a walk along the youghiogheny river to swallow falls

Friday, August 17:  Sadly today is our last day of vacation at Deep Creek Lake.  We have to check out of our cabin tomorrow and head back home to Virginia.  We have a mostly lazy day, prodded in part by a near-constant drizzle all day, but we did take a little walk along the Youghiogheny River to Swallow Falls.

the trail along the Youghiogheny River
cantilevered stones holding up the trees
the Youghiogheny River
some waterfalls on the river
Swallow Falls

Adam on the rocks
looking downriver
Alex takes a dip in the river
mossy rocks and flowers
interesting rock formations
blocks of rocks

Fare thee well, Deep Creek Lake!

a gallery of mushrooms

Friday, August 17:  Today we go on a walk along the Youghiogheny River to Swallow Falls in western Maryland, where I encounter a lot of mushrooms.  As I don’t see any of these, ever, in Oman, I thought I would create a little gallery.

little yellow mushroom

You can click on any of the images to see a slide show…. 🙂

travel theme: signs

Thursday, August 16:  This week’s travel theme from Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? is SIGNS.  Ailsa writes about signs: they come in all shapes and sizes. If you would like to join in, create your own post with the title Travel theme: Signs and put a link to Ailsa’s page in your post so others can find it. And check back in next Friday for a new travel theme.

The USA certainly has its share of strange & interesting signs, as Ailsa’s post demonstrates, so I focus my sign-hunting on western Maryland, where our family is on vacation, and in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania.  Here are a few from the mountains near Deep Creek Lake.  I found this one at a Baptist Bible Church.

at a Baptist Bible Church in McHenry County

Believe it or not, there is a town called Accident near Deep Creek Lake.

Accident, Maryland

This is a sign I found on the back of a bathroom door near Monroe Run Hiking Trail.  I found it interesting and informative! 🙂

I learned something about composting here!

And here’s a warning to fishermen to please wash their waders so they don’t spread “Rock Snot”!

Help prevent “Rock Snot”!

In Pennsylvania, we eat lunch at a cute little cafe where they write their signs on blackboards.  This reminds me of my childhood, when I used to make all 4 of my little siblings sit in rows and listen to me “teach” them (who knows what!) and write on a blackboard.

artistic signs on blackboards at the Firefly Grill

And at this little cafe in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, the only option available to my vegan sons is in the bottom left corner.

sausage, pork, beef and chicken: every meat known to man. luckily there are some fruit smoothie options!

a cloudy & cool day of wakeboarding and tubing

Wednesday, August 15:  Today is our last day to have the boat, so despite the fact that it’s gray and quite cold, we brace ourselves to enjoy our final hurrah of wakeboarding and tubing.  I don’t wakeboard, but I do get out on the tube for a bit of excitement.  The boys have a great time doing stunts on the wakeboard, especially Adam who likes to take flying leaps and dance in figure eights on the water.

this is our last day with the boat. Cloudy with a chance of chill…
Adam prepares for wakeboarding, and tries to get his nerve up to get in the water on this cold day…
Adam hams it up on the wakeboard
and Alex takes his turn…
Adam being a goofball
Alex ~ all smiles
We stop at our rental place to trade in the wakeboard for the tube
Alex and our tube
me on the boat ready to go tubing
me on the tube
Mike tubing with no hands!
Adam drives the boat while Mike tubes
the boys & their boat

After my turn at tubing, I have the boys drop me at the dock, where I head immediately to the hot tub to warm up.  The rest of the afternoon, I spend reading, relaxing, going through my pictures, posting a blog, and watching the end of Kate and Leopold.  All right, you can see I’m on a Meg Ryan kick, especially since Creekside Cove has a stash of VHS movies that I haven’t seen in ages.

In the early evening, we return the boat and stop at the grocery store, where we load up on vegetables.  At home we make fresh green beans, pasta sauce with yellow peppers and onions, whole wheat penne, and a green salad.  Later we head out to the Lakeside Creamery to get fruit smoothies and then enjoy a couple of card games: Kings Around the Corner and Hearts.  I lose every game we play!  I get cozy in bed and continue reading my book, It’s All Greek to Me! until I happily fall asleep.

a sunset cruise on the lake & brenda’s pizzeria

Tuesday, August 14:  Today we take the boat out and the boys go wakeboarding for quite a long time.  I don’t take my camera with me because it gets tiring trying to take action shots when the boat is bouncing all over creation.  I immediately regret it; tomorrow I can hopefully get some shots of them showing off their skills.  I have the boys eventually drop me off at the dock, where I go kayaking for a bit and then lie on the dock reading the book I just started:  It’s All Greek to Me!: A Tale of a Mad Dog and an Englishman, Ruins, Retsina-And Real Greeks

the walkway to the dock

In the evening, we take the boat out for a sunset cruise on the lake.  Our destination is Brenda’s Pizzeria, a New York-style pizza place.  We cruise quite a distance, shivering against the cold wind and dark clouds, huddling together with beach towels wrapped around us.

Alex and Adam on the dock, ready for our sunset cruise to dinner
it’s cloudy and cool on the lake tonight
beautiful houses along the lakeshore
lakeshore homes

We’re startled by a piercing beep on the boat and we realize we are almost out of gas.  We are near Brenda’s Pizzeria and there is a gas station near there, but they tell us it’s against the rules to sell gas to a jet boat!  I guess our boat is a jet boat, whatever that is.  We have to go for quite some distance in another direction and the shrill beep goes off a few more times. I’m starting to worry we won’t make it and will be stranded out on the lake with no fuel and a storm brewing.

our savior gas station!

Finally we make it to a gas station, where we buy gas from some very friendly people.  Tied to the gas dock is an ice cream boat that apparently makes the rounds around the lake at 3:00 every afternoon.

the local ice cream boat

Finally, with our full tank of gas, we arrive at Brenda’s Pizzeria, where finally we can warm up and eat some dinner.

Brenda’s Pizzeria is on the top floor, a coffee shop on the bottom
inside Brenda’s Pizzeria
a busy little place

It takes some effort to figure out a way to make a vegan pizza for the boys, but Mike and I decide to share a spinach and artichoke pizza with plenty of mozzarella on it.  In order to get no cheese, you have to “make-your-own” pizza.  We think the spinach and artichoke pizza looks just fine the way it is.

a delicious spinach and artichoke pizza, 20″ to allow for leftovers

The boys order a “make-your-own” pizza with a long list of healthy ingredients and no cheese.

the vegan pizza
me with Alex

After our delicious dinner, and boxes full of leftovers for tomorrow, we head back out to the dock, where we hop onboard and cruise back home, surrounded by a beautiful sunset.

bright kayaks at the dock
a beautiful sunset on the lake

the blue hour
Alex on the boat as we head back to Creekside Cove


Back in our cabin, we relax and the boys watch Analyze This, while I go back to reading my book, and end the day just as I began it…. sleeping.

here’s me at our Creekside Cove cabin

mushroom hoagies by alex

Monday, August 13:  Tonight Alex makes some delicious mushroom hoagies.  Usually he makes mushroom tacos, but since we are out of tortillas, he turns the recipe into sandwiches.

First he chops a huge number of mushrooms into tiny pieces.

mushrooms galore: I think a food processor/chopper would have made this less time-consuming!
Alex chops away for a good long time!
Meanwhile, Adam and Bailey play around and I put my feet up!

Mike grates some carrots.  They put the grated carrots and mushrooms into a large saute pan and cook them up.  Alex adds red pepper flakes, chili powder, garlic salt, oregano and some jarred pasta sauce.

After the concoction is steamy, we pile the mixture on a hoagie bun, along with fresh baby spinach, tomato slices, and Goddess dressing, for a delicious vegan sandwich.

the ultimate vegan sandwich
Adam and his sandwich

Afterwards, the boys play some pool, and I begin to watch You’ve Got Mail, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, until I get sleepy….

boating & tubing on deep creek lake

Monday, August 13:  We rent a motorboat for the next three days, along with a tube for today, so the boys can get pulled behind the boat.  They get thrilled by these kinds of adventures; I go along for the ride to take pictures and to simply enjoy looking at the lakeside homes and the sweep & dapple of clouds in the sky.

I love the clouds at Deep Creek, especially b/c it’s so rare to see clouds in Oman. But sometimes, they steal our sun… 🙂

The clouds at Deep Creek are so billowy and puffy that the sun in turn hides behind them, punctuating our sunny day with moments of darkness and cold, and then pokes out to provide moments of pure brilliance and warmth.   The boys keep asking me when I’m going to tube, but frankly, it’s just too chilly for me to make that leap into the water.  I’m perfectly happy just to bounce along in the boat, jerking and pounding over wakes from other boats, and then cruising at what feels like a high-speed but is actually only about 20 mph.

our boat for the next three days & the tube for today
Alex in the boat
looking back at Creekside Cove
Adam gets ready to tube
there goes Adam
Adam swims back to the boat
Alex takes his turn
Alex tubing and waving 🙂
Adam gets ready to go
Adam in the boat
Adam & Alex
“At the entrance, my bare feet on the dirt floor, Here, gusts of heat; at my back, white clouds. I stare and stare. It seems I was called for this: To glorify things just because they are.” ~ Czeslaw Milosz
the boat at the dock after a day of tubing
and the happy kayaks

kayaking and zucchini burritos

Sunday, August 12:  After returning from our hike, the boys take the kayaks out for a spin around Creekside Cove.

life vests, paddles, Adam & Alex
trekking to the cove
Alex in the kayak
kayaking away on the horizon
my kayaking boys

And later, the boys and Mike make a dinner of grilled zucchini planks with a brown rice, black bean and pinto bean mixture on tortillas.  Very vegan…and very good!  I’m feeling so healthy these days. 🙂

zucchini and brown rice & bean burrito
side view of the zucchini burrito

After dinner, we all play a game of Spades, where Mike and I heartily trounce Alex and Adam: 271 to 92. 🙂  Gone are the days when we let our children win games!

a walk on the monroe run hiking trail

Sunday, August 12:  We pile in the car to drive about 20 miles to the Monroe Run Hiking Trail for an afternoon walk.  Our border collie Bailey is always the first to hop in the car, making sure he doesn’t get left behind.

Bailey waits in the car, determined not to be left behind

After our lunch at Canoe on the Run, we drive through forests and rolling farmland to the Monroe Run Hiking Trail.

Entering the Monroe Run Hiking Trail
boys hiking in the woods
Adam the spear thrower
the road not taken
Monroe Run
mushrooms growing on a tree trunk
a fallen tree overgrown with moss
my hiking shoes and their hike
Alex, Adam, Bailey & Mike
Adam crosses one of many logs over Monroe Run
monkey Adam
Bailey cools off in the creek
Alex, me & Adam
Adam does a handstand
…and Alex follows suit
a lone yellow leaf in a sea of green
Adam up a tree in true acrobatic form
…and Alex, later disappointed that he didn’t climb as high as his brother!

The boys are always happy when they can climb on rocks and fallen tree trunks, climb trees, and hop on stones across a river.  And I’m always happy to see them happy. 🙂

lunch at canoe on the run

Sunday, August 12:  On our way to the Monroe Run Hiking Trail, we make a stop at Canoe on the Run for some lunch. Canoe on the Run is a cute chalet-shaped restaurant that serves great sandwiches and chili, pastries, tea and coffee.  It even offers vegetarian options.  Three of us order veggie wraps, while Adam orders a Portobello mushroom sandwich.  I get myself a long-sleeve t-shirt because it’s quite cool here at Deep Creek, but not cold enough for the heavy-weight sweater I brought along.

Tazo tea & bubble gum for sale
healthy offerings
enticing pastries
the blackboard with the daily specials
Alex and Adam at Canoe on the Run
t-shirts for sale ~ I have to buy a long-sleeved one to keep warm
al fresco dining on the deck

After we eat, we hop into the car to head to Monroe Run Hiking Trail….