Above Saint Peters Village

Above Saint Peters Village

There is one place I visit every summer without exception. That’s Saint Peters Village, a small 19th century “company town” that is now a popular hiking and relaxation destination. You’ll find it situated along the falls section of French Creek in a unique Chester County community that has a distinct charm all it’s own.

It’s convenient for us to simply take Route 23 from New Holland strait to Saint Peters Road in Chester County. Just after you turn up the road begins to ascend uphill on a winding narrow stretch. Suddenly a large sign welcomes you to Saint Peters Village and old buildings with wooden siding dot the sides of the road. It has the feel of a modest, but modern mining village with a deep history in the hills.

Here is the view from high above the old granite quarry. I love coming here so much during the summer that our first stop was in April this year. We actually arrived before the leafs on the trees …

Img Ref: 1649 - Skypano - Saint Peters Village

Img Ref: 1649 - Skypano - Saint Peters Village

We won’t dig too deeply into the history and such today, just consider this a brief introduction. We mostly go to hike in the woods, hop rocks down the falls of French Creek, or splash around a bit in the cool water. Hiking through the woods you can see many remnants left from the areas early mining days.

However, there are a few notable shops in the Village such as The Inn at Saint Peters Village with drinks, a bar, and some fair on their massive deck overlooking the creek flowing through the woods. There is also the Bakery, Ice Cream Shop. and the Village Arcade which features an array of antique pinball machines. As well as some local artisan shops, and of course the West Hanover Winery.

We’ll get back to Saint Peters Village some more this summer and have a lot more to share with you. If you can’t wait until then, heres a map to get you started …

Ready for more high flyin fun?

Grand Firebirds

Grand Firebirds

Every year I take a trip to Phoenixville, Pa for the annual Phoenixville Firebird Festival. It is definitely my favorite event of the year! I started going in 2012 and just keep going through rain, snow, whatever. This year's event will be Saturday, December 8 at Veteran’s Park.

Phoenixville is a nice town to get out and explore when you want to get out of Lancaster for a bit. They have a number of small shops and eateries along Bridge Street. The downtown area has changed a LOT since I started attending the festival. Every year there seems to be new shopping and dining options available.

This festival is a great time to get out and walk around. The foods is great and plentiful, the small shops in town provide an opportunity for finding a unique Christmas present, and the atmosphere around the phoenix is charged with excitement as they light the bird.

I was unable to attend the 2017 Firebird Festival, but below you will find collections of my imagery from 2012-2017. Let’s kick things off with a sneak peek of the 2018 firebird …

2018 Sneak Peek

Grand Firebirds Video 2012-2017

Phoenixville Photo Gallery

Going to the Firebird Festival?

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A big change to note this year is that the Firebird has been moved, yet again, to a new location that’s better equipped to deal with the size of the crowd. This year the firebird is located at Veteran’s Park on Mowere Street. Be sure to checkout the website for information on shuttle bus. Based on experience the shuttles are mighty convenient.

Another worthy adventure ...

Rainbow Sunflowers

Rainbow Sunflowers

You may have noticed I've been talking about sunflowers a lot. Well, it's sunflower season and I really love sunflowers! Since they only bloom for a few short weeks time is of the essence my friends. 

The Story

I wrote about the Elverson Sunflower field in the August 2018 issue of Lancaster County Magazine, so I've been focused on sharing more about that destination. I've been driving down there and taking pictures of the sunflowers in their various stages. Now, the field is getting towards the end of its bloom, so this weekend will be a prime time to visit. Thanks to all the rain It's a bit mushy out there, and the flowers are a little soggier, but it's still a very lovely scene to photograph. It's really cool to see so many people enjoying it.

I've been keeping an eye on all the rain we've been having recently. I've been impatiently waiting for the rain, and the light, to come together so I could capture a rainbow at the sunflower field. When it first started to bloom I saw all the rain in the forecast and hoped it would all come together. I spent a few rainy hours in the parking lot with no luck. Last evening I was on high alert. 

I was headed toward the sunflower field but had stopped at Grocery Outlet in New Holland quickly. Coming out of the store I looked up to spot a dim rainbow stretched across the sky. Now I was certain "tonight's the night". A quick look at the radar indicated that we should be on pace with the storm. I told the kids the rainbow hunt was on, and off we went.

We spent a few soggy minutes in the parking lot, but as soon as I spotted some openings in the clouds we headed over to the field. The rain drops continued to fall on us while we waited for the clouds to open up. That's good though, it's all part of the recipe for rainbows. Within a few more minutes the clouds opened up and a full arching rainbow stretched across the sky.

So where's it at you say? Well I can't spill all the beans at once. After you get done below checking out the video and pics from last evening, scroll on down to the "Magical Sunflowers" banner to check out my story on the Sunflower field and where to find it. This will be a great weekend to get out there before they start their decline, hope to see you there! 


More Pics

Cameras Used:

Interested in Photography? For these shots and the video, I used my Sony a6000 and GoPro Hero 5. These are my go-to cameras, and since there are updates models of each you can get a lot of quality for a little bit less money.

These cameras work well from beginner to Professional. Check them out below, and when you buy through Amazon we'll earn a little comission for the refral.


1328 - Sunflowers - Elverson Patch Panorama

"Magical Sunflowers"

Discover this gorgeous Sunflower field in nearby Elverson, Pa in the August 2018 issue of Lancaster County Magazine.

Rain, River, and Rainbows

Rain, River, and Rainbows

We're finally ending a really wet week with some sunshine. Tropical weather dumped rain on us earlier in the week and the waters began to rise. Sit back and join me on a little virtual road trip as I piece together clips and pics our adventures in and around Lancaster County. 

Elverson, PA

The video starts out with a time lapse of some rain at the Elverson Sunflower field. Sunflowers don't bloom for long, I went to the field early in an attempt to catch a rainbow, didn't quite work out.

East Earl, PA

I did manage to capture this rainbow on the way home along Weaverland Road in East Earl. The farm wagon produce stand at the bottom of the hill is one of my favorites!

Falmouth, Pa

The boat access at Falmouth, Pa completely under water. This section of the river was RAGING and the roar of the dam was wild.

Bainbridge, PA

Access closed to the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail in Bainbridge, Pa.

East Donegal Township, PA

I think the #awayproject is going to have to return to East Donegal Township's River Front Park. This tunnel is the only public road in or out.

Columbia, Pa

Flooding at Columbia Crossing

More flooding at Columbia Crossing

New Holland, PA

At first a lonely beam of sunlight poked through one tiny hole in the clouds.

Within a few minutes, the clouds broke apart and the sky was filled with a massive arching rainbow. Honestly, when I look at this picture I like to pretend that farm to the left is shooting the rainbow across the sky. The second arch is very faint, but it was there as well.

Rainbow farm

Jimmy's Chicken Shack 

One more because I really enjoy rainbows! 

also check out this view ...

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Lancaster Archery Academy

Lancaster Archery Academy

Last week we stopped by Lancaster Archery Academy so my daughter Zoe could take their "Discover Archery" class. This little lady has been talking about shooting a real bow and arrow for as long as I can remember. I suspect the Disney movie "Brave" largely played a roll in this obsession.

Well, last Christmas my parents got her a gift card so she could try it out and see if she would enjoy it. She did, immensely! Our next trip will probably include a stop upstairs in the pro shop to buy her first bow. Check out these clips from her class below...


A bit about Lancaster Archery Supply

I first discovered Lancaster Archery Academy a few years ago while capturing the shop's official Google Street View. I had driven by the place for years, but had never stopped in to see what it was all about. The shop and Academy are located on the Old Philadelphia Pike just a mile east of Route 30 behind King's Kreamery (a nice spot for Ice Cream after the range, just sayin). When I finally stepped into the building it was amazing.

Lancaster Archery Academy is located on the first floor, while the Pro Shop is located on the second floor (both are handi-accessible). The large range and seating allow the academy to host a variety of large groups and events throughout the year. There's even a separate building with a second range for the really big crowds. A few other interesting activities of note include their TECHNOhunt video archery range and their Tag Archery parties.

Meanwhile, the friendly staff in the pro shop upstairs have a little bit of everything you might possibly need for archery, as well as a service desk to maintain and/or repair your equipment.  While they are a local company, thanks in part to online sales, they have become a well-recognized face in the archery industry nationwide. 


Classes at the Academy

The Discover Archery class was a great introduction to the sport. Before the class Zoe had never held a bow before. The instructors were very helpful, friendly, and patient. There were two other children in the class that were a little bit younger than her and everyone seemed to be learning and enjoying themselves. 

They began the class with a simple introduction to range safety. Then they introduced them to their bows and the fundamentals on how to shoot. For a first timer I thought she did pretty well, only one of the arrows didn't stick in the target and none of them missed completely. Later in the class they gave a few more pointers on aiming and switched from classic targets to balloons to make it a bit more challenging ... and ultimately more fun.

Discover Archery is just the first step. The Academy offers a variety of other classes from beginner level all the way up to competitive coaching. Now that she's completed the Discover Archery class we can head back for some per hour range time. The pricing for range time and equipment rental is very affordable. We will definitely be going back!

Zoe at Lancaster Archery Academy

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