The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Labor Day 2015 Weekend Vacation’

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


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.

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Sampson State Park

**Republished August 3, 2021**

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.

Sampson 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.”

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.

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

Lockheed TR-604 jet trainer


Dentist Chair


Target Kite



I 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.


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


We walked across the courtyard and entered the air force part of the museum.

Sampson Air Force Library


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.

All hangers had to face in one direction.  The hangers had to be spaced equal distance from each other.

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.

I had a locker, while in basic training.  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.

Navy Memorial Wall

TC-2 Buckeye jet trainer


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


The NY 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

**Republished August 3, 2021**

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!

Montour Falls, NY – Shequaga Falls

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


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.


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.

Entrance to Watkins Glen Gorge

Sentry Bridge

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

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

Close-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.

Hector 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.

Seneca Lake and vineyard

Sampson 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.

Finger Lakes Distillery

Don’t those grapes look good!

Whiskey 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.

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!

Boats bobbing in Seneca Lake

This dog likes to ride the surf board.

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

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

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Cayuga Lake Circle Tour

**Republished August 3, 2021**

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.

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.

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.

Ithaca 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.

This 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.


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.

Bolton 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.


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.

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.

Cayuga 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.

Lansing Park marina

Lansing Park Marina

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.

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


While at John Harris Park, I took a walk on this boardwalk.


Cayuga 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.

Cool-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.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron in a Tree

Great Egret




Great Egret

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret and Great Blue Heron



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 NY Empire Passport provided free day use vehicle entry into the park.

Cayuga Lake State Park


Cayuga Lake State Park has a very nice beach.


Cayuga 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.

Thirsty 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.

The Creamery Express train play structure

Our last stop along Route 89 was at Taughannock Falls State Park.  The NY 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.

Lower Taughannock Creek 

The gorge trail follows alongside the creek bed.

Taughannock Falls


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.

Labor Day Weekend 2015: Warren PA to Horseheads NY

**Republished August 3, 2021**

This is Day 1 of our 4-day Labor Day weekend vacation.


Shortly before 1:00 pm today, we departed Warren PA en route Horseheads NY.

We purchased a new GPS (Garmin nuvi 65LM) recently and plan to use it for our trip to Arkansas later this month. We will be traveling by car and motorcycle, when we go to Arkansas.  Bob will use the old GPS on the motorcycle, and I will use the new GPS in the car.  The new GPS has a larger display and more features than our old GPS, and we are using this trip to acclimate ourselves to the functions of the new GPS. We had the GPS set for the shortest route. The GPS directed us to two non-existing roads. We changed the setting from shortest route to fastest route and had no more issues.  I love the larger display of our new GPS.  The Up Ahead feature, where you can easily find places you want – like restaurants, gas stations, ATMs and shops – without leaving the map, is helpful.

We stopped for lunch around 2:30 pm at Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville, NY.  It is rare that we stop at Sprague’s other than for breakfast.  Bob ordered a char-grilled center cut boneless pork chop dinner, served with maple baked beans, garden salad and maple-cinnamon applesauce.  Breakfast is served all day at Sprague’s.  I ordered the “Main Line” – two pancakes, two eggs and bacon.  I ordered crisp bacon. The bacon arrived burned to a crisp. The waitress quickly provided me less crisp (fried just right) bacon. Our respective lunches were very good.

We arrived in Horseheads around 5:15 pm and checked into the Rodeway Inn Marshall Manor, our home in the Finger Lakes region for the weekend.  This is the second time we have stayed at this hotel.  Our hotel room is the same room we had, when we last stayed at this hotel in June 2014.

Rodeway Inn Marshall Manor

Our red Nissan is parked in front of our hotel room.

Our hotel accommodation is a spacious room with two double beds, a nightstand, a small dresser, an upholstered bench, table and two chairs, TV, microwave, and refrigerator. The bathroom is of a good size. There are two sinks, one in the bathroom and one inside the room.  Outside, there are picnic tables, a gazebo with tables and chairs, and a pool.

Rodeway Inn Marshall Manor gazebo


Rodeway Inn Marshall Manor swimming pool

The gazebo is my favorite outside spot.

About an hour after checking in, we drove to the nearby Jubilee grocery store and picked up pop and beer and some snacks for the three nights we will be here.  We found a friendly-looking Frankenstein at the Jubilee.

Anyone for some Snickers?

We had no plans for rest of day, except to relax. That is exactly what we did. We didn’t even go out for dinner, choosing instead to eat in our hotel room. We dined on cheese and pepperoni sticks, almonds, peaches and tuna salad with crackers.

I don’t know what I did to my back, while sleeping last night. My lower back has been hurting since I awakened. A hot shower, a 24-hour anti-inflammatory pill and four Tylenol for Arthritis pills have not stopped the pain. I did not envision spending my Labor Day weekend sitting in our hotel room with a heating pad on my back. That, however, is exactly what happened this evening. I hope my back feels better tomorrow!


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