The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘New York’ category

Finger Lakes Vacation: Day 6

We planned to drive into Auburn on Monday (May 30) to watch the Memorial Day parade.  We reviewed the parade route. The parade route was short, and we opted not to go.  Instead we relaxed at the Airbnb. I took a few pictures, while we relaxed.

Casa Esperanza on Wyckoff Road
our Airbnb rental for the week
Our View of Owasco Lake from the Airbnb

Bob and I went for a walk down and back up Wyckoff Road. This road goes by the Airbnb.

The walk down was easy.
The walk up was not easy!
I soaked up this view each day, while on vacation.
Isn’t the view of the barn and Owasco Lake beautiful!

Late morning or very early in the afternoon we drove into Auburn to see some of the city’s attractions. The city of Auburn is an approximate 8-mile drive from our Airbnb.

The first two places that we visited relate to Harriet Tubman, an African-American abolitionist who was born into slavery in Maryland in 1820. After emancipating herself and members of her family, she moved them from Ontario, Canada to Fleming and Auburn, New York in 1859. Central New York was a center for progressive thought, abolition, and women’s suffrage where Tubman continued to fight for human rights and dignity until she died in 1913.

Harriet Tubman House in Auburn, NY

Harriet Tubman is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY.

Harriet Tubman Gravesite
Harriet Tubman Gravesite at Fort Hill Cemetery

We also saw the the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center, the William H Seward House, and the Memorial to Cayuga County Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War.

New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center

The New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center is Auburn’s Welcome Center. According to an online information source this center features a state-of-the-art exhibition titled “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS”, where New York State’s progressive history supporting equality comes to life through interactive displays. Unfortunately, the center was closed. We could only walk through its grounds.

A statue of Harriet Tubman was on the grounds of the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center.
Across from the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center is the David Munson Osborne Memorial City Hall.

Next door to the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center is the Seward House Museum.

Seward House Museum
the historic home of William Henry Seward and his family

William H Seward was a politician of the 19th century. He served as NYS Senator from 1830 to 1834, as NYS Governor from 1838 to 1842 and as Secretary of the State from 1860 to 1868.

The Seward House Museum was not open at the time.

Across the street from the Seward House Museum and next door to City Hall is a Memorial to Cayuga County Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War.

Memorial to Cayuga County Soldiers and Sailors of the Civil War
Memorial to Cayuga County Soldiers and Sailors
of the Civil War

We left downtown Auburn and drove to Tom Thumb Drive In and had ice cream for lunch. The view from Tom Thumb is gorgeous.

There are outdoor tables and benches available at Tom Thumb Drive In.
Beautiful view!
There is a miniature golf course at Tom Thumb Drive In.

We didn’t play golf…maybe next time.

We left Tom Thumb Drive In and drove around Owasco Lake. We drove south down the eastern side of the lake and up the western side. On Thursday we had driven around the lake in the opposite direction.

View of Owasco Lake from Ensenore Road
Our Airbnb is located on Wyckoff Rd.

There is an area to the right of this sign, where it is possible to pull off the road and park for a short time. We did this, as I wanted to photograph Owasco Lake a short walk from here.

“Guardian of the Lake”

Back at home, at 4:30 pm, we prepared our Memorial Day dinner.

We ate marinated steak with onion and mushrooms, mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables for our Memorial Day dinner.

Finger Lakes Vacation: Day 5

We left our Airbnb around 9:00 am on Sunday, May 29, en route Jordan NY.  In Jordan we went for a bicycle ride on the Erie Canalway Trail.

After our bicycle ride we returned to our Airbnb via Skaneateles, where we ate dinner at Bluewater Grill.  Bob ordered a steak sandwich with French fries.  I ordered a shrimp po’boy with sweet potato fries.  Both entrees were delicious.

Bob made a campfire in the evening.

Relaxing at our Airbnb

If I recall correctly, this was our fourth campfire. 

Life is good.

Finger Lakes Vacation: Day 4

A little after 10:00 am on Saturday (May 27) we left our Airbnb to make a drive around Skaneateles Lake, the next Finger Lake to the east of Owasco Lake. It was raining, when we left.  The rain stayed with us all the way around the lake. I didn’t take any photographs, during this ride around the lake.  

We ate lunch at Prison City Pub & Brewery on State Street in Auburn.  Bob ordered a Salmon BLT (Seared salmon fillet, lettuce, bacon, tomato, caper dill mayo, NY bakery roll) with a side salad.  I ordered a Pub Burger (local grass-fed beef, caramelized onions, cheddar, house pickles, chipotle mayo, brioche roll) with a side salad.

It stopped raining, while we were eating lunch, so we decided to take another drive around Skaneateles Lake.  The rain did not return, and the sky cleared up.

We stopped briefly in the Town of Skaneateles at the north end of Skaneateles Lake.

Thayer Park in Skaneateles
The Pier in Skaneateles
View of St James Episcopal Church and a portion of Thayer Park from the Pier
View of Businesses from the Pier
Clift Park Gazebo

From Skaneateles we drove south along the eastern side of Skaneateles Lake.

A sign indicated that this was the Keep Family Overlook.
This overlook of Skaneateles Lake is along Route 41 just past Vincent Hill Road.

We turned around at the overlook and took Vincent Hill Road to the southern end of Skaneateles Lake via E. Lake Road and Glen Haven Road.

Skaneateles Lake (southern end, looking south)
Skaneateles Lake (southern end, looking north)

We continued our drive north along the western side of Skaneateles Lake.

We stopped briefly at the ruins of New Hope Mills, located near the intersection of Glen Haven Road and Route 41a.

New Hope Mills Ruins
New Hope Mills Ruins

I will say more about New Hope Mills in a later post.

On our way back to our Airbnb we stopped at Tom Thumb Drive Inn for dessert.  We enjoyed ice cream, with a view of Owasco Lake.

Finger Lakes Vacation: Day 3

On Friday (May 27) we awakened to a rainy morning. It rained all day long.

Rainy Day reading

I read “Last Summer Boys: A Novel”, by Bill Rivers. I finished reading this book, after returning home from vacation. It was a good read, and I highly recommend it.

I took a break from reading to prepare a pasta salad.  While preparing the salad I saw a deer walk through the side yard.  I think the deer crossed over Wyckoff Rd into the yard.  I wondered if there were more deer, and I missed seeing them.

I took another break from reading later in the morning to listen to “Smoke: The Disappearance of Damien Sharp”, a podcast produced by Brian Hagberg and Stacey Gross.  While listening to Episode 2 of the podcast, I noticed several buzzards circling overhead.  Bob said they were perched on the roof, wings spread.  Then I saw a deer peeking through a fence in the neighbors yard.  The deer passed through the fence and into our yard, entered the path through the woods and disappeared.  This part of the yard is on the opposite side of the house than the deer we saw earlier.  A little while later I saw a deer’s head popping up and down, looking toward me, as it walked through tall weeds, on the neighbors side of the fence.  The deer that seemed curious about me kept getting closer to the side window by the fireplace, in the living room, where I was sitting.  I felt like I was being watched, when the deer made its last appearance.

I WAS being watched!

The deer soon disappeared down the hill toward Wyckoff Rd.

Be sure to check out Stacey and Brian’s podcast, mentioned above. The podcast is about Damien Sharp, a 22-year-old Warren PA resident, who went missing 20 years ago. The podcast examines the case, the people involved, and the context within which Damien went missing. The first three episodes were released on May 25. I will be listening to Episode 5, which was released today, June 8, sometime this week. 

So, this was a stay at home kind of day. It rained off and on all day long.  Between 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm it looked like it was clearing up.  We saw some blue in the sky and the sun, briefly.  More rain is expected on Saturday.

Finger Lakes Vacation: Day 2

On Thursday (May 26) we visited Fillmore Glen State Park and saw sights, as suggested by an Uncovering New York post. Fillmore Glen State Park is located below the southern end of Owasco Lake, near Moravia NY. Our Empire Pass would have provided free admittance in the state park. However, there was no one at the gate so admittance was free for all.

We parked in the large parking area near the swimming area. It was a short walk, past the natural swimming pool to the bridge that crossed Dry Creek.

Fillmore State Park – Swimming Area, as seen from Dry Creek Bridge
Work was being done on the natural swimming area,
preparing it for the summer season.

From the bridge it was an easy walk for a short distance to a viewing area near the base of Cow Sheds Waterfall.

Bob and I at Cow Sheds Waterfall

There is a large rock overhang adjacent to the waterfall. It is said that cows would shelter here during storms, which is why this is known as Cow Sheds Waterfall.

From Cow Sheds Waterfall we backtracked to the start of the Gorge Trail. The Gorge Trail starts with a steep climb up a flight of old stone stairs climbing 150 feet or so fairly quickly.

The next two photographs show those stone stairs, where I needed to stop for a break and sit for a short time.

Looking down the stone stairs
This was how far we had climbed,
when I needed to rest.
Bob took this picture of me, as I rested.
We still had a lot of steps to climb!
At the top of the stone stairs was a pavilion.

As you can see the trail leveled out at the top of the hill. I am standing partway up a grassy knoll, returning from a restroom. The top of the stone stairs is located to the right of the pavilion, with the Gorge Trail continuing to the right alongside the hillside. To the left is a gravel road that leads to Park Road. I will say more about the gravel road a little bit later.

From the pavilion it was an easy hike on the Gorge Trail. Some of the photographs that we took along the trail are displayed below.

The Gorge Trail
We crossed over several wooden bridges,
while on the Gorge Trail.

The next two photographs were taken from the bridge displayed above.

Looking back on that same bridge
This is another bridge that we crossed, while on the Gorge Trail.

The Gorge Trail is a 2.5 mile out-and-back trail. Not counting the stone stairs climb, I think we walked about 1/2 mile of the 2.5 mile out-and-back trail. I called it quits, when the trail looked like it started to gain elevation.

We turned around and walked back to the pavilion. I definitely did not want to hike back down the stone stairs. Remember the gravel road to the left of the pavilion? Looking on a map it looked like the gravel road led to Park Road. The distance from the pavilion to the parking lot didn’t look like a long walk. That is what we did. We walked down the gravel road, rather than climb down the stone stairs.

This parking lot was at the end of the gravel road.

I wish we had known about this parking lot. We *might* have made it to the end of the Gorge Trail and back, if we had not climbed those stone stairs!

Walking back to our car, we came across the Millard Fillmore cabin.

This cabin is a replica of Millard Fillmore’s birthplace.

We returned to our car and, as suggested by Uncovering New York, we drove up Park Road. After 1.5 miles, the road ends at a parking area next to a trailhead. The trailhead is where the North Rim and South Rim Trail meet. We followed the North Rim Trail downhill. Soon, we arrived at a shelter.

North Rim Trail shelter
This was the view from the shelter.

We continued our hike down to the lake.

This lake on the North Rim Trail is beautiful!

Do you see the stone dam at the far left side of the lake?

There is a waterfall on the other side of the dam.

What a pretty waterfall!
The North Rim Trail passes over the rim of the dam.
The North Rim Trail continues on the opposite side of the lake.
You can see the lake and dam from the North Rim Trail.
This is where we turned around
on the North Rim Trail.
The trail was quite muddy,
once you crossed over the bridge.

NOTE to SELF: Purchase mosquito netting to go over a hat and my face to use next time we go hiking. My scalp got bitten badly, while we were hiking. My scalp still itches to this day!

Leaving Fillmore Glen State Park, we drove alongside the eastern side of Owasco Lake to Auburn.

East Side of Owasco Lake
(near Niles, NY)

We ate lunch at Seb’s Green Shutters in Auburn.  Bob ordered a Seb’s double cheeseburger, onion rings and water.  I ordered a Seb’s cheeseburger, French fries and Diet Pepsi.  We shared the French fries and onion rings.

From Seb’s we returned to our Airbnb “Casa Esperanza on Wyckoff Road”.  We purchased a couple bundles of firewood along the way.

There is a path through the woods at our Airbnb. 

Walking path through the woods

We walked the path in the afternoon.  The path leads from one corner to the other corner along the back part of the property.  It was a nice stroll.

In the evening we roasted weiners over a hot fire, using one of the wood bundles. In addition to the weiners we enjoyed baked beans and leftover macaroni & cheese for dinner. For dessert we, once again, had Klondike bars.

Finger Lakes Vacation: Day 1

The Finger Lakes are a group of eleven long, narrow, roughly north–south lakes in New York in an area called the Finger Lakes Region. The eleven Finger Lakes, from west to east, are: Conesus Lake, Hemlock Lake, Canadice Lake, Honeoye Lake, Canandaigua Lake,
Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, and Otisco Lake.

We have visited the Finger Lakes Region often over the past 20+ years. We have seen four of the eleven Finger Lakes: Canandaigua Lake, Keuka Lake, Seneca Lake, and Cuyuga Lake. During the week of May 25 through June 1 we added Owasco Lake and Skaneateles Lake to our list of Finger Lakes that we have seen. This blog post and several that follow will provide photographs and details of our visit to these two eastern finger lakes.

We left home at 7:42 am on Wednesday, May 25, en route Scipo Center NY via the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

We arrived at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge around 11:42 am.  

the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

I got my National Park Passport cancelled with a rubber-stamp ink marking that recorded the name of the wildlife refuge and the date of our visit.  We drove the Wildlife Drive two times.  The highlight of our visit was a Sandhill Crane family, two adults and two babies.

Sandhill Cranes
Two Adults and a Baby
Sandhill Cranes
Two Adults and a Baby
It looks like the one adult is looking back for the second baby.
Sandhill Cranes
Two Adults and Two Babies

This was our first ever sighting of sandhill cranes. How exciting! We had hoped to see the sandhill cranes again on our second drive around Wildlife Loop. Unfortunately, we did not see them.

From Montezuma we drove to Auburn, to Emerson Park, where we ate a picnic lunch (tuna salad with crackers snack set, snack size fruit cup and cookies). 

This was our view, at Emerson Park on Owasco Lake, as we ate a picnic lunch.

After lunch we went for a walk in Emerson Park. We spent an enjoyable few minutes watching Canada Geese at the water’s edge.

Emerson Park is about a 9 minute drive from our Airbnb.  We arrived at Airbnb “Casa Esperanza on Wykoff Road” in Scipio Center NY at approximately 3:20 pm.  Our host, Mickie, met us.  She showed us around the house and gave us a dozen fresh eggs from her farm and a bottle of wine (how nice!). Mickie lives in the next house up the road from the Airbnb.

After we had unpacked the car and got settled in, we left to pick up groceries at Wegmans in Auburn.  We did our shopping and returned to the Airbnb.  We cooked dinner together — sloppy joes, macaroni & cheese, and green beans.  For dessert we had Klondike ice cream bars.

After dinner Bob started a campfire. 

We had a fire our first night at “Casa Esperanza”.


Audubon Community Nature Center Visit

Bob and I drove to our local Audubon Center, located in Jamestown NY, yesterday afternoon. We walked a little more than 2 miles. I surprised Bob when I chose to walk as far as we did. I surprised myself too!

If you click here, you will find a map of the trails at the Audubon Center. We began our walk on the blue Overlook Trail.

We saw a Canada Goose, shortly after beginning our walk on the Overlook Trail.
We stopped at the Blue Heron Overlook that overlooks Big Pond.
We saw two Red-Winged Blackbirds from the Blue Heron Overlook.
We saw a Canada goose from the Blue Heron Overlook. We think the goose was sitting on a nest.

Leaving the Blue Heron Overlook we took a connecting trail to the yellow Big Pond Trail.

Along the connecting trail we saw a Pine Warbler.
We saw a Green Heron, too, while on the connecting trail.
We saw one more warbler, while on the connecting trail. This is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

We took the yellow Big Pond Trail alongside the Bluebird Field.

We saw a Northern Flicker, while walking alongside the Bluebird Field.
We also saw a Tree Swallow, while walking alongside the Bluebird Field.

What we didn’t see that I had hoped to see was a bluebird in the Bluebird Field.

We took a break here, with this beautiful view of Big Pond.
We were about opposite the Blue Heron Overlook at this point.
This is the Rosanne Stark Memorial Swing, located along the Big Pond Trail.
A nearby plaque stated that “Rosanne Stark volunteered at Audubon Community Nature Center for many years. She initiated several projects here including a native plant garden. She was especially fond of crows and enjoyed feeding and observing their activities from her Ashville home.
Rose was also a passionate teacher. She was instrumental in inviting Audubon’s Naturlists into classrooms at Chautauqua Lake School, where she was fondly knows as “The Frog Lady”. Rose loved history. Her dedication, humor, and creativity captivated students and brought historical characters and scenarios to life.
Rose’s warmth and enthusiasm endeared her to family and friends. She will always be remembered as a creatively thoughtful person who made friends easily.
She loved to laugh. She loved to learn.”
Near the swing was a tree with a large hole.
Bob took a picture of me and the tree.
I took a close-up picture of the tree bottom.

Soon we came to a bridge.

We were still on Big Pond Trail, when we crossed over Hemlock Bridge.

Soon after crossing over Hemlock Bridge, we walked the orange Spatterdock Trail that circles Spatterdock Pond. We made our way to a tower that looks out on Big Pond via Spatterdock and a connecting trail. We walked along the top end of Spatterdock Pond.

Hugh’s Tower overlooks Big Pond.
We have climbed this tower on past visits to the Audubon Center. We didn’t climb the tower yesterday, as I didn’t feel like doing steps.

Leaving the tower we used a connecting trail, Spatterdock Trail, and a small part of the Overlook Trail to make our way back to the parking lot.

We saw this Canada Goose family along the way.

No trip to the Audubon Center would be complete without visiting Liberty. So, we visited her enclosure on our way back to the parking lot.

Say hello to Liberty!
Liberty was found in the state of Washington, with an infected cut on her left wing. She cannot be released because the muscle damage in her wing prevents her from flying well enough to hunt in the wild.
Liberty can fly short distances inside her habitat.
Liberty has lived at the Audubon Center since June 2002.
A group of volunteers take good care of her.

PLEASE NOTE: All photographs in this blog post may be viewed larger by visiting Flickr, for as long as I have Flickr. Please click here to view larger-size images for this blog post.

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