The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Empire Passport’

Mt. Morris NY to Warren PA, via Letchworth State Park

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the East Syracuse, NY area the weekend of July 1 through July 3.  In my earlier blog post I wrote about the first part of our trip back home on Monday, July 3.  This blog post is about rest of our trip back home.

After lunch we drove through Letchworth 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. Letchworth State Park was one of three New York State parks at which we used our Empire Pass during our weekend getaway.   I wrote about visits at the other two state parks in previous blog posts.  At Letchworth we stopped at Inspiration Point and Middle Falls.

_LG22570_LG22571_LG22572-HDRBoth the Upper and Middle Falls are visible from Inspiration Point.

_LG22579Rainbow at Middle Falls

_LG22585Middle Falls

We passed up Lower Falls. Perhaps someday we will make the hike down that trail again. Neither of us felt like making that hike today. The Portageville exit is still closed, as construction continues on a new steel arch railroad bridge across the Genesee River Gorge. You can see the bridge in the photograph displayed above, as well as in the photograph of Inspiration Point.  We were surprised to find the trail to Upper Falls fenced off. The trail is closed for reconstruction through the remainder of 2017.

There is much more to see and do at Letchworth State Park.  We have visited this park several times over the past 15+ years, as the park is located only a couple hours drive from our home.  I expect we will make a return trip in the fall.

We departed Letchworth State Park via the Castile exit at 3:30 pm.

We stopped for ice cream at Peaches and Cream in Randolph NY. I ordered a banana split, which was made with one scoop each of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream with appropriate toppings and a sliced banana. The banana split was easily twice the size as the one I get at Dairy Queen and cost about the same. I didn’t need or want dinner that evening!

We returned home shortly before 6:00 pm. Checking the odometer, we traveled 641 miles during our weekend getaway. We said hello to our kitty and unpacked the car. While I unpacked our travel bag and put away everything else, Bob mowed the yard.

My new U.S. Passport arrived in the mail, while we were away. Hooray! We can plan a trip to Niagara Falls, Canada now! When I mailed in my passport renewal application on June 14, the processing time indicated was 4-6 weeks. The processing time was quicker than that!

I hope that you have enjoyed the blog posts 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.

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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.

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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 – 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.

 

 

Lincoln NH to Warren PA

We took two days for our trip back home from the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  On the first day we drove from Lincoln, NH to Weedsport, NY.  On the second day we drove from Weedsport, NY to our home in Warren, PA.

On Thursday, August 4, we awakened early, which enabled a departure an hour or two earlier than expected. We departed the Rodeway Inn (Lincoln, NH) at 6:00 am, leaving the room keys in our room because the hotel  office was closed.

Our first photo stop was in Woodstock, Vermont, after driving for about 2-1/2 hours.

_LG24850 4x6“Bob, stop!  There’s a covered bridge!”
Taftsville Covered Bridge, seen as we were driving through the village of Taftsville

_LG24851 4x6Taftsville Covered Bridge

Taftsville Bridge is a two span 189 foot long Multiple Kingpost Truss with an arch. Spans are 89 and 100 feet. This bridge was built in 1836 and is one of the oldest covered bridges in Vermont.

It carries River Road the over Ottaquechee River in Taftsville Vermont.

_LG24855 4x6Taftsville Covered Bridge spans the Ottauquechee River.

About an hour later we stopped for breakfast at The Maple Diner in Bridgewater, Vermont.

20160804_132323278_iOS 4x6The Maple Diner

Great breakfast!  We highly recommend this small family restaurant, if you find yourself in Bridgewater, VT some day.

We passed through Killington, VT where we couldn’t miss the ski slopes of Pico Mountain. We stopped for gas in Rutland, VT. What a busy and congested city that is!

We stopped briefly at Moreau Lake State Park near Wilton, NY. Using our NY Empire Passport we gained admission into the park. We followed Lake Road from the entrance gate to the beach. There was a nature center located near the beach.  The beach and picnic areas were in heavy use, and we were not able to find any nearby parking.  We skipped the nature center and made our way back to the park entrance.  We made a photo stop near the boat launch area.

_LG24857 4x6Moreau Lake

We passed through LOTS of small towns on our way to Interstate 90! We avoided Albany, NY. We skirted around Saratoga Springs, NY. We finally reached Interstate 90 W at 2:33 pm, about 10 miles or so east of Utica, NY (near mile marker 222).

We checked into the Rodeway Inn in Weedsport, NY around 4:00 pm.  This hotel used to be a Best Western, as it is still identified in the GPS and on Facebook.

The only meal we ate out was breakfast. We didn’t stop for lunch and opted to eat a picnic lunch, with food items brought from home, for dinner.

On Friday, August 5, we ate breakfast at our hotel, packed the car and left a little after 8:00 am en route home.

We made a few stops along the way.

_LG24863 4x6Weedsport, NY
“Four Freedoms” mural

The four train cars on the mural are based on the four freedoms Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke of in his 1941 State of the Union Address.
_LG24861 4x6

_LG24862 4x6The four freedoms are:
Freedom of speech, Freedom of religion, Freedom from want and Freedom from fear.

Also in Weedsport are the remains of the Centreport Aqueduct, which is the centerpiece of a small park located along NY Route 31.

_LG24866 4x6We walked the towpath (on the right) to the towpath bridge.

_LG24865 4x6The towpath bridge was reconstructed to be nearly identical to the one built here in 1854.

_LG24864 4x6Remains of Centreport Aqueduct, as seen from towpath bridge

We stopped briefly in Port Bryon.  While Bob took our Nissan Xterra through a car wash, I photographed a colorful mural.

_LG24871 4x6Port Bryon, NY
Erie Canal Mural

We rode through the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, in Monezuma, NY, where we saw a few species of waterfowl.

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The majority of the waterfowl that we saw at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge were Canadian Geese.


Canadian Geese, getting cooled off in the water

_LG24894 4x6Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
I cannot identify these flowers, but aren’t they pretty!

We drove through Ovid, NY and along Seneca Lake.  We drove through Watkins Glen. We had planned to hike the gorge but decided against doing so because of the heat and humidity but also dry conditions. When we passed by Hector Falls, just before reaching Watkins Glen, there was very little water falling. We had never seen Hector Falls so dry!

We stopped for a short time in downtown Corning.

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Corning, NY

The clock tower was built in memory of Erastus Corning in 1883.  The clock tower is located in the center of town, just north of Market Street in Center Square.

We thought we would eat lunch in Corning, but opted instead to eat lunch a little closer to home.  All we did in Corning was photograph the clock tower, before continuing on our way home.

We stopped for lunch at Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville, NY. I ordered a center cut pork chop dinner with baked potato, apple sauce, carrots and tossed salad. My dinner included two pork chops. I boxed one and brought it home. Bob ordered a Sugar Bush Club (a Triple-decker sandwich filled filled with turkey, country ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonaisse) with maple baked beans. We picked up a piece of peanut butter fudge for later, as we paid the bill on our way out. Lunch was excellent.

We returned home at 4:00 pm. We unpacked the car, putting away what we had taken with us. I uploaded to my computer the pictures that I had taken, while on vacation. I entered in Quicken our expenditures during vacation. Bob mowed the grass.  With the exception of doing laundry the next day, I took it easy. Bob took it easy as well. Being on vacation seems to be more tiring than being at home, as we are always on the go.  I have heard people say “I need a vacation after vacation”.  I agree!

This blog post concludes the account of our 7-day New Hampshire vacation.  I hope that you enjoyed your armchair travel!

1000 Islands Vacation Day 4: Jacques Cartier State Park and More

On Day 4 (Wednesday, June 22) of our 1000 Island Vacation we visited four New York State Parks: Keewaydin State Park, Kring Point State Park, Jacques Cartier State Park and Grasse Point State Park.  We also visited the Chippewa Bay area and, later in the evening, downtown Alexandria Bay.  In my first Day 4 blog post I wrote about our Keewaydin State Park visit.  My second Day 4 blog post was about our visit to Kring Point State Park.  Today’s blog post is about our visit to Jacques Cartier State Park, what we saw at a scenic overlook near Chippewa Bay and our lunch stop at Schermerhorn Harbor in Hammond, NY.

The third park that we visited was Jacques Cartier State Park.  We used our Empire Passport for admission to the state park.  Jacques Cartier State Park is located approximately 22 miles north of Alexandria Bay.  Our highlights during our visit to this park included watching a freighter on the St. Lawrence River, the view of the Canadian city of Brockville, a playground and a sandy beach.  We spent about 15 minutes at Jacques Cartier State Park.

20160622_163129433_iOS 4x6Welcome Sign

_LG23190 4x6Federal MAAS Ship
This bulk carrier ship, sailing under the flag of Barbados,
passed by the Canadian city of Brockville.

During our entire stay in NY’s 1000 Islands region we were so close to Canada that our mobile phones hooked up to Canadian cell towers.  I scrutinized our AT&T cellular bill for the time we were on vacation.  I wasn’t surprised to see usage from Canada on the bill.  A quick call to AT&T reversed those charges.

_LG23196 4x6The trees in front of the Federal MAAS ship are located on small Canadian islands.

We saw the Federal MAAS ship once again 27 miles south and 2 hours later, while visiting Grass Point State Park.

_LG23198 4x6
It was a weekday, when we visited Jacques Cartier State Park.
Our visit to NY’s 1000 Islands region took place a week, maybe two weeks,
before the start of the summer season.
I am sure that the playground and beach have been full of people since our visit.

_LG23199 4x6Ready and waiting …

Driving south on Route 12, we stopped at a scenic overlook near Chippewa Bay.  We saw Singer Castle, located on Dark Island, way off in the distance.

_LG23205 4x6Singer Castle

The 1000 Islands Tower is visible also in the photograph displayed above.  I would like to take a boat tour to Singer Castle the next time we visit the 1000 Islands region.  I would like to visit the 1000 Islands Tower in Canada as well.

We ate lunch at Foster’s Harbor Inn, located at Schermerhorn Harbor in Hammond, NY.  I ordered chicken tenders, French fries and coleslaw.  Bob ordered a buffalo chicken wrap with house chips and onion petals.  Our lunches were OK, as was the service.  It was our most expensive meal (approximately $32.00), while on vacation.  The cost seemed exorbitant for what we ate.  Neither of us would want to return to this restaurant, as there are many other good, less expensive choices.  In fact, we would have preferred a picnic lunch at one of the state parks!

My next 1000 Islands Vacation blog post will provide details and photographs from our visit to Grass Point State Park.

1000 Islands Vacation Day 4: Kring Point State Park

On Day 4 (Wednesday, June 22) of our 1000 Island Vacation we visited four New York State Parks: Keewaydin State Park, Kring Point State Park, Jacques Cartier State Park and Grasse Point State Park.  We also visited the Chippewa Bay area and, later in the evening, downtown Alexandria Bay.  In my first Day 4 blog post I wrote about our Keewaydin State Park visit.  Today’s blog post is about our visit to Kring Point State Park.

The second park that we visited was Kring Point State Park.  We used our Empire Passport for admission to the state park.  Kring Point State Park, which is located approximately 10 miles north of Alexandria Bay, is a narrow peninsula that juts out into the St. Lawrence River.  Its south shore faces Goose Bay and its north shore faces the St Lawrence River.  We spent about an hour at Kring Point State Park, where our main activity was exploring Morgan Island.

Here are three photographs of the Morgan Island footbridge.  The first two photographs were taken from the peninsula, and the third photograph was taken from Morgan Island.

_LG23142 4x6Morgan Island Footbridge
When I took this photograph, I was standing in the area where we parked our car.

_LG23143 4x6Morgan Island Footbridge

_LG23154 4x6Morgan Island Footbridge
with boat dock

We crossed over the footbridge and hiked all over Morgan Island.  There was no need for a trail map.  No one can get lost on this small island!

The crystal clear, aqua blue St. Lawrence River was so beautiful. Please enjoy the photographs that I took, during our hike on Morgan Island, as well as the nature quotations that I applied to each photograph.

_LG23145 4x6“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”
~John Keats

_LG23148 4x6“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
~John Burroughs

_LG23150 4x6“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

_LG23151 4x6“If there is magic on this planet it is contained in water.”
~Loran Eisely

_LG23156 4x6“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods…”
~Lord Byron in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

_LG23159 4x6“Go and walk with Nature; thou wilt find
Full many a gem in her enchanted cup.”
~Issac McLellan, Musings

_LG23160 4x6“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
~Henry David Thoreau

_LG23161 4x6
“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.”
~William Hazlitt

My next 1000 Islands Vacation blog post will provide details and photographs from our visit to Jacques Cartier State Park, what we saw at a scenic overlook near Chippewa Bay and our lunch stop at Schermerhorn Harbor in Hammond, NY.

1000 Islands Vacation Day 4: Keewaydin State Park

On Day 4 (Wednesday, June 22) of our 1000 Island Vacation we visited four New York State Parks: Keewaydin State Park, Kring Point State Park, Jacques Cartier State Park and Grasse Point State Park.  We also visited the Chippewa Bay area and, later in the evening, downtown Alexandria Bay.

The first park that we visited was Keewaydin State Park. We used our Empire Passport for admission to the state park.  Keewaydin State Park is on the St. Lawrence River and is located a short distance south of Alexandria Bay.  We spent about an hour exploring Keewaydin State Park.

_LG23112 4x6Fishing Dock with a View

_LG23120 4x6Beautifully Maintained Marina

I walked on the wide sidewalk all the way around the marina and reached this beautiful stone staircase.  I climbed the staircase, which took me high above the marina.

_LG23122 4x6The stonework at the marina is gorgeous!

_LG23124_LG23125_LG23126-HDR 4x6
View of Marina Through the Trees

_LG23127_LG23128_LG23129-HDR 4x6Keewaydin State Park is located on the St. Lawrence River.
Many picturesque water views can be found, while walking in the state park.

In addition to the marina, beautiful stonework can be found elsewhere at the state park.

_LG23131 4x6Stone Gazebo

Bob chose not to walk with me around the marina, opting instead to stay with the car.  Well, when I saw this gazebo, I telephoned Bob and told him there was something he HAD to see.  I directed Bob to a parking lot closer to the gazebo (he was parked at the marina).  Bob was impressed with the beauty of this gazebo, as was I.

_LG23132 4x6
It was not only the gazebo, though, that Bob HAD to see.  It was also what could be seen FROM the gazebo.


_LG23141 4x6
See the Victorian cottage in the distance, through the gazebo towers?

Bob and I had seen this Victorian cottage on our second day of vacation, during our Uncle Sam’s 2 Nation Boat Tour.

_LG22781 4x6Uncle Sam’s 2 Nation Boat Tour
Victorian Cottage on Comfort Island

I thought it so cool that Keewaydin State Park provided another view of the Comfort Island Victorian cottage.  I knew Bob would feel the same way, and he did.

_LG23133 4x6
Comfort Island Cottage
(as seen from Keewaydin State Park)

_LG23137 4x6
This cottage was built in 1883 by industrialist Alson E. Clark of Chicago, IL
The Clark family owned the cottage for 130 years.
The cottage was sold in October 2013,
Restoration of the cottage began in May 2014.
Please see the blog “The Restoration of Comfort Island” for more information about this cottage.

_LG23140 4x6This weather vane of a bear holding the sun weighs 700 pounds and is 91 feet in the air!

My next 1000 Islands Vacation blog post will provide details and photographs from our visit to Kring Point State Park.

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