Say Hay to Hills Creek

The 407-acre Hills Creek State Park, located in scenic Tioga County, contains abundant wildlife such as osprey, loon, and waterfowl which visit the lake that contains a variety of warmwater fish species. Camping, cabins, swimming, and picnicking make this an ideal spot for a day trip or family vacation. Hiking, fishing and hunting are also available.

It was a hazy day at the lake.
I love the yurts in Pennsylvania state parks.
People were camping in everything from large RVs to tents.
Because you know I can’t resist hay bales.
There was quite an impressive group in this field near the park.
The view from above.
They’re still there. Can you see them?

An Au Naturel Covered Bridge

Knapp’s Covered Bridge is a Burr arch truss covered bridge over Brown’s Creek in Burlington Township, Bradford County. It was built in 1853 and is 95 feet (29.0 m) long. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and had a major restoration starting in 2000. Knapp’s Bridge is named for a local family, and is also known by as the Luther’s Mills Covered Bridge (for the nearby village of Luther’s Mills) and as the Brown’s Creek Covered Bridge.

The surrounding countryside also provides some nice sightseeing, like this pretty church with its barn across the road and the nearby farmland.

Nice barn star and flag.

Sitting at a Bend in the River

The area around the French Azilum historic site is lovely. It is just one more reason to visit the area. I think these pictures speak for themselves, so I will leave this as a picture blog.

A barn adjacent to French Azilum.
Also adjacent to the historic site, this must have been a cool place to live at one time.
Old farm machinery near French Azilum.
This lovely house sits next to …
this fantastic barn.
The goldenrod was out in force.
The red barn theme contiues.
I think someone forgot these hay bales.

A Route With a View

Bradford County is home to a unique historical site in north central Pennsylvania. However, I first made my way west over Route 6 to take in some impressive views.

First up is Wyalusing Rocks Overlook, which stands above one of the many bends in the Susquehanna River in this area.

A westward view …
and two.

A little further west, one comes upon the Marie Antoinette Overlook. The reason for this name will become apparent in my next post. The Overlook sits approximately 500 feet above the North Branch of the Susquehanna River. It was originally built in 1930 as a part of the WPA (Works Progress Administration).

A view west along another bend in the river.
The plaque explains the reason for the name of the overlook.
This is one of the more developed overlooks in state.
The view in the opposite direction.
The historic site below is blocked by the trees.

Coming Attractions

Upcoming posts will feature a recent trip to Tioga and Bradford Counties, along with bonus locations. This will be followed by some very special “not in Pennsylvania” posts in Autumn. Stay tuned! In the meantime, here are some random favorites of mine.

Blue Marsh Lake
Clinton County hay bales.
Model airplane field, Valley Forge

Mid State Musings

A short trip to some state parks north of Harrisburg made for an interesting day out. Boyd Big Tree Preserve and Joseph E. Ibberson State Conservation Area are located in Dauphin County and occupy a distinctive niche in the state park system.They would be of particular interest to hikers.

The 1,025-acre Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area straddles Blue Mountain and is the habitat of large trees of numerous species, which are homes for deep forest birds, especially warblers. During the summer and fall, the old field is filled with blooming wildflowers like butterfly weed, In late July and early August, the flowers attract field birds and many varieties of butterflies. There is also a trail network here and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

The extensive meadows at the Preserve.
The chestnut tree plantation.
A lone bluebird nest box.
The view over the valley.

Straddling Peters Mountain, the 803-acre Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area is dominated by large hardwood trees. This large block of nearly unbroken forest is a haven for wildlife like forest warblers and other deep woods animals. A main attraction of the conservation area is the elaborate trail system which connects to the Appalachian Trail on the northern slope of Peters Mountain.

A pavilion at the park.
The beautiful countryside near the park.
A nearby farm.

Berks Perks

Berks County is the home to a few covered bridges and some very picturesque spots. Greisemer Covered Bridge is one of few I have seen with a hex sign. The oak design is one of my favorite hex signs. Here are a few views of the bridge. You will note the common Burr arch truss design.

A lovely church property stands between the two bridges featured in this blog. This is Salem United Church of Christ in Oley and its churchyard. The view toward the hills beyond is really lovely.

A nice view with the farm in back.
These cows were across the road from the church.
The Pleasantville Covered Bridge

The Pleasantville Covered Bridge is on more busy stretch of the appropriately named Covered Bridge Road and more difficult to photograph. As a white bridge, it provides a nice contrast with the red Greisemer Bridge. It is interesting that, although I see barn stars everywhere, I tend to see hex signs more often in Berks County.

Headed home, I came across this fantastic barn with hex signs.
Looks like soybean at this farm.

A Very Grassy Land

Below are a few photographs of a favorite corner of northwestern Chester County. I go here in hopes of finding some grassland species of birds that sometimes frequent farmers fields. So far I have just found horned larks, but there have been snow buntings, eastern meadowlarks and others spotted in the area, so you never know ….

I have better luck with ponies and goats.
One of the many beautiful farms.
I love the trees around this farmstead.
A subject you may have seen here before …
and another view.
Another impressive farm.

A Few Covered Bridges Then Home

Lycoming County has a total of four covered bridges. I visited two of them on my way home from Potter County.

The Buttonwood Bridge (also known as the Blockhouse Bridge) was built in 1898 with the structure spanning Blockhouse Creek. It uses a queen post with king post truss and is 74 feet 2 inches (22.6 m) long. The bridge is in good condition with a new wood shingled roof and pressure treated floor. The structure is open to traffic all year long. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and had a major restoration in 1998. It is the shortest and most heavily used of the three covered bridges remaining in Lycoming County.

A couple of looks inside the bridge.
An interesting sawmill operation near the bridge.
Very nice looking barn.
Anther pretty barn shot.

The next bridge to the south was the Cogan House Bridge. This bridge was built in 1877 of the Burr Arch design with a structure length of 94 feet crossing Larry’s Creek. Cogan House bridge is open to traffic, and leads to a dead end private drive near the game lands. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and had a major restoration in 1998. The Cogan House bridge is named for the township and village of Cogan House, and is also known by at least four other names: Buckhorn, Larrys Creek, Day’s, and Plankenhorn.

The Cogan House Covered Bridge was constructed by a millwright who assembled the timber framework in a field next to the sawmill, before it was reassembled at the bridge site. It was the only bridge on Larrys Creek that survived the flood of June 1889, and one of only a handful that were left intact in the county. Although the bridge used to carry a steady flow of tannery and sawmill traffic, the clearcutting of the surrounding forests meant the end of those industries by the early 20th century.

The route to the bridge.
The other side.
A look inside.
Cattle on a hill en route to the bridge.

Rambling Along

There are lots of sights to behold on a drive through southern Chester County.

Cattle quietly grazing on the tall grass.
Sadly, a sight sometimes seen in Pennsylvania.
A barn with a great weathered look.
This scene could be almost anywhere in the state.
Trains to nowhere. A bet a lot of people will recognize where this is.