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A day trip

Ann Swanson

Do you and your family ever take day trips around your area? Being a farm family, for years we got used to taking day trips whenever we had time. One particular day we drove over railroad tracks about twenty times. I do not remember exactly where we ended up, but we came to something familiar eventually.

One summer my grandson, the youngest one, and I took a number of day trips. One day we would explore and another we would work up here. That was great for me because I got a lot of things done that I really needed help with.

One day we went to Jake’s Rocks. He had been there but not recently. We walked around and took pictures. We walked up to the little stairway that is almost hidden. There were other people there that day but we did not bother them and they did not bother us. After we explored the area thoroughly, we left and went to Pizza Hut for a late lunch. When we got home, I dug out some pictures of when Grandpa and I went to Jake’s Rocks. It looked so different.

Another day we went to Chautauqua Institution. It was before the season was open so we did not pay admission. He knew that I went there during the summer to stay. We were able to look around in the Methodist House because the hosts were there. He saw the room that I shared with others. The chapel was not set up at that point but we looked in. We walked along the lake. We were unable to get inside of the Athenaeum, but we looked through the windows. I explained to him that the windows went to the floor and when they were open you walked right onto the porch. The old Amphitheater was still in place so we took a picture there. That day his sister was working in Jamestown and his cousin was too. They met us for lunch.

One day we took a ride on the Summer Wind. That was kind of disappointing because we could only go part way because of an accident that happened over the weekend. We did talk to the man who drove the boat so that was interesting.

On another trip, we went to Titusville to see the first oil well. That was probably the best trip we took. The museum there was fabulous. They had added so many things since I had been there last. We spent several hours reading cards and looking at things. It really was a very educational day. There was a charge for that museum but in my mind, it was well worth it.

One day all of the cousins went to the Chautauqua County Fair. Before we went to the fair, we ate a picnic lunch at The Point. That is where we used to swim when I lived there. Now the road goes the opposite direction from what it used to. When I returned for a class reunion last year, I took the former exchange student who I was rooming with to The Point. She remembered going there when she was in town. It provided a very nice walk for us to get some much-needed exercise.

His sister joined us on a trip to a local observatory. We were able to see the planets. They have a lot of equipment up there so it was fun.

By the time we got in all of these things, the summer was about gone. He had soccer practice so that was it.

Last year for his birthday we took another day trip. My daughter’s kitchen was just going in so she was unable to entertain there. This time we started out at Zippo/Case Museum. This museum is free. There is a lot to see. Lighters are sort of collectibles these days since they are not in popular use today. The heyday of the lighter was when smoking cigarettes were fashionable. My husband had one that the men in his unit gave him as a gift. I took along some flashlights that we got at a convention. They both needed batteries. Sorry to say they no longer make those and there were no batteries available. I was going to give them to the kids, but since I could not get batteries I did not.

After that, we rode to the Kinzua Bridge State Park. It, too, proved a wonderful place to visit. I do not believe we paid anything there either. First, we toured the building reading all of the placards with the history of the bridge. Years ago, my husband took me on a railroad trip to the Kinzua Bridge. He told me that he rode on the last train that went through there. We took some wonderful photos. My husband loved to get those good shots. He went down under the bridge and took pictures to show the structure. A few years later the bridge collapsed during a severe storm in the area.

I liked what they had done to rebuild the structure. There is a platform that you can stand on to look down through and see how it was built. We did not walk the full trail but there is one there for you to walk.

This area offers so many activities that are either free or minimally priced. If you have not explored around your home you just may be doing it an injustice. I am sure that many areas have places such as these.

It was a family day that will be remembered by all. It truly made the young man’s birthday memorable. We did not have cake but ate supper out at a spot that the young man picked. He will surely remember his sixteenth birthday as a special event.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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