Off to Portville

We called my parents early this morning and made plans to meet at our favorite restaurant, Sprague’s.  We really enjoy the consistantly delicious meals served, as well as little surprises with the changing seasons. This is the restaurant that belongs to a family that produces great quantities of maple syrup every spring for the restaurant, as well as for sale elsewhere.

We were off mid-morning and on our way!

One of the pretty places that we pass by is Loon Lake. This is a tiny lake that is set at the bottom of a hill, with farms and farmland surrounding it.  It truly is a scenic little “sweet spot”!

Our journey was about one and a half hours from home, but there is always lots to see and the time passes by so quickly.  We arrived at 12:06, six minutes late!

My parents were at a table waiting for us and, as always, the restaurant was very busy, and yet, cozy.  It is hard to imagine so many people all gathered into one gigantic room and yet it remains an intimate atmosphere!

I really liked the snowflakes strung from the antler lamps!

Standing next to the large round table where we sat was this Santa…he was so close to Mark, I think he was spying on him to see if he has been naughty or nice….

Another Santa was located near the entry door…He was so realistic, aside from his diminuative stature, it was almost scary!

We have also discovered from our visits to Sprague’s that bears are not only attracted to honey, but they also enjoy maple syrup!

We chatted with my family while enjoying the enormous portions of delectable food!  The company was fun, the food, amazing, but there was *something* awaiting us outside that we just don’t see every day!

Yes, Sprague’s is harboring two reindeer! I have no idea where these guys came from, but it was so cool to see them! They are in a small enclosure in the parking lot.  They were so beautiful, but one of them was looking quite sullen.  Perhaps he or she doesn’t like all the attention!

We said our good-bye’s and then were off once again. We stopped at a small local grocery store for a few minutes, and we couldn’t believe who drove past in a minivan! You might have to expand this photo (click on it twice)  to see who was waving “hello” to us.  Of course, between two layers of windshields, this photo is a bit dstorted and hard to see…..

We were home again as the sun was beginning to head on over the hills. The weather today was not as warm as predicted, but it was certainly above freezing and the little bit of rain we encountered was of no consequence.

Ah, another fun and relaxing day! I really do love the Christmas season!

Christmas Shopping at the Mall

Yesterday afternoon, the kids insisted that they really, really needed to take a trip to the mall to do a little Christmas shopping.  I *think* I am allergic to large crowds in malls, but, trying to be rational, Mark and I decided that we would take them anyway!

We headed north to Victor and the village looked so pretty! It was shortly after 3 pm, but one side of the street had its street lamps lit. This was to my benefit, as I could catch a lovely photo of the wreaths that encircle the lamps and you can see just how beautiful they are! (when we came back in the dark, only the tiny white lights on the wreaths were very visible)


While we waited at the stop light, I spotted a tree next to the road that was loaded with red berries. I’m not at all sure what type of tree this is, but look how pretty it looks with the snow!

I did notice in the above photo that the stones in the building behind the tree added a further depth and beauty to the red berries.  This building style is called “Cobblestone building”.  According to information I have read, this became a very popular building technique in the mid-1800’s in the Rochester, New York area.  It is reported that within 35 years, approximately 700 buildings using this technique were built in a 65 mile radius of the city.  Note how the stones are laid up in rows.  These stones are quite small compared to the large stones that are typical in home building.

We arrived at the mall and as expected, there was an ocean of vehicles! I was surprised, however, that there were many parking spaces open.  I have been at the mall during the Christmas shopping season previously when I had to drive around for quite some time, waiting for a space to become available.  I was very surprised that there were handicapped spaces open.  It seems lately that every time we go anywhere, everyone is handicapped!

Mark waited in the truck, giving the kids an hour to shop.  I figured I could look around a bit, too. NOT! As soon as I entered the mall and saw walls of people coming towards me, I decided to just try and take a few picutres.

This is the same scene as the first photo just at a different angle. The little “house” in the center is where Santa was sitting. They were taking photos of Santa with the kiddies.  The line for photos must have had over 100 parents! Most of the kids were tiny babies.  I would never have the patience to stand in line like that, particularly with toddlers.  Bill had made a comment on a previous entry of mine about parents seeming reluctant to take their kids to see Santa, possibly because of the “strange man” factor.  Not to rock the boat, but we made it clear to our kids there was no real Santa from the start.  I had basically figured this out as a youngster of about 4 or 5, so I just have a real hard time telling kids there really *is* a Santa. I do respect people that tell their kids about Santa being real, though, and I would never burst their bubble!

The kids came out at their agreed time and Ben was exhausted from all the people! hahaha. Guess I am not the only allergic one! They did go to another store outside the mall for awhile, then we came home in time to watch the Sabres play hockey.  We won! Sabres, 4: Devils, 2. Perfect ending to another busy day!