Sunday, October 25, 2015

Southwest Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and into Kentucky

Once again, two weeks between posts.
On these back roads through mountain states there has been a week or more where we have had no internet signal.  That means no Verizon for us although sometimes there would be a 1x signal with no bars which would allow a sketchy phone connection but no internet.
Strangely there was one stop where we had no Verizon, but our Kindle got a great signal that downloaded the paper in the fastest time ever.  Obviously not Verizon.
From Tioga, we follow Route 15 south to Williamsport, Pa(home of Little League World Series Baseball)and head west on Route 220.Then Route 22 south to Huntingdon and finally Route 26 south to Seven Points COE park on Raystown Lake.

Colors are just beginning here.

There are some beautiful hiking trails in Seven Points Campground.  Just remember you will be hiking up and down.  This view is from near the Visitor's Center looking down towards the marina.

The Visitor's Center has a commanding view.  Informative displays inside, friendly rangers, and a nice deck in the back.
Traveling around the country, we find it fascinating to see where different bodies of water flow. Here, Raystown Lake flows into the Juniata River which flows into the Susquehanna River which flows into Chesapeake Bay and then into the Atlantic Ocean.

As in other state parks, Jan and I often remark on the lack of private homes around the lake.  The state property allows you to see only nature for miles and miles.

At the marina  we are encouraged to look at the Carp that gather close to the docks.

There are hundreds of these bottom feeders that gather hoping for fish food that park goers buy.


The next leg takes us back up Route 22 and west to Route 219 South.  This takes us south of Altoona, Pa. to Route 281.  Out of Somerset, Pa., Route 281 turns south to meet Route 40. From there we head west to Route 381 and north to Ohiopyle State Park. A little convoluted because you really do not want to take small gray roads over these mountains. These roads are steep and twisty and narrow enough.

This route takes us over part of the Allegheny Mountains which are part of the Appalachian Mountains.  Some beautiful views with lots of steep hills and curves on the roads.

In the middle of this rural area, it is a somber wakeup to see signs on Route 281 for the Flight 93 National Memorial.   A reminder of the heroes who overcame the terrorists on that plane and also the innocent victims not often mentioned for 9/11.

A steep hill brings us to Kentuck Campground .

Ohiopyle is a small town on the Youghiogheny River.

A lot of history here from George Washington riding the rapids as a young soldier,  to logging, to railroads and  modern kayakers and rafters.

A view from the park road through the haze.

Eustis holds his breath for these steep downhills and sharp curves

In town there is a wonderful Visitor's Center that spends some time about the white water.
There are exhibits of kayaks and some quotes about this being one of the , if not the, best white 
water paddling in the country.
By the way, the Youghiogheny River starts from a branch north of the Potomac River(we usually think Washington, D.C.) in Northern West Virginia.  It flows north to join the Monongahela southeast of Pittsburgh. The Monongahela flows north to join the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River which flows west to become the largest tributary of the Mississippi River.  Wow!!!!
This link gives a little more information about the whitewater American White Water.  If you follow this blog at all, you know we( meaning Bruce) cannot bypass a bakery.  Wonderful bagels, croissant,  and muffins!!!!  The sandwiches sounded great as well.
Hard to read, but this is the entrance to Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece , Falling Water.

This is a five minute ride from the center of Ohiopyle. This house was designed in 1935 and built 1936 to 1938 for Edgar Kaufmann of Kaufmann's Department Stores.  Using cantilever design , the house is intended to be part of the landscape.  Instead of a house built to look at the falls, this house is part of the falls.  You can hear the water in every room.  This was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in January 1938. This link will give you more information  Falling Water. Org

This house is a major tourist stop.  There are a number of guides inside and the house is pretty much as it was when occupied by the Kaufmanns. This includes original furniture and some impressive artwork.  There is another Wright house nearby on Kentuck Knob.  Known for many creations, the Guggenheim Museum on 5th Avenue in New York may be Wright's next most well known building.

From Ohiopyle, we head back down Route 381 to Route 40 east to Route 281 south which becomes Route 26 in West Virginia. Route 26 meets Route 68 west and we stop at Cooper's Rock State Forest ( east of Morgantown) at McCollum Campground.  Jan and I are lucky to have the last site.  This is a small campground used by hunters and hikers. 

From Cooper's Rock, we decide to take the interstates , Route 68 west and then Route 79 south.  You could take side roads, but beware that there are mostly narrow, windy, and steep roads.  Jan and I decided that landowners in West Virginia have learned to accept living on steep hills. Level ground is at a premium!
Some of these yards and fields are really, really steep.  Think about riding your lawnmower up the hill and trying not to flip over backwards steep.
This stop is at a pleasant COE park called Riffle Run.  Jan is sporting her new down Bean vest.  Thanks Marsha!
Does it seem like we are on the road?  We are!   We usually spend two days or so at these campgrounds. Some are for three days and this time more are just single overnights.  This next stop is also a COE park, Gerald R. Freeman on Sutton Lake.  This is not far from Riffle Run, so a short , short drive.

158 sites in the campground and only 6 are occupied, all in the full hookup area.  Note how crowded we are above??  The water is so still that we get great reflections in the afternoon.  

Many parks in West Virginia and other northeast states close at the Columbus Day weekend or shortly after.
So, we make this next stop a bit further in mileage.  Following Route 79 southwest to Charleston and then Route 64 west to Huntington, WV.   Route 10 takes us down to Beech Fork State Park on Beech Fork Lake.  As you can see from our back window above, we have a lake view.  These lakes are different in that they tend to be longer and narrower.
Our site was occupied by the hawk above.  He gave us the once over, being sure to approve our arrival.
 Jan and I had been to Kentucky a few times before, staying at the Kentucky Horse Park and also a state park.  This one, Fort Boonesborough State Park, is on Route 10 out of Winchester. That is east of Lexington.
Founded in 1775 by Daniel Boone, this was the "Capital of the Colony of Transylvania"
This campground  is at the reconstructed fort along the Kentucky River.  This is a quiet season, but there are still docents here in period dress(1775).  Kentuckians are proud of Daniel Boone and the beginnings of the 16th state.  The buildings are very close to original specs.

There are some unusual  items in the museum sections and the store.  The wafer iron above is for baking wafers for church and home.  It has the US seal from 1775 with 16 stars for Kentucky.  The bowl has speared corn cobs used for---------------fishing bobbers.

A small one room cabin in the fort.  But really, how much more do you need?  At least this one has a wooden floor, a bed frame, and a table with a loft in the back.

Being a quiet day, Jan is invited by the docent to make her own hand dipped candle.  The girl is a local and a student at U of Kentucky.  We had a great conversation. She would like to build her own cabin and eventually manage this park.  We also had a great demonstration of sheep wool spinning on an original spinning wheel.

Our last stay at a Kentucky State Park was about this time in Levi Jackson State Park.  We were amazed at how crowded it was.  Now we know!  In New England, the state parks are already closed, so we have no experience of Halloween in campgrounds.  But this actually makes sense.
The locals love this!  Here, at Boonesborough, they fill the park for two weeks prior to Halloween.  Almost every site has small to huge decoration displays, some are actual haunted house displays with costumed characters.  Lots and lots of kids. And , later in the day, they allow all kinds of cars to enter at $3 per car to look at the displays(think Christmas decorations in some towns).  
Why it makes sense is that this is rural country.  Hard to go door to door trick or treating.  But here, the kids are safe.  They can go site to site , walking safely( every camper is known and registered).  And the park is filled with extended families on multiple sites making a group camping a huge part of it all. Thought some of you might appreciate this.  Marsha????  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Leaving New England

We ended our New England stay with great visits with Nancy,  and Richard and Gail. Such great hosts and always quick to offer their driveways and more.
 Finally, we were able to set up our visit to match Gary and Emilie's time.  A wonderful hike with Gary and Bailey at the Tillinghast Pond Trails( click on this link Tillinghast Conservancy  )in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.  No pictures because Bruce did not bring his camera.  Duh!

Even better, a great dinner--thanks again Gary-- at  Celestial Cafe in Exeter, Rhode Island.  A wonderful chance to chat with Gary and Emilie at a wonderful restaurant that features local farm dinners.  Everything local from vegetables to wines, to cheeses, honey, chicken, and seafood among others. Click on this link and check out the menus and events tabs  Celestial Cafe .  We note this also as Emilie's favorite restaurant.

Unfortunately no pictures from our visit with Gary and Emilie.

The pictures above and to the left are from our last stop which was back to Cape Cod and another walking visit to the Wellfleet Audubon.  The turtles were out this time on a perfectly still pond.  Also there were subtle changes in the colors , fading from bright greens to fall beige and yellow.

This time we stayed at a campground in Eastham, Atlantic Oaks.  That allowed us direct access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail and also an easy 2 mile bike ride on back roads to the Wellfleet Audubon. If some of you are not familiar with this place , check out the link--  Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary .  While here there were 2 school buses from Long Island, New York.  This is a popular destination for school nature study trips.
Another must do was to sit down for another dozen oysters plus other seafood at Bookstore Restaurant which is right across the street from the oyster beds in Wellfleet.  Also necessary is a visit to PB Boulangerie.
Above is a pictures of some of our purchases.   This link takes you to a photo gallery on their website  PB photo gallery
A fruit tart from PB.  The fruit tasted as great as it looked and the custard was unbelievable.
A different napoleon
The flakiest, most delicate croissant.

If you have time, check out this link to Chef Philippe Rispoli.  Watch the video, but also check out the other links on the site.  The short version is that he came from Lyon, France. Learned at restaurants in Lyon and down to the Cote D'Azur , then was coaxed to New York, the West Coast, and Las Vegas before coming to Wellfleet, Mass.  Obviously, he is very welcome in Wellfleet. Philippe Rispoli

From Cape Cod , Jan and I reluctantly head west towards New York.  Along the way we are pleasantly surprised to find fall foliage getting brighter and brighter along the turnpike.  And, of course, we have to stop and pick some Cortland apples along the way.  The trees are loaded down and the apples are huge. Somehow fresh picked are tastier than those you find in a store.  We have been lucky yo visit some great orchards with family.  Berlin Orchards with Gary and Emilie, Berlin Orchards. Also Carlson Orchards with Scott, Rachel, and Lucas  Carlson Orchards.  Alison has just picked some up in Maine and is baking an apple pie.  And Sean and Madison have taken us hiking and picking apples near Rattlesnake Mountain in Maine as well as near Steep Falls, Maine.
And then on to Arrowhead Marina Rv park in Glenville, New York on the Mohawk River.  The next day is on Route 88 south towards Binghamton and then west to Route 15 and South to Route 287 in Tioga, Pennsylvania and our favorite Ives Run Corps of Engineer Park .
The colors are bright and wonderful.
Much brighter than last year.
Amazingly, the park is not totally full.  With no reservations, we find a great spot in Pine Camp( no hookups).

A tourist train out of Wellsboro makes a regular stop across the lake.  This a popular train during the leaf peeping season.
The colors in the park vary from bright yellows to reds.

Amazingly, some of the trees are still not changed after Columbus Day weekend.

We may never have this spot. This is one of two in the campground that we would never hesitate to take.  But, as you might expect, they are almost always occupied or reserved.