Thursday, February 19, 2015

20 September 2014 Visiting Favorite Places

There's something relaxing about eating breakfast at an old fashioned restaurant with tabletop jukeboxes. This one also had quite a collection of old glass milk bottles from small dairies.

After breakfast we made a first visit to Dan's Mountain State Park. It was a new place to explore with some older caches. Our first trail at the park rewarded us with a spotting of a heron beside a small pond. Unlike many herons, this one stayed near the water even when aware of our presence. We enjoyed a great view before moving on to the cache.

We also spotted this turtle on the same trail.

We had left Dan's Mountain and were headed to Herrington Manor State Park when we passed through the small town of Lonaconing. We were both surprised to see a large iron furnace in a park in town. Once we at the park, we noticed a historical plaque we assumed was for the iron furnace. We were surprised to see it was for a native of Lonaconing who happened to be none other than the great Lefty Grove.

The plaque and history was interesting, but for us the real star was the Lonoconing iron furnace. The furnace was built in 1837 and remains in super shape. It was a technical accomplishment because it was the first iron furnace that passed from using charcoal for iron production to using bituminous coal. It only operated for 16 years before being abandoned by the coal company, but it stands as a significant piece of industrial history.

We enjoyed our visit to Herrington Manor State Park and both agreed the cabins in the park would be a great place to stay on a future visit. After finding a few caches in Herrington, we made our way to the first location from the post title, Cranesville Swamp at the Maryland-West Virginia border. The fall colors were not at their prime but we were rewarded with nodding ladys slipper and gentian all along the boardwalk.

Our last favorite place for the day was a return to Swallow Falls for a walk through the stately hemlocks and a few stops along the Youghiogheny River to enloy the falls.

A Maryland sunset through a dirty windshield as Ali heads us towards our last stop south of Pittsburgh before heading home.

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