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Posts tagged ‘East Syracuse NY July 2017 Weekend Getaway’

East Syracuse NY to Mt. Morris NY

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area.

We checked out of the Best Western East Syracuse, after breakfast, on Monday July 3, and were on our way home shortly before 8:00 am.

On our way to East Syracuse on Saturday, we stopped at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.  We stopped at the wildlife refuge once again on our way back home. I am so glad that we visited Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. I put my new camera lens to good use, as we drove around Wildlife Drive.

New camera lens, you ask?  I just realized that I hadn’t shared on my blog that I purchased a new camera lens.  I waited for well over 1-1/2 years to purchase this camera lens.  At first the camera lens wasn’t in stock.  Then I didn’t have the money available to purchase the lens.  Finally, everything came together to make the purchase.  I purchased an Olympus m.Zuiko ED 300mm f4.0 IS Pro lens, specifically for wildlife photography.  Coupled with a 1.4x teleconverter, I have an effective focal length of 840mm!  My new lens arrived on Friday, June 30, the day before we left on our weekend getaway.  I need to use the lens more to increase my proficiency in its use, but I am very pleased with the images that I captured at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

_LG22411Bird ID needed

_LG22424Osprey in Flight, with seaweed attached to its claw

_LG22428Are these birds American Coot?

The highlight of our visit to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge was the sighting of two American Bald Eagles.  One eagle flew off to parts unknown, but one eagle landed in a tree not far from where we were on Wildlife Drive.

Bob took this photograph of me, while photographing the eagle.

And to think I didn’t want a moon roof, when we were car shopping. I didn’t want to spend the extra money. The car on the lot that we liked came with a moon roof. I am glad that we got a moon roof, because it enabled me to capture a couple good photographs of the eagle!

_LG22462American Bald Eagle

_LG22472
My new camera lens is a keeper!
These two eagle images are the best pictures I have ever taken of an eagle!

We sat and watched a group of Canadian Geese farther along on Wildlife Drive.

_LG22481Canadian Geese, quietly enjoying the pond

The quiet didn’t last for long!

_LG22482Noisy Canadian Geese!

_LG22487This duck had one of the Wildlife Drive ponds all to herself.

_LG22499Great Blue Heron

We stopped once again to admire the newly installed eagle monument.

_LG22529The eagle monument was built in honor the the 40th anniversary of New York State’s bald eagle
reintroduction program, which largely happened at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

_LG22532The eagle monument is visible from Interstate 90.

Leaving Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, we drove to Mt. Morris, NY.  We ate lunch at Brian’s USA Diner.  We selected this restaurant for lunch, based on its positive reviews. Yes, as stated by reviewers, the service was quick and friendly. Bob ordered a Reuben sandwich with Onion Rings. I ordered pulled chicken in a hoagie bun with potato salad. The restaurant reviews indicated that the portions were large. I agree. My pulled chicken hoagie sandwich was huge! My potato salad was heaped high in a small bowl. At first, Bob’s Reuben sandwich looked average size. He said, though, that there was lots of meat in his sandwich, so much meat that he could barely taste the dressing. Reviewers raved about the taste of the food. The food tasted okay, nothing really to boast about. Nothing to complain about either.

After lunch, we drove to nearby Letchworth State Park.  I will share details and photographs of Letchworth State Park in the next (and final) blog post I write about our East Syracuse NY weekend getaway.

 

July 2 Sightseeing Activities – Green Lakes State Park

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area. This blog post is a continuation of sightseeing activities on Sunday, July 2 (day 2 of our weekend getaway). In previous blog posts, I wrote about an unplanned stop in Manlius NY, a planned stop at Chittenango Falls State Park and our drive around Oneida Lake.

Our last sightseeing stop for the day was at Green Lakes State Park.  Earlier this year we purchased an annual New York State Park Empire Pass that provides unlimited day use vehicle entry to most state parks and recreation facilities.   Green Lakes State Park was one of three New York State parks at which we used our Empire Pass during our weekend getaway.

Green Lakes State Park features two small lakes, Green Lake and Round Lake, which have an unusual blue-green color.  The lakes lie at the base of a gorge.  The lakes and the gorge are remnants from the end of the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago.  Green Lake and Round Lake are probably the remnants of the plunge pools of enormous waterfalls that existed during the ice age.  As expected for plunge pools, the lakes are fairly deep in comparison to their area.  Round Lake has a maximum depth of 170 feet: Green Lake has a maximum depth of 195 feet.

There is a level loop trail around Green Lake and Round Lake.  There is a short trail between Green Lake and Round Lake that connects the two lakes.  All together, the trail around the lakes is 3.25 miles.  I can easily bicycle 3 miles on level ground; however, no bicycles are allowed on the trails around the two lakes.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to walk all the way around the two lakes, but that is what we planned when discussing our weekend getaway.

At its northern end, Green Lake has a sandy swimming beach, lawns for sunbathing and picnics, a building with changing facilities and a concession stand.  Visitors can easily reach Green Lake and begin walking the trail around the two lakes from there.

_LG22393Green Lake

When we arrived at Green Lakes State Park, it was too hot and humid for a pleasant walk around Green Lake and Round Lake.  We decided to walk around Round Lake.  We drove through the park, looking for easy access to Round Lake.  We learned that the only ways to reach Round Lake was either by walking around Green Lake or by hiking down steep cliffs.  We settled for a hike from the camp store near the Pine Woods Camping Area down to Round Lake and back up.

_LG22392Round Lake
It was definitely worth the hike down to the lake!
Look at that gorgeous blue/green color of the lake!

I would like to make a return trip to Green Lakes State Park and attempt the walk around both lakes.  Perhaps a fall trip would be best, when the air is cooler and less humid.

Before returning to our hotel, we stopped for dinner at Grimaldi’s Ristorante.  The restaurant is located within walking distance of the hotel at which we stayed.

20170702_210358994_iOSBob at Grimaldi’s Ristorante

We highly recommend this restaurant. The entrees were generously proportioned; the food was delicious; and the service was excellent.

20170702_212017029_iOS
Our Main entrees at Grimalidi’s

Bob had Homemade Lasagna; I had Chicken Parmigiana, served with Rigatoni. Our meals included crusty bread and salad.

A plate of cotton candy served with the bill was totally unexpected.  What a pleasant surprise!  Neither of us has had cotton candy in a great many years.

20170702_214153240_iOS
Bubblegum-flavored Cotton Candy

In case you are wondering, we didn’t eat the entire plate of cotton candy.  We left most of it behind!

We returned to the hotel at 6:00 pm, where we stayed in for rest of evening.

July 2 Sightseeing Activities – Oneida Lake

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area.  This blog post is a continuation of sightseeing activities on Sunday, July 2 (day 2 of our weekend getaway).  In previous blog posts, I wrote about an unplanned stop in Manlius NY and a planned stop at Chittenango Falls State Park.

From Chittenango Falls State Park we drove to Verona Beach Lighthouse and then drove around Oneida Lake. A friend suggested that we visit The Wild Animal Park in Chittenango NY, en route the lighthouse. We planned to visit the animal park but opted not to do so, when we saw how busy it was!  We were stopped for several minutes in traffic that was entering the animal park.

According to a Wikipedia article, Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within the state of New York. The lake is about 21 miles long and about 5 miles wide with an average depth of 22 feet.  The shoreline is about 55 miles.  While not included as one of the Finger Lakes, Oneida is sometimes referred to as their “thumb”. Because it is shallow, it is warmer than the deeper Finger Lakes in summer, and its surface freezes solidly in winter.

The Verona Beach Lighthouse is one of three identical lighthouses on Oneida Lake.  The other two lighthouses are located in Brewerton and Frenchman’s Island.  The Brewerton Lighthouse was constructed to mark the juncture of the western end of the lake with the Oneida River.  The Frenchman’s Island Lighthouse was constructed to mark a pair of islands in the southwestern portion of the lake.  The Verona Beach Lighthouse was constructed to mark the entrance to Wood Creek Canal from the eastern end of the lake.  We saw only the lighthouse at Verona Beach.

_LG22369
The Verona Beach Lighthouse is approximately 85 feet tall.

_LG22364
Construction of the Verona Beach Lighthouse was completed in the summer of 1917.

_LG22363Picturesque beach view from Verona Beach Lighthouse

Leaving Verona Beach, we began our drive around Oneida Lake.  We stopped for lunch at Y HILL Express, located in Blossvale at the intersection of Routes 49 and 13.  Bob had a chef salad for lunch, with a big chocolate chip cookie. I had a tuna melt sandwich with a soft serve twist ice cream cone. Lunch was good and our least expensive meal so far on this trip.

We made two other stops, while driving around Oneida Lake.

We stopped at Lakeview Park in Cleveland.  The park overlooks Oneida Lake.

_LG22371Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park

This lovely gazebo honors those who died on September 11, 2001.

_LG22378Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park Gazebo

_LG22379Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park Gazebo

_LG22380Cleveland, NY – Lakeside Park Gazebo

Our last stop, during our drive around Oneida Lake, was in Brewerton.  We visited the Oliver Stevens Blockhouse Museum on the grounds of the former Fort Brewerton.  You may read all about Fort Brewerton and the blockhouse by clicking here.

_LG22382Replica of Oliver Stevens Blockhouse

The Oliver Stevens Blockhouse houses a museum with collections of local artifacts, including native materials. Here are a few photographs inside the museum. All photographs were taken on the second floor of the museum.

_LG22387This is what we saw, when we reached the second floor of the museum.

_LG22386Note the arrowheads above the rocking horse.
These arrowheads were found on the Fort Brewerton grounds and nearby locations.

_LG22383

_LG22384A Model of Fort Brewerton

_LG22385

From Brewerton we continued our drive around Oneida Lake to Bridgeport, where we headed south to Green Lakes State Park — the subject of my next blog post about our weekend getaway to the East Syracuse, NY area.

July 2 Sightseeing Activities – Chittenango Falls State Park, NY

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area.  This blog post is a continuation of sightseeing activities on Sunday, July 2 (day 2 of our weekend getaway).  In my previous blog post, I wrote about an unplanned stop in Manlius, NY.  Our next stop, after Manlius, was at Chittenango Falls State Park.  Earlier this year we purchased an annual New York State Park Empire Pass that provides unlimited day use vehicle entry to most state parks and recreation facilities.  Chittenango Falls State Park was one of three New York State parks at which we used our Empire Pass during our weekend getaway.

Chittenango Falls State Park is located approximately 20 miles southeast of Syracuse, NY.  According to park descriptions that I read, while planning our weekend getaway, the main attraction at Chittenango Falls State Park is a picturesque 167-foot waterfall.  The waterfall may be seen from the top, as well as from a winding trail into the gorge.  At the bottom of the gorge is a footbridge that crosses Chittenango Creek.   After crossing over the footbridge, visitors can return to the top along a small trail on the opposite side of the gorge.  When we visited the park, the footbridge was closed because of flooding.  I believe both trails on either side of the gorge, though, were open for hiking.  We hiked only the park side of the trail, which was enough for me.  The trail was moderately steep and slippery in parts.

_LG22350Top view of Chittenango Falls

I took a short video at the top of the waterfall too.  This was a live Facebook video that I took with my iPhone.  I downloaded the video from Facebook; therefore, the video is lower quality than I normally post.  I didn’t think to capture video with my camera, though, so my downloaded Facebook live video will have to do.

If you are not able to view the embedded video, click here for a direct link to the video

Holy cow!  Chittenango Falls was very turbulent!

_LG22353View of Chiitenango Falls from park trail

_LG22352I stood my tripod up against the rail you see in previous picture, when I took this picture.

This was a raging waterfall..  The amount of water falling was quite impressive. The significant rainfall from the previous day was the reason for the gushing water.

Near this portion of the trail a fellow hiker mentioned that there was a smaller waterfall just a short way farther down the trail.  He urged us to continue down the trail, even though we wouldn’t be able to cross over the footbridge, to see the smaller waterfall.  He told us that it is rare to see any water flowing on the smaller waterfall during the summer months.

_LG22361
Small Waterfall at Chittenango Falls State Park

I am happy that we hiked down the trail just a little farther.  What a beautiful waterfall!

I definitely want to return to Chittenango Falls State Park one day, when there hasn’t been torrential rainfall the day before.  I would like to have the opportunity to walk to the bottom of the gorge and across the footbridge to the other side of the gorge and back up to the top.  I would like to capture additionla images of Chittenango Falls, but more normal looking images of the falls.

 

 

July 2 Sightseeing Activities – Manlius, NY

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area.

We awakened at 5:15 am on Sunday, July 2 (day 2 of our weekend getaway).  We were both showered and dressed for the day by 6:45 am. Complimentary breakfast began at 7:00 am. We were among the first to show up for breakfast. I made myself a waffle and topped it with strawberries (so delicious!).  Bob had eggs, sausage and a pastry.  Cranberry juice and coffee (Bob) and tea (me) completed our breakfast.

After breakfast we set off to do some sightseeing in the area. We were looking forward to seeing new places, as we had not spent time in this area before.  The map shown below gives a general idea of our sightseeing route.

Sightseeing Map

I say a general idea, as we told the GPS not to put us on any highways.  Our main sightseeing goals were: Chittenango Falls State Park, Verona Beach Lighthouse and Green Lakes State Park (in that order).

Our first stop was not planned.  As we passed through Manlius, I noticed a pretty park located along NY State Route 92.  We drove right by the park and onto another road. Bob turned around, when I politely asked him to do so.  We both enjoyed the beauty of Swan Pond, both the upper and lower ponds.

_LG22336Upper Swan Pond

_LG22337Upper Swan Pond

_LG22315Swan Family at Upper Swan Pond

We walked around Swan Pond in a counter clockwise direction.  It wasn’t long until we realized there was an upper and lower Swan Pond.

_LG22342This gazebo overlooks Lower Swan Pond.

_LG22338Viewing (or Fishing?) Platform on Lower Swan Pond

_LG22339Looking Across Lower Swan Pond from the Viewing Platform

We walked around Lower Swan Pond.  We enjoyed the wildlife that we saw during our walk.

_LG22320We saw a squirrel, with a strange-looking tail.
The squirrel was gathering nuts and hiding them.

_LG22323We saw a cute, fuzzy baby duck.

_LG22326We saw an adult duck.

_LG22334We saw a juvenile bird in a tree.

The highlight of our walk around the pond, though, was spotting the bird in my next photograph.  A woman, who told us she works at the nearby TOPS Market and comes to the park daily, led us to this bird.

_LG22333Belted Kingfisher

I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the anonymous TOPS Market worker who pointed out the Belted Kingfisher to us!

We returned to Upper Swan Pond and our car to continue our sightseeing drive.

_LG22345This is a parting shot of Upper Swan Pond.

This was a stop not planned.  We spent 45 minutes here, admiring Swan Pond and its inhabitants.  It was time well spent!

My original thoughts, when preparing the outline for blog posts related to our East Syracuse NY weekend getaway, was to include all of our sightseeing stops on day 2 in one blog post.  I changed my mind.  This post will be the first of four blog posts about our second day in the East Syracuse NY area.

Warren PA to East Syracuse NY

We departed home at 6:50 am, on July 1 (Saturday) en route the Syracuse NY area for a 2-night stay. It was thundering and raining, when we left home.

We ate breakfast in Frewsburg NY at Sally’s Deli & Catering.

Sallys_Deli-portrait-16x20-vertical-01

On Saturday Sally’s has a breakfast buffet, beginning at 7:00 am. It was our first time there. I am glad that we chanced upon it, while looking for a place to eat. Sally’s is a tiny place, with a pleasant dining area. The breakfast selections that included scrambled eggs, bacon, corned beef and potatoes, potato casserole, sausage, French toast, pancakes, fruit, pastries and hot beverages were more than adequate. The food was delicious. We liked everything, with possibly the exception of the corned beef and potatoes. I am sure it was a personal taste issue in regard to the corned beef and potatoes.

The rain stopped, while we were eating breakfast. We caught up with the rain again a short ways west of the Friendship/Boliver exit on Interstate 86.  We drove in and out of rain rest of the way to Syracuse. For the most part, the rain didn’t last long.

Our next stop, after breakfast, was in the village of Honeoye Falls. The small village of Honeoye Falls is located approximately fifteen miles southeast of Rochester, NY.  The village includes a small waterfall on Honeoye Creek, which flows through the village and gives it its name.

_LG22248Honeoye Falls, NY

This was our first time in Honeoye Falls. How we missed knowing about this village is beyond me. We have been within a few miles of the village many times over the past 19 years. Now that we know of its existence and how picturesque the village is, I am sure we will make a return trip to Honeoye Falls sometime in the future.

We stopped for lunch at the Clifton Springs Travel Plaza on Interstate 90. Our lunch at Burger King (a Whooper with Cheese meal and a Junior Whooper with Cheese meal) was much more expensive than the cost at home! I should have planned this trip better and brought along food for picnic-style lunches.

Before stopping for lunch a couple accidents had slowed traffic on Interstate 90. Interstate traffic was moving well, after lunch.

Around 1:00 pm we stopped at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. We saw lots of geese, a few great blue herons, and several ducks.

_LG22266Great Blue Heron

_LG22270Canadian Goose

_LG22292Close-up Picture of Canadian Goose

_LG22284Duck Family

It thundered and rained about halfway around the 3.5 mile Wildlife Drive. We stopped near the end of the drive and waited out the rain. Near the end of Wildlife Drive is a new viewing platform and eagle monument.  It stopped raining momentarily, and I snapped a picture of the new structures.

_LG22301New Viewing Platform and Eagle Monument at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

The eagle monument was built In honor of the 40th anniversary of New York State’s bald eagle reintroduction program, which largely happened at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

Soon it began to rain again.

We departed Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge around 2:00 pm. We were notified a few times of severe thunderstorm warnings and flash flood warnings, soon after departing the refuge.  The rain and wind were pretty wild, as we made our way east!

We stopped at an indoor flea market, located in Elbridge NY along NY Route 5. We shopped, while waiting for the storm to get ahead of us. There was a nice selection of merchandise, reasonably priced. I came out of the store empty handed, though.  The stop served its purpose, as the storm did get ahead of us.

_LG22305Storm Chasing

The white building seen in the photograph displayed above is the Inn Between Restaurant, located in Camillus NY.  The restaurant provided an excellent contrast against the dark sky.

We checked into Best Western Plus East Syracuse around 3:30 pm. Our room number was 225.  We turned off the air conditioning soon after entering the room. The room stayed comfortably cool throughout rest of the afternoon and evening. Our room was comfortable, but small.  The walking space between the furniture was narrow.  The bathroom was of moderate size. Our room included a microwave, refrigerator and single-serve coffee maker. There were both tea bags and coffee in the room for the preparation of hot beverages. In my experience tea bags aren’t always provided, along with coffee.  There is a beverage station in the lobby, too, where hot beverages may be obtained. I read that the hotel was recently renovated. Our room appeared to be fairly new. We spent 2 nights here, using reward points as payment.

We ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s, located within walking distance of hotel. We took the car, though, in case it rained. It didn’t rain. We both ordered chicken entrees, with the garden salad bar.

Rather than order dessert at Ruby Tuesday’s, we went to a nearby Dairy Queen and ordered small blizzards.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Rite Aid and picked up beverages and snacks. It was around 6:00 pm, when we made it back to the hotel. We stayed in for rest of the night.

Please check back later.  I will be sharing additional blog posts about our East Syracuse NY Weekend Getaway in the near future.

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