The Beauty Around Us

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

New Car Purchase

Late morning yesterday we drove to the Ed Shults Subaru dealership in Jamestown, NY.  For the past few years we have been saying that we need a new car. We kept putting off the purchase to “next year maybe”. Last year we found a make/model of car that interested us. Ofttimes when our Nissan Xterra received service, we had available to us a loaner car. We have driven several different Subaru and Nissan makes/models. We liked the Subaru Legacy that was loaned to us last year. The “next year maybe” has arrived.  We purchased a 2017 Subaru Legacy from Ed Schults Subaru’s lot yesterday and drove it home!

IMG_2783 4x6Subaru Salesman going over all of the features of our new car

Our salesman was Larry Bowers.  When we purchased our 2001 Nissan Xterra, our salesman at that time was Larry.  Our purchase experience in 2001 was excellent.  We were quite happy that we were able to purchase a new vehicle from the same salesman.

IMG_2784 4x6
Subaru Legacy dashboard

We need to come up to speed with the technological advances made since the purchase of our 2001 Nissan Xterra!

I snipped the following information about our new car from the Ed Schults Subaru website.

The exterior color of our new car is Venetian Red Pearl; the interior color is Slate Black.  We made use of the heated front seats on our way home from the dealership.

Bob drove the car into work this morning.  He said it handled well in the snow.  When he comes home from work this afternoon, it will be my opportunity to drive the car in the snow.  We have a few errands to run, and Winter Storm Stella has dumped a few inches of snow in our locale.

New Living Room Furniture

It had been almost 12 years, since we purchased living room furniture.  The last time we purchased furniture for the living room was on July 10, 2005.   On that day we had a few hours to kill while in Erie awaiting the arrival of my brother Jim, our sister-in-law Judy and our niece Emily.  We were picking up Emily, who would be staying with us through July 19th.

When my brother and his family arrived in Erie, they found us at John V. Schultz Furniture.  We were in the process of purchasing living room furniture — a sofa, a loveseat, a chair and an ottoman!  I told Jim and Judy that they were responsible for us buying the furniture, as we had to await their arrival.  I was only teasing them, though.  Bob and I have been talking about buying living room furniture for a few years.  We saw furniture that we liked and decided then and there to purchase it.

Our furniture was delivered on August 4, 2005.

On January 14, 2017 we found ourselves at John V. Schultz Furniture in Erie, PA once again.  As happened in 2005, we saw furniture that we liked and decided then and there to purchase it!  It was an impulse buy; however, we had been talking for some time about replacing our almost 12-year-old living room furniture.

Our new living room furniture was delivered yesterday afternoon.

_XZ90667Our new living room furniture

We purchased a sofa, love seat and chair.  All three furniture pieces recline.  The chair is a rocker as well.  The lack of an ottoman frees up some floor space.

_XZ90668The wall behind the sofa and chair looks so bare.  I want to print enlargements of two or three of my landscape photographs and hang them on that wall.   We may replace the end tables one day as well.  I don’t think we will purchase a coffee table, as we both like the open space in front of the furniture.

Our new furniture is much more comfortable than our old furniture.

_XZ90670So very comfy!

We LOVE our new living room furniture!

Ice Cream Social

Bob and I are members of a local motorcycle riding group.  Our riding group is called “2 Scoop Cycletherapy” because we ride for ice cream.  We get together with our 2 Scoop Cycletherapy friends throughout the year.

We attended an ice cream social with some of our motorcycle riding friends during the evening of Saturday, February 25.  Everyone brought something to the party, from cups and spoons to ice cream to toppings.  We spent about 2 1/2 hours eating ice cream and socializing with our friends.  Fun was had by all!

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We are looking forward to our first ride together in the Spring.  Hurry up Spring!

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.

_XZ40565Branchport 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.  I went “live” on Facebook on our way back to the road.

Here is the direct link to the flickr video, in the event you are using a device that will not play it.

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.

_LG20546View across Keuka Lake at Keuka Lake State Park

_LG20542View 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.

_LG20547Barn located on a rural route somewhere between Penn Yan and Corning

_LG20549-EditMill 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.

_LG20551Keuka 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.

_XZ40599G. Frey Opera House (c.1901) on Shethar Street

_XZ40597Walking down Shethar Street

_XZ40596Shethar Street Art

_XZ40576Hammondsport Village Square

_XZ40578Hammondsport Storefronts

_XZ40579Looking across the village square to Shethar Street

_XZ40580
It was motorcycle-riding weather in February!

_XZ40589Depot Park on Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, NY

_XZ40582This is the old depot, from which Depot Park gets its name.

_XZ40585Depot 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.

_LG20480-EditButtermilk 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.

_LG20482-EditButtermilk Creek Waterfall

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

_LG20485-EditWe saw Ithaca Falls first from the Lake Street bridge.

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

_LG20488-EditIthaca 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.

_LG17791 4x6Ithaca 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.

_LG20499
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.

_LG20501Upper Falls
Taughannock Falls State Park

_LG20503-EditTaughannock 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.

_LG20505-EditLower Falls
Taughannock Falls State Park

_LG20523-EditTaughannock Falls

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

_LG17884 4x6
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.

_LG20533-Edit
Champlin Beach at Keuka Lake
The airplane sculpture rising out of the lake caught my eye.

_LG20534This 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!

_LG20476Newfield 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.

_LG20474
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.

_LG20433Cowanesque Lake South Overlook

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

_LG20437Cowanesque 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.

_LG20442Shequaga 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.

_LG20455
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.

_LG20459Hector 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.

_LG20467Pulteney Park
Our Lady of Peace Fountain

_LG20466Pulteney Park
Our Lady of Peace Fountain, with First Presbyterian Church in the background

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

_LG20469Seneca 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, wed drove the short distance to Hammondsport Village Square.  At the suggestion of our hotel clerk, we ate lunch at Burgers & Beer.

 

20170222_195608425_iOS 4x6
Bob ordered a Taco Salad.

20170222_195602359_iOS 4x6
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!

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