Easily spooked (22)

(Scary house in Coudersport, PA.)

It was rainy and chilly here this morning.  Dark and cloudy, too.  Not the kind of day you want to go wandering around outside.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

There was a break in the rain and I thought I’d make like the goddess Nike and Just Do It, but then the skies really opened up and it poured before I could get out there.  That was a blessing.  Imagine if it had done that while I was wandering off towards the woods or something.

(Heavy rain.)

The thing is, I’m not feeling well at all today.  The cold symptoms have gotten worse, adding body aches and pains on top of the sore throat and the so-congested-it-feels-like-it-will-explode head.  There is no fever so I’ll stick with the cold diagnosis for now.  The not-feeling-well cherry on top is a terrible pain that I am pretty sure is due to eating a handful of cashews coated with honey and sesame seeds.  You see, I shouldn’t be eating those cashews.  I’ve experienced this pain before and it always coincides with the eating of the cashews.  Did I learn my lesson?  Hopefully so, this time around.

I had to have a conversation with myself about commitments and such.  The conversation didn’t last long.  I resigned myself to going out.  And the wind did me a favor by blowing away some of the cloud cover for a little while, allowing the sun to shine through.  I bundled up and headed out only to find myself frightened by something as soon as I opened the door.

(Scary boots.)

Yep, hip boots.  Or waders.  When I opened the door and saw the feet part of the boots, I thought someone was lying on the sidewalk.  Sort of.  It was quick, just enough to startle me before the boots registered with my brain as being 1) M’s boots, and 2) empty of any body.

Having determined that I was in fact okay and not suffering from a heart attack or other lingering effects from the scare, I slowly made my way out to the pond via the side of the yard where the standing stone stands.

Something amazing happened soon after:

My head didn’t clear but the skies did.  For a little while.  Long enough for me to walk around for about 40 minutes or so, enjoying the invigorating feel of the gusty wind.  There were still some lighter clouds rolling in and out, but the dark and gloomy variety moved east to haunt someone else.

I met a few other creatures along the way.

I think that is an American goldfinch wearing his winter plumage.  (If I’m wrong, please correct me.  I’m trying to learn what’s what and who’s who out there.)  Look how nicely he stands out against that lovely blue sky.

I also met a doe right here on the path going into the woods but we startled each other and she bounded off before I could even think about the camera.  If you have a good imagination, you should be able to see her just a few feet away right in the middle of the path.

The little gal or guy above accompanied me through the meadow, leading the way.  Moth or butterfly?  I’m not sure.  The body reminds me of a moth but the antennae look like those of a butterfly.

(In the clover.)

It was a good walk.  I came back with wet feet and a vastly improved mood.  Unfortunately, the other problems didn’t go away so now I think I’ll have a cuppa hot tea and then succumb to the nap that has been calling.


Coudersport

(Potter County Courthouse in Coudersport.)

After unpacking our stuff and spending a little time getting semi-caught up with each other, we headed out to one of the nearby towns for dinner.  Our first stop was a restaurant/bar in Austin.  It had gotten a good review on TripAdvisor.  We walked in, stayed about 30 seconds, and walked back out again.  The place looked dirty, had a bad smell to it, and we all had a feeling the food was not going to be good.  It’s possible we were wrong in that assumption which is why I am not naming the restaurant.  It seems unfair to do a review without having tasted any of the food.

We decided Austin was not the place to have dinner that night so we went in the opposite direction, to Coudersport.  It was a good decision.

Coudersport, Pennsylvania  (population 2650, 12.3 miles of streets)  was settled in 1807.  It is located in the Allegheny highlands by the Allegheny River and is surrounded by some lovely hills and plateaus.  “The Grand Army of the Republic Highway” (aka PA Route 6, mentioned in yesterday’s post, but doesn’t “The Grand Army of the Republic Highway” sound more impressive?) runs east-west through the center of town.  One of the most noticeable things to us on the drive through town the first time was an unusually large, and apparently vacant, building located on PA Route 6.  I did not get any pictures of it.  It looked almost brand spanking new.  We found out later that it was built by Adelphia Cable.  The company was, at one time, headquartered in Coudersport and was one of the area’s biggest employers (and the 5th largest cable company in the U.S.) until they went bankrupt in 2002.  If you happen to have 3-4 million dollars laying around, the building is for sale.

Coudersport is the county seat of Potter County.  The county courthouse, pictured above, is located in Coudersport.  Work on it was begun in 1851 and completed in 1853.  The roof was remodeled in 1888 and there is a sign “commemorating” that near the top of the building.  I put the word commemorating in quotes because I read there was some controversy regarding the squandering of tax money to remodel what was considered a fairly new building.  The building is done in the Greek Revival style with a few Victorian elements mingled in.

At the top of the courthouse is Lady Justice.  I’m not sure when she was added.  Perhaps with the remodel of the roof.

The late evening shots of the courthouse are dreadful.  The camera and I are still learning about each other.

We had dinner at Olga’s Gallery & Cafe.  It was an excellent choice.  Everyone was friendly, the service was great, and the food was fresh and tasty.  M and I split a sandwich and a salad.  Both were yummy.

The inside of Olga’s is beautiful with lovely woodwork and lighting.  The gallery portion, both upstairs and downstairs, is filled with some amazing artwork by Olga.  L and I had a look around before our dinner arrived and we both ended up buying some cute winter hats.

(Looking up at Olga’s.)

We went back to the cabin after dinner and spent an hour or two sitting on the deck under the light of the almost-full moon talking and enjoying the evening.

Next up in the road trip series:  The Austin Dam


A Cabin in the Woods

Around noon on Friday M and I left the Bogs, setting out for Coudersport in Potter County, Pennsylvania (“God’s Country” as the welcome signs put it).  We have friends who live in Scranton, Pennsylvana and we had been looking for a half-way point to meet them and spend a weekend together.  The area around the towns of Coudersport and Austin fit the bill perfectly.  It was a four hour drive for them and a four hour drive for us.

Our drive took us north on Pennsylvania State Route 66 through small towns and the Allegheny National Forest, to Route 6.  I was surprised by how dark some of the forest looks, even on a sunny day.  The trees were so thick in spots that it was difficult to see into the woods.  Friday did happen to be a sunny day, but I didn’t take many photos on the drive that day.  I was busy looking at and admiring the scenery, thinking we might take our time on the way home on Sunday and I’d get some photos then.  I had no idea we’d be driving back through torrential rain.

PA Route 6 has a big campaign going with frequent mile markers exhorting you to “Do 6.”  We were headed east on Friday.  The pictures along routes 66 and 6 I’m posting were taken yesterday going west towards Ohio.

Please excuse the poor quality of the “Do 6” sign (and other photos taken during the storms).  The weather didn’t make it easy to capture some of the signs and scenery on our way home.

The portion of PA Route 6 we saw lives up to the advertising.  The towns were quaint and interesting.  M and I would like to go back and take some walks through some of the small towns we went through.  There are some beautiful buildings and houses along the way.

PA Route 6 is also an Artisan Trail that includes a variety of shops, boutiques, and galleries with local art, along with fairs and festivals throughout the year.

Our friends traveled the eastern portion of PA Route 6 and said they found it as interesting and scenic as the western portion we traveled.  It might be fun to someday Do 6, all the way.

(PA Route 6 in Coudersport, Pennsylvana, Sunday morning.)

Having arrived in Coudersport around 4pm in the afternoon, we looked for Sweden Valley Cabins where we were to meet our friends and the guy with the key and directions to the cabin.  MapQuest, as usual, was about 99% correct.  It was, as usual, the last portion that was off.  In this case it involved getting the mileage wrong instructing us to go 0.3 of a mile on East 2nd Street when we needed go about 3 miles.  It’s amazing what a difference the placement of a decimal point can make.

A month or two ago M did some research online, finding and booking the cabin for us.  The name of the cabin is  Blue Skies Lodge.  It wasn’t difficult to get to this time of year but you would need a 4-wheel drive vehicle during the winter months.  The dirt and gravel road leading up to the cabin would be impossible for our car with snow and/or ice on the ground.

The cabin is, as described, “nestled on a hilltop” and relatively secluded.  There are a few other cabins in the vicinity but nothing up close.

It’s a beautiful cabin in a beautiful part of the country.  As I mentioned yesterday, there are none of the modern technological services we tend to take for granted (no cell phone coverage, no television reception, no internet connection) and there is no air conditioning, something else I take for granted and wish we had had since it was such a hot and humid weekend.

The “outhouse” pictured above is mostly decorative (I think it covers the well).  It is full-sized but sitting there in between two big trees makes it look smaller.  We did have running water and flush toilets inside.

The cabin does, in fact, have many modern conveniences, including a lovely kitchen downstairs and a bar area upstairs.  There are three bedrooms and two full bathrooms.

(Downstairs, near the kitchen area.)

It also has bears.  Lots and lots of bears decorating pretty much every area of the cabin (see the bear climbing the wall to the right in the above photo?).  It’s cute.  It should be noted that the woods outside contain bears too, but they are not the decorative kind.  M saw a huge black bear coming towards the cabin on Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) he scared it off before I could grab the camera.

I would imagine that the fans throughout the cabin normally keep things pretty cool inside.  We just happened to pick an unusually hot weekend for our stay.

The woods around the cabin are lush, green, and thick with ferns.  A walk through the woods and up a small hill takes you to a large meadow, some of it mowed and some of it filled with wildflowers.  We must have missed a lot of the wildflowers in bloom.  There were a few daisies and morning glories blooming, with the goldenrod starting to dominate.

The meadow would be a great area for stargazing at night.  The full moon on Friday night and the clouds on Saturday night made it difficult for us to see anything during our visit.

There are great views of the hills/mountains from the meadow.  There are also a number of mowed paths that take you through the meadow and into some of the surrounding woods.

I would like to go back sometime in the fall and explore some more.  The fall foliage is probably stunning.

We took a few early morning walks during our stay.  J, one of our friends, got some great photos of the mist in the meadow (I was not up and out early enough for it) and a young buck coming towards him on one of the trails.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more about our trip.  I need to make myself useful for a little while and get caught up on some of the laundry and gardening.

(A light in the window.)