Tag Archives: state park

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 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 – Shortstop: Holly Point Campground – Wake Forest, NC


Our one night stop at Holly Point Campground in Wake Forest, NC was an unplanned one and it came just in front of one of the hardest weekends of the year to find a campsite: Memorial Day weekend.

Our motorhome was scheduled for a front windshield replacement in Winston-Salem (following my run-in with a tree in South Carolina). The replacement took longer than I had anticipated and by the time we were ready to travel it was too late to make the longer drive we had planned.

While we were waiting on the windshield repair I was searching the internet for a suitable spot for one night. This campground gets good reviews and, even though it is booked up starting Friday, we were able to pick from several vacant spots for a Thursday one night stay.

Honestly, I wanted to find an “interstate campground” that caters to people just wanting to stop for a night, but came up empty on my search. Holly Point is farther from I85 than I wanted for just a one nighter, but (1) not finding a RV Park along the interstate and (2) it being the lead in to a holiday weekend I decided to go for it.

My biggest mistake, though, was the route I took from Durham. I left I85 onto Highway 70 and then traveled Highway 98 out to the Falls Lake Recreation area which is where Holly Point is located. Bad choice. There was construction and congestion the whole way, making for a tiring and slow conclusion to a long day. I’m not sure what route would be better, but this isn’t a good one.

Now, the campground is quite good. The sites are generally long with good spacing and reasonably level. They are 30 amp/water sites. The roads are paved and the sites are gravel. There’s a big lake. One of the highest compliments I can pay a campground is this: it reminds me of a Corps of Engineers campground.

My Verizon signal was good. Didn’t try to put the satellite up but I’m pretty sure I would have struck out at least from the site we picked.

Tell you what, it would, indeed, be a nice place to spend Memorial Day weekend.


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