The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts from the ‘New York’ category

Bicycle Ride at Allegany State Park

We went to Allegany State Park yesterday for a bicycle ride. It was our first time riding bicycles in the park, as well as the first time transporting our new folding bicycles to a ride destination.  Both bicycles fit nicely in our back seat.

Allegany State Park is divided into two areas: the Red House Area and the Quaker Run Area. We entered the park via the Quaker Run Area entrance and made our way to the Red House Area. Our ride destination was the Red House Area, where there are 5 miles of paved hike/bike paths.

We rode our bicycles around Red House Lake, a loop trail of 3 miles. Our starting point was at the Red House Boat Rental parking lot. We rode clockwise around the lake.  The bicycle trail was very nice, paved throughout. We rode level with the lake, below the lake (at creek level) and high above the lake. I both rode and walked my bicycle on the trail. Eventually I hope that I am able to ride all the way around the lake.

_XZ30814Red House Lake Bicycle Trail

Across the lake is a bridge.  This is the Red House Lake Dam bridge.  We won’t cross over that bridge.  Instead the bicycle trail takes you below the Red House Lake Dam, across a wooden bridge and back up the other side. On our way to the Red House Lake Dam we passed by the Red House Administration building.

_XZ30815We stopped briefly at the stone fishing pier,
located in a picnic area near the Red House Administration building.

XZ230816Passing by the Red House Administration building

As I mentioned earlier, the bicycle trail takes you below the Red House Lake dam and across a wooden bridge.  The descent below the Red House Lake dam is steep.  It is recommended that you walk your bicycle down the trail.  We rode our bicycles.  I used the brake often!

IMG_20170423_112818Bob took this picture of me on the wooden bridge.

Wooden Bridge at Red Lake House Dam Spillway

Across from this bridge is the new Red House Nature Boardwalk, which we visited for a short while.

_XZ30820-EditReflective Boardwalk

_XZ30822A bird blind was at the end of the reflective boardwalk.

_XZ30821Red House Nature Boardwalk

_XZ30825There is a large observation platform
at the end of the long boardwalk shown in the preceding photograph.

View from Red House Nature Boardwalk
The marshland is beginning to get its Spring colors!

Leaving the Red House Nature Boardwalk we began our ascent to the other side of the Red House Lake dam.

The ascent was a bit steep.
I had to walk my bicycle on this part of the trail.

_XZ30830Spring tree blossoms are so pretty!

_XZ30832The bicycle trail took us high above Red House Lake.
Again, I had to walk my bicycle on a portion of this part of the bicycle trail.

A short distance from this point the bicycle trail went through a forested area and down a steep slope.  There was a sign that suggested walking bicycles down the hill.  It didn’t look that steep, though, so we rode our bicycles down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill the bicycle trail crosses over ASP 2.  It isn’t easy to stop at the end of the hill.  I should have respected the “walk your bicycle” sign in this instance.  Thankfully, I was able to stop (barely), and there wasn’t any traffic on ASP 2!

After crossing over ASP 2 we quickly arrived at the Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge.

Bob took this picture of me at the Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge.

From the covered bridge, we returned to our starting point.  We found a lovely site for a picnic.

_XZ30836What a beautiful spot for a picnic!

After lunch we left Allegany State Park.  Rather than go straight home, we decided to go to Marilla Reservoir (Bradford, PA) — the subject of my next blog post.

Niagara Falls, NY Visit

On Monday, April 10th, after visiting Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada), we crossed the Rainbow Bridge into New York at approximately 12:15 pm.  We parked at the Niagara Falls State Park parking lot. We didn’t incur the $10.00 fee for parking, as we purchased an Empire Pass Card earlier in the year.

We ate lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Bob ordered a Java Lava Burger with French fries and an IPA that came in a souvenir pint glass. I ordered a pulled chicken sandwich with French fries, coleslaw and cowboy beans. Both meals were good. I can’t recall ever having a bad meal, or bad service, at Hard Rock Cafe.

After lunch, we crossed the pedestrian bridge onto Goat Island. We walked to Terrapin Point (Horseshoe Falls).

Horseshoe Falls at Terrapin Point

Horseshoe Falls at Terrapin Point

Horseshoe Falls at Terrapin Point

It was a beautiful, but extremely windy, day at Niagara Falls. It wasn’t just mist that pelted us, when the wind kicked up! We made several attempts to get close to Horseshoe Falls at Terrapin Point. We finally made it to the brink of the Falls, without getting too wet.

From Terrapin Point we walked to Stedman’s Bluff, which overlooks Luna Island. As we approached Stedman’s Bluff, I noticed an addition.

The Nikola Tesla Statue now sits on Stedman’s Bluff, overlooking the American Falls.

This bronze statue of Nikola Tesla was a 1976 bicentennial gift to the United States from the people of Yugoslavia.  The statue was moved from the center of the Cave of the Winds plaza on Goat Island to its new location.  I like the statue in its new location!

Iconic view of Luna Island and the American and Bridal Falls from Stedman’s Bluff
(see the rainbow?)

From Stedman’s Bluff we walked down several steps to Luna Island.

Bridal Falls, as seen from Luna Island

Bob, on Luna Island
(see the rainbow?)

From Luna Island we walked alongside Niagara River, back over the pedestrian bridge, and along Niagara River to Prospect Point (American Falls).

I liked this view of Canada across the Niagara River, while we were walking on Luna Island.

Walking across the Pedestrian Bridge
This young couple has the right idea to get good pictures of the raging waters of Niagara River!

Prospect Point View of the American Falls

We departed Niagara Falls soon after photographing the American Falls at Prospect Point.  We returned home around 6:45 pm.  What a GREAT day for a day trip!

Birthday Celebration Days 3 and 4

We celebrated my 61st birthday during a 3-night vacation in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Our home base was at the Best Western Plus The Hammondsport Hotel in Hammondsport, NY. Our hotel accommodation included a complimentary breakfast each day.

We started our third day of vacation (Friday, February 24) with a large breakfast.  Bob loaded up with scrambled eggs and sausage. I, on the other hand, made a waffle that I topped with blueberries and a dollop of whipped topping. We finished breakfast around 7:30 am and left for a drive along the east side of Keuka Lake.

During our drive along Keuka Lake, I found myself spending equal time looking left toward the hillside and right across the picturesque lake. What drew my eye to the left were the many rivulets of water tumbling down the hillside.

Our first stop was in Branchport, where I photographed three store fronts; we went on an off-road adventure; and we visited a state park.

Branchport Storefronts

The off-road adventure happened at the Verdi Burtch Bird Refuge, located at the Eastern edge of Branchport along Sugar Creek. The bird refuge is a marshland with an observation platform overlooking the marsh and Keuka Lake. There was no sign that prohibited motor vehicles from using the trail.  It appeared as though motor vehicles had driven to the observation platform at some point in time.  The trail was deeply rutted, but also muddy and very wet.  Thankfully, we were driving a 4-wheel vehicle.  We got stuck in one of the deep ruts.  After rocking back and forth a few times and getting even more stuck, Bob decided to try to back up.  Finally we were out of the rut; however, it was not safe to keep backing up.  Sugar Creek was very close to us.  Bob gunned it, and we made it through the rut traveling again in the direction of the observation platform.  The trail actually looked a little better, after the deep rut.  We made it to the observation platform and got turned around.

Our off-road adventure was a hair-raising experience, as both the creek and lake were very close to the path that we were on. We didn’t get out of the car at the observation platform, and we didn’t look for any birds. We were concerned only with making it back to the road, without getting stuck (or worse getting pulled into Sugar Creek!).

After our off-road adventure we made one more stop in Branchport, at Keuka Lake State Park, where we enjoyed picturesque views across the lake.

View across Keuka Lake at Keuka Lake State Park

View across Keuka Lake at Keuka Lake State Park

We drove through Penn Yan, making two stops: one to give our muddy SUV a bath and the second for a much-needed bathroom break.

From Penn Yan we drove towards Corning, NY with the intent of visiting the Corning Museum of Glass. We made two photo stops along the way.

Barn located on a rural route somewhere between Penn Yan and Corning

Mill Pond, off Lamoka Lake (near Bradford, NY)

We changed our minds about visiting the Corning Museum of Glass, neither of us much interested in the museum offerings. Perhaps if admission to the museum were free, we would check it out.

We ate lunch at The Outback Steakhouse in Elmira. After lunch we drove back to Hammondsport, making one photo stop along Route 54.

Keuka Lake, as seen from Route 54 near Hammondsport

We returned to our hotel around 1:30 pm. A couple hours later we drove to downtown Hammondsport.  We parked along Shethar Street.  We walked from there through Hammondsport Village Square to Depot Park.

G. Frey Opera House (c.1901) on Shethar Street

Walking down Shethar Street

Shethar Street Art

Hammondsport Village Square

Hammondsport Storefronts

Looking across the village square to Shethar Street

It was motorcycle-riding weather in February!

Depot Park on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, NY

This is the old depot, from which Depot Park gets its name.

Depot Park
We sat on a park bench for a while and enjoyed the picturesque view of Keuka Lake.

We returned to our hotel, after our walk in downtown Hammondsport.  We stayed in for rest of the afternoon and evening.


We began our fourth and final day of vacation (Saturday, February 25) with a large breakfast.  The hotel’s complimentary breakfast was very good each day. We had choice of scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, sausage, home fries, a variety of breads and pastries, cold cereals, waffles, fruit topping for the waffles, a variety of juices, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Later in the day complimentary fresh chocolate chip cookies were available. The hotel is relatively new, as it opened in June 2016 I believe.  The rooms are very nice; the beds are comfortable; and the staff is helpful and pleasant.  We would definitely stay at this hotel again.

We checked out of the hotel around 7:30 am and began our drive home. It was still warm, 58.6 degrees. The temperature at home, in Warren PA, was close to the same. The temperature would fall throughout the day , leading to a realistic temperature for the month of February. The unseasonably warm temperature during our Finger Lakes Region vacation was very nice!  Bob couldn’t have picked a better time to take vacation. We LOVE 70 degree weather in February!

Since breakfast, Bob’s morning went downhill. Before breakfast Bob created a route map, with directions home that would keep us off the Interstate.  He sent the map from his tablet to his phone.  The map disappeared! Before leaving Hammondsport, Bob spent $2.00 for a car wash. Our SUV was STILL muddy from our previous day’s off-road adventure!  The coin machine took his money, but didn’t give him a car wash. On our way home we ended up on I-390 instead of staying on I-86. We didn’t realize the error until we were almost in Rochester! We came home from Hammondsport via Batavia NY, which was way out of the way! It rained hard, and it was very windy. I am glad that we got off the interstate at Batavia and took slower routes home.  We returned home at 12:30 pm. If we had not gone out of our way, we would have been home between 10:00 and 10:30 am.

Bob’s bad luck continued later in the afternoon, after we returned home.  Bob dropped a 2TB portable hard drive. The hard drive is no longer readable. Stored on the hard drive are system images of our desktop computers and Bob’s Microsoft Surface Pro 4 tablet.  Understandably, Bob was upset about the loss.  Thankfully he had just used a system image stored on that hard drive to repair his tablet, before the hard drive fell to its death.

What a memorable birthday celebration!


Birthday Celebration Day 2 Continued

After visiting the Newfield Covered Bridge, we returned to Ithaca and stopped at Buttermilk Falls State Park. We entered the park via its lower entrance.  It was a short walk from the parking lot to the base of Buttermilk Falls.

Buttermilk Falls

We drove to the upper park entrance, with the intent of driving to Lake Treman.  The park road to Lake Treman, however, was closed.  I don’t know if that part of the park road is open only to hiking, or if it is open to motor vehicle traffic sometime during the year.  Not knowing the hiking distance, we chose not to hike to Lake Treman.  Our drive to the upper park entrance, though, was not a loss.  We did see a small waterfall on Buttermilk Creek.

Buttermilk Creek Waterfall

Our next stop was at Ithaca Falls. Wow! The water falling over that waterfall was quite impressive!

We saw Ithaca Falls first from the Lake Street bridge.

We, then, took a short walk through the woods to the base of the falls.

Ithaca Falls is over 100 feet tall and stretches nearly 175 ft across at its base.
I love the contrast in this monochrome photograph!

We visited Ithaca Falls for the first time in September 2015.

Ithaca Falls, September 2015

There was nowhere as much water falling at Ithaca Falls in September 2015, as there was during our most recent visit!


Our next stop was at Taughannock Falls State Park.  We stopped first at Falls Overlook, where we enjoyed a lofty view of Taughannock Falls.

Taughannock Falls plunges 215 feet past rocky cliffs that tower nearly 400 feet above the gorge.

There are two levels from which to view the falls.  Only the top level was open; the stairs to the lower level were closed for the season.

For the first time we discovered the trail heads for the south rim trail and the north rim trail. We hiked the north rim trail for a short distance. We were impressed by the rapidly moving water (the Upper Falls) making its way to Taughannock Falls, as well as the view into the gorge.

Upper Falls
Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Gorge

At Taughannock Falls State Park we hiked the gorge trail as well.  The gorge trail, muddy and icy in places, winds 3/4 mile past Lower Falls to the base of Taughannock Falls.

Lower Falls
Taughannock Falls State Park

Taughannock Falls

The last time we visited Taughannock Falls was in September 2015.

Taughannock Falls, September 2015

What a difference in water flow from September 2015 to February 2017!

We ate lunch at Creekside Cafe in Trumansburg, per Bob’s sister’s suggestion. Bob ordered a chef salad. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich. The chef salad and the side salad that accompanied my sandwich contained edible flowers, seeds, and unusual greens. Both of our meals included a large serving of ham. The salad was out of my comfort zone, but both meals were good.

Leaving Trumansburg, we drove alongside Cuyago Lake to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. We were disappointed to find that the wildlife drive is closed until April 1.

We stopped at Friendly’s in Geneva NY for ice cream, in celebration of my birthday. On our way back to Hammondsport, we stopped at Wegman’s to pick up water.  Our 4-year-old granddaughters called using Facebook Messenger, while Bob was in the grocery store.  During a video chat, the girls wished me a happy birthday. The girls were at a playground with “Big Grandma”, after a trip to the dentist.  Isn’t technology grand!  I loved seeing and chatting with our granddaughters, while we were miles and miles apart.

From Wegman’s we returned to Hammondsport, where we stopped briefly at Champlin Beach.

Champlin Beach at Keuka Lake

The airplane sculpture rising out of the lake caught my eye.

This airplane sculpture commemorates native son Glenn Hammond Curtiss.
Mr. Curtiss was the Father of Naval Aviation.

We returned to the hotel around 5:00 pm, where we stayed in for rest of the day.  We ate a picnic dinner and watched three shows on Hulu Plus: The Path, Blindspot and Bones.

Birthday Celebration Day 2 – Newfield Covered Bridge

We celebrated my 61st birthday during a 3-night vacation in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Our home base was at the Best Western Plus The Hammondsport Hotel in Hammondsport, NY.  Our hotel accommodation included a complimentary breakfast.

We started our second day of vacation (Thursday, February 23), which was my birthday, with a large breakfast.  We had scrambled eggs, sausage, toast (Bob), home fries (me), some kind of coconut and chocolate pastry, orange juice and a banana (me).  There were even more breakfast selections to choose from than what we selected!

We departed the hotel at 7:00 am en route Ithaca NY, where we wanted to check out two waterfalls there and another one a little farther north of the city.

As we approached Ithaca, a sign pointing to Newfield caught my eye.  A few weeks ago, using Pinterest, I had “pinned” an article on my travel board about the Newfield Covered Bridge.  As we were less than 10 miles from the bridge, we made the drive to Newfield to see the covered bridge.  It was our first time to visit this covered bridge. The visit to the covered bridge was a nice birthday surprise!

Newfield Covered Bridge was built in 1853.
It carries Bridge Street over Cayuga Creek.
The truss is a Town Lattice with Arch with a span of 115 feet.

Newfield Covered Bridge is the oldest surviving covered bridge still open to daily vehicular traffic in the state of New York.  It is the only surviving covered bridge located in Tompkins County.

From Newfield we returned to Ithaca and began our waterfall tour — the subject of my next blog post.

Birthday Celebration Day 1

We celebrated my 61st birthday during a 3-night vacation in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Our home base was at the Best Western Plus The Hammondsport Hotel in Hammondsport, NY.

We departed our home in Warren PA shortly after 6:00 am on Wednesday, February 22.  We followed routes PA-59 and US-6 to Coudersport PA, where we enjoyed a delicious and filling breakfast at Kaytee’s Family Restaurant.

After breakfast, we veered off US-6 and followed routes PA-44 to PA-49 to I-99. Shortly before entering I-99 we stopped at Cowanesque Lake near Lawrenceville, PA. While Bob took a nap, I went for a short walk from the parking lot to the beach.

Cowanesque Lake South Overlook

A short distance from the South Overlook was an overlook of the Cowanesque Dam.

Cowanesque Dam on Cowanesque Lake

Soon after leaving Cowanesque Lake, we turned onto I-99 north towards Corning NY, where we hopped onto I-86 east. It wasn’t long until we were on NY-414, heading towards Watkins Glen. We turned off NY-414 onto NY-16 and drove to Montour Falls, where we saw our first waterfall of the day.

Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls

Shequaga Falls did not disappoint. There was abundant water tumbling down the waterfall! After taking a few pictures of the waterfall, we headed towards Watkins Glen.

We saw another waterfall along NY-414 en route Watkins Glen.

a Montour Falls waterfall

We have driven by this waterfall during past visits to this area; however, we never stopped.  The water flow had not been much more than a trickle of water.  Well, as you can see, there was a lot of water falling this time!

We drove into Watkins Glen passing by the lower entrance to Watkins Glen State Park.  A quick glance, as we were driving by, showed that the state park’s lower entrance parking lot is under construction.

We drove out of Watkins Glen on NY-414. We stopped at Hector Falls, our third and final waterfall of the day.

Hector Falls in Hector, NY

We decided to drive around Seneca Lake, so we continued on to Geneva via NY-414 to NY-96A.

In Geneva we stopped briefly at Pulteney Park before continuing around Seneca Lake on NY-14 to Watkins Glen.

Pulteney Park
Our Lady of Peace Fountain

Pulteney Park
Our Lady of Peace Fountain, with First Presbyterian Church in the background

In Watkins Glen we took a short walk at the marina.

Seneca Lake Marina in Watkins Glen

The Seneca Lake marina in Watkins Glen looks so different out of season, with no boats docked at the slips! Our plan to eat lunch at the Village Marina Bar & Grill was squashed, as the restaurant is closed for Winter.

Leaving Watkins Glen we took back roads to our hotel in Hammondsport.

We checked in to Best Western Plus The Hammondsport Hotel a little after 2:00 pm. After settling into our room, we drove the short distance to Hammondsport Village Square.  At the suggestion of our hotel clerk, we ate lunch at Burgers & Beer.


Bob ordered a Taco Salad.

I ordered a Cowboy Burger, with an order of fresh cut fries.

The hotel clerk’s suggestion for lunch was excellent.  Both of our meals were delicious.

We returned to our hotel at 4:30 pm, where we spent rest of day.  I would like to say a word about today’s weather.  Today’s temperature was in the low 60s. It was more cloudy than expected, and we did walk through a little bit of rain late this afternoon.  What wonderful weather for the end of February!

Sunday Outing with our Granddaughters

On Sunday we spent the afternoon with our granddaughters, taking them on an outing to Allegany State Park near Salamanca, NY.

We picked up the girls at their house between noon and 12:30 pm and drove to Allegany State Park, entering the park via the Red House Area. Our first stop was at the new Red House Area nature boardwalk.

I first learned about the boardwalk via a YouTube video, captured by Paul Crawford, a few months before the boardwalk was completed. Paul Crawford is the volunteer Administrator, Photographer and Videographer for the Allegany State Park Facebook page.

What a wonderful new feature of Allegany State Park!

Red House Nature Boardwalk

Harper and Juniper took our photograph, once we reached the overlook at the end of the boardwalk.

Juniper took this photograph of Bob, Harper and me.
Good job, Juniper!

Harper took this photograph of Bob, Juniper and me.
Good job, Harper!

In Paul’s video he mentioned a duck blind at the end of the middle section of the boardwalk.

Duck Blind

The boardwalk was nice but will be nicer later in the year, when the plants surrounding the boardwalk spring to life. I am sure there will be lots of waterfowl to see later too. We didn’t see any birds, turtles or waterfowl.

When we left the nature boardwalk, we planned to go to the Quaker Run swimming beach playground. We were very disappointed to find the road to the beach closed. I had talked up the playground to Harper and Juniper, and they were looking forward to playing there.  I hope that the road to the swimming beach opens up much earlier than summer so that we have the opportunity to visit the playground sooner, rather than later!

The girls quickly got over their disappointment, though, when we found another playground on the way home.

Our day outing with Harper and Juniper was wonderful.  All four of us had a GREAT time!



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