November 4, 2014

Defy Gravity: Descend Gravity Hill Road in New Paris, PA





 Sometimes (no, most of the time) I arrive at places when I’m unprepared. Sometimes it’s my mental condition, sometimes it’s that I arrive at a place unexpectedly.

This happened on October 28, 2014. The latter, that is—arriving at a place unexpectedly.  I had no water in the car (I usually do) and no exercise ball (I usually don’t). Nonetheless, my husband Monte and I had an extraordinary experience on Gravity Hill Road in New Paris (Bedford County), Pennsylvania.

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The publicity flier I picked up at the motel we stayed at asked Have you ever wanted to defy gravity? Being married to a former physicist this sounded like an unmanageable challenge. I showed the flier to Monte, telling him it might be interesting to take a detour deep into the Bedford County mountains en route home. After all, it was a delightful Indian summer day with miles of (more…)

February 21, 2013

Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania


Cucumber Falls was most likely as equal an attraction to the first known group to inhabit the area as it is for tourists and residents today.

The first known group known to occupy the Ohiopyle region in Pennsylvania the Monongahela, a Native American clan of the Mound Builders. They and other Native American tribes ultimately disappeared from the region following the French and Indian war that ended in 1763.

The name Ohiopyle is derived from the Lenape Indian phrase ahi opihale, meaning it turns very white, a reference to the frothy waters of the nearby Ohiopyle Falls.**

Photo by Monte

Photo by Monte

Cucumber Run is named for the abundance of one species of magnolia tree, the cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminate), that still is found in the watershed.** Another explanation for its name came from a friend: (more…)

October 13, 2011

Setting Foot on Fly Soil



     Up until early afternoon on October 13, 2011, I could I’d never set foot on Fly soil.

     I can’t make that claim anymore.

     On a mid-October 2011 weekend my husband Monte and I took a mini-vacation/research trip  to Galllipolis, Ohio. We drove along Ohio Route 7, which follows the Ohio River downstream from its entrance into Ohio. The river is rooted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it is formed at the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers merge.

     When it was time to take a rest stop we pulled off the road in a restaurant parking lot.  We’d been looking for a stop with a good photographic view of the river, and this spot proved perfect. We soon discovered that we were stopped at a ferry station.

     We also noticed that we had just entered the town of Fly, Ohio. The ferry took passengers, and their cars, across the Ohio River from Fly to Sistersville, West Virginia.

     While Monte parked the car I meandered down to the river’s edge. Numerous ducks were on the shoreline. As I moved closer to them they flew off, as their ilk is prone to do. Then I looked down river and the view, pieces of which we had seen as we drove along the road, was spectacular. I was able to capture photographs without a lot of (more…)

May 22, 2011

Seeking History in Brownsville (Redstone), Pennsylvania





      It was a beautiful day today. Sunny. Blue skies with white clouds. Sweater thrown in the back seat of the car, not needed. Car windows open, allowing the warm winds to blow across our faces as the car drove down Rt. 40 towards Redstone—oops, today known as Brownsville, Pennsylvania.


     I had changed my plans for the day. On Thursday, I’d seen publicity for the Market Street Arts Festival in Brownsville, and mentioned it to my husband Monte. It would be an opportunity for me to make contacts with people familiar with the 1790s trail followed by characters in my historic romance novel.

Meanwhile, Monte was deciding when he would go to Connellsville (a city that could be enroute to Brownsville from our community) to have the oil changed in the car. It would be a perfect schedule had I not submitted a writing to a critique group, which meant I planned on attending.

The final decision was based on the weather. Perfect today, it was expected to return to its rainy state next week. If we waited, we would be driving over an hour in dismal weather, and the contacts I wanted to make might be more challenging.


Brownsville today is a depressing town which is attempting to revive itself on tourism and history. The town is filled with wonderful but neglected, decaying historical structures, whose walls hide fascinating stories. But for now, many of them are secreted away, waiting to be discovered.

My goal was to uncover information on the trail that (more…)

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