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Backyard Tourist

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?

Share your pics with us using the tag #GrandLancaster, we would love to see your perspective. You can also share your photos with us in the Grand Lancaster Society Facebook Group. Click the button below to share with us ...


Map

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 ...

Observation Tower at Governor Dick

Observation Tower at Governor Dick

Here's a place I've been anxious to revisit. I first visited Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick back in my Amish Road Show days. I'll post the original video further down. That was kind of a crazy time because Zoe was just a baby and had just starting to walk. Basically, we needed out of the house. It was fun, but she screamed the whole way back to the car, and it was slightly less than enjoyable. 

So the other weekend we returned with both kids older and accustomed to a decent hike. The park is located just south of Mount Gretna, Pa on Pinch Road. About a 1/4 mile south of Mount Gretna Road (Rt. 117) you will see a pull-off that provides access to the firetower. If you go another 1/2 mile or so down Pinch Road you'll find the entrance to the Environmental Center Parking Lot. This is where we like to park if we can. With over 15 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and equestrian use there's more than one way to get to the tower.

Panoramic view of the Observation Tower rising beyond the Trees at the edge of the wildflower fields.

The most direct hike is up a service road, but there are plenty of trails to branch off on, and most of them are not really stroller friendly that i saw, just a heads up. Our crew made our way through the wildflower fields. There were plenty of flying and stinging insects around, but for the most part they didn't bother us. That's where I got my Insta360 Nano out and started recording. Check out the video below to see what came next ... 

The climb up the tower is not too bad. The kids did really well with some help and guidance. I guess a lot of people don't realize it's ladders, not stairs. As you can see, when you get to the top you're in a cage. I had my selfie stick with me so I got to poke my Insta360 Nano just a little bit higher. Take a look at the view on the south side of the tower ...

There is a lot I still don't know about this park. However, that's just a reason to visit again. I know that the Park offers a wide range of nature based and  other educational programs. They also work with the Public Schools a good bit as was the desire of the late Clarence Schock. Be sure to stop by their site for more details on all of the activties, rules, and other information about the park.

 

Blast from the past ...

Like I said, this was our second trip up here. Just over five years ago I came up for my Amish Road Show site. This was back when I first got my GoPro Hero 2. Such a proud moment. Check it out ...

Martic Forge Viaduct

Martic Forge Viaduct

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite sections of the Enola Low Grade Trail. The massive Martic Forge Viduct is an old railroad trestle along the trail that has been renovated to carry trailhead over Pequea Creek.  

I had previously written about the Martic Forge Viaduct in my Backyard Tourist Column in Lancaster County Magazine, but I wanted get down there while there was some fall foliage left. For more info on the trail CLICK HERE to read the full column.

 

Here are a few shots from my visit ... 

View of the new deck and original trestle structure looking east.

Panoramic View of the Martic Forge Viaduct.

360 Street View on the Martic Forge Viaduct

 


 

October Backyard Tourist

October Backyard Tourist

Did you know I write a monthly column for Lancaster County Magazine? It's called Backyard Tourist and it's right inside the back cover! You can find my column on newsstands, online, or SUBSCRIBE HERE and get the best of Lancaster County delivered to your door each month!

OCTOBER 2016 - The view from a helicopter

In October's Column i joined the Snyder Family from Smoketown Helicopters as we went for a quick ride to see my own backyard. The Snyders have a strong passion for Lancaster County and Aviation, and they are very proud to be able to share that passion with you. 

Obviously I'm not going to give away the whole story about how awesome the Snyders are, how cool it was zooming over the countryside, and how you're supporting a veteran family owned local business when you fly with them. However, I do have a few extra photos that didn't make the cut. 

Looking southeast over Brubaker Quilts from Upper Leacock towards the Parkesburg area.

A few cracks in the clouds opened up to illuminate the runway as we made our return to the Smoketown Airport (S37)

Smoketown Helicopter's Robinson R44 II just after landing.