"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Monday, September 29, 2014



IMG_5295 (Medium)

We couldn’t have traveled through Pennsylvania without a visit to the Amish country.  From reading some comments, I knew we wanted nothing to do with Lancaster, itself.  Too much like Disney was my impression.

I remembered a small group of Casita owners had met in Intercourse, last year.  A little digging on the internet turned up the name of the RV park.  Beacon Hill.  Overlooking two separate Amish farms, complete with sounds and smells.

I can’t quite describe the feelings I get while watching these people go about their daily lives.  What did I miss in life, or is it the other way?  Are they the deprived ones?  I tried to make eye contact with each one I met along the roads.  Everyone one of them smiled, and waved a greeting.  They appear to be a very happy and content people.  As I’ve read that they don’t like to pose for pictures, all mine are random snapshots from the truck.  The quality isn’t that good, but hopefully you can see them.

Courtin’ couple, maybe!

IMG_5269 (Medium)

Family.  See the small head in the middle?

IMG_5315 (Medium)

Their farms are all neat looking, as farms go, and some are showplaces.

IMG_5272 (Medium)

IMG_5323 (Medium)

They grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and tobacco.  Most also appeared to have a small dairy.  The tobacco was a surprise, but we saw lots drying in barns.

IMG_5333 (Medium)

IMG_5294 (Medium)

IMG_5290 (Medium)

Today was spent just driving the country roads, watching the work going on.

Raking hay.  Notice the little boy on the rake to the left?

IMG_5316 (Medium)

Cutting corn.

IMG_5320 (Medium)

Another group.

IMG_5359 (Medium)

Youth night, last evening, just down the road.  They all unhook their buggies and tie the horses together.

IMG_5306 (Medium)

Was told they were playing volleyball inside the building.

And, did I mention their horses.  Every buggy was pulled by a magnificent gaited animal that wasn’t bothered by automobiles, tractor trailers, or any thing else, apparently.  Beautiful animals.

IMG_5299 (Medium)

Wish I could spend a couple weeks living alongside these people to better understand their way of life.  But that isn’t possible.  For them to allow that to happen, their lifestyle would have been altered……jc

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Altoona, PA


We had considered leaving Corning, NY and making our way Southeast to the Amish country of Pennsylvania on Friday, but common sense prevailed.  Instead we found a Corp of Engineers campground pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  West Central Pennsylvania is beautiful country.  Valleys running approximately north and South divided by high ridges.  The ridges are timber covered, and the valleys appear to be family farms.  Rolling fields of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.  Small towns and villages every few miles along the way.

We had picked up a brochure which mentioned a railroad museum in Altoona.  Thought we would drive the twenty-five or so miles into town, and check it out.  It happened to be a museum of the Pennsylvania railroad and it’s connection to Altoona.

IMG_5241 (Medium)

IMG_5242 (Medium)

IMG_5245 (Medium)

Can you imagine over 16,000 people in one town employed by the same company?

Altoona appeared to be the heart of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The shops kept the rolling stock repaired, the test lab tested everything from from light bulbs to rails.  The crews lived there, as well as those that maintained the rails.

The museum was the best I’ve seen.  It represented the history of the railroad, and Altoona, from beginning to end.  Three floors of exhibits, diorama’s, and the real thing.  My camera battery died as we began the tour, so I captured very few of them.

The local bar,

IMG_5224 (Medium)

even had one of these.  How long since you’ve seen one around town?

IMG_5226 (Medium)


IMG_5230 (Medium)

Steam locomotive.

IMG_5233 (Medium)

A few facts about the town during its heyday.

IMG_5234 (Medium)

IMG_5236 (Medium)

IMG_5237 (Medium)

Another part of the museum concentrated on Horseshoe Curve.

IMG_5246 (Medium)

Completed in 1854 by mostly Irish workers using picks, shovels, and wheelbarrows, it allowed the railroad direct access over the Allegheny Mountains.

IMG_5251 (Medium)

Important enough to be targeted by Germany in WWII.

IMG_5238 (Medium)

Still in use today.  Coming…..

IMG_5253 (Medium)

and going.

IMG_5257 (Medium)

The view back down the grade toward Altoona.

IMG_5262 (Medium)

If ever in the Altoona area, don’t miss it.  Especially if anyone in your family worked for any railroad back in their heyday…..jc

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ever think about Glass?


Traveling West back across Southern New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, we hoped to see some color change in the leaves.  Though there were a few trees beginning to show a little color, most are still green.

IMG_5100 (Medium)

Arriving in the small town of Corning, New York; we did find color of another sort.

IMG_5110 (Medium)

Who would have guessed? It’s built of glass.

IMG_5111 (Medium)

I’ve never given much thought to glass.  It’s something we use every day in one way or the other, but unless I break it, never think about it.  This museum gave me an entirely different perspective. 

First there was an entire gallery dedicated to the history of glass making.  Glass was being made centuries before the time of Christ, and there were examples from archeological digs.

IMG_5156 (Medium)

IMG_5153 (Medium)

IMG_5157 (Medium)

All photo’s were taken through a glass pane, so reflection was a problem.  There were so many examples that it was impossible for me to keep track of what I was taking pictures of.  With that said, here are some pictures of GLASS.

IMG_5122 (Medium)

IMG_5133 (Medium)

IMG_5181 (Medium)

IMG_5177 (Medium) IMG_5173 (Medium)

IMG_5152 (Medium)

IMG_5205 (Medium)

IMG_5207 (Medium)

IMG_5124 (Medium)

There were separate galleries for Ancient glass, Roman glass, Islamic glass, Venetian glass, European glass, American glass, paperweights, and modern glass.  Also a crystal gallery.  I never imagined that a museum of glass could be so intriguing.  Wish I had taken photo’s of examples from each gallery, but there was so much color and beauty everywhere that I was just snapping a photo of what caught my eye at the moment.

Needless to say, if you are ever in the Finger Lakes region of New York, make the Corning Museum of Glass a must see.

IMG_5216 (Medium) IMG_5211 (Medium)

I hear chocolate, calling….jc

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Puddle Dock


We visited Portsmouth, New Hampshire after leaving Kennebunkport.  A beautiful old city with a downtown area that we could have spent days in.  The reason for our visit was to experience this museum.

IMG_5007 (Medium)

Strawbery Banke was the name given a small tidal inlet off the the Atlantic ocean by the first European visitors to the area.  They named it after the wild strawberries they found growing in abundance.  It was the first settlement of what was to become Portsmouth.

The inlet and adjoining neighborhood was know as Puddle Dock from the 1600’s until the mid 1900’s.  It was first a fishing village, then a port of entry for goods from around the globe, being brokered by locals living and working from their homes.  As the industrial revolution took hold, the area became home to immigrants from around the world.  The inlet was filled in with rubble and became a park surrounded by junkyards and rental property.  Urban renewal called for destroying the entire area in the early 1960’s.  That is when a few folks realized the history of the neighborhood was too rich to be torn down.  They created the Strawbery Banke Museum.

All the buildings within the museum, except for four, are on their original locations.  There is one that dates from the late 1600’s.

IMG_5049 (Medium)

Thirty six different buildings, restored to their original appearance.

IMG_5050 (Medium)

The homes are restored to their most important time in history.  Most from the 1800’s, but the 1950’s are also represented.  Gardens, stables, taverns; They’re all there.

Each day different homes have docents appearing in period dress, giving the story of the home.

IMG_5066 (Medium)

Close neighbors.

IMG_5068 (Medium)

Some of the buildings are still being restored.  Notice the old board siding? 

IMG_5039 (Medium)

Nothing was wrong with my camera.  Waves in the old window glass.

IMG_5020 (Medium)

Each one give a different view of what life was like for their occupants during a specific time period.  From an importers home of 1830,

IMG_5023 (Medium)

equipped with a shower,

IMG_5035 (Medium)

to the local grocery store of the 1940’s.

IMG_5044 (Medium)

IMG_5043 (Medium)

There was also a temporary exhibit showing the history of six different immigrant families that moved into the neighborhood in the early 1900’s.  It gave a short history of each family, along with many family artifacts. 

IMG_5015 (Medium)

This family came from Italy, and the display contained their naturalization papers, as well as a favorite pizza pan.

IMG_5017 (Medium)

Puddle Dock was a neighborhood much like thousands of others.  Made up of people doing what they had to do to make a living.  First the fishermen, then the businessmen; to be replaced with immigrants looking for a new beginning in a new Country.  What sets it apart is that the neighborhood, and it history, has been preserved.

Puddle Dock, as it appears today.

IMG_5063 (Medium)

Filled in, and covered with grass.  It’s hard to picture it as a small muddy inlet that gave birth to a neighborhood.  A neighborhood which is in it’s fourth century….jc