Sunday, September 29, 2019

Middletown (PA) Sleighton Park and Millennium Trails (9/29/2019)

Sunday, September 29, 2019
Two short trails today. First the Sleighton Park Trail, a paved pathway that circumnavigates Sleighton Park off Valley Road and W Forge Road.
Sleighton Park
Just off W Forge Road, the path heads W ...
... and heads E around soccer fields
We followed the 0.73 mile path counterclockwise.
Malus sp/Crabapple Tree fruit
A few large erratics left by glaciers
Juglans nigra/Eastern Black Walnut Tree full of fruit
Black Walnut Tree fruit
Black Walnut husk and nut
The Abominable Snowman rises up
under invasive vines
Uh-oh, the path is blocked by pipeline construction
Buildings north of Sleighton Park were abandoned, which we attributed to the pipeline work. However, further research reveals that there is a whole abandoned complex of the former Sleighton Farm School Village.
We stayed on the park side of the construction fence;
here a tiny portion of the path is seen
Autumn is slowly approaching from the east
Kent rescued a Wilson Junior Football from the dry retention pond
Sleighton Park playground
Next we drove to the Millennium Trail at Memorial Park. We cannot determine why the area on E Baltimore Pike just before Media is called Memorial Park. It was dedicated on November 11, 1999 and has a United States flag, but the only plaques are for the Media Waterworks across the street and the Fussell Recreational Skating Area.
An observation deck in Memorial Park
The view from the deck is "slack water behind the water plant's dam,"
which was a sort of finger off Ridley Creek and once was used for ice skating
The Millennium Trail starts at the north end of the park
The lollipop trail is said to be a half-mile in length, round-trip.
Crossed under power lines
Since the last time we saw the Persicaria perfoliata/
Mile-a-minute vines, they have developed berries
A spot of color attracted our eye along Ridley Creek
A good fishing spot? - with the remains of a campfire
and a pail with plastic liner for trash
Beech tree graffiti
One of only two Millennium Trail markers we saw
Apparently high water levels eroded under a tree
that then collapsed, resulting in this gap
This tree is being under-eroded as well
Likely Fomitopsis betulina/Beech Polypore
The woods were too overgrown to see any wetland meadow across Ridley Creek. We did see an Odocoileus virginianus/Northern White-tailed Deer.
We followed a loop that brought us to the tributary coming off Mineral Hill, and also a trail that went uphill to a pavilion.
A fallen split tree
A well-made pavilion with a near-perfect concrete floor
The pavilion used to have electricity,
but was never grounded
The light fixtures with ceramic sockets
All the vertical posts rested on an inch of concrete
Former comfort station
We then noticed "Private Property" signs, rather than the "Posted No Hunting" signs typically seen along Middletown Township trails. We turned around and headed back to the car.
Funny that we missed these stone walls on the way in!
Looking right through the trunk of a tree
Acorns were so numerous that it was like
stepping on marbles and sliding!
Kent discovered this "ladder" and rope swing;
we hope the creek is deep enough!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Garden Spot Village Train Room (9/28/2019)

Saturday, September 28, 2019
We happened to receive a magazine for a former resident and in that magazine, Destinations, was an article about the Garden Spot Village Train Room, which was having an Open House today. We alerted Granite Farms Estates' own model train room expert, Walt H, and together we traveled the distance to Garden Spot Village, itself a CCRC, in New Holland, PA. It took us over an hour to reach the very large complex out in Pennsylvania Dutch country. We passed a couple horse-pulled buggies, and a large Amish family was also touring the model train room.
Kent and Walt enter the Village Square,
the Visitor Center of Garden Spot Village
As we made our way to the Train Room in the basement of the Gardens West wing, we passed the gift shop and coffee shop (which offers Starbucks products).
There was a small conservatory
A water cooler with a bottle-filling feature
A sort of real post office
Ah-ha, we must be nearing the train room!
Whoa! There were two very large model train layouts; this one is the O-gauge
layout, which had buttons to activate a car wash, drive-in movie theater, etc.
Display of Lionel trains through the ages
Several operators control the trains, here on the HO-gauge layout
HO-gauge locomotive roundhouse
Thomasville with Thomas the Tank Engine who verbally interacts
with children through the magic of audio-visual technology
A particularly long freight train winds along the model display
A "German village"
There is a "model train cam" with one of the locomotives
projecting a view as if from the engine cab
Plenty of bridges and tunnels
Also waterways
A small layout for the Dewitt Clinton
locomotive-pulled train
The many members of this communities' Train Club have helped others in Lancaster County either remove old train layouts, or one time, to establish a new layout. Unfortunately, we at Granite Farms Estates are too small and too far away to benefit from the expertise and manpower of the Garden Spot Village Train Club. Through e-mail, they will dispense advice and encouragement.