Rain in the Smokies
As April turns into May tomorrow, the March and April showers will surely bring out many more flowers (and mosquitoes…). While the photo above was not taken in the spring, it does show one of the more rainy and dreary days that Heather and I encountered down in Tennessee/North Carolina in the Smokies. After spending the morning in Cataloochee Valley looking for elk, we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway on the southern edge of the park before arriving at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The rain couldn’t stop us from checking out the cool Mountain Farm Museum that had a lot of old barns and other structures set up like a typical old farm.
Fortunately, with all the rain we had received during the week, our stop the following day at the Place of 1,000 Drips really lived up to its name!
Luzern’s Lion Monument
The Lion Monument (Löwendenkmal) in Luzern, Switzerland is certainly one of the more popular tourist attractions in the city (in fact, I believe this was the very first place our tour group visited after getting off the plane and checking in at the hotel). It’s a pretty large (20 ft high, 33 ft long) and impressive sculpture carved right into a sandstone rock cliff (site of a quarry a long time ago). This dying lion with an impaled spear was carved in 1820-21 as a tribute to Swiss guards massacred while protecting King Louis XVI and the Royal Family in the French Revolution of the 1790s.
Colonial Gaol Door
The Public Gaol (pronounced ‘jail’) in Colonial Williamsburg was in place by 1704 and housed mostly people awaiting trial and convicts waiting to be hanged, etc. Fifteen of Blackbeard’s henchmen were held here in 1718. Gaol fever (likely typhus) was pretty common in the overcrowded and dreary cells, so it was certainly best not to be behind one of these heavily-reinforced doors.
The building was restored in 1936 after a couple centuries as a county facility, and Heather and I got to check it out last year when we visited the colonial city.
Aren’t shish kabobs great? Heather prepared these kabobs last spring, and after grilling them up on our little grill on the front patio for a while, they came out just right.
I’m definitely looking forward to getting some skewered meats and veggies on the grill soon!
Dawn at the Lake McDonald Dock
No matter the time of day, the view from the shores of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park is usually pretty great. It was so great that during our vacation there, I even woke up early every morning and quietly left our cabin just to experience the rising sun from the shoreline…although this particular morning, I was only able to imagine what the rising sun looked like behind the thick clouds.
I sure wouldn’t mind owning a boat on a lake like this!
Upper Buttermilk Falls, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
Buttermilk Falls, while being a popular waterfall to visit in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, is still enough off the beaten path to make it really enjoyable without having crowds of people around. The photo above was taken in early summer at a time when the water was really flowing, giving the falls an entirely different feel from when the water is hardly coming down.
Interestingly, the name ‘Buttermilk Falls’ is a pretty popular one. Elsewhere in New Jersey, there is a Buttermilk Falls in Mendham (Buttermilk Falls Natural Area) and in Wayne (High Mountain Park Preserve). There are also a bunch up in New York that I know of: one in Ithaca at Buttermilk Falls State Park, one in the Adirondacks, a couple in the Catskills, and one in Rockland County at Buttermilk Falls County Park…and that’s just two states! I guess it just has a good ring to it.
This is a frog made out of glass with little flowery glass things at the base that make all kinds of neat, distorted reflections in the rest of the glass. I got this from Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm on a 3rd grade class trip (I think 3rd…possibly 4th or 5th…). Quiet Valley is a small working 18th/19th century farm in northeastern Pennsylvania, and while the only real memories I have of the trip are buying this frog in the gift shop and needing to watch out for swarms of bees during our lunchtime, I’m sure we had a good time.
Heather and I actually visited the farm last year for the Pocono State Craft Festival and we had a good time checking out the area and cool crafts.