Home Away From Home

Impressions of New York

Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park

Previously when I heard the words New York I always thought of New York City and the various other cities one hears mentioned occasionally but to my amazement New York is so very much more.  In the first place it’s a large state so there must be more there than just those few big cities we hear so much about.  Right?  Right!

It is the beautiful Finger Lakes region and much, much more.  Whether you want to take the winery trail, the cheese trail, the outlet trail or just bounce along putting over 800 miles on your car in less than two weeks, there’s something for everyone to see.  The state parks are incredible each one more outstanding and magnificent than the other.  The western part of the state has numerous state parks – just take your pick!  We started with Letchwworth State Park in Mt Morris and it surely lived up to its name of the Grand Canyon of the East.  It was also voted the #1 State Park in America in 2015.

We also got to have lunch at Buttermilk State Park outside of Ithaca and then briefly visited the falls at Taughannock State Park.  We topped it off with a visit to the very incredible Watkins Glen State Park.  Oh what beauty God has given us.

Leaves are beginning to change although the vivid reds and oranges are not at their peak yet but we still saw stunning views nearly everywhere we looked.

As a born and bred southerner (and proud of it) I guess we were a bit apprehensive about coming to the big state of New York – to Yankee Land!  People couldn’t have been nicer from the several check out girls we saw in the grocery store to the office staff at the campgrounds to the various people we met everywhere.  There surely was a lot of southern hospitality very evident in this northern state.

If you have not been to western New York go – you will not be disappointed!  Can’t wait to visit the other parts of the state.

Home Away From Home

On the Way Home

We left this morning around 8:30 in a heavy fog. By the time it lifted we were in Pennsylvania and things were a lot greener. The leaves were just beginning to change in New York and although they were not at their peak with vivid reds and oranges we did see a few peaks of red amidst the oranges and golds. Temps were in the low 50’s when we pulled out. Where are we going? Not sure. We’ll drive until Jerry wants to stop. I’ve done a lot of research on possible campgrounds along the route and hopefully we won’t have any trouble locating an overnight place. Guess we could be really RVers and stay in a Walmart! Not sure I’m that brave yet but time will tell. We’re following the Garmin GPS today so hopefully we won’t go through any state parks in Maryland.

What an easy ride and drive today. No state parks in Maryland. In fact, it was four lanes all the way although we did have to go through a couple of small towns in Pennsylvania. Still, all in all, it was an easy trip. We kept riding along and stopped only for gas and then for lunch. We decided then that we could drive on to Natural Bridge and I had the information for a Yogi Bear Jellystone there. It is a Passport campground so it’s half price. I called and we were able to get a drive-through site FHU.

As we got closer to Natural Bridge Jerry asked me if I wanted to go to the museum and get a magnet. Well, of course and luckily we went right by there so he dropped me off and I ran in to get the magnet. They must be slowing down for the winter and possibly getting ready to close (I didn’t ask) because the store looked a bit forlorn and believe it or not they were out of magnets.  On earlier trips we always tried to buy some treasure that would remind us of our trip but we decided that we truly had enough trinkets, plates, bowls, etc. so I started buying magnets at each significant place.  We put them on the refrigerator and they quickly remind us of our travels.  We picked up several in the Finger Lakes!

We continued on to the campground and it was a winding narrow road, not the worst one we’ve been on though. As luck would have it we passed the campground and ended up near a trailer park. Jerry saw someone turning around so he asked for directions to the campground. Yep, we had passed it so we were able to make a loop in their drive-way and head back towards Yogi Bear. It is not an easy campground to find for sure. When we finally got there I went in and there was no one in the office. To make a long story short someone finally came out, looked at the site we were assigned and changed it since we were just over-nighting. Someone led us to the site fortunately as I don’t think we would have easily found it. There are a lot of turns and hills but surprisingly enough our site is quite level. I have almost decided that having a level site is the second most important thing to have. Wi-Fi is first and they have that. Cable is nice but not necessary as I’ve found I watch very little TV when we’re traveling. Jerry is enjoying the football games though.

We easily and quickly got settled and then sat outside for a while until it was time for dinner. Had leftovers and have nearly cleaned out the fridge. I checked the mileage to see how far we had gone today – 448 miles. We have really thrown out our usual rules of stopping at either 3:00 or 300 miles. I don’t think we want to make a habit of this but Jerry has gotten along well with the two days of long driving.

Jerry called Tom Johnson about the leak in the bin and we are supposed to take the coach to them on Friday after we leave Clemmons. There we’ll empty everything into the car (oh joy) and then leave the coach and then pick it up when we head to Florida.

The next morning we took our time leaving as we only had 187 miles to go to get to Clemmons – that is according to the GPS.  Instead of taking us back to the Interstate though we got the scenic tour through the curvy mountainous roads for nearly an hour.  I WILL have a paper map on our next trip.

We arrived at Tanglewood Park a little after 2:00 and quickly got set up.  Emma came over for the afternoon and then David, Jane and Eli came and we had hot dogs on the grill.

On Friday after Emma’s Grandparents day that began at 7:00 a.m. we came back to the coach, cleaned up and got everything except the food in the fridge and freezer packed in the car so we could quickly leave after dropping the rig off at Tom Johnson’s.

We got to Concord around 11:30 and were hopping to be gone by 1:00.  Apparently their was a mix-up about getting the coach looked at and instead of us leaving it they were going to address the issues right then – or in a while.  We sat around for a while and finally got comfortable on the sofa reading before they eventually started dealing with the leak which had mysteriously healed itself.  Oh well – we pulled out of Concord a little after 2:00 and through the pouring rain and stop and go traffic in Raleigh we finally pulled the motor home in the warehouse about 8:00.  Of course it was pitch dark in there and pretty hot but we were able to get the car off of the dolly and the fridge and freezer emptied into the car.  The motor home is parked in its usual place although I’ve never seen it quite so crooked but it is there!

Two exhausted travelers finally got home around 8:30 after a wonderful trip.  We saw lots of interesting and beautiful things.  Jerry did a terrific job of driving sometimes under very difficult conditions and went well despite my original misgivings.  Thank you Lord for safe travel and safe arrival in Kinston.

Home Away From Home

The Beauty of Watkins Glen State Park

We tried to get an earlier start today so we left a little after 10; 00 headed to Watkins Glen State Park.  To say that it is magnificent is such an understatement.

Entrance to the park.
Entrance to the park.

We entered through a tunnel and then onto a bridge overlooking the parking lot and then – we began to see the first of 19 falls each prettier and just as glorious as the other.  We even stood under one, rather I stood on the edge while Jerry took a picture and then quickly and carefully ran over the wet rocks.  It was a mile and a half up but it was a very easy climb with a lot of steps but with flat surfaces for rest.


All total it was over 800 steps, twice as many as Chimney Rock but it seemed to be easier.  After the first mile many folks turned around as the view up top is nothing special but since we had gone that far we decided to go on up.  The last half mile was a more difficult, steeper climb with many uneven steps.  On the way up we were resting at one of the “seats” and a Viet Nam vet came down.  He was carrying a walking cane and since I had been suggesting to Jerry that he get one Jerry asked about it.  The fellow had made it himself.  The stick had a symbol of every war that America had fought in plus the Cross and the American flag.  Not only had he made the walking stick but he had also painted each symbol.  Quite impressive.  Getting to the top was an accomplishment but all we found was a restroom and a water fountain that didn’t work very well.  Since it was after Labor Day the gift shop was closed and there was no shuttle down.  We decided to take a different trail down so having taken the Gorge Trail up we went down the Indian Trail.  I’m glad we didn’t go up the Indian Trail because not only was it dirt ad steep there were no waterfalls to see.  It was kind of like a walk in the woods and could have been anywhere.  The main reason we went was to go over the suspension bridge which I mistakenly thought was some sort of hanging bridge.

The Suspension Bridge

Nope, it was just a bridge and the rails were so high you couldn’t see much over them.  We kept walking and ended up near the tunnel and the descent down.  Jerry took a picture of our car in the parking lot.  We really were up high!  I know Letchworth State Park was voted the Best Park in 2015 and it was gorgeous but as Jerry said, we didn’t vote.  I could go back to Watkins Glen SP again immediately!

After our hike we stopped at the gift shop and bought the customary magnet and then headed back to the campground for lunch.  Since we had missed Arbor Hill Vineyard and Wohleschegel’s Naples Maple Farm we decided on a trip to Naples.  Although the GPS said it was only 30 or so miles it would take an hour to get there.  Why?  Well, every six miles or so there is a small village and the speed limit drops thus the delay in timing.  On the way we saw an Amish woman mowing the grass in her front yard with a push mower.  Wow!  Jerry was sleepy so I drove and he took a nap.  It’s a wonder neither of us got a ticket entering the villages because we were often going downhill and keeping the speed down is difficult.

We stopped by Arbor Hill Grapery first.  Half of the shop is for jams and jellies and half is for wines.  I bought some blush wine jelly that I sampled and then bought some Yancey’s Fancy cheese for Mary Ann.  They also carried Lively Run Goat Cheese as well.  We didn’t stay long as Jerry was not interested in a winery that called itself a grapery.

We called to see if we could visit Wohleschlegel’s and they said to come on so we did telling them it would be about 25 minutes thinking we surely couldn’t trust the GPS and we’d get lost again.  Nope, drove right there in short time.  Garry and Bobbie couldn’t have been nicer.  Bobbie was busy wrapping candy and bagging sugar maple syrup but Garry showed us around the facility and explained everything to us.  It is definitely a mom and pop business and they are working extremely hard and constantly.  They have 40000 trees with taps.  Last year the season began March 11 and ended April 13.  The length of the season depends on the weather and how cold it is and for how long.  The days have to be above freezing and the nights not too much below.  We bought some maple syrup.  Jerry bought the very dark and I selected the very light.  We also got some tasty mustard.  We probably spent well over an hour there taking up their precious time but they were very gracious and couldn’t have been friendlier. They were very informative, not just about maple syrup but they also answered a number of questions we had about New York in general.

As we were riding through Naples we stopped at a fairly large market featuring fruits, cheeses, pumpkins and Adirondack chairs.  I could see Jerry’s mind working as he took pictures of the chairs.  Surely he’ll eventually be trying to make one of these.

We finally got back to the rig a little 7:00.  Fortunately dinner was leftovers so all we had to do was heat it.  We were planning to go to the pool and hot tub but we ended up chatting with a couple of guys right after we got back so we came on in, ate dinner and called it a night.

Home Away From Home

Our Last Day in Watkins Glen

Last Day in Watkins Glen
After a whirl wind tour of western New York, visiting four state parks and many other things we decided to take today easy. We’ve got two long days of travel ahead so we thought we’d get a little rest.

Of course our first stop had to be a return visit to Corning to pick up the pieces we had made and to do a bit of shopping. We ended up visiting another section of the museum, The History of Glass where you could spend an entire day. We also went to the Glass Blowing demonstration again. Jerry could have sat there all day and watched the various artisans create their masterpieces. Afterward we picked up our pumpkin and flower, did a little shopping and headed on out.
We went by the campground, picked up our picnic lunch and went into Watkins Glen to the Seneca Lake Park to have our lunch. I went out on the rocks and sat for a few minutes. I think it’s the only time this week that I’ve slowed down and taken a deep breath. There were seagulls all around and Jerry fed quite a few of them. Naturally they hovered around him.IMG_0610

We then went down to Watkins Glen and just wandered around the town. We went in a store that had everything you might want from clothes and shoes to ice cream. We each bought a pair of socks that are supposed to keep your feet warm. They’ll be good for those cold football games if they work.
We rode through Montour Falls next looking for the water fall which is supposed to be in the center of the town. Actually it was and we accidentally found it. It was very pretty and a nice serene place.

A trip to the grocery store and then we went to look at the Watkins Glen International Raceway. Why? So I can tell people when they ask that we did see it!

Went back to the campground and sat outside and read while the clothes were washing. Just a nice, quiet afternoon. There is a Country Coach rally going on so all of the campers around us are involved in that so not available for much visiting.

After dinner we went to the pool and hot tub for just a very few minutes so we could get back and get the car on the dolly before dark. It was just before dark when we got back but Jerry was still able to get the car on. That will make leaving in the morning much easier.

Home Away From Home

Off to the Falls      

We left this morning a little after 10:00 headed for Ithaca and the Ithaca Falls.  Ithaca is only 30 miles from Watkins Glen but the GPS said it would take us an hour.  Little did we know.  We got to Ithaca easily and then the fun began.  Getting around Ithaca is like getting around Chapel Hill on a very busy day.  I couldn’t believe there was that much traffic before noon on a Sunday.  We rode through Cornell University and were amazed at the beautiful buildings.  It is definitely an Ivy League school!  We kept riding up and down streets trying to find the falls and finally I asked a young man.  We actually weren’t far from the falls and he indicated that they were beautiful and we definitely needed to see them.  Actually earlier in our wandering around we had passed them but hadn’t seen them as they are obviously off the road a bit.  We found parking in the school parking lot and walked over to the falls.  We followed a little foot path down to the water and walked over stones and rocks to reach the falls.  They are indeed lovely. There were several people there taking pictures and stacking rocks.  Don’t know why they were stacking rocks but we saw several other stacks.  Jerry even started one and then we added a few more to it.  Took a few pictures and then on to the state parks.

Ithaca Falls

The first state park was Buttermilk Falls.  Of course we took the wrong entrance riding by the soccer field and finally ended up at the top of the park.  The falls are visible from the bottom!  We paid our $7.00 admission which is good for all NY state parks today and then went rode back down and found the right entrance.  We took our little picnic lunch over to the falls and had a lovely lunch right along with the bees!  We walked over to the falls, took a few pictures and then headed out.

The Lively Goat Cheese Farm is in Interlaken and that was our destination.  Just before we got there we came up on an Amish buggy.  I tried to get a picture but my camera is too slow so I just got the horse.  When we got there the owner was sitting on the porch reading and I was afraid that perhaps they weren’t open but it was just a little down time.  Since we were the only ones there he talked a long while about the various cheeses and answered a lot of questions.  Just as we were beginning to select some cheese several people came in and he got very busy.  We got some Chevre goat cheese and some cinnamon flavored honey and went on our way.

Our next stop, the Taughannock Falls to see the largest waterfall East of the Mississippi located at Taughannock Fall State Park.  We ended up at an overlook along with a lot of other people.  We went up to the falls and then decided to take the Rim Trail.  We had only gone a little way which was all downhill when we saw people below in the gorge.  We decided to turn around (fortunately) and head back up.  Jerry did not want to do anymore hiking so we headed to the car and Watkins Glen KOA.

Taughannock Fall State Park
Taughannock Fall State Park

When we reached Watkins Glen we rode by the RV park, WW Clute and I was glad we had made the decision to stay at the KOA.  Although a little pricey for our usual campgrund, the KOA is very nice with large level sites.  The RV’s at Clute Park are very close together and I understand there are a lot of seasonal people there.

We came on back and after a brief rest went to the pool and hot tub.  Ah…  Dinner and that’s it folks!

Home Away From Home

Glass, Wine and Airplanes!

We decided to go back to Corning today to finish the tour (an impossibility) and Jerry wanted to try the glass blowing.  I had decided not to make anything since my experience with making the ornament while in Louisville didn’t have a good ending (my ornament exploded one evening).  When we got there though and started talking about it I decided to make a flower.  Since the class wasn’t until noon we walked around through some more of the galleries.  We’ve spent over four hours here and I still don’t think we’ve seen everything.

I made my flower first and it was a bit more involved.


I had on an apron, arm covers and gloves and then used a tamp and tongs to design it.  The instructor was very helpful!  Jerry made a pumpkin and he actually got to blow the glass. Actually he did less than I did and I think he wishes he had done the flower.  We’ll pick them up tomorrow.

When we left the museum we just sat in the car and ate our picnic lunch.  Then we headed to Hammondsport to Dr. Frank’s Winery.  Hammondsport appears to be a small town, more prosperous than many of the towns or villages we have been through.  There were lots of people wandering around.  It has been named America’s Coolest Small Town!

As we rode out of Hammondsport toward Dr. Frank’s Winery we passed a number of different wineries as we were on the Keula Wine Trail.  There were quite a few people at Dr. Frank’s.  Jerry and I wandered around a bit, took some pics with the vineyard in the background, our first selfie.  Then we went in for the tasting.  I did attend the tasting but Jerry went in the store and then outside.  We only tasted six wines so it went quickly.  Granted, I am not a wine enthusiast but I really did not care for any of the wines.  I think it has more to do with my palette than with the wines as everyone else seem to be enjoying them and the winery has won many awards.

Dr. Frank's Winery
Dr. Frank’s Winery

We left the winery and Jerry decided to try a short cut out – yep, we ended up on another dirt road.  I just burst out laughing but at least we were in a car and not in a motor home towing a car.  We stopped by an overlook and took a few pictures.  The view overlooking the sloping ground and the Keuka Lake is breathtaking, so serene and peaceful.

When we returned to Hammondsport we rode around the town square trying to decide if we wanted to stop but decided against it so we headed on to the Glen Curtis Museum.

The museum is similar to the Corning Museum in that you could spend countless hours in there and not see everything.  There were lots of planes, motorcycles, old cars and various machinery.  Unfortunately Curtis died at the age of 52 following appendectomy surgery.  It is amazing to see how much he accomplished in his short life and one can’t help but wonder what else he would have done.

1926 Ford Model T Touring Car
1926 Ford Model T Touring Car

We didn’t stay long as we were getting tired so we headed back to Watkins Glen.  I called Mom and chatted with her briefly and then called Donna.  I had texted her telling her that Ken would love the museum.  After several texts I gave up and called her!

A quick trip to the grocery store and then steaks on the grill.  I finally found the State-Old Dominion game on the “radio”.  Jerry is a happy man now.

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Lost in a Potato Field

Off to Watkins Glen KOA which is only 97 miles from here via Naples where we hope to make brief stops at Arbor Hill Vineyard and Wohleschlegel’s Naples Maple Farm both in Naples.  At least we think so!  Got a lazy and slow start.  I think when I told Jerry it was only 87 miles from Mt. Morris to Watkins Glen he decided to take it slow.  As he was breaking down he discovered that the leak that has supposedly been repaired twice was not.  It’s leaking again.  😦

A lesson in what NOT to do!  Do not plan tours on the way to the next destination.  Tour only when in a car, not when driving the motor home and towing the car.  We never made it to the two places we’d planned but we did see some very rural countryside and briefly chatted with a very helpful couple.  When the two GPS’s send you on divergent routes and you lose cell service (Go US Cellular) and you are not sure of the correct addresses because you depended on your information written and saved in your Dropbox and of course you cannot access Internet you the end up in a very rural area with narrow dirt roads and eventually in the middle of a potato field.  Lost!  We did eventually see a sign for Wohleschlegel’s but it was on a dirt road so we kept going thinking things would get better.  They didn’t!   We finally just stopped as Jerry had to go to the bathroom and we were sure there would not be another car.  I decided to get out and take a picture of where not to go in an RV and wouldn’t you know, a car approached.  We pulled up a bit and they turned on another lane – yes lane because that’s what we were on.  I got out and walked over to them and asked them if they were as lost as we were.  Actually they were from the area and were taking their dogs out for a run.  They chatted with us a bit.  As the husband was advising Jerry where to go the wife was talking to me.  Because of last year’s brutal winter they are headed south this year.  They are Christians and they try to find ministry opportunities wherever they travel.  They advised us on the way out of the field which was actually a circle.  50 miles later and an hour and a half later we are on the road to Watkins Glen.  The two planned visits will have to wait.  By the way, I later saw this direct quote from the Wohleschlegel’s website site “Do not set your GPS for Coates Road as it will send you to a potato field!”  No cell service though so no website!

Yep, the middle of a potato field!

I mentioned to Jerry that we would be going right by Corning Glass so he said we should stop since it was on the way and not out of the way. Apparently he felt we could do it and not get too lost.  We parked in the parking lot and had a quick sandwich in the RV and then headed over to the Visitor’s Center.  After browsing there a few minutes we took a shuttle bus over to Corning.

The first part of the museum that we visited was Contemporary Art and Design Galleries.   There were definitely some very unique pieces there.  We ambled on and ended up in the Amphitheater for the Hot Shop Demo.  That was very interesting.  There were two narrators, one who spoke in English and one who spoke in Mandarin.  A young lady with 13 years of experience demonstrated making a lovely fluted vase while the narrators explained what she was doing.  They do not sell anything they make in the demonstrations but do give a couple of pieces away at the end of the program.  This demonstration was very different from what we saw when we were in Louisville but then Corning is working with very sophisticated equipment.

Next we wandered around the second floor where displays told the history of glass making.  We watched a young man make a small fish using the fireworking method.  We also saw a glass breaking demonstration where a lady explained the make-up of the various glasses and the fragility or sturdiness of various glasses.

By the time it was getting close to 4:00.  The admission is for two consecutive days so we decided to come on to the campground and get settled.  This was a very different check-in.  A guy met us at the entrance asking if we had reservations.  Since we did he led us to our site and told us to register after getting set up.  We have a level site, Wi-Fi and cable – yes, it’s more expensive than usual but we are level for the first time in a week and a half!  Also we have a lovely cement patio with a lamppost and a hanging basket.  Perfect for sitting outside and I can’t wait!

After we got the basics done we went to the grocery store.  We had decided to grill pork chops but when we got back we were so tired we decided that a turkey sandwich sounded good.  A few minutes later though I said I’d cook so we ended up with the pork chops.

After dinner since it was so very nice outside we took a brief stroll around our area of the campground.  We are actually in the newest and nicest section, Sunset Acres.  There are many amenities here including a heated pool and a hot tub.  Hopefully I can talk Jerry into a dip or two.  Apparently this is a destination KOA because you could stay here and be entertained for some time and never have to leave the campground.

Home Away From Home

Off to Canada for a Day

Left about 9:15 for Niagara Falls. The Garmin GPS would not pick up the route to the Canadian side even though I changed the country from USA to Canada. We finally just put in Niagara Falls, NY and decided we could find the way over once we got there. Gypsy says it will take us nearly 2 hours to get to the NY side. It’s a cloudless sunny day, a good day for traveling. When we left Batavia we entered a toll highway, the first toll we’ve encountered since we left home. Instead of initially paying you pay when you get off. Guess the rate is determined by the length of travel. Don’t know. It was $1.45 and then another just before we reached Niagara Falls for $1.00.

We missed the exit for the Rainbow Bridge and ended up in a $10 parking lot but fortunately they let us right out and gave us directions to the Bridge. FYI – if you miss the turn for the Rainbow Bridge you’re in big trouble! We were lost! We asked a postal employee who gave us very vague information and then asked a security guard who gave us the final directions. It’s not hard, we just missed the turn. Upon entering Canada we were asked where we were from, where we were going, if we had alcohol, tobacco or firearms and if we left them in the RV. He also asked me to take off my sunglasses.

We finally made it to Niagara Falls paying $18 for parking. We walked on over to the Falls Walkway and wow – they are just as majestic as I remember, perhaps more.


The obvious display of power is almost overwhelming. We walked in the gift shop where I looked for a magnet and Jerry looked for a t-shirt. I did find a magnet but he didn’t see a t-shirt that he liked.

We were getting hungry so we decided to go on to Niagara on the Lake for a picnic and then … the trouble began. It seems that Gypsy doesn’t do too well in Canada. I changed the country setting to Canada but still could never get it to work. It kept telling us to go on the road ahead but never told us what road it was. It also said to take Route 420 but didn’t tell us how to get to 420. We just sort of wandered in the direction that we thought we ought to go and viola – there was a sign directing us to Niagara on the Lake. As we were riding in things began to look familiar. We saw the winery we visited on an earlier trip and then we even found the street where the B&B we had stayed in was located. We turned down and there it was looking like it did the last time we saw it. I wonder if the same people own it. (They don’t.)

We rode on in to the main street and instead of going right to the business section we went left looking for a park. We found a nice place on Lake Ontario to have lunch. There was a gentle breeze and I was almost cool. What a lovey place for lunch!

Afterward we drove down through the business section and both of us kept saying “I remember that”! We wandered around for about an hour and then headed to the car. It was getting really hot by then. That’s when the real trouble began.

Wandering around Canada with no GPS is not fun. We had no idea where we were nor how to go anywhere as we had no frame of reference. I don’t know how long we rode around before Jerry finally saw a sign indicating the USA Bridge. The signs in Canada are not too big! I hadn’t even noticed it – glad he did! I had expected customs to be a be more difficult because people say entering back into the United States takes more time but it didn’t.


The fellow asked where we were from, where we were going, if we had bought anything and then said “Go Pack” and sent us on our way. I had remarked earlier to Jerry that this was the first time he’d ever worn a State shirt and gotten no comment from anyone. We finally left Canada about 3:45 headed back to Mt. Morris for our last night arriving just a bit after 6:00. Having prepared meals at home before the trip has been so nice. We had country style steak tonight so all I had to do was prepare rice and a veggie.

We didn’t get to do everything I wanted while in Mt. Morris but we did some things I hadn’t planned on, like going to Canada! It’s been a nice visit to this part of western New York.

Home Away From Home

A Day in Lakeport, NY

Jerry wasn’t feeling well this morning so we got a late start plus we had not decided where we were going. He went over to talk with the staff in the office to get some brochure and ideas but they really didn’t have any. Actually he said they talked about the economy of the area! We finally decided on Lakeport to see the locks on the Erie Canal. We got on the road after 11:00. Riding through the small villages is so interesting. In Mt. Morris we saw a sign for an armful of firewood for $4.00. Wonder whose arms he is talking about. When we put the address of Lakeport in the GPS the mileage and the time to get there were very different and we wondered why. Well, this part of the New York is full of small towns or villages about every 5-6 miles: Alabama, Catavia, Gasport, Leicester, Pembroke, York and many others. The speed limit is 55 but when you get to one of the villages it reduces to 40 or 45 thus the slow down.

The area around Mt. Morris appears to be very economically depressed with no apparent new building going on. We saw no new homes nor brick homes. As we approached Batavia things began to change though and upon entering the town we saw a milk producing plant and an Industrial Center. It became quite obvious that there were jobs in that town. (We also were able to later find a nice grocery store there.)

There are many red barns around, some in obvious use and some dilapidated. We discussed whether the area used to be for cattle farming as we also saw a number of decaying silos. If so we didn’t see a lot of evidence to that end. We did see some dairies but not many. We did see a lot of dried corn and huge fields of cabbage! Is this where our cabbage comes from? We also saw several roadside signs advertising sweet corn and peaches. I had forgotten that their season is later than ours. It is very pretty county with mountains in the distance – we can see some of the trees beginning to change and we were told that Letchworth State Park would be beautiful in another month! Oh well!

We got to Lakeport about 1:00 only to realize that the cruises were at 11:-00 and 1:00. We ate our picnic lunch in the car and then tried to find the museum. We ended up finding the Visitors Center where we got the usual magnet and Jerry quickly bought a t-shirt. Then we walked down to the locks. They are absolutely huge although the water is only 12 feet deep and the canal is longer than the Panama Canal.


After wandering around the locks we went to the cruise pick-up. We looked around the gift shop for a while but didn’t buy anything. The cruise started at 3:00 and was well worth the wait for the Lakeport View V. We went through two of the five locks and to watch the water rise and realize that the boat is also rising is remarkable. We went in the first lock and when both ends were closed the water began to rise. It was awesome to watch the water line on the wall rise as it slowly rose to meet the water on the other side of the lock. As we were coming back and repeating the process we realized that when the water is receding it occurs much faster than when the lock is filling up.

After going through the locks both ways we cruised a bit further down the river. We passed a stone house, the only one in the area that is built from the actual stone that comes from the ground. We also saw a beautiful stone church built by someone who wanted to be married in his home church in England. When that became impossible he built a replica of the church in Lakeport! We also rode by a nice park that has a tree garden of 100 trees donated in memory of people. It was quite pretty. The captain also told the story of the gentleman who had invented the fire hydrant and lived in Lakeport. Ironically enough the company burned while he was on a European trip.

One very interesting feature on the ride is the bridge that has to “open” to allow large boats through. Our bridges open vertically but this bridge “opens” horizontally. In other words, it doesn’t open, it rises. As we returned to the dock and were facing the bridge again the captain played a recording of Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” and we were able to see the American flag, the New York Canal Flag and the State of New York flag. Since the noise was a bit loud I could sing along with her. It brings out the patriotism is everyone!

Another interesting feature was another bridge along the cruise route. It is the longest single span bridge in America that has no supports under it. It spans from one side to the other.

We talked about going to Niagara Falls after the Lakeport visit and I thought Jerry was talking about the New York side but he was talking about the Canadian side. Not sure why he wants to go over since we’ve been before but if he wants to do we’ll go! Since it was after 4:30 when we completed the cruise we decided to wait until tomorrow!

After we left Lakeport we headed toward Corfu which was only about 20 miles away to Yancey’s Fancy where they have delicious hand crafted cheese. When I suggested it to Jerry he must have had a brain lock because he said we’d go but they didn’t spell it like I spell my name. Wrong! Well, after 25 years he has finally learned to spell my name! They have quite a selection of cheese and we ended up getting a small container of buffalo cheese dip and then back a few minutes later to buy a wedge of buffalo cheese. Wow – is it hot?

We headed on back to Mt. Morris with a brief stop at Tops Grocery in Catavia. Fortunately I had prepared sloppy joe mixture at home and we put it out this morning to thaw so dinner was easily accomplished.
After watching the Republican presidential debates we are headed to bed as we have a full day tomorrow!


Home Away From Home

A Day at Letchworth State Park

We headed out just before 10:00 to spend the day at Letchworth State Park which is fairly close to our campground. $8.00 for a day of entertainment is pretty good! We started at the North End and our first stop was at a lookout at HogsBack. It is called the Hogsback for its resemblance to a wild boar’s high hunched spine. It’s a ridge jutting into the canyon and the Genesee River flows one mile around the narrow peninsula. The scenery is spectacular and absolutely impossible to capture with my camera and my photography skills – or lack of.

Along the way we talked with a couple accompanied by their daughter and we continued to see them at each stop. They were a bit ahead of us and as we were turning in at one site they waved at us to keep going as it there wasn’t much to see there!

IMG_3563 The park is definitely the eastern Grand Canyon. We stopped at several overlooks, one that had a stream with a beautiful stone bridge in the background.

Jerry walked out onto the rocks and got one for his collection. IMG_3558We hiked up some steps and Jerry took my picture so I could send it to Trent entitled “Hiking with my Brooks”. This must be a good time to visit as the number of people never got crowded or overbearing. We continued on and after several stops we reached the Lower Falls. Simply put, they are amazing. Because of the makeup of the rock these falls continually change. A stop at the Visitor’s Center was on the itinerary as we needed to add a magnet to our fridge collection. Upon first glance I couldn’t find one that I thought would withstand the bumping down the highway but Jerry found one. He also took a picture of me in front of the sign declaring the park as the best park in America for 2015.

Our next stop was a brief tour of the museum honoring Mr. Letchworth. Never married, he was quite the philanthropist and started hospitals for the mentally incompetent and for epileptics among many other things. We walked over to the Glen Iris considering the possibility of lunch. The menu didn’t look too appetizing so we decided to go back down to the café at the Lower Falls for lunch since we didn’t pack our usual picnic today. Lunch was surprisingly good, cheeseburgers!

Next we visited the restored Seneca Council House and the grave of Mary Jemison, the White Woman of the Genesee. Her family was attacked by Indians and all were killed except her and she went to live the Indians eventually marrying the chief.
Along the way we stopped at Inspiration Point that overlooks Letchworth Gorge and the Genesee River. Again, absolutely stunning views.



We eventually wound around to the Middle Falls which are the highest and the most spectacular. We then walked on to the Upper Falls which has an active railroad trestle crossing immediately above it. IMG_3588 By this time it was getting warmer and we still had to hike/walk back to the Middle Falls at Glen Iris. It was not a difficult hike although there are any number of uneven steps that could be a bit treacherous. Even so, I was glad to see the Glen Iris and the parking lot!

Afterward we left the park and instead of turning right like we should have we turned left. Because we were so close to our campground we didn’t even think about using the GPS. Wrong decision. We got to see several of New York’s little villages and hamlets and because we also have a rather stubborn and mixed up GPS we toured Houghton College! We eventually made it back to Mt. Morris where we were hoping for a grocery store. We finally located a Sav-A-Lot. We only spent a little over $8 so we must have saved a lot but that could be because they didn’t have everything we needed plus they don’t bag the groceries! That could be our last trip to a Sav-A-Lot.

Back to the campground for some rest and relaxation before dinner, salmon on the grill. We are two pretty tired people tonight so it’ll be an early night. Let’s hope I can get a good night’s rest. Worrying about Mom has cast a pall over this trip thus I am unable to sleep at night. An earlier phone call to Cypress Glen did nothing to disspell my anxiety.