The Basic Self-Guided Tour

One of the major reasons we like to travel to the Tug Hill Plateau/Adirondack area is because Mark is a great ATV enthusiast. Mark owned motorcycles most of his life-dirt bikes for riding through the woods and on terrain not accessible by other vehicles. It was only a matter of time after we moved to the Bristolwood that he “invested” in an ATV.  He tried his best to convince me that the vehicle would gather firewood, pull down trees that were hung up and even snowplow….After one little ride through the woods on that first ATV, I must admit,  I was “hooked”!

Tug Hill Plateau is known for its wild winters, but it also allows some generous rides using roads on ATV’s.  While Buffalo is the brunt of many a joke about snow,  it receives about 120 inches of snow a year.  The Tug Hill Plateau averages 320 inches! (This is totally based on information given to me by a bar and grill owner who hosts all manner of ATV/snowmobile events.)  Snow might begin in November and linger on through April.

So….Mark, the kids, and I decided to take a road that was accessible to ATV’s.  Oh, the joy of it! No cell reception….remote road.  What a recipe for fun!

And we never would have seen such beauty as above had we not wandered along…

Near the end of our ride (unbeknownst to any of us since GPS was now non-functioning!)  I  got out and ran ahead. It was such fun as I could take pictures and stretch my legs a bit.  The kids were giggling like crazy, riding in the back with the two Scotties.  When a paved road running perpendicular to this one appeared,  my heart sank like a lead brick.  I love adventures and this one was swiftly coming to a close!

Old Forge Boat Tour

After our train ride in the morning,  Michelle thought it might be fun to go for a ride on a tour boat.  We bought our tickets and were on board mid-afternoon.  The boat was going to take us on the Fulton Chain of Lakes. This is actually more of a river system….

In reading through literature regarding this “chain”,  it is stated that the dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water.  Wow. That sounds like an incredible amount, doesn’t it?

I am going to just show some random photos taken along the way.  We were the first people to enter the boat, as Mark needed to get on board first with the wheelchair.  He asked if we could sit at the front of the boat, ouside…egads!!!  Not only was there a chill in the air, but it was a damp, drizzly day as well!  We were drenched within the first few minutes and, well, we still enjoyed the tour, although the sun decided to poke through as we were finishing our tour!

Haha! These are not what you expected, right?  Well, yes, there were gorgeous homes situated along the water the entire trip.  There were also islands scattered throughout…some were New York State campgrounds, accessible only by water. It was very beautiful overall, but I just don’t want to show all the fancy homes.

I love the Adirondacks.  The scent of pines and the views seen there will linger on for a very long time….

Ben decided to go above on the upper deck.  He called down to us from above… of my very favorite photos!

On the way back from 4th Lake,  I stayed on the upper deck, hoping for some good photos.  I was so surprised to see a bird that looked ducklike, but larger.  I had no idea what I was looking at until the man next to me told me it was a Loon!

I am so disappointed by the lighting. As I said, the day was so miserable….if only a streak of  sun would have illuminated my subject!

Speaking of ducks….Mark was worried they were going to be run over by the boat!  Those silly birds would wait until the last moment to scramble out of the way!  I have no idea what type of ducks we saw, but they certainly aren’t any I’ve seen in our neck of the woods.

Well, once again, the lighting was terrible, but you get the idea!  Of course, the next day was cool, but bright and sunny! 

Ah well, we had an awesome time riding on the tour boat and we got to see so many things we would never have seen otherwise!  Mark loves water and boats, so this was a real treat for him.

Lawn Ornaments, Old Forge Style…

Preface:  It actually took me about 4 hours (no, I didn’t work continuously, all at once on it!) to get all of the photos up on the previous post!  Our connectivity is spotty at best, here in the campground!

So….if you read my blog on a regular basis, you probably know that I sometimes refer to deer in the yard as “lawn ornaments”.  At times, they appear that way as they seem so comfortable grazing and making themselves at home in close proximity of the house. That’s in the Bristolwood.


Take a look at this!

Mark spotted (haha, pun intended!)  this duo resting peaceably in front of a nice house.  In looking a bit more closely, it seems the little one on the right was actually nibbling at the decorative evergreen conveniently situated next to it!

We went a short distance and saw a pretty doe. It would seem she is getting educated!

Of course, there was the one deer who did not want to be photographed! Ever see a deer blow raspberries?

Yes, that is pretty redical, then!  After this disrespectful show, she went to work doing her lawn mowing….A car with an out of state plate on it came up and did something I had never seen before! An arm came out the window and the deer walked right up and ate out of the hand.  The car was behind us and I missed it, but Mark said it seemed so strange.  One thing that really made me wonder, though….with all this interraction going on between the humans and deer…I wonder if Lyme Disease is present in this area?

The Memorable Thendara Station Train Ride

Mark always enjoys looking for little outings while we are off on our excursions.  We found what sounded like a fun little trip-a short, little-more-than-an-hour train ride from Thendara Station!  Thendara Station is located in the Adirondacks, just a stone’s throw from Old Forge.

Shortly after the train began to move along, we met up with some interesting characters.  A woman known as Poker Alice introduced herself and began to humor riders with her stories.   She was from the “west” and dressed as a “cowgirl”.  As she walked along the aisle, she kept stopping to inquire “where is the rest of your hat?” to men wearing baseball caps. (as opposed to her cowboy style hat) She just could not understand what happened to the brim of the hats…mor why they were turned “down”.  This got lots of giggles. 

After meeting Poker Alice, we met another western woman named Miss Sally. 

Poker Alice returned a little later, telling us she had an intuition that something was up…..she had heard there were train robbers around the area and, well….she had a “feeling”.  And, after traveling only a short distance,  Poker Alice’s intuition was 100% correct!  Not only were gunshots heard outside the train, but the train stopped and…..

Ayup, the robbers were amongst us! (Don’t worry….they weren’t the sharpest pencils in the drawer!)


Well, these train robbers seemed of little consequence **until** this fellow began to try to romance our Michelle!!!!




the scoundrel assures her with a wink, he will be back for her!  Argh!

Finally, Poker Alice uses some persuasion to get these seedy characters away from our car.


But trouble was still brewing outside the train….

While the robbers inside the train were annoying riders in another car, Poker Alice handed out government money, thinking these robbers would be content with that money and wouldn’t require anyone’s hard-earned cash!

A little later, we met yet another woman,  Miss Annie Oakley!

The ladies assured us we were all in good hands!

We meet yet another young lady named Miss Felicity…..who is a mail order bride.  And, just look who ordered her!

Oh my!  Later, Miss Sally reveals the truth to Miss Felicity….


A short time later, the robbers return with a most unlikely bandit…..

Okay,  I have set the scene for our ride and now,  I will just let my photos tell the story.  Enjoy!

(ummm, excuse the horse….)


You can only imagine how LOUD this shootout was!





Before Michelle’s suitor got into the gunfight, he had given her a spent 45 caliber bullet….

 What a fun way to spend a drizzly wet day this was! The actors were great, engaging the train passengers along the way, and this was just pure fun!


What Turkeys!!!

We are currently camping amongst a forest of beautiful pine trees! It is so serene….so beautiful…and the scent of the pines is refreshing!

It would be nice if the internet offered “smellavision”, but I think pine trees can be found in nearly every area of the world…

Everyone got up early this morning and we headed out the door, as we had an adventure planned. Mark was in the truck….Michelle got in. I was locking the camper door when something caught my eye!

As you can see, these birds were not the least bit intimidated nor frightened by my presence!  What a radical difference from our wild turkeys in the Bristolwood!

Off and Running….

with a minor temporary upset. (Which I shall address later!)

We all got up up and began to prepare for another adventure yesterday morning.  We decided another jaunt toward the Adirondacks would be fun as it has been four years since last we were  there.

Since we were heading east, we would stop at the college so the kids could pick up their textbooks at the bookstore.  After that, well, how could we pass by Geneva without stopping at Belhurst Castle once again?

We were blessed with some blue skies instead of gray, rainy ones!

Mark reserved our seating in the conservatory this time…

It is so hard to imagine a family was so wealthy as to build such an elaborate place as Belhurst! Everything is so beautiful!

The food was once again memorable! The soup above was Creamy Garden Vegetable with Roasted Garlic and Chablis.  It was so tasty….I need to find a similar recipe!

Our view from the table was as wonderful as the food!

You might notice the cloudy window-a testament to our rather wet and dreary weather of late!

As we made our way back to the truck and camper,  I caught sight of this amazing fireplace….

The intricately carved wood and mosaic surely did catch my eye!  This is in the entrance hall where the lunch buffet, served 11am to 2pm is served each day, is located.  I happened to note the fireplace as I was getting my food.

We wandered back to the truck and camper.  I was going to snap a photo of them but Michelle was in the way!  When I asked her to move, she struck a pose and waited!  Ugh…

As we made our way toward our destination, I felt uncomfortable.  Not given to over-eating, I felt as though I had eaten an entire cow!  My stomach grew more and more uncomfortable as we progressed. I never even feel uncomfortable after meals at Thanksgiving or Christmas…..this was so unusual!

We finally reached Lewis County…our destination!  This is the land of a huge windfarm!  From information I received,  I found Lewis County’s windfarm is comprised of 195 generators!  It is called the largest windfarm in the US east of the Mississippi.

This generator was situated just so that it looked like we were going to drive right into it!

We arrived at the state park where we are staying at about 6pm. We set up the camper, then Mark and the kids took off to shop for a little while. I decided to stay behind to clean up the camper a little, but as I moved about, my stomach grew even more painful!  Yes, I was almost to the point that I was nervous I might have to go to the hospital, I was in so much pain.

Realizing cleaning was not totally necessary,  I thought perhaps I should lie down on the bed for awhile.  Trying to find a comfortable position was futile. I finally stretched out and just tried to relax.  After about an hour, I finally felt the pain beginning to subside!  Hurrah!  I was so thirsty, my mouth felt as though it was turning inside out, but I decided I would rather go to bed thirsty than to risk making my stomach ache all over again!

The good news is that when I awakened this morning,  I was fine.  My stomach was still a bit “funny”, but I was okay.

We are camping at a park located not too far from the Adirondacks.  I love this region because it is so wooded and somewhat rustic. 

More adventures to follow!

Just in Case…

you might be wondering where I have been these last few days….

It has been FAR too hectic here.  Seems like one thing after the other!  I began painting the porch but we have been having some major rain here that, well, would literally wash the paint right off! I think we have had about three inches of rain in the past two days. That is a lot of rain!

Mark also thought it might be nice to take another camping journey before the kids start school, so that has been in the offing as well. 

Add to that the million little things that are done in a day and life has been full to overflowing. 

I would show you a picture of the “fancy” part of the porch railing I painted, but my camera is packed away. I am currently lying on my bed…sans my pillow. That too, is packed.  It seems many of the daily necessitites have been whisked away and I am too tired to trudge down to get them.  Poor, poor, pitiful me! 

Stay tuned…I shall return!  Just not so sure when. Or where!

My Birthday…Unplugged

Oh my, what a birthday! My mom called early this morning to see if we might be coming to visit them today. I wasn’t sure, but after talking to Mark, we decided that would be fun.  We left home this morning and were on our way.

When we arrived at my parents’ home, we sat and talked in the back yard for a long time.  It is always so fun to walk around the yard as there is always something in bloom. We had fun talking until it was time to head to the Rod and Gun Club for dinner.  Yay! My birthday was on a Friday this year, so that meant we could enjoy a fish fry!

As always, dinner at the Rod and Gun Club was outstanding! We have never been disappointed by their food or service! After dinner, my brother, Randy, rode home with Mark and the kids. I went with my parents. We stopped at Coldstone Creamery where my parents told me to pick out an ice cream cake!  I picked a Cookie Dough Delirium Cake. 

 Mom, Dad, and I went home and we waited for over an hour before Mark, Randy, and the kids finally got home.  Randy had bought a small screenroom so I thought we should eat outside in the screenroom. After dinner,  Mark  and the kids had me open gifts they bought me at the dollar store. By this time, things were getting pretty silly! Mark told me about a gift he wanted to get me but he wants me to pick out what I want.

As we sat at the table,  I removed my temporary tooth because, well, the thing just outright drives me buggy! This sent my mother into waves of laughter, which in turn made me nearly crack, laughing hysterically.  Everyone else thought my mom and I were crazy, but oh, what fun we had laughing! After the ice cream, I began to feel chilly, so I thought maybe the tissue paper from my gift bag might insulate me, taking away the chill…..

Michelle really got into the action, stuffing tissue paper inside my sleeves and fashioning  a hood for me! The bright yellow thing in my hand is a duck keyring.  It has a push button on it that when activated, makes the little duck cast a bright light and it “quaxks”! It is so cute.

We didn’t leave until after 10pm.  I am bloging remotely, via the wee netbook. What a long and terrific day!

Dining at the Castle

Mark mentioned once that he and the kids had wanted to take me to Belhurst Castle for lunch on Mother’s Day, but they forgot to call in the reservation on time.  Well, having a memory like an “elephant”,  (an inherited trait, as I also always claimed the same thing about my own mom!)  when Mark asked what I would like to do on our anniversary, I said I wanted to go to the castle for their lunch buffet!  We were celebrating anniversary number twenty.

The kids said they didn’t need to go with us, but how could we leave them out?  Mark called and made reservations.

Not having any idea what to expect when we arrived, we were glad to see formal dress was not required.  We made our way inside….

I love this huge arched window looking out toward West Lake Road.  Even though the parking lot is located not far away, the view remains scenic!

A menu greeted us….I thought it was so nice that one could see the entire menu before being seated. Mark then told me this was the fare of the day for the buffet!

Because the Finger Lakes of New York State are famous for grapes, there are many wineries and micro-wineries located along all of the lakes.  And, of course,  many of the items listed on the buffet were prepared with wine.

If you enlarge the architect’s drawing below of the main floor, you can see how everything is laid out. We were first seated in the reception room, but when we saw the veranda with all of its windows overlooking Seneca Lake,  we asked if we might move out there.  Our waitress lead Mark to the room while I gathered up my camera bag and purse.  It looked like a no-go as there was a step between the entrance hall and the veranda.  Mark was about to turn around when another waitress suggested using the ramp they use for their ice cart.  Someone brought it right over and Mark was able to wheel down the small ramp to the veranda!  This place earned a *huge* plus for their accommodating nature! 

Before I left the table at the reception room,  I had to take a photo of the ornate carving in the wood!  Isn’t this beautiful?

Because we arrived early at the castle,  the tables were still not totally occupied and I was able to get a shot of the veranda….

There was a couple seated across from our table when we were seated.  By the time we left, the entire area was packed.

While we were leaving,  Mark told me to look over to our left at the conservatory. Wow! It was so pretty. I was trying to move along quickly-I was told I could photograph freely, but I kept getting in the way of waters and waitresses and customers! Oops!

This article from The New York Times, dated December, 1985, hangs on one of the walls.

If you read that article, you would note that the writer suggested the food was less than great, but that was, well, back *then*!   Now?  Well, let me ust say we ate ourselves silly!  While we typically like “homestyle” cooking,  the food at the castle was amazing!  Mark commented on the “many layers” of flavor and I think that would best describe the food.  We left very filled, very happy, and feeling quite smug.  The price for the luncheon buffet is a mere $9.99 per person.  This is an unbelieveable value!

As we left, the waitress called out she hopes to see us again.  I assured her she will!  I never dreamed that such an “upscale” place would serve such “bargain” lunches!  (I am drooling all over again, reminiscing about the delightful open-face prime rib sandwich and the three onion sirloin with chianti and toasted orzo soup! Oh, those were so tasty. But so was the braised summer squash with tomatoes.  As were the blue cheese red skinned mashed potatoes! The salad bar was so fresh, I wondered if there was a garden on the premises!  Oh my, I am hungry once again….

Along the way out, we passed through the gift shop.  Since we don’t serve wine, we didn’t look much, but I did notice some nice-looking cheeses. Hmm.

Outside the gift shop, Mr. Man O’ Luxury, AKA “Ben”, enjoyed sipping some tea…

Seneca Lake and the Belhurst Castle grounds….

Ben grabbed my camera and took a photo of Mark and me. Then he began to take MORE photos as he rolled on the ground, imitating the paparazzi!  I nearly fell on my face laughing until I realized he was rolling on the ground with my NIKON!!!!

At the edge of lawn is a deep drop off and below lies railroad tracks!  Just a short few steps from the tracks is Seneca Lake!  Belhurst has a dock located there so folks can also reach them by boat!

And, before leaving the grounds, I just had to photograph a bit of thistle to add some “Scotch” to our adventure!

Mark and I have decided….we WILL be going back her again. And again!