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2017 Pennsylvania Calendar and Book Buying Options

9.29.2016

Layton Tunnel and Bridge, Layton, PA, Fayette County

On one of our random and aimless drives, we headed down Route 51 and then cut off of the road. I was going wild with excitement when I saw this majestic little tunnel coming up.
Layton Tunnel and Bridge. A former rail tunnel and bridge. Both date back to 1893 and were abandoned for rail use in 1931. In 1933 they were converted to automobile use. The bridge crosses the Youghiogheny River and the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail.
The Layton Bridge is a Pratt Through Truss Bridge that measures in an a stunning 911 feet. It is a half through truss and half deck bridge. If I had to pick out one bridge that was my absolute favorite in the state, this would have to be taken into consideration. My goodness it is so spectacular and peculiar at the same time. I think the way in which this tunnel entry and bridge are so dramatic is even more beautiful than the entry into Pittsburgh on the Fort Pitt Bridge. The bridge is even shown in the classic movie, Silence of the Lambs. The house used in the final sequence of the movie is located right nearby in Perryopolis. 
The views of the Youghiogheny River Gorge are also stunning. This is a gorgeous area that you should definitely check out. The natural setting mixed with this odd tunnel and bridge make this a true sight to behold. Spectacular place.

Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

9.27.2016

Round Hill Park Farm, Elizabeth Township, Allegheny County

So I visited Round Hill Farm Park last winter. It was a place that I had wanted to get to for a while. I was blown away by the concept of a fully working farm that is also a fully public county park. It is a wonderful concept that is especially excellent for children. Both Brit and I love seeing and interacting with animals, especially Brit. I needed to get her to the park and we decided to go while taking a random drive through the Mon Valley. For more information about the background of the park, check out this article from my first visit last winter. 
Brit having fun with the little calf
This calf was having a great time feasting upon the greens in his pen area. 


The farm has all of the animals you would expect to see in an average Pennsylvania farm, including   these turkeys, cows, horses, chickens, goats, pigs, and more.
A horse!
Pigs!
Naturally, Brit's favorite animals were the bunnies. 
If you are looking for a nice place to spend an evening or an afternoon, Round Hill Farm Park is an excellent place to go. The best part of this place is that it truly is a fully operating farm and it is open every day of the year for guests to observe for no fee. There are also picnic pavilions located on the grounds, making this a popular gathering place for the community.

Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

9.25.2016

McConnells Mill Covered Bridge Restoration, McConnells Mill State Park, Lawrence County

Today we take a look at the current restoration project of one of the finest covered bridges in the state, the McConnells Mill Covered Bridge in McConnells Mill State Park. This bridge has withstood the test of time since 1875. More about the history of this bridge, and the adjacent mill, can be found in this article that we wrote a while back. It is one of only five remaining Pennsylvania Covered bridges that were constructed with the Howe Truss method.
This bridge is one of the most beautiful in the state, and it is awesome to see them giving it some restoration love. I can't wait to see the final results!
They are currently in the process of repainting this beauty. This bridge was already in great shape, but it is great to see them continually take care of the bridge. If only all covered bridges were given this meticulous care. One of the things that I am most thankful for as a Pennsylvanian is the great pains we take to care for most of our covered bridges. 
McConnell's Mill! This historic district is so beautiful. The mill dates back to 1868.
I noticed a bird heading into one of the exposed rafters of the building. Naturally, this piqued our interest.
We are thinking it is a dove or a pigeon. Any bird watchers know more?
One of my favorite parts of the park is the giant boulders that line Slippery Rock Gorge. 


Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

9.22.2016

Lyle Bridge, Hillman State Park, Washington County

With this little heatwave, you would hardly know that it is summer. However, soon it will be time to see some blazing autumn colors. Today we look at the Lyle Covered Bridge with some of last year's fall colors in the largely undeveloped Hillman State Park. We found it while we were driving through this beautiful state park on one of the stone roads that traverses this rugged landscape. The bridge caught us by surprise, and it is one of my favorite Washington County style covered bridges, thanks to the gorgeous setting it is located in. This is also located not too far from one of my favorite state parks in the state, Raccoon Creek State Park
Lyle Covered Bridge - Built in 1887 and located in Hillman State Park, Washington County
This little queenpost bridge is not too different from the rest of its siblings throughout Washington County. It measures in at 35 feet and is pretty picturesque.
Coordinates: 40.454205, -80.375499


Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

9.20.2016

Hartwood Acres: Charming 1920s Mansion and County Park, Allegheny County, PA

Hartwood Acres is an Allegheny County Park set around a mansion built during the Roaring Twenties by Mary Flinn Lawrence, heiress to the fortune of her father, William Flinn, the namesake for Route 8, William Flinn Highway. William Flinn was a contractor whose biggest projects included the spectacular Liberty Tunnel in Pittsburgh, and the Holland Tunnel in New York City. Mary founded a home for disabled children, in addition to being a leading women's suffragist, and was a board member of the PA State Forest Commission. She sold the mansion to Allegheny County in 1968 on the condition that she could live out her life at the mansion. She passed away in 1974 and the county park was opened in 1976. The park is utilized for picnicking, tours, and concerts, and it was utilized for an awesome drive-through Christmas display over the more than 629 acres of the park in Hampton and Indiana Townships. 
Hartwood Acres was designed by Alfred Hopkins and was built in the Tudor style. She was big into equestrian sports, with features built around the estate where she could do her horseback riding.
This is a pretty spectacular example of a roaring twenties mansion. It almost feels like you are walking into the home of The Great Gatsby, which is pretty cool. If you are in the area, be sure to drop by this cool mansion.

Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

9.18.2016

Phillies Juan Samuel Induction Ceremony, August 8, 2008

As the 2016 regular season comes to a close, we will take a look back at one of my personal favorite memories as a Phils fan. The Phillies Wall of Fame Induction ceremonies are always fun to see. Viewing past Phillies greats gathering for the induction ceremony is always fun. This ceremony really stuck out to me because it was the last time that I saw legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas speak in public. We saw him one more time, in the Phillies 2008 Championship Parade, before he passed away the next spring. The loss of Harry Kalas still hurts. 
Harry Kalas calling the last out of the 2008 World Series
As someone who grew up with Harry Kalas calling every Phillies game, it was easy to take his awesome broadcasting personality and voice for granted. I was relatively young, but I remember Richie Ashburn, longtime Kalas partner, and when he passed in 1997.
Harry announcing the passing of legendary Phillies player, announcer, and hall of fame Richie Ashbury

Harry Kalas was the voice of the Phillies. In the many, many rough times as a Phillies fan, in the worst of games, Harry made watching and listening to these games enjoyable. Juan Samuel was an absolute legend, and one of the best Phillies players of all time, but this memory sticks out the most to me as the last Wall of Fame induction that Harry Kalas announced. This was a special day.

Juan continued on to rejoin the Phillies organization and is currently the third base coach.
No banner for 2008 yet!
Juan Samuel Induction Ceremony
It is always awesome watching the sun set at Citizens Bank Park
The Phils failed to deliver after 12 innings against the Pirates, but in the end it did not matter. The Phils won the World Series that year and it was amazing.

9.15.2016

Osterburg/Bowser Covered Bridge, Bedford County

Here is the Osterburg/Bowser Covered Bridge! This Burr Truss bridge is pretty picturesque.
Osterburg/Bowser's Covered Bridge, Built in 1890, crosses Bob's Creek and is located in Osterburg, Bedford County, PA
Similar to many of the other covered bridges in Bedford, the Osterburg has open trusses and a stunning white colored paint. White really makes a covered bridge pop.
You can find this bridge in Osterburg, at the following coordinates. When you visit, be sure to check out nearby Blue Knob State Park as well, with the second tallest mountain in the state, and its ski area, with the second tallest vertical drop in the state. This is one of many awesome covered bridges within Bedford County, of which you can see more of them on a tour that we took across the state by way of covered bridges through this link.
Coordinates: 40.176944, -78.541667


Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 

9.13.2016

Random Cambria and Clearfield Counties: Wind Farm, ATV Park, Rail History, and Wildlife

We start off our jaunt through Northern Cambria County and Clearfield County with a stop at the Patton Wind Farm. This picturesque wind energy production facility has an observation deck where you can watch the windmills in action and the surrounding rolling hills. 
The nearby Rock Run Recreation Area is an ATV park with many miles of trails for your all terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. This is one of the few facilities that has trails that are exclusively for ATV usage. The name may be a little misleading, for this is not a federal recreation area, but rather a privately owned facility that allows for ATV enthusiasts to have a great adventure through a nicely wooded property with many rolling hills.
A view from Rock Run Recreation area, overlooking the nearby wind farm.
Next we head into rural Clearfield County to Irvona. 
This bridge pier caught my eye. I figured it was a railroad bridge pier, but I was not sure what line it could have been. This area was home to main lines of the Pennsylvania and Northwestern Railroad, and the Clearfield Southern Line. Both of which would be absorbed by the giants, with the former going to the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the former going to the New York Central. Lumber and coal were the primary industries in this little town. Several short spur lines were also operated from the borough as well. 
So we have a mystery, what railroad did this pier belong to?
While you are contemplating the mystery, feel free to cast a line into the stocked trout waters of the Clearfield Creek.
Where a nearby tributary flows into the creek, you can see these old bridge abutments
This postcard comes from Ellis Michael, and shows the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge on the left, and the New York Central bridge on the right. The NYC bridge's piers were all removed, except for the one nearest to the right. A flood control project was undertaken after floods devastated the borough in 1936 and subsequent projects lead towards to the removal of the other piers, leaving this one reminder of the New York Central's time in the borough.
Here are the abutments for the PRR bridge. Is the intact bridge next to it for an old spur line in the background, or an unrelated bridge? It serves a small community park.
Mystery solved! I love finding little remnants like this an trying to piece together what they once were.
This stretch of the Clearfield Creek is beautiful.
A sign for the PA DCNR flood control project in the borough.
Here is the McGees Mills Covered Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge on any branch of the Susquehanna River.  Here is an article that we wrote about this cool bridge. 
Now heading out further into the countryside, seeing rolling fields of wildflowers. We were tipped off to going up to this area since the road was named "Tower Road." That often means that there was once a fire tower on the road. This was a major lumber area and the bulk of it still remains wooded. Forest fires were always a threat, so the state created a huge system of fire towers, before the days of banks of camera views, cellphones, and other technology that can tip off everyone of a major fire. Not many of these fire towers remain, though the ones that remain provide spectacular views. 
Naturally, where there are large fields like this, border species like the PA state animal, the white-tailed deer, are sure to follow. From this point forward during our drive, we saw deer almost non-stop all of the way back to Pittsburgh.
Granted, our drive was stopped with a little turkey traffic jam.
Later on in the ride! Such beautiful animals.
Hanging out in such a beautiful rural and agrarian landscape.
"We see you!"
"Eh, if you want to keep an eye on them, go for it, back to the grass!"
"Ok, I will watch now!"
What can I say? These rural areas are gorgeous and worth going to for an adventure!


Be sure to check out our Interesting Pennsylvania 2017 wall calendar, available through the drop down menu at the top of this page, or through this link. It is available on early-bird special for free with purchases of our book through the page, or individually for $9.99 plus shipping. 
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