Everything listed under: Parks

  • Ringing Rock Music & The Columcille Megalith Stones

    In June of 1890, Dr. JJ Ott went out to a sprawling, natural quarry field in northern Bucks County, PA to collect a bunch of rocks. When he arrived, he made sure to pick up a variety of rubble, enough to “play” a chromatic scale of  pitches. These rocks were special as they made a “ringing” sound (like a metal pipe) when struck by a mallet. Dr. Ott turned the stones into an instrument and at the Buckwampum meeting in Stony Garden, he had the Pleasant Valley Band accompany him, at what may have been the first ever “ROCK CONCERT”. {Wah, wah, waah -- cue the Muppet Show music}

    If you’re like me, a fan of Stonehenge or the giant heads on Easter Island, then eastern Pennsylvania is a must-see location you need to check out.

    There are two drastically unique rock gardens located approximately thirty miles apart from each other -- Ringing Rocks County Park and Columcille Megalith Park.

    Ringing Rocks is a natural deposit of oddly placed volcanic basalt. These boulders have small tubes running throughout the rock which, when struck, makes a ringing sound. Not all rocks in this river of boulders will chimb, but that’s part of the fun. You can spend hours just hiking around the area, trying to make your own rock music. Be sure to use a rubber mallet though, as metal hammers leave damage to these natural wonders. Also, the park is home to Bucks County’s largest waterfall (which stands alone in seeing). (More info: http://www.davidhanauer.com/buckscounty/ringingrocks/)

    Columcille Megalith Park is located a few miles north of Bangor, PA and is a collection of local rocks, boulders, and megaliths, put together to recreate the Isle of Iona (off the coast of Scotland). This outdoor sanctuary, made up of over 350 rocks, is the vision of a Celtic spiritualist, Bill Cohen Jr., who wanted to create a gateway to another world. St. Oran’s legend is promoted throughout the park, reminding the seeker that “the way you think it is may not be the way it is at all." (More info: http://www.columcille.org/index.html)

    Both parks are free and fun for the whole family and make for a mysteriously fanciful day trip.

    Happy exploring!

  • Underwater ghost town now a PA playground

    There are one hundred and twenty state parks in Pennsylvania -- all with their own unique stories.

    Some were created to save historical landmarks, others to preserve the vast forests for which the state inherits its name (Sylvania meaning woods or forest land), while others were to be used for industry and outdoor recreational areas for the public.

    The latter is the reason for Codorus State Park near Hanover in York County.

    But the real story behind this beautiful 3,300+ acre area is what lies beneath the manmade lake at the center of the park. It’s not a Loch Ness type monster, nor sunken treasure, but the underwater ghost village of Marburg.

    Marburg was a small community made up of a handful of buildings, including a farmstead,  which can be seen when the water level gets low enough. This actually happens more often than you think, as the damming of Codorus Creek by the P.H. Glatfelter Company was to supply water for its paper mill, and during summer months, the combination of industrial use and evaporation causes the water line to fluctuate, dropping up to 22 feet and revealing the mysterious ruins below.

    You might be asking yourself, why was a corporation allowed to take away the private property of a community? (Cue the late Paul Harvey...“page 2”) It wasn’t just the paper mill that wanted to dam up the creek, in fact, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted a law back in 1964 called “Project 70 Land Acquisition and Borrowing Act” to purchase private lands to be used as public parks, reservoirs, and other conservation and recreational purposes.

    You see, the state also wanted the land surrounding Marburg to be used as a drinking water reservoir for the town of Spring Grove (north, about ten miles) along with furthering Pennsylvania’s goal to have a state park within 25 miles of each resident.

    So, in 1966, an eleven story tall dam was built by the paper mill people, stopping Codorus Creek’s water flow, flooding the village of Marburg, and creating twenty-six miles of coastline to be enjoyed by the public in the newly formed state park.

    It really is a beautiful park filled with tons of amenities (marina, swimming pool, campground, hiking and horseback trails, dirt bike course, and an award-winning disk golf course). If you’re ever in the the area (Gettysburg, Hanover, York, Harrisburg), plan a day to enjoy this area -- and keep an eye out for Marburg, you might just spot the underwater ghost town.

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    P.S. -  I think we should petition the ghost hunting television shows to put on scuba gear to check out this underwater ghost town to see if it’s haunted.

    P.S.S. - For more information about Codorus State Park, click here.