A Two-fer (In More Ways Than One)

Shikellamy State Park is an unusual park in that it contains two distinctly different sections. It also affords great views of the two branches of the Susquehanna River (the West Branch and the North Branch ). The Park is in both Union and Northumberland counties. The 54-acre Shikellamy Marina is on the southern tip of Packers Island at the confluence of the West Branch and North Branch Susquehanna River, and offers hiking and biking trails, a marina, and boat launch. The 78-acre Shikellamy Overlook is on the western shore of the Susquehanna River. A 360-foot cliff overlooks the confluence of the two branches of the river.

Although the marina area seemed more popular with Labor Day party goers, I was more impressed with the views on the overlook side.

A look toward the Marina.
A look down over the edge.
The West Branch on the left.
The town of Northumberland.

The Marina Section provides great access to the water as well as picnicking opportunities.

A butterfly garden

Susquehanna River State Parks

Heading south from Tioga County to find a couple of the more urban state parks, I first went in search of a covered bridge in Lycoming County that I had missed on a previous trip. This bridge was on private property, so only a distant shot was possible. The James S. Fink covered bridge was built in 1986 utilizing a Stringer truss design. It crosses Larry’s creek in Anthony Township. The structure is 62 feet long and is open to vehicle traffic, but it is on a private road.

Susquehanna State Park is a 20-acre riverfront recreational area is in the city of Williamsport. The Williamsport Chamber of Commerce operates this park in cooperation with the state. It is primarily a location for river access for boating and fishing. There are also opportunities for picnicking, wildlife watching, and gongoozling (google it). It is next to the boarding point for the riverboat Hiawatha.

Labor Day chill by the river.
The boat ramp
The Lance Corporal Abram Howard Memorial Bridge

Milton State Park is an 82-acre island on the West Branch Susquehanna River, between the boroughs of Milton and West Milton. The northern half of the park has day use facilities and the southern half remains in a wooded state for hiking and nature study. It also has a boat launch, playground and extensive soccer fields.

Just a Few Lancaster County Covered Bridges

This post features a quick series of covered bridges in northwestern Lancaster County, the home of the largest number of covered bridges in the state. The first up is Schenk’s Mill Covered Bridge (or Shenk’s Mill Covered Bridge). It is a covered bridge that spans Big Chiques Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. It is painted red and both approaches to the bridge are painted white. It is one of only 3 covered bridges in the county with horizontal side boards. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was built in 1847 by Charles Malhorn and Levi Fink. It was rebuilt in 1855 and is 80 feet long.

Shenk’s Mill Covered Bridge

The Shearer’s Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that also spans Big Chiques Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design. It is the only covered bridge in the county painted entirely in red in Lancaster County, on both the inside and outside, including both approaches. The other all red bridge, Pool Forge Covered Bridge, is only painted on the outside. It is one of only 3 covered bridges in the county with horizontal side boards. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was built in 1847 by Jacob Clare. It was rebuilt in 1855 and stayed its original location until it was moved in 1971 to its present location in the Manheim Memorial Park. It is 86 feet long.

Shearer’s Mill Covered Bridge

The Pinetown Bushong’s Mill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans the Conestoga River. The bridge is also known as the Pinetown Amish Covered Bridge, Pinetown Covered Bridge, Nolte’s Point Mill Bridge and Bushong’s Mill Bridge.

The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge was built in 1867 by Elias McMellen at a cost of $4,500. In 1972, it was destroyed as a result of flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes. Due to a tremendous response of area residents who signed a petition for its reconstruction, it was among the first covered bridges to be restored after Agnes. In the spring of 1973, the bridge was rebuilt by the nearby Amish. To prevent damage due to future flooding, they raised the bridge to 17 feet 6 inches above the average water line. Lititz Run joins the Conestoga River at this site. It is 124 feet long.

Pinetown Amish Covered Bridge

The Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge, or Sporting Hill Bridge, is a covered bridge that spans Chiques Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks.

It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge was originally built in 1857 at a cost of $1,185 by James C. Carpenter. The bridge was named after the Kauffman’s Distillery Mill which operated in the late 1800s. In 1874, the bridge was rebuilt by Elias McMellen at a cost of $1,620. It is 84 feet long.

Kauffman’s Distillery Covered Bridge

Hunsecker’s Mill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design. The bridge, which spans the Conestoga River, is 180 feet long, making it the longest single span covered bridge in the county. The original bridge was built in 1843 by John Russell at a cost of $1,988. It is a double Burr Arch truss system. It has been swept away in flooding numerous times, most recently in 1972 after Hurricane Agnes. Waters lifted the original structure off its abutments and carried it downstream. In 1973, following destruction from the hurricane, it was rebuilt at a cost of $321,302. While Schenck’s covered bridge is one of 3 bridges with horizontal siding boards, the Hunsecker’s Mill bridge may be the only one in Lancaster County with horizontal floor boards which give a unique vibration upon crossing. A detailed scale model (~7′ long), complete with stone abutments, was donated to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and may be available for viewing.

Hunsecker’s Mill Covered Bridge

Erb’s Mill Covered Bridge is a covered bridge that spans Hammer Creek. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The bridge was originally built in 1849 for a cost of $700. It was built on the Erb family’s tract of land in the farming region along Hammer Creek. In 1887 the bridge was rebuilt by John G. Bowman for $1744. It is 70 feet long.

Erb’s Mill Covered Bridge

The Bucher’s Mill Covered Bridge (or Butcher’s Mill Covered Bridge) is a covered bridge that spans Cocalico Creek. After the Landis Mill Covered Bridge, it is the second shortest covered bridge in the county. The bridge has a single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss design with the addition of steel hanger rods. The deck is made from oak planks.

It is registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Bucher’s Mill Covered Bridge was built in 1891 by Elias McMellen, using single span, wooden, double Burr arch truss construction, at a cost of $1167. A year later, in 1892, the bridge was damaged heavily in a flood and was rebuilt by McMellen for $1025. At only 64 feet long, it is one of the shortest covered bridges in Lancaster County.

Bucher’s Mill Covered Bridge

Looking on the Brightside

In 1996, Charlestown Township in Chester County purchased 20 acres of the Brightside Farm located to preserve it from impending development. The Township added 55 additional acres to Brightside Farm Park with the purchase of the rest of the farm with the help of a significant grant from Chester County in the year 2000. The farm is preserved as an agricultural asset for the residents to enjoy, and a portion of the property is under a conservation easement with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust. The park offers over 50 garden plots to township residents and has walking trails.

A view of the barn.
And another …
Near by farmhouse and barn.

A feature in the Park is the Wisner Rapp House. Jacob Wisner House, also known as the Rapp House, is a historic home that was built in two sections. The older section dates to 1761, and is a 2 1/1-story, three bay wide, stone structure. A two bay wide extension was added in the 1840s. The addition was originally built to house a saddle and harness-maker’s shop and later housed the Sidley Post Office.

The Wisner-Rapp House

Finally, a look around the neighboring area …

A Drive Along the Ridge

This Autumn I had an opportunity to take a drive through State Games Lands 110 in Berks and Schuylkill Counties. The auto tour provides an opportunity to explore roads not usually open to traffic along the top of the Blue Mountain ridge.

Deer, bear and turkeys are some of the wildlife you’ll find in Game Lands 110, a 10,310-acre forested area along Blue Mountain. The Appalachian Trail is located on the top of the Blue Mountain and runs the length of the game lands from Route 183 to Port Clinton. The area does provide some beautiful fall color. After a short but steep drive up the mountain, the route continued along a relatively flat road along the crest from east to west. Here are some of my shots from along the route:

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. My wish for the New Year would be for everyone to remember this: The only way for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. The side of peace and tolerance is always the right one.

A Detour to the North, Part III

My travels this October finally led me into the province of Quebec. My trip included an unexpected detour to the town of Saguenay and ended in Quebec City. My best views of fall foliage were in Quebec, as you will see below. First up is La Baie, where my cruise ship was docked near Saguenay. This area has also has a lovely national park and one of the few fjords on the east coast of North America.

I spent a short time in Quebec City before flying home.

Rue St. Anne
Statue of Champlain
UNESCO monument, lower center
Chateau Frontenac
Public Art
There are those fall colors.

A Detour to the North, Part II

While in New England and Canada, I took a day trip to the popular village of Peggy’s Cove. This tourist attractions is a quaint Nova Scotia fishing village with one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada.

Finally, here a some photos of Georges Island National Historic Site in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A Detour to the North, Part I

This October I was fortunate to take a trip to Maine, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Much of the topography of the inland areas, and the fall color, remind me of Pennsylvania. First up is a boat trip from Bar Harbor, Maine. This part of the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Somes Sound is dotted with the “cottages” of the rich and famous.

The trip was themed around the lighthouses of the Bay of Maine near the Mount Desert Island shore.

Here are some boats, buoys, and critters along the way, along with a few looks at Mount Desert Island from the sea.

Happy Thanksgiving

This is a weekend to remember all our blessings – the people, places and things that make life worthwhile. I am grateful that this Commonwealth has such and abundance of natural beauty and wonderful people,

These guys are grateful not to be turkeys.