn’t see any ponies.

Leaving the Woodland Trail, we rode our bicycles on the Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore and back to the Woodland Trail parking lot.

 

We saw two horses and riders at the beach.

 

Egrets are popular at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

We watched one egret, as it was hunting, standing immobile or wading through wetlands, to when it suddenly took flight.

Great Egret Hunting

Great Egret, Lift Off

Great Egret in Flight

Great Egret in Flight

We watched another egret standing in a tree.

Great Egret in a Tree

We rode our bicycles a total of 4.16 miles on Woodland Trail and to and from the beach.

We arrived at Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental, at approximately 3:00 pm–1 hour before check-in time. Tranquil Shores is located on Chincoteague Island, VA.  I telephoned our host shortly before we checked in to see if an early check in was possible (and it was).  Tranquil Shores was our home away from home for 5 nights.  I will publish a separate blog post pertaining to Tranquil Shores in the near future.

An hour later the car was unpacked.  At 4:40 pm we left to pick up some groceries.  We shopped at Food Lion at the intersection of Routes 13 and 175.  We picked up dinner, breakfast foods, snacks and beer. 

Tonight’s dinner was rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a sampler cheesecake platter, which lasted us through four dinners.

We watched a couple episodes of NYPD Blue and then went to bed. As a side note, we started watching NYPD Blue on Amazon Prime in early February this year.  NYPD Blue is an American police drama set in New York City, exploring the struggles of the fictional 15th Precinct detective squad in Manhattan.  The series was originally broadcast on the ABC network, debuted on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005.  Bob says this was one of his favorite TV shows.  We both saw the series, when it aired.   We may or may not have seen each episode, though.  I certainly do not remember each episode’s story line.  There are 12 seasons, 261 episodes.  We watched Season 9 episodes, while on vacation.

Please check back soon for more blog posts about our Chincoteague vacation.

Presque Isle State Park Day Trip

We left home at 10:00 am on Saturday, January 26th, en route Erie.  I did not like traveling on either Follett Run Road or Preston Road, both of which were snow covered and hilly.  The road surface for the remainder of our drive to Erie was good.  We drove to the following destinations, while in Erie:  Presque Isle State Park. Cheddars Scratch Kitchen, Best Buy and Sam’s Club.

Arriving at Presque Isle State Park, we drove around the peninsula, making a few stops along the way. 

Soon after entering the park, we noticed the trees were coated with white snow.

The snow-covered trees along Peninsula Drive were gorgeous!

We saw the new emergency intake tower, which often is mistaken for a lighthouse, at the Waterworks area.  Bob and I have always referred to the tower as a lighthouse.  I told Bob that the lighthouse was in a different spot, when we first saw it.  Bob said no it wasn’t.  I said yes it is.  Well, I am right.  I have photographic and written proof!

This was the old Waterworks Lighthouse.

The old Waterworks Lighthouse was removed in late 2017.  It is believed that the emergency intake tower was installed in the early 1900s. The valve apparatus has not been operational for decades,

The newly restored and repainted lighthouse was installed in September 2018.  It is located to the left of the original lighthouse and quite a bit forward of the sign seen in the photograph displayed above.  It was installed on land, not on water.  Donations helped to pay for the $80,000 project, with $50,000 coming from the Dan and Sallie Shipley Charitable Fund.

This is the new Waterworks Lighthouse.

Jayme, one of Bob’s coworkers, told Bob that he would be ice fishing on either Misery Bay or Horseshoe Pond.  We planned to walk across the ice to where Jayme was fishing.  As it turned out, Jayme didn’t go to Presque Isle to ice fish, as he had heard that the ice wasn’t good.  There were some ice fishing huts both on Misery Bay and Horseshoe Pond.

Horseshoe Pond Houseboats and Ice Fishing Hut

This houseboat with a replica of the North Pier Lighthouse is my favorite of all the houseboats on Horseshoe Pond.

Panoramic Image of some of the houseboats on Horseshoe Pond and Ice Fishing Huts

Continuing around Presque Isle we stopped at the Waterworks area, located across Peninsula Drive from where we had stopped earlier to admire the new Waterworks Lighthouse.  We were on the lake side of the peninsula.

Lake Erie

Today was Snow Day at Presque Isle State Park.  At the event, organized by the Presque Isle Partnership, visitors could enjoy everything from dog sled and snow show demonstrations, to outdoor cooking and ice fishing.  Our interest in stopping at this event was to see a dog sled demonstration, which we did. 

Bob captured video of the dog sled demonstration, while I captured still images.  Bob’s video is short, only a little over a minute.  So please do click on the play button!

 

 

Dog Sled Demo at Presque Isle Snow Day event

 

Shortly before the dog sled demo we petted one of the Siberian Huskies, a beautiful girl named Meeka.  She was really soft!  Meeka was the lead dog in the dog sled demonstration that we watched.

From Presque Isle State Park we drove to Cheddars Scratch Kitchen, where we ate lunch.  Bob ordered from the “Lighter Side”.  The entree Bob chose was bourbon-glazed grilled salmon over seasoned rice, broccoli cheese casserole and a house salad.  I ordered from “Comfort Food”.  My entree was homemade chicken pot pie with a house salad.  We enjoyed both of our meals.

From Cheddars we drove to Best Buy.  In June 2017 I purchased a 10.5 in. 256 GB iPad Pro tablet.  At the time I was in a quandary.  Do I buy the 10.5 in. tablet or the bigger, more expensive 12.9 in. tablet.  I chose the 10.5 in. tablet because I thought the larger tablet would be too big for me.  In hindsight, I should have purchased the 12.9 in. tablet.  Well, today, I purchased a new 12.9 in. 256 GB iPad Pro tablet, along with a Smart Keyboard case and Apple Pencil.  The Smart Keyboard case was not in stock.  I am expecting delivery of the Smart Keyboard case by Tuesday, Jan. 29th.  The new Apple Pencil attaches magnetically to my iPad, a feature that I love.  So, I am a happy owner of a new iPad Pro tablet!  I plan to sell my 10.5 in. iPad Pro, along with its keyboard and pencil, as a package in the near future.

From Best Buy we drove to Sam’s Club, where we picked up a few groceries.  We renewed our Sam’s Club membership in December last year, after allowing the membership to lapse a few months prior when Sam’s Club closed in Jamestown, NY.  The Sam’s Club in Erie is farther for us to drive than it was for us to go to Sam’s Club in Jamestown.  After several months without a membership, we decided that we go to Erie often enough that a Sam’s Club membership would be worthwhile.  Besides I miss some of the foods and paper products that we would buy at Sam’s Club.  The reason for driving to Erie on Saturday was to go to Sam’s Club.

From Sam’s Club we made our way back home.  I didn’t believe snow was in Saturday’s forecast.  Well, it snowed the whole way back home!

UPS Delivery

UPS stopped at our house late this morning.  The box that they left on our front porch was too bulky and heavy for me to take inside.

 

20150710_155245952_iOSI unpacked the box outside on our porch.

I shared this photograph on Facebook shortly before 1:00 pm.  As of 3:40 pm today, I had received two comments suggesting what might be in the unopened boxes.  Tim wrote “New long distance lens?“.  Richard asked “60#s of newspaper wrapping?”.  I will end the suspense.

Radio-Flyer-pink-tricycle
Photo obtained from babyology

We purchased two pink Radio Flyer tricycles for our granddaughters to use, while at our house.  Aren’t they going to be surprised!

Vacation at Home

I feel like we were on vacation this past weekend, without going very far from home.   I didn’t have to cook at all, Friday through Sunday.  We went for a motorcycle ride on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  We attended the Roar on the Shore motorcycle event in Erie, spent time with a friend from Virginia who is visiting her family here in Pennsylvania, and we attended a water ski show in Bemus Point, NY.  What a great weekend it was.  I will share a few photographs from our weekend with you.

We rode to Erie on Friday, July 19th, to attend “Roar on the Shore”.

This year marks the seventh year that this event has been held in Erie. According to the “Roar on the Shore” website, this motorcycle rally was created to serve as a fund-raising event for a local charity. Proceeds from this year’s rally will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Erie. “Roar on the Shore” is a 3-day event (Thursday-Saturday) and is held in downtown Erie, at Perry Square.

While in Erie we ate lunch at Molly Brannigan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant.  This was the view, while we awaited our lunch.  Bob ordered a Cobb Salad; I ordered a Pub Burger.  Both meals were delicious.  It was the first time either of us had eaten at this restaurant and would do so again.

This bar ice sculpture sat at the entrance to Molly Brannigans.  It sat outside in 90+ degree weather!

 

Besides admiring motorcycles parked along State Street and eating lunch at Molly Brannigans, we checked out several vendor booths (didn’t purchase anything) and saw the last few minutes of a motorcycle stunt show.  It was difficult to see the motorcycle stunt show, though, as a huge crowd had already gathered by the time we arrived.  As we were leaving, live music was playing.  The music sounded good; however, it was so hot in downtown Erie we opted not to stay.

On Saturday, July 20th, we went shopping in the morning at a garage sale in a town about 10 miles from our house.

We purchased a Radio Flyer wagon similar to the one shown in this photograph.  The seat belts are worn out or broken.  I ordered new seat belts yesterday.   The wagon needs cleaned out, too, before we take our granddaughters for a ride.  I am looking forward to taking the girls for a ride!

la_2750r2750_5

Christies2
We ate lunch at a newly opened restaurant in our hometown, Christie’s Downtown Pub & Grille.

Christies1
We each ordered steak subs.  The steak is not shaved steak; it is a thick, tender cut of steak. The steak sub reminded Bob of a steak sub that was served in the 1970s at a restaurant called “Teddy’s” in downtown Warren.  The steak sub was delicious!

Later that day we rode the motorcycle to Sheffield and crashed a picnic.  Our friend, Denise, who is from Virginia is visiting her family here in Pennsylvania this week.  We surprised Denise with a visit on Saturday afternoon.  Bob and I got invited to dinner 🙂

By the way Bob and I were supposed to make a return trip to Roar on the Shore on Saturday to meet up with motorcycling friends from Pittsburgh.  There was too high of a probability of rain for our friends to ride up from Pittsburgh, so Bob and I decided not to make a return trip.

On Sunday, July 21st, Bob and I went for a ride around Chautauqua Lake.  The lake is located in New York about 30 miles from our home.  We intended to stop at Bemus Point and Chautauqua Institution and perhaps in Salamanca at the casino.  Our only stop was in Bemus Point.  We stayed in Bemus Point longer than expected.  We arrived in time to watch a 45-minute water ski show.  After the water ski show, we ate lunch at the See-Zuhr House and took a walk along the lake shore.

Chautauqua Lake Water Ski Show
featuring the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Team from Medina, OH

I took this photograph at the conclusion of the water ski show.  The photograph shows the perspective from which I took the photographs of the ski show.  We could see very well to the left and right of the floating stage, but had to look through musical instruments and speakers to see the jump board that was right behind the stage.  The water ski show was free.  Other performances will be held on Saturday, August 17 at 1:00 pm and again at 3:00 pm.

After the water ski show, Bob and I ate lunch at the See-Zuhr House. We shared a beef on weck sandwich and chicken fingers, as well as a peanut butter ice cream pie.

This is the peanut butter ice cream pie that we shared.

The next few photographs are from our walk along the lake shore.

An artist at work at “A Stir of Artists” fine art show at Bemus Point Village Park

 Lake shore dining at the Village Casino

The trash cans in Bemus Point are photo worthy!

the Floating Stage on Chautauqua Lake

If you are ever in the Bemus Point area in the summer, be sure to check out who is performing on the Floating Stage on Chautauqua Lake.   The Bemus Bay Pops concert series is something you will not want to miss.

The Bob Seger Tribute band called “Hollywood Nights” was performing, as we were heading out of town.

When we returned to our motorcycle, we found another motorcycle sharing our spot. 
The other motorcycle was a Kawasaki Nomad, same as ours.

 

Some of the best vacations are the ones that you have at home!

New Condo and Perch

Whenever we come home from shopping, be it for groceries or other purchases, Patches checks out each item / bag.  She looks up at us, as if to ask “nothing for kitty?”  Patches gets excited when we bring home cat food.  She purrs loudly and rubs against the cat food bag as well as our legs.  She looks up at us, as if to say “you brought home something for the kitty”.

 

We went shopping today and brought home something for the kitty.

I’m so happy; you brought home something for the kitty!

Ms. Patches has become a chunky kitty.
She fills up the kitty condo.

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