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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 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 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 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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2019 – Sightseeing Vicksburg, MS

At the Ironclad Cairo in Vicksburg, MS
Vicksburg is a historic town right on the Mississippi River. The Welcome Center has a large veranda with a wonderful view of the River and the bridges that cross it. There is a lovely room staged inside representative of the many historic homes of the area. Nearby is is an overlook called the Navy Circle with markers explaining its importance to the Battle of Vicksburg.

We also visited the Vicksburg National Military Park which commemorates the many soldiers from both sides who fought for control of Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi River. The Battle for Vicksburg lasted more than six months and cost over 48,000 casualties. As we drove through the park I was amazed at the many markers and commemorative statues honoring those involved in the siege.

Also in the park we visited the USS Cairo and the museum. The Cairo is one of seven ironclad gunboats built by the Union army. This is an amazing partial restoration with many of the original timbers still intact. I was surprised that some of the metal on the front was railroad ties placed horizontally for protection. The Cairo was leading a flotilla tasked with destroying Confederate Batteries and underwater mines. She was hit with two explosions and sank within twelve minutes with no loss of life. Inside the museum are many personal artifacts along with other equipment recovered with the ship and are now on display for all to see.


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2018 – Sightseeing the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee

We always enjoy returning to the Smoky Mountains. This visit was just for a week, so we had a short but busy stay. A highlight for us was the opportunity to attend the Saturday afternoon sessions of the National Quartet Convention at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. Thanks to some friends who were attending the convention, we got tickets for the Gerald Wolfe Hymn Sing. This was a fun “sing along” event with a full choir and several other southern gospel singers. Then, we attended a concert featuring several male quartets. As you can guess Scott was right in his element and I enjoyed my first NQC.

We spent one day enjoying the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Years ago we spent some time camping at Cades Cove and we haven’t been back there since. It was as pretty as we remembered. We took the scenic loop drive, stopping at three historical spots along the way. Our first stop was at the Primitive Baptist Church. We could see the space where the heating stove sat and the roof vent where the stovepipe vented outside. There is a large cemetery in back and we could see some the names and dates of the people buried there. One thing that stuck me in both cemeteries was the amount of children’s graves; especially those that died on the day of their birth. I was surprised to see several more recent graves there, apparently family plots still being used by families to lay loved ones to rest.

We also stopped at a Methodist Church. The building has an old upright piano. As we arrived a young lady was playing the piano and after she left Scott played his trademark “When the Saints go Marching In.” Several came in as he played and they asked for an encore! Scott said this was his day of fame! It really did sound good in that old church.

We stopped at the visitors’ center to eat our picnic lunch and then walked around the historic farm there. Next month the National Park Service will be using the historic equipment on site to demonstrate how to make sorghum which they have on sale in the store. The house is large with several rooms on the main floor and an upstairs. We also saw an old barn, corn crib, and a working mill where a man was grinding corn into cornmeal. The mill wheel was turned by water from a nearby stream. We loved the drive through the park that follows a beautiful mountain stream that features many impressive rapids. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in the beauty of God’s Creation.

There’s so much to see in this area that it would take months to really do it justice. We enjoyed returning to the Apple Barn for a meal as well as exploring the shops there. We’ll look forward to future visits here.

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2018 – Sightseeing York-Gettysburg-RV Show

We enjoyed going to the county fair in York, PA. This fair is called America’s First Fair, originating in 1765! We drove in paid our parking and walked toward the entrance wondering where we paid our entry fee and realized later that it was Senior Day and we got in free! We went through many of the buildings. It was fun watching the pig and “Hot Dog” (Dachshunds) races. We saw large and small farm animals ranging from big bulls and beautiful horses down to rabbits and guinea pigs and various birds. In one hall they had pregnant pigs, sheep, and cattle as well as mothers with babies born this week. This was a very popular spot for all ages. One building had an impressive model trains display while another had a wide variety of hand crafted items and art work. It was a fun and tiring day.

The next day, after spending the day at the fair, we headed for the “largest RV show in the country” at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. The arena floor was filled with vendors of all kinds selling mostly RV/camping related items. The food vendors were doing a brisk business. Outside there were many acres of RVs of all makes and models. We enjoyed both the vendors and the RVs. After a day at the fair followed by the RV show we came home ready for some down-time.

I didn’t know how much food industry takes place here in this area. Many of our well known companies produce products here. We toured two of them. The first was nearby Martin’s Potato Chips at Thomasville, PA. This is mainly an east coast company. Their snacks, we were told, have been stocked on Air Force One through the last several presidencies. Our tour guide started us outside where the potatoes are brought in by huge trucks and started on their way through the factory. We then walked along the production line where the potato chips were being fried, salted, dried, inspected, and packed. The guide brought us some chips, still hot, right off the line. They were delicious, the best we’ve ever eaten. There’s a well stocked factory outlet store and, of course, we took advantage of their low prices!

From the Chip factory we drove to the Snyders of Hanover factory where our guide took us to a windowed corridor above the area where the pretzels and other items are made. It was fascinating seeing all the people keeping up with the automated line and how the items were labeled so they could be sorted by both people with scanners and automated equipment. Of course I had to buy some cookies and taste the pumpkin spice pretzels. It was a very interesting, fun, and tasty afternoon.

Our last major sightseeing trip in this area was to Gettysburg, PA. I was surprised to learn that this famous Battle was only three days long (July 1–3, 1863) yet resulted in a huge loss of life in those few days. We did the driving tour of the Battle of Gettysburg locations. We saw many monuments to the men from both the North and South who fought for what they thought was right. Our last stop was the National Cemetery. We walked to the site where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address and saw where many men and women from not only the battle of Gettysburg, but also later Wars and conflicts, are buried. Walking that hallowed ground was a humbling and sobering experience for us. It was also amazing to us to actually be at the site of such historical significance.

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2018 – Schoodic Woods Campground – Acadia National Park, Maine


As we began thinking about our 2018 Adventure we decided that Maine’s Acadia National Park would be our primary destination. I started researching the area and began seeing rave reviews of the NPS Schoodic Woods Campground, located on the Schoodic Peninsula section of the National Park. This is considered the “quiet side” of the park with Mt Desert Island containing all the famous landmarks and Schoodic being more laid back. The campground receives universally high marks. Ultimately, we decided to spend a week in the middle of the action on Mt Desert and then spend a week enjoying the serenity of the Peninsula. The booking window is 6 months and I got online the earliest day I could book for the dates of our stay. At that time there were only a few remaining available sites.

It was a great choice. We certainly wouldn’t have wanted to miss the famous side of the park, but this campground is just great. It is located just outside the small town of Winter Harbor. The pull-through sites of Loop B are some of the longest we’ve ever seen. Spacing between the sites is also more than generous. We can see our neighbors through the trees but there’s a great feeling of privacy throughout the campground. The sites in this loop all offer 50 amp electric and water. There’s even free campground WiFi. Here’s a tip for WiFi – book sites nearer the restrooms for the strongest WiFi signals. My Verizon worked okay, ranging from 1 to 3 bars of 4G and I had no problem getting satellite TV.

The campground has a “dark skies” policy. That means there are no strings of LED lights, bug zappers, etc. It also means that you can sit out at night and count the shooting stars and watch satellites gliding across the sky with the backdrop of the Milky Way clearly visible.

The roads are paved and the sites are gravel. The restrooms were always clean. You want to know that there are no showers at the campground. A few businesses in town offer showers for a price.

There’s a NPS shuttle bus that serves the Peninsula, including stops in the two nearby small communities where there are restaurants, a small grocery, and a few shops – all can be visited without starting your own vehicle.

If the campsites here were full hookup, or if, at least, showers were offered, I’d give Schoodic Woods a perfect score. As it is, though, it ranks as one of our favorite campgrounds of all time.

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2018 – Sightseeing Schoodic Peninsula Maine and area

After our active week at Bar Harbor this has been a wonderfully quiet week. We have been on the “quiet side” of Acadia National Park, on the Schoodic Peninsula of Maine. Our campsite is just a few minutes walk from the visitors station and Island Explorer Bus stop. This bus goes around the Island stopping at several points to allow visitors to get off, stay awhile, and then catch another bus to continue exploring. We enjoyed the scenery, especially at Schoodic Point. The route includes a stop in the small village of Winter Harbor where we looked in the five and dime store and a had a sundae at the local restaurant. The local event of the week was the town’s Lobster Festival which included craft booths, food trucks, a lobster dinner that we enjoyed, and lobster boat races. The lobster boats used in the races are the real deal, although I think the engines are souped up a bit. I loved seeing the waves crash on the rocks at the coast but my best memories will will be the times we sat out at night seeing the shooting stars on the clear nights we had here.


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