Jim Thorpe Black Friday

Around and About the Town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Presenting impressions of Jim Thorpe town on Black Friday 2016: unedited shots taken in late afternoon.

The best place to park is behind the train station, along the river.  $5 for the day.

Hike up the hill to the Asa Packer Museum.  The attraction is closed for the winter, but well worth the climb past the Civil War monument, so steep there are switchbacks.

Even closed the site yields detail after detail, all interesting and worth learning more about.  I was fascinated by the casted buck sculpture, can you tell?  Placed to greet visitors, it demands your attention.

Climb some more to explore the porch…

The sun makes an appearance, drawing attention to the other mansion of the site.  Two brothers, and families, lived up here.

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Of course, my interest turned to that neighboring mansion.  It is a B&B.  “Mystery weekends” advertised.  That is a two day event.  Guests, presented with a scenario, draw on their resources to solve…..a crime.  Today, the façade decorated for Christmas.  The entire village decorated for Christmas!!  Christmas!!  Christmas!!!  I just love CHRISTMAS

For me, the charm of these places are the details.  These pull the attentive visitor into the character of the owner and/or designer.  A simple storage room dug into the hillside, designed and crafted with love in the interest of the residents who experience it everyday.  Built for a lifetime and longer.  The door and fittings appear to be modern, “nice work.”

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A substantial finial of a thick wrought iron fence rail.

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More so, the choice of building materials for retaining walls.  These were spotted in the countryside, quarry or wherever by someone with an eye for unusual beauty…or a rock hounds.  The boulders are carefully dressed conglomerate specimens with interesting clasts and matrix.

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The museum is a place to enjoy the gathering night.  Take note of the thick groves of rhododendron, native to this area: a reason to return springtime.
The surrounding hills, locally called mountains, increase the charm of the setting.

We descended into town for shopping, dinner at Molly Maquire’s and a show in the Mauch Chunk Opera house. The village was named Mauch Chunk previously until the town fathers decided to rename it to Jim Thorpe, the notable native American sports star, in a then failed effort to encourage tourism. The last decade business has improved.

Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub is a fine place for a companionable meal. Pam and I enjoyed the New York Strip steak with, of course, potatoes. A baked potato for me. Pam had the red skinned garlic mashed potatoes.

The pub is located near the train station.

If you don’t know about the Molly Macguires…google ’em.

A few more notable details.

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Ahhhh, nature….

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Autumn Apple Orchard, landscape orientation

compare portrait vs. landscape orientation.

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Autumn Apple Orchard, portrait orientation

apples cling into winter

Unharvested apples on the ground and branches of this apple orchard off Black Oak Road on the slopes of Connecticut Hill, Newfield in the Finger Lakes of New York.

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Click to view this series on Getty.

Black Oak View

Autumn Ridge

Black Oak Road approaches Connecticut Hill from the north. At this point a long view to west opens up that include Cayuta Lake and the distant highlands of Seneca Lake.

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Autumn Road

A Long View

Here we have a vista of Bostwick Road descent off West hill into the Enfield valley and, then, in the distance, up Harvey Hill. Late autumn foliage graces the scene.

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George Washington Bridge to Schuylerville 2021

Happy Thanksgiving to all you Road Warriors

Throughout my life, beginning with trips between Long Island and Tucson, Arizona for college…throughout young and mature adulthood to return to the family home for celebrations…in my 40’s, 50’s and 60’s caring for aging parents and now, in retirement, researching genealogy I have travelled this route over the George Washington Bridge, over Manhattan, through the Bronx, then over the Throgs Neck Bridge to Queens County, Long Island and always as the driver. This is the first time being able to document the route with a quality camera. Driving here requires the total attention of the driver, the traffic, reading unfamiliar signs…..what a treat to sit and snap. Here goes.

On Interstate 80 then 95 moving through Bergen County and Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Over the George Washington Bridge, upper level.

Into the Bronx via the imfamous Cross Bronx Expressway…..trucks from across the continent funnel through here.

Glorious fall foliage on a perfect autumn morning.

Lone Elm

Among Hemlocks

A Rock Elm, late to turn in autumn, stands among a hemlock grove on the South Rim Trail of Taughannock Falls Park, Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

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Bronx Autumn 2021

I captured these during a trip through the Bronx, returning on a perfect fall afternoon from our outing to find Grandfather Wills’ resting place: Bronx River Parkway, Moushulu Parkway, Henry Hudson Parkway then over the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey. The trees were in their glory.

I had a session using a tripod for longer exposure shots and neglected to revise the camera settings for shooting on the run from an auto…so the photographs are not as sharp as they could be.

New Jersey from the Transcontinental Interstate Route 80 connecting New York City to San Francisco and all point in between.

Pinelands Connections X

Finding Grandfather’s Final Resting Place

When I was a young adult Mom told me Grandfather Wills was buried in the Bronx. James Edward Wills died when my father was very young and they were poor, living in tenements on the upper West Side of Manhattan April 1916.. Looking through Dad’s papers after both he and Mom were gone, I found the grave receipt: “Saint Raymond’s Cemetery, Westchester, New York.” James Wills, born April 1877, the youngest of six children of George Wills and Margaret McCambridge, who were 43 and 38, their place of residence two years later cited in the 1880 Federal Census as Shamong, New Jersey. Today, Shamong Township is part of New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. Atsion, the Iron Furnace town where James’ Grandmother Ann McCambridge (nee Milley) worked as a cook, is in Shamong Township.

Finding and researching the grave receipt is what began my adventures in genealogy. What was, in 1916, Westchester is now the Schuylerville section of Bronx county, a borough of New York City. Saint Raymond’s Parish, still going strong, acquired more consecrated land for burials with now an “Old” and “New” cemetery separated by the confluence of interstates 95, 295, 678 including the approaches to the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges, the superstructures of which are visible from the “Old” cemetery.

Having sorted out these details, I approach my cousin Mary at the October 2021 engagement party of my niece where we made arrangements to find Grandfather Wills’ final resting place the following month. On Wednesday, November 10th, Mary’s husband Peter drove us over the George Washington Bridge, through the incredible traffic of the Cross Bronx Expressway (a funny name for this moving parking lot, bumper to bumper trucks), to Schuylerville. We navigated to the “Google Maps” push pin I placed next to Section 7. Google Maps even has street views of the cemetery, in retrospect the view of Section 7, Ranges 35 – 51, includes grandfather’s grave.

We worked together, walking the rows, reading headstone inscriptions, on the expectation of finding Grandfather’s name without success. Peter and I took to counting the rows to find number 41, with success. With less success counting the headstones and spaces (unmarked graves) to find number 82. At the same time, Pam and Mary searched. I used the “Find A Grave” website to look up headstones in section 7, row 41 and found the only location provided was “Section 7.” I also called the cemetery office where they were most helpful. There is NO record of James Wills.

Then, Pam noticed some headstones inscribed with the exact location, Section, Range (Row) and Grave.  This was the key.  Here are the headstone references that pinpointed Grandfather Wills’ final, unmarked, resting place.  

In the following photograph I am on the right with wife Pam. Cousin Mary next to her husband Peter on the right, Mary is standing on grave 82.

James Edward Wills unmarked grave, Section 7, Range (Row) 41, Grave 82, Old Saint Raymond’s Cemetery, Balcom Avenue, Schuylerville, Bronx, New York. Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Here we are facing south / southeast into Section 7, James Wills’ unmarked grave is to the left and just behind Nevins headstone (Row 40, Grave 83).

A Visit with Tom and Hen Turkey

Happy Thanksgiving

The Catskill Mountains are not mountains. The Catskills started as a high plateau. Over eons, before the first humans, water, the sun, and wind carved high steep peaks: rounded, forested and teeming with life.
 
October 2008, on a return trip from family on Long Island, we traveled the winding road called “Route 17”, through the high autumn hillsides.

Route 17_FishsEddy_throughTheWindshield– CLICK ME!!!!

 

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Fishs Eddy

As the sun passed over the western hills we stopped to explore a place called “Fishs Eddy”, a town on the banks of the Delaware River.
 

Delaware River at Fishes Eddy– CLICK ME!!!!

 
 
On the east side, facing sunset is a formation that would be a cliff if it was not for the hardwood trees growing from every available nook, crevice.  Everywhere a root could be sunk, roots fed trees that, one late October afternoon, made a hill bright with autumn.
 

Turkey Habitat

Turkeys live in this type of habitat. We took a trail, barely a road that climbed past failed farms and hunting shacks.

Catskill Hillside– CLICK ME!!!!

 

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The Hens Flee

On a level place, in front of a ruined home, we came upon a Tom (male) turkey and his four hens. The hens fled at the sight of us.
 
With barely time to raise the camera I caught Tom and the last hen as she fled into the bushes.

Tom and Hen Turkey Flee the Scene– CLICK ME!!!!

 

Tom Turkey Defiant

I say she, because Tom stayed behind. He stood erect, all three feet of him, defiant and strutting in a direction opposite from the hens.

This is the bird Benjamin Franklin proposed as the national emblem of the new United State of America (the bald eagle won that competition).
Hunted into almost oblivion, across the United States the wild turkey is making a dramatic come back in many places, including the forests and farmland of rural New York State.

A Defiant Tom Turkey– CLICK ME!!!!

This fellow made no noise. His strutting posture and head bobbing said it all.
We left Tom Turkey in peace to his domain and hens.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, my friends.

Tom Turkey Stalks the Ruin– CLICK ME!!!!