Wandering around cool rides at the Wheels of Wayne Car Show

This was the first of two car shows in a row that I attended for the season, capturing images of many cool rides at each one. It’s been difficult to decide which ones to share on this and an upcoming post for the second car lovers’ event. Here are some of my favorites among those featured at this year’s Wheels of Wayne, displayed in the downtown area of Wayne, Pa.

Camaro girl that I am, I voted for this ’68 model to win a People’s Choice Award and snapped a selfie with it.

I’d love one of these vans for a great camping road trip!

A new model of Steve McQueen’s Mustang from the movie “Bullitt.”

As I was parking, I turned to look out my driver’s side window, only to see this massive police rescue vehicle waiting. What an unexpected sight!

Although this Dodge Challenger SRT didn’t have a registry card for the event in its front window, it sure fit in among the cool cars there. I saw it on my way out, wondering if maybe it was a new arrival and the owner was checking in for a card.

Wheels of Wayne was held on April 29 along North Wayne Avenue and this was the first year I managed to check it out. I’m looking forward to next year’s display of stunning rides!

Next up, more favorites from a recent car show at Delaware Park Casino.

Posted in Car Shows, Cars, Chevy Camaro, Chevy Corvette, Classic Cars, Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, Pennsylvania, Travel, Wayne | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a bite at the Phoenixville Food Truck Festival

It’s already been a busy good-weather season, going out to events in the area and capturing so many moments in photos. Warm days finally reaching us, I’ve been wanting to go to as many places as possible which host fun outdoor activities. My first foodie-oriented excursion was the Phoenixville Food Truck Festival, set up at the lower parking lot of the Shoppes at Valley Forge.

Although I was hungry after a longer-than-expected drive, I wandered from truck to truck before diving into good food. They included Bob-O-Q Sliders & Sides, Mannino’s Cannoli Express, The Happy Pita, Mad Sandwiches, Wow Wagon, Soul Burrito, Donut NV, Dia Doce Gourmet Cupcakes, Mobile Mess Hall, What the Fork, Nick’s Roast Beef and more.

So, I let my appetite build up to the point of choosing to start with a Sweet Mama burrito from Soul Burrito. There were only a few places to sit; some people relaxed on grassy areas overlooking a creek. Most festival-goers opted to stand at one of many round tables in the lot and enjoy an on-the-go feel of sampling food. That’s what I did as I began to take a bite of my burrito.

With many tempting choices, it had been difficult to decide what to order from among Soul Burrito’s menu. But the Sweet Mama burrito did not disappoint; so delicious, full of flavor and very filling. So much that it took a while until I was ready try another bite to eat.

In the meantime, I noticed one truck’s bright green exterior detailed with a definition for any food lover:

Once I felt able to take in more festival offerings, the Mobile Mess Hall with its mac and cheese menu was up next. I’ve never tried Brie and tasting it first as a mac and cheese flavor…yum!

After the burrito and small bowl of a comfort food variation, I was all too stuffed to eat anything else. Before leaving, a 6-pack of sweets from Dia Doce Gourmet Cupcakes was picked out to take home. Customers were able to choose any six flavors from creative, crave-worthy delights. Mine included lemon lavender, simply red, chocolate salted caramel, party cake, Oreo cookies and cream and lastly, peanut butter blackout.

The Phoenixville Food Truck Festival was held on April 28 and there is another one coming up later this month in a neighboring town. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d be attending, however I plan to now as a way of remembering Anthony Bourdain and his love of food, travel and culture. There are so many more of those that I want to experience in my own life, including Philadelphia restaurants where he dined. My nearest big city still has so many places I’ve yet to visit and as I do, its flavors and culture will inspire me to take in more of what’s out there.

Posted in Culture, Dining, Festivals, Food, Food Trucks, Foodie, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imposing old ruins at Ridley Creek State Park

After my trip to Valley Forge, the drive home found me taking a familiar road which goes through Ridley Creek State Park. It was shortly past noon and the sun’s warmth took the edge off the earlier chilly wind. So, I decided to stop for a brief visit and check out huge, crumbling ruins looking out over the creek waters.

Unlike the smaller ruins beyond the waterfalls, this stony and overgrowth-covered structure didn’t have any sign with information nearby. Yet, with several old building remains in the park, they all share a connected story. This small one was a short walk down a road crossing the end of the bridge nearest to a colorful peace mural.

It amazed me to think of how many times I must’ve passed by these larger ruins going to and from school during senior high years. Looking back on my scenic bus ride, I remember other students and I gazing out into the woods in search of deer. One guy would always ask the bus driver if we could go home “the deer way.” As often she agreed to do so, we’d get into the heavier wooded area of the park. I’d try to spot some deer, headphones on as well as replaying in my mind any fun moments from school that day. Thoughts would wander to my crush and his antics in class or to dreamy wishes that he and I could visit the park together one day. In the present, I realized that I’d been distracted from wondering about those mysterious old ruins.

Getting the chance to more closely wander toward the looming walls of stone, now the structure truly had my attention. The way nature took it back, branches showing spring’s approach with green leaves were nearly hiding even this imposing piece of history.

Sometimes, I don’t want to find out the past of such sites with that factor of the unknown. They have a more romantic atmosphere that way. To me, their sense of mystery sure would compliment a nice date of exploring these places and surrounding nature with a love interest. During a previous visit to Ridley Creek State Park, it was the first time I’d gone far enough to reach a picnic spot. I thought how I’d love to make this place part of enjoying a great day with someone special. He’d be outdoorsy and have a curiosity for any storied sites along the way.

Whether solo or with someone joining me, there is still a great deal of this park’s beauty and history I’ve yet to take in. So, I’ll make several return trips over the coming months through the fall season.

Posted in Abandoned, Historic, History, Nature, Pennsylvania, Ridley Creek State Park, Ruins, Scenic, State Parks, Teen Crush, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Super Sunday in downtown Media

For this event, I decided to write about it for a local Patch instead and link to my article. I signed up to contribute to the hyper-local news outlet earlier this year. My main interest was to submit posts about various events I attend in the area. It wasn’t until the spring weather finally began to show that I had a better chance to get out there and create a story on festivals.

Check out my Spring Super Sunday post. Hope you enjoy it and I look forward to sharing more through Patch. Once I’ve built up enough stories there, I might create a new page on here with links to that work.

I’ll continue to post on here as well, especially since I love blogging about places beyond my local area. Writing on a news site is another platform on which I’d like to grow journalism work. Just as I do in my blogging, I enjoy putting together travel experiences and even inspire others to try this place or event. It may be local, yet unknown or simply missed by some residents one year or another. That’s happened to me many times and recently, in visiting a favorite state park. Whether from someone else or following my own interest, I have a new-to-me experience while enjoying a day out.

So, that’s why I’m spreading my work to Patch. I also hope to share travels in a literary form, submitting more stories to publications accepting the non-fiction genre of creative writing.

Posted in Festivals, Journalism, Media, News, Pennsylvania, Travel, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Camaro road trip dreaming

The inviting warm weather found me out at Phoenixville, Pa. for a food truck festival within the Shoppes of Valley Forge parking lot. I’ll be posting all about it and the delicious food shortly. As the sun overhead draws a crowd to take in great grub outdoors, it also makes for the perfect time to go cruising in classic cars.

While on my way home, an orange ’69 Chevy Camaro with white racing stripes roared by; its engine rumbling, sounding so cool. I love spotting these old school muscle cars out on the road. After all, how often do we get to see them? But yesterday, the car (and especially Camaro) enthusiast in me was bound for a double treat. Closer to my area, I saw this red ’67 or ’68 with black racing stripes. Except for the stripe detail, it reminded me of the ’67 my dad once owned…which I hoped to drive as I began senior year in high school. His had a narrow black stripe around the front end. To this day, it is my dream car for taking on a road trip.

If I could, I’d love to buy one from a dealer specializing in classic cars. However, I love all models of the Camaro. After lingering wintry weather, I was jumping at the first chance to hit the road with my 2000’s t-top open and windows down. Favorite tunes cranked up and wind blowing in my hair as I fully enjoy spring’s arrival.

Here’s to more sun-soaked road trips in my Camaro, as well as catching owners of classic rides take theirs for a spin!

Posted in Cars, Chevy Camaro, Classic Cars | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Valley Forge nature hike turned architecture stroll

The first of my two hikes this month was at Valley Forge National Historical Park and going into that weekend, weather was a concern. Would it snow or not? Luckily, no snowfall came out of our forecast; it was sunny yet still on the chilly side. As the group I joined began to gather and sign in on a leader’s checklist, the wind made it feel worse. Even with gloves on, I was rubbing my hands to warm them up.

While chatting with fellow hikers, I gazed up toward the trees as lone man walked just along the edge of the woods. From the color of his clothes, it appeared that he was wearing a Revolutionary War era soldier’s uniform. The same goes for gear worn over his dark blue jacket. He trekked on around a corner, up a hill and was out of sight. Any re-enactors wandering the trails on their own?

Before long, we headed out of the Knox parking lot, across the road and up toward the trail facing into the wind. Our hike would consist of about 30 minutes going uphill and I wasn’t sure I could make it as the icy feel of the wind quickly got to me.

My visit to the park wasn’t lost to the still-too-wintry weather; it was a long drive getting there, so I thought I’d wander around Washington Chapel. On the way, I stopped to snap a photo of construction at the General von Steuben statue, followed by an image of a nearby historic building.

This intriguing little shed is along the driveway between two parking lots at the chapel. Ivy climbing its wooden walls gives it an enchanting, fairy-tale vibe. Gnarled trees looming over me evoked that same feeling of slowly, cautiously stepping into a mysterious forest in which magical stories are often set.

I managed to take a handful of photos around the ornate site itself, yet encountered a problem with my phone.

Only moments prior to the earlier hike, my phone had only charged up to 80 percent in the car. It dropped to 65 by the time I arrived at the chapel and while trying to take photos, it suddenly shut off. It wouldn’t turn back on even with several attempts at pushing the power button. By then, I had only walked around the chapel for 10 minutes. I couldn’t do anything other than head back to the car. Upon plugging in again, the battery was less than 10 percent. I couldn’t believe that in such a short time, it drained at least 55 percent.

I’m glad that I captured a few photos, including those of several details I hadn’t spotted before when visiting the chapel in the past. Here are some of my favorites from this spur-of-the-moment architecture stroll.

After that sunbeam-filled shot, I tried snapping another and that’s when my phone just stopped working. Having only briefly explored the chapel, I didn’t think it was a battery issue. Yet, that was the case; it was in the red.

As for the hike, I’m planning to take on that trail in warmer days later this spring or in the summertime.

Posted in Architecture, Hiking, Historic, National Parks, Nature, Pennsylvania, Photography, Travel, Valley Forge, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring deeper into Ridley Creek State Park

Waterfalls are a big travel bucket list item for me and they’re also part of what I love about nearby Ridley Creek State Park. So many of these beautiful natural elements are far away; this one is in a scenic spot right in my region of Pennsylvania. A touch of spring began to show, with small yellow blooms complimenting the falls flowing into the creek.

It was during a previous park visit that I first came across the Sycamore Mills ruins. However, the crumbling structure makes for interesting photos in different shadow and light patterns throughout the year. You’ll get a unique look from capturing such sites at various times. Even though the ruins here have a known name and history, there is still a sense of mystery about them to me. Maybe it has to do with pondering long-ago daily life at this place.

Which way do I go? At a point that I hadn’t reached before in the park, I came to this fork in the road. Beyond the sign was an inclining direction and for the moment, I chose to keep following the way I was going and possibly trek higher ground on a future visit. Either option would lead my curiosity to areas I hadn’t yet seen and I always find it exciting to venture into new-to-me territory.

A large fallen tree among surviving ones to my left, the huge hole in its trunk caught my attention.

Spotting a picnic area up ahead, at first I thought it looked like a bridge. This was now the farthest into Ridley Creek State Park I’d ever wandered. As I walked closer, the creek water sounded like there was another waterfall beyond the picnic spot. However, it was only the rush of shallow water over rocks peaking out at the surface. I was exploring on my own at the moment, but thought this would make a nice outdoorsy date spot with someone.

The creek waters were calm as could be in this area, allowing for a sharp reflection of the trees and early spring color.

Back at the ruins, I decided to take a few more photos from another perspective; parts of the stony walls were better lit, revealing extra detail. I also love varying up the angles of surrounding nature.

A beautiful sight, indeed. Yet, visitors must heed this warning of getting too close to the waterfall: Danger. Keep Off.

I paused, looking back through the lens once more for a final capture of yellow petals and the park’s waterfalls. With several trees in the foreground, I wanted to show just how scenic this spot is for the eyes to enjoy. No question that Ridley Creek State Park is a local favorite for nature lovers.

At the time, information posted in an encased sign included a story about other state parks in Pennsylvania, featuring a photo of Kinzua Bridge. I’ve never been there, so this short hike through Ridley Creek gave me inspiration for another place to visit someday. Only glancing at the photo, I didn’t learn the full history of Kinzua Bridge and the state park where it’s located.

Shortly afterward, I watched an episode of a show called “Mysteries of the Abandoned,” which had a segment on the bridge. From that, I learned its story along with how it became a tourist attraction. As someone who is interested in old and abandoned places and structures, Kinzua is right up my alley. Located far northwest from where I live, I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to visit.

Until then, I’m planning to explore a much closer spot to take in my home state’s nature, Evansburg State Park. Along with that, I’ve also got two upcoming blog posts about Ridley Creek State Park after a recent quick stop and another visit on the way. That will find me taking on another new-to-me hiking trail.

I hope to see many such parks throughout Pennsylvania, as well as those in every state. Accomplishing this and visiting more national parks are big goals I have for experiencing natural beauty and historic sites of America.

Posted in Abandoned, Evansburg State Park, Hiking, Historic, History, Kinzua Bridge State Park, Nature, Pennsylvania, Ridley Creek State Park, Ruins, Scenic, State Parks, Travel, Waterfalls | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment