Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wish You Were Here-Book Review

 


Jodi Picoult's books are known for being thought provoking about current and past events and this book does not disappoint.  I was hooked from the very beginning when the novel starts in a March 2020 time frame.


                                       

The Story

In this book Jodi Picoult says she is exploring "the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis".

In the first pages we are introduced to Diana O'Toole and her boyfriend Dr. Finn Colson.  They are a young couple very much in love and planning on taking the trip of their dreams to the Galapagos Islands.  They are all packed and set to take their trip when Finn comes home and announces that he cannot get away to take the trip.  He is a surgical resident in New York City, and it is the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Finn convinces Diana that she should take the trip without him since they have already paid their nonrefundable down payments.  Dianna reluctantly agrees to go.

When Diana reaches the Galapagos, she takes the ferry over to the island where they are staying only to discover that due to the pandemic it is the last ferry to the island and the island is now shut down due to the pandemic.  When she arrives, there is no transportation available, so she decides to walk to their hotel only to discover that it has been shut down.  Diana is beginning to panic when a worker from the hotel is leaving and stops to talk to Diana.  She offers a place for Diana to stay in a cottage she owns.  She is very kind to Diana and offers her food and advice.

The next chapters find Diana exploring the island, meeting people along the way, and dealing with communication problems.  She tries to contact Finn, but communication is very limited, and she finally is able to get someone to let her into the hotel to use their server.  

In the meantime, Finn, is working day and night at the hospital to deal with the spreading pandemic.  When he gets a moment to send Diana an email, he never knows if she is getting them.  In one email, he lets Diana know that her mother who is in a nursing home is gravely ill and the nursing home is quarantined by the pandemic.

There is so much more to the story, but I don't want to spoil it for you by telling you about all the twists and turns.  I will tell you it is a very compelling story made even more interesting by the fact that we are currently living in the pandemic.  I highly recommend this book.

More Books I Have Enjoyed by Jodi Picoult

I have read many of Jodi Picoult's books.  Here are some that I particularly enjoyed.

The Book of Two Ways explores Egyptology and I found very intriguing. Here is a review that Diana wrote on this book. Book of Two Ways

                                     
Leaving Time is a book that explores the relationships between humans and animals.  The elephants in this story were delightful and I would recommend this book.

                                   
My Sister's Keeper is the heart wrenching story of a young girl who was conceived in order to provide bone marrow for her dying sister.  It is considered by many as their favorite Picoult novel.

                                     
Enjoy your Reading!  Books are a wonderful escape from daily life.



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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Visit Missouri - First Capitol

 

Missouri's First Capitol

The first Missouri capitol was in St. Charles.  Although we have lived very near for nearly 20 years, I had never been on a tour of this first capitol until recently. I was on an outing with a group that I serve as a photography mentor and our outing included a tour of the first capitol.  The outside of the building does  not look very exciting so I wasn't sure what to expect and I was very pleasantly surprised.

History of First Capitol


Missouri was granted statehood on August 10, 1821.  Before that time various locations in St. Louis had served as the place where decisions were made for the territory.  Once it looked like statehood would become a reality a search went on to find a permanent seat of government.  A location was picked in the center of the state overlooking the Missouri river.  This new location was called "The City of Jefferson" and today we call it Jefferson City.

While construction of the new capitol was taking place the first legislator needed a place to meet.  Nine different cities were competing for the honor.  One of these cities, St. Charles, pledged free meeting space for the temporary capitol.  St. Charles was located on the Missouri river and had great access to areas throughout the state by either the river or the Boonslick Road.  The first Govenor Alexander McNair signed a bill making St. Charles the first capitol of Missouri.  The legislator met in St. Charles for the first time in June of 1821.   At that time the heated discussions of the legislature centered around slavery and state's rights.

House of Representatives

Senate

Tour of First Capitol


The first legislator met on the second floor of the two newly constructed adjoining buildings.  The first floor was occupied by a general store and a carpentry shop. In the photos above you can see what the senate and the house of representatives looked like.

Our tour guide gave us some fascinating insight into what the meetings would have been like back in the early 1800's.   In the photos above you see what each of the meeting rooms looked like. The senators each had tables they could use but the representatives sat on benches.  Our tour guide showed us the "Laptops" like what they would have used to in order to take their notes.  Here is a photo I took of the laptop.



It would have been like a mini desk, with compartments to hold the writing instrument, the ink and other essentials.  They could hold it on their laps to use instead of a desk.

After seeing the legislators we went to the next room upstairs which was the govenors office.
Here is a photo of that office.

Govenor's Office


Four Missouri govenors were in office during the time the capitol was in St. Charles.  The new capitol was ready in 1826.

Downstairs Stores and Home


The tour also included a look at a reconstructed Dry Goods store.  It included items that would have been in that type of store during the early 1800's.  Here is a photo I took in the store.



Sources for this Review


My sources for this review are the information provided for us by our docent, Mike.  He was an excellent tour guide and provided some very interesting information on what life was like during the early years of Missouri statehood.

I also used information I read on a pamphlet I picked up during the tour.  The information was published by Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  Their website is www.mostateparks.com.



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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Chautauqua Lake New York Fishing


Chautauqua Lake - Reviewed
If you are an avid fisherman and looking for a new lake to cast your line. Chautauqua Lake just might be the place for you. Come and fish in Chautauqua Lake and you might even see a rainbow or two.

Chautauqua Lake is located in western New York, just east of Erie Pennsylvania, and south of Buffalo New York. The lake is the largest inland lake in western New York. Stretching 17 miles long and 2 miles wide at its widest point, with 42.5 miles of shoreline.

We have lived here since 1989 and consider this our home. We live just two blocks away from the lake and can never get enough of it.

Many fishermen come here to fish for Muskie a North American fresh-water fish, it is the largest fish in the pike family. In the lake, they range from 40 to 50 inches. I've done my share of fishing in Chautauqua Lake, but have never landed a muskie.





Popular Species of Fish in Chautauqua Lake:

  • Muskie
  • Walleye
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Bluegill 
The north basin of the lake is 75 ft. at its deepest with an average depth of 25 Ft. The south basin is much shallower at 19 Ft. at its deepest with an average depth of 11 Ft. The south basin with its shallow waters and weedy areas make this the perfect environment for bass fishing.

If ice fishing is for you, here in the winter months you will find many colorful fishing huts over the frozen surface of the lake. As for me, you will find me in the house with a warm blanket during the winter. 

There are many fishing tournaments throughout the year at Chautauqua Lake. Click here for a list of the tournaments and much more do here in Chautauqua Lake Region. Then, make your plans,  pack your gear and bring your boat. Maybe I'll see you on the lake.


 Following are some of my recipes for the fresh fish of Chautauqua Lake:





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Find more Recipes on Review This: ReviewThisRecipes.com

Greater Than a Tourist- Chautauqua Lake Region New York USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local (Greater Than a Tourist New York Series)Greater Than a Tourist- Chautauqua Lake Region New York USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local (Greater Than a Tourist New York Series)Greater Than a Tourist- Chautauqua Lake Region New York USA: 50 Travel Tips from a Local (Greater Than a Tourist New York Series)

 




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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Reviewing a Veterans Museum

 

Scenes from Front of Museum

 
In early February of 2022, I had the privilege of visiting the St. Charles County Veterans Museum with a group of people from the Willows Way photography club where I am a photography mentor.  This museum is just over two years old and I had never visited before. I was in for a wonderful surprise.  The museum was a delight with lots of memorabilia and stories of veterans from World War I through the present day.  

The volunteers who worked at the museum were wonderful and really made our whole experience very inspirational.  They gave us time to explore on our own, but were always available to answer questions and tell the stories of the veterans that were featured at the museum.

On this post I will share with you some of the photos I took in the museum and also give your more information about the museum which I gathered from their website St. Charles County Veterans Museum

World War I Era Uniforms



After you enter the museum the first display you see is from World War I.  Here are some of the uniforms from the display.

Mission of the Museum

Plans for a museum that honored all of the veterans from the area was a dream of Ralph Barrale (1924-2018) a veteran of World War II.  He was able to get the location secured and the dream was becoming a reality when he passed on in 2018.  Unfortunately he was unable to see the actual opening in 2019.

Here is the stated mission of the museum. 
" Inspiring, informing and engaging the residents
of St. Charles County to honor the memories of County Veterans who served the United State of America with patriotic valor."

Korean War


There was a section of memorabila from the Korean War and several stories of county residents who had served there.  One of this heroes was a volunteer on the day that we visited and was very knowledgable about that era.

Telling the Veterans Stories

The museum is in the process of developing a program where high school students interview veterans to find out their stories.  The program is called "Interview our Heroes- Our Military Veterans."  The goal of the program is to unite generations and tell the stories of veterans.  The interviews will be on video and will be put on the museum's website along with being sent to the Library of Congress in Washington D. C..  This sounds like a wonderful program and I am looking forward to seeing these interviews on the website and on future visits to the museum.

Vietnam Era Memorabilia

Several stories have been collected  from Vietnam veterans.  Here is some of the memorabilia that is in the museum from that era.

World War II

There is an entire room devoted to the World War II veterans.  It includes uniforms, models, and a tent from the era.  Here are some of the photos I took in that room.







Paintings

There were some beautifully done paintings hanging in the museum.  This one was done by a local artist and depicts women in the military.

Wall Honoring Residents who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice


In closing I would like to encourage you to visit a Veterans Museum.  It is a very moving experience.  If you are in the St. Louis/St. Charles area or traveling through please stop at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.  It is located at 410 E Elm St in O'Fallon, Mo.

If this location does not work for you, I encourage you to look for a veterans museum near you to visit.






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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Flying Fish Bar & Grill - Restaurant Review



SLOGAN: “Where the Fish Fly” 


We spent 13 years living on Tybee Island, Georgia, then later lived another 6 years on Wilmington Island located off Highway 80 east of Savannah and just minutes from Tybee Island.  As you can imagine, we had a lot of visitors over the years drawn to the area the same way we had been.  Between the historic sights of Savannah and the Atlantic Ocean off Tybee Island, not to mention the temperate winter weather in Georgia, our northern friends loved to come visit. 

As a result, we quickly found our favorite restaurants to take our visitors to.


Flying Fish


(c) Elf
One of our favorite restaurants was the Flying Fish. This was especially true during the years we lived on Wilmington Island, GA. It is located less than 2 miles away from where we lived, conveniently located on Highway 80 between Savannah and Tybee Island, just a short 15 minute drive east from downtown Savannah. 


Locally known as simply “The Fish”, the restaurant was started by Mike McMahon in 2007. Mike is a local Savannahian who has worked in the seafood industry all his life. Because Savannah is known for a wide variety of tasty local seafood, Mike took his knowledge of seafood and applied it to a tasty menu of fresh Georgia Shrimp, Flounder and Oysters, along with crispy fried calamari and crab claws.  And, of course, the famous Low Country Boil, consisting of spicy peel-and-eat shrimp, sausage, corn and new potatoes, which is a classic Southern recipe along the Georgia and South Carolina (low country) coasts!


If you are not a big seafood lover, The Fish also caters to “landlubbers” with dishes of Chicken Alfredo & Pasta, chicken fingers and wings and beefy burgers. They also feature a full service bar. 


Our Favorite Dishes 


Image Source: Pixabay

Love their fried shrimp or fried oyster dinners and several times have had their Shrimp for 2 meal, which is a very plentiful platter of fried shrimp with French fries, cole slaw and hush puppies. (Mmm, I could go for a plate of that right now!)


For many years, the Flying Fish was open daily, beginning with lunches, and had 'lunch specials'.  My brother and I loved going out to lunch on Mondays when the 'special' was pork chops deliciously prepared (our favorite non-seafood dish).  Due to the circumstances of the past couple years, I see that the hours have been reduced to just 5 days a week and not opening until 4:30 p.m, except on the weekends. It is still an eatery well worth visiting. And I have truly missed the Flying Fish since moving back to the Midwest.  I still have their menu, which is occasionally fun to 'drool' over. Click here for the Menu to see for yourself.


Location


Flying Fish Bar & Grill

7906 East US Highway 80

Savannah GA 31410 

(912) 897-2009

Hours: Open Wednesday and Thursday 4:30 and Fri thru Sun 11:30 am … until the party stops! 

Website: Flying Fish https://www.flyingfishsavannah.com


Summary


So, if you are a snowbird planning a trip south in the winter, or vacationing in the Savannah, Georgia area, add The Flying Fish Bar & Grill to the “restaurants” section of your itinerary. You won't be disappointed in the food or the relaxed atmosphere. And Tell Mike hi for me.  :)


Related Links:


My family & I do seem to seek out seafood restaurants wherever we may find ourselves. I may miss the Flying Fish Bar & Grill in Georgia, but have since found another here on the Mississippi River in my current location. Another FISH-named restaurant equally as tasty ~ the Go Fish Marina Bar & Grill.


Flying Fish Bar & Grill Restaurant Review written by Wednesday Elf


Seafood Restaurant Recipes to Make at Home:


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Saturday, November 6, 2021

Review of the Tycoga Vineyard and Winery



During a recent visit from my brother & sister-in-law, we went out to lunch at the Tycoga Vineyard & Winery located about 18 miles from my home. My brother used to make his own wine as a hobby and enjoys trying different wines, so I knew he would enjoy visiting this winery.  We had an extremely pleasant couple of hours doing a wine tasting and having this winery's fresh handmade wood fired pizzas for lunch.


Tycoga Vineyard & Winery



Tycoga Vineyard & Winery is a family owned business that began in 2010 with only 50 plants. Their intent was to only grow grapes and sell them. Their first plants produced a small crop. 

Then one day a couple stopped by and gave the Tycoga family their phone number. They said they thought that these were wonderful grapes and that they needed to make wine instead of just selling the grapes.


Tycoga Vineyards

After many long talks with this helpful couple, and learning about grapes, the Tycoga family ended up planting many, many more grape plants. They now have over 26 acres of plants. 


TYCOGA Vineyard & Winery was then established in 2014. The Tycoga tasting room opened on December 20, 2014, and  final construction was completed in April 2015.


Handcrafted Wines


Tycoga Wines
Tycoga now has over 20 different types of wines from Dry to Sweet. This wide variety of mainly ESTATE produced wines allows the Tygoca family to showcase wines to both the novice and the experienced wine drinker. TYCOGA Vineyard & Winery has entered the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition every year since 2015 and they have won awards every year, including bronze, silver and gold metals.


The wines at Tycoga also include a dessert wine and a sparkling wine. The dessert wine pairs well with a delicious piece of chocolate cake. During a wine tasting, they offer you a piece of chocolate to eat – first tasting the dessert wine without the chocolate and again after eating the chocolate. It allows you to see how well it goes with a chocolate dessert. Yum.


Food


Wood-Fired Pizza

Tycogo Winery offers 16 varieties of their delicious wood-fired Pizzas  Click this link for the menu. 


Private Parties and Small Events


Outside Patio overlooking the Vineyard

Tycoga Winery has an event room, a Barrel room and an outside patio for booking anything from a bridal shower to a wedding, or for an office event, birthday party, retirement party, graduation or any other special occasion. An attractive venue for your special event.


Summary


If you enjoy visiting wineries and find yourself traveling in Southeastern Iowa, spend an hour or two at the Tycoga Vineyard & Winery. It has a delightful atmosphere and very friendly staff. 


The name of the winery comes from the TYCOGA Family children - Tyler, Courtney & Gabe.


Tycoga Vineyard & Winery


Location:


Tycoga Vineyard & Winery

Address: 2585 195th St, DeWitt, IA 52742

Phone: (563) 659-1443

Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Website: Tycoga.com


Related Links to More Places to Visit in Iowa:



*Tycoga Vineyard & Winery Travel Review written by Wednesday Elf






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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Review of Flags of Valor

 

2021 Display on Art Hill, St. Louis Missouri

St. Louis Missouri has a wonderfully moving display on Art Hill that commemorates those who died on 9/11 and those who have died in the war on terror in the 20 years since 2001.  

This display first was put up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and then again on the 15th anniversary and now on the 20th anniversary.  I have been privileged to view the display each of these times and find it to be a very  emotional experience.  Here is a photo I took this year.





History of Flags of Valor

Here is a quote from the website on the history of Flags of Valor. 

The first display of Flags of Valor in St. Louis was for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  In that display 2977 flags were placed on Art Hill.  These flags represented the individuals who lost their lives in the twin towers attack, the Pentagon attack, and on Flight 93, and the first responders who gave their lives to save others.

2016 Display

On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the display on Art Hill honored those 6869 service members who lost their lives in the following operations: Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom's Sentinel.

2021 Display

In 2021the Flags of Valor organization has refined their purpose beyond remembering to educating.  With a new generation that wasn't even born when 9/11 occured it is important to educate on what has happened and what we must always remember.  This years display is three fold.

1.   Remembering the Victims of the 9/11 Attacks



To remember the 9/11 victims, there are 6 oversized informational boards.  Three are on each side of the Grand Basin.  These boards visualize 2,564 victims of the 9/11 attacks.

There is also a flag with the names of all of the victims.


2.  Remember the First Responders who Died

There are 413 flags above the Grand Basin to remember the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice.

3.  Remembering Service Members Who Died during the War on terror since 9/11/2001

There are more than 7000 3' by 5' American Flags on the hill below the St. Louis Art Museum.  Each flag represents of service member who has died since 9/11/2001 in the War on Terror.  Each flag is marked with an informational dog tag and a photo of the service member.





Information for this article was gathered from the Flags of Valor website at Flags of Valor STL  All photos were taken by Mary Beth Granger.




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Monday, August 23, 2021

Kinzua Dam a Fall Destination Reviewed

 

Kinzua Dam a Fall Destination Reviewed
A scenic view in October from Kinzua Area

Fall will be upon us. Sunny cool days and the leaves will be turning so many beautiful colors. We live in Western New York not far from the Kinzua Dam.

Every year when the leaves are at their peak, we take the drive down I86 East, from there we take some back roads into Pennsylvania, through the Allegheny National Forest to the Kinzua Area, the ride is breathtakingly scenic.

If you are in the process of planning a fall vacation, consider the Kinzua Dam. The dam is located about 6 miles east of Warren Pennsylvania, along route 59 nestled in the 500,000 acres of the Allegheny National Forest. I’m going to include a little history and all the fun activities in the Kinzua area.

So, if you like camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating, or just relaxing and taking in the views it’s all here at Kinzua. If you’re the outdoors type pack your bags and get ready for some breathtaking views and fun. First here is some history of the area.

Kinzua Dam Construction and Why:

Kinzua Dam

Construction began in 1960 by the US Army Corps of Engineers and was completed in 1965. The main purpose of the dam was for flood control on the Allegheny River. Kinzua controls drainage on a watershed of 2,180 square miles.

Several side benefits from the construction of the dam include drought control, hydroelectric power production, and recreation. The dam created Pennsylvania’s deepest lake, the Allegheny Reservoir, also known as Kinzua Lake.

The cost was approximately $108 million. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the dam paid for itself in 1972 when tropical storm Agnes’s heavy rains on the watershed brought the reservoir to within three feet of its maximum capacity.

Downstream flood damage would have been devastating at an estimated $247 million. The Kinzua Dam has saved an estimated $1 billion in flood damages since it became operational.

Recreation at Kinzua Dam:

There are many recreational activities at the Allegheny Reservoir and the surrounding area. If you’re the outdoors type, then there is something here for you. Along the reservoir, there is camping, boating, fishing, hiking, and a beach. If you’re the winter type there is snowmobiling and cross country skiing along the trails.

The US Forest Service has four reservoir campgrounds and five primitive (boat to or hike only) camping areas. Most of the recreation areas surround Allegheny Lake.

We love to go there any time of the year and soak in the beautiful scenery and walk the trails. Since we live in Western New York, which is not so far from Kinzua, it’s a nice drive, especially in the fall.

Hiking Trails and Beautiful Scenic Views

Kinzua Hiking Trails

There are many scenic overlooks at Kinzua. There are two areas that we never miss and never tire of visiting, they are Jake’s Rock and Rim Rock. The intro photo of this article was taken from Rim Rock.

The views from these overlooks are beautiful any time of the year, but we prefer to go in the fall when the views are breathtaking. We have been there many times and it’s always the same, “Beautiful”

Did You Know That Johnny Cash recorded a song about the Kinzua Dam?

As a tribute to the Seneca Nation of Indians, Johnny Cash recorded, As Long as the Grass Will Grow. The construction of the Dam forced 600 Seneca Indians to relocate because 10,000 acres of their land had to be flooded.

This land had been occupied by the Seneca Nation since the treaty of 1794. President Kennedy had been asked to halt the project but declined because of the need for flood control.

President Kennedy ordered government agencies to assist in finding land for the placement of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

If you are a fan on Johnny Cash here is the song


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Friday, August 6, 2021

Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA Reviewed

Presque Isle Lighthouse
When we helped move our daughter to Buffalo, NY, there were a few sites we wanted to take time to see along the way.  One of those sites was the Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park.  

We spent the night in Erie, PA on the way to NY, but didn't have time to visit the Erie lighthouses until we were on our way back home.  Since we drove the U-haul truck to Buffalo, I'm really glad we waited to go to Presque Isle State Park in a car instead of the truck.  

The park was full of guests visiting the beaches, fishing, biking, walking the trails, and of course, visiting the lighthouses.  Even though there was a lot of traffic, most of the people seemed to be there for the beaches, swimming, or other water activity.  This allowed us easy parking and access to the Presque Isle Lighthouse.

While I love lighthouses, I tend to prefer the lighthouses that have a lighthouse keeper's residence. Perhaps, I romanticize the historical accounts of lighthouse keepers, but there is no doubt they served to save many lives.  I consider them heroes who diligently tended the lights every night, all night long, in order to keep others safe.

Today, the Presque Isle Lighthouse is a public museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Guests are allowed to freely walk around the grounds, visit the gift shop, or even climb the 78 steps up to the top of the lighthouse. 


A Bit of History of the Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse


As you can see on the date brick, the lighthouse building was started in 1872, but actually put into service in July of 1873.  
(You may need to click the photo to enlarge it to see the date clearly)

We were standing on these grounds and I took this picture 148 years later in July of 2021.

The lighthouse was originally lit by an oil lamp inside a Forth-order (smaller than a First-order) Fresnel lens which was removed in 1962. It currently uses an isophase light (dark & light periods of equal length).  

The four bedroom house was home to a lighthouse keeper and family until 1944.

When built, the tower was 40 ft. tall.  In 1896, an additional 17 ft was added to the tower.  By comparing the two pictures below, you can see where that 17 feet were added.  The bricks was later painted white to make the tower more visible during daylight hours.

United States Lighthouse Board, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

Presque Isle LighthousePhoto by @Sylvestermouse (2021)


I loved visiting this historical location and I loved that it was being "appreciated" by so many guests.  If you find yourself near Erie, PA, be sure to stop by Presque Isle State Park and enjoy all of the surroundings and climbing the stairs to the top of the Presque Isle Lighthouse.

 

 

More Articles About the Presque Isle Lighthouse

  • You can read more of the real history of Presque Isle Lighthouse by clicking here.
  • Our Contributor, Mary Beth, also shared several of her gorgeous photos of the Presque Isle Lighthouse and two other Erie Lighthouses here on Review This Reviews. You can see her photos by clicking here.





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