Monday, November 8, 2010

First Impressions of Pennsylvania

My first trip back east is turning out wonderfully! We are here for The Mister's Cousin's wedding, so I am getting to meet members of his family for the first time, and not only are they wonderful people, but they are great hosts and tour guides.

Pennsylvania is night and day different from Nebraska. There are very few vistas where one can see for miles, yet it is still beautiful. We are long past the height of the fall colors, but judging from the few leaves remaining on the trees, it was spectacular!

We are in the Portersville, PA area, in the range of 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. All of the attractions and points of interest I've included in this blog post are within about 25 miles of our hostess's home, although without a GPS, I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly where! Not only is it difficult to get your bearings with all of the trees butting up next to the roadways, there are no STRAIGHT roads here at all! We've made our way to a few places on our own, but haven't ventured very far.
The above sentiments would be good advice to follow no matter where you live. I know that millions of dollars are spent in advertising to keep us home and in front of our televisions, but "Getting Out" would be the best things we can do for ourselves!
This scenery is taken from the Slippery Rock Creek canyon area, which is part of the McConnell's Mill State Park. It is an extremely rocky area, but that doesn't mean there aren't trees. As you can see, they have found a way to thrive.
On the road down to the Mill, the rocks and trees growing from them overhang the road.
As you can see, the trees have perservered no matter what the obstruction.

McConnells Mill State Park, in Lawrence County, encompasses 2,546 acres of the spectacular Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. Created by the draining of glacial lakes thousands of years ago, the gorge has steeps sides and the valley floor is littered with huge boulders and is a national natural landmark. A gristmill built in the 1800s is open for tours. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, year-round.
Of course, since we are here in early November, many of the attractions are either closed, or not offering their full range of activities. However, the Mill is open and operational, with interpreters, all summer long.
Another highlight of the Mill and the Canyon is the beautiful covered bridge, which has been rehabilitated recently.
Love for history and old places runs deep, rightly so, in Pennsylvania. It can be seen in The Mister's own family. Here you can see a house, that in 2002, might have seemed like a daunting project to turn into a home.
And another view of the same house - it would take an exceptional fortitude to undertake making this house into a home.
However, below you can see what can come from taking the time and care of putting the work into a project like this.
We had the chance to go into the building below, which was a roadhouse, first built in 1831. Outside of the chapel in Santa Fe, I think this is the oldest building I've ever been in. Inside it is a great gift shop.
And here is the Old Stone House, built in 1822. This was closed for the season, so we didn't have a chance to go inside.
Pennsylvania is just one series of picturesque towns after another, and Volant is no exception.
We stopped here, and didn't get the chance to go into many of the shops (as you can tell, this is a whirlwind tour!), but we did have time to go into the mill.
Many of the homes along the streets have been converted into cute shops.
Right down the road (actually butting up to the property), is the beautiful Moraine State Park.
The gently rolling hills, lush forests and sparkling waters disguise a land that has endured the effects of continental glaciers and massive mineral extraction.

Each year over one million people visit the 16,725-acre park, yet never realize that many people helped restore the park from prior coal mining and oil and gas drilling practices. Today, the park is an outstanding example of environmental engineering achievement.
So this is a blog post on the run, as our hostess is ready for us to walk out the door to our next adventure.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.


















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