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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hiking in Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania
Last month we had the opportunity to do some hiking in Ricketts Glen State Park. If you've never visited Ricketts Glen, you really should add it to your bucket list.

Ricketts Glen State Park is situated on 13,050 acres in Columbia, Luzerene, and Sullivan Counties in Pennsylvania. It's designated as a National Natural Landmark known for its beautiful 24-named waterfalls along Kitchen Creek. The park was fully opened as a Pennsylvania State Park back in 1944.
Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania

During the summer the park offers camping, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming (in Lake Jean), rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boats, kayaking, picnic grounds and hunting. During the winter season the park offers cross-country skiing, ice climbing, ice fishing, sledding and other wintertime activities. There is something always going on at Ricketts Glen State Park, year-round.

History: The park is named after Robert Bruce Ricketts, the son of Elijah Ricketts who owned the land. Robert Bruce Rickets served in the Union Army during the American Civil War and after the war ended, he returned to the area and in 1869 he purchased the land around the lake from his dad. Over the next few years he purchased even more land, which included the waterfalls, the glens and a good majority of the park.
Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania

R. B. Ricketts passed away in 1918 and that's when the Pennsylvania Game Commission purchased 48,000 acres from his relatives (heirs). This land became most of Pennsylvania State Game Land. There was approximately 22,000 acres still left in the family's control. In 1941, Pennsylvania Governor Arthur James signed legislation creating Ricketts Glen State park. A year later the state of Pennsylvania purchased the land and opened up the park to visitors and guests.

Some of the named waterfalls within the park are:

Harrison Wright Falls - 27 feet tall
Ganoga Falls - 94 feet tall
Adams Falls - 36 feet tall
Ozone Falls - 60 feet tall
R.L. Ricketts Falls - 38 feet tall
Kitchen Creek Falls - 9 feet tall
Sheldon Reynolds Falls - 36 feet tall
Huron Falls - 41 feet tall
Erie Falls - 47 feet tall
Mohican Falls - 39 feet tall
Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania

If you plan on going hiking in the park, I personally recommend that you don't do it on the hottest day of the year. We went in late July and even though we were shaded a lot in the park, it was dang hot! It was between 82 and 94 degrees, depend on which area we were in. Next, you always want to carry enough water and high-protein snacks along with you.

Some of the walking trails are fairly easy, other's are more intermediate and some are for more experienced hikers. You definitely want to wear comfortable walking shoes and I personally recommend that you stay on the marked path's and don't wonder off of them. We're NOT hiking experts, but do enjoy going out hiking a few times every year.
Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania

In total, we spent around 6 hours hiking on the particular day that we were there. I'm thankful that I planned ahead and brought snacks, bottled water and a picnic-style lunch along with us. Next time around, I'll plan better for the weather because at times...it was just entirely too hot for me! Sigh, I guess I'm getting old!

You can learn more about Ricketts Glen State Park by visiting their official website online. We had a great time there and we'll be planning another hiking trip for next year too!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Family Weekend Getaway to Stone Harbor in New Jersey

Family Weekend Getaway to Stone Harbor in New Jersey
During the summertime we like to take a few weekend getaways and recently we had to the opportunity to visit Stone Harbor in New Jersey. Since Stone Harbor is only a 3 hour and 45 minute drive from our home in Pennsylvania, we decided to take our 8 year old granddaughter along with us.

Stone Harbor is a great family-friendly Jersey Shore destination that offers a lot of fun things to see and do while you're there. We spent three days and two nights enjoying some fun in the sun. Here's some of the things that we did.
White Sandy Beaches - Stone Harbor in New Jersey

The Beach: The beach here is wide, beautiful and sandy. With that said, you do have to buy beach tags to spend time out on their beach. Each day we spent approximately 3 hours soaking up the rays and playing in the water. Luckily for us...the weather was absolutely PERFECT all weekend long.
Club 18 Mini Golf in Stone Harbor New Jersey

Miniature Golf: Early one evening we headed downtown to play mini golf at a place called Club 18 which is an 18 hole miniature golf course. The course is totally decked out in an animal theme and is fairly easy to play. With that said, if you have mobility issues or have toddlers with you, this may not be the course for you. You'll have to climb a lot of stairs and they don't offer a lot of places to sit down.
Shopping in Downtown Stone Harbor in New Jersey

Shopping: Each evening we headed downtown to do some shopping. Unlike some of the other Jersey Shore destinations, Stone Harbor doesn't have a boardwalk. With that said, they have a downtown business district where you can shop at different gift stores, candy shops, boutiques, etc. You'll find cafes, ice cream parlors and restaurants along the way.
Wetlands Institute of Stone Harbor in New Jersey

Wetlands Institute of Stone Harbor: Right before you come onto the island you'll find The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor. This educational & research facility teaches you about the coastal plant life, marine line, local conservation and so forth. We took the guided safari marsh tour and afterwards we enjoyed staying for the touch-tank and marine animal feedings. You'll want to wear comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately since you'll be doing your walking outdoors.
Wetlands Institute Stone Harbor in New Jersey

If you plan on visiting them, you'll want to allow about 2 hours in your schedule. The tour starts off with a 17 minute mini movie on conservation and then the safari marsh tour will begin. The marsh tour took approximately 30-40 minutes to complete. Every day they feed the crabs, skate, fish, octopus, etc in their aquarium building around 3pm and you can stay around to participate in that.
Water Tower in Stone Harbor New Jersey

The Water Tower: If at any time you're looking for public restrooms while doing outdoor activities in Stone Harbor, you'll want to look for the super-tall water tower. That's were you'll find a big building that houses public restrooms. It's within walking distance from some areas on the beach and from a lot of the different areas in the downtown business district.
Wall Mural by Artist David Dunleavy in Stone Harbor New Jersey

Street Art: Every time we travel we seek out outdoor street art and wall murals, especially when at any of the Jersey Shore destinations. On this particular trip we spotted two of them, so if you enjoy photographing and looking at hand-painted wall murals and street art, you'll want to check out the following two that we found:

1. The first one is a hand-painted wall mural by artist David Dunleavy (one of our favorite coastal artists) and it's painted on the side of a large building as you come onto the island from the main drag. It features Atlantic Blue Marlins feeding in the Atlantic Ocean.
Ace Hardware Wall Mural in Stone Harbor New Jersey

2. The second one is a hand-painted outdoor wall mural that we spotted on the back of the Ace Hardware Store in Stone Harbor. It's pretty faded and needs to be touched up and restored. I have no idea who the artist is/was due to the fact of all of the gardening & landscaping supplies blocking some of the view. Regardless, I wanted to include it because I loved the overall beach scene. I tried to find some information online about it, but came up empty-handed.

We crammed quite a bit of activities into our little weekend getaway to Stone Harbor in New Jersey and hope you enjoyed a taste of some of the things that we did. If you're looking for a family-friendly Jersey Shore destination, we highly recommend Stone Harbor!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Tips on Photographing the Amish People in Lancaster County

Tips on Photographing the Amish People in Lancaster County Pennsylvania
Lancaster County is home to thousands of Amish families and millions of tourists flock to Lancaster to see them. Matter of fact, it's a big tourism business in Pennsylvania. With that said, the Amish do NOT like their photographs to be taken. It's against their religion (vanity) and when visiting the area, it's important to be respectful to our Amish neighbors.

Here are some Tips on Photographing the Amish People, Buggies and the Amish Farms

1. Never take a photograph that clearly shows their face(s). If you feel inclined to photograph them, please do so from behind or from an angle that doesn't show their face. In addition, it's impolite to walk up to them and ask for a photograph, so please refrain from doing so.

2. They typically don't mind if you take photographs of their horse and buggy's. When doing so, make sure you don't capture a clear shot of any identifying information on the buggy, including license plates. Don't hold up traffic or block/delay them in any way, just so you can get a picture.

3. Please don't take pictures of their children that show's their faces.Children are minors and it's recommended that you avoid taking pictures of them. If you insist on doing so, they should be from a distance and their faces shouldn't be shown.

4. A lot of visitors like taking photographs of the beautiful Amish farms located throughout Lancaster County. Never go on private property. If you're taking a picture of an Amish farm, you need to do so from a distance. Don't include mailbox addresses, street/road addresses, house numbers or any identifying information. They're entitled to their privacy.
Tips on Photographing the Amish People in Lancaster County Pennsylvania

In other words, it's perfectly fine to take pictures of the Amish way of life. That includes their horse & buggy, the farms & barns, exterior of their homes, etc. It's NOT okay to photograph their faces or photograph any identifying information (as explained above).

Please be courteous and respectful of the Amish who live within our community and they'll be courteous and respectful to you!