This past weekend took us west, to Ridley Creek State Park. This historic park is home to Hunting Hill Mansion, built in 1789. The mansion was originally a farmhouse, but was added on to by the Jeffords family in the early 20th century. Today, you can rent the mansion for weddings and other events. On Saturday, they were getting ready for an event, so the mansion was closed to the public. I did sneak a few pictures of the back, though, as we headed into the park for our hike.
Along the trails, we saw dozens of trees covered in carvings. Not an unusual sight in and of itself, but what surprised me was how old most of the carvings seemed to be. All of them were widened by tree growth, and some even had dates on them. If you look closely at the base of the middle tree, you’ll see that “Dave” carved his name in 78′.
There was once a mill in Ridley Creek State Park, around which a small village formed. People still live in many of the original buildings, including the miller’s house. Below are some photos I took of the waterfall at Sycamore Mills Dam near the original mill.
It wouldn’t be a proper hike without some wildlife shots! I was lucky enough to spot a Great Blue Heron looking for lunch in the river. I also got a very close shot of a butterfly in the short time it stopped to sun itself on a leaf. The fish was a lucky shot as well, but I need to do a little more research on lenses and techniques so I can shoot through the surface of the water with more clarity.
Next time you’re looking for a place to explore, consider Ridley Creek State Park!