Tuesday, April 4 Mt Airy
We went to Mt. Airy (home to Andy Griffith) and the inspiration for Mayberry. We passed by Wally’s Service Station but decided not to take a ride around town in the police cruiser. We hiked to downtown area to look around and decided to visit the Andy Griffith museum.
We were hoping to do a night shoot at Groundhog Mountain picnic area, however the gate to the picnic area was closed. So we went and played with some lighting at night at Puckett Cabin instead.
Wednesday, April 5 New River Gorge
We had breakfast at Rusty Rooster. For lunch, we hit Subway for sandwiches, which we took to the Sandstone Visitor Center at New River Gorge NP. Of course with our luck, it was closed. We picnicked at the available tables which had many wood bees flying about. We then drove to Sandstone Falls Overlook. Since we had not yet gotten a stamp for our national park book, we decided to visit the Canyon Rim Visitor Center at the north end of the park. While there we got some good tips on trails to hike. We hiked the canyon rim overlook boardwalk trail, and then drove the Fayette Station Road Scenic drive while we listened to an audio guide of the points of interest along the drive. We stopped along the way to photograph a small waterfall. We finished the auto tour and drove to the trailhead, where we hiked a bit over half a mile before we turned around and went back. We had dinner at Pasquales.
Thursday, April 6 New River Gorge
Today we hiked the New River Gorge NP loop trail which was 1.25 miles. Afterwards, we decided that we would do some shopping for RFID wallets and luggage, for a future trip. We had dinner at Campestre.
Friday, April 7 Pittsburgh
We left New River Gorge NP and headed towards Fallingwater. Since we had our reservation for tomorrow we had some time to kill. We decided to go to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh because they had a Robot Hall of Fame. We went to the museum and although it was interesting there was no Robot Hall of Fame to be found. Dinner that night was at the Kickstand Kitchen (a biker joint, no not that type of biker, a bicyclist joint).
Saturday, April 8 Fallingwater (Frank Lloyd Wright)
Today we got to visit Fallingwater, an UNESCO site. This was a dream come true for Karen, who had wanted to visit here for years. We had looked into stopping on a previous trip, until we found out that we needed advance reservations. Fallingwaters did not disappoint.
We had lunch at Betty’s Family restaurant, saddest place we have ever eaten at. We had diner at Beck’s Bistro.
Sunday, April 9 (Easter) Cherry Springs State Park
We drove to Cherry Springs State Park. Cherry Springs State Park is a dark sky park. It is famous for great views of the Milky Way, planets, and hard-to-see astronomical objects and phenomena. We didn’t know where in the park we should be, but eventually came to a significant parking area. There were a few cars but at first we didn’t know where to go to shoot. However, after a little exploration, we found there was a nicely laid out area to view the sky just behind the dunes at the end of the parking lot. There were only a few people around as we did a late night star trails shoot.
Tuesday, April 11 Parker River NWR
Another long day of driving but we also stopped at Parker River NWR and photographed long tailed ducks. They stayed way out in the water, but we managed to get a few okay shots.
Wednesday, April 12 Driving along the Coast
Today we decided to take it easy and just go ride along the coast starting up at Portsmouth in New Hampshire. During the drive, we actually lost our way. We weren’t paying attention and missed our turn and wound up in Maine. So we turned around, went south and started following along the coast. Our goal was to see as many new birds as possible. We stopped at a McDonald’s in Portsmouth and laid out our plans. We hiked at New Hampshire’s Odiorne State Park and saw a red throated loon, come eiders, a brown creeper, white winged scoter, and American tree sparrow. We had lunch further down the coast at Peter’s Summertime Seafood. Melinda was our waitress. The service and the food (clam strips and oysters for me, shrimp and sea scallops for Alan, then raspberry donut cheesecake for dessert) was awesome! We visited North Hampton Beach and Hampton Beach state parks as well as Plum Island.
Thursday, April 13 Night shoot with Donna
We took an break today and didn’t do much. We did a little shopping at Kohl’s and then at Hunts Photo. Later we met up with Donna for dinner, then transferred my gear to her car and she and I drove to Giles Pond in New Hampshire for a night shoot. I got back to the hotel around 2:00am.
Friday, April 14 Night shoot with Donna
We went back out to Plum Island to try and spot white winged scoters, and hopefully a snowy owl, but saw neither one. That evening, Donna picked me up at the hotel and we drove north. We had yummy clams at Bobs Clam Hut in New Hampshire, then drove halfway up the Maine cost to shoot start trails at the Pemaquid Lighthouse. Along the way we did a quick shoot of an iconic little town on a cove. We made our way along the rocks and shot for several hours. I got into bed at 3:45am.
Saturday, April 15 More Plum Island
This morning, Alan snuck out to try Plum Island one last time while I slept. After I got up we drove out to Cape Ann to scout some lighthouse locations but came up empty. We had a nice dinner at the restaurant near our hotel.
Sunday, April 16 Cape Cod
We decided to leave a day early so as to avoid the insanity in and around Boston. We didn’t realize that Patriot’s Day was tomorrow, and that means the Boston Marathon. We met up with my old friends, Beth and Rob for brunch, then continued on to Cape Cod. Of course, fog had socked the cape in. We also checked out Sandy Neck Lighthouse, but no picture opportunities were available.
Tuesday, April 18 Blackwater NWR
Another travel day stopped at but we stopped at Blackwater NWR towards the evening. We have had good luck photographing ospreys here before. However, we didn’t see as much bird life as we had on other visits.
Wednesday, April 19 Bodie Lighthouse
Had lunch with cousin Mary, and later, dinner with cousin Edie. Drove to Nags Head for a night shoot at Bodie Lighthouse.
Thursday, April 20 Alligator River NWR
Today we spent some time driving the roads in Alligator River NWR. However, luck was not with us. Some of the roads that we wanted to visit were closed off. We still had plans to visit other relatives, but we determined that it would be better if we went home and rest, then leave again to finish the visits after a day or two.
Tuesday, April 25 Mason Inlet Waterbird Management Area
We visited the Mason Inlet Waterbird management area. We were able to add another bird to our life list, a Wilson’s Plover.