The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Sunset’

Ohio Vacation Day 3 – Brandywine Falls (6/27/2021)

We attempted to go to Brandywine Falls late this morning, but the parking lot was full. A sign said to try again after 5:00 pm. We went to the Boston Mill Visitor Center instead and lunch afterward.

After lunch we returned to Brandywine Falls. The parking lot was open, earlier than the estimated 5:00 pm reopening. We walked down to the waterfall overlook, took a few pictures there and along the boardwalk trail, and climbed back up to the parking lot.

Boardwalk trail to Brandywine Falls
The boardwalk trail to Brandywine Falls
winds around these huge boulders.
Selfie Time
Brandywine Falls (long exposure)

From Brandywine Falls we returned to our rental Airbnb in Hudson OH, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon and evening. Our Airbnb hosts have three parrots, whom I shared photographs of in an earlier blog post. We visited with Mickey this afternoon on our deck.

This is Mickey

How cool that Mickey sat on our shoulders!

Mickey on my shoulder
Mickey on Bob’s shoulder
Great Egret in Airbnb Wetlands
A Beautiful Sunset at Airbnb to end the Day

Ohio Vacation Day 2 (6/26/2021)

I got up for the day at 5:45 am, as Bob was leaving for a bicycle ride. Bob rode a portion of the Bike and Hike Trail. He reached the trail by bicycling neighborhood streets across from our rental Airbnb. He got on the trail near the Bridgewater Blvd-Nottingham Gate Blvd-Terex Road intersections. He rode as far south as Bow Wow Beach. Bob said he rode 10 miles total.

While Bob was bicycling, I sat for a short time on the deck enjoying the view and birdsong.

We ate breakfast, after Bob returned from his bicycle ride. Bob had scrambled eggs and orange juice. I had orange juice and instant oatmeal.

We added another 10.15 miles to Bob’s total bicycle miles. We drove to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and rode the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail (Please click on link!) from the Ira Trailhead to Peninsula and back.

After our bicycle ride, we stayed in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and drove to Kendall Lake.

We ate a picnic lunch at Kendall Lake.

There is a 1-mile trail around Kendall Lake. We hope to walk the trail another day.

Before returning to our rental Airbnb, we drove to Walmart and picked up a few more grocery items.

We stayed “home” for rest of the afternoon and evening and enjoyed the beauty of our rental Airbnb and its grounds. We walked down to the pond to check out the view of the pond from that vantage point.

Canadian Geese are frequent visitors to the wetlands at our Airbnb.
The wetlands at our Airbnb
Our Airbnb hosts have an aviary.
nside the aviary are three parrots!
This is Mickey.
This is Kiwi.
This is Pepe, who is blind.

Later in the afternoon I captured photographs of songbirds and eagles. I photographed the songbirds and eagles from the comfort of our deck.

Female House Finch
Male and Female House Finches
Red-Winged Blackbird
Baltimore Oriole Enjoying Grape Jelly
Two eagles in a tree snag in the wetlands
An eagle in the wetlands

In addition to two adult eagles, we have seen two juvenile eagles as well. The eagles are way, way out in the pond. The pictures of the eagles were taken with a camera lens having an effective focal length of 1200mm. The pictures are heavily cropped.

Tonight’s dinner was stuffed green peppers with baked potatoes.

We enjoyed a colorful sunset, before going to bed.

Sunset at Airbnb

Chincoteague Vacation: “Tranquil Shores”

We spent 5 nights (April 7th through April 11th), at Chincoteague, Virginia in an Airbnb rental called “Tranquil Shores”.  Our host, Joseph, gave me permission to include details of his Airbnb in a blog post.  The complete listing for this AirBnB rental may be seen by clicking here.

Here is a Google Map picture of our Airbnb accommodation.

“Tranquil Shores”

“Tranquil Shores” is the right side of this duplex house.  We had use of that entire side of the duplex. The entrance to the home was via the wooden steps on the side of the house. We entered the door code, opened the door and we walked inside.  The entry door opens to the kitchen.

Eat-in Kitchen

The kitchen contains all the essentials of cooking and dining to include cookware, dinnerware, utensils, stove, oven, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, spices, and so much more.  We didn’t use it, but there was coffee grounds in the freezer for the coffeemaker.  We brought the tea kettle that you see in this picture.  We boiled water for hot tea and coffee.  Bob used an Aeropress to make coffee.

The kitchen and living room form a Great Room.

Living Room

There is access to a Screened Porch from the Living Room.

Screened Porch

The living room was comfortable, and we made frequent use of the screened porch.

In addition to the kitchen and living room, this Airbnb rental has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Two of the bedrooms (queen bed and twin bed) and one bathroom are located downstairs.  A washer and dryer are located in the downstairs bathroom.  The master bedroom (king bed) and second bathroom are located on the second floor.  There is access to a balcony from the master bedroom.  We made use of only the master bedroom.  The bed was very comfortable and provided for a good night’s sleep. Bed linens and towels are not provided in the rental cost. They are available, however, for an added fee of $10.00 per bed.  We saved $10.00 by bringing our own towels and bed linens.


Tranquil Shores, as seen from Maddox Blvd.

This AirBnB rental is located at the end of a quiet road.

This is the view of the road on which “Tranquil Shores” sits. The house is at the end of this road.

The rental cost was approximately $55.00 less than the cost of a King Bed with Balcony hotel room at Best Western Chincoteague, where we have stayed in past visits.  “Tranquil Shores” was a much nicer accommodation than staying in a room in a hotel!  We had lots more space, and we were able to eat in or eat out, as desired.  We ate breakfast and either lunch or dinner at home, during our stay.  Our view at “Tranquil Shores” was much, much better than at Best Western Chincoteague too.  At Best Western Chincoteague, if you booked a balcony room, your view was the McDonald’s Restaurant across the street.  Compare that view with the view from the screened porch and balcony of our Airbnb rental.

When I took this picture, I was standing at the edge of the property. The water seen in this picture is Eel Creek.

We enjoyed daily sunrises, sunsets and wildlife viewings, while at Tranquil Shores.

Snowy Egret on Eel Creek

Osprey flying over “Tranquil Shores”

Sunset at “Tranquil Shores”, as seen from back porch

Canada Geese on Eel Creek

Sunrise at “Tranquil Shores”

Tern Gull Flying Over “Tranquil Shores”

Sunrise, on the morning of our departure

I highly recommend “Tranquil Shores” to individual travelers, couples, and families.  You will be within a couple miles of downtown Chincoteague and Assateague Island where you can enjoy Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore.  We brought our bicycles with us and enjoyed rides in the neighborhood, several rides at the wildlife refuge, as well as one ride from “Tranquil Shores” to the wildlife refuge.

Thank you, Joseph, for sharing your home with us.  We will return!



Our Chincoteague Vacation (Part 2 of 3)

This blog post continues our 3-day Easter weekend vacation at Chincoteague Island.  Our first vacation day was a travel day.

On Friday, March 25th, we ate breakfast around 6:30 am at the hotel. Our complimentary breakfast selections included scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, a variety of breads and bagels, cold and hot cereals, a variety of hot and cold beverages, waffles, and pastries. After breakfast we returned to our room and enjoyed a second cup of tea/coffee, while sitting on our third floor balcony. The rain, which was in Friday’s forecast, had not yet started. It was a breezy 57 degrees. I was comfortable sitting outside, with a fleece jacket on.

A little later in the morning we drove the 12 miles to Route U.S. Route 13 for gas at the Exxon station. When we reached the U.S. Route 13-Chincoteague Road intersection the night before, the fuel station had just closed for the day. Bob wanted to get gas there to earn Plenti points. There is a Food Lion store next door to the Exxon station. We made a quick stop there to pick up a few grocery items. We returned to the hotel to drop off our purchases. Soon afterward we left the hotel and drove to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island.  The Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel is very close to the wildlife refuge, less than 1 mile away from the gate.

There is an admission fee charged to enter Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, unless you are on foot or bicycle. Daily admission costs $8.00 per vehicle. A weekly pass costs $15.00. We purchased the weekly pass, as we planned to visit the wildlife refuge on Saturday as well. When I am 62 years old, in 2 more years, I will be eligible to purchase a lifetime national park pass for $10.00. That pass will be a worthwhile purchase!

We followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

We saw a fawn soon after passing through the wildlife refuge gate. I missed the shot, as I didn’t have the camera ready to shoot.  It was a windy and rainy morning; the lighting poor.

Seagull at Assateague Island National Seashore

Northern Shoveler alongside Beach Access Road, across from Little Toms Cove

We returned to our hotel, when the rain began to fall so hard that it was difficult to see anything.

Late morning we visited the NASA Visitor Center, which is located on Wallops Island about 5 miles from the Best Western Chincoteague Island hotel. According to its About Us webpage, the visitor center “features exhibits about aeronautics, orbital and sub-orbital rockets, scientific balloons, current missions, and the history of Wallops Flight Facility. In addition to exhibits, the Visitor Center also features an auditorium, a Science on the Sphere Theater, an observation deck, as well as numerous free public programs, events, and group tours of the facility. The Visitor Center also serves as the viewing site for rockets that launch from Wallops Island. Located inside the Visitor Center, the Gift Shop, open seasonally, offers models, patches, games, clothing and a variety of NASA souvenirs.”  The outside grounds has rockets and aircraft used for space and aeronautical research including a full-scale four stage reentry vehicle used to study the earth’s atmosphere.  I took several photographs, while at the visitor center.

The Nike-Cajun sounding rocket
is able to carry a 77-pound payload to a height
of about 90 miles and has been used at Wallops
since 1956.

Four-stage Reentry Vehicles were used to study phenomena
associated with high speed reentry
through the Earth’s atmosphere including
radio transmissions during reentry conditions.

Space suit seen inside auditorium

In the auditorium we watched an informative 20-minute film about the space mission.

Bob took this picture of me wearing a space suit.

This is the view from the observation deck.

This rocket was visible from the observation deck.
A much better picture was possible from the ground.
Little Joe was used to test the Mercury Spacecraft prior to manned light.
Monkeys Sam and Miss Sam were launched from Wallops
utilizing this rocket vehicle.

We walked behind the Visitor Center and found three more exhibits.

This rocket was not identified.
Bob said to say it was a UFO.

The Astrobee F, a solid-propellant sounding rocket first launched from Wallops Island in 1972,
could lift a 200-pound payload to about 260 miles altitude.

The Aerobee 150, a liquid-propellant sounding rocket with a six-foot solid-propellant booster,
was used from 1955 to 1985.  It could lift a 150-pound payload to 160 miles altitude.

After visiting the NASA Visitor Center, we ate lunch at Royal Farms.  Royal Farms is a privately owned chain of gas station/convenience stores headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The store is very reminiscent of Sheetz, a gas station/convenience store with which we are familiar.

After lunch, on our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, we stopped briefly at the Public Landing at Queen Sound located on Wallops Island alongside VA 175.  Two seagulls were vying for my attention.

We soon made our way back to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We followed Beach Access Road, once again, to the Assateague Island National Seashore.

Friday’s weather was quite changeable…heavy rain, thunder and lightning to heavy fog to sunshine with temperatures in the upper 70s. I have never seen fog such as in these two photographs, while at the seashore.

Everyone still had fun!


We turned around at the seashore and was again driving along Beach Access Road.

We watched this egret for quite some time alongside Beach Access Road.  The egret sat in this tree for a long time.  All of a sudden, the egret flew to the water below.  I missed photographing the short flight.  We watched several more minutes, while the egret fished.

Egret fishing

Our next stop was the Woodland Trail.  It was shocking to see how much the area had changed from when we walked the trail in past years.  There were so many dead and fallen trees that the area looked barren. An Internet search revealed that this area suffered from a southern pine beetle infestation that killed many trees this past fall.


We saw this pair of Vultures, soon after beginning our walk on the Woodland Trail.

The Woodland Trial is one of the best places to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague.  You have to walk about a half mile into the trail to get to the observation platform from which you can see the ponies.  There are signs marking the way to the pony viewing so you can’t miss it.  We saw several wild ponies grazing off in the distance.

Chincoteague Wild Ponies

From the Woodland Trail we drove to the Wildlife Loop, which opens to vehicular traffic at 3:00 pm.  While driving around the loop, we saw an egret, a pair of Mallard Ducks, and a pair of Canadian Geese.

Wildlife Loop wildlife

We, then, returned to hotel and relaxed for about 1 1/2 hours, until 5:00 pm.

We ate dinner at the Chincoteague Diner & Restaurant, conveniently located next door to our hotel. This was our first meal besides Sheetz-like sandwich wraps and fast food burgers that we ate since leaving home on Thursday at 12:30 pm. Bob ordered a prime rib dinner. I ordered a meat loaf dinner. We each ordered dessert too. Bob had a slice of coconut cake, and I had a slice of chocolate cake. Service was excellent, and dinner was delicious.

We returned to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after dinner. We drove the Wildlife Loop once again. Then we followed Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore.  I watched the ocean waves for a time, while waiting for sunset.

Assateague Island National Seashore

We watched the sunset from the boardwalk Toms Cove Visitor Center.

Toms Cove Visitor Center

Sunset across Little Toms Cove

Sunset across Little Toms Cove

At 7:30 pm we returned to our hotel, where we stayed for rest of the night.

Easter Vacation – Day 3 of 5: Blue Ridge Parkway (Humpback Rocks to Rockfish Gap) and Back to Waynesboro

Bob and I spent three nights (April 17-20) in Waynesboro, Virginia. Waynesboro is located near where the Skyline Drive ends and the Blue Ridge Parkway begins. Our original plan was to stay in Waynesboro for four nights, but we departed a day early. I will explain why we left Waynesboro a day early in a future blog post.

The highlights on Day 3 (April 19) of our Easter vacation included a visit to Natural Bridge, walking on a swinging bridge in Buchanan and driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.  My blog posts last week provided photographs and details about our visit to Natural Bridge and about our brief stop in Buchanan VA.  From Buchanan we took Route 43 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We entered the Parkway at Milepost 90.9, Bearwallow Gap, and exited at Milepost 0, Rockfish Gap.   Our 90-mile drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway yielded many photographs.  My blog posts this week have shared those photographs.  In Tuesday’s blog post (4/29/2014) I shared photographs from Milepost 90.9, Bearwallow Gap, to just before Milepost 63.8, James River Visitor Center.  In Wednesday’s blog post I shared photographs that were taken at the James River Visitor Center.  In yesterday’s blog post I shared photographs from Milepost 63.8, James River, to just before Milepost 5.8, Humpback Rocks.  In today’s blog post I will share photographs that were taken from Milepost 5.8, Humpback Rocks, and back to our hotel in Waynesboro.

Upon reaching Milepost 5.8 we parked at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center.

Humpback Rocks Visitor Center

Adjacent to the Visitor Center is an outdoor farm museum.  A sign at the entrance to the farm museum reads: “This was originally a Land Grant tract granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia to induce pioneers to settlers the Blue Ridge Mountains and establish the border of the Western Frontier. Later it became known as the William J. Carter Farm. The original buildings have long since disappeared, but replaced with other authentic structures moved from nearby.”  The farm museum consists of a single-room log cabin and a series of outbuildings that represent elements of regional architecture of the late 19th century.  The buildings were assembled here in an arrangement that allows for an easy stroll along a pathway.

The first building that you come to as you walk along the pathway is a one-room log cabin.  Near the log cabin a sign reads: “A man’s home is his castle. The log cabin has always been associated with the American frontier, but the idea of homes built from logs came from immigrants from northern Europe. The early southern highlanders adopted this type of construction and found it well suited to their needs. Using the mountains’ most abundant resource, trees, a log cabin could be built quickly with only a few tools.”

 One-Room Log Cabin.  The small building behind the log cabin is a chicken house.


I like the vintage look of this photograph.

The next building that you come to is a “gear loft”, where the family stored their “plunder” (supplies and equipment).

Gear Loft

Continuing along the pathway, you will come to a barn surrounded by a stone-walled pig pen.


Note the pig pen behind the barn.  Farmers had razorback hogs that ran wild in the forest.  In the fall, the farmers would round up the best hogs and put them in this pen.  This was a bear-proof pig pen.  The “x” supports held the logs in place and kept bears out of the pen.

The last building along the pathway is a spring house.

Spring House

This is inside the Spring House.  Farmers kept their butter and other cold storage items on the rocks.


If we are ever in the area in the summer, it would be worthwhile to return to the farm museum.  During the summer months costume interpreters provide demonstrations of weaving, basket making and gardening.

Leaving Humpback Rocks we made one more stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We stopped at the Afton Overlook.  This northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway becomes the Skyline Drive from this point north through the Shenandoah National Park.

Afton Overlook

We talked about returning to this overlook early the next day, in the hopes of seeing the sun rise.  As it turned out, we didn’t make it back to this overlook the next morning.  We didn’t watch the sun rise; however, we did see a beautiful sunset in Waynesboro.

What a way to end the third day of our vacation!

Our Outer Banks 2013 Vacation: Day 3

Bob and I spent Tuesday, September 17, in Nags Head, at the beach house.  It was a very windy day.

I enjoyed watching the waves crashing on the beach.

The pirate flag at the beach house next to ours was fully extended in the gusty winds.

The strong winds blew the sand onto our beach access.

I took a chance with my camera, taking photographs outside with the wind and blowing sand.  I got lucky, though.  The sand wasn’t blowing at me in the morning hours, and I was able to capture some photographs and video from the beach access.   Later in the day, the sand was blowing so badly that I didn’t go anywhere near the beach with my camera.

The wind knocked down the beach chairs.

The wind knocked down Ed’s fishing poles too.

Ed  and Scott, who was visiting for the day, braved the blowing sand to secure the fishing poles.

As the sun began to set, it cast a golden glow on the ocean waves and dune grass.

The almost full moon

Sunset over the Sound

Our Outer Banks 2013 Vacation: Getting There

Our Outer Banks vacation got started at 12:15 pm on Friday, September 13.  Bob came home from work at noon.  Fifteen minutes later we were on our way to pick up Pam, who accompanied us to the Outer Banks this year.  Our friend, Denise, who coordinated the plans for our week stay in the Outer Banks, graduated high school with Pam.  Pam and Denise were best friends in high school.  They lost touch after high school and found each other recently on Facebook.  Bob and I had not met Pam until we picked her up for our drive to the Outer Banks.  I had been corresponding with Pam, though, on Facebook.

It was a good travel day.  Traffic wasn’t bad.  What traffic there was kept moving.   The steady conversation among Pam, Bob and I made the 6+-hour drive go by more quickly than otherwise.

We spent the night at the Best Western Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  We arrived at the hotel around 7:15 PM.  Bob and I stayed at this hotel last year, on our way to the Outer Banks.  It is a very nice hotel, and we had no qualms about staying there again.  This year, however, we requested two rooms that were not in “pet alley”.  The Best Western Fredericksburg allows pets.  Last year we were accommodated in a room in “pet alley”.  Although we enjoyed a quiet night’s rest last year, we were awakened the next morning around 5:30 AM  by barking dog(s).

We checked into our rooms and ate dinner at Shoney’s Restaurant, which was located on the hotel grounds.  We returned to the hotel at 8:30 PM and spent the rest of the evening in our respective rooms.

Neither Bob nor I got much sleep from 2:15 AM and on.  Both of us experienced irritable bowels.  We thought perhaps it was something that we ate at Shoney’s that didn’t agree with us, although everything tasted good.  When we met Pam for breakfast, we learned that she experienced an irritable bowel during the night as well.  The common food all three of us ate was Tilapia, so we blame the fish for our distress.

We ate breakfast at the hotel.  As always, Best Western’s complimentary breakfasts are good and filling.  We checked out of the hotel after breakfast and were on the road en route Nags Head, NC by 8:30 AM.   We made one photo stop along the way, in Tappahannock, VA.

Tappahannock, VA
Essex County Courthouse and Civil War Monument

Motorcyclists were gathering for a poker run, when we arrived in Tappahannock.

All proceeds from the poker run would be donated to Special Olympics, according to one motorcyclist to whom I inquired what was going on.

We arrived at A Whale’s Head Inn around 3:30 PM.  Denise arrived about an hour after we did.  Accompanying Denise were the other five people who would be vacationing with us for the week.  Denise’s two adult children and a friend arrived a little later.  The three young people spent one night with us.

Bob and I went for a walk on the beach that evening, as the sun was setting.

I loved seeing the moon shining high above South Nags Head Beach!

The sun had almost slipped below the horizon when we returned from our walk on the beach.  This photograph of the setting sun was taken through the stilts of our beach house.


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