Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall

As the name suggests, Dry Falls no longer carries water, but is the remnant of what was once the world’s largest (in water volume) waterfall known to have existed on earth, but that was during the Great Missoula Floods at the end of the last Ice Age.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall
Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today the falls is a massive cirque of basalt: Dry Falls Lake. The site is designated a National Natural Landmark.

Viewing the 3.5 miles of sheer cliffs that drop 400 feet, it is easy to imagine the roar of water pouring over them. Niagara Falls by comparison, is one mile wide with a drop of 165 feet.

The falls were created following the catastrophic collapse of an enormous ice-dam holding back the waters of Glacier Lake Missoula. Water covering three thousand square miles of northwest Montana, about the volume of Lake Ontario, was locked behind this glacial dam until the rising lake penetrated, lifted, and then blew out the ice dam. This massive torrent known as the Missoula Flood ran wild through the Idaho panhandle, the Spokane River Valley, much of eastern Washington, and into Oregon, flooding the area that is now the city of Portland under 400 feet of water.

Reaching the Dry Falls area, this tremendous force swept away earth and rock from a precipice 15 miles south of the falls near Soap Lake, causing the falls to retreat to its present position, now known as Dry Falls. The falls is considered a spectacular example of “headward erosion”. If this is confusing, given the present topography, it also helps to know the falls are on an ancient course of the Columbia River. The river had been diverted this way by the encroaching glaciers. It returned to its present course as the ice retreated.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall
Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Today, the former waterfall overlooks a desert oasis filled with lakes and abundant wildlife. It is now dry as a bone but water is still present in the Sun Lakes, a haven for fishing, swimming, and boating in this otherwise arid desert landscape.

Dry water channels from the Banks Lake area slide south to the lip of the falls, and then the land falls away in great basaltic cliffs. What was once an ancient splash pool at the base of the falls is now a broad desert meadow dotted with lakes and ponds, swarming with birds and animals of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. This is a uniquely beautiful area to explore, both to delve into the geologic history of the area and to reach out and touch the native flora and fauna of the Washington desert.

Umatilla Rock towers like a giant fin in the middle of Grand Coulee in the basin below Dry Falls. This rock would have been an island in the midst of swirling waters during the great floods.

Today it offers a clear look at the multiple layers of geologic soils and rock that make up these lands. At the junction where the road splits (left to Dry Falls Lake, right to Camp Delany), head left along the gravel road at the southwestern base of Umatilla Rock. Stray off the road and hike cross-country through the open sage prairie and you might spot a few pheasant or quail. In the first mile or so, you’ll pass Perch Lake and climb a small rise for views of the lake basin.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping is very popular in the park, which offers over 150 campsites for RVs and tents. There are also boat rentals in the summer.

The best views of Dry Falls are from the Vista House Overlook. The Dry Falls visitor centre features displays about the geology and natural history of the area and tells the story of this amazing geological phenomenon. From lava flows to the Ice Age floods, and from the Native American legacy to the modern discovery of how Dry Falls was created, the Dry Falls story is revealed to tens of thousands of visitors each year.

A gift shop in the visitor center has a wide selection of books, maps, guides, videos, postcards, film, and other merchandise about Dry Falls and the surrounding area.

Now, that is really climate change. Man made? I don’t think so!

Details

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is a 4,027-acre camping park with 73,640 feet of freshwater shoreline at the foot of Dry Falls. The Dry Falls Interpretive Center is located two miles north of the main park on Highway 17.

Dry Falls: World's Largest Waterfall
Dry Falls: World’s Largest Waterfall © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Location: 7 miles southwest of Coulee City in northeast Washington. It is a feature of Grand Coulee Canyon, which is itself part of the Channeled Scablands that cover three-quarters of eastern Washington.

Directions: South of US-2 onto WA-17, and drive to the visitor center which is in sight of the highway, on the east side.

Address: 34875 Park Lake Road NE, Coulee City, WA 99115

Phone: (509) 632-5583

Website: www.parks.wa.gov

Worth Pondering…

Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.

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9 Haunted Halloween Road Trip Destinations

Every town has a ghost story or two, but some places seem to attract more ghostly activity than others.

Salem Haunted HappeningsThe following four destinations are perfect choices for a spooky Halloween road trip this month.

Salem, Massachusetts

There is nowhere in the U.S. like Salem on Halloween! It’s got it all: fabulous fall foliage, New England charm, a horrifying history, and tons of Halloween events and activities.

This town was made famous by its witchcraft trials in 1692, where twenty innocent people were executed on charges of witchcraft. Salem pays tribute year-round to the history of the town with benches commemorating the dead and historic sites detailing the trials and events leading up to them.

Salem goes all out—there are haunted houses, special events at the Witch Museum, the House of Seven Gables, and the Witch House, street performers (often dressed as witches), parades, costume balls—so much is going on.

With most of the revelers dressed up in costumes, every inch of the town decorated for the holiday, and great themed events, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in Halloween Land! It truly is the most Halloween-themed of all of the Halloween destinations out there.

Tombstone, Arizona

Although Tombstone drips of tourism, there are ghost stories to be found.
Tombstone still looks the part of the Wild West when you walk down the old dirt road. Though the town shuts down early, you may be able to see where ‘the Swamper’ lived if you just ask.

The Swamper was a man in Tombstone who dug a tunnel through his living quarters into the mines to find silver. He was eventually caught and murdered.
In addition to the Swamper’s trail, visit the Bird Cage Theatre for a ghostly experience.

Sante Fe, New Mexico

There have been reports of Julia Staab descending this stairway dressed in black
There have been reports of Julia Staab descending this stairway dressed in black.

Santa Fe is full of ghosts. Some you hear about and some you don’t. One of the most famous is Julia Staab, who lives in, or more correctly, haunts the upscale hotel, La Posada. The beautiful Julia was the wife of wealthy Santa Fe merchant, Abraham Staab.

The Staabs were prosperous and abundant. They had seven children. Things went downhill when the eighth child, a son, died soon after his birth.

Reportedly, Julia went into a severe depression and may have even lost her sanity. Her hair is said to have turned white overnight. After several subsequent unsuccessful pregnancies, she took to her room and died in 1896 at the age of 52.

Julia is said to have loved her magnificent home and if you believe the stories, she is still there roaming the halls. Julia is a playful ghost and has been known to turn the faucets on in the bathrooms and move glasses around in the bar.

To read about our Ghost Walking Tour of Santa Fe, click here.

Galveston, Texas

Ashton Villa
Ashton Villa was built by James Moreau Brown, beginning in 1859. The family occupied the house by 1861. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Galveston is full of ghosts, but the best place to get a good dose of them is at the amazing Ashton Villa mansion. Built in the 1860s by James Brown, the 6,000 square foot home is one of the few historical buildings to have survived the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. Even so, the Brown family watched as the water rose up to the tenth step of the grand staircase and flowed through the house like a river. Later it served as a Confederate hospital.

Sounds attributed to the ghost of Jame’s daughter Bettie are a frequent occurrence. Sometimes visitors on tour will hear her playing the piano. Beds will unmake themselves and chests will randomly lock and unlock. Some people claim to have witnessed ghost soldiers marching through the house. A caretaker once reported waking up in the night and witnessing a conversation from the past about marriage from two ghosts, and furniture will sometimes move.

Note: Ashton Villa is now home to the Galveston Island Visitor Information Center

More Haunted Destinations

Here are five additional spooky Halloween holiday destinations.

LanternResvFormLogoIn Decatur, Illinois, the ghosts of bootleggers and theater stagehands haunt buildings throughout the city.

In Athens, Ohio, a former mental hospital is packed with the ghosts of disgruntled patients.

And in Paulding, Michigan, locals report a mysterious phenomenon called the Paulding Light.

The religious separatist community of Zoar, Ohio, disbanded in the late 1800s—but resident spirits remain, at least according to guides with Lantern Tour of the Ghosts of Zoar, who lead haunted walks through town on Fridays and Saturdays through November 1.

Add some extra chills to an already thrilling zipline experience at ZipZone Canopy Tours near Columbus, Ohio. Freaky Flight Nights run Tuesday through Friday, October 28-31, at ZipZone, located at Camp Mary Orton near Worthington.

There is a cursed locale somewhere near you. So, pull out your costume , dust off your GPS, and grab a bag of fun-size candy bars for the road—it’s time for a haunted Halloween road trip!

Be safe and responsible during Halloween fun and travels.

Worth Pondering…

‘Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world.
—William Shakespeare

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Vintage 1917 Packard Motorhome For Sale

A vintage 1917 Packard Twin Six 25-foot motorhome that could be the oldest motorhome in the United States is currently listed for sale at Hemmings, the world’s largest collector car marketplace.

Vintage 1917 Packard Motorhome For Sale
Vintage 1917 Packard Motorhome For Sale

Presently located in Afton, Oklahoma, this vintage motorhome is in very good running condition and available for the bargain price of $99,995.

The twin-six was built in 1917 for the Pickwick Family of Los Angeles by Earl C. Anthony Shops.

The Pickwick family operated over-the-road buses and later merged with Greyhound.

The motorhome was located in southern California until 1981 when the current owner purchased it. He said it has been stored inside since that time and restoration work has been done locally.

According to the description at Hemmings, the motorhome features include:

Twin Six – 424-cubic-inch engine

Three-speed manual transmission

224-inch wheelbase

7:00×20 tires

Air over hydraulic front suspension

Manual brakes with Air Assist

Vintage 1917 Packard Motorhome For Sale
Vintage 1917 Packard Motorhome For Sale

Rear bedroom with convertible sofas

Mid-bath

Front kitchen with two burner gasoline cooktop

Ice box and sink

Wood cabinets

Price: $99,995

Worth Pondering…

Before there were interstates, when everyone drove the old two-lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers’ fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing one line of a four-line couplet—and the obligatory fifth sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

Here is one of the actual signs:

No matter the price

No matter how new

The best safety device

In the car is you

BURMA SHAVE

Did this bring back any old memories?

If not, you’re merely a child.

If they do—then you’re old as dirt—LIKE ME!

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Cumberland Island: From Camping to the Carnegies

Explore Georgia’s Cumberland Island to witness the beauty of natural wilderness and historical intrigue. A trip to Cumberland Island can satisfy your mind’s curiosity with its historical secrets or relax it with tranquil scenery.

Dungeness Ruins has a very long history
Dungeness Ruins has a very long history to tell. The name came originally from the very first property, which was a hunting lodge named Dungeness, in the area, owned by James Oglethorpe in 1736. In 1803, it was replaced by a mansion built by Nathaniel Greene, which was later on used as a headquarters by the British. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cumberland is one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands along the Georgia coast. The National Park Service protects almost 36,000 acres of the island, including miles of unspoiled beaches.

The most intriguing part about Cumberland is its history. Once a working plantation, followed by a winter retreat for the wealthy Carnegie family, Cumberland Island is now home to the descendants of slaves and aristocrats, as well as approximately 150 feral horses with bloodlines that trace to the royal stables of the King of Arabia. The stories of the people weave a captivating tale of wealth, poverty, privilege, and sacrifice.

Visit Cumberland Island for the day, camp overnight, or be a guest at the upscale Greyfield Inn, made famous by John F. Kennedy Jr.’s wedding. Day visitors and campers reach the island by taking the Cumberland Island Ferry from the Cumberland Island Visitors Center in St. Marys, Georgia, to the Sea Camp Dock. Guests of the Greyfield Inn take the hotel’s private ferry, the Lucy Ferguson. The boat ride itself is wonderful way to see Cumberland’s beauty from the water.

The best way to unlock Cumberland’s secrets, whether historical or natural, is with a guide. You can take a Jeep tour as part of your stay at the Greyfield Inn, or choose the park ranger service, which offers walking or motorized tours that start at the Sea Camp Dock, or cell phone tours that originate at the Dungeness Docks. It’s best to reserve the motorized tour when you book the ferry. You’ll cover several hundred years of history in just a few hours, all while traveling the interior of one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the U.S.

feral horses
Visitors are reminded these are feral horses and should be treated as wild animals. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To truly explore the island further, you need a bike and a good pair of walking shoes. Guests at the Greyfield Inn have bikes at their disposal as part of their rooms. Otherwise, bikes are available for rent at the Sea Camp Dock. Bike rentals are first-come, first-served, though, so do this before anything else, including the tour.

A favorite destination is the Dungeness Ruins, the remains of Lucy Carnegie’s island mansion. Lucy, whose husband Thomas was the brother and business partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, once owned 90 percent of Cumberland Island and built grand homes for her children, including Greyfield.

Besides the mansion, be sure to explore the out buildings. The laundry is fascinating, not only because of the cleaning machines on display, but the innovations in cooling. It must have been sweltering hot to wash clothes in the summer, yet the height of the ceiling and fans that pulled out the hot air helped keep the building relatively cool. Dungeness is also a favorite spot for the island’s horses, so bring a camera!

A visit to Cumberland Island takes some preparation because visitors are limited and there are no concessions on the island. Start your planning and make reservations through the Cumberland Island National Seashore website (SEE link below). The site offers tips for a great visit and information on tours and activities.

We walked the raised boardwalk over the dunes to the wide, secluded beach
We walked the raised boardwalk over the dunes to the wide, secluded beach, alive with crabs and shorebirds. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exploring the island requires considerable walking, and the island is not stroller friendly, so pack the little ones, leave them home, or wait a few years until they can get around on their own. That said, the Junior Ranger program is a wonderful way for kids 5-12 (and kids at heart) to learn about the island. It’s free, as are the Civil War trading cards available at the Sea Camp Ranger Station.

Details

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Cumberland Island National Seashore, on the Georgia coast, includes one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world. The park is also home to one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the United States, one of the largest wilderness areas in a National Seashore on the east coast, and a herd of feral, free-ranging horses.

Getting to the Island: Accessible by ferry boat from Visitor Center dock in St. Marys. Ferry is walk-on, passenger-only. All trips are round-trip. To make ferry reservation, 912-882-4335 or toll free, 800-860-6787 .

ferry boat returns from Cumberland Island to the dock in St. Marys
It’s the end of a wonderful day as our ferry boat returns from Cumberland Island to the dock in St. Marys. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Reservations are required for both the ferry and camping. Visitors must check in 30 minutes before departure at the Cumberland Island Visitor Center or the reservation will be canceled.

Ferry Fees: $20; Senior, $18; Children under 12 years, $14

Entrance Fees: $4/person (valid for 7 days) or Golden Age/Golden Access and America the Beautiful–National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass

Mailing Address: 101 Wheeler Street, St. Marys, GA 31558

Phone: (912) 882-4336

Website: www.nps.gov/cuis

Worth Pondering…

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through

Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

Georgia, Georgia, a song of you

Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines

—Georgia On My Mind, lyrics by Stuart Gorrell, written by Hoagy Carmichael (1930), recorded by Ray Charles (1960), official state song of the State of Georgia (1979)

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Goshen: The Maple City

Goshen is located in the heart of Amish Country.

A Goshen landmark, the Elkhart County Courthouse is a beautiful structure in the historic downtown Goshen. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A Goshen landmark, the Elkhart County Courthouse is a beautiful structure in the historic downtown Goshen. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Almost all roads lead to this varied collection of beautifully restored turn-of-the-century buildings and tidy Victorian homes. Goshen is also laced with eclectic shops, specialty boutiques, and cozy cafés set throughout the historic downtown.

In 1983, the downtown Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Goshen’s downtown is one of the coolest around—hands down. Few towns this size (about 30,000 residents) can boast about a thriving downtown cultural arts scene, beautiful historic architecture, and intriguing places to eat and shop.

Admire the classic courthouse in the heart of town. Peek into the bunker-like police booth on the Corner of Main and Lincoln dating back to the days when John Dillinger was the bane of bankers.

Admire the artistry and talk with nationally known quilters, potters and sculptors at the Old Bag Factory.

Many residential streets are lined with stately maple trees, giving Goshen the nickname, The Maple City.

Just outside of town, walking and biking paths fan out along the Maple City Greenway and the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.

The Old Bag Factory

Since 1984, the century-old bag factory has provided a strong foundation for today's artists and shopkeepers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Since 1984, this century-old bag factory has provided a strong foundation for today’s artists and shopkeepers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Built in 1896 the Old Bag Factory is home to producing artists, antiques, specialty shops, and cafes. The historic character of the complex provides a unique and charming setting for the specialty shops it houses.

In June 1896, J.J. Burns, an Ohio native opened the Cosmo Buttermilk Soap Company in Goshen. Inside, workers manufactured laundry soap, fine bathing soap, and toilet paper.

In 1910, the plant was renovated and purchased by The Chicago-Detroit Bag Company. A 1924 merger put the building under the control of the Chase Bag Factory, and the factory became part of a colossal enterprise. The range of bags extended from waterproof burlap sacks to the fine, sheer paper used in Hershey’s Kiss wrappers.

The term “bagology” was coined during this period, meaning “to elevate the production of bags to the level of science.” However, after many years of triumph and success, the churning wheels of baglogical science caused the building to become outdated; the Bag Factory closed its doors in 1982, after a long, slow decline.

Address: 1100 N. Chicago Avenue, Goshen, IN 46528

Phone: (574) 534-2502

Website: oldbagfactory.com

Olympia Candy Kitchen

The Olympia Candy Kitchen, “the sweetest little place in town,” has been welcoming visitors for almost a century in its unchanged location in downtown Goshen. Its tradition began in 1912 when Greek immigrant Nicholas Paflas began making his own hand-dipped chocolates and running the soda fountain.

From its humble beginning, the Olympia Candy Kitchen has remained a family business, passed down from generation to generation. And it still welcomes visitors with its old-world charm.

From the red and white awning to the original soda fountain complete with high swivel stools, Olympia Candy Kitchen is reminiscent of the days when the world revolved a little slower. Virtually unchanged for 75 years—since its conversion into a diner and candy shop—the dark polished wooden booths, soda fountain, and candy counter will take you back to an earlier time.

The downtown Historic District is an intriguing places to eat and shop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The downtown Historic District is an intriguing places to eat and shop. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The candy counter is what made Olympia famous. Passing in and out of the diner, it is an attraction that is hard to walk by without at least a small purchase. It features seasonal selections, such as solid chocolate hearts at Valentine’s Day and Peanut Butter Eggs at Easter, as well as a large supply of candy that is sold throughout the year.

Among the most popular of the delicious confections and hand-dipped candies are the Turtles, which are made with their own home-made caramel, and Chocolate-Covered Cherries, so popular that they were served at the Inaugural Balls of both President Reagan and President Bush.

Address: 136 N. Main Street, Goshen, IN 46526

Phone: (574) 533-5040

Website: olympiacandykitchen.com

Please Note: This is Part 7 of a 7-Part series on Amish Country

Worth Pondering…

Our children are the only treasures we can take to heaven.
A sweater is a garment worn by a child when his mother feels chilly.
Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes”
If parents don’t train their children, the children will train the parents.
Good character like good soup is usually homemade.

—Amish quotes on Family

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Nappanee: Embrace the Pace

Nappanee’s many shops, beautifully restored murals, and storied architecture can be enjoyed with a leisurely stroll.

The Nappanee water tower reflects the town's heritage. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Nappanee water tower reflects the town’s heritage. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A window to another world, the quiet rhythms of Amish life—more than 3,500 Old Order Amish make their homes here—are revealed along back roads dotted with pristine white farmhouses, grazing cattle, and the eclectic Countryside Shoppes, a collection of rural retailers offering everything from quilts to cabinetry.

The town’s colorful history is preserved at the Nappanee Center. It’s packed with fascinating memorabilia and includes a tribute to the area’s celebrated cartoonists and generations of furniture crafters.

Prior to 1800 Nappanee was home to the Miami and Pottawatomi Indians. In 1830, the first white settlers came to the area and by 1870 there were seven farms and a population of forty providing the nucleus of a growing community.

The major catalyst for growth came with the B&O Railroad in 1874. Three pioneer farmers gave five acres to the Railroad for $1 to build a station along its new route to Chicago. This access to a major transportation route brought more settlers to the town that B&O dubbed “Nappanee.”

The families who populated the area were deeply religious and conservative, founding their community on the values of hard work and integrity.

Acclaimed as Indiana's best meal, the family style Thresher's dinner can be enjoyed at Amish Acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Acclaimed as Indiana’s best meal, the family style Thresher’s dinner can be enjoyed at Amish Acres. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The B&O has now become CSX, but Nappanee has some ways stayed the Nappanee of the 1880s. The city remains surrounded by many farm families of the Anabaptist religious sects, among them the Amish, Mennonite, and German Baptist.

Many surrounding farms have no electricity, natural gas or telephone lines connecting them to the outside world and horse-drawn buggies the main source of travel. These reminders of the past co-exist side-by-side with a modern American city, boasting a thriving light manufacturing industry focused on recreational vehicles and modular homes, as well as craftsmen who mix old and new in producing fine furniture and other woodwork.

Currently, Nappanee is home to a diverse population of approximately 7,070.

Amish Acres

Experience the restoration of the Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns farmstead, the only Amish farm listed in The National Register of Historic Places. Widow Barbara Stahly and her five sons migrated from Germany to the southwest corner of Elkhart County, in 1839, making them, according to University of Chicago historian James Landing, likely the first Amish settlers in Indiana.

Following a year of meticulous restoration Amish Acres opened to the public in 1970. Enjoy the Award Winning Family Style Threshers Dinner served at your table under the hand-hewn timbers of the Century-Old Restaurant Barn.

Many handmade crafts and locally produced products are featured in Amish Acres’ unique shops. In addition you will find a bakery full of old fashioned breads and cakes, a meat and cheese shop with souse, headcheese, and buffalo meat, and a candy shop as sweet as it gets along with an antique marble soda fountain.

An Amish Acres tradition, Plain and Fancy, now in its 27th season, fills the Round Barn Theatre stage each April through October. This gentle but spirited musical comedy brought the first national attention to the quaint customs, stern morals, and picturesque dress of the Amish. Over 3,000 shows have been performed, and over 300,000 patrons have marveled at Amish Acres nationally recruited cast.

Enjoy a factory tour and watch quality Class A motorhomes come off the assembly line at Newmar Corp. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Enjoy a factory tour and watch quality Class A motorhomes come off the assembly line at Newmar Corp. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Location: Along US 6, 1 mile west of downtown Nappanee

Address: 1600 West Market Street, Nappanee, IN 46550

Phone: (574) 773-4188 or (800) 800-4942 (toll free)

Website: amishacres.com

Please Note: This is Part 6 of a 7-Part series on Amish Country

Worth Pondering…

Don’t hurry, don’t worry, do your best, leave the rest. Bibles that are coming apart usually belong to people who are not. It may be difficult to wait on the Lord, but it is worse to wish you had” Don’t pray when it rains, if you don’t pray when the sun shines. Be like the teakettle; when it’s up to its neck in hot water, it sings. You can tell when you’re on the right track. It’s usually uphill.

—Amish quotes on Faith

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A Little Amish History

The Amish people in America are an old religious sect, direct descendants of the Anabaptists of sixteenth-century Europe who challenged the reforms of Martin Luther and others during the Protestant Reformation.

Amish buggy © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Amish buggy © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

They rejected infant baptism in favor of baptism (or re-baptism) as believing adults.

They also taught separation of church and state, something unheard of in the 16th century.

The Anabaptists were regarded as a threat to both Roman Catholic and Protestant establishments.

In the years that followed, Anabaptists leaders were persecuted and tortured for their faith. In spite of persecution, the Anabaptist movement spread through central and western Europe.

In Holland, a Roman Catholic priest named Menno Simons (1496-1561) left the Church to become one of those persecuted for his Anabaptist beliefs. He led a group that fled to Switzerland and other remote areas of Europe to escape religious persecution.

Simons’ followers became known as Mennists, and later Mennonites.

Nearly 150 years later, during the late 1600s, dissension arose among the Mennonites regarding matters of faith and practice.

In 1693, Jakob Ammann, a young bishop in the church, broke away from the Mennonites to follow his own, more stringent, beliefs.

See and hear the Amish-Mennonite story  at Menno-Hof in Shipshewana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
See and hear the Amish-Mennonite story at Menno-Hof in Shipshewana. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ammann’s group valued commitments to family and community and sought to be humble in both behavior and appearance. They believed their group should separate from the outside world. Ammann’s followers became known as Amish.

In 1727 the first Amish immigrants left Switzerland to come to America and settled near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Indiana, with the third largest number of Amish people, was settled in 1842.

The Amish are a kind and welcoming people, but you shouldn’t photograph—or ask to photograph—them as it is against their religious beliefs.

Please Note: This is Part 3 of a 7-Part series on Amish Country

Worth Pondering…

The Amish are islands of sanity in a whirlpool of change.
—Nancy Sleeth, Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

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RV to Eastern Canada: 3 Great Destinations

From sea to sea, Canada is a land filled with fascinating places and amazing destinations for the RV traveler.

But, where to travel? Here are three great RV destinations in Canada.

Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick)

Hopewell Rocks. Many visitors make plans to stay for the whole day. They walk the ocean floor, then stay to watch the shift between low and high tides. It’s fun to see how quickly the tide comes in, or conversely goes out. Make sure to check the tide schedules before you go
Hopewell Rocks. Many visitors make plans to stay for the whole day. They walk the ocean floor, then stay to watch the shift between low and high tides. It’s fun to see how quickly the tide comes in, or conversely goes out. Make sure to check the tide schedules before you go. (Source: roadstories.ca)

A world-famous natural wonder, the Bay of Fundy tides are the highest tides in the world—in some areas of the bay, tides reach more than 50 feet.

Best explored at Hopewell Rocks, where you can walk around the famous “flowerpot rocks” at low tide then watch them slowly disappear. At high tide, enormous rock formations that once towered over you are now barely peeking out above the surface.

The time span between low and high tide is 6 hours and 13 minutes, meaning you can experience both in one day. Many visitors make plans to stay for the whole day. They walk the ocean floor, then stay to watch the shift between low and high tides. It’s fun to see how quickly the tide comes in, or conversely goes out. Make sure to check the tide schedules before you go.

And that’s not all—there are numerous other ways to experience the wonder of Fundy. Bike along the Fundy Trail, rappel down craggy cliffs, set up camp at Fundy National Park, head out to sea on a whale-watching excursion, or experience a billion years of Earth’s history at Stonehammer Geopark.

Ottawa (Ontario)

Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill
Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill (Source: cvc.com)

The centerpiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, Parliament Hill is the political and cultural heart of the city. The Parliament Buildings sit atop the Hill, the gorgeous Gothic-style structures overlooking the Ottawa River. Free guided tours are available daily, including a chance to head up to the Peace Tower for an incredible view of the city.

The Rideau Canal has become a defining landmark in Ottawa. The 126-mile canal, which travels south to Lake Ontario, first opened in 1832. Its 47 locks and interconnectedness with lakes and rivers is a true engineering marvel, leading to its designation as a National Historic Site of Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A city landmark, the Chateau Laurier is one of Canada’s grand railway hotels. Having retained much of its glory; it features the turrets and other architectural elements of a French château, a rich, Victorian interior, yet offers modern amenities.

Other local attractions include Rideau Hall, home to the Governor General of Canada; the National Gallery of Canada; and Canadian Museum of History. Located 50 miles south of Ottawa, Upper Canada Village depicts life in a rural English Canadian setting during the year 1866.

Halifax (Nova Scotia)

Enjoy a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s beautifully rugged South Shore to the picturesque and quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Watch the waves as they crash on the rocks in front of the world’s most photographed lighthouse.
Enjoy a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s beautifully rugged South Shore to the picturesque and quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Watch the waves as they crash on the rocks in front of the world’s most photographed lighthouse. (Source: shoretrips.com)

Walk the ocean’s edge along the historic Halifax waterfront. Start at Pier 21—the gateway into Canada for one million immigrants—and then explore eclectic shops, some of the city’s best restaurants, and ships including the last of the WWII convoy escort corvettes.

Discover the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in North America, and exhibits at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic including displays on the city’s link to the Titanic disaster.

End at the timber-frame and stone warehouses of Historic Properties—originally built to safeguard booty captured by legalized pirates called privateers.  Historic Properties is the first restoration project of its kind in Canada featuring three city blocks of Canada’s oldest surviving group of waterfront warehouses and some of North America’s finest Victorian-Italianate façades dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s. Visitors can experience one-of-a-kind specialty shops, great restaurants, unique events, and boardwalk along one of the world’s largest natural harbors.

Other local attractions include the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, a large, stone early 19th-century British fortification located atop Citadel Hill; Halifax Public Gardens, a formal Victorian garden. Enjoy a scenic drive along Nova Scotia’s beautifully rugged South Shore to the picturesque and quaint fishing village of Peggy’s Cove. Watch the waves as they crash on the rocks in front of the world’s most photographed lighthouse.

Worth Pondering…

Canada is a place of infinite promise. We like the people, and if one ever had to emigrate, this would be the destination, not the U.S.A. The hills, lakes and forests make it a place of peace and repose of the mind, such as one never finds in the U.S.A.
—John Maynard Keynes

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Best National Parks To Avoid the Crowds

From snow-capped glacial peaks to meandering coastal shorelines and from white sand deserts to steep gorges and canyons, some of America’s most awe-inspiring natural attractions are found within its extensive national park system.

A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive along the western side of the Waterpocket Fold into the park’s interior. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive along the western side of the Waterpocket Fold into the park’s interior. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most people know about the popular and most-visited parks including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Zion.

Coping with crowds at national parks can get tiresome, especially during the peak summer travel season. America is jam packed with national parks but the problem is that the most popular are just that—popular.

If you want to escape from the herd, or just take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the big name attractions, the US has numerous other, lesser-known parks each with their own unique attractions. And as an added bonus they’re usually much less crowded in the peak travel seasons making the visit more relaxing and enjoyable.

Add an extra element of exploration to your summer travel plans by including a more remote or lesser known national park in your RV travel plans.

Following are two parks that fall into that category.

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park is filled with geological wonders that stagger the imagination.

Somewhat remote, and not as well known as the other parks, Capitol Reef is located on the northern edge of the Grand Circle Tour.

The Navajo call the area the “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow”, an accurate depiction of the many hues of the landscape of Capitol Reef. The “capitol” comes from the white domes of Navajo sandstone that resembles the nation’s capitol building, and the “reef” comes from the rocky cliffs that are a barrier to travel, like coral reefs.

On Cumberland Island, Dungeness burned nearly to the ground in 1959 from a fire suspected as arson, but its ruins are a must-see for visitors. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
On Cumberland Island, Dungeness burned nearly to the ground in 1959 from a fire suspected as arson, but its ruins are a must-see for visitors. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s Utah’s second-largest national park, with slot canyons, arches, cliffs, and 31 miles of well-marked trails—yet only one-fifth the number of Zion’s visitors. Throw in ancient petroglyphs, a river running through a lush valley of 2,000 apple trees, crazy geology like the 100-mile-long natural upheaval in the earth’s crust known as the Waterpocket Fold, and the knockout 8-mile Scenic Drive.

Camping is available at Fruita Campground where you can choose one of the 71 shaded sites ($10/night). All sites are first come, first serve.

2013 visitor count: 663,670

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore, on the Georgia coast, includes one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world.

The park is also home to one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the United States, one of the largest wilderness areas in a National Seashore on the east coast, and a herd of feral, free-ranging horses.

Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical wildlife habitat, and nesting areas, as well as numerous plant and animal communities.

Most visitors come to Cumberland for the natural glories, serenity, and fascinating history.

Cumberland Island’s past is a tantalizing story of the Timucuan Indians, the French, the Spanish, pirates, wars, steel magnates, and cotton plantations. Her present is an extraordinary portrait of natural beauty, so much so that the Travel Channel named her “America’s Most Beautiful Wilderness Beach.”

The island is accessible by passenger ferry from Visitor Center dock in the historic community of St. Marys, Georgia. Ferry is walk-on, passenger-only. All trips are round-trip. Ferry does not transport pets, bikes, kayaks or cars.

2013 visitor count: 51,435

Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, Virginia

The surrender site at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, the McLean House, a three-story structure is furnished with mid-nineteenth century furnishings. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The surrender site at Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, the McLean House, a three-story structure is furnished with mid-nineteenth century furnishings. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Walk the old country lanes where Robert E. Lee, Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses Grant, General-in-Chief of all United States forces, on April 9, 1865.

Imagine the events that signaled the end of the Southern States’ attempt to create a separate nation. You cannot stand there and not be moved.

The National Park encompasses approximately 1,700 acres of rolling hills in rural central Virginia. The site includes the McLean home (surrender site) and the village of Appomattox Court House, the former county seat for Appomattox County. The site also has the home and burial place of Joel Sweeney—the popularizer of the modern five string banjo. There are twenty seven original 19th century structures on the site.

The park is located 2 miles northeast of the town of Appomattox on SR 24.

2013 visitor count: 317,660

Worth Pondering…

The nation behaves well when it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Discover the Golden Isles: Little St. Simons Island & Historic Brunswick

Pristine stretches of marshland, punctuated by small islands known as hammocks, define the breathtaking landscape. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Pristine stretches of marshland, punctuated by small islands known as hammocks, define the breathtaking landscape. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Four beautiful isles—St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Jekyll, and Sea—and a nearby coastal town are known collectively as Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia.

Little St. Simons Island

Little St. Simons Island (though not so little at 10,000 acres) lies only a 15-minute boat ride from its bigger, better-known sister, St. Simons Island.

In terms of development, however, the two islands couldn’t be further apart.

Whereas St. Simons offers residents and the visiting public a variety of condominiums, shopping centers, golf courses, and mini-mansions, Little St. Simons is one of the least developed of Georgia’s barrier islands—a privately owned sanctuary devoted to preserving and protecting its ample wildlife.

Accessible only by boat from Hampton River Marina on St. Simons Island’s north end, Little St. Simons Island is a privately owned barrier island resort offering a limited number of guests the rare opportunity to experience the enchantment and solitude of the isolated beaches and marshlands that bound its10,000 acres of pristine woodlands.

Known for its privacy, The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island features six charming cottages, several of which date back to the early 1900s, that can host a total of 32 guests at one time.

An ideal destination for family reunions and small gatherings, Little St. Simons Island offers guest activities ranging from guided nature walks through the ancient maritime forest (led by a staff naturalist) to canoeing, kayaking, fishing, shell collecting, bicycling, and birding.

Guests may also choose to pass the day relaxing on the porch or enjoying the tranquility of the island’s seven-mile, undeveloped beach.

Year round warm weather in the Golden Isles allows visitors to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, biking, golfing, or relaxing on the beach. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Year round warm weather in the Golden Isles allows visitors to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, biking, golfing, or relaxing on the beach. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Little St. Simons Island also provides day trips which include round-trip private vessel transportation, a guided island tour led by an experienced naturalist, a hearty lunch of low country specialties, and an afternoon on seven miles of private beach.

Historic Brunswick

The mainland, port city of Brunswick is named for Braunschweig, Germany, the ancestral home of King George II, grantor of Georgia’s original land charter.

The streets and squares of this quiet port city were laid out in a formal grid similar to Savannah’s and still bear their colonial names—Newcastle, Norwich, Prince, and Gloucester—giving Brunswick a decidedly English flavor.

The unmistakable flavor of the south, too, can be sampled here, home of the original Brunswick Stew.

Docked at the wharf, the array of shrimp boats are ready to trawl the local waters—evidence of the area’s rich seafood industry. Watch the ocean vessels come into port, see the shrimpers unload at the docks along Bay Street, and then sample the catch of the day at one of the fine restaurants.

Historic Downtown Brunswick, also known as the Old Town Brunswick, is enjoying a renaissance, with the ongoing renovation and restoration of historic buildings and public squares. Old Town Brunswick is centered at the intersection of Newcastle and Gloucester Streets, the traditional commercial corridors of the city.

Newcastle Street is anchored on the south end by Old City Hall (1888) with its distinctive clock tower.

At the north end of Newcastle Street is the Historic Ritz Theatre. Built in 1898 as the Grand Opera House, the Ritz Theatre is Brunswick’s center for quality exhibits and performances by local, regional, national, and international artists.

Homes in Old Town reflect a variety of styles dating from 1819, including Queen Anne, Jacobean, Eastlake, Mansard, Gothic, and Italianate architecture. The Brunswick Landmarks Foundation works to educate the public and protect and enhance the special historic character and charm of Old Town.

The downtown district features a growing mix of antique shops, specialty shops, art galleries, theaters, and restaurants.

The Sidney Lanier Bridge, Georgia’s tallest cable-stayed suspension bridge  provides easy access to the Golden Isles from Interstate 95 (Exit 29). This beautiful structure is 7,780 feet long and 486 feet tall.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Sidney Lanier Bridge, Georgia’s tallest cable-stayed suspension bridge provides easy access to the Golden Isles from Interstate 95 (Exit 29). This beautiful structure is 7,780 feet long and 486 feet tall. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With ideal weather conditions throughout the year, Brunswick also supports an active and healthy outdoor life.

The beautiful natural scenic landscape invites jogging and walking, from the challenging Sidney Lanier Bridge to the Old Town Brunswick National Historic District and from Mary Ross Waterfront Park to the Howard Coffin Park.

By day, you can try your hand at shrimpin’ aboard the Lady Jane, the only shrimp vessel on the entire east coast that has been certified by the USCG to carry 49 passengers offshore, or fish with any of Brunswick’s local charters.

By night, catch a show at the historic Ritz Theatre or enjoy a unique dinner experience on the Emerald Princess II casino cruise ship sailing seven days a week from Gisco Point near the entrance of Jekyll Island.

Please Note: This is Part 4 of a 5-part series on Brunswick and the Golden Isles of Georgia

Part 1: Discover the Golden Isles: Rich in History & Beauty

Part 2: Discover the Golden Isles: St. Simons & Sea Island

Part 3: Discover the Golden Isles: Jekyll Island

Part 5: RV Camping in Brunswick and the Golden Isles

Worth Pondering…

The Marshes of Glynn

The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.

And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea

Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood-tide must be:

Look how the grace of the sea doth go

About and about through the intricate channels that flow

Here and there,

Everywhere.

—Sidney Lanier (1842–1881)

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