We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area the weekend of July 1 through July 3. In my earlier blog post I wrote about the first part of our trip back home on Monday, July 3. This blog post is about rest of our trip back home.
After lunch we drove through Letchworth State Park. Earlier this year we purchased an annual New York State Park Empire Pass that provides unlimited day use vehicle entry to most state parks and recreation facilities. Letchworth State Park was one of three New York State parks at which we used our Empire Pass during our weekend getaway. I wrote about visits at the other two state parks in previous blog posts. At Letchworth we stopped at Inspiration Point and Middle Falls.
Both the Upper and Middle Falls are visible from Inspiration Point.
Rainbow at Middle Falls
We passed up Lower Falls. Perhaps someday we will make the hike down that trail again. Neither of us felt like making that hike today. The Portageville exit is still closed, as construction continues on a new steel arch railroad bridge across the Genesee River Gorge. You can see the bridge in the photograph displayed above, as well as in the photograph of Inspiration Point. We were surprised to find the trail to Upper Falls fenced off. The trail is closed for reconstruction through the remainder of 2017.
There is much more to see and do at Letchworth State Park. We have visited this park several times over the past 15+ years, as the park is located only a couple hours drive from our home. I expect we will make a return trip in the fall.
We departed Letchworth State Park via the Castile exit at 3:30 pm.
We stopped for ice cream at Peaches and Cream in Randolph NY. I ordered a banana split, which was made with one scoop each of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream with appropriate toppings and a sliced banana. The banana split was easily twice the size as the one I get at Dairy Queen and cost about the same. I didn’t need or want dinner that evening!
We returned home shortly before 6:00 pm. Checking the odometer, we traveled 641 miles during our weekend getaway. We said hello to our kitty and unpacked the car. While I unpacked our travel bag and put away everything else, Bob mowed the yard.
My new U.S. Passport arrived in the mail, while we were away. Hooray! We can plan a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada now! When I mailed in my passport renewal application on June 14, the processing time indicated was 4-6 weeks. The processing time was quicker than that!
We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our sixth day of vacation.
We awakened at 5:45 am on Friday, May 19. We were showered and dressed for the day by 6:30 am.
We left A Holiday Motel at 6:38 am en route Asheville, NC. I drove. We arrived at IHOP at 7:15 am. Bob ordered coffee, two scrambled eggs and two slices bacon. I ordered two scrambled eggs, two slices of bacon and two pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream. The food and service were good.
After breakfast we went to Prestige Subaru, where we had an appointment at 8:15 am for our Subaru Legacy’s 6,000 mile service. We purchased our new car in March this year and have put over 5,000 miles on the car. We knew we would be over 6,000 miles by the time we returned home, so we made a service appointment, while on vacation, for this important first service. Customer service was excellent. From the moment we walked in they were so kind, welcoming, and generous. We were offered breakfast snacks and coffee while we waited in comfortable seating. The service was fast and efficient.
The car service was completed by 8:55 am. We left Prestige Subaru en route Canton, NC. In Canton we hopped onto NC Route 215 south.
NC Route 215
near the U.S. Route 276 and NC Route 215 Intersection
Sign indicates that the next 34 miles will have 9% grades, 15 MPH curves and 5000 ft. elevations.
We passed by Lake Logan.
As our drive brought us closer to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we saw two waterfalls. We have seen both of these waterfalls during past visits in this area. However, we have approached them from the opposite direction. It was strange to come up on the waterfalls on the opposite side of the road than expected! In the past I have referred to these waterfalls as Waterfall #1 and Waterfall #2. This year I discovered the name of one of the two waterfalls.
There are two sets of falls here, an upper falls and a lower falls. I have shown the upper falls in the photograph displayed above.
Sunburst Falls is located right next to NC Route 215. The waterfall crosses under a beautiful stone bridge. The water flows through an arch in the bridge and plunges into some smaller falls below the bridge.
Sunburst Falls (Lower Falls)
The second waterfall we passed was also located right next to NC Route 215.
Please click here, if you are not able to watch the embedded waterfall video.
Leaving the second waterfall, we continued on NC Route 215 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We turned right onto the Parkway. We stopped at three overlooks before returning to Maggie Valley.
Our first stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway was at Beartrap Gap Overlook.
Beartrap Gap Overlook
Elevation 5,580 ft.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch, while at the Beartrap Gap Overlook.
Richland Balsam Overlook
Elevation 6,053 ft.
Highest Elevation on the Parkway
Our last stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway was at the Standing Rock Overlook. The standing rock for which the overlook is named is located at the south end of the parking area.
Standing Rock Overlook
Elevation 3,915 ft.
We returned to A Holiday Motel, home base for the Southeast Vulcan Riders and Owners (SEVROC) motorcycle rally, at around 1:30 pm. We were tired, so we took a nap.
After our nap, we socialized with our VROC friends until it was time to leave for dinner.
Dinner was a group event, the SEVROC Meet & Greet. Back at A Holiday Motel, after dinner, the son and daughter-in-law of one of our friends, entertained us with music. I will share a separate blog post about the Meet & Greet and our evening entertainment, as well as other specific SEVROC-related events, in the near future.
We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina. I have been uploading blog posts about our vacation since May 29th. This blog post is about our fourth day of vacation.
We awakened shortly before 6:00 am on Wednesday, May 17. By 6:50 am we were showered and dressed for the day. This is our first full day at A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley, NC.
Our VROC friends, “Skid” and Sandy, stopped by our hotel room around 7:15 am, on their way to breakfast. The four of us ate breakfast at Pop’s Grits & Eggs, located on the hotel grounds. We sat down at the only available table and placed our breakfast orders. Bob ordered a Sausage and Cheese Omelet. I ordered a Western Omelet. Breakfast was good and very filling.
After breakfast, Bob and I went chasing waterfalls. It was 9:00 am, when we began our drive. We saw seven waterfalls. We used the following map as a guide for the location of waterfalls. As we planned to skip some of the waterfalls, we used the GPS to take us from one waterfall to the next. Therefore, we followed loosely the directions outlined on this map. We did begin our drive in Maggie Valley, and the first waterfall that we visited was Soco Falls.
Soco Falls is located between the towns of Maggie Valley and Cherokee. From Maggie Valley, head south on Highway 19 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Cross under the Parkway and continue downhill on Highway 19 towards Cherokee. From the Parkway, it’s 1.5 miles to an unmarked pullout on the left side of the road. This is the fourth year that we have gone in search of waterfalls in this area of North Carolina. Each year we have missed the small parking area for this waterfall. This year was no exception; however, we turned around this time and found Soco Falls. There is no sign at the pullout, but you can hear the waterfalls from the parking area. The trail to Soco Falls begins at the northern part of the parking area, where there is a break in the guard rail. The first part of the trail resembled a goat path and was a little bit steep. Within a few minutes, though, we reached a boardwalk and the viewing platform.
Soco Falls is a double waterfall. If you look closely at the photograph displayed below, a portion of the second waterfall can be seen on the bottom left side peeking out from behind the foliage.
The taller of the two waterfall is 120 feet tall.
Please click here, if you are unable to view the embedded video of Soco Falls.
U.S. Route 64 tightly twists and turns its way along the Cullasaja River Gorge, which is part of the Nantahala National Forest. We stopped at three Cullasaja River Gorge waterfalls:
Cullasaja Falls is located along a very dangerous stretch of Hwy 64. The 250′ waterfall is visible from the road, but there is only a small pull-off area. Make sure that you pull completely off the road! Tractor trailers use this section of road and they need both lanes to get around these curves.
Quarry Falls (also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls) is another roadside waterfall. Quarry Falls is a small, but beautiful waterfall.
Quarry Falls is a 20-foot high, multi-tiered waterfall.
Please click here, if you are not able to view the embedded video of Quarry Falls.
The 75-foot high Dry Falls earned its name because you can take a trail to walk behind the falls and not get wet (well, not too wet).
I walked behind the waterfall; Bob stayed well away from its spray. I put together a short video of my walk under the falls.
Click here if you are not able to view the embedded video of Dry Falls.
Around 1:00 pm we ate a picnic lunch at Connestee Falls Park, located about 6 miles from Brevard along U.S. Route 276.
After lunch we took a very short stroll from the right rear of the parking lot to the viewing area for Baston Creek Falls.
The viewing platform sits on top of Connestee Falls.
The ledge that is visible in this photograph is a small part of Connestee Falls.
From the viewing area you look over at Batson Creek Falls.
Batson Creek Falls
Located a short distance from Brevard along Route 276 are Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock, both of which are located in the Pisgah National Forest. Before arriving at Looking Glass Falls we avoided a car collision with a car that wandered onto our side of the road; we hit a squirrel; and we avoided hitting a dog that jumped out onto the road from truck bed in front of us. This all happened within a few minutes!
Looking Glass Falls is 60 feet tall.
Please click here, if you are not able to view the embedded video of Looking Glass Falls.
Our next stop was at Sliding Rock. Sliding Rock is a 60′ natural rock slide with a 6-7 foot deep pool at the base. I put together a movie, using the video and still images that I took at Sliding Rock.
Please click here, if you are not able to view the embedded video of Sliding Rock.
That was a cool movie, wasn’t it? I recently upgraded from Adobe Photoshop Elements to Adobe Premiere Elements, mainly for its video editing capabilities. This movie was the first one I created, using that program.
Both Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock are located near the Blue Ridge Parkway. Leaving Sliding Rock, we hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway (south) — the subject of my next blog post.
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.
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.
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.
Mom and I at Dark Hollow Falls in June 1994.
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.
Bob and I at Dark Hollow Falls in May 2001
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 trail
The hiking pole was a great help on this trail.
There were a few small waterfalls along the trail to Dark Hollow Falls.
Small waterfall along trail to Dark Hollow Falls
Another small waterfall along trail to Dark Hollow Falls
One more small waterfall along trail to Dark Hollow Falls
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 spent the weekend of May 5 through May 8 in the Pocono Mountains. As I have much to share with you, I plan to upload several blog posts about our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway. This is the third blog post about our weekend. You may read the first four blog posts by clicking on the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.
We awakened at 5:45 am on Sunday, May 7. As we had done the previous morning, we ate breakfast at Triplets Family Diner. Bob had a feta cheese omelet with tomato slices and rye toast. I had French toast, one egg and bacon.
We enjoyed activities for half the day. It rained off and on all morning. Looking at the radar, the rain looked like fireworks — bursts of rain popping up all over and disappearing.
Our first activity of the day, after breakfast, was to visit Resica Falls in East Stroudsburg. This is a very pretty waterfall, located at a Boy Scout camp. The Boy Scout camp, Resica Falls Scout Reservation, takes its name from the waterfall. Resica Falls is on private property, but access is allowed by the Boy Scouts. Even though it seems like you shouldn’t enter at all, drive a little ways in and you’ll find parking for Resica Falls. The trail to Resica Falls was located a few steps from the parking area.
Trail to Resica Falls
Resica Falls is 45 feet tall and sits on Big Bushkill Creek.
Here is a direct link in the event you cannot see the embedded video displayed above.
The sign says there are 100 stores at The Crossings.
We saw some outlet stores we had not seen before e.g. Beef Jerky Outlet, Toys ‘r Us Outlet, Chocolate Works and NEPA Crafters Outlet. We made a few purchases. We bought.snacks at the Beef Jerky Outlet and birthday presents for our granddaughters at the Toys ‘r Us Outlet. We bought two pretzels, one covered with peanut butter chips and the other covered with chocolate chips, at Chocolate Works and a pair of skull ceramic coasters for my stepdaughter at the NEPA Crafters Outlet.
We returned to the hotel around 1:00 pm. We ate a picnic-style lunch in our room. While eating lunch, the electricity in our room went out. We called hotel management, and the problem was resolved expediently. The hotel manager brought us a new light bulb, too, as a bulb blew when the electricity went out.
Later in the afternoon Bob decided he wanted to go to Best Buy in Easton, PA. He had looked up on the Internet the availability of a charger for his Fitbit. Bob forgot to bring the charger on this trip and thought it would be a good idea to have a second charger to keep in the car. Bob ordered the charger online for pickup at the store. We drove to Easton and picked up Bob’s online order. Best Buy price matched Amazon’s online price. Bob paid $10.42, not the $21.19 charge at which the order was placed.
While in Easton, Bob checked GasBuddy, a smartphone app that helps drivers find the best gas prices nearby. GasBuddy indicated the best gas price was at a Mobil station in Phillipsburg, NJ. Fuel cost in Stroudsburg PA was $2.43/gallon. In Phillipsburg NJ the cost was $2.29/gallon. We had to cross a toll bridge from PA to NJ. There was no toll to cross into NJ from PA; however, there was a $1.00 toll to cross into PA from NJ. Bob avoided paying this toll by telling the GPS to avoid tolls on our route back to Stroudsburg.
Back in Stroudsburg we stopped at Jimmy’s Ice Cream & Creamery. We had our dessert before dinner. Back at the hotel I microwaved the leftover Chicken Parmesan from our previous day’s lunch. Bob and I made a meal of the leftovers.
On Monday, May 8, we awakened at 4:30 am, which was understandable as we were in bed and probably asleep by 8:00 pm the night before! I read the Warren Times Observer online, while drinking tea. I took a shower and got dressed. We finished packing and loaded the car.
On Sunday, during breakfast at Triplets Family Diner, I asked our waitress what time the restaurant opens on Monday. I was told 5:00 am. After depositing our hotel key into the drop box, we drove to Triplets for breakfast. We arrived shortly before 5:30 am. The restaurant was not open. We left and began our drive home, stopping for breakfast at 6:30 am in Scranton at Denny’s Restaurant.
This concludes our weekend in the Pocono Mountains.
I have several things to share with you from our drive back home.
You guessed it! I will be uploading a few more blog posts… three more posts in fact.
We spent the weekend of May 5 through May 8 in the Pocono Mountains. As I have much to share with you, I plan to upload several blog posts about our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway. This is the third blog post about our weekend. You may read the first through third blog posts here, here and here.
From Raymondskill Falls we began our drive back to Stroudsburg, via Route 209 South. We stopped at Dingmans Falls Visitor Center. The visitor center and the falls are at the end of a 1-mile approach road off Johnny Bee Road, which intersects Route 209 near milepost 14, just south of the traffic light at Routes 209 & 739 in Dingmans Ferry PA.
Dingmans Falls Visitor Center
The visitor center had not yet opened for the season.
The visitor center’s 2017 operating schedule is May 26 through September 4. It is open on Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The visitor center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
From the visitor center we walked along a wooden boardwalk to Dingmans Falls.
The first waterfall that we saw on our walk was Silver Thread Falls.
Silver Thread Falls
Here is a direct link in the event you cannot see the embedded video displayed above.
Silver Thread Falls
Bob and I on the boardwalk trail to Dingmans Falls
The walk to Dingmans Falls was a pleasant and leisurely stroll. It began to rain while we were on this trail. We were prepared, though. Bob carried an umbrella, and I had my L.L. Bean raincoat.
Our first view of Dingmans Falls
According to Internet sources, Dingmans Falls is 130 feet tall and is Pennsylvania’s second tallest waterfall.
We returned to the visitor center by retracing our footsteps.
We left Dingmans Falls Visitor Center at 1:43 pm. We hadn’t yet eaten lunch. It was raining. Rather than have a picnic lunch, we decided to eat a late lunch out and save our picnic lunch for later at the hotel.
We ate lunch at Alaska Pete’s Roadhouse Grille in Marshall Creek. This was a very nice restaurant. Here are a couple pictures of the view from our table.
Alaska Pete’s Roadhouse Grille
It was Bob’s birthday, and he ordered prime rib.
Bob’s prime rib meal
I ordered Chicken Parmesan and brought back to the hotel 1/2 of my meal. Bob and I could easily share rest of my meal for lunch and our hunger would be satisfied. The rain stopped while we were eating.
We made two stops before returning to the hotel. We stopped at Walmart and picked up Earl Grey K-cups and creamer. Our room at Flower Field Inn & Cottages had a Keurig coffee maker. Coffee K-cups were provided, along with sugar and dry creamer. Tea K-cups were not provided. I wanted hot tea available for rest of our weekend stay, which was forecast to be chilly and wet. We stopped also at Best Buy, where Bob looked for a charger for his Fitbit. Bob had forgotten to bring the charger for his Fitbit. Best Buy didn’t have a charger available.
The reason that we decided to come to the Pocono Mountains, Stroudsburg in particular, was for Bob to meet up with motorcycling friends who are members of the Northeast contingent of the Vulcan Riders & Owners Club (NEVROC). There was a Bug Run scheduled for Sunday, May 7. Each year, in the Spring, NEVROC rides the Bug Run in memory of Don “Foggy” Conner, a fellow rider and member of NEVROC. Bob made plans to go on the Bug Run a few weeks prior. On our way back to Flower Field Inn & Cottages from Best Buy I received a Facebook message from Brian, one of our motorcycling friends. He said that Sunday’s Bug Run was postponed, moved to May 13th. As it turned out, that run was postponed also due to weather. The Bug Run finally took place on May 21. This was the second year in a row that Bob attempted to ride the Bug Run. Last year he did meet up with his motorcycling friends for breakfast. A Bug Run was attempted but stopped early because of rain. Perhaps one year Bob will be able to ride the Bug Run with his motorcycling friends.
We returned to the hotel around 5:30 pm, where we relaxed for rest of the day.
Stay tuned! More details and photographs of our Pocono Mountains Weekend still to come!
We spent the weekend of May 5 through May 8 in the Pocono Mountains. As I have much to share with you, I plan to upload several blog posts about our Pocono Mountains weekend getaway. This is the third blog post about our weekend. You may read the first and second blog posts here and here.
Our next stop, after the Pocono Environmental Education Center, was at Raymondskill Falls, which is located 2.5 miles south of Milford, PA. Raymondskill Falls, at a height of approximately 150 feet, is Pennsylvania’s tallest waterfall. I read that Raymondskill Falls is 4 feet shorter than Niagara Falls. What a beautiful waterfall, and it was relatively easy to get to! From the parking lot, facing the restroom building, we headed right into the forest. It was an easy hike through the forest to the top of the falls. It was somewhat of a rough climb down uneven stone steps to the middle overlook, but the hike was worthwhile.
Raymondskill Falls is a series of three cascading waterfalls.
Here is a direct link in the event you cannot see the embedded video displayed above.
From this middle overlook there is another little waterfall on the left.
More waterfall action at Raymondskill Falls
We followed a different trail back to our car. There were no steps on this trail, but the trail was steep!
By the way, there is no fee charged to see Raymondskill Falls.
From Raymondskill Falls we began our drive back to Stroudsburg, via Route 209 South. We stopped at Dingmans Falls Visitor Center — the subject of my next blog post.