Monday, July 7, 2014

Hawk Moutain and Wananmaker's General Store

I know it's been a while, my family has been keeping me super busy.  One of the bloggers I read regularly has spurred me to post, by creating a link up for fellow bloggers.  She has asked us to share our favorite places near where we live.  As a matter of fact, we just went to one nearby, and took photos as well, so here it is!

When my kids are home for the summer, we try to visit places that are new to us.  We live in Pennsylvania, right on the border of Lehigh, Berks and Montgomery counties.  We drove about 45 minutes to Hawk Mountain Wildlife Refuge near Kempton.  The drive was just beautiful on the back roads, with rolling fields planted in wheat, soybeans, corn and various types of hay.  It looked like a patchwork quilt of yellow, dark green, blue green and lime green.  I didn't grab a photo, but now I wish I did, as it was breathtaking.  We passed one room school houses, farms with fieldstone houses and bank barns as we twisted and turned on winding roads, climbing up higher and higher.

The rewarding view at the top of the mountain.

Ok, so I gave you the best view first!  Apparently, years ago, folks came to Hawk Mountain to shoot migratory birds for sport.  An amateur ornithologist, Richard Pough, came up the mountain and took a picture of all the birds lying on the ground at the end of a day's shooting.  Rosalie Edge saw these images, and decided to lease the 1,400 acres of land to end the shooting, and opened the sanctuary to the public. Later, Rosalie purchased and deeded the land to the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association.

We started our hike at the at the native plants garden, and had a bit of fun with this statue.
It was a hot 90 degree day, high in humidity.  Most of the area is covered with trees so the shade was a great relief.  The trail starts out as a nice level path, with gravel.  Don't be fooled, there are some areas that are very challenging.  The sanctuary has thoughtfully placed benches along the trail for those needing a break.

We started our hike at the at the native plants garden, and had a bit of fun with this statue.

  Some areas have logs or arranged stones as steps.  A few spots have handrails made of engineered wood, and I found myself wondering how they managed to get it in place.  (There is no road, only the trail.)  

We read a sign that said people used to excavate the area for sand to build and make glass.  The thought of hiking through there way back then, and then attempting to get the sand back down the mountain seemed almost unbelievable.  

I believe this was from the Ridge Lookout.

We hiked back down off the trail, hungry for lunch.  We were out in the middle of no where.  It took 20 minutes to drive down the mountain roads to nearby Kempton where we found Wanamaker's General Store, along route 143.

Wanamaker's was established in 1886.  It's a sweet old building with gingerbread trim.

They had a little bit of everything, which was great, because I didn't see any other stores up there.
  They had wonderful goods, things you wouldn't expect to find in a tiny store in Pennsylvania German country.  An excellent selection of spices, bulk foods, fresh floral bouquets, american made toys and ice cream.

The sandwiches were made to order, quickly and with a smile.
  They really hit the spot after a hot day of hiking.  

So really, two favorite places in one day.  We found quite a few last summer, and hope to find more this summer.  Thanks to Gabrielle Blair's idea to share links, I'll try to post more soon!  Check out more favorite places on Gabrielle's blog, Design Mom.

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