This Saturday was one of those perfect days. When everything you planned worked out, the rain mostly held off, and your preschooler was impeccably behaved. I have been doing some work for the lovely Clarion River Suites in Cook Forest, PA for the past few months, but haven’t had the opportunity to actually visit. It’s a few hours from my house, but this weekend, my husband and our son, along with my mom, sister, and brother, made the trip.
The drive there was nothing short of breathtaking. I think this weekend must have been the peak of fall foliage, because around every corner and bend we were given oranges, reds, and yellows galore. Not to mention, it was an overcast, chilly day. The ominous sky was oddly comforting and added to the October/Spooky/Halloween feeling. There were hardly any cars on the road and we thoroughly enjoyed the dark and rainy country drive.
After getting slightly lost, (we really were in the middle of the forest) we found the sign that would lead us up to the Suites.
They sit on top of the world, at least it feels that way, right above the Clarion River and literally in the heart of Cook Forest. The rain was impending, and we did have a few bouts of downpours, but in the dry time, we were able to capture the essence of this beauty. When you look at these photos, picture the smell of a bonfire all around you, as the fire was burning strong. A true smell of fall, if there can be a smell of the season, and if you mix that with the smell of rain, well geez, if I could bottle that all up and bring it home, I would never need another candle.
This is the deck where many people snap photos, as you can see in the next few shots, what lies behind you is just a blanket of color.
My husband walked down the hill a bit to get some closer shots. You can see him blending in to his surroundings. I think he would have stayed down there all day.
And here is the view from inside one of the Suites. I mean, really? I could sit on this balcony for hours. I wouldn’t even need to say a word. A good book, a cup of coffee, good company. It’s one of those places that doesn’t quite seem real. Photos don’t even do it justice. It feels like a place in your favorite book or a place from another time. You have to experience it to really understand it. And that sky!
My mom, sister, and brother, who got a little more lost in the forest than we did, ended up finding us and we got to spend some quality time together taking photos and taking in nature. Cell service was shoddy and that was honestly wonderful. To not be able to get a call or a text, to not hear those emails streaming in, or see what everyone was posting on Facebook. It was just us, on top of the world, family time, no distractions. The sound of the river and birds all around. It. Was. Everything. We. Long. For. … Peace.
Soon it was time for lunch, so we headed close by to Iron Mountain Grille and sure had our fill of pizza, salad, sandwiches, soup, and more! Photo below courtesy of their website.
Then we decided to just drive along the road and see where it led. Going somewhere without a plan, although scary to an obsessive planner like me, is always fantastic. Not knowing what you’ll find along the way makes the trip that much more exciting. We found a craft fair going on and stopped into this general store.
My sister ordered me an amazing candle online last year for Christmas, and low and behold, this store carried those very same candles. Of course we had to purchase some of those and I suggest if you ever find these near you, buy one! This one has three different scents and they not only engulf the room in aroma, but they last forever! I adore the jar look to this, handle, and screw off lid. Not only smells great, but looks great, too.
Lining the outside of the store were mini pumpkins and my son was thrilled to pick one out for himself. He carefully looked them over and then grabbed one, clutching it the entire rest of the trip. He brought it with him into every store and I think he would have slept with that thing if I let him. The fact that he picked it out himself and that it was just his size meant the world to him.
We also stopped at the Pickle Barrel. Another cute shop with all sorts of gifts, and a lot of, you guessed it, pickle-themed novelties. We started to do some Christmas shopping for one another and sat outside on the rocking chairs just enjoying the beauty all around.
My brother captured this shot of my son and it pretty much sums up our day. Pure joy.
Enjoy these last few weeks of Fall, East Coasters. Soon, the snow will cover our colors and it will be another year before the magic of this all-too-short season returns.