Saturday, September 30, 2017

Finishing up our Finger Lakes tour

Finger Lakes Region

We covered a lot of ground during our 2-week stay in the Finger Lakes Region!  There was plenty to do here, and fall was a great time to visit – especially this year . . . we had a beautiful stretch of summer-like weather!  Plus, it was harvest time . . . corn, peaches and tomatoes were still plentiful, apples were coming into season, and I already mentioned the grapes!

The Finger Lakes

Each of the 11 finger lakes have their own little “wine tour”, and every weekend we would see limos and tour busses making the rounds between the big vineyards and wineries.  We actually didn’t visit as many wineries as we thought we might . . . but we did visit a few and left with a couple bottles of wine.

Cayuga Ridge Winery

Wine grapes


Many of the vineyards have beautiful settings overlooking the lakes. like this one on Cayuga Lake.

Winery on Cayuga Lake

Arbor Hill Winery

There are also quite a few craft breweries dotting the landscape, and even a distillery, which we did manage to visit.

Shots at noon

Whoa – strong stuff!  We split a tasting, but not really . . . I barely took a sip of each! (that shot glass in my hand was just a prop!!)

Tasting whiskey

Their tasting room was beautiful,


and it was their 5th Anniversary so they were giving tours of the distillery.

The still

Distillery Tour

Aging barrels

It was a much smaller operation than the Jack Daniels and Evan Williams facilities that we’ve toured in the past, but the distiller provided a great explanation of the process he follows and it was very interesting!

We also spent a good amount of time driving around the countryside, enjoying the beautiful landscape, and visiting the many cute small towns.

There were so many cool barns . . .




(cows, too, but Tom wouldn’t pull over so I could get out for a picture!)



and some of the houses on the lakes were stunning . . . almost makes me want a house! 

Some other interesting things we saw as we drove around . . .

a front yard full of restored sleighs,

Collection of Sleighs

an old country store,

Olde Coiuntry Store

and Tom’s safe place!

Tom's safe place!

Driving along the west shore of Lake Canandaigua, we stopped in a cute little county park with a group of rental cabins,


and a great view of the lake.

Canandaigua Lake

Canandaigua Lake

We also found an overlook where we got a great view of the lake.

Overlook at Canandaigua Lake

There were many quaint small towns that we visited, too, with lots of beautiful homes with front porches (my favorite).  Canandaigua was one of my favorites – so many beautiful homes . . . I told Tom it was too bad this town is in the north – otherwise I’d love it!

We walked along the town pier in Canandaigua one morning – the lake was so calm and still.

Calm morning on Canandaigua Lake

Canandaigua is home to the last remaining boathouse community on the finger lakes. 


They were really cute . . .



some looked newer and sturdier than others . . . and the electrical situation looked like an accident waiting to happen!

Electrical Nightmare

According to local ordinance, nobody is allowed to live in the boathouses, but it definitely looked like a little community.


Cute little community

We had one more State Park to visit, too – Taughannock State Park, home of the tallest waterfall in the Finger Lakes.  It was a very popular park, and close to Ithaca, so pretty busy on a Saturday afternoon.


View of Taughannock Falls++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We drove to the upper overlook first, where we could see the falls, but there wasn’t much water flowing over them at this time of year.

Taughannock Falls

The gorge trail to the bottom of the falls was an easy hike, just about a mile long, and almost completely shaded, so it was a pretty pleasant walk on a warm fall day.

We followed the river into the gorge.

At the beginning of the trail

Here it was really evident that we’ve had a bit of a dry spell . . . the riverbed was mostly dry.

Dry riverbed

There were people walking in the riverbed, but we stuck to the trail.

Trail along the river

We did hear a splash at one point as somebody fell into the small amount of water that was there . . . and there were kids swimming in several spots along the river.

Along the river

Taughannock FallsWe reached the end of the trail, where we had a great view of the falls, but the position of the sun made it difficult to get a good picture.

We reached the end


We had a wonderful two weeks, and would definitely come back to the area again.  There’s a National Wildlife Refuge just down the road from where we stayed, so we might even look into volunteering for a couple months in the fall one year, so we can explore the area even more thoroughly.

If we had stayed into October, I think we would have seen more fall color . . . but it’s time for us to continue on our travels!

Starting to get some fall color

Friday, September 29, 2017

Happy Birthday Bryce!!

In my hurry to post last night’s blog, I forgot to mention that, back in Michigan, this little stud is celebrating his 19th birthday!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my baby boy!!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Letchworth State Park

Letchworth Canyon from Inspiration Point

I had read about this park, and the beauty of the canyon, on a couple of other blogs, so even though it was quite a drive from us we loaded up the Jeep and headed out.

Letchworth State PArk

Sitting in the Big Boy chair!

There are some hiking areas in the park, but the main attraction is the canyon, and the best way to appreciate it is along the drive that follows the rim.

North end of the Canyon

We entered the park at the north end of the canyon, by the dam.  There aren’t many overlooks at that end of the canyon, but by hiking a short distance along the rim trail from the Highland Recreation Area, we arrived at a little-known overlook that gave us a great view of the width of the canyon.

Narrow river in the base of the canyon

At this time of year, especially with the dry weather we’ve been having the last few weeks, the river in the base of the canyon is very narrow.

Letchworth Canyon

I had read about this viewpoint, but we were having trouble finding it until re ran into a local walking on the trail, and he showed us the way.  He told us that in the Spring, the entire canyon is filled with water, and all of the trees on the floor below are underwater.

Looks like a valley

I was hoping we’d have some good fall colors by the time we got to this park, but we’re still a little too early.  We did see a few colorful trees, though,

A little bit of fall color

Pretty Tree

and a nice birch tree that had already lost all of its leaves.

Birch Tree

As we passed the midway point of the canyon, we started to see, and hear, more water running as we got closer to the falls at the south end.

Getting closer to the falls

Letchworth Canyon

There were several picnic areas along the scenic road,

Driving along the rim

with cool old log and stone structures.

Picnic Shelter

Cute stone buildings

At the lower falls, we stopped and walked along the short trail to the overlook.

Trail to the Lower Falls Overlook


We could hear the falls more than we could see them!

Our next stop was at Inspiration Point.  From this spot, we could see the middle and upper falls, as well as the train trestle bridge that crosses the canyon (the bridge is just barely visible at the top of the pictures below).

Upper and Middle Falls and Trestle Bridge

Middle and Upper Falls

It was a beautiful sight!

When we entered the park at the north entrance, the ranger in the booth collecting our $10 vehicle entry fee pointed out that if we ate lunch at the Glen Iris Inn, they would refund our $10 fee.  Hey, that’s a pretty good deal – and we needed to eat lunch somewhere!

The Glen Iris Inn was the home of William Pryor Letchworth, who owned the land that encompassed Letchworth Canyon, and later donated the property to the state.


Glen Iris Inn

Fall Display

The Glen Iris Inn is a stately old building, located in a premium location overlooking the middle falls.

There’s a great overlook right in from of the Inn, and we checked out the view before going inside for lunch.


Middle Falls

What a great location, and all decked out for fall!

Glen Iris Inn

Pumpkin Chairs

The Museum across the street.


The final section of the canyon, the upper falls overlook, is under construction this year, and closed to visitors.  So this was the end of the road for us . . . another beautiful day in the Finger Lakes!