We are back home, after a three-night getaway. We spent October 23 through October 26 at Airbnb “LaVida Cottage” in the town of Newfane. This blog post is about our third day at the cottage. You may read about our first and second day at the cottage here and here.
We left LaVida Cottage at 8:30 am en route Niagara Falls. We stopped at Whirlpool State Park, before arriving at Niagara Falls. At Whirlpool State Park we walked a short way to a scenic overlook.
This was our first visit to Whirlpool State Park. Someday we would like to ride the Spanish Aero Car, seen in the top left portion of this picture, and see the whirlpools from that vantage point.
In Niagara Falls we parked at Niagara Falls State Park. Our Empire Pass enabled us to park for free. It had been 3 years since we last visited Niagara Falls. This visit was a little confusing, as a new Welcome Center is under construction. In the past we have walked through the Welcome Center to go to Prospect Point for our first view of the waterfalls. The old Welcome Center still stands but is blocked off by construction fencing. Once we got our bearings, all was good. By the way, the new Welcome Center is expected to be completed in Spring 2023.
In past visits to Niagara Falls we walk from Prospect Point to Goat Island to see Bridal Falls and Horseshoe Falls. On this visit we drove to Goat Island, as my arthritic knee was hurting.
I think we spent only an hour enjoying the falls, undoubtedly the less amount of time that we have spent in Niagara Falls.
We drove from Niagara Falls to Cafora’s Pizza and Pasteria in Newfane, where we enjoyed lunch. Bob ordered baked ziti with meatball. I ordered lasagna. Salads and Italian bread accompanied our meals.
After lunch we returned to LaVida Cottage, where we stayed for rest of the afternoon and the evening. Dinner was leftovers.
We returned home the next day around 11:30 am.
It was a very relaxing and enjoyable 3-night getaway.
We got up around 7:00 am and ate breakfast in our room.
After breakfast I sat outside our room, enjoying the crisp air of the morning. I also watched fog rolling over the mountains.
At 9:00 am a few of our friends left A Holiday Motel to ride up The Rattler (NC 209) to Hot Springs.
At 9:30 am Bob and I left en route the Fred W Symmes Chapel. We traveled via Interstate or highway most of the way and arrived at 11:12 am.
The Fred W Symmes Chapel is located in Cleveland, South Carolina. The chapel is also known as “Pretty Place” because of its amazing view.
We left the chapel around 11:30 am and began the second part of our sightseeing journey. We visited several waterfalls, as well as a visitor center for the Pisgah National Forest.
Connestee Falls Park is located about 6 miles from Brevard NC, along U.S. Route 276. We took a very short stroll from the right rear of the parking lot to the viewing area for two waterfalls: Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls. There is a Connestee Falls that is a gated community. You need to drive past the gated community to Connestee Falls Park. There is a realtor’s office next to the park. I tell you this because EVERY SINGLE TIME we have visited Connestee Falls and Baston Creek Falls, we have turned into the gated community and were turned away!
From Connestee Falls Park we drove to another waterfall. Located a short distance from Brevard along Route 276 is Looking Glass Falls. It had started to rain, as we approached Looking Glass Falls. As a result, we didn’t hike down the trail to lower viewing platforms. We viewed the falls from the top viewing platform only.
From Looking Glass Falls we backtracked a short distance and visited the National Forest Visitor Center Pisgah Ranger Division. It was pouring rain; glad we didn’t have to park far from the building! I obtained a National Park Service passport cancellation stamp for Pisgah National Forest and looked at the exhibits.
The rain stopped, as we drove through Brevard.
Our next stop was at another waterfall.
Shortly before reaching Highlands is Lake Sequoyah Dam Falls.
Our next stop was at Bridal Falls. At one time it was possible to drive under the falls. The road under the falls has been closed the past few times, when we visited.
By the way this was our first visit in the summer in this part of the United States. In the past we have visited in May. Waterfalls have significantly more water flow in May.
Our last sightseeing stop was at Dry Falls.
Well, I stayed mostly dry behind the falls. It started to rain again on our hike back up the stairs. We both got fairly wet!
At 3:16 pm we began our drive back to A Holiday Motel. Wouldn’t you know the sun came out a few minutes’ drive past Dry Falls?
We ate dinner at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Waynesville and made it back to A Holiday Motel around 6:00 pm.
Tonight was the “hotel room crawl” at A Holiday Motel. It had been a long day. We called it a night at 9:00 pm, without participating in the crawl.
We got up around 6:00 am. A group of eight of us ate another good breakfast at Pop’s Place.
After breakfast Bob and I went for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We stopped at several overlooks.
Our first stop was at was Waterrock Knob Overlook. The Parkway’s highest visitor center is located here. The visitor center was closed at the time that we were there. Waterrock Knob Overlook is known for its beautiful long-range views of several major mountain chains in the Appalachians. Waterrock Knob is uniquely suited for viewing sunrises and sunsets.
Our next two stops were at the View Wesner Bald Overlook and Woodfin Cascades.
To see Woodfin Cascades, park at the overlook and cross to the other side of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Our next four stops were at The Orchards Overlook, Rabb Knob Overlook, Richard Balsam Overlook and Casey Fork Overlook.
A lone flower caught my eye.
We left the Blue Ridge Parkway at NC 215. We drove North on NC 215. We stopped at two waterfalls.
I captured video of all three waterfalls.
We returned to A Holiday Motel around 12:30 pm.
I believe this is the most colorful label I have ever seen on a bottle of moonshine. Anyone who wanted to taste moonshine was welcome to a sip. I didn’t sip.
We ate dinner at Haywood Smokehouse in Waynesville. Bob ordered a brisket platter, and I ordered a pulled pork platter.
We filled the party tent. I think there were 35 of us. The food and service were excellent.
We got up around 5:00 am on the morning of Monday August 22. We showered and got dressed. We went down for breakfast shortly after 6:00 am. Breakfast was a little different in that, instead of scrambled eggs and bacon, a hot egg in a bagel was offered. I wish I had passed on the egg in a bagel and got a waffle instead. I especially had this thought, as I watched several people open the warming dish and close it, without taking out an egg in a bagel. I added orange juice and tropical fruit in a cup and tea to my breakfast choices.
We checked out of Best Western at 7:25 am, en route Maggie Valley NC. We followed Interstate until Buchanan VA, at which time we decided to “avoid highways”. Even though it is slower avoiding highways, the drive is more relaxing and scenic. As we drove through Buchanan, we recognized the swinging bridge over the James River. We walked across the swinging bridge in April 2014.
Our “avoid highways” travel took us through Independence VA, where we stopped briefly at Powerhouse Falls.
Powerhouse Falls is the site of early power houses servicing the Town of Independence.
We stopped for lunch at Wendy’s Restaurant in West Jefferson NC.
We decided to return to interstate travel north of Asheville NC to save 30 minutes from our “avoid highways” route. We were getting tired of being in the car. We were ready to be in Maggie Valley!
We arrived at A Holiday Motel around 4:30 pm. Rob checked us in and gave us Room 11. “Skid” and Sandy are in the room next to us, Room 12. The room on our opposite side is a storage room. Arriving before us were “Skid” (Jim) and Sandy, “MT” (Tim), Brandon and Garrett. The Texas gals (Debbie, Vickie and Kay) arrived soon after our arrival.
We ate dinner at Cafe Italiano Restaurant and Pizzeria, which was a short walk from A Holiday Motel. We were a group of eight — “Skid” (Jim) and Sandy, “MT” (Tim), the Texas gals (Debbie, Vickie and Kay) and Bob and me. I ordered spaghetti and meatballs; Bob ordered cheese ravioli with a meatball. Bob finished his meal; I didn’t. I took back to A Holiday Motel what I didn’t eat. Both meals were delicious.
When we returned to the hotel, we kicked back and socialized.
This is why we are in Maggie Valley. We have made lots of friends, who are like family, via the Vulcan Riders Owners Club (VROC). We enjoy seeing our friends whenever we can. We are gathering for the Southeast VROC motorcycle rally. More friends will arrive tomorrow and through the week.
Our second stop was for breakfast at Magee Country Diner in Waterloo NY. We ate here in May, on our way home from our week-long vacation in the Auburn NY area. It was on our route home again, so we stopped for breakfast.
Our third stop was at Letchworth State Park. Our Empire Pass provided free admission into the park. We entered via the Mt Morris entrance and exited via the Portageville entrance, stopping for photo opportunities.
As we crossed the stone bridge, we saw a couple people bent down peering over the edge.
This concludes details of our DeRuyter Lake vacation.
Thursday, June 30, was our last full day at DeRuyter Lake.
We ate breakfast at Quincy Square Diner for the second day in a row. Bob ordered the Quincy omelet, same as the previous day. I ordered chocolate chip pancakes and bacon. Both meals were delicious.
Since our arrival at DeRuyter Lake, we have seen an elephant in a field on our daily drives into the village of DeRuyter. We stopped at the field this morning, and I took a picture of the elephant.
According to Syracuse.com “Concrete sculptor John P. Kennedy created the DeRuyter mastodon in 1992 when he was just starting to make life-like creatures out of foundation material. He’s since branched out into all sorts of critters, generally of the non-extinct variety…”
We visited two waterfalls in the morning. Delphi Falls is 4.2 miles from our Airbnb, and Chittenango Falls is located an additional 10 miles from Delphi Falls. This was our first visit to Delphi Falls and our second visit to Chittenango Falls.
We had a personal tour guide at Delphi Falls. A local woman stopped to talk with me, while I was waiting for Bob to complete his business in the port-a-john.
Delphi Falls County Park is located in Madison County, NY. The park used to be the home of a private person. The property was made into a park only recently. The house is still standing. The waterfall would have been visible from the backyard of the residence. Our “tour guide” walked with us the short distance to the waterfall.
Chittenango Falls is located in Chittenango Falls State Park. The main attraction at Chittenango Falls State Park is its picturesque 167-foot waterfall.
It is a bit more difficult to see the bottom of the falls. We hiked down hundreds of steps, descending 170 ft into the gorge.
We hiked all the way down into the gorge.
As I wrote earlier this was our second visit to Chittenango Falls. We visited Chittenango Falls 5 years earlier on July 2, 2017. As shown in my blog post written about that day, the water gushing over that waterfall was impressive. The trail to the base of the waterfall was only partially open in 2017. During our second visit, there was much less water falling over the waterfall. We were able to hike down to the footbridge to view the waterfall at its base. I am glad that we were able to see Chittenango Falls from that vantage point. What a beautiful view!
Before returning to our Airbnb we stopped in the village of DeRuyter for lunch at the Coal Yard, where we enjoyed deluxe cheeseburgers and onion rings.
We returned to our Airbnb, after lunch, and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
We left home on Tuesday, June 28, around 6:30 am, en route DeRuyter Lake NY. DeRuyter Lake is located approximely 30 miles southeast of Syracuse.
We made two sightseeing stops on our way to DeRuyter Lake.
Our first stop was at Pratts Falls County Park in Pompey. There was a collection box for a $2.00 entrance fee at the entrance to the park.
The highlight of the park is Pratt’s Falls.
The best vantage point to view Pratt’s Falls is from the end of the Falls Trail.
We crossed under Falls Trail sign and followed the trail for a few steps. We came to a split in the trail. We took the trail to the left and hiked down some steps. If we had taken the trail to the right, we would have walked the entire 0.6 miles. We shaved off a few steps taking the trail to the left. I like to save hiking steps, whenever I can!
Here is a short video that I took, while at Pratt’s Falls.
Our second stop was at Tinker Falls in the Labrador Hollow Unique Area, located in Cortland County, NY.
Here is a very short video clip that I took, while at Tinkers Falls. You can hear the water falling (what little there is!).
We let ourselves into the Airbnb with a key, the whereabouts of which our hosts had told us. Bob carried in everything from the car. There are steps down to the house, so I carried very little inside. I did make the beds, a full size bed and a queen size bed. We were told to bring pillows, sheets and blankets. Each bed was covered by a blanket and a bedspread. Each bed had four pillows. I took the blankets and bedspread off each bed and made them with the sheets we brought. I put pillowcases on two pillows for each bed. I folded the blankets and bedspreads and placed them, along with the extra pillows on the couch in the tiny loft at the top of the stairs. We left the pillows we brought from home in the car. I believe the request to bring our own bedding is a leftover from pandemic days. After settling in, we relaxed on the dock at water’s edge, enjoying the sunshine, cool breeze and the sound of lapping water.
At 5:00 pm we drove the short distance (~3 miles) to the village of DeRuyter. We went shopping for bath towels, which we had been instructed to bring with us. Unfortunately, we left our bath towels on a chair in the kitchen at home, necessitating the purchase of new towels. We stopped for snacks too. We stopped at Dollar Tree and Big M in the village of DeRuyter NY. The stores were right next to each other.
After shopping, we ate dinner at Shelly’s Restaurant. It was Taco Tuesday, and Shelly’s had Mexican and taco specials. We decided we didn’t want Mexican. Bob ordered a Grilled Buffalo Chicken sandwich with potato wedges. I ordered a turkey tomato melt with macaroni salad. Both meals were good; service was good too.
We spent rest of the evening at the Airbnb enjoying the lake views from our dock, but also from inside the house while watching TV.