Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel photography. Show all posts

Friday, April 30, 2021

Tennessee Travel: Natchez Trace State Park Review

Natchez Trace State Park
There is much to explore in the Natchez Trace State Park, which is located off Interstate 40 (I-40) between Memphis and Nashville, TN. 

It is a wonderful place for a day trip for hiking or exploring jeep trails, but it would also be an awesome vacation destination.  With several lodging options, you get to choose what best suits your personal needs. Frankly, our most recent visit left me longing for a camper so we could easily spend the night.  

Not only does the park offer RV camping facilities, they have cabin rental, a lodge with hotel rooms & dining, or you can pitch a tent.  Each style has designated areas for a more enjoyable stay for all.  Plus, there are playground areas, swimming, paddle boat, boat and canoe rental, picnicking areas, an equestrian facility, a firing range, and an archery range.  

Since the park is spread out over 10,000 areas within a 48,000 acre forest, none of it seems to be sitting "on top of the other".  I do recommend stopping at the visitor's center when you enter the park to get a map.  Wandering aimlessly is fun, but if you have limited time, you might prefer to know where each facility, trail, picnic area, etc. is located.  It is also where you can view the wildlife in rehab.

Natchez Trace State Park

Day Trip in Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
We set out for the jeep trails, which we did explore, but ended up having to get out and walk some too.  It was such a beautiful spring day!  It would have been a shame to spend the entire time riding instead of walking.  Needless to say, the sunlight and fresh air "pulled" me from the jeep seat to walk around the lake and across the bridge.

That is what I love most about Natchez Trace State Park.  It is so much natural beauty in one place. Even the man-built cabins are nestled so beautifully within the trees that they don't distract from the peace and tranquility that permeates the park.

As we strolled through the beach area created for swimming, we encountered a search team with dogs in training. Of course, they all loved Merlin, but he questioned why those dogs needed training for what comes naturally to him. 

From there, we ventured to the bridge that crosses the lake and provides a spectacular view of the surroundings.

Natchez Trace Park

Back to the jeep for another fun ride through the woods. While my husband enjoyed navigating the dirt trails designed for jeeps, I thrilled at being able to take photos of lots of spring blooming trees and wildflowers.  The last time we were at Natchez Trace State Park, I concentrated on photographing birds, but this time, it was the flowers that fascinated me.

Natchez Trace State Park Flower Photos

As the sun started to set, we unwillingly sought out the highway home. Oh, how I wish we had that camper! I could only imagine the sunrise in this beautiful place.

 

Natchez Trace
A Few of the Bird Photos I Took On Our Last Visit to Natchez Trace State Park

 Points of Interest in Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
No Matter the Length of Stay or Accommodations,
We All Need the Convenience Store!

 

Natchez Trace State Park
Group Lodge has 4 or 5 cottages, a bunkhouse, and
a Group Meeting Building with Kitchen

Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
Pin Oak Lodge Offers Motel Style Rooms, a Restaurant
& Family Recreation Activities

 

Accommodations for a Special Event

If you are planning a special event, you might want to consider the  Cub Lake Recreation Lodge, a very reasonably priced venue, which will accommodate up to 200 people.  The lodge is a large, beautiful room for just the actual event. Those who wish to stay overnight could make arrangements for one of the other facilities mentioned above.

Natchez State State Park



Travel Tennessee with Me

Previously Reviewed Tennessee Travel Destinations

 Fall Hollow Waterfall on the Natchez Trace Parkway The Memphis Zoo Review Pictorial Tour of the Memphis Botanic Gardens Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo Review





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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Visit Missouri-Klondike Park St. Charles County

Klondike Park Meeting Facility

On a recent beautiful June afternoon,  my friend and I ventured out into Missouri Wine Country.  After a wonderful lunch at a winery overlooking the Missouri River Valley, we stopped at Klondike park for a bit of hiking and photography.

Location of Park

Klondike park is located in St. Charles county just 14 miles south of the 40/94 interchange.  It is a wonderful location with over 250 acres nestled in the middle of Missouri Wine Country.

Boat Ramp

As we left the winery we took the first exit we saw for the park and found that this exit really just led to the boat ramp with access to the Missouri river and not into the park itself.  We decided to get out for a few minutes to photograph the river from this vantage point.

There is a power plant in this area and from the boat ramp we got a good view of the power plant across the river.
We had really wanted the main entrance to the park so we got back in the car and went down hwy 94 for about 1/4 of a mile and we came to the main entrance.

Features of Klondike Park

The park has a modern meeting facility (pictured at the beginning of this page) that is perfect for both family and business meetings.

One of the key features of the park is the beautiful bluffs overlooking the Missouri River valley.  There is a paved path that you can hike to the top of the bluffs for some scenic views of the area.

Hiking and Biking Trails

There are more than 4 miles of natural and paved trails for hiking and biking.  The trail pictured above is one that we took to go down to the river.  It was an unpaved path that went down a rather steep hill before it crossed the Katy Trail and eventually ended up at the river.

Katy Trail

The Katy Trail is a 237 mile hiking and biking trail that goes across most of Missouri.  Over half of the trail follows the path that explorers Lewis and Clark took along the Missouri River.

Camping at Klondike Park

If you are looking for a place to stay, Klondike park offers camping facilities including, 6 rustic cabins, 43 campsites, restrooms and showers.

Other facilities include:
  • Picnic shelters
  • Playgrounds for children
  • Large lake that is fully stocked

Unique Birding/Wildlife Area

We found there were numerous opportunities to take photographs.  There were many fields with wildflowers and birds.

Image from Klondike Park

Here is a canvas I found on Amazon which depicts a scene from Klondike Park.  Klondike Park is just north of Augusta, Missouri.

Here is a book with information on day hiking trips in Missouri.




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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Visit Missouri-Explore St. Louis Review of Fall Photography in Forest Park


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love to photograph the beautiful colors of the season. On this page I will review Forest Park in St. Louis through my Fall photography.


When will Fall Colors Peak


It is always difficult to predict when colors will be at their peak and this year was no different.  All October I waited and watched for the colors to change.  Oh there were glimpses of color here and there but not the outstanding colors that you think of when Autumn arrives.  I read that you don't get the really good colors until after the first hard freeze.  Well last week we got temperatures down in the 20's several nights so I knew it was time.  On November 1st I headed to Forest Park with my husband and some friends and was delighted with the amazing display of colors.  The day was clear and crisp and great for capturing the beauty of Fall.

A Favorite Venue for Fall Photography


Forest Park in St. Louis is a venue I have written about before, it is one of my favorite places to visit.  Here is a link to more information on Forest Park from one of my previous posts. Forest Park and Jewel Box.  In this post I will highlight fall colors around the History Museum, the Art Museum and the Bandstand area by the Muny.


Art Hill and the Art Museum


Our first stop in Forest Park was at the base of Art Hill.  This hill extends down from the Art Museum and in the winter it is a favorite place for kids of all ages to sleigh ride down the hill.  On this beautiful fall day it was the perfect place to capture a photo of the Art Museum and the bright red trees that were on either side.


This photo was taken when the sun was high in the sky so the glare takes out the details of the building.  We decided to head to the History Museum and continue my photography later in the day when the sun was lower in the sky.  Here are two photos taken a couple of hours later.  The first is a statue of St.  Louis which overlooks Art Hill and the scene of the 1904 World's Fair.


I took the next photo from the parking lot of the Art Museum, looking down on Art Hill.


Muny Area



The next area that I photographed is the area in front of St. Louis's outdoor theatre, commonly called The Muny.  This area has a bandstand on a little island.  The bandstand was built in 1924 to replace the original wood bandstand built in 1876.  This used to be a popular place for musical entertainment in the summer months.  The trees surrounding the water were a brilliant red color and I was able to capture some beautiful photos. 




History Museum


My original purpose to go to Forest Park was to take in the display of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs that were on display at the History Museum.  This was a wonderful display and we spent a couple of hours enjoying the photos.  We had planned to go on a Wednesday but had to cancel.  I am so glad we changed it to Friday because first of all Wednesday was a very rainy day and secondly Friday was the perfect day to photograph the changing fall landscape.  The photos below are of the museum and one of my cousins leaving the History Museum.





The Camera I used for this Outing


One of my favorite camera's is my Sony A6300 mirrorless camera.  I wrote about it in the following post. Sony a6300.  I used a wide angle zoom lems with 16mm to 50 mm. 

   
                                                     


Zazzle Card from my Photos

 




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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review of New Wheel at St. Louis Union Station

The Wheel at St. Louis Union Station was opened on September 30th, 2019 to help celebrate the 125th anniversary of Union Station.


Facts about the Wheel

  • 200 foot high observation wheel
  • 42 fully enclosed and climate controlled gondolas that each seat 6 adults
  • 3-4 rotations high above the St. Louis skyline during the 15 minute ride
  • The wheel is  now open from 10 am to 10 pm till October 31st when the hours will be changed to noon to 10 pm for the rest of 2019


My Experience on the Wheel

When my granddaughters visited in mid October, I decided to take them to Union Station to ride on the new "Wheel" that had just opened in late September.  In the photo above you see my friend DeAnn, my sister Julie and my granddaughters Ella and Rachel waiting for their turn on the wheel.

I had seen on the news that there could be rather long waits to ride the wheel, but the day we went we were able to walk right up, buy our tickets and ride the wheel when it stopped for the next rotation.  It was a rather chilly day but the gondolas on the wheel are all climate controlled so it was nice and warm.  There were five of us in our gondola and we had plenty of room to be comfortable and even move around a bit so I could get photos from all angles.

I am sometimes a little leery of heights but this  did not bother me at all.  I felt very secure in the enclosed gondola and thoroughly enjoyed the views of the city.  It was a cloudy day so I'm sure you would see more on a clearer day but I still thought it was fantastic.  I would like to go back at nighttime and take photos of the city lights from up on the "Wheel".


Views from the Wheel

This is the view looking east.  Directly in front you see the Enterprise Center where the Blues play.  Farther in the background you get a glimpse of the Gateway Arch. Also if you look close on the far right side of the photo you see the red brick of Busch Stadium where the Cardinals play.

This view is to the north/east.  Here you see the tops of the old train depot  and the red roof of the top of Union Station.
This view is looking to the south.

Information about St. Louis Union Station


St. Louis Union Station was first open to the public on September 1, 1894.  At one time it was the biggest and busiest train terminal in the country.  It is on the registry as a National Historic Landmark.  Today it is being renovated as a family entertainment complex.

Inside of Union Station you will find the St. Louis Union Station Hotel.  A beautiful hotel that serves guests from out of town along with many meetings, weddings and other celebrations of St. Louis residents.

The Grand Hall is a wonderful meeting place for people.  It is beautiful and the architecture is truly amazing. After our ride aboard the "Wheel"  we visited the Grand Hall and as we stopped to rest at one of their many comfortable seating areas the lights dimmed, we heard a sound of a train coming, and then a fantastic 15 minute 3D light show began.  We weren't expecting it so we were pleasantly surprised.  Beautiful music played and the ceiling was transformed with an different light scenes.  The photos below show two of the scenes.



More to do at St. Louis Union Station

There are several places to eat in the complex and we chose to stop at the new Soda Fountain Restaurant which also opened on September 30th.  It features "Freak Shakes, Boozy Shakes and Remedies".  We were however a bit cold to try the shakes so we enjoyed their delicious cheeseburgers and fries.  They also have a gift shop and a candy counter with lots of barrels and bins of old fashioned candies.

The outdoor area at Union Station also includes a carousel, a mini golf course and in the evenings a fire and light show with dancing lights, water and fire.

A big coming attraction for Union Station will be the 120,000 square foot St. Louis Acquarium.  It was under  construction while we were there but should be open by the end of 2019.  




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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Review of Historic Stonington Lighthouse and Museum

Stonington Connecticut is a delightful small town built around Stonington harbor.  We visited there on a beautiful July afternoon and parked in the lot along the harbor.  I then walked back up the hill to photograph the historic stone lighthouse.


History of Stonington Lighthouse

Stonington lighthouse was built in 1840.  It is a wonderfully preserved example of a mid-19th century lighthouse. The tower sits on a hill just up from the harbor and is 35 feet tall.  It was used for navigation until 1889, when it was replaced by another navigational aid out in the harbor.  The lighthouse is now used as a museum that explores the life and history of Stonington's seafaring people.  


Visiting the Inside of the Lighthouse

The museum is open seasonally and when you tour the museum you may also climb the 29 steps up the tower.  I climbed the steps and enjoyed taking photos in the museum and around the lighthouse grounds.

The brochure I was given when touring the lighthouse states that the seaside village of Stonington has been the " home to farmers, and fishermen, sailors and sea captains, explorers and entrepreneurs for more than 360 years."


Walking the Lighthouse Grounds- Views from the Back


Zazzle Products from my Photos





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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review of Lighthouses Seen from Avery Point


On a July visit to Connecticut, we made a stop at the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) to photograph the lighthouse that I had heard was located at the edge of the campus.  We were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful campus that along with the lighthouse had some beautiful sculptures.  Just offshore of the campus we had a wonderful surprise when I located two additional lighthouses.  On this page I will share my photographs of all three lighthouses and some of the sculptures I saw while walking along the paths on the campus.

Avery Point Lighthouse



Avery Point is the last lighthouse built in the state as an official navigational aid.  It was completed in 1943 but was not lit until a year later because of concerns about a possible Nazi attack during WWII.

As I strolled along the paths of the university I could see the lighthouse in the distance.  It is a distinctive beige brick tower and is a beautiful icon overlooking the water.


New London Harbor Light


Across the water from the campus I noted what I thought might be a lighthouse.  When I put on my longer lens, I was delighted to find this stately structure, which I found out was the New London Harbor Light.


In reading a brochure on lighthouse cruises, I found out that this is the oldest lighthouse in Connecticut. It was said to help to guide colonial privateers who sought shelter up the Thames River during the American Revolution.

New London Ledge Lighthouse


In the water, not too far off shore from the campus, I spotted a third lighthouse.  This lighthouse has some rather unique architectural features.  I read that it is a French Second Empire structure that is architecturally unique for a lighthouse.  It is also reported to be haunted by a former keeper.


There were lots of sailboats in the harbor and I was able to capture one just before it passed the lighthouse.


Other Interesting Features on the Avery  Point Campus of UCONN


Here are some of the photos I took of a building and a few of the many sculptures on the grounds.




Zazzle Products from my Photos


I enjoy sharing my photos on products made at
Zazzle.  Here are a couple you might like.






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