Spillway, Greenwood Furnace State Park

It was my husband's birthday last Friday, and I usually try to take the day off to spend with him. But the weather wasn't looking too promising for last Friday, and I had lots of work commitments. Sometimes things slow down a bit in summertime when you work at a university, but in my work world, it's been one of the busiest summers I can remember. So I ended up working on that day.

But this week, Friday's weather looked to be pretty decent, and I was caught up enough that I did manage to take the day off. And so we headed off on a summer adventure that included a stroll along the lake at Stone Valley (where we saw lots of turtles basking on logs), a wonderful hot, tasty lunch at Couch's in McAlevy's Fort (a hot turkey sandwich with gravy fries and a double cole slaw for me), and a delightfully chilly swim at Greenwood Furnace State Park.

I've only posted pictures of Greenwood Furnace twice on Blip, mostly because we hardly ever go there, I'm not sure why. But two years ago, we rediscovered the park - and its icy waters - on a return trip home from visiting my parents. And then we went back last summer, and once again on this day.

The view in this picture is the spillway at the bottom of the six-acre lake. If you were to pop your head up over the top and look to your right, you'd see the swimming area, which wasn't overly crowded on this day. There are pavilions, at least one of which is screened in, picnic tables, and a central building with restrooms, a changing area, hot showers, and a concession (I could swear I smelled cotton candy wafting by on the summer breezes).

But the most remarkable thing is the coldness of the water. If you are feeling faint with the heat, I highly recommend a chilly dip. It's too cold for some people, who wade in hopefully but run out screaming. Little kids don't seem to care; they get in and stay in until they turn blue.

The cold waters are like healing balm to a girl like me; I seek them out, and indeed our favorite summer swim areas are those with the chilliest waters. (For the record, Whipple Dam's swimming area rates second only to Greenwood Furnace on the chillometer.)

As far as the history of this place, it used to have a flourishing community that surrounded the furnaces that were used for iron making in the 1800s. The furnaces were exceedingly hot - 3,000 degrees F - and they say that the fire's red glow still lit up the sky so you didn't even need a lantern to move about at night. You may read more on the park's website, and on Wikipedia.

As days go, this one was splendid, and chock full of old-fashioned summer adventures. The weather was variable, sunny at times and breezy at times, never really too hot. There were threats that somewhere there might be thunderstorms, and there were in some places, but not where we were. We hiked, we swam, we ate, we relaxed. It was an absolutely perfect summer day.

The tune: Seals and Crofts, with Summer Breeze.

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