Weekly Photo Challenge: Local

October 17, 2016 — This week’s photo challenge is local.

We're lucky to have this gem in our backyard. It's a Logan Inn in New Hope, Pa., the most haunted place in America according to some experts who measure those things. We make it a yearly tradition to have dinner there each autumn and follow it up with a walking ghost tour through the streets of New Hope.
We’re lucky to have this gem in our backyard. The Logan Inn in New Hope, Pa., is the most haunted place in America according to some experts who measure those things. We make it a yearly tradition to have dinner each autumn and follow it up with a walking ghost tour through the streets of New Hope.
Across the street from the Logan Inn sits another quaint bar/restaurant with a great view of the Delaware River from its back deck.
Across the street from the Logan Inn sits another quaint bar/restaurant, The Riverhouse, with a great view of the Delaware River from its back deck.
A peek at that said back deck. I didn't have my tripod with me and I took it with the flash off, so it's a bit blurry. But it was a gorgeous fall evening and I love the reflections on the Delaware River.
Here is a peek at that view. I didn’t have my tripod with me and I took it with the flash off, so it’s blurry due to camera shake. It was a gorgeous fall evening and I love the reflections on the Delaware River with the moon on the rise.

Get your fright on

adeleOctober 15, 2014 – Halloween is almost here!

If you live in the Philadelphia area – said to be one of the most haunted areas in the country – there are plenty of activities to give you a good fright. Whether you are looking for special effects-type of haunted activities, or yearn to visit places that are haunted by real ghosts, here are some of the best the region offers:

Terror Behind the Walls
A tour through Eastern State Penitentiary is frightening enough, but during the Halloween season when they put on the Terror Behind the Walls showcase, you’ll likely be scared as you’ve never been scared before. Located on Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia, Eastern State is an abandoned prison that has housed some of the worst criminals in history. There are claims that the penitentiary is actually haunted, and nearly 60 paranormal investigation teams visit the site each year and have found evidence of ghosts behind the walls. So, whether you run into the real deal, or an actor trying to shock you, you’re bound to have a freakishly haunting time. Terror behind the walls is open every day except Mondays through November 2.

The Bates Motel Haunted House
Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” is arguably the scariest movie in his suspenseful collection. It introduced the world to Norman Bates and his beloved mother, who run the Bates Motel. Now you can experience Norman’s crazy world for yourself with a trip to The Bates Motel Haunted House. There are three exhibits on the site, located right outside Philadelphia in Glen Mills, giving you the option of a trilogy of terror. The Haunted Hayride, the Bates Motel, and the Haunted Corn Maze will thrill even the most sophisticated of Halloween enthusiasts. The exhibits are open daily through November 2.

Halloween at Laurel Hill Cemetery
Not only is historical Laurel Hill the hippest and most photographed cemetery in Philadelphia, it’s also home of the Gravediggers Ball, an annual event held each October, and the special attraction, Halloween at Lauren Hill Cemetery. Also known as the Soul Crawl, the program focuses on the rich history of Laurel Hill that dates back to the 1600s. Unlike other Halloween events, the Soul Crawl is scheduled for two evenings only, this Friday and Saturday, October 17 and 18, and will be followed by light refreshments aside blazing fire pits.

Ghost Tour of Philadelphia
The year round Ghost Tours of Philadelphia’s historic regions near Independence Hall are super eerie during the Halloween season. The tour guides take you on a candlelit walk through historic cobblestone streets where you will learn fascinating tales of America’s most haunted city. Walking tours depart from 5th & Chestnut Streets and finish at 2nd & Walnut Streets. Year round, tours depart on Friday and Saturday nights; during the Halloween season, tours depart nightly.

Ghost Tour of New Hope
Follow a lantern lit walking tour through historic New Hope, Pa., situated in Bucks County, right outside of Philadelphia. The streets are quaint and picturesque, and may look calm to the naked eye. Yet these streets are filled with ghosts from the past. You’ll hear tales of the haunted hitchhiker, and see the historic Logan Inn where Aaron Burr and a Revolutionary War soldier have been known to haunt. During September and October, tours meet each Friday and Saturday night, including Halloween.

Halloween at the Mutter Museum
The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia’s own medical oddities showcase, is frightful enough on a normal day, but during Halloween, it goes to extremes. During the season, the museum features the scariest of movies and guest lecturers for a ghoulish good time. Come see cult thriller, “The Doctor and the Devils”, or take in a lecture on Tales from the Dark Side of Organ Transplantation, and discover the curious adventures of a real life crime scene investigator. Only the Mutter can serve up Halloween in such unique way.

Capturing the moment

canon_powershot_sx30_is_angle_medium 2October 21, 2013 – I’ve always had a strong interest in photography, yet I know little more about the art than placing the camera in auto mode and pushing the button.

It’s time to learn more. The inspiration behind my decision – the night shots I took at my sister’s outdoor wedding reception last month were nothing more than a blur of lights mixed with darkness, which probably had more to do with my camera than photography skills. Still, my quest requires me to upgrade both.

Research led me to Canon because I have had a positive experience with them in the past. Back in the day, when film was king, I had a Canon Sure Shot that took beautiful pictures. I decided on a Canon Power Shot, a definite upgrade from my old Nikon Coolpix. Not quite a professional photographer’s choice, but a good beginner camera for anyone who wants to learn the science behind the photo. Once I read the manual, I will experiment (and share the results) without the help of auto mode. Until then, if only to get a feel for the camera, I’m on auto mode all the way. Here are the first shots:

Peddler's Village in Lahaska, Pa.
Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pa.
The pond at Peddler's Village
The pond at Peddler’s Village
The gazebo in Peddler's Village
The gazebo in Peddler’s Village
The water wheel at Peddler's Village
The water wheel at Peddler’s Village

Fall in Philadelphia

thSeptember 27, 2013 – Hall & Oates may have grumbled about spending another “Fall in Philadelphia” in their 1970s hit song, but the city and its surrounding suburbs is a spectacular place to be in the autumn. If you’re looking for something seasonal to do this weekend in the Philadelphia area, consider one of these attractions:

Ghost Tours of New Hope, Pa.
New Hope, the charming little Bucks County town that sits about 30 minutes outside of the city limits, is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country with roots and ghosts dating back to the 17th century. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, the tours that take place each Friday and Saturday night in September and October are an interesting lesson in history. Tour guides take you on a lantern lit walk through some of the oldest streets in America, where who knows…you could run into the ghost of Aaron Burr. For more information, including pricing and directions, visit http://ghosttoursofnewhope.com/.

Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival
Take a walk on the cobblestone paths surrounding the quaint shops at Peddler’s Village and see some of the most imaginative scarecrows out there now through October 27. This year contestants created their scarecrows around themes including Philly Love, Traditional/Whirligig, Extraordinary Contemporary, Kids Only, Quite The Character, and Group Crow. Admission is free. Schedule your visit early, before the shops open to avoid crowds, especially on the weekends. I visited last year at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and had the place to myself. For more information, visit http://www.peddlersvillage.com/festivals/scarecrow_competition_display.aspx.

Eastern State Penitentiary– Terror Behind the Walls
Eastern State Penitentiary is an interesting visit any time of year, but during the autumn, they pull out the big guns for their “Terror Behind the Walls” Halloween exhibit. As one of the nation’s premier haunted attractions, the exhibit, located in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood, isn’t for the faint of heart, so I’d think twice about bringing young children. Yes, it is that frightening. For 2013, Terror Behind the Walls will still have the six attractions, Hollywood-quality sets, and custom-designed props they are known for, but with a more sinister feel. Darker. Bloodier. Terror like you’ve never felt. It’s a must see for all of you who enjoy a good scare. For more information, visit http://www.easternstate.org/halloween/visit.

Linvilla Orchards
If you’re looking for more traditional, family-friendly fall fun with hayrides, pumpkin patches, and corn mazes, Linvilla Orchards offers the perfect escape. Located in scenic Delaware County, families are invited to visit Pumpkin Land, a yearly attraction at this working orchard, and join in all of the autumnal festivities between now and November 3. Other activities include apple and pumpkin picking, face painting, a hay maze and a lot more. Don’t forget to stop in at the corner store for the best fresh baked pies of the season. For more information, visit http://www.linvilla.com/family-fun/pumpkinland.

A winter’s day in New Hope, Pa.

February 29, 2012 – An extra day this month/year provides the perfect opportunity to tour the historic and quaint village of New Hope in beautiful Bucks County, Pa.

If you can’t be there in person – the weather is expected to be cold and dreary today in this neck of the woods so save your extra day for the spring – you can take a virtual tour now and imagine the sun warming face as you stroll along the cobblestone streets on Main Street.

You’ll find New Hope along Route 32, just off of Route 232 and about 25 miles north of Philadelphia. The road is the former main connection between Philadelphia and New York City, and was once considered the halfway point that found travelers stopping for the night while in route to Manhattan. And if you fall in love with the area during your visit, the house above is for rent; it’s located in the heart of town, right on Main Street.

Along Main Street (Route 32) sit a plethora of merchants like Love Saves the Day, an interesting memorabilia shop, along with restaurants, bars and inns dating back a few hundred years or more, such as the Mansion Inn and the Logan Inn.

The Logan Inn in particular is a popular spot with locals and tourists because it’s said to be haunted by several ghosts including Revolutionary War soldiers and historic figure and former Vice President Aaron Burr, who stayed there frequently before his legendary duel with Alexander Hamilton had him fleeing to South Carolina to avoid imprisonment.

A few miles south on Route 32 brings you to Washington Crossing Park, and the spot that General George Washington and his small army crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776 to attack Hessian troops in Trenton, N.J., a pivotal battle in the American Revolution.

Heading north on Route 32, which turns into River Road once you pass the shops along Main Street, brings you to some fantastic views of the Delaware River, and Lambertville, N.J., which sits across the river. The Black Bass Hotel, also known as the Jewel of the Delaware River sits on the bank of the river, and offers brunch and dinner.

Across the street from the hotel, the Lumberville General Store offers a bakery and quaint luncheonette for those looking for a quick bite or snack.

In all, the area is home to more than 100 historic buildings, which sit among the natural beauty that continues to entice visitors to New Hope, Pa.

Even on a winter’s day.