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2020 Pennsylvania Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Options

5.31.2019

Martin's Creek Viaduct: Stunning Railroad Bridge in NE PA

It is easy to overlook the Martin's Creek Viaduct/Kingsley Bridge, since it is located within the shadow of the giant Tunkhannock Viaduct, which is just a fifteen minute drive away, but this bridge is spectacular as well. It is a sibling to the Tunkhannock Viaduct/Nicholson Bridge and was built over the same time period, for the same rail line of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. If you check out this bridge, I recommend going to it before you go to Tunkhannock, because you will be thoroughly impressed with the 150 foot height of this bridge, but may be underwhelmed after seeing the 240 foot height of the Tunkhannock Viaduct. Our last visit here took us from the Starrucca Viaduct, which is one of the world's tallest stone-arch rail bridges in the world, to here, and then to Tunkhannock, which was an absolutely mind-blowing experience. All three of these railroad bridges are within close proximity of each other, thanks to the rugged terrain of northeastern Pennsylvania, and the urgency and competitive nature of bringing freight and passengers to and from the world's largest economic engine of the time, New York City. 
The Martin's Creek and Tunkhannock Viaducts were built as part of the Nicholson Cutoff, which was a tremendous engineering triumph for the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. It significantly cut travel times across their previous winding and curving right-of-way, which was later converted into parts of US Route 11. This cutoff allowed for trains to travel at speeds of up to 70 MPH, which was a huge improvement. While it only cutoff about 3 miles of overall mileage, the speed difference in the straightened rail line was huge, giving the railroad a huge competitive advantage.
At 150 feet tall, and 1600 feet long, the bridge was, and remains, one of the world's largest reinforced concrete arch railroad bridges. 
With this bridge being very similar to the nearby Tunkhannock Bridge, the smaller scale of it lets you get a closer view of the architectural details at the higher points of the bridges at a closer vantage point.
The bridge is in such a remote place. Aside from the unincorporated village of Kingsley, which is home to fifty people, this is a serene and remote place. Be sure to check its nearby neighbors, the Tunkhannock Viaduct, and the Starrucca Viaduct.

5.19.2019

Spring and Summer Fun in Erie


If you have not noticed, Erie, Presque Isle State Park, and Waldameer and Water World Amusement Park are some of our favorite places to relax. The close proximity and wide variety of things to do in the Erie Region naturally leads us to gravitate to it for adventure. Between all of the sightseeing at Presque Isle State Park, including seeing wildlife on scenic drives, bike rides, boats, kayaks, and hikes, to the state's beautiful navigational lighthouses, in addition to relaxing, swimming, flying kites, fishing from, and more on the park's pristine beaches, there is so much to do at the state park. In addition to riding on rides and the world class Ravine Flyer II roller coaster at Waldameer and Water World Amusement Park and getting a burger, hot dog, and some fantastic ice cream and Sara's Restaurant, this place is just made for spring and summer fun. Everything you could possibly ask for from a vacation at the beach is available in Erie, all without breaking the bank. We go a few times each season to Erie and highly recommend that you do so as well.
The wetlands are coming back to life, with greenery reappearing and wildlife springing to action.

The goslings and ganders (female and male baby geese) can be seen all over the place.
Lots of boats and fishermen were out on Presque Isle Bay
The water levels are currently at record highs for the area. Lake Erie is about 3 feet deeper than average. This is immediately evident around the marsh areas and the breakwaters on the lake. A local politician was talking about a plan to submerge the breakwaters, but it looks like the changing regional climate has already done that. While lake levels ebb and flow, they have consistently gotten higher, leading the water to submerge, or nearly submerge areas up to walkways. This marsh had multiple fish trapped in the shallow water, trying to get back into the main waterway. Erie is the eighth fastest warming city in the country and the environmentally sensitive area of Presque Isle State Park is showing this in dramatic fashion. 

Sunning turtles!

And the Flagship Niagara! This reproduction of the famous ship that Commodore Perry used to defeat the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812 was out on a cruise on this windy day. Its journey took it from Erie Harbor and out on Lake Erie around Presque Isle. It was visible for most of the time we were at the state park, making for quite a dramatic sight.
The crew.
Another sure sign of spring, Lifeguard Stands getting placed in anticipation of the beaches opening for swimming during Memorial Day Weekend.
The beaches are so relaxing.
Another view of the Flagship Niagara.
The two of us.
Some kites in the sky on the kite portion of the beach.

Beautiful Presque Isle Lighthouse.
Some wildflowers in bloom on the treeline before the beach.

Now we head over to Waldameer. Their new Chaos looping ride is absolutely wild! It starts off looking like a tame swing ride...
And then it gets higher and higher...
And loops, with tremendous hang time in the process.
It expands the park further into the grove area, which I am sure will host even more rides in the future.
The trees are beautifully flowering at the park right now.
A view of the midway, and the world class Ravine Flyer II wooden roller coaster.
Some of the park's classic rides.
The park's classic Comet roller coaster received some more of the meticulous care that the park gives to its rides with a rebuilding of a portion of one of the coaster's turnarounds.
Here is the Carousel Grove, which hosted the Beer Coaster event of the Lake Erie Ale Trail. This fantastic event showcased the regions excellent breweries, with sampling of many different brews and some fantastic Smith's Hot Dogs. This annual event is absolutely great.
 A view of Waldameer's main midway.
And the two of us on the front seat of Ravine Flyer II. It truly is an absolutely excellent ride.
The Beer Coaster event began at 4:00 and was great. The region has so many great breweries to offer, including the BrewErie at Union Station, Erie Brewing Company, Arundel, Mazza's 5&20, and more.


 The spread of deliciously loaded Smith's Hot Dogs.
 Mushroom and Swiss Hot Dog! Yum!
 The whole crew.

 And what day in Erie is complete without some ice cream from Sara's Restaurant?

And we close with a sunset view from the beaches of Presque Isle. We had a wonderful time as always!

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