The Barnyard Sanctuary


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The Barnyard Sanctuary is a rescue center for farm animals. In many cases, they rehabilitate the animals and adopt them out to new homes, but many become permanent residents to live out the remainder of their lives in peace.


I toured the sanctuary with a photography group a few years ago (visitors need to make an appointment for a tour.) Tamala, the founder, showed us around and told us the stories behind some of the residents. Many of the horses were saved from being shipped off to Canada to be slaughtered for dog food. One of the pigs had been abandoned and found wandering near a rest stop on route 80.


All the animals seemed happy and well-cared for. In fact, Barnyard Sanctuary seemed like Disney’s Patch of Heaven farm from Home on the Range. They gravitated towards us as we walked through the pastures.


We watched a big mule socialize with a herd of miniature horses. Then, to our delight, they ran around the field.


In eight years, the Sanctuary has rescued over 3000 animals and cares for around 700 on a rented 15 acre farm with a bunch of volunteers. They are looking to purchase a larger farm nearby which would allow them to grow their own hay and care for more animals.


Location: 31 Stark Rd, Columbia, NJ 07832

Designation: Non profit animal rescue

Date designated or established: 2010

Date of my visit: 6/25/2016


Chicago Harbor Light: NHRP


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At the end of Chicago’s famous Navy Pier, you can see the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse in the Chicago Harbor in Lake Michigan. The light was built in 1893 for the Chicago World’s Fair and then moved to its current location in 1919. One of the Fresnel lenses on display at the Wold’s Fair was installed in the Chicago Light when the fair was over.


The light is a modified spark plug design (it is taller) and a boathouse and fog signal room were added on later. It was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It is still an active navigational aid and is not open to visitors.

In 2005, the Coast Guard offered the lighthouse to the government. The Department of the Interior transferred ownership to the City of Chicago in 2009.


Location: East of Navy Pier, Chicago, IL 60611

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date designated or established: 7/19/1984

Date of my visit: 5/23/2015


Anahulu River


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


Every place we visited in Hawaii was steeped in history. We spent one morning kayaking (my daughter opted to paddle board) on the Anahulu River via Tsue’s Farm in Haleiwa on the island of Oahu.

The Anahulu River is 7.1 miles long. Anahulu translates to ten days.
It is on the western side of the Koolau Mountain Range and empties into Waialua Bay at Haleiwa. We paddled a mile or so and saw locals catching big crabs along its banks.

Haleiwa (‘home of the frigate bird’)was once the site of an ancient Hawaiian village, then farmland providing food for King Kamehameha’s army, and later, a base for Protestant missionaries. In the late 1800s it was a summer home for Hawaiian monarchs.

After our paddle, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of coconut shrimp, teriyaki chicken and noodles on the banks of the river, accompanied by some of the island’s wild chickens and kittens. Afterwards, we were treated to shave ice from their stand.


Oahu Posts:

  • Kahanamoku Beach
  • Fort DeRussy Beach Park
  • Green World Coffee Farm
  • The Dole Plantation
  • Anahulu River
  • Waimea Falls (coming soon)
  • Hau’ula Beach Park (coming soon)
  • Tropical Macadamia Farm (coming soon)
  • Byodo-In Temple (coming soon)
  • Polynesian Cultural Center (coming soon)
  • Aloha Tower (coming soon)
  • Diamond Head (coming soon)
  • Iolani Palace (coming soon)
  • King Kamehameha Statue (coming soon)
  • Aliʻiōlani Hale (coming soon)
  • Pearl Harbor (coming soon)


Location: 62-400 Joseph P. Leong Hwy, Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712

Date of my visit: April 11, 2019


Governors Island National Monument: Liggett Hall


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Governors Island has over 200 years of history as a military outpost. It began as a colonial militia base in 1755 and defended the harbor entrance to New York City during The War of 1812. During the Civil War, Confederate prisoners were held here. In peacetime, it was a training ground and administrative base for first the US Army and then the Coast Guard.


After exploring Castle Williams, our group explored some of the other historic structures in the park. Liggett Hall was built in 1929 as an army barracks capable of housing an entire regiment. The 16th regiment was stationed there at the time and been living in temporary wooden structures.  This was the largest structure the Army built prior to the Pentagon.


Construction of the 400 yard Liggett Hall down the widest part of the island prevented a proposed air-strip from being placed there. LaGuardia airport was instead built out in Queens.


In the building’s archway, we saw a sculpture by Hashimoto called Never Comes Tomorrow. It is meant to represent a time vortex between the historic side of the island and the more recent additions on the other side of the building.


Next door to Liggett Hall is the hospital that served the Army Base. The Smothers Brothers (comedians) were born in that hospital when their father was stationed on the island.


There is also a historic theater, built in 1939 for the island residents. We had theaters like this in Staten Island, too, that were still operational in the 70s and 80s when I grew up there. I remember seeing Mary Poppins and Disney’s Robin Hood in a theater just like this.


Across the way from Liggett Hall is Colonel’s Row. These are six large homes, built in the 1870s for the high-ranking officers when the island became an army base. These homes were originally on the waterfront, but the island was later expanded with landfill from the excavation of the Lexington Avenue subway line. These homes are now used for art shows and non-profit organizations.


To see my other Governors Island posts, please click below:

  • Battery Maritime Building
  • Soissons Landing and Castle Williams
  • Liggett Hall
  • Fort Jay and The Hills (Coming Soon)

Location: New York Bay

Designation: National Monument

Date designation declared: 1/19/2001

Date of my visit: 9/11/2018


Millennium Park

img_9912Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


Millennium Park in Chicago was intended to help ring in the new millennium. Planning for it began in 1997, but it opened fours years behind schedule in 2004. Budgeted at $150 million, it cost the city and private donors $475 million to build.


Constructed on top of rail yards and parking garages, Millennium park is actually a 25 acre rooftop garden. It is contained within Grant Park and features an outdoor concert space and pedestrian bridge designed by Frank Gehry.


Another popular section of the park is the AT&T Plaza with its Cloud Gate sculpture, by artist Anish Kapoor. It’s three stories of polished steel and fondly known as ‘The Bean.’ Cloud Gate was completed two years after Millennium Park opened.


Location: 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602

Designation: City Park

Date designation declared: 7/16/2004

Date of my visit: May 24, 2015


Gateway NRA: Farewell Monkey


This post is not so much is not so much about Sandy Hook, which is one of the NPS units that allows dogs at certain times of the year. This is more of a tribute to our dog Monkey, who enjoyed visiting parks with us. She passed away after a sudden and brief illness this week and we are devastated.

In 2011, we rescued Monkey from an overcrowded kill shelter where she’d been held for 4 months without much hope of being adopted before her number was up. We nearly passed her by because her tag said she wasn’t good with children. But as she quietly wagged her tail at us while her neighbors barked, we had a feeling she might be our dog, no matter what the sign said.


And over the course of 8 happy years, we came to realize that she was the one who had adopted us. I am so grateful that we became her forever family.IMG_4169

On Monday night, I stopped by the animal hospital to visit Monkey where she was receiving a transfusion to get her strong enough for surgery. She stood up and wagged her tail at me which I captured in this clip. I hugged her and told her what a good girl she was and asked her to try to get better.


Early the next morning, Monkey took a turn for the worse. The three of us held her and loved her one last time as she crossed the rainbow bridge. I will miss her happy grin, her tireless defense of the perimeter from church people and woodchucks alike, the holes to China she was always digging and the way she looked out for all of us. Rest in peace my sweet, funny girl


Forgive my negligence in visiting your blogs or responding to your comments in a timely manner. I will get back to it soon and meanwhile, our regularly scheduled posts will resume tomorrow.

Grand Canyon National Park: Grandview Point


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Two hours before sunset on our first evening in the Grand Canyon, we met up with Grand Canyon Jeep Tours & Safaris in Tusayan for the Grand Sunset Tour. Unlike the other tour company we used this trip, this was a well-run operation and we enjoyed this introduction to the park immensely.


Our guide was a local with ties to the Navajo and very knowledgeable about the native flora and fauna. He took us through Kaibab National Forest via the unpaved historic stagecoach roads, pausing whenever someone glimpsed an elk or deer through the trees so we could all see.


Our first stop was the steel Grandview Lookout Tower. This was built in 1936 as a fire watchtower by the Civilian Conservation Corps. We climbed the 80 foot tower to see the view from the top.


We got back into the jeep and continued along the gravel road until it met up with the park road.  We got out at Moran Point where we could see the river and Grandview Point and then got back in the jeep to travel to Grandview for the sunset.


The Grandview is the southernmost point on the South Rim and the farthest from the Colorado River. Because of its position, the drop-offs here are less steep with more intervening buttes and ravines than in spots closer to the river. This makes it an ideal place to watch the sunset as it washes over all the nooks and crannies in a colorful display.


There was a hotel built here in 1895 for Grand Canyon tourists, before the construction of El Tovar and other Grand Canyon Village facilities. It only lasted a few years and we saw no remains of it when we were there.


To see my other posts on the Grand Canyon, please click the following links:

Location: Arizona

Designation: National Park

Date designation declared: 1/11/1908

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014