The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Empire Passport’

Day Trip to Letchworth State Park

On Saturday, October 5, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day by going for a drive.  We hoped to see some pretty Autumn colors.  Our original plan was to go to Allegany State Park, near Salamanca NY.  This park is about a 45-minute drive from our house.  We were about half way to Allegany State Park, when I asked Bob how far it was from our location to Letchworth State Park.  “Hey Google.  How far is it from my location to Letchworth State Park?”, Bob asked.  Well, we didn’t have a signal, so that question had to be repeated a short while later.  Instead of turning right onto Interstate 86, we went straight ahead, and that is how we ended up at Letchworth State Park instead of Allegany State Park.

Letchworth State Park is located 35 miles south of Rochester, NY. The park, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is a spectacular place. The park’s magnificent scenery includes waterfalls (three major ones on the Genesee River) and a gorge. We have visited Letchworth State Park many times over the years. We enjoy our visit each time we go.

We arrived at the park a little after noon, entering via the south (the Portageville entrance).  We have the New York Empire Pass, which provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to New York State Parks.  We made stops at the Upper and Middle Falls between the Portageville entrance and the Archery Field exit.  

Upper Falls

Middle Falls

Rainbow at Middle Falls

We ate lunch at the Charcoal Grill in Perry, NY.  This is a great place to eat, if you are in the area.  There are three food places — the grill, a pizzeria and an ice cream stand.  We have stopped at the Charcoal Grill a few times, while in the area.  So far we have eaten at each food place, except for the pizzeria.  The pizza smells really good, though … maybe next time.  I ordered broasted chicken with coleslaw and french fries.  Bob ordered beef on weck and onion rings.  As always, the food was delicious. 

After lunch we drove farther north and reentered Letchworth State Park via the Mt. Morris entrance.  We drove south, making a few stops to take pictures of the gorge, before exiting the park via the Portageville exit.

Hogsback Overlook

The photographs (and video) that follow were taken in the Great Bend area of the park.


We watched several rafters go down the Genesee River.

Not much color yet

This was the most color that we saw, while at Letchworth State Park.

Many people took advantage of the nice day, as we did.  The park was full of people!

We had a wonderful day.  We returned home around 6:00 pm.

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.

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

Taftsville 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.

Taftsville Covered Bridge spans the Ottauquechee River.

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

The 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.

Moreau 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.

Weedsport, 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.

The 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.

We walked the towpath (on the right) to the towpath bridge.

The towpath bridge was reconstructed to be nearly identical to the one built here in 1854.

Remains 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.

Port Bryon, NY
Erie Canal Mural

We rode through the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, in Monezuma, NY, where we saw a few species of waterfowl.  The majority of the waterfowl that we saw at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge were Canada Geese.

 

Montezuma 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.

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.

Welcome Sign

Federal 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.

The 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.

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.

Ready 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.

Singer 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.

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

Morgan Island Footbridge

Morgan 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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.

Fishing Dock with a View

Beautifully 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.

The stonework at the marina is gorgeous!

View of Marina Through the Trees

Keewaydin 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.

Stone 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.

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

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.

Uncle 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.

Comfort Island Cottage
(as seen from Keewaydin State Park)

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.

This 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.

1000 Islands Vacation – Day 3: Wellesley Island State Park

On Day 3 (Tuesday, June 21) of our 1000 Island Vacation we visited places south of our home port of Alexandria Bay, NY.  Yesterday’s blog post was about Rock Island Lighthouse.  Today’s blog post is about our visit to Wellesley Island State Park.

Wellesley Island State Park is located on Wellesley Island.  Wellesley Island is the second largest island in the Thousand Islands.  In order to reach Wellesley Island you must cross the Thousand Islands Bridge.  You pay a toll ($2.75 during our visit) to get onto Wellesley Island, but not to leave the island.  There are three NY state parks on Wellesley Island: DeWolf Point State Park, Waterson Point State Park and Wellesley Island State Park.  The State Park land takes up about one third of Wellesley Island.  The rest of the land on the island is privately owned.  We chose to visit Wellesley Island State Park, as opposed to the other state parks, because the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center is located at Wellesley Island State Park.  According to the state park brochure, the other two state parks featured only campsites, cabins, boat docks, a gazebo, and a toilet building. Our NY Empire State Passport provided free entry to Wellesley Island State Park.

During our visit to the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, we hiked three trails: Eel Bay Trail, Sand Cove Trail and Middle Trail. Our hiking loop was a little more than 2 miles in distance.  We spent approximately 1-3/4 hours on the hiking trails, making lots of stops along the way to enjoy the view.

Minna Anthony Common Nature Center
Our hike began at the nature center building.

The Eel Bay Trail follows the contour of the St. Lawrence River and provides scenic views of the river, rock ledges and glacial potholes.

The Eel Bay Trail followed the contour of the St. Lawrence River.

The Eel Bay Trail followed the contour of the St. Lawrence River.

The Eel Bay Trail follows the contour of the St. Lawrence River.

The Eel Bay Trail followed the contour of the St. Lawrence River.

The Eel Bay Trail followed the contour of the St. Lawrence River.
This is one of several islands that we saw during our hike.

 A special geological feature of the Eel Bay Trail were two glacial potholes.

Boardwalk to glacial potholes

 

One of two glacial potholes

Red Rock Ledges

The Eel Bay Trail ends at “The Narrows”.

On the way back to the nature center building we followed three trails: Eel Bay Trail, the mostly forested Sand Cove Trail and the Middle Trail (gravel trail).

We saw our first Pileated Woodpecker,
while on the Sand Cove Trail.

I took several pictures of the Pileated Woodpecker.  This was the best picture out of all the pictures that I took.  The woodpecker was too far away, in the shade, and surrounded by branches and leaves. When I moved to a closer position, the woodpecker flew away.

The Middle Trail passed by the Butterfly House. We didn’t see any butterflies.  A park ranger said it was a little early in the summer for butterflies.

How Big is Your Wingspan?
This sign was located on the Middle Trail, as we neared the Nature Center Building.

From Wellesley Island we drove back over the Thousand Islands Bridge to Clayton, NY — the subject of the next blog post in my 1000 Islands Vacation series.

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Horseheads NY to Warren PA

**Republished August 3, 2021**

This is Day 4, the last day of our Labor Day weekend vacation.

 

We checked out of Rodeway Inn Marshall Manor in Horseheads, NY shortly before 7:45 am and left en route Letchworth State Park, where we plan to meet up with some motorcycling friends from our 2 Scoop CycleTherapy group.

En route Letchworth State Park, we stopped at Stony Brook State Park.  The NY Empire Passport provided free day use vehicle entry into the park.  We went for a walk on the gorge trail, where we saw several small waterfalls along the creek bed and one bigger one.

Stony Brook Pool Falls

Stony Brook Pool

Stony Brook Bridge

Waterfall

The gorge trail was fairly easy to walk, even given the steps. While at the larger waterfall, our friend Mark telephoned and said the 2 Scoop CycleTherapy group was in Portville and their ETA was about 1 ½ hours. I told Mark that we would meet the group at the parking lot near the Railroad High Bridge, located a short way from the Portageville entrance to Letchworth State Park.  Shortly before Bob and I reached the park I telephoned Mark from the 7-Eleven store in Nunda, where we stopped for gas and picnic lunch fixings. I expected to leave a message of our ETA. Mark answered the phone. Our friends were still in Portville. One of our friends could ride no longer, as she was experiencing severe back pain. They wouldn’t leave her until they knew she had a ride home. The new ETA for our friends became 12:30-1:00 pm.

Bob and I arrived at Letchworth State Park around 11:30 am, which was the time we had expected to meet our friends.  The Empire Passport provided free day use vehicle entry into the park.  We parked at the parking lot near the Railroad High Bridge.

Railroad High Bridge
our planned meeting place

While awaiting our friends’ arrival, we were pleasantly surprised by a chance encounter with a friend and her son whom we hadn’t seen in several years! Lisa S., her boyfriend Darcy, and Lisa’s son Michael emerged at the top of the gorge trail, where Bob and I were sitting. The three of them had hiked the trail from the William Pryor Letchworth Museum, near the Glen Iris Inn. What a nice surprise to see Lisa and her son after so many years. It was nice to meet Darcy as well.

We were so busy catching up that I didn’t think to take a picture of Lisa, Darcy and Michael while we were talking.  I did, however, take a picture as they left to hike back to their car.

Our 2 Scoop CycleTherapy group friends arrived around 12:40 pm.

Our friends at the Portageville entrance

From the Portageville entrance we rode to the parking lot between Middle Falls and Upper Falls.  We ate a picnic lunch together near Upper Falls.

Picnic Lunch

After lunch, we saw Upper Falls and Middle Falls.

Mark and Faye
and John and Carol at Upper Falls

It was a hot day and a hot ride!
John and Renate
and George and Trudy
relax before heading over to Middle Falls.

 

Middle Falls

We parted ways, after seeing the falls. Our friends continued their ride in the park, and we left for home leaving by way of the Portageville entrance. We returned home around 5:30 pm.

The weekend weather, although hot and humid, was beautiful. We drove 689 miles during the weekend. It was great to get away for the weekend and to be able to meet up with our friends at Letchworth.

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