The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Turtles’

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 6

On Day 6 of our vacation (Thursday, April 11th), after eating breakfast, we went to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  We drove, rather than ride our bicycles.  It was a chilly and windy morning, with a temperature reading of 49 degrees.

We saw NINE wild horses in the lighthouse parking lot and watched as they walked down Beach Access Road to the Wildlife Loop. 

Wild Ponies in the Lighthouse Parking Lot

Wild Pony in the Lighthouse Parking Lot

Wild Ponies in the Lighthouse Parking Lot

Wild Ponies Walking Down the Beach Access Road Towards the Wildlife Loop

Wild Ponies Walking Along the Beach Access Road to the Wildlife Loop

There are 8 wild ponies in these two pictures; however, we saw a total of 9 ponies.

Wild Ponies Walking Toward the Wildlife Loop

One of 9 Wild Ponies Making its Way to the Wildlife Loop

This was the straggler, the 9th wild pony.

Seeing the horses was really cool.  We have always seen evidence that the horses have been on Beach Access Road, but had not seen them there before.

Before leaving the Wildlife Refuge, we visited the Assateague Lighthouse.

Assateauge Lighthouse

The Assateague Lighthouse stands 142 feet high.

After visiting the lighthouse, we returned to the warmth of our vacation home.  Bob turned on the heat for the first time since our arrival.  For the next few hours I washed, dried and folded two loads of laundry; we ate lunch (ready-made lasagna and cheesecake); and we relaxed, enjoying the peaceful setting of our Airbnb vacation home, Tranquil Shores.  

Around 3:00 pm we left for one more visit to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. We drove around the Wildlife Loop three times.

Wildlife Loop Snake

Wildlife Loop Great Blue Heron

Wildlife Loop Cattle Egret

Wildlife Loop Turtle

Turtle Crossing the Road at Wildlife Loop

Wildlife Loop Little Blue Heron (adult)

We drove also to the beach and back, along Beach Access Road.  We were saying so long, until next time, to a place that we have grown to love.

Leaving the Wildlife Refuge, we picked up a 12-inch sub at Subway to share for dinner and went to Island Creamery for ice cream.  Yes!  We ate dessert first.

Returning to our vacation home around 5:00 pm we discovered piles of dirt had been placed in the deep holes (craters in some instances LOL) on the road to Tranquil Shores.  Thankfully a resident pulled in after us.  We didn’t know if we should drive on the grassy area to the right of the dirt piles (to go around them).  She told us it was okay.  According to the resident, the piles of dirt will be graded the next day.  I passed this information to our host, as I thought he might be interested.  Our host replied: “I’m so glad we finally have it getting done. Last winter was so hard on the road!  Corralling all the neighbors to pitch in was a project in and of itself!”  


Chincoteague Vacation – Day 4

Late in the morning we rode our bicycles in the neighborhood to Veteran’s Memorial Park. 

Veteran’s Memorial Park sits along the Assateague Channel

Our round trip ride was 5 miles.

We ate lunch at McDonald’s and then drove onto the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, stopping for photo opportunities along Beach Access Road.  We saw wild ponies in the marsh, closer than we have seen them in past years.  There were wild ponies in the pony corral, too, near the Woodland Trail.

According to a delmava now news story, published on April 1st, “Chincoteague pony stallion Riptide and his band were penned in the south corral on Assateague Island after visitors to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge disregarded warnings not to approach the wild ponies…The ponies will remain in the corral until the spring roundup April 12 and 13”.

We saw great blue herons, egrets and wood ducks.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Pair of Hooded Mergansers (Thanks EileeninMD for ID)

We spent a couple hours at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, before returning to our vacation home.  We relaxed for a couple hours.

We returned to the Wildlife Refuge around 4:30 pm.  We went for a drive around the Wildlife Loop.  We saw birds, a fox, Sika deer, egrets, turtles, snapping turtles and a muskrat.

Red-Wing Blackbird

Mama Fox

Mama Fox – What a face!

Mama Fox

Two Egrets

I love the reflections!

Two Egrets, a Great Egret taking flight

Three Egrets, a Snowy Egret in flight

Snowy Egret



Snapping Turtle

Painted Turtle

Two Snapping Turtles Mating

Leaving the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, after an approximately 45-minute visit, we drove to Food Lion and picked up dinners for three nights (through Thursday).  Our purchases included three ready-made salads and three Culinevo ready-made dinner entrees–lasagna, beef stew and beef and noodles.  All dinner entrees are microwaveable. We shared a Chef Salad and the beef stew for dinner.  For dessert we had cheesecake.

We watched a few more episodes of NYPD Blue and went to bed.

Our Hawaiian Vacation: Downtown Kona Visit

We had not yet visited downtown Kona.  On Wednesday (September 5th) Dorothy had a few errands to run and wanted to get her hair cut.  Bob and I accompanied Dorothy to Kona late morning for a look around. Before reaching Kona, though, we stopped in Kahaluu at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, also called the “Little Blue Church”.

_LG28038Saint Peter’s Catholic Church

_LG28040Can you see why the church is referred to as “Little Blue Church”?

Saint Peter’s Catholic Church was built in 1889 on the former site of an ancient Hawaiian heiau (or temple site).

In Kona Dorothy dropped us off along Hualalai Road, across from the Kona Inn Shopping Village.  Dorothy left to get a haircut. Bob and I walked from Hualalai Road to the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Staying on Ali’i Drive our walk would have been 0.40 miles. We zigzagged our way to the hotel, so our walk was a bit longer than that.

_LG28044We checked out a few shops, while walking through the Kona Inn Shopping Village.

_LG28045This is Hulihe’e Palace.
The palace was built in 1838.
Vacationing Hawaiian royalty stayed here until 1914.
The palace is now a museum.

Across the street from Hulihe’e Palace is Mokuaikaua Church.

Mokuaikaua Church

Mokuaikaua Church was the first Christian church built in the islands, in 1820.  The present building dates from 1837.  The church is built of lava rock and crushed coral.  Admission to the church is free.  We walked inside and took notice of two things: the stained glass window at the front of the church and a scale model of the Brig “Thaddeus”.

_LG28053Stained Glass Window
Jesus at Gethsemane

_LG28049the Brig “Thaddeus”

The plaque reads:

“The Brig “Thaddeus” / Carrying the members of the Pioneer Company of the Sandwich Islands Mission, The Brig (85 feet long, 24 feet wide and 13 feet deep, 241 tons) left Long Wharf, Boston, October 23, 1819. / It sailed around Cape Horn, arriving at Kailua Bay on April 4, 1820, after a voyage of 164 days.”

_LG28057From Mokuaikaua Church we continued our walk down Ali’i Drive.

_LG28059The Pride of America cruise ship arrived in Kona earlier that morning from Hilo.

We were asked several times, if we were from the cruise ship. We talked for a few minutes with a lady from the cruise ship, who was from the Buffalo/Niagara Falls Area. She and two other ladies had a 3-room suite on the cruise ship. Each person paid $3,500 for the 7-day cruise.

_LG28061Downtown Kona at the seawall

_LG28064Green Sea Turtle in Kailua Bay at Kailua Pier
There were two turtles swimming here.  Only one poked its head up at me.

_LG28066I took a more expansive view of downtown Kona from the Kailua Pier.

From Kailua Pier I took a couple pictures of Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark.

_LG28072Kamakahonu National Historic Landmark

Kamakahonu was the final residence of King Kamehameha I.

_LG28070Kamakahona National Historic Landmark

Dorothy picked us up in front of King Kamehameha’s Hotel, when we texted her to let her know that we were ready.  The wait at two different beauty salons was too long, so the hair cut didn’t happen. Dorothy sat and drank an ice coffee, while waiting for Bob and me to finish our walk about.

On our way back home we stopped at Ola Brew, where Bob tried a sample of four beers and drank a pint of porter. Dorothy drank one pint of an IPA. She filled two growlers with beer too. Our final stop before returning home was at Walmart, where Dorothy picked up a few grocery “bits”. Bob and I bought hair clips, bracelets and necklaces for our granddaughters.

Juniper and Harper liked their new jewelry.

Our Hawaiian Vacation: Two Day Circle Tour (Day 1)

On Labor Day (September 3) we embarked on a two-day circular driving tour of the Island of Hawaii.  John and Dorothy were our tour guides.

We began our journey along the Southern Kona Coast (Rt. 11), leaving home around 9:45 am.  Sixty miles from Kona is South Point, which is the southernmost point of all 50 states.

We arrived at South Point at 11:37 am. It had started to rain during our drive; however, the rain let up and the view improved by the time we arrived at South Point. At South Point we enjoyed the view of the sea cliffs and watched young people jump off a fishing platform into the ocean way below.

_LG27872South Point jumpers

_LG27873South Point jumper

I didn’t capture a video of any jumping; however, an internet search on South Point cliff jumping yielded many videos from which to choose.

I chose this video.

This video shows lots of cliff jumping.  In addition the video provides a geography lesson and a historical perspective.


You think that cliff jumping is crazy.  Well, what about jumping into this blowhole?

_LG27869We didn’t see anyone jump into this blowhole, but people do jump into it!

Please feel free to mute the audio, if the music doesn’t appeal to you.  I preferred this video to those that had wind noise in them.

Constant winds blowing at South Point have caused trees to blow over and grow that way.

_LG27878A Wind-Swept Tree

We left South Point around 12:30 pm. We stopped in the town of Na`alehu at the Punalu`u Bake Shop. Na`alehu is the southernmost town in the 50 states. The Panalu`u Bakery is the southernmost bakery in the 50 states. The bakery is situated on a lush four-acre landscaped estate.

20180903_130337Dorothy took this photograph of Bob and me,
as we walked toward the covered pavilion shown in the corner of this picture.

We ate the lunch that Dorothy packed for us and the Malasada donuts (Portuguese donuts) that Bob and I purchased at the bakery, while sitting in the pavilion.

Our next stop, after lunch, was also in Na`alehu.

_LG27880This is an overlook of Whittington Beach Park.

Continuing east from Na`alehu on Highway 11 our last stop was at Punalu`u Beach Park, near the town of Pahala. Punalu`u Beach Park is known for its black sand beach and Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles that frequent this beach.

_LG27890The black sand beach at Punalu`u Beach Park

_LG27892Looking out to sea from beach

_LG27893Two Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

Behind Punalu`u Beach is a beautiful freshwater pool.

IMG_20180903_140523Bob took this picture of Dorothy and me in front of the pool.

_LG27902Two of the many water lilies in the freshwater pool

We were on our way again at 2:15 pm. From Panalu’u Beach Park we continued eastward on Highway 11, past the entrance to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and over the cracks in the highway. The park was closed due to earthquake damage and volcano eruptions from earlier this year.

We arrived in Hilo around 3:15 pm.  Before going to our hotel, we stopped at Big Island Candies.  Throughout the store there were coffee and delectable treat samples.  The sample that I liked the best was Chocolate Covered Passion Fruit Brownies.

We checked into the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, located on Banyan Drive. Our room had an ocean view, with a balcony.  I will share pictures of the view in my next Hawaiian blog post.

We ate dinner at Cronies Bar & Grill. John, Bob and I ordered burgers and fries; Dorothy ordered soup.

We returned to the hotel a couple hours later. By 8:00 pm I had showered and was ready for bed. Dorothy said to meet her in the lobby at 7:15 am, as she had something planned for us.  She wouldn’t tell us what was planned.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Visit (Day 1 of 2)

We spent two nights (April 14-16) at the Clarion Inn, located in Hudson, OH.   We stayed at this hotel one time before for one night, a couple years ago, while en route Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  During that stay, we noted that the hotel was in close proximity to Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  When we decided to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park this past weekend, we chose to stay at Clarion Inn.

We left our home in Warren PA around 5:30 am en route Ohio.

We ate breakfast at Richard’s Family Restaurant in Youngsville, PA. We ordered omelets with toast (rye for Bob; wheat for me), one order of home fries to share and coffee for Bob / tea for me. Bob had eaten breakfast there before. I hadn’t. Breakfast was delicious and filling. We were back on the road again shortly after 6:30 am.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio.  The 32,950-acre park can easily be divided into three regions: North Valley, Central Valley and South Valley.  We used this map, which I found on the U.S. National Park Service website, as a guide during our 2-day exploration of the park.

Points of interest 1 through 5 are located in the North Valley region.  Interest points 6 through 9 are located in the Central Valley regions.  Points of interest 10 through 13 are located in the South Valley region.

We arrived in the North Valley region of Cuyahoga Valley National Park at approximately 9:45 am.  In particular, our arrival point in the park was at the Cleveland Metroparks Bedford Reservation. This was our first visit to the North Valley region of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We discovered there were many points of interest in this region.

Our first stop was at Bridal Veil Falls.  We parked at the trail head and walked across Gorge Parkway. It was a short descent from the road via boardwalk and steps to a platform that overlooks the falls.

_LG20866-EditBoardwalk and stairs to Bridal Veil Falls Overlook

Once you reach the bottom of the boardwalk and stairs, a bridge crosses over the creek.

_LG20867-EditThe waterfall observation platform is visible from the bridge that crosses over the creek.

Bridal Veil Falls

_LG20876Bob and I at Bridal Veil Falls

Our second stop was at Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook. The viewing area is located next to the parking lot.

_LG20878Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook

This overlook provides a panoramic view of the valley from the rim of the gorge. The view would be spectacular in the Autumn.  The lighting was particularly good, so this was the only photograph that I took during this stop.  We did return to this overlook, and I have a photograph of the view later on in this blog post.

Our third stop was at Willis Picnic Area, which we mistakenly thought was Viaduct Park. The two areas are next to each other. There are several points of interest at Viaduct Park, and we were not finding any of those points of interest. One point of interest was Great Falls. We could hear rushing water, but couldn’t see the waterfall.

_LG20886Willis Picnic Area

We saw a sign at Willis Picnic area that read “trail closed”. It looked like high winds had passed through the picnic area at some point in time, and the downed trees and branches had not been cleaned up. Behind the picnic pavilion we found a “trail” that looked like it led to the bottom of the gorge. Bob hiked down that trail, and it did lead to the bottom of the gorge. Bob didn’t find a waterfall. He found a tunnel, through which Tinkers Creek flows.  We later saw the other side of the tunnel at Viaduct Park.

Willis Picnic Area Trail to Tinkers Creek

If you look closely, you will see Bob making his way back up the trail.  I am glad that I didn’t attempt to hike down that trail. Bob said he had some trouble navigating the trail.

Our fourth stop was at Viaduct Park. This small park features a very nice waterfall, view of a large viaduct, and information signs dotting the trail as you walk through the park.  The parking lot is at street level.  When we visited the park, we had to drive over a curb to reach the parking lot.  From the parking lot there is a paved trail that descends down to Tinkers Creek, where the Great Falls of Tinkers Creek can be viewed from an observation platform.  We spent about an hour exploring Viaduct Park.

_LG20899The Viaduct

The Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad stone viaduct across Tinkers Creek Gorge was completed in 1864.  It replaced the original wooden truss bridge, which opened in 1852.  The viaduct is 225 feet long and towers 120 feet above Tinkers Creek.

_LG20913The Great Falls of Tinkers Creek

IMG_20170414_122104I love this picture of me that Bob took at The Great Falls.

Here is a short video of The Great Falls.  If you are not able to view the embedded video, the direct link may be found by clicking here.

Remember earlier I mentioned that Bob hiked down to Tinkers Creek from the Willis Picnic Area?  He saw a tunnel there, through which Tinkers Creek flowed.  Here is the other end of that tunnel, which is called The Arch.

_LG20925The Arch

The Arch was built between 1901-02.  Its purpose is to control the flower of Tinkers Creek, while providing a base for the railroad above.  The Arch is 512 feet long, with a 20 degree turn inside.  The openings are 40 feet wide and 32 feet high.

Our fifth and last stop at Bedford Reservation was a second stop at Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook. As I mentioned earlier the lighting was better than it was during our first stop.

_LG20935Again, this is Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook.

If you walk to the end of the overlook, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the valley from the rim of the gorge.

_LG20933View from Tinkers Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook

Leaving the overlook, we continued on Gorge Parkway to Dunham Road. We turned right onto Dunham Road, crossed over Tinkers Creek, and turned left onto Tinkers Creek Road. We followed Tinkers Creek Road to its terminus, at which time we turned left onto Canal Road. About this time we decided it was time for lunch. We were hungry, which was understandable. We ate breakfast around 6:00 am, and it was after 1:00 pm.

We ate lunch at Joe’s Family Restaurant in Northfield, OH. The salad bar and soup were excellent. Service was excellent. Our main entrees (meatloaf for me, boneless pork chops for Bob) were piping hot and delicious. Our side dishes were not so great. My mashed potatoes and our mixed vegetables were lukewarm. Our waitress did bring me a new dish of mashed potatoes, which were piping hot. I am surprised she didn’t do the same with the mixed vegetables. Perhaps she didn’t hear me, when I said that the mixed vegetables were also lukewarm.

After lunch we drove back to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in particular to the South Valley region. We stopped at Beaver Marsh. It was a short walk from the parking lot, along a tow path, to an observation platform. We saw wood ducks, geese, tree swallows and lots of turtles. Bob saw a muskrat, briefly.

_LG20942Wood Ducks at Beaver Marsh

_LG20944One of several turtles at Beaver Marsh

_LG20946Goose Sitting on Nest

Tree Swallows

From the Beaver Marsh we drove to the Great Blue Heron Viewing Area.

_LG20994One of two trees making up the Great Blue Heron Rookery

_LG21003Great Blue Heron

We didn’t stay long at the Great Blue Heron Viewing Area, as there wasn’t much activity at the heron rookery.

We checked into the Clarion Inn around 5:30 pm. We spent rest of the day in our room. We had picked up a few grocery items, after lunch, so we were able to eat a picnic-style dinner in our room.


Our Outer Banks Vacation: Day 4

On our fourth day of vacation (Tuesday, September 18) Bob and I went to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Dare County Mainland only a few miles from Roanoke Island.

Alligator River MapMap obtained from Fish & Wildlife Service website

We had hoped to see a bear.  All we saw was a turtle crossing the road, one great blue heron and lots of butterflies.  Bob enjoyed the off-road driving.  We decided to make our way back to U.S. Route 64 when we had no signal on our cell phones and the GPS didn’t show us on a road.  What “roads” we did travel and were on the GPS looked like tractor routes through a hayfield!

Turtle crossing road (Bob took this picture)

The type of “roads” that we drove on

Could this possibly be Alligator River?

By the way, there are alligators in this wildlife refuge.  I saw photographs of them on the Internet.  We didn’t see an alligator in person though.

Our Outer Banks Vacation: Day 3

On our third day of vacation (Monday, September 17) Bob and I visited the town of  Manteo, located on Roanoke Island, and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  En route Pea Island, we did stop at the Bodie Island Lighthouse but did not take any photographs.  The lighthouse is in the midst of a restoration project, which was begun in 2009.

This is the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.
The lighthouse is located in the town of Manteo.

A major attraction in the town of Manteo is the Roanoke Island Festival Park.  We did not visit the Festival Park this year; however, I did capture a photograph of one of its attractions.

Elizabeth II at Roanoke Island Festival Park

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

We spent most of our time at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge watching turtles.  The little turtles were pushing this bigger turtle out of the way.

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