Monday, August 31, 2009

"I've Got a Mule and her name is Sal"

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Our final tourist stop was at the Erie Canal Village in Rome, NY. Here is a little recreated village of days of the Canal. They have a couple of homes, blacksmith, tavern and a few other buildings. We also got to ride a canal boat pulled by horse and carriage. We rode inside and on top. As you can see, we were serenaded by this woman with songs of the times. We also took a short train ride at the village.

Well, my vacation "slide" show is done. I have really spared you. I have over 200 photos and I have put them in an album. If you want to see more, come on over and I'll show you.

Fort Stanwix National Park

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This National Park was within walking distance from our motel. Besides having a great exhibit hall, you can go into the fort itself. Once there, we had a wonderful tour guide who went into detail about so many different aspects of the place and time. We couldn't believe that we spent nearly three hours there.

Rome, NY





Had to take some pictures of the remarkable artwork on the walls in Rome, NY--note the size of the cars to realize how big some of this is.
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Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse, NY

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Next stop was the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY. We had a hard time finding it and just felt overwhelmed by the big city of Syracuse. We got to tour a replica of a canal boat and other exhibits. We were told that the canal used to be right in the street in front of us. It's amazing how things change.

We weren't in the big city mood, so we moved on to Rome, NY. The motel we ended up was so much nicer than the first one we stayed at. There was an outdoor pool in a very pretty setting. Everything was clean and people were friendly. I wish this motel were closer, I would go just for a weekend get away and just stay at their pool. The TV in our room was a wall mounted flat screen--and the price for the room was cheaper than the previous. We stayed two nights there before heading home.

Lake Onatario, Oswego, NY

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Just by chance we came upon this Sampson Memorial Museum, the site of a WWII Navy base and later an Air Force base. They preserved a small portion of it. It is a nice presentation as you walk inside the walls and in various rooms in a circular pattern.
This was on our way to see Lake Ontario. I wanted to see another great lake again. I saw Lake Michigan in January 1975. It was just like the ocean but that was in freezing weather. Lake Ontario was beautiful in August. We saw it from two different parks. At one park we asked a local for a good place for fish and chip. We ended up at Rudy's where we could eat at a picnic table overlooking the lake. We were blessed with such beautiful days on our vacation and such amazing scenery.

Watkins Glen, NY (additonal pictures)

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Watkins Glen, NY (Vacation blog continued)

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We were glad we got an early start on the day we went to Watkins Glen. Each day was hot and it was nice to be near the water, but walking on winding uphill paths and a total of over 800 steps, you still get hot.
Thinking of the day we ended up looking down on the 215 foot falls, I was apprehensive as we entered the dark stairway to the glen--having no clue what was in store for us. The falls, and rock formations were gorgeous and fascinating. The paths had us under, over and near falls as the path wound through them. My fear of the unknown and heights had me doubting whether I could go on at one point. When we saw this suspension bridge overhead, I knew I couldn't go across that--I think I'd have to crawl, but as the path took us, we never ended up there. I don't know if it was open to the public. It might have been on the Indian trail which we didn't take.
Some people started from the top and when they passed us we were able to ask them how much further.
So, in the end we did it! And if I had known the unknown I would have been able to do it better. It was not so scary as Taughannock Falls. We were pretty hot and sweaty when we got to the top and glad for bathrooms and water to cool off. It's a beautiful place. I don't know how to put more than four pictures per blog entry, so I think I'll just put some pictures on another entry.

Elmira, NY (Vacation blog continued)

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The next day we drove to Elmira, NY. We had seen pictures on the Internet and it intrigued us as a beautiful place to visit. Truth be told, we were a little disappointed. Being a Civil War buff, George was interested in its part in history.
When we got there, we took a trolley bus ride. It is a perfect tour of all the highlights of Elmira.
We got to get off at Mark Twain's study. Although we pride ourselves in having his house in Hartford, he spent over 20 summers in Elmira with his wife's family. They built him this wonderful study--not necessarily to inspire his great works they now say, but perhaps because he smoked 40 cigars a day. Whatever the reason, he wrote many of his great writings there including Huckleberry Finn. It is located on the beautiful campus of Elmira College. I'm sure if I had a study like that, that I could write great novels (yeah, that's all it takes).
The trolley also took us by the cemetery where over 2900 Confederate soldiers are buried. They were buried by a runaway slave named John Jones, who was paid $2. per burial. It is said, which would seem contrary to what you would think, that he did so reverently and they are in the process of making a museum to the memory of this remarkable man. I wish it were ready when we were there.
In a different section of the cemetery, we saw where Mark Twain was buried and Hal Roach--I remember watching "Hal Roach studios present Laurel & Hardy". I am a big Laurel & Hardy fan.
Near the cemetery we also got to visit a one room museum that has been created as a tribute to veterans of the Vietnam war. It was small and didn't have a lot of things, but they did have quite a resource of books if you needed to look up something.
So, that was our day in Elmira, along with a stroll down the walkway along the river. It is interesting to note that a place so far north had a Civil War prison camp. I find it curious that they had to know that this was part of history yet no one tried to save any of it. It was turned into housing developments. I know it was not a happy part if history, but it was history just the same.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ithaca Falls (vacation continued)

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We next stopped at the information booth in Ithaca. While there I purchased a few postcards. As I looked at them, I saw Ithaca Falls and asked where they were. It turned out it was only a mile down the road and just on the side of the road (no state park).

We did not have to trek to see the beautiful falls--this blows the saying, "no pain, no gain" out of the water. For me, this was my favorite of all the waterfalls--it was wide and forceful and just beautiful. It was hot and humid and the falls cast a refreshing mist. George said all the waterfalls we saw were each so unique that he could not pick a favorite. It was neat that this one was "just there". People could ride by on that road and if they did not turn their heads, they could miss it. But when you do turn your head, your jaw automatically drops at the sudden majestic sight.

We were also quite impressed by the layers and layers of rocks at each waterfall and the various crevices that were made in some. They were pretty fascinating too.

By now we were ready for air conditioning and we proceeded to the Science Museum in Ithaca. Let me preface by saying that I love the science museum in Boston and I knew this would not be on such a grand scale, but I had higher hopes than I should have. I had asked at the information booth if this was a place that adults would enjoy and was told yes. Well, it is a great museum for kids and adults with kids. For two adults it was just a good museum, not great. So, we went into "kid mode" and "played" at the various stations from playing with dams, seeing how many decibels we could scream, to freezing our shadows and things like that. Hey, we're young at heart--check out my blog a couple of years ago with the picture of us and the big crayon at the Crayola Museum. You're as young as you feel (but give us a senior discount!)

We had a motel with an indoor pool, so we took advantage of that in the evenings.
The motel also had a hot breakfast buffet every morning, so that saved us money and time. The motel really needed improvements, but for the price, it was good enough.

Well, stay tuned for more exciting adventures with Debbie and George as I've just concluded day one of our vacation (well, technically day two because day one was getting there).

Taughannock Falls (Vacation Continued)

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After we left Buttermilk Falls, we went to Taughannock Falls. I believe they said this was Indian for "between the trees". Let me also say, that we got an early start and had no clue that the state parks charged after 10am, so we were able to see the Buttermilk Falls and Taughannock Falls for free--added bonus.
We were standing on the platform looking across at this amazing 215 foot waterfall. It is the biggest, as far as height, in NY. We could see that there were people on a walkway at the bottom looking up. We thought that would be awesome and were told that you could take a road that would get you part way there.

Well, we got confused as to what road and ended up turned around. We parked and followed a path to no avail. As we were going back to the car and George saw a road going up to a bridge. He said he was going to check it out and I decided to stay back (it was nearing the 90 degree weather). Well, in less than a minute more he summoned me. There we were at the TOP of the falls looking down--Wow! I could barely look but so much wanted a picture--though even looking at it now I get the creeps--it was pretty scary. Well, I asked George, who is supposedly afraid of heights--can't prove it by me after this vacation.

I had to instruct him specifically to put the camera strap on his wrist as in situations like this I have a flashback to 1967 when I was on a class trip and I saw one of the boys in my class accidentally drop his camera in the ocean. I felt so badly for him and have always remembered that and learned from that hard lesson. George bravely took the picture. I did look down with nothing but this chain link type fence between me and a 215 foot drop. And to think we were there all by ourselves.

Anyway, we gave up trying to find the road that led to the bottom. If we ever went back I would go see this again from the platform and try to go to the bottom. I would not go to the top again. Once is enough.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ithaca & Buttermilk Falls

These pictures aren't quite in the order that I had wanted, but the first is of the layers of rocks that we saw over and over again at all the falls.
This is the first waterfall that we saw in Ithaca. It's called Buttermilk Falls. We got an early start in the morning and we did not know that the state parks didn't start charging until 10am, so we went to two state parks for free--you know what they say about the early birds.
There was a path along side that you could walk up. It was steep and I was glad when George and I looked at each other and totally were on the same page that we didn't want to do it. The falls were just beautiful from where we were.
The last two pictures are a couple more of Ithaca Commons.