Category: Travel (Page 1 of 13)
Watkins Glen State Park has been on my bucket list since I first saw a picture of it when I first got on Flickr, about ten years ago. A picture very similar to the one on the left inspired my wanderlust. Looking at this picture, I would assume this was Costa Rica, or Hawaii, but no, this amazing glen of water and rock is actually in western New York. When I discovered this beautiful place is less than 8 hours away, I began planning a long weekend to explore it. Finally, the time came when it made sense to visit.
After visiting several Maine lighthouses, we made our way to Keane, New Hampshire for the night. I didn’t have much planned on the way from New Hampshire to Watkins Glen, but we did stop at the Albany Museum of Art and History to get out of the car and stretch our legs. Before long, we arrived at Watkins Glen and set up camp.
In the summer, the park offers shuttles from the Main Entrance to the upper entrance of the park. This allows you to hike down the 1 1/2 mile Gorge trail instead of having to go up 800 steps. This made of a pretty leisurely, hike. It is definitely one of the most scenic of my life. If we had more time to explore, it would have been nice to hike some of the other trails in the park and get a different view of the gorge. As it was, I’m sure we got to see the best part.
From the moment we left the parking lot, I knew this was going to be like no other place I had ever seen. It seemed like every few feet there were beautiful stone bridges high above cascading falls. It reminded me a lot of Hocking Hills, but much more compact. The whole time I was amazed at the beauty, only to go down a few more steps, make a turn and get an even more breathtaking view.
While the top photo is the most iconic one of the park, the whole Gorge Trail blew my mind. I have never seen such a beautiful place. I have a really hard time reconciling it with New York state. This is not what I think when I think of New York. I’ve been told that some of the other parks in the Finger Lakes are just as beautiful. I will have to go back sometime to see for myself.
To plan your visit to Watkins Glen, visit parks.ny.gov. Be sure to come back next week when we visit the Corning Museum of Glass. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
After packing up camp, we decided to take Route 1 instead of the interstate so we could stop and see some Maine Lighthouses on our way south. The dense fog from the night before was still thick which made for interesting photos.
Our first stop was Fort Point Light (left). Fort Point Lighthouse is located in Fort Point State Park in Stockton Springs, Maine on the easternmost tip of Cape Jellison, a peninsula that juts into the Penobscot Bay. The ruins of Fort Pownall (a British fort built during the French and Indian War) are also in the park. The lighthouse wasn’t open when we visited, so we just got out, stretched our legs and took a picture before continuing our journey down the coast (wiki).
Our next stop was the Rockland Breakwater Light. The breakwater is .8 miles long and the heat was still out of control so we chose not to hike to this lighthouse. I put on the telephoto lens and shot this (right) from the entrance to the breakwater. The fog made it kind of tricky to shoot, but with some Lightroom magic, I think I was able to make a decent shot out of it.
Our next stop on this lighthouse tour was the Maine Lighthouse Museum. Housed in the Rockland Chamber of Commerce, this small museum is home to a lot of U.S. Coast Guard and lighthouse memorbilia, some of which had Michigan connections. It is an inexpensive museum and is worth a visit if you are in the Rockland area. In the gift shop, I picked up a Lighthouse Passport so I can now collect stamps for each ligthhouse I visit.
Our final lighthouse in Maine was the Owl Head Light (top). The current lighthouse was built in 1852 and is a 30 foot tall round brick tower standing on top of a cliff. Here I got my first stamp in my passport book and we had a picnic lunch before continuing on our way to New Hampshire for the night. Check back next week as we make our way to Watkins Glen, New York!
Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Maine Lighthouse Museum, visit MaineLighthouseMuseum.org. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
On our second day at Acadia National Park, we set out to hike the Jordan Pond Trail. Jordan Pond is one of the iconic features of the park and by taking the trail around it, you get into the woods and experience the real Acadia. As I mentioned in last week’s post, after two hot days in Maine, a storm rolled in and cooled it down to more comfortable, hiking weather.
The trail begins near the Jordan Pond House Restaurant (left). The 4.3 mile trail is described as an easy, family, friendly hike. 2/3 of the trail are pressed dirt and boardwalks but the rough, rocky terrain near the back side of the pond surprised me. There were some spots where it was hard to get my footing and I was worried I was going to fall. If you want to enjoy the park and get away from the crowds, I recommend taking a hike. The parking lot was full, but it felt like we were the only people on the trail.
We were hoping to do some more hiking before we left Acadia but the weather did not cooperate. Chris really wanted to hike Bubble Rock (the mountain the can be seen straight back in both of the photos). Somehow, its described as an easy hike. How can climbing up a mountain be easy? Anyway, it stormed on our last day so we left early and began heading home. We will have to come back to Acadia another day and maybe I’ll be brave enough to conquer the Bubble.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as we photograph Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
After exploring the Park Loop Road we decided we wanted to see Acadia from the water. After looking online, I found Acadian Boat Tours and decided to take the sunset cruise. Luckily, tickets were still available. I was concerned about it getting cold out on the water after the sun set, but after the unseasonably hot day, it actually felt pretty good.
After leaving Bar Harbor, the boat hugged the shoreline and we got the view of some beautiful “cottages” near the park. In the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century, Bar Harbor was the vacation destination of America’s 1%. These cottages were owned by Rockefellers, Pulitzers, and Vanderbilts. Unfortunately, the great fire of 1947 destroyed 237 homes on Mount Desert Island, burning over 18,000 acres (Bar Harbor Historical Society). With the economy of the 1940s, most families didn’t have the money that they had when the cottages were built so they were unable to rebuild and many chose to donate their land to Acadia National Park.
Being a lighthouse fan, I really enjoyed getting up close to Egg Rock Lighthouse (top). Of course, the highlight of the tour for me was all the wildlife we saw. Harbor porpoises jumped near the boat. Harbor seals and puffins were relaxing near the lighthouse. I had no idea that seals and puffins lived on the east coast so that was a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately a storm rolled in so we didn’t get a sunset on our sunset cruise, but everything else we saw was definitely worth it. This boat ride was a highlight of our trip. The guide was very informative about the area and very interesting. If you are in Bar Harbor and you want to get out on the water, definitely check out Acadian Tours!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week as I share about our experience hiking Jordan Pond! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.