Thursday, September 9, 2021

Heading Home....

 As we turn the calendar pages into September, it's time to start thinking about turning our sweet rig in the direction of "home".  "Which way?" is always the question we ask ourselves...This year has especially been the challenge with all the awful northern fires still blazing away.  So sad to hear about, causing so much damage and smoke - not only in the areas they are burning, but miles beyond.  Routes and states that we were planning on driving to and through, we have changed, several times because the smoke is still so thick.  My heart goes out to all the people and companies that this has affected.  

Having traveled and camped now for so many years, there is not to many areas that we haven't been to, so for the last few weeks we have just been "taking it easy" and tootling through South Dakota and into Wyoming, not doing much of anything, really. 

While in Sioux Falls, we celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary at a very nice restaurant called Morrie's Steakhouse.  It was wonderful!  The following day, we were able to catch up with a couple of long time friends I had worked with years ago that just happened to be in the area on a job for the week!  (thank you Facebook)!  What a treat that was!  One just never knows "who" you are going to run into while traveling!

We also made a quick trip over to Wall, to the "famous" Drug Store...always worth a visit...just for fun!  Other than those highlights, we've just been relaxing and sitting back enjoy reading!  That was one of our goals on this trip...to just take some time and  s l o w   d o w n!  We've tried to pick campgrounds that help with that, green grass, trees that bring shade, a little breeze, and peace and quiet.  Nice.  Once the Labor Day Weekend was over, campgrounds seem to empty out, big time.  Prices haven't gone down (darn) but space availability sure has, so that's good.  

 

We are trying our best to travel roads, and back roads, that we haven't traveled before (or in a very long time) as much as possible.  While here in Buffalo WY, we decided to go check out a small town called Kaycee, about 45 min. from here.  The article that we read said it had a lot of interesting history, so, why not go see??

Well, "small" was an understatement...wow.  Maybe 2 blocks, if that?  And that included homes, the tiny Post Office, their museum and park.  The two things worth visiting.  

The park was a beautiful little Memorial Corner Park dedicated to Chris LeDoux, the World Bareback Champion rider and Country Western singer.  He wasn't born in Kaycee, but he and his family came there to live after he gave up riding, and he died (and is buried there) in 2005.  His wife and 5 children still have a farm there.   

Across the street was the Hoofprints of the Past Museum, that we decided to check out...and was glad we did!  What a great museum!  The detail and cataloging of the "old west" in their area was fantastic.  Everything from arrowheads to wagons.  They had the complete insides of stores, a blacksmith shop, a home, the first Homestead home, the oldest school in Wyoming, along with chuck wagons, sheepherder wagons and farm equipment.  They had the complete detailed rundown on the Johnson County War and the Wyoming Range War (c1889-1893) - basically the "homesteaders vs the cattle barons.  Wow, tough times.  Anyway, great museum and a great stop...just shows you that you never know what you can find  hiddin in a small town!  

Not much scenery in these parts but rolling hills of yellow "grass" (?) and fields of sorghum and sunflowers...

Well, we are off to Cody tomorrow, one of Jack's most favorite stops!  We will be spending more time in Wyoming this time as Idaho is off our itinerary due to the fires.  So, we shall see what new adventures we find!

...on the road in Wyoming,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Capturing Capitols!

 One of the things that Jack and I like to visit while we travel is State Capitols.  We found early on, that each State's Capitol can really reflect the time it was built, the people it represents, and the area of the country.   They are all so very different from each other, it's not only been fun to see them, but quite an education!  

When we first started out, I only took pictures of the outside, not realizing how interesting or how important the insides were; boy was I wrong!  It was only later that I discovered that the history was really about the insides!   Who, what and why they put on the insides to impress and showcase, makes the Capitol what it is, otherwise, it's just a couple of "meeting rooms".  A good example of this is North Dakota.  Their Capitol is just that, a basic business building with meeting rooms for the Senate and House of Representatives along with offices for the Governor, etc.  Plain, no decor, straight business.  Only Capitol we've seen like that.  

Most, however, are quite the opposite.  As were the two we just visited, first in Kansas (Topeka) and the second in Iowa (Des Moines). Both beautiful, lavish and full of great art.  Both were built during the late 1800's and have the refined Renaissance style that give the impression of strength and dignity combined with utility.  Both were built after the Civil War, but proud to be part of it, although on the "edge" of it, so to speak.  Both Lincoln supporters.  Both are supported by "country farmers" and their politicians are "part-time" and paid accordingly.  


At the Kansas State Capitol, we were left on our own to view it.  Given a nice brochure and friendly greetings by the security staff.  We entered in the ground floor, which isn't unusual these days (after 9/11).  They use this "basement" area as gallery area,  This is where we found the State Seal, as well a chair made from the Cottonwood Tree (state tree), and John Brown's sword (the abolitionist).  

From there we moved up to first floor and got to admire the Rotunda and Overmyer murals.  One of my favorite things, is to look straight up to the Dome from the middle of the Rotunda!  It's always the highlight for me!  I love seeing what they put up there, what effort they have gone into.  

Surrounding the Rotunda were eight  beautiful murals painted by David H Overmyer of topics significant in Kansas history.  Adding to that, another large mural by John Steuart Curry created Tragic Prelude" featuring abolitionist John Brown, and "Kansas Pastoral", which depicts the life of the homesteader. 

As with most Capitols, the Senate  and House of Representatives Rooms were impressive.  The House featured marble, gold leaf and pink columns made from a faux marble process.  Allegorical murals painted on the ceiling along with the names of 10 prominent figures from the Kansas Territory era.  The Senate chamber featured several types of marble, the original native Kansas wild cherry wood desks, and massive hand-cast columns with ornate circular grills that once encouraged air circulation. These were unbelievably beautiful, a combination of bronze, copper and silver, and with such detail!

They had a nice Law Library, and other areas, but those are the "highlights", so I will move on to Iowa...


We lucked out and got an actual tour of the Iowa State Capitol!  I love it when they do that as you learn so much more that way!  Diana was a great guide and really took her time with us. Another unusual thing about this tour was that we actually got to go up to the Dome!  A first!  Because we had a couple that had done the tour the day before, but couldn't do the Dome (not sure why), they asked if it would be alright to start there so they wouldn't have to do the whole tour all over again - she agreed, so off we went!  Luckily we took the elevator up the 3 stories first, as the winding stairs to the Dome was another 97 (steep)!  Phew!  What a thrill though to look down for a change!  We still had quite a bit of the Dome above us, of course, but it was an interesting view to see the detail of the statues and paintings along the rim, as well as the banner that hung across it, closer.  

And the Dome from below looking up!

One of the things that impressed me about this Capitol was their attitude of "pay as you go".  As Diana explained it, that is one of the reasons it took 14 years for them to build the Capitol.  It's also the reason why many of the walls lay "bare" for years before they have art on them.  All that said, however, it's absolutely beautiful inside and out.  The Grand Staircase, made of granite, is one of the prettiest I've encountered, along with tile flooring set with wonderful designs throughout the three floors.  

The Senate Chamber and the rest of the rooms are original to the building except for the House of Representatives.   In 1904 a fire was started when the gas lights were being converted into electricity and the House of Representatives Room was lost.  All else was saved (including the furniture from that room). 

I have to say that he most impressive room was the Law Library though.  It was hard to capture it on camera, it was so large - five stories high, and two wings wide!  It reminded me of the pictures you see people post of "dream libraries" that you only fantasize about.  It was beautiful...

Diana explained that the spiral staircases (one at each end) were so old now that only the librarians were allowed to climb them.  They also had a few very rare "non-law" books on display in a showcase: a 14th century hand lettered book and a book printed in 1742 by Benjamin Franklin. 

Both these Capitols were wonderful examples of our Country's pride.  Each taking care to showcase their State, while still representing the Country as a whole.  I'll leave off with this quote that Iowa had over one of it's doorway's that I thought was quite good...


...and now we are on the road in South Dakota,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https:/https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums





Saturday, August 21, 2021

Kicking Back in Kentucky...

 

Still waiting on our car part, we moved from Lexington to Elizabethtown to Calvert City, which is near The Land Between The Lakes of Kentucky.  We finally found a campground that could take us for more than a week (just in case that darned part continued to take it's time getting here!).  At least here, there were places to drive around and see, as well as nice weather to enjoy!

Like I've shared, if you have to be "stuck" some place, Kentucky is a great place to have it happen!  I'm actually writing this today, because it's the first time we've gotten rain since we've been here...so, we changed our plans and are staying inside!  ;-)

One of the first things we did when we arrived here was to take a drive into the town of Paducah and visit the National Quilt Museum.  We had read about it, and having some close friends who are quilters, we have become very appreciative of the art.  In our travels, we have been to all types and sizes of museums, and have learned to keep an open mind.  The size of the town, nor the brochure isn't always a true indicator of the true quality of the museum.  It is always wonderful when you discover a "true gem"...and this one was that.  The beauty and quality of these quilts were truly jaw-dropping.  To be able to get up close and see the detailed stitching without them being behind a case was also special.  Each displayed with good lighting and descriptions of the artist, details of the quilt and it's "history".  There were hundreds on display to enjoy.  What a treasure this place was!


One of the things we love to do when traveling is find local music...and so far this summer, we haven't had that pleasure, and I've really missed it.  Usually it's been in the south, and we haven't spent much time there this year, so when I saw an ad for The Kentucky Opry, I looked into it!  They had a performance playing the first weekend we were here of "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time".  Sounded perfect, so I got us tickets!  

Wow, what a night!  Such fun!  Clay Campbell is the main singer, along with a great band (one is his son), two additional men, two women, a guest violinist and a couple of his young students who "clogged".  They were all great.  It was a two-hour show (with very comfortable seats, I might add!) and had us toe-tapping and hand-clapping all the while!  So glad we went!  

We took the scenic drive around The Land Between The Lakes one day.  The lakes here are HUGE!  Lots of boats and marinas...hardly anyone out on the water though (even on weekends!).  Sure seems a shame...We got a chuckle along the way I have to share...about half way through the drive is a "Bison & Elk Prairie" that you pay $5 per car to enter.  We thought, "what the heck, why not?" So we went in. We, along with about six or eight other cars, all driving about five miles an hour, driving along this loop, all craning our necks, looking for the bison or elk...nothing.  The ONLY thing we spot are about a half dozen wild turkeys!  So, we leave there and go on down the road.  Now, we end the "scenic drive" of Kentucky and crossover to Tennessee and are just about to turn around when Jack spots a sign saying "Bison Reserve".  We chuckle...but then, just beyond the sign, he spots a whole herd of them!  No fee, no drive, they are just there, all along the fence!  We drive over to them and laugh...I joke and say "well, now we know what happened to the Kentucky bison, they wondered over to Tennessee!"  

On our way back, we stopped at Lake Barkley for lunch at a cute little cafe called Buzzard Rock.  I have to admit that we chose it for the name, but we were glad that we did, because the food was great too!  

Speaking of food, I got to try a "regional" dish the other day.  I love doing that!  This one is called The Kentucky Hot Brown.  I had heard of it before, but never had the opportunity to try it.  The waitress said that it's really only from this area of Kentucky, as it originated from Louisville.  It's basically "leftovers":Bread (toasted), covered with turkey, smothered with a very rich creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with tomato slices and two strips of bacon and then browned/broiled on top.  Very Rich!!   I couldn't eat it all, and it turned out to be to rich for my system, but it was good!  

Patti's 1880's Settlement in Grand Rivers (about 15 min. from our cg) had signs all along the roads, brochures in every establishment and Ads in every booklet.  The Restaurant even suggested making "reservations".  It certainly created a "must see" factor.  We saved it for our least busy day, thinking it would take us most of the day to see all of the "settlement"...what ever that was...

Well, when we got there, the parking lot was pretty busy, and a bus had unloaded it's guests and was standing by.  Lots of people were walking around...but it took us a bit to figure out what it was we were actually looking at?  A town with a hotel?  Some ordinary shops (that all seemed closed)?  So, we went into the hotel to see if there was a map of sorts to find this "settlement".  Turned out that they use the term Settlement: "for their unbelievable menu." ...to continue:  "Our atmosphere is magical, filled with history, taking you back in time to a slower paced, relaxed setting.  Our beautiful gardens and unique gift shops, situated behind the restaurant, all have a story of their own on how they found their way to be a part of what we call Patti's 1880s Settlement."  Well,  that said, we walked through to the other side and wandered about..."their Settlement".  Many of the buildings closed, but cute on the outsides.  Nice gardens, Koi pond, Waterwheel, etc. but nothing like advertised.  The restaurant seemed nice, big, pretty, but the menu was a bit to heavy for lunch we thought, so we passed it up.  Nothing else in town was open, so we left.  

Since we had the rest of the day "open", Jack had discovered a bookstore downtown Paducah when he was having the truck serviced called Books-A-Million and suggested we go back there so I could check it out.  Well, you don't have to ask me twice!  Big mistake, big, big mistake...two bags of books later and I sheepishly thanked him for taking me to the store and promised not to spend anymore $$ for awhile!  ;-)

Well, we finally leave Kentucky on Monday and start our trek west.  It's been a great visit, but we are ready to roll once again! 

...on the road,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/albums/72157717012988911

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Kentucky Kamping...The Good, The Bad and The Relaxing...

Kentucky is one of my favorite states to visit.  Whenever we are here, the weather has been delightful, clear, sunny (not to hot, not to cold, not humid, not "always" raining), no bugs to annoy us, lots and lots of green grass with long beautiful fencing holding in sleek horses looking back at us as we drive by...ahhh

What could be better?  To be able to stay in one place, actually.  You see, "camping" this year has changed a bit...it has gotten more crowded, and thus, reservations are harder and more frustrating to deal with - especially over the weekends.  In our prior years of traveling, we used to be able to make reservations days to hours ahead of time.  Now, it's months to weeks ahead, and even then it takes several calls to get one location.  What I've found in "prime locations" like Kentucky, we've had to move several times - sometimes even in the same campground, just to have a whole week in one spot!  

To add to this equation, we needed to have some work done on our truck and a part had to be ordered...it was supposed to be here two days ago...it's still not here.  Oops, there goes our "schedule" full of reservations!  That was one of the reasons I always hated traveling that way, it locks you in, then what?  

When I'm not on the computer or the phone working through this maze...I'm enjoying the beauty around me.  Jack and I took a lovely drive out into the countryside of Georgetown to look at some barns that had hung "barn quilts" on them.  We found about a dozen along our drive.  Georgetown is outside of Lexington by about 45 minutes, and is a much smaller town.  As with most of Kentucky, many of the homes are large, rock or brick stately mansions with beautiful gardens all around them, each one deserving an "Oh my! Look at that!  Wow!  Oh, how beautiful!"  If I took pictures of all of them, I would have hundreds and hundreds, so, I just admire them and drive on.

 Additionally, we discovered the Lexington Cemetery, established in 1849.  What a beautiful old cemetery!  While driving through it, we found that it not only had "local" Civil War hero's but a Vice President (John C Breckinridge (1821-1875) as well as a former Speaker of the House (Sen. Henry Clay (1777-1864),  but the biggest surprise was Mary Todd Lincoln's family plot - everyone but her - she's with her husband (of course) in Springfield IL.  All in all, some incredible and unusual headstones along with beautiful gardens and ponds.

Because we have been to Kentucky before and enjoyed several areas of the state, we don't have the need to rush to "go and see" this and that, and that is another reason I wanted to come here for a few weeks - to just relax...sit back, read a book or two...take a walk, or not...call a friend or two...

So, here we are, under the sunny skies of Kentucky, awaiting the "next turn of events", not quite sure which direction we will be heading - plan A or plan B yet...so, I guess I will just go grab my book and wait and see!

kicking back in Kentucky,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Family Fun...

 We've been spending time visiting family in Pennsylvania and in New York.  Our first stop was to catch Jack's cousin's daughter's wedding in Somerset PA over Independence Holiday weekend.  We booked ourselves into a campground near them for the four days and caught up with the family as much as we could.  

It's been two years since we've been back here, so in between all the wedding arrangements, we tried to do as much "catching up" as possible.  After the actual wedding, we had a bit more time to spend with other cousins that the guys hadn't seen in years, and ones I hadn't met before, which was really nice.  Weddings are always such a fun time to to get together with old and new friends and family; sharing memories, making new ones...

 Additionally, the bride and groom were going on their honeymoon to locations that Jack and I knew very well (Grand Canyon, Zion & Bryce in Utah) and wanted as much "inside information" as we could give them as neither of them had been outside of Pennsylvania before!  Going there in mid-July was going to be quite a different experience for them!  I loaded them up with as much "advise" as I could think of!  ;-)

I, in turn, learned a couple of new things while here as well!  It seems that Western Pennsylvania has a unique wedding tradition called "The Cookie Table".  The brides family (and some) close friends bake the bride's favorite and/or special cookies and bring them to the wedding for the guests to take home in special bags.  I "Googled" this, and it seems that this tradition started in the Depression when brides couldn't always afford a wedding cake, so family and friends would bake her favorite cookies, ones maybe she would bake with her Mom or Grandmother, Aunts, etc. and have special meaning/memories for her, and that's what guests would have instead of the cake.  

 The tradition has carried on (including the bridal cake now) and people come to really look forward to the cookies more than the cake!  Many, many dozens of cookies, each more beautiful than the next, displayed on tables for the guests to ooh and aah and pack into bags to take home.  Most to (almost) to pretty to eat!

The other thing I got to learn, even though I've seen it lots of times, is the game of Corn Hole!  One night, after a wonderful cookout, the family brought it out and suggested a game.  When I said we'd never played, they taught us...and guess what?  I won!  ...and, of course, I really like the game!  lol  I told Jack he needs to make us one when we get back home!  ;-)  

After we left his cousin's, we headed to New York to visit my son and grandchildren.  I was able to find a campground only about 15 minutes from my son's farm, so I was happy about that.  He works, so we planned it to arrive on a Thursday, so we would have the weekend, then during the week visit with my grandchildren.   My grandchildren live with their Mom and are ages 12-20, so old enough now for me to see them one at a time now, which is what I wanted to do this time.  

Meeting up with each of my grandchildren for lunch and ice cream, a hike, a half-day visit, etc. worked out really well.  We got to have a nice talk without any of the others competing for attention.  Every other time it was always all of them (5 of them) teasing each other, or talking over each other, etc.  The oldest is working now as a welder, so we didn't see him, our oldest granddaughter is going off to her first year of college on a full scholarship and wants to be an elementary school teacher; the next grandson is getting his paperwork all ready as he wants to be a pilot, with the last two entering Jr. High and still in Elementary.  


My son and daughter-in-law just bought two horses, so were super busy with all the challenges that come with that!  She was studying to take her state nursing exam (she passed!!) as she just finished getting that degree, besides working full time!  Busy, busy people!!  

I keep telling her how great it would be to take that new nursing license and get an RV and hit the road as a traveling nurse!  We have friends who do that, not only enjoy it, but make great money doing it!  She's never been out of their tiny, tiny town of Norwich NY!  I told my son to start taking her on "vacations" to places (like Florida) so she can actually see what the ocean (among other things) looks like, etc! 

After lots of long, loving hugs, we left there and drove back to Pennsylvania to visit with Jack's sister for a week.  This was a nice, relaxing "do nothing" week!  His sister spoils him...;-)  She knows all his favorite foods, and makes sure he gets them...fresh, hot (right out of the oven) pretzels, cheesesteaks, scrapple, and Birch beer.  He was in heaven!  We went out to dinner a few times, but he was happiest with his "favorites".   He and his brother-in-law Bob did a "guy day" and went to the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center and viewed all the planes and tanks from WWII to the Vietnam War inside and out.  Kathy and I had planned on going to "high tea" at a local tea house, but learned that it had closed...so, instead, we found a lovely restaurant that she had been wanting to try and went there and had a fabulous lunch!  The rest of the time, all of us enjoyed relaxing and reading.  Some of her friends wanted to talk with us about our travels and our rig, so she invited them over and we had lovely chats with them.  


All to soon, our visit with them was up, and time to head on out.  Since we didn't get much one-on-one time with Jack's cousin, we decided to come back to John and Linda's for a few days before we ended the "family visits" for now.  No kids, just the four of us.  First thing we did was go out to a nice, quiet dinner!

Then, the guys headed out for a full day (just the two of them) to Cabela's!  They had to drive all the way to WV, but they didn't care, those two "gun and knife enthusiasts" would go hours to somewhere and spend hours there...which they did!  ;-)   I baked.  They did come back to take us ladies to dinner tho! ;-)

Of course they had to go try out their "new goods" at the gun range the next day...I cooked.  ;-)  

Life is good...we are off tomorrow to West Virginia en route to Kentucky for awhile...to sit and relax!!!!  

...on the road,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Lazy Days in Lancaster...

After our very busy time along the coast searching out all the lighthouses, we drove in-land a bit to the (mostly) Amish area of Lancaster PA for a week's break.  We had a wedding to attend on July 3rd and knew we would be busy with family outings during that holiday weekend, then after that, on up to NY for more family, and back to PA for even more family, so this was our week to RELAX!  

The day we arrived, Jack had gone out to run a quick grocery errand and when he returned, said, "grab your shoes, and let's go!  I've got something to show you!"  He was quite excited, so I didn't hesitate, and off we went.  When I asked him what it was, all he would say was "just wait and see!"  Well, as we went around the corner...there it was!  As far as the eye could see, a field full of belongings ready to be auctioned off!  It was the "Annual 2-Day Amish Auction" for Lancaster and Bird-In-Hand!  Wow!  What a sight it was to behold!  Tents the size of football fields, holding small stages, with chairs for people to sit and view and bid from; open fields full of merchandise with everything from buggies to signs, to pictures, to forges, to old furniture...you name it, they had it!  They had a tent that was all for flowers and plants, one for antiques and quilts, one for buggies and tools and one for handmade crafts.  Outside they had auctioneers for every 4 rows, and the rows were long!  It went from 8am to 8pm each day.  Of course they also had a place to get food and drinks, handmade ice cream and goodies!  ;-)  

We bid on several items, but were outbid on all but one, and Jack got his mechanic's roller for only $5, so he was happy!  Me, I had fun!  What a cool experience!  

One of the days we were there, we decided to take the Strassburg Scenic Railway Train.  It's just a short 45 minute tour, but a fun way to see the countryside...and we love train tours!  It was a lovely sunny day.  The train is an Steam Engine (#475) and the railroad was established in 1832 in response to the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad's bypass of Strassburg.  It remains the oldest American railroad operating under it's original charter.  

Another fun thing that we did, was go to a old pretzel making factory!  Well, where the "original" ones used to be made...;-)  Julius Sturgis, began making pretzels and opened the first commercial pretzel bakery in America in 1861 at the age of 26.  It was a family owned and operated business, first with he and his wife and ultimately all 14 children!  It is still "family owned", by his grandson, in Reading PA.

The tour is of the original "old style" way of making the hard pretzels, all by hand until 1953, when the first machine was introduced!   

We got to try our hand at the "art of hand twisting" a pretzel, and then got a certificate for doing so!  That was a hoot!  Jack's not going to take up that "art" anytime soon though, I can bet....;-)

They give you a small bag of their hard pretzels at the end and you can purchase a nice warm, hot out of the oven soft pretzel, if you wish - which of course we did - Yum!!  Very fun morning, and an interesting tour! 

The rest of the time, we did what we came for, which was a whole lot of RELAXING!  We sat back and enjoyed the days, went out to eat the fabulous food, got haircuts at a great barber shop (that was sooo fun!) and just enjoyed "people watching" and the beauty of the landscape!  

All to soon, it was time to leave...in all honesty, I wish we could have stayed another week, the Lancaster area is such a beautiful place, so peaceful and lovely, and this was such a great time of the year to be here.


...on the road in Pennsylvania,  Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Following the Light...

 Traveling along the coast lends itself to a number of wonderful adventures and "hobbies".   One of my hobbies is to collect sand from the various beaches and sand dunes that we visit.  I label it and display it on a cute little shelf I have at our home in Arizona.  I have sand from all over the US!  It's fun to see the various colors and grains disbursed by Mother Nature.  

Of course, by now, it's obvious that my hobby and my passion is photography...That almost goes without saying.  I'm really trying to cut down on that.  For years I took pictures of everything, multipules of everything, now I tell myself, "one will do just fine", and "I don't really need that".  After all, at my age, who's going to want all these when I'm gone?  

One of the things I love to photograph, is lighthouses...and this coastal route just so happen to bring these three wonderful passions together!  Lucky me!  

When we entered the coastal area of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, we hit the jackpot of lighthouses!  


Beaufort South Carolina was our first stop to see the Hunting Island Light.  An 1879, Black and White beauty standing 132' tall. 











When we first got to North Carolina, it started raining, but we didn't let that stop us, once it let up we headed out to Oak Island to see that lighthouse...little did I expect that we would have to wade through two feet of water to get to it, but my trusty driver and our sweet truck made it through!  Glad too, as it was an unusual lighthouse color...three shades of gray!  A new lighthouse, completed in 1958, standing 153' tall, but on a rise, so is 169' above the water. 


North Carolina has the "Outer Banks", or OBX as they are referred to by locals.  Three island areas of Dare County span more than 100 miles of sand, water and small towns.  Each community seems to have it's own vibe and personality, with a common culture that makes them all Outer Banks.  

The Outer Banks are old, ancient even, but they haven't been around forever.  All it took was a few thousand years of currents converging offshore to tease them up from the depths, and then a perennial tug-of-war between seasonal winds to groom their shape  The grains of sand are forever wandering, but that's a big part of what makes the experience out here feel so alive.  We know them as barrier islands because they shield North Carolina's vast estuaries - among the most prolific natural fish nurseries in the world - from the crashing waves of a a sprawling Atlantic Oceans.  Not unlike a cradle of arms, holding something delicate.  What we are left with are clean, pure beaches in their most natural form.  Each rhythmic wave coming to rest after traveling the globe, adding and creating in the surf, lake an artist's brush stroke.  A canvas that's never fully completed, always at work.  A front seat to Mother Nature in a place that many consider paradise on earth.

We decided to start at the far end at Hatteras Island and visit Cape Hatteras Lighthouse then work our way back.  This alone was going to be an all day!

Few places in America evoke a more powerful sense of nostalgia than Cape Hatteras, which inspired the creation of this country's first National Seashore.  Cape Hatteras National Seashore opened in 1953 to provide recreational access for the public and to protect pristine nature for all to enjoy.  

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in America at more than 200 feet tall. It's the most recognized beacon in the world. Built in 1870 and historically moved 2900 linear feet to the southwest (1999).  It truly was an experience to go there and well worth the long drive out there...


Next in line, was the Bodie Island Lighthouse.  This pretty Black and White, 1872 lighthouse is the third light to stand in this location on Roanake.  While some people (including North Carolinians not from the Outer Banks) pronounce the name with a long "o" sound, it is traditionally pronounced as body. Folklore would have you believe it is due to the number of dead sailors washed ashore from wrecked ships along this portion of the East Coast which has long been known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic but that is not true. The name is actually derived from the original name of the area, which was "Bodie's Island" after the Body family who once owned the land that was a separate barrier island prior to 1811 when Roanoke inlet that separated it from the Currituck Banks to the north closed. She stands at 156' tall.

 Tucked in, almost hidden under one the bridges, was this small "house-looking" light.  It had caught my eye when we crossed over it and I wondered about it.  When we stopped for lunch, we had the delightful company of a local sitting next to us that chatted with us and when we shared that we were visiting the lighthouses here, he said "don't miss the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station, it's worth stopping for!  It was that cute little "house" I saw!  I had to hike up and down and through and around dunes to get even close to that building, and even then I couldn't really get near it!  It was down another dune, closed, but still worth the trek!  What an interesting building!  I guess it was open to the public at one time, it just isn't right now.  They are doing work on the bridge next to it, and using the lot for their equipment, so maybe that's why it's closed off.  But I got my picture! 

 

Just before we left the Outer Banks area, was one of the prettiest lights, we thought...maybe because it wasn't painted, but left "natural" with it's bricks showing all red and bright.  The Currituck Beach Light at 162' built in 1875 stands tall and proud.  It was closed when we got there, as it was the last of our very long day, but that was alright by us.  No crowds to contend with, a nice bench to sit in and look up at her and enjoy, and then the drive home...to rest up and then to map out the next group!


Welcome to Virginia!  We booked a full week in Virginia Beach, so now we had lots of time to spend going up and down this coast!  ;-)  


Two lighthouses we had visited before, I will share with you now, are what I call "The Cape Sisters" = They are the Old and the New Cape Henry Lighthouses.  They are almost right next to each other, and look very different from each other!  Really kind of funny, I think.  "Old" Cape Henry was built in 1792, of brick and was 90' tall.  In the 1870s, concerns about the condition and safety of the Old Lighthouse following a lightning strike that caused large cracks in the structure led to the construction of a new, taller, lighthouse at Cape Henry (157 feet) in 1881, which stands 350 feet to the northeast of the original tower.  The New Cape Henry is built of cast iron and wrought iron while the Old Cape Henry is octangular truncated pyramid of eight sides.  Two very different lights.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Point Comfort Light is a lighthouse located on the grounds of Fort Monroe in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. It is the second oldest light in the bay (and looks it) and the oldest still in use.  Records date back to 1775.  Upon automation in 1972 the keeper's house was transferred to the U.S. Army, which used it as a dwelling for Fort Monroe's Command Sergeant Major until the fort was closed in 2011. The lantern is painted in an unusual combination of a red roof and green rails, decking, and walls. The light is still active. It's 53 feet tall.  

I was determined to get the Assateague Light, if for no other reason than it was one of the "rare" red and white lights!  For this, I have paid dearly...having been eaten alive, as I have lost count on how many mosquito bites I have on me!  I had no idea I was going to have to trudge through the "jungle" to get to it, So off I went, trusty camera in hand (while Jack sat safely in the RV) and dashed off to see this beauty!  Little did I know that I was going to be lunch to thousands of hungry mosquitos en route, to and from the site!  Was it worth it?  Well...yes, it was...What an absolute beauty she is!  Tall, 142', bright red and white stripes, clear away from any obstructions, built in 1833 and looking grand!

I'm going to slip one more in...just because it's right on the border...just barely over the line from Virginia /Maryland into Delaware, and that's Fenwick Island Light.  This was an unusual light, in an unusual spot.  It's actually in a neighborhood (along side a mobile home park).  There were telephone wires crisscrossing in front of it, houses all along side, odd.  I guess they all grew up around it over the years.  It was built in 1858, making it the oldest in Delaware.  It was automated in 1940 and is 87' tall. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1978 and remained dark for several years. A public movement to save the lighthouse resulted in ownership of the lighthouse being transferred to the State of Delaware, and the lighthouse was relit in 1982.[4] In 1997, after extensive fundraising efforts made it possible, the rapidly aging lighthouse underwent a full restoration. It was rededicated in July 1998.  The lighthouse is owned by the state of Delaware and maintained by the private, non-profit New Friends of the Fenwick Island Lighthouse. Visitors can enter the base to view a small museum and gift shop. The lighthouse, however, is not open for climbing. I was able to duck around to get a picture without all the wires...


From here we are heading away from the coast...so this is probably it for now!  Not bad though for just a short time!  Quite a collection to add to my list, so I'm happy!  I don't see us making this kind of trip again, so this has been a happy highlight for me.  I've been a lover of lighthouses for as long as I can remember, so these are very special treasures!  

...currently, on the road in Delaware, Marie

If you would like to see the rest of my photos, you can on my Flickr at https://flickr.com/photos/74905158@N04/