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.
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!”
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
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.
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.
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 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.
Boardwalk and stairs to Bridal Veil Falls Overlook
Once you reach the bottom of the boardwalk and stairs, a bridge crosses over the creek.
The waterfall observation platform is visible from the bridge that crosses over the creek.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bob 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.
Tinkers 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.
Willis 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.
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.
The Great Falls of Tinkers Creek
I love this picture of me that Bob took at The Great Falls.
Here is a short video of The Great Falls.
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.
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.
Again, 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.
View 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.
Wood Ducks at Beaver Marsh
One of several turtles at Beaver Marsh
Goose Sitting on Nest
From the Beaver Marsh we drove to the Great Blue Heron Viewing Area.
One of two trees making up the Great Blue Heron Rookery
Great 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.
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.
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.