Watkins Glenn State Park, Corning Glass, PA Grand Canyon

IMG_20130727_111606_090.jpg We arrived at Tompkins Campground which is part of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Cowanesque Lake Facility near Lawrenceville, PA on a Thursday afternoon.  The campsites are just great: roomy, paved, and easy to back a camper in to.  We enjoyed having such an easy arrival and were quickly settled in.

P7268835.JPG On Friday we drove to Watkins Glen State Park.  Along the way we enjoyed the lovely countryside.  In town we stopped to pick up a sandwich to eat on the hike, found a parking lot for the truck and walked to the park. Knowing it was going to be a fairly strenuous hike down the gorge we opted to pay for the shuttle and hike back down to town.  Judging by the look on the faces of several who opted to hike up rather than down I think we made a good choice.  Even with walking sticks and hiking down hill it was plenty steep for me.  Since we started at the top we immediately went down about 180 or so steps down into the gorge and to the trail by the river.  The railroad trestle behind and above us was very imposing.  We followed the smooth rock trail that was built by the CCC many years ago.  Along the way the trail has tunnels and a winding staircase. The river was quite impressive with the falls becoming larger.  At one point the trail even took us behind a waterfall. There are many photogenic spots and we enjoyed each one.  With so many other people on the trail going both directions and I felt like we were swept along when sometimes I would  like to have stopped and spent some time just enjoying the view without the constant parade of people.

IMG_0860.JPG A couple of days later we visited Corning Museum of Glass.  It is well worth the trip and I am glad we took the free tour with the docent.  This gave us highlights of the museum such as the Tiffany glass wall and why it looks three dimensional.   We saw ancient glass that has been excavated as well products like the lens used in the Palomar observatory In California and windows used by NASA, along with stories about many other exhibits. The tour ended with a free glass blowing demonstration with on going explanation of what was happening.  We went back to spend more time in areas we found interesting during the tour.  There is also a gift shop and cafe at the museum.

P7308883.JPG Another highlight from the area is the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.  This is a beautiful place for a day trip from where we were staying.  It was a scenic drive and we enjoyed looking at the historic houses and buildings  in the towns.  We did the mile and a half rim tour which was rather steep.  The view of the river below was beautiful. The bike trail down through the canyon was tempting.  It’s part of the “rails to trails” projects that are happening across the country where old rail lines are being removed and transformed into wonderful bike trails.  We would have loved to ride the bike trail but we knew it would be too much for us.  We enjoyed walking in the woods and hearing the sounds of nature. This area was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and there is a statue in honor of these men.

Scott and I have enjoyed this beautiful New York/Pennsylvania stay and recommend it to all who love the beauty of nature.

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