1 August 2021
Betsy and I left Morgantown at the crack of 4:00 this morning and pulled up curbside at the Pittsburgh Airport at 5:30 and soon Betsy will be in Skamokawa Washington and Kayaking the Lower Columbia River with a small Road Scholar group.
Rather than just drive straight back to Morgantown I detoured to Wheeling and by 7:00 I was parking the car at the bottom of Serpentine Carriage Road at the bottom of Oglebay Park hill and I was ready to go for a little walk about.
As I wound my way up the old carriage road I admired the many Ebony Spleenwort ferns on one of the old rock walls and enjoyed the song of the Wood Thrush.
When I got to the top of the hill I crossed Rt 88 and walked over to the entrance of the gardens. At this time of the morning on a Sunday I had the place to myself - for a little bit anyway.
The gardens were full of color and all was lush looking after the recent rains and the cooler temps.
So, let's go for a little stroll.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
(Disclaimer: All photos were taken with my phone camera in rather poor light.)
Annual flowers are plants I know little about but I enjoy them. The one plant I know in this mix is Cleome, it has the pink flowers
All the walkways are lined with lovely flowers and overflowing baskets hang from the lamp posts.
The old greenhouses are still used today to grow many of the flowers which are planted in the beds and borders.
Here we see Dusty Miller and ...?
This beautiful Cleome takes center stage.
There were hanging baskets stuffed full of Wax begonias and ...
... Petunias! Lots and lots of petunias.
Oglebay Park has many fine old trees including this gnarly looking thing.
These London Plane trees are thought to be a hybrid of (Platanus orientalis) - Oriental plane and (Platanus occidentalis) - American sycamore.
I am sure when I was a kid growing up here I explored the inside of this one.
Leaving the Gardens behind I walked the paths down to the "trout pond" and around Schenk Lake then up to what used to be Children's Center and Nature Center then down into the woods and over to the base of Camp Russell Hill.
As I walked up the hill towards the old log building the cool, dew laden grass felt wonderful on my sandal shod feet.
The single log building by that name (Camp Russell) was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Its size is deceiving. It can hold up to 200 people for receptions, dinners, and the like. Oglebay Park is a self-supporting public municipal park, the only one of its kind. It has been open to the public since 1928, when the Wheeling Park Commission began operations at the former estate of Earl W. Oglebay. In 1926, Oglebay donated his summer estate, Waddington Farms, to the city of Wheeling.
Source: Library of Congress
And this early Sunday morning it sure looked like 200 people had been having quite the party. I peeked inside and saw 100s of empty beer, wine and champagne bottles.
The old stone front porch was set up with tables of favors for the quests of what had obviously been a wedding reception. The photo below was prominently displayed for all to see.
"Dogs are people too". Gag...
I now made my way back towards the gardens, enjoying the arboretum as I walked. I crossed back over Rt 88 and to Serpentine. I was just about halfway down when I saw a large bird fly out of and old hemlock. I watched as it landed on a nearby maple tree. And for just a few seconds I was eye-to-eye with a big, beautiful barred owl. What a treat!
Soon I was back in the car and enrotue to Morgantown. Rather than the Interstate I took some twisty-turny country roads home. And as I rounded one of those turns I something small, dark, and low slung with a long thin body hop out of the ditch. It looked right at me and a second later it vanished. I had just seen a mink! I have seen weasels and otters but I have never caught so much as a glimpse of a mink. And that is all I got today - a glimpse.
And so ends this tale of airports, flowers, gnarly trees, glowering owls and fleet footed minks.
See you next time...