The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Finger Lakes’

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Bob ordered a Taco Salad.

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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!

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Sampson State Park

[Please note that this blog post is backdated to September 6; the post was published on November 10.]

This blog post is a continuation of Day 3 of our Labor Day weekend vacation.

 

One of the stops we made, while driving around Seneca Lake, was at Sampson State Park.

_LG17912 4x6Sampson State Park

 

This was our first visit to Sampson State Park.  Sampson State Park provides a beautiful view of Seneca Lake.  The park features camping and boating, as its primary recreational activities.  In addition to these key features, there is a military museum at the park.  According to the park’s website:

“Following the outbreak of WWII, quiet farm life gave way to the establishment of the second largest Naval training facility in the country, where an astounding 411,429 recruits were trained from 1942 – 1946. This facility was named in honor of William T. Sampson from Palmyra, NY. Sampson was renowned for his victory in the battle of Santiago during the Spanish-American War. Post WWII, a portion of the grounds were transformed into Sampson State College, educating our returning servicemen from 1946 – 1949. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the Navy transferred ownership of the remaining land to the Air Force for the purpose of basic training Military Base which operated from 1950 to 1956. Ownership was again transferred in 1960 to the New York State Park System; and thus, the opening of Sampson State Park in 1963. In 1995 the Military Museum was opened within the park to share the history and to honor those Navy and Air Force servicemen that booted on Sampson’s ground.”

_LG17914 4x6
Sampson Sailor
This memorial is dedicated to the naval personnel
who were assigned to the Sampson Naval Station.

We visited the military museum, which contained excellent Navy and Air Force displays both inside the museum and on the grounds.  I will share numerous photographs that I took at the museum in the remainder of this blog post.  Regrettably, I didn’t take any notes during our self tour of the museum; therefore, many of the photographs will be displayed without any accompanying information.

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As we approached the military museum, our eyes were drawn to the aircraft on display outside the entrance to the museum.

_LG17918 4x6Lockheed TR-604 jet trainer

 

_LG17920 4x6

_LG17921 4x6

_LG17922 4x6Dentist Chair

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_LG17925 4x6

_LG17926 4x6Target Kite

_LG17929 4x6

_LG17931 4x6

_LG17933 4x6I remember wearing a uniform similar to the one hanging on the wall on the far right.
I served in the U.S. Army, and my uniform was light green.

_LG17934 4x6

_LG17936 4x6
Periscope
The Periscope provided a 360 degree view of
Sampson State Park from the air.

_LG17942 4x6
Periscope

_LG17940 4x6We walked across the courtyard and entered the air force part of the museum.

_LG17943 4x6Sampson Air Force Library

_LG17945 4x6

_LG17946 4x6
Duffle Bag

Even though I served neither in the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Navy, the next three exhibits caused me to reminisce about my time in the U.S. Army, in particular during basic training.

_LG17948 4x6
I had a locker, while in basic training.  All hangers had to face in one direction.  The hangers had to be spaced equal distance from each other.

_LG17949 4x6
We didn’t have bunk beds in our basic training barracks.  If I remember correctly, there were 40 metal twin beds in the barracks.  I learned how to make my bed with hospital corners.  I remember polishing my boots so that they shined.  The beds had to be made in such a way that the pillow alternated from top to bottom throughout the barracks.  We would hang a white towel and washcloth on the rail at the end of the bed.  The towel and washcloth had to be folded straight so that the backs and fronts of the towel and washcloth met evenly.

_LG17947 4x6
Each trainee had a foot locker at the bottom of their bed.  Everything in the foot locker had a designated place.  Socks had to be arranged in such a way that they smiled.

_LG17956 4x6Navy Memorial Wall

_LG17959 4x6TC-2 Buckeye jet trainer

_LG17952 4x6

_LG17960 8x10This monument is dedicated to the men and women who served and trained at
Sampson Air Force Base during the years 1950-1956.

 

The Empire Passport provided admission to Sampson State Park. A $1.00 donation from each adult was suggested to tour the museum. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the military museum!

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Seneca Lake Circle Tour

[Please note that this blog post is backdated to September 6; the post was published on November 8.]

This is Day 3 of our Labor Day weekend vacation.

 

The sleeping conditions at our hotel were great for a good night’s sleep. We went to bed with the AC on; it was quiet; and I didn’t get awakened with acid reflux. My back feels much improved this morning, as does my knee.

We got a little later start to the day today. We slept in until shortly before 7:00 am. Even with a later start to the day we were showered and dressed, had visited Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls and were seated at Classic Chef’s in Montour Falls by 8:00 am. We did attempt to go to Curly’s Family Restaurant, just a short distance from Classic Chef’s, for breakfast, but it was closed. It is just as well, I believe, that the restaurant was closed. I checked out the restaurant reviews this afternoon, and the reviews weren’t all that great. Breakfast at Classic Chef’s has always been good. Why change breakfast venues, when we have found a good place!

_LG17892 4x6
Shequaga Falls
Montour Falls, NY

You can ride up to the base of Shequaga Falls.  It is located right at the foot of Main Street in Montour Falls, NY.

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Breakfast at Classic Chef’s is always good.
Bob’s breakfast is shown in the photograph displayed above.
My breakfast is shown in the photograph displayed above.

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After breakfast, we drove into Watkins Glen. The Empire Passport is a nice convenience. For $65, the Empire Passport provides unlimited day use vehicle entry into most of New York parks.  I only wanted to hike a short distance of Watkins Glen Gorge.  We would not have stopped at the gorge, if we would have had to pay the $8.00 entry fee into the park.  The expense would not have been justified for such a short stay.

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Entrance to Watkins Glen Gorge

_LG17903 4x6
Sentry Bridge

We hiked just past Sentry Bridge to the gorge view that I wished to photograph.

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This is the gorge view that I wished to photograph today.

_LG17900 4x6Close-up picture of the waterfall seen in the gorge view.

From Watkins Glen, we  departed for a drive around Seneca Lake.

Our first stop, while driving around Seneca Lake, was at Hector Falls.

_LG17907 4x6Hector Falls (upper portion)

Hector Falls is best seen from Seneca Lake, however the upper portion of the waterfall is easily viewed from the NY 414 bridge that travels right next to the falls.

We made two more stops on our way around Seneca Falls. We pulled off for a photo opportunity of Seneca Lake, and we visited Sampson State Park in Romulus.

_LG17910 4x6Seneca Lake and vineyard

_LG17912 4x6Sampson State Park

I will share details and photographs from our visit to Sampson State Park in my next blog post.

Up to this point we had planned to drive to Geneva and then drive on the western side of Seneca Lake south back to Watkins Glen. We changed our minds. We decided to turn around at Sampson State Park and go back the way we came. We didn’t go back quite the same route. GPS took us a different route, which was fine. We got to see more of the Finger Lakes countryside.

Back on NY 414 we stopped at the Finger Lakes Distillery in Burdett.

_LG17966 4x6Finger Lakes Distillery

_LG17964 4x6Don’t those grapes look good!

_LG17963 4x6Whiskey tasting

Bob tasted three whiskeys that cost $1.00 for each shot. The three whiskeys Bob tried were: Pot Still, which is an Irish style whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye. He purchased a bottle of Bourbon. The distillery offers tours on Saturdays. Bob would like to go on a tour sometime, when we come back to this area.

From the Finger Lakes Distillery we drove to Big Flats, where we ate lunch at the Outback Steakhouse. Service was slow, but the food was good.

After lunch, we returned to the hotel for a few hours of rest and relaxation.

We ate dinner at Arby’s in Watkins Glen. It was the first time this weekend that we ate out all three meals. Friday and Saturday nights we snacked in our hotel room.

After dinner, we went to Clute Memorial Park in Watkins Glen.

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The blue dot shows our location, while at Clute Memorial Park.

We spent more than an hour at Clute Memorial Park enjoying the lake sounds and smells … …the waves, the breeze, the boats bobbing up and down in the water, the music from the boats, the darkening sky, children playing, people wading in the water, and BBQ smells (good thing we had already eaten!).  What a nice way to end a day!

_LG17978 4x6Boats bobbing in Seneca Lake

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This dog likes to ride the surf board.

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We had hoped to see a spectacular sunset from Clute Memorial Park.  The clouds rolled in and the spectacular sunset didn’t happen.

LJG17975 4x6This was as close to a spectacular sunset as we got, while at Clute Memorial Park.

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Cayuga Lake Circle Tour

[Please note that this blog post is backdated to September 5; the post was published on November 7.]

This is Day 2 of our 4-day Labor Day weekend vacation.

 

Our hotel room was quiet and I slept well last night, but not without discomfort. I awakened around 1:30 am, with acid reflux. The room felt stuffy, and I was a bit warm. My back hurt, but the pain had lessened. The bed is soft. I prefer a more firm mattress. Bob put on the AC, which removed the stuffiness and warmth. I drank some coca-cola, which relieved some of the acid reflux symptoms. I was able to go back to sleep, awakening again at 6:00 am. I still had acid reflux. I am taking PriLOSEC again, the first one this morning. I found about a week’s supply in my toiletry bag. I took a shower and got dressed. My back still hurts. I am able to move more freely, so that is an improvement. Bob got up, when I did. He showered and got dressed.

A complimentary breakfast is included in the cost of our room. We decided we wanted a full, hot breakfast, not the continental breakfast provided by the hotel. We ate breakfast at Classic Chef’s in Montour Falls. We ate at this restaurant in June 2014. It isn’t a fancy place.

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Bob took this picture of me at Classic Chef’s.

As was the case last year, breakfast at Classic Chef’s was great and reasonably priced. Service was quick too.

 

After breakfast we drove to Ithaca, via NY 79. Our plan for the day was to drive around Cayuga Lake, traveling north on the eastern side of the lake and traveling south on the western side of the lake.

Our first stop was at Ithaca Falls. This was Bob and my first visit to Ithaca Falls. It is a picturesque waterfall; well worth the visit.

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We saw Ithaca Falls first from the Lake Street bridge.

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

_LG17795 4x6Ithaca Falls is over 100 feet tall and stretches nearly 175 ft across at its base.

There were signs along the wooded trail leading to the waterfall warning visitors not to swim, as well as alerting visitors that lead contaminated soils have been detected in the area. The warnings did not stop people from visiting the falls, and we saw two young men swimming at the base of the falls.

Before taking the wooded trail to the waterfall, we noticed on the right a concrete structure.

_LG17807 4x6This is the remains of the Ithaca Gun Factory’s raceway.

Ithaca Gun Factory began large-scale manufacturing of sporting shotguns and rifles in 1880.  Additional information about the Ithaca Gun Factory, Ithaca and Ithaca Falls may be found by clicking here.

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From Ithaca Falls we took NY 34 north. We stopped a short distance north of Ithaca in the village of Lansing. We were trying to find a road down to Cayuga Lake. On the map it looked like a road off of Blackchin Blvd would provide access. We turned left onto Blackchin Blvd and discovered that the road down to Cayuga Lake (Bolton Point Road) was blocked and designated as a Greenway trail.

_LG17821 4x6Bolton Point Road is a Greenway trail.

 

We parked in a small parking lot along Blackchin Blvd at the top of Bolton Point Road. We walked down Bolton Point Road, which was long and steep, to the lake front.

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Soon after beginning our descent, we met another couple making their way up the road. I remarked that it appears to be a quick trip down to the lake but a slow, tiring climb back up the road. The couple didn’t respond to my comment, asking instead if we had seen the lake shore from the railroad tracks. I said “no”. They said the views were beautiful and that you could go into the water as well.

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Bob and I walking down Bolton Point Road

The Bolton Point Water Commission pump station is at the bottom of Bolton Point Road. To reach the lake shore, railroad tracks had to be crossed and you had to walk past the pumping station. A man, who worked for the water commission and who was getting into his car to leave, said hello to us. I asked if it was okay to cross the pumping station grounds to get to the lake shore. This man postponed his departure and walked with us to the lake shore. He told us about Poison Ivy Point, reached by following the railroad tracks for about ¼ mile. He didn’t name the area Poison Ivy Point, only cautioned us to stay off the peninsula owing to the large amount of poison ivy present on the peninsula. He pointed out some landmarks not to miss (Myers Park, Salt Point, Montezuma Wildlife and Taughannock State Park), north of where we stood on the lake shore.

_LG17816 4x6Cayuga Lake

After admiring the lake shore, we climbed back up Bolton Point Road to our car. It was a half mile down and another half mile back up. Whew! What a climb that was! When I posted on Facebook about the climb back to the car, a friend named Tim left the following comment on Facebook: “From “in bed with bad back and heating pad” to “that was quite a climb”! Nice recovery!“.  I replied that I was not going to let a back ache stop me from enjoying our weekend getaway!

Continuing our drive around Cayuga Lake, via NY 34 and NY 34B, we stopped at Lansing Park marina. Myers Park, which the man from the Bolton Point Water Commission mentioned, charged $4.00 admission. As we intended only to make use of the bathroom facilities and to check out the park lighthouse at the point, we didn’t feel justified paying admission. We turned around at the gate and pulled into the adjacent marina. The bathroom facilities were locked, accessible by keypad. I asked at the marina office if we could use the bathroom. I was told yes and provided the password for the keypad. I had hoped to get a picture of the Myers Point Lighthouse from the marina. The place from where we would be able to see the lighthouse was marked as private property, so I didn’t get a picture of the lighthouse. I did, however, capture some nice pictures of the marina.

_LG17823 4x6 Lansing Park marina

_LG17824 4x6 Lansing Park Marina

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We drove to Salt Point, too, as recommended by the Bolton Point Water Commission pump station worker, but we didn’t see anything that caught our attention.

At King Ferry to continue our drive around Cayuga Lake, we had to turn onto NY 90. We checked the John Harris Park in Cayuga.

_LG17832 4x6The John Harris Park is a waterfront park and is also the location of the village offices,
in a former NY Central Railroad Station.

 

_LG17828 4x6While at John Harris Park, I took a walk on this boardwalk.

 

_LG17831 4x6Cayuga Lake, as seen from John Harris Park

Just north of Cayuga we turned left onto US 20 and ate lunch at the Nice N Easy grocery shop. The food counter reminded me of a Subway. Bob ordered a chicken chipotle wrap; I ordered a Philly Steak sub. Service was very slow; our sandwiches, though, were good.

_LG17834 4x6Cool-looking car at the Nice N Easy grocery shop

 

After lunch, we visited the nearby Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. We followed the 3.5-mile Wildlife Drive, which is a one-way auto tour that provided many opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. The main feature of the drive is the 1,600-acre wetland which hosts a rich diversity of waterfowl, waterbirds and other wildlife.  I took the following pictures from the comfort of our car.

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The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge would be a great place to return to again and again!

 

From Montezuma we followed NY 89 to Cayuga Lake State Park, our first stop on the western side of Cayuga Lake.  The Empire Passport provided free day use vehicle entry into the park.

_LG17873 4x6Cayuga Lake State Park

 

_LG17875 4x6Cayuga Lake State Park has a very nice beach.

 

_LG17876 4x6Cayuga Lake State Park playground

Before our granddaughters arrived, I rarely noticed playgrounds.  I notice them all the time now.  Harper and June would have enjoyed playing in this playground.

 

From Cayuga Lake State Park, we continued our drive south. We followed Lower Lake Road back to NY 89.  We stopped on the road to Thirsty Owl, where I took a photograph of the vineyard, with Cayuga Lake in the background.

_LG17878 4x6Thirsty Owl vineyard

We made an ice cream stop at Cayuga Lake Creamery in Interlaken.  We ate our ice cream sitting at a picnic table, located in front of a wooden train.

_LG17881 4x6The Creamery Express train play structure

Our last stop along Route 89 was at Taughannock Falls State Park.  The Empire Passport provided free day use vehicle entrance into the park.

We walked the Gorge Trail, which was a very pleasant ¾ mile mile walk on a flat, wide trail that ended near the base of the falls.

_LG17889 4x6Lower Taughannock Creek 

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The gorge trail follows alongside the creek bed.

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Taughannock Falls

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There wasn’t much water falling at Taughannock Falls. Still, it is a picturesque place.

From Taughannock Falls we drove back to our hotel, using the GPS as our guide (we didn’t go through Ithaca).

It has been a long day. We did see lots of beautiful sights and even checked out a distillery (didn’t buy anything). I was ready for a good rest, when we returned to the hotel. I really gave my arthritic knee and my back a workout today. I did well, though. I have a lot more freedom of movement in my back than I did this morning. My knee is causing the most grief right now. The knee will be OK, with rest.

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