2019 – Sightseeing Western Indiana – Eastern Illinois


I was really looking forward to visiting with my brother Jim and sis-in-law Phyllis during our stay in western Indiana, but we also got in a couple of fun sightseeing adventures – one in Illinois and the other in Indiana.

We went the Vermilion River Fall Festival in Danville, IL. There were many fall oriented handcrafted items along with a variety of food booths. I think this is the third time this year that we stumbled on to a great car show with many nice older cars and trucks. My favorite was a 1912 Ford car that looks like one in a picture I have of my Dad as a small child in 1914.

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Our most enjoyable sightseeing excursion was a visit to Turkey Run State Park near Marshall, Indiana. We have both enjoyed hiking across the years and decided to visit this popular state park. We took a short hike down steps, across a suspension bridge over Sugar Creek and down to Rocky Hollow to see a small waterfall. The water has carved the rocks and it is fun to walk along the bottom of the gorge by the stream. We took a break there in that pretty spot and had a picnic lunch. From there we turned around and came back, because I couldn’t scramble up the first set of rock “steps” without help; and that was the easy part! We walked back to the suspension bridge and followed a different trail that took us through the woods on what I expected to be an easier trail to a covered bridge built in the early 1900’s and across the creek heading back to the nature center. We encountered many steps and scrambles going up hill and down. Some were man made and had rails but several were natural and more difficult for me. However we made it and I am glad we took day to enjoy the beauty of nature.

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2019 – Sightseeing Along Lake Erie in N.E. Ohio


Our stay in northeastern Ohio was a longer stay for us and that gave us plenty of time to explore the area.

We never get our fill of waterfalls so even though we hiked Watkins Glen and then visited Niagara Falls over the past few weeks, we took a day trip and visited a couple more waterfalls near Cleveland OH. Chagrin Falls, just south of Cleveland is located in the town of Chagrin. There are cute shops and restaurants around it. It is obviously a destination for people wanting to get out of the big city and although not overwhelming the falls are pretty and a nice place to eat lunch or just hang out. From there we drove through the country and arrived at the Brandywine Falls in beautiful Cayahoga Valley National Park. The falls have hiking and biking trails. We walked down a boardwalk for a great view of the falls. It is beautiful and well worth the effort to get down there and back. There is also an overlook for people who cannot or choose to not take the stairs.

On the Saturday before Labor Day We drove to Geneva-On-The-Lake and found it very busy due to a variety of events happening that day. We especially enjoyed a big Volkswagen car show in the city park which was filled with VWs and camper vans from across the years. Afterward, we enjoyed sitting on a bench and listening to the waves of Lake Erie for a while.

We went to Cleveland to visit the Historic William G. Matthew steam ship but found that it was only open on weekends after Labor Day. The ship is adjacent to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and since we were already there so we thought we would check it out. Honestly, since we aren’t fans of current popular music our expectations weren’t very high but there was more of interest to us than we expected. We spent most of our time in the sections of the museum that focus on the early days of rock and roll music. We heard lots of music and watched clips of singers from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. We saw photos, costumes and other memorabilia from many singers and groups. It was interesting seeing displays of groups like The Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Temptations. Other singers included Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and many more. We were able to walk through the tour bus that was built for Johnny and June Cash and their son. Interesting and sobering to us was the way the music changed to darker, angry, themes as time passed.

There is a historically unique restaurant near our campground: Covered Bridge Pizza in North Kingsville. The dining area is inside a covered bridge. The bridge was originally the Foreman Road Bridge built in 1862. In 1972 the county decided to replace it and the old bridge was sold for five dollars! It was carefully dismantled and placed in storage. In 1975 half of the old bridge was used to open the restaurant we visited and in 1977 a second location was opened using the other half of the bridge. There are a variety of items on the menu but we were there for pizza. The crust is made fresh daily and the spicy sauce along with the meat and cheese made an excellent lunch.

On a clear sunny day we took a picnic and visited a few of the many parks along Lake Erie. It was fun seeing the various parks. One was small with few picnic tables and small playground. Another had a large covered area with tables and a concession with boardwalks down to the beach. Yet another had a covered area with tables and several porch type swings with the beach area adjacent to it. We had a pleasant lunch by carrying our lunch and chairs down close to the water. A nice quiet way to spend a few hours.

When we saw advertising about a balloon glow not far from our campground we decided to go. There were eight of the giant hot air balloons that were beautiful when lit up. There were a lot of people there enjoying the display. The business, Debonné, hosts a full scale hot air balloon festival in the spring, it must be amazing to see.

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2019 – Sightseeing Niagara Falls and vicinity


Niagara Gorge and Falls
We wanted to spend the week of our 50th Anniversary in a beautiful area with lots to see and do. We picked Niagara Falls and vicinity. Some of the attractions added a romantic flavor to the week while others were just interesting and fun.

Early in the week we focused on the Niagara Gorge – a stunning area below the Falls and out to Lake Ontario. The Robert Moses Niagara Power Project Visitors Center is an impressive place with great views of the Gorge and an interesting overview of the area. As we entered we were handed “swipe badges” that allow visitors to play a wide variety of interactive exhibits. Kids enjoy collecting stickers while learning about hydroelectric power and energy efficiency. I enjoyed the movie telling about the plant, how it works and interacts with surrounding power grids. I particularly enjoyed seeing Mr. Tesla come to life in a picture frame to explain AC vs DC electricity. One hall is dedicated to the Native American people of the era and their civilization. The best part of the visit was standing on the observation deck overlooking the Niagara Gorge, watching the water flow and the tour boats speed through the Niagara Gorge.

Nearby is Whirlpool State Park with a stunning view of the whirlpool in the Niagara River. It is mesmerizing to watch the water flow and spin. Up above people were riding the Gondola that takes people high above the giant whirlpool.

We enjoyed stopping off for an ice cream treat in Lewiston at the Silo Caboose. The soft serve chocolate ice cream was amazing! The only problem was it was a hot day and I had to eat it faster than I wanted.

Although we were here 7 years ago Niagara Falls was the highlight of this week and we saved visiting it for our 50th Wedding Anniversary! We drove in found a good parking spot and bought our tickets to visit the Observation Tower and then ride the Maid of the Mist! I enjoyed every minute of the ride with the spectacular falls above and then around us I was reminded what an Amazing God we serve who made things like this for our pleasure.

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Historic Erie Canal locks
We really enjoyed our ride on the Erie Canal. Construction of the canal was started in 1817 and it opened in 1825. It carried commerce from New York Harbor to Lake Erie and transformed the region. Our ride on the Canal took us through Locks 34 and 35, the “Upside Down Bridge” and under a lift bridge used for normal street traffic. We could see traces of the old foot path that was used by the animals towing the barges as well as many historic buildings as we rode along. As we passed through the locks our Captain explained how the locks worked, allowing the water to raise and lower our boat as we moved along the canal. It was a fun ride that let me experience a little of the history I learned so long ago.

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Old Fort Niagara
Just a short drive from us is Old Fort Niagara. This Fort has a history of over 300 years. It has been controlled by the French, English and the finally the Americans. It was critical in the French and Indian War, The American Revolution and the War of 1812. The visitor’s center provides historic information and artifacts including the original American flag of the War of 1812 (the twin of the Star Spangled Banner) which is kept in a climate controlled room. I enjoyed going into the buildings and talking with several re-enactors as well as seeing demonstrations of musket fire and military field demonstrations.

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2019 – Sightseeing Watkins Glen, NY State Park


When we last visited Watkins Glen, NY State Park we were blown away by its beauty. As we planned our trip through this area again a return visit was on our “must-do” list. We had a great day for this visit and it is just as beautiful as I remember. We opted to purchase tickets to take the park shuttle to the top of the trail, making the mile and a half hike through the gorge almost all downhill. We saw many people hiking up and were glad we were taking the route of least resistance! The trail is made up of stairs and winding pathways along the river with many waterfalls along the way. The bridges and safety walls are well kept but the pathway is narrow in some places. There are beautiful stone arch bridges and in a couple of places the trail takes you under waterfalls. We were able to find a wider spot where we could sit on the wall and enjoy a picnic lunch in as beautiful a setting as you’ve ever seen. The high rock walls and overhanging trees add to the beauty of it. We think this NY York State Park is a world class attraction and apparently many agree as we heard a wide variety of languages being spoken by our fellow hikers.

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2019 – Sightseeing Lancaster-Hershey, PA


This is just a brief continuation of our Lancaster-Hershey, PA sightseeing. Our son, daughter-in-law, and teen-age grandchildren joined us for a week, staying in a campground cabin. We were out nearly every day sightseeing with them. Some of the places they visited are already favorites of ours. We went to the Bird N Hand Market and the Kitchen Kettle Village where we did an Amish themed buggy ride. We rode the steam train in Strasbourg, PA, visited Gettysburg National Park and Cemetery, and went to Hershey World. We ate local deli favorites, had ice cream at “Jiggers” in Mt Gretna, and went to the famous Shady Maple Smorgasbord. There was shopping, cookouts at the campground, and a couple of evenings around the campfire. Whew! No wonder we are tired! I’m extremely thankful for a memorable time together.

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2019 – Sightseeing Lancaster, PA and Baltimore, MD


Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD – and the Star Spangled Banner
Our drive down to Fort McHenry in Baltimore MD was a fun but hot day. We started at the visitor center where we watched a short overview of our National Anthem and how it came to be written by Francis Scott Key. The visitors’ center also has interactive displays and historical artifacts to see.

There are Ranger talks scheduled throughout the day. We joined one and learned about the War of 1812 while we walked along. Our presenter described the cannons and their range and the various types of ammunition. He led us into the Fort and up a small incline to point out to us approximately where the British fleet was positioned in the harbor. Francis Scott Key’s ship was being detained by the British out in the harbor. There he watched through the night to see if the flag was still flying over the fort. It was a fascinating and wonderful learning experience.

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Sight and Sound – Lancaster, PA
We attended a production of “Jesus” at the Sight and Sound Theater. This amazing presentation is based on events of the life of our Lord. There are flashbacks of his birth and his experience at the Temple when he was 12 years old as the story takes the audience through the ministry of Jesus. The presentation uses live actors, music, song, moving scenery, and live animals to bring these events to life. The 300 foot stage wraps around the audience. There are humorous scenes and powerful drama that reminds us of how much He loves us even to the point of laying down his life for us. The resurrection and ascension scenes are breathtaking. All of this was done concluding with an opportunity for anyone to invite Jesus to be a part of their life here and now. No photography is allowed, but we took a couple of photos just to help us remember this powerful presentation.

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Tabernacle in the Wilderness – Lancaster, PA
At the Mennonite Information Center in Lancaster PA we saw a full scale replica of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Our tour guide gave us the Biblical background of the Israelites and we saw replicas of the altar of sacrifice and basin used in the outer court and then we moved into a room where we saw a replica of the inner court with actual color curtains, candlestick, and table of bread. There is a full-size wax figure dressed as the high priest so we could see the stones on the breast plate and the miter. The curtain separating the Holy of Holies is there but we were able to look through windows to see the replica Ark of the Covenant. Overall it was a very inspiring time and it helped me clarify my understanding of the tabernacle in the wildernesses.

The Lancaster, PA area is a real tourist mecca. We will see much more in the week to come, but it will be family time for us as well, so our focus will be on family rather than doing a sightseeing blog.

2019 – Sightseeing the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing – York Springs, PA


Looking at the map of the area around York, PA Scott saw that the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing was near our campground so we decided to check it out. Honestly, neither of us are race fans but Scott said he was about burned out on Revolutionary and Civil War history and ready for a change of pace. We assumed that this museum, being a bit off the beaten track and open at only limited times, would be a smaller one. We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find it to be packed full of interesting cars and other racing memorabilia. In spite of the large collection, the Museum entrance fee is by donation only. This facility is a nonprofit staffed with volunteers taking care of everything. We enjoyed seeing the wide variety of racing cars, plus motorcycles and other racing gear. There is an amazing amount of information about the cars and drivers plus jackets, helmets and other clothing along with biographies, photos, trophies and other items. Even those like us who aren’t racing fans will find this to be a great museum visit.

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2019 – Sightseeing the Northern Neck of Virginia


There’s a lot to see and do in and near the Northern Neck of Virginia and we’ve enjoyed visiting and revisiting several spots. I’ve already done sightseeing reviews of the George Washington Birthplace and the Museum of the Bible. I’m doing this post as a sort of wrap-up of the other places we visited. Some of these are big, well known places and others have more local flavor, like the nice beach in the town of Colonial Beach and the local Ice Cream stand.

It is amazing to realize that eight Presidents of the United States were born in Virginia and that of those eight, two: Washington and Monroe were born just a few miles apart near here. We visited both birthplaces. Then, the Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, who was first offered command of the Union Army by Abraham Lincoln was also born nearby.

Stratford Hall

Robert E. Lee’s birthplace is Stratford Hall. This was the home of his ancestors, two of them signers of the Declaration of Independence: Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee. We enjoyed an audio tour as we walked through the two story mansion. The grounds are extensive with many outbuildings including an outdoor kitchen and smokehouse. We drove out to the Potomac overlook with its cliffs and beach below. The River is an impressive 5 miles wide at that point. We also drove to the grist mill and saw where the wharf for merchant ships that traveled the Potomac brought the wares of the world right to this majestic plantation.

Westmoreland Berry Farm

Another sightseeing trip we took was a short drive to Westmoreland Berry Farm. There were more people there than I expected on a Friday morning. The store has in-season produce. At the time of our June visit they had blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. There are also a variety of jams and fruit salsas available along with BBQ sauces. We picked a small batch of blueberries to take home. Beside the store is a large lawn with a huge chair for photo ops, corn hole games, a swing set, and a long downhill slide using sacks. I think the main draw is the climbing goats who climb up a ladder, across the walkway over the road, and then pull a rope to get a cup of goat feed. There are also goats that people pet and hand feed. We had a fun time in the place with lots of local flavor.

Fredericksburg Battleground

In December of 1862 the Union Army attacked Fredericksburg, VA and crossed the river to meet Robert E. Lee’s troops who were holding Marie’s Height with its high ground and sunken road with a rock wall in front of it. The Confederate Army used that wall for cover and the hill above it for canon emplacements. The Union Army had to come across a wide open field. Although they had more men and sent seven waves of attackers they could not overcome the Confederacy that day. The Visitors Center has many displays and artifacts from the battle. It gives an idea of the people who lived there and how they felt about the war. It also gave us a glimpse into their lives and how the war impacted them. The National Parks Service Ranger was an excellent guide who gave us an overview of the battle as we walked along that sunken road. One house from that battle is still standing and is undergoing renovation to keep it available. We could see bullet holes in the walls from the battle. The nearby National Cemetery is where many Union soldiers are buried, many of them give up their lives trying to take that very hill in the battle of Frederiksberg. We were humbled to be on, what the Ranger said, was the most fought over ground in the entire country.

Father’s Day Colonial Beach Car Show

We just happened onto a great car show. We went into Colonial Beach for church on Sunday morning and just a few blocks from the church a big car show was going on. We had fun walking around, checking out all the cars that were on display. People come from miles around to see this car show, we just happened to be at the right place at the right time to see it.

As you can see the Northern Neck of Virginia has a lot to offer. We’ve enjoyed our time here.

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2019 – Sightseeing the Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC


I had a wonderful time at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. From our campground we drove about an hour and a half the most southern stop on the Metro green line subway station. After a thirty minute ride it was just a few blocks to the museum. It was well worth the effort. The museum has six floors with something for everyone who has any interest in the Bible, history, or archeology.

I think the absolute highlight of a day filled with highlights was the “Stories of the Bible” area. The multi media presentations are terrific and informative. “The Hebrew Bible” started with Creation and went through the prophets. The dialogue continued as we walked from area to area. A few things stood out: after the great flood we walked through a room flooded with colors of the rainbow and were reminded of God’s promises. Then as we traveled through the Exodus portion of history we saw a very impressive burning bush and then we walked through the divided Sea. From that section we went to the “New Testament Theater” for the rest of the story. There we saw the Apostle John’s description of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection along with the story of how the Gospel was spread throughout the world. We also walked through a diorama of a village similar to where Jesus as raised.

On other floors there are Biblical artifacts and archaeological information presented through videos, exhibits and hands on materials for all ages. Whether you have children with our or not, don’t miss the kids area! It is amazing!

We saw replicas of the of the Dead Sea Scrolls, copies of Bibles from all ages, many translations and information about how they were reproduced. There is a lot of archeological displays including coins and other items found in the Holy Land. I highly recommend this Museum if you are going to be in the DC area. It was the highlight of our 2019 Adventure to date and well worth the time and effort to get there.

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2019 – Sightseeing George Washington’s Birthplace, Colonial Beach, VA


This National Monument is in Westmoreland County on Popes Creek at Colonial Beach, Virginia. The short film at the visitors center is an excellent start of the tour. We walked up a trail to the barn, checked out the farm workshop where a wide variety of equipment and hand tools are on display. The weaving room was closed but I could see spinning wheels through the window and a huge cauldron in the backyard. The kitchen is staged as though they are almost ready to serve a meal. A nearby colonial garden is full of herbs and flowers.

The original buildings had fallen into ruin but in the 1920s and 1930s the Wakefield Memorial Association with help from John D Rockefeller built a Colonial-Revival style home at the traditional birth sight. Tours are given by Park staff and our guide was excellent. We learned about the early life and relationships of Washington as well as those involved in creating this wonderful monument to our National Leader.

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