My first trip ever to Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area took place on 2/1/2017.  I have to admit that is really sad because it is less than 10 miles from my house.  I drove past the sign directing you to it many time but I just never took the time to go see.

Brief History

Ibberson is one of only three Conservation Areas in Pennsylvania.  A Conservation Area is different from a state park in that the land is to remain largely untouched with no through roads.  Activities are of the low-impact, passive variety only which means no horses, bicycles or ATVs.

This particular piece of land was donated to the commonwealth in 1998 by Joseph E. Ibberson and it became the Commonwealth’s very first Conservation Area. Mr. Ibberson was a lifelong student of Forestry and had amassed his holdings to manage as a tree farm.  He was heavily involved in forestry management and received numerous awards in the field.  He died in 2011.

Additional history can be found at the DCNR website for this Conservation Area here.

Trip Details

Located in Dauphin County, just north of Peters Mountain off Route 225, you will need to take a nice little drive in the county to reach Ibberson.  Watch while you are driving and you are likely to see white-tailed deer and maybe even some of these guys like I saw…. you really have to stop the car because turkeys totally do not care much for flying.

Like it’s sister site in Dauphin County, Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area, it is a quiet spot with hiking trails and not much else.  If you want to “get away” from it all, this is a good place to choose.

Arriving at the park you drive up a stone road to a parking area.  There you will find an information board with emergency information and park maps.  These maps contain history, local places of interest and most important – trail maps. Grab one before you go anywhere because the trails in this park are not easy to spot (in my opinion…)

One thing to be aware of is in this park is that hunting and TRAPPING are permitted so if you bring a doggie friend with you, they should be on a leash.

Also with much of the area open to hunting, you really should wear clothing that makes you easy to spot by hunters – lots of blaze orange is recommended.  Hunting is not allowed in Pennsylvania on Sundays so that is the safest day to hike (there are bills proposed to end this ban… so enjoy it now.)

Now on this particular day I didn’t hit the trails – I wasn’t wearing orange and didn’t want to take my chances so I will have to go back again to finish up this posting, but one thing I learned is that the Appalachian Trail passes through Ibberson so if you’ve had an itch to hike the trail, this is a place you can give it a go.


Trails at Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area are:

  • Evergreen Trail – 1.1 miles, easy (Red blaze, begins at parking area)

  • Victoria Trail – 3 miles, difficult
  • Old Sawmill Trail – .9 miles, easy
  • Pine Trail – .9 miles, easy
  • Turkey Foot Trail – .6 miles, easy
  • Rock Trail – .8 miles, moderate -rocky
  • Whitetail Trail – 1.8 miles, difficult
  • Appalachian Trail – can be reached from both the Victoria and Whitetail Trails


Well, it won’t take me long to discuss the comfort facilities at Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area. As a Conservation Area there is minimal development.

On site you will find a covered presentation area used by the naturalists who do educational programs (they are shared with Little Buffalo State Park and Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area – offices are at Little Buffalo).

You will also find two toilets and a water fountain.

And a bulletin board which we already discussed.

Hmmm… that’s pretty much it. Oh yeah, there is a really nice view from the parking area looking toward Halifax as well.

If you want to check out Ibberson for yourself, your map is below:

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Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area

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Joseph E. Ibberson Conservation Area 40.442460, -76.859180 (Directions)

Can’t wait to go back and hike those trails soon…. but it sure was nice to finally stop and see what was up at the closest State Park/Conservation Area to my home.

Only 120 more parks to go!

Sometimes you just need to get a breath of fresh air and take in the night – especially when it is in the 50s in January.  I took a few minutes away from my business meeting tonight and snapped the photo above of a barge being moved down the river.  Sadly I didn’t bring my Nikon but my phone did OK.  It is still amazing to me that we move freight this way.

Many thanks to JG for coming with me since I didn’t want to be in the dark park alone.

As always happens when I travel, something will catch my brain and I won’t be able to let it go until I find the answer.

I have been to Pittsburgh 4 times in my life and the last 2 I have wondered about the yellow bridges.  In Harrisburg most of our painted bridges are blue.  That is a color that shows rust easily so they can be repaired quickly (or so my roller coaster building friends have said.. think Skyrush at Hersheypark.)

Turns out Pittsburgh bridges are not yellow, they are Aztec Gold.  And it is because they connect to the Golden Triangle.  Yep, I googled it.  Here’s a link to one of the articles I liked about it.

Fort Pitt Museum

As January 2017 kicks off, I find myself in Pittsburgh, PA on a day when it hit nearly 70F.  Folks were out everywhere getting some sun after the rain we’ve been having in the state.

I’m here for a working conference for my day job and was lucky enough to arrive early for some exploring.  I love walking Pittsburgh, it has so many interesting things to look at and question, “Why is that like that?”  Coming from Harrisburg, I am used to water and bridges but the high rise buildings in Pittsburgh are something new.

I find empty fountains creepy so I took some photos of those. Also saw the PPG buildings for the first time – man, those things are amazing!  And I saw a dog in a coat but its owner would not let me take its picture.

Here are some of my favorite shots from today:

20120624 Centralia Route 61My oldest, Marine Girl, was getting ready for boot camp and she had one road trip request for her mum, she wanted to visit Centralia.  I was up for it since I’m into all kinds of creepy, weird places so we gassed up the Honda and headed out. (This was in 2012.)

Marine Girl, Art Girl and I tried in vain for a long time to find anything worth looking at. Cell service at that time was spotty and it isn’t like there is anyone to ask directions of. So we trespassed, we turned around many, many times and finally we found the abandoned highway most folks consider the highlight of a trip to Centralia.

20120624 Centralia

From the town you can see a wind farm in the distance, the giant turbines silently spinning. (Even more creepy…)

Centralia is a town that was in Columbia County.  A mine fire has been burning in, around and under the town since 1962.  The town was condemned by the state in 1992. The zip code for the town was closed in 2002 and currently less than ten residents remain.  Originally it was they demanded they leave but a 2013 accord has allowed them to stay until death. (More creepy…)  You can read all you want to know on Wikipedia here.


20120624 Route 61 Centralia

It was a fascinating place to visit, but, it is still burning.  There is some smoke, but not much.  The ground is hot in many places.

If you visit the closed portion of Route 61 be warned it is full of graffiti of an adult nature – both verbal and pictorial.  I had a hard time taking an unoffensive photo four years ago, I can only imagine what it is like now.  This is not a place for young children.  Take them to one of the cemeteries if you must take them.  I can only imagine what being buried underground near a mine fire must do to a body buried there. (Creepy and gross.)

20120624 Centralia

So, Centralia isn’t a safe place, you will be trespassing nearly everywhere you go and yet I bet you’ll want to visit if you are close by.  So here is a map:

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Centralia 40.804254, -76.340504 Centralia, PA, United States (Directions)

Be careful.

Butcher's Farm Market PumpkinsFall in PA is a great time to visit Farm Markets (or Farmer’s Markets if there is more than one Farm selling).  My all-time favorite Farm Market is Butcher’s Farm Market in Newport, Perry County.

Butcher's curbside

Butcher’s is a family-run business and they grow much of what they offer, plus they sell other items from local vendors (and bananas and lemons from other places ’cause folks might need ’em.)  They also run Butcher’s Family Fun Farm in the fall and our family will be visiting them in just a few weeks there, BUT this trip was all about the pumpkins.

Fall is my favorite season and I love to decorate with pumpkins. Since orange is my favorite color this makes a ton of sense.  I visited Butcher’s on September 17th and I’ve never seen them busier.  The folks who work there are super nice and will help you pick things out, carry them to your car – they even have free apples for the kids and samples of their delicious baked goods.

Butcher's Farm Market Gourds

When I shop at a Farm Market there are certain things I look for and Butcher’s has them all.  My list goes like this:

  • They should grow MOST of what they sell
  • Folks should be nice and helpful
  • They should have a bathroom (kids ya know)
  • They should have great prices
  • They should have variety
  • They should support organic, local and renewable practices when possible.
  • They should accept Farmers’ Market Nutrition vouchers if possible.  (This is the government subsidized food program that includes farm fresh goodies – if nobody has any place to use those benefits they it doesn’t do anyone any good.)
  • They should have a little something for the kids.  Butcher’s has a free apple basket and plenty of samples to try plus low cost treats to go easy on the pocketbook.

Want to visit? Here is your adventure map:

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Butcher's Farm Market

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Butcher\'s Farm Market 40.484604, -77.136923 590 North 4th Street, Newport, PA 17074, United States (Directions)

So here are some photos from my trip to Butcher’s Farm Market.  You can find them on Facebook here.  My camera hates the inside of their shop, makes everything yellow.  But you can still see the awesomeness inside.

Butcher's Beans

Butcher's Help

Butcher's Inside