My grandparents bought this farm near Tidioute, PA with other family members in the early 60’s and built — actually they, themselves built — a weekend/vacation house there. Three for four generations of family and friends spent many vacations, hunting trips, and long weekends there. It’s about three hours or so north of Pittsburgh, where most of us lived.
After my grandfather died in 2001, most of the family met there one last time and made the hard decision to sell the property since the younger generations mostly moved away from the area and couldn’t maintain it.
Some of my best childhood memories are of this place. There is an old logging road winding around the field to the northwest. After dinner and at various times during the day, we would all walk around in small herds looking for deer, fossils and other forest delights. I can still vividly conjure the smell and taste of Deep Woods Off.
My grandfather would get up shortly after dawn each morning to walk around that same trail. The sound of the door closing acted as my alarm to quickly get dressed and race out to join him. My shoes were drenched in morning dew before I ever caught up. We whispered our conversations and consulted each other and an Audubon Society guide to identify the birds we came upon. In between he quizzed me on the types of trees, many of which he planted. Hours later, the clank of a distant bell would call us to the breakfast table. Not being one to just snap-to and do what he’s told, Grandpa would always take a few extra minutes to marvel at the color of the indigo buntings before ambling back. I guess that’s were I got it.
I have no doubt the the old Gravely is still keeping the forest at bay. And if you look closely, I think you can still see that claw hammer in the barn roof.