Good Neighbors Blog

From quirky extras that didn’t make it into the magazine to behind the scenes looks into the making of Country – we’ve curated photos and stories we think you’ll enjoy. Won’t you be our neighbor?

Country Extra: Sept. 2014

Sept. 2014 Country Extra

Subscribers should have the September issue of Country Extra in hand now or should be receiving it very soon! If you’re not a subscriber to Country Extra, here’s how you can be, so you don’t miss a thing! —> http://bit.ly/1gUS355

As always, we’re happy to offer our online readers a few of our favorite stories from the current issue. Let us know which ones you enjoy the most!

Quabbin Reservoir Wildlife and Scenic Beauty

Must-See Wildlife Moments: Montana’s Bugle Boys

Rescuing Birds in Time of Need

Lost Cows Provide Bovine Brand of Country Humor

California Shoreline Land Now Protected

Childhood Pet Saint Bernard Left Big Impact

Rescuing Birds in Time of Need

A Letter to Mom and Dad in the 1940s

 

The Life of Annie Oakley

Life of Annie Oakley

Life of Annie Oakley




As a young girl, Annie became the breadwinner in a fatherless household by shooting wildlife, wrapping them in long grass. She delivered them by riding the family cow to the train which took them to Cincinnati for restaurants there. She earned enough to pay off the family’s  mortgage.

At 15, she moved to Cincinnati with her older sister and brother-in-law where she got into a shooting match with a U.S. champion sharpshooter. At 5’0″ and 100 pounds, the chestnut-haired, gray-eyed girl wielded her Kentucky mussel loader to victory.

Aggravated at his loss to such a little woman, he nonetheless gave her several tickets to the Cincinnati Opera House to see his performances with his dog George, a white standard poodle who posed with an apple on his head while his master, Frank Butler, shot it off.

As a member of the Buffalo Bill Wild West show, Annie Oakley was the key performer, shooting from a moving bicycle and the back of a running horse with both pistols and rifles. She even shot over the back of her shoulder using a mirror. Many of her tricks have never been duplicated by anyone.

Twice, the show crossed the Atlantic to perform in France and England. So marvelled with her performance, Queen Victoria requested private audience with Annie. They became friends, the queen giving her a pair of mother of pearl opera glasses, which rest on a glass shelf in the Garst Museum in Greenville. The queen and Annie became pen pals.

Notable is the fact that it was at one of her performances there that our flag was saluted by English royalty for the first time in its history. The French awarded Annie with a large silver loving cup which later held her ashes upon death.

California Coastal City of Point Arena

California Coastal City of Point Arena

California Coastal City of Point Arena

Mouth of the Garcia River from Lighthouse Trail

California Coastal City of Point Arena

California Coastal City of Point Arena

Sinkhole with arch, Island Trail Point Arena-Stornetta Unit, Mendocino County, California

    Story by Donna B. Ulrich
    Photos by Larry Ulrich

    Point Arena is a quiet town that does not pretend to be anything more than what it is. What you find in this sleepy northern California town are beautiful ocean views and people who love it the way it is. Here, historic and quaint is what you get. No box stores, no huge groceries full of fancy food; just mom and pop stores and hometown service.

    The beauty of the Point Arena landscape centers on the ocean. Take a hike! As photographers, one of our favorite places is Bowling Ball Beach, where, during a low tide, incredible sandstone concretions bigger than beach balls are lined up as though in a bowling alley. To find the trail, look for the trailhead sign for Schooner Gulch and a sign that says “Park facing south only” about 3 miles south of town; it is a short hike from there. Manchester Beach State Park has 760 acres of beach, sand dunes and grasslands along with a campground.

    If walking the beach, touring the lighthouse or discovering the California Coastal National Monument gets to be tiring, go back to town and check out the farmer’s market from June to October. Browse the eclectic shops and galleries, check out the Arena Theater. Or go to the south end of town, right off Highway 1, and visit the Point Arena Tileworks.  Owner and artist Matt Matijczyk will show you his hand made tiles, ranging from 4 or 6 inch tiles to entire murals and 3D shells.

    Staying in Point Arena means immersing yourself in history.  The old Coast Guard Historic Inn and the Wharf Masters Inn are both unassuming but well maintained—and with ocean views. Other accommodations are all snuggled in town with comfort in mind.  Perhaps the most interesting lodging can be found at the Point Arena Lighthouse, originally built in1870!  Accommodations feature four keeper homes & one keeper’s room, all pet friendly. We haven’t stayed there but the reviews state that rooms are “homey, magical and well maintained.” Even if you don’t stay there, the tour to the top of the lighthouse is one of the best views on the coast.

    Of course a visit to the coast is incomplete without seafood. Wander down to the pier and find The Pier Chowder House and Tap Room, where beer lovers can get satisfied. Home-style comfort food prepared by a mother-daughter duo is the Rollerville Café, located at the turn to the lighthouse and Pt. Arena/Stornetta lands. Because Point Arena is the westernmost point of populated California, the sign there says ‘Last café till Hawaii.’ The Pacific Plate is a gluten free, locally sourced restaurant that had opened recently. Cozy diners, coffee houses and pizza joints round out the fare. Since Point Arena is not a big town, these places are easy to find.

    Although Point Arena is the closest town to the new National Monument, several other communities hug the scenic Highway 1 nearby.  Within 20 miles are accommodations and eateries equally appealing as those in Point Arena.  Gualala, to the south, and Elk, to the north (and several others in between!) have enough coastal charm to satisfy any traveler’s needs.  From the fun and funky to the exclusive and classy, there is something for everyone.   Gualala, the largest of these towns, is nestled along the mouth of the river by the same name.  Full service markets, hardware stores and numerous galleries line the main streets.

    The town of Elk, though smaller than Point Arena (it takes less than two minutes to drive through) has a four fine B & B’s with ocean views of the stunning seastacks just offshore. Greenwood Cove, south of Elk, has easy public access and is strewn with driftwood tossed ashore by forceful winter storms.

    The scenic, culinary and comfortable attractions surrounding the new California Coastal Monument are well worth the windy roads that access them. This is a perfect place to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and just want to get-aways.

    Read more about the efforts to preserve this area!

     

    Explore Scenic Massachusetts’ Quabbin Reservoir

    Bicyclists take in an expansive view from Enfield Lookout on the south shore of Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts. Bicyclists take in an expansive view from Enfield Lookout on the south shore of Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts.

     

    As a companion to his story about the natural beauty around Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts (see “The Accidental Wilderness” in our Roads Trips East online), photographer and writer Paul Rezendes gives tips on how to explore the area while you’re there.

    Hiking
    The area around Quabbin Reservoir features miles and miles of old roads and hiking paths. A map showing all the gates and old roads can be purchased at the visitor’s center in Quabbin Park at the southern end of the reservoir in Belchertown. It’s also available at sporting goods stores like Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS). It is often referred to as the Ryan map (named after map creator Chris Ryan).

    Also, the newly designated New England National Scenic Trail passes through several towns in the general area. It’s a great hike for serious hikers, though families can also enjoy it in shorter sections. This includes sections of the Tully Trail.

    Biking
    The country roads around the Quabbin are beautiful, although there aren’t specific biking lanes so some sections would be dicey for families. For a list of other biking locations in the area that might be more appropriate for families—including the specific gates in Quabbin where bikes are allowed—go to northquabbinwoods.org/entries and click on “road biking.” This site also provides information on many other outdoor activities in the area.

    Canoeing and Kayaking
    There’s no canoeing allowed on Quabbin Reservoir, but you can paddle on Tully Lake and Long Pond in Royalston. You’ll also find both flat-water and whitewater activities on the Millers River just north of the reservoir. There is an established Blue Trail of flat water from Athol to Orange. Go to millerswatershed.org/blue-trails for more information.

    Read more of what Paul Rezendes has to say about this beautiful area!

    Cat Wants to Play — Really, Really Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

    Cat Wants to Play

      When her son Lyndon was a boy, Laura Griner of Davis Junction, Illinois, took a hilarious series of photos of his cat, Tiger, trying to wake him up. Lyndon had spent a hard day running his remote control car over this ramp when he finally ran out of gas himself. Tiger tried every trick in the book before he finally settled in to wait. When Lyndon woke up, he had no idea Tiger had been pestering him!