Allegany State Park, revisited

I had to chuckle as I read the title of the last post.  Busy?

Last Sunday, we had planned to take a little trip as Michelle begins college soon.  Tomorrow soon!  Yes, tomorrow is Labor Day and the United States of America rests and pays tribute to its laborers.  However, Rochester Institute of Technology begins their fall classes on Labor Day!  One of life’s mysteries, I guess….

But I digress.

Michelle went with her boyfriend, Jacob, to his church picnic last Sunday at the county park located just a couple of miles from our house.  She came home early at four,  and off we went on our little adventure. 

We drove to Allegany State Park where we stayed until Friday. Although we had planned to relax, we were busy every day! It was very nice, though! The weird thing in all this is that I really didn’t take many photos.  This was our little niche in the world from Sunday night until Friday noon.

I always end up chuckling about us spending time at campgrounds because of the fact that we live in the woods.  Most of the folks I have met at campgrounds are city dwellers who are so appreciative of the fact that they can escape to the sanity of a less stressed and hurried lifestyle, only if it is for a couple of days sometimes!

On Monday, we explored the park a bit.  Ben remembered how we visited Thunder Rocks this past winter on the snowmobiles and he wanted to return to see them now.  I am not sure we have rock formations like this around our area, so I forget how massive they are until we visit them again! (Hoping you don’t mind seeing our kids over and over!)

Fly Tweetie, fly!

After our stop at Thunder Rocks,  we passed by Science Lake.  Not sure how the lake came to have that name, but it sure is pretty. There were a couple of young men fishing there….the lake has trout in it. Please forgive so many photos…I could not choose which to show.  As you can see, this was a day of perfection, weatherwise!  It could not have been a nicer day!

Science lake is a manmade lake, thus it has a spillway to keep it from getting unruly!  That was quite a drop!

After visiting Science Lake, we were on to see the bear caves.  Yes!  There are many black bears living in the park, although I saw n’ary a one. Drat!  I would love to have some bear photos.  There is an area where campers take their trash that is filled with several dumpsters.  The area is surrounded by electric fencing to discourage said bears from pillaging!

I remember as a child seeing bears at a dump area of the park.  People would drive there in cars and throw food from their windows to feed the bears!  Yeah, hard to believe. 

That little hike to the bear caves was pretty strenuous for this “picture-taker”!  I was getting tired! We had to take out Little Bear (Angus) along for the walk, as Mark refers to him as a bear cub!  He enjoyed the cruise through the woods, too.

On Tuesday, we went to visit with my family.  It was another beautiful day and we really enjoyed the time spent together until dusk when the mosquitoes came out for their bloodlust fest!  These days were so much fun, but passed by much too rapidly….

Front: Mom, Dad, Mark, me and Fritzie   Rear:Randy, Ben, Michelle

How Could I Have Forgotten?

Somehow yesterday turned into today! I had planned to retire early tonight, but, it just didn’t happen.

As I was writing the last entry,  my brain felt like mush, trying to remember little things and all.  I talked about Mom, Mark, and the kids playing Apples to Apples.  Well, I forgot one player!

As Michelle sat playing the game, she picked up little Fritz and began using the most comical voices to speak for Fritz! It was so cute and in all honesty, I rather think the little fellow was eating it up and enjoying the game!

Here is a photo of the gang playing the game.  Mark is on the end looking like a displaced biker with the dew rag, but he was actually using the covering to deter bugs.

What an amazing and fun afternoon this was!

Celebrating and Lucy’s Presence…

We arrived at the home of my parents before noon on Sunday. 

Mark and the kids wanted to take a quick trip to Sam’s Club, so my brother Randy went along too, and I visited with my parents. Oh, and little Fritzie!   Fritz was as congenial as a little Dachshund can be, washing my face and just anxious to show me all around the house!

This is my parents’ yard out back. As you can see, there is a lot of snow!

Visiting my parents’ home at Christmas is so much fun, as there are Christmas decorations everywhere! I feel like a Grinch because I spend so little time decorating,  but growing up, my parents always decorated elaborately!  And, many of the ornaments and decorations have been around almost as long as I have!

While a big tree was set up in the living room,  there was also a small tree located in the sunroom. It was so pretty!

My brother, Randy, makes a spectacular miniature Christmas village every year.  He adds to it as he finds miniature components that would fit in…..

The tiny little houses are lit by fibre optic lights.

This is Fritzie’s toybox.

My parents tell me that Fritz actually roots through the box from time to time, looking for a specific toy. They said it is so funny to watch him as he digs through the box until he locates just the right toy!

When Mark, the kids, and Randy returned, we sat down to a meal fit for a king.  I couldn’t believe all the offerings Mom had on the spread!  There was beef rib roast, mashed potatoes, gravy,  green bean casserole, a fantastic cranberry jello mold, cheeses, olives, salad, jello, and more!  I ate just a small portion of many things and left the table before anyone else as I thought I was going to explode!  There were desserts….pumpkin pie, lemon bars and cheesecake!  I did have some dessert later!  

As everyone was digesting their meal, I went out in the kitchen and began washing the dishes.  My mom balked, but I needed to keep moving!  She and my father both came out and helped me and when I finished,  I decided to take a little walk downtown.  Since we usually do “whirlwind” visits,  I wanted to be able to park the truck and walk around the streets a little.  Whenever we have gone through the city,  I was always amazed that little looked as it did when I lived there.  Now, I could get a better look on foot!

Lucy’s presence is everywhere downtown!  I love the random artwork on the side of a building…..

and I totally missed this piece as I did my walkabout.  Michelle took this photo from the truck as I drove down the street……

That artwork was on the side of a parking ramp.  I read somewhere that there are two (?) Lucy festivals in Jamestown each year.  I need to look the information up, as it would be fun to attend one.  By the way, do you remember the episode with Lucy selling Vitameatavegamin?  It was hysterical…so typical of her slapstick humor!

There is a Lucy museum and gift shop located downtown.

The gift shop has a large sign warning that no photography nor video equipment may be used inside the store.  Well, I was on the outside looking in!

I was trying to think what store formerly occupied this corner and I do think it was a Murphy’s 5 and 10.  Wow, I remember years ago when I was attending high school, I would sometimes go with friends into the store and order up a coke and fries after school at their soda fountain.  Even as a little girl, I remember walking up and down the aisles of that store…it is long gone now.

For those who ever watched I  Love Lucy, you might just remember her saying that she shopped at Bigelow’s when she was in Jamestown.  Well, anyone who lived in Jamestown must have shopped at Bigelow’s at one point or another! It was a huge department store that sold very nice clothing, furrniture, and anything you might need for house and home!

Bigelow’s is long gone. But this is the building where it was located….

I see it is now named “The Chadakoin Center”. I have no idea what this is, but I do know it must be named after the Chadakoin River, which runs through Jamestown.  I see that the facade of the building has been redone and when I walked along the side of the building,  I counted the floors….yup….six stories tall.  I bought so many things at Bigelow’s and the memories of many of those things flooded my mind!

Since this little tour has taken a while to write up,  I will add yet one more walking tour of Jamestown in another entry.  I left Jamestown and the area in 1984 and so much has  changed. So very much.  It is interesting just how much you miss something only after it has changed!  Ah well, that is progress, as they say!

A Lovely Visit to my Hometown

Our Thanksgiving Day was just awesome!  We got up at about 5 am to get ready to go to visit my parents and Randy, and my older brother, Bob.   We were out the door shortly after 7, and arrived at about 10:30 at my parents’ home. 

We spent the day relaxing,  watching some television (gasp! I never do that!)  and visiting. 

We ate at about 1 and let me tell you, the food was fantastic!  There was turkey, roast beef, and even chicken!  We had tasty cranberry/ jello dish, rolls,  salad, and sweet potatoes, and stuffing.  And speaking of stuffing,  we all stuffed ourselves!  My compliments to the cook….Mom, everything was beyond awesome!

Yes, I took the new camera with me, but we got so busy with all that was going on,  I barely took it out! 

However, there was one little fellow who provided so much entertainment, I found myself laughing over and over!

Fritz examining my camera bag.small

As soon as I placed the camera bag on the couch, little Fritzmeister began diving in with his long nose.  I have no idea why he was so attracted to the bag,  other than perhaps he smelled “Scottie scents”!

As soon as I rested on the couch, I was pounced upon by Fritz, receiving a rather ambitious cleaning! Fritz loves “kissing”, and he really likes me!  However,  I was not the lone victim!

fritz cleans michelle.small

I know…I should have photographed all the people…the food….the essence of the day.  However, I just plumb didn’t do it. 

As we left to come home,  I asked Mark to drive through downtown because I wanted to see if there were pretty Christmas decorations.  I love the decor they chose….

pretty christmas decor downtown.small

Well, not much in the form of photos, but we all had such a satisfying day!  We were home again at about 8 this evening.

My mother showed us an article in the local newspaper that announced the official Christmas shopping season has now begun.  Tomorrow is Black Friday.  That means crazed, glassy-eyed shoppers arriving at stores in the middle of the night,  hoping to score big savings on Christmas gifts for themselves and others.  Sorrowfully, I must say, I shall indeed be counted amongst those numbers.  Yup, Miss Michelle has gleaned all the sales flyers,  making her list and well, in a few short hours,  we will be out “there”.  Ah, nothing like a teenage shopping diva in the house!

Wish me luck.  I’m sure I shall be needing it!

Wah Hooooooooooooo!

Yesterday’s mild, September-like temperatures were the icing on the proverbial cake as we were off to meet my parents and brother at Sprague’s Restaurant.  It was such a beautiful day!  We were meeting to celebrate Michelle’s birthday, as well as Mark’s.  (November is a very busy birthday month here, as Carly and my mom also celebrate November birthdays later in the month!)

We arrived to meet at 11:30 in the morning and the restaurant held no shortage of patrons, even at that early on a Sunday morning!  We always ask for a certain table….it is round and sits in a corner, out of the way of mainstream traffic,  so we waited.

We enjoyed visiting with my parents and seeing their brand new car! which they never told us they got! (It was purchased in late September)  Little Fritz the Dachshund was thrilled to see us and enjoyed romping about a bit on the lush green grass.

As we waited,  Randy spotted some old cars that had parked together in a row, so we went down to have a better look at them…..

1933 dodge delivery truck.small

cool old red car.small

old grape-colored roadster.small

50's chevy.small

1964 mustang.small

one of randys favorites.small

Yes, I saved the best car for last….the one that really caught my eye…..

my favorite.small

Yes, hahaha,  I really did not save the best for last….it was the last car parked in the line!  I am not sure if it caught my eye because of the bright yellow color,  or the M&M’s  decorating the sides!

One of the fun aspects of visiting at Sparague’s,  aside from their consistantly good food,  is seeing “what’s new”!  As we pulled into the new winding drivway leading to the restaurant,  we noticed an interesting addition…..

new addition at spragues.small

The two wooden carved horses used to greet folks as they walked up the path leading to the Sugar Maples high on a hill behind the restaurant.  Now, they are pulling a plow,  with the addition of a man guiding them!  And all this on a delightful display.  We noticed  vehicles pulling up and people getting out to take a look! 

a little closer look.small

The restaurant also has a new planter which uses the same stone as that on the base of the horse display. The planter is huge,  housing several bushes,  a small fountain,  and this adorable topiary bear!

bear topiary.small

We went inside and ate and afterwards, we lingered on and on outside in the parking lot.  The warmth of this November Indian Summer day was so conducive to lingering…..we noticed there were many people also talking and walking about outside.  It was one of those days that sends a twinge of sadness as the darkness closes in and one realizes the day really is coming to a close!

We did promise to try to make it to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving and that is something to look forward to in just a couple of weeks. That took a little of the edge off he bite of ending the “perfect day”!

Before driving home,  we rode to Cuba Lake, a few miles away.  The truck was needing a fillup and Mark thought we might find cheaper gasoline at an Indian owned  station located on a nearby reservation.  Sure enough, the price was about $.17 less per gallon,  *and* there was an attendant to do the filling!

As we passed the lake, we noticed the water level was way down.  We figured they must take it down for the winter months ahead.  This tiny lake,  by the way,  is manmade.

glimpse at cuba lake.small

As you can see, the water was startlingly calm!

We arrived back home early in the evening.  Uncle Randy brought Benjamin two Lego kits to put together.  One is a fire station that is so cute!  The other is an adorable little toy shop with a Christmas theme.  I had seen that one in a Lego catalogue and thought about getting it.  I nearly fainted when Randy gave it to Ben!  (Shortlyafter arriving home at about 7,  Ben began working on the Christmas kit,  finishing it up at about 10:15!)

I am so glad yesterday was such a relaxing day, as today was wildly the opposite!  Our camper needed to be winterized,  we still need to get a “pillow” (inflatable) in the pool to finish its winterzation,  and we had firewood that needed to be stacked. 

After doing a load of laundry this morning,   I planted about 20 various flower bulbs.  Then I stacked firewood.  After that,  I climbed up on the railing of the pool and proceded to remove about 300 gallons of water and leaves….bucket by bucket!  We didn’t get the pillow inserted under the winter pool cover,  but we did winterize the camper and I am so happy to have that done.  Most all of our fall tasks are now complete……let the hibernation begin soon!

Hey, We’re Back!

Oops, I forgot to tell you we left!

Friday evening, we left with kids and Scotties for the  famous “Almost All-Nighter” at Splash Lagoon in Erie, Pennsylvania. The kids used to love going to these events, but missed a couple last year. 

We headed west into the sunset…

Which grew even more intense…

We met my parents and brother, Randy, at a McDonald’s restaurant near their house.  We sat and talked for a long time, enjoying a snack and the company.   We left after 9,  telling my parents we would try to stop by their house Saturday afternoon.

We arrived in Erie…

The kids were all ready to enter as soon as the doors opened at 10:30.  They got wristbands and the action began at 11:00 PM.  I went inside for a while to take some photos. The last time I tried, I was using my old Olympus camera….its optics were good, but the glass was just too small to capture inside very well.

The kids romp around on waterslides and all sorts of aquatic entertainment!  They also are given tokens to play games in a game room and are served pizza and a soda before all the fun ends at 3:00AM.  I couldn’t believe how toasty it was inside while I was there. The humidity was extreme!  Since the temperature outside was hovering right at about freezing,  the warmth was greatly appreciated!

I liked this little work of art located right outside the front doors.

Mark, the Scotties, and I were kept well entertained outside in the parking lot. We left only for a few minutes. I finally got to watch a Sabres game Mark had recorded Thursday night…..

And we snacked on chicken wings from Quaker Steak and Lube.

When the kids came out shortly after 3,  we pulled into a parking lot and “camped out” for a few hours right near a truck camper.  Mark and I woke up at 7, and we kept with tradition, going to Sam’s Club to shop for about an hour, giving the kids a chance to get a little more sleep.

We drove to my parents’ house, arriving around noon.  Because Mark lost the ability to move around as freely as before after being off his feet for nearly three months, he decided to stay in the truck while the kids and I visited with my parents and Randy. 

When we arrived at the house, my dad told Mark he felt terrible when I told him Mark would wait in the truck outside.  My dad went to work fashioning two small ramps to help Mark get up the front steps of their house.  The ramps worked great and Mark was so grateful to be able to come in the house and visit!

Of course, little Fritz has grown up into a beautiful Dachshund! Michelle just loves him…he is so affectionate!

We visited much longer than we had planned, leaving after 4 PM.  Angus was anxious to get a move on….

We got home around 7, and ah, the bed is looking so very comfortable right now! The house was pretty cold when we stepped inside, but the stove has taken the chill off and now we are cozy and comfortable.

In looking back, it certainly seems like we covered a great deal of territory within a period of about twenty-six hours!

Another Kayaking Journey!

Today was the last day that my  brother, Randy, had off work.  Since tomorrow is my birthday, my parents wanted to come visit to celebrate and they would pick Randy up as well.  We got up this morning and got ready to go kayaking since we have been having so much fun going out.

We went down to Woodville…we saw that the wind was a little brisk (and it was downright *chilly*!) but we decided to go on out, wind or not! We paddled our way across the lake and then began our way down East River. You can see the wind generators from the mouth of the river……


Making our way down the river, we could see how the foliage is beginning  to show a bit of color…


The views surrounding us are so fantastic. Every direction is beautiful. We did see  a couple of Great Blue Herons, but I could not get the camera out fast enough.  The herons seemed a lot more timid today than when we saw them last time.


Randy and Ben are much stronger paddlers than Michelle and I. They wanted to keep on going down the river, but Michelle and I decided to take another branch of the river back towards the lake.

BIG mistake!!! Michelle and I began our adventure to the west. Then we made a turn and headed north. This is when *it* began….*it* being wall-to-wall lily pads. If I never see one of these again,  it might be all too soon!

Michelle, being the forever optimist, began humming the theme song for Indiana Jones as we w-e-d-g-e-d our way through these tangled messes of frustration! We came across a very interesting structure….perhaps a duck blind…which Michelle went forth to explore.


As we worked (emphasis on the word WORKED) our way through the pads, the muscles in my arms began to burn like irons. “Michelle,” I managed to get out between gasps for air, “we need to turn back!”

Ahead of us lie hundreds, thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of thick lily pads!


At this point, I was fortunate that my Michelle tends to be of good cheer….otherwise, I think I might have been smacked right in the head with a paddle!

We worked our way back and it was much easier, as the wind was working with us.  As we headed to the eastward turn, we entered water smooth as glass! We were able to make some good headway, and as we were getting closer to the northward leg, we heard Randy and Ben.  The four of us worked our way back toward the lake.  Since the river zigzags, we found ourselves tormented by wind and rough water when heading north, but calm, smooth water when heading east or west. 

Michelle had a bit of trouble with sore arms, so we told Randy and Ben to go ahead and we would catch up. I was getting very tired and was glad to slow the pace a little!

I was so disappointed that I hadn’t been able to capture a heron. I had taken my little Panasonic camera along with me and just felt so crushed…..

It was as we entered the mouth of the river at the lakes edge that Michelle yelled for me to look up.


That, dear reader, happens to be  an eagle! Yes, we had an eagle swooping and soaring so majestically above our heads.  Frustration began to mount again as I stopped my kayak and tried so hard to photograph this fabulous bird. (Michelle told me later that she felt so bad as I was nearly reduced to tears because the bird moved so swiftly and the waves in the water were bouncing me about like a fisherman’s bobber)

The eagle dove low and landed in a tree right at the river’s mouth. I zoomed in all the way and when I stopped my kayak, the waves began spinning me around.  I twisted around and aimed as best I could…..the white spot near the center of the photo is the bird’s head.


The water was choppy and the current was taking us southwest. We had to fight against this to actually go west.  Here is a perspective I have never done before…looking northward from the south end of the lake, ON the lake!


And here is the little community that is called Woodville. From the lake….


We got back, after  spending about two hours paddling. We loaded up our boats and equipment and headed home. At home, I had a message that a customer wanted to pick up an order, so Michelle prepared it while I took a quick bath to warm up and then we got it ready to go.

My parents arrived with a pizza and wings a short time later.  My customer came and grabbed his order, then we all went up on the porch and ate and had a great time visiting! It was a chilly 60 degrees, but we had so much fun just talking and laughing.

After eating, my mother brought out a bundle of gifts. Today is Mark and my eighteenth wedding anniversary, so we opened a gift of beautiful bath towels and dish towels. Then I opened  a blouse (one of my favorite colors!) and the most terrific antique butter dish….


I also received some money from my parents and Randy. Yes, color me spoiled! We visited until about 5:30, when my parents, Randy, and little Fritz (who turned one year old yesterday!) left for home.

What a most excellent day! The weather was my very own made-to-order variety. I have spent many of my birthdays feeling so overwhelmed by heat, but this day…..ah, what a grand one!!!!

Terrific Sunday Drive

We made plans last night to meet my parents at our favorite restaurant today. We didn’t get together for July 4th, so we decided to enjoy a meal together today. We met at Sprague’s in Portville, and once again the food was delicious!

There is always a cage in the hallway at Sprague’s with a couple of canaries in it. Today, as my mother and I were leaving the restaurant, we saw two canaries in another cage in the back….


The restaurant is set in a parklike area, so we sat down in the grass with little Fritz for awhile. We had left our Scottie boys home today, thinking they might rather enjoy a quiet afternoon!


Not much gets past Fritz. He walked over to the tree and looked up….what did he see?



As we were chatting away, Fritz decided he could not resist peeking into the “Blingy Biker Babe Bag”…


I went over to look at the displays of Bobwhite Quails.  I got down on my knees, hoping to see the birds a bit better. If you expand the photo below, you will see what I saw, hidden behind the fresh pine boughs inside the cage!


 Here is the side of the restaurant. See the sky? It was a beauty of a day…but a bit too warm!


As much as I love my Scotties, the owners of the restaurant love their Golden Retrievers. Note the weathervane atop the cupola.


We strolled over to the pond where two Swans live…


And discovered such a fine seating arrangement to observe the Swans….comes complete with one frog planter filled with grass and two Adirondack chairs! 


The Swans do have an exquisite abode….(shot through chainlink fencing)


Ah, what lucky swans to dwell in such perfect surroundings!


Sprague’s is located outside the little town (village?)  of Portville. As we drove down one street, Ben made a comment on the size of the homes located there. The houses were very old, and very large!

This house is just one of the most appealing gingerbread homes I have ever seen. Oh, if only this house could speak!


Mark told me he wanted to show me a beautiful “park”. He wasn’t kidding! This is the entrance and it is so grand and impressive!


I am still pinching myself. I never could, in my wildest imaginings, feature Mark bringing me to a cemetery for the scenery. But look!


This memorial to soldiers and sailors from Portville serving during the Civil War is stunning. It greets visitors right near the front gate.


Here is a closeup of the writing….


This cemetery appears to be rather old and is located on a very steep grade. It is hard to tell unless you look at the grave markers in the rear….


This stone is so weathered, it is impossible to read…


I would really enjoy spending some time poking around the cemetery. Mark showed me another Portville “picture-perfect” park!


Another spot to explore. Mark wanted to type in some info on the GPS, so he pulled onto a side road. Look at this photo…..


And zooming back out again, you can see the scenery that beckons wayfarers to the region to slow down and just relax and drink in the beauty surrounding them!


Of course, it was good returning back to the Bristolwood,  and being greeted by two sweet little Scottie boys who kept nice and cool on the tile floor in the kitchen.

Just another fine day spent wandering and enjoying family…..

Over the River and Through the Woods

Yesterday morning, we got up and prepared ourselves for a journey to visit with my parents and brother, Randy. We left a bit later than planned, but had a fun day visiting and relaxing!

Mom had some really pretty tulips sitting on the dining room table when we arrived.  I took this picture, thinking it was kind of a waste, but as I looked at it, it really grew on me!


Last Sunday, being Easter, many people at the church my parents attend donated flowers in memory of loved ones who have passed away recently. My mother lost her brother a few weeks ago, so she got these beautiful yellow tulips. They sat on the table just “glowing”  in their simple elegance and beauty…..


We had such a good and fun visit, albeit far too short. (as always). One of the highlights of the visit is the little 11 pound lively Dachshund, Fritz! Trying to photograph him is a real challenge! Of course, I would *never* admit to running up and down the hall several times with Fritz following on my heels and oftimes even running right past me! (note his ears in the photo below…)


I did manage to catch the little fellow in a pensive moment with a reather nice portrait!


We arrived back home at about 1 am. Needless to say, we all headed to bed immediately! I wish we weren’t so far removed from my family, but it sure makes for a fun visit spending the day with them!