Way overdue….

Well, it was almost two months ago that I had a few hours on my hands to wander around the Canandaigua area. The weather started out in a most spectacular way!

The sky was fascinating and as the day moved along, more and more blue began showing.  I drove on up to the city where major construction on the sidewalks has been underway all summer long.  It was rather unsightly, especially since Canandaigua has to be one of the most attractive cities I have seen.

In thinking through my options on how to spend my time, I thought about Sonnenberg Gardens and how it might be nice to visit.  The last time I had been there was about five years ago!

Such pretty flowers contrasting the white picket fence that greets visitors!

The following are some of the hundreds (yes, I think I took almost 300) of photos. Sonnenberg is such an incredible adventure. To think that this huge mansion with its seemingly endless acres of gardens, statuary, greenhouses, and the house, was merely a summer home built during Victorian times just seems incomprehensible. A “summer home” containing forty rooms doesn’t register….

I didn’t take many photos of the house itself, so I will just post pictures and you can stroll alongside me. I am always awestruck by the numerous water features dispersed throughout the property.

I didn’t remember the lush displays of greenery exhibited in the greenhouses. They were amazing! I took so many photos in the various houses, but I shan’t bore you.

Another awesome area was the Japanese garden! Oh my…it is so picturesque!

New York State has taken over the property and it is now a state park.  I was so impressed to see some improvements throughout the grounds.  One area that sadly remains in ruins is the Roman baths.

The gardens….ah, the gardens!

One thing that I noted was that the pillars along this pergola were all in good shape. The last time I visited, many were in bad shape, rotted, and with holes in them.

I love this stone building, which was the aviary. The red brick building in the background is the Veteran’s Hospital which is built on the original estate’s property.

Of course, there was so much more to show, but I did not want to bore you!!! So, we will end once again where we began….

So…Ready for another dose of COLOR?

I was so miffed last night.  I frantically tried to upload the last entry before the clock dtruck midnight, but I think I missed by a minute or two.  Drat!

Yesterday, after dropping Michelle off for her afternoon classes,  I picked up Carly and her daughter, Erin, for a little photo adventure.  I really needed that! It was awesome and we had fun wandering, too.

We went to the George Eastman House first. We weren’t there very long.  We really didn’t have a lot of time, as Michelle’s afternoon classes only run three hours.  Thankfully, Carly knows her way around the city very well….I never would have even known where to go!  After finishing up at Eastman House, Carly asked if I had ever visited the Mount Hope Cemetery. Nope.  But I would like to!

We got to the cemetery and it is really an incredible place.  Carly, being trained as an Earth Science teacher, knows all about land formations and such.  She told us the cemetery is built on what is called “kettles”.  As one wanders about, it is easy to see how this type of terrain is so named.  There are deep round valleys that do indeed look like kettles!  And, Carly said if the kettles fill with water, they become kettle lakes.  Thankfully, that isn’t happening at the cemetery, lest the dead might arise from their graves…..or at least their coffins might!

We had no sooner stepped out of the car when a male Cardinal began to flirt with us!  Can you see him? He’s the intense red “spot” in the center of the photo. Click to see him bigger! I stood there and took repeated shots of him, but it was nearly impossible to get focussed correctly on him. Only when I got home did I find this really cool shot of him…

The monument below was seen from the road and I told Carly we should go look for it.  The color was just beyond fascinating…and the monument is so beautiful as well!

I guess it really is impossible to capture the brilliance of the colors of the tree.  I don’t like to fiddle around with photos. I like to try to capture my subjects just as I see them. So,  I tried shooting upward into the tree!

Enlarging the pictures adds a lot…condensing them just detracts from the glorious colors!

We had wandered off just a bit from the car when I wondered if I had locked the doors.  Not that a “graveyard” is a typical place for pilfering, but I just wanted to make sure the car was locked.  We asked Erin to run down and make sure it was locked up, as we “oldies” didn’t want to clamber down a hill, then climb once again! Erin loves to run, so she scampered off and made sure everything was set.  When she came back, she was nearly doubled over, laughing hysterically.  She thought that both she and I had been pressing the wrong button for the locks.  She was so funny!

One of the interesting aspects of this cemetery is that no space was wasted in the past.  There are literally graves everywhere! Now, remember Carly called this land kettles….

The stones in this cemetery range from elaborate to simply initials etched into a tiny just-above-ground marker.

I couldn’t quite understand why some of the sites are terribly overgrown, either? The next photo was taken from a steep clifflike area.  There was a guardrail built at the edge from concrete upright “pillars” and horizontal iron bars, but the concrete was falling apart and the bars were not very likely to keep one from tumbling down the steep grade! Anyway, the mausoleum built into the hill across from the one we were on was intriguing!

As I was photographing the building, Carly and Erin had found some rather unique seating arrangements in a section of really overgrown graves!  The cedar trees looked like they were going to overtake the stones!

Now, how we could feel so comfortable and at ease amongst the “sleeping” is beyond me, but the atmosphere was amazing! We were having so much fun and it was just the kind of day where everything looks beautiful and perfect!

Carly told me there were a couple of famous people buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery. So, off we went on a little explore to find the monuments….

A brief history lesson. And, the monument. Buried in the same place is his wife,  and a daughter.

Apparently, Mr. Douglass was married twice as this marker is nearby….

As we walked along, I noticed this and smiled. Ironic it is in a cemetery, for in the crevice of a dead stump, a new little tree had taken root and was growing!

Another brief history lesson. On the way to Susan’s grave, what should Erin spot?

Definitely enlarge this one, as you can see the little fellow is sitting on the edge of a stone that says “safe with Jesus”. Too cute!

Susan B. Anthony’s simple, unassuming marker.  It seems so small for a woman who so greatly impacted the rights of women in this nation, and perhaps even elsewhere in the world.

And, one last tree shot….

We only covered a tiny slice of this huge cemetery. Perhaps one day we will revisit and see even more. 

Did you ever believe when you saw the title above that such amazing color would be found in an old, old cemetery?

Yesterday’s Shenanigans…

 Yesterday, as the day progressed, so did the temperature on the thrmometer!  I remember years ago when the kids were little, there was a day when the thermometer on out front porch read 96 degrees.  Well, yesterday, it actually rose just a tad above the 96 degree mark.  It was so incredibly hot!

Michelle has been lobbying for Mark to join her and Ben in the pool for a long time.  Mark loves that swimming pool. He bought it and set it up about a year before the spinal cord injury, in the hopes that the kids would learn how to swim.  When they were little, we spent a good deal of time in the water, playing, splashing, and teaching the kids about swimming. 

But I digress.

Michelle, Ben, and I all worked together to safely get Mark into the pool….It might look a bit funny to an observer, (and a whole lot less than graceful)  but it is important to make sure he enters without hurting his legs or feet as he cannot feel them very well.

After Mark was in the pool, Michelle carefully put Angus into the pool as well.  Angus enjoyed riding on the float, while Mark pulled him around.  Mark is able to move around in the pool so much more freely than on land.  He is planning on going into the pool again today as the temperature once again is on the rise!

Late in the afternoon, Michelle and Ben said they wanted to go to Penn Yan to play football. I immediately thought no way!!! They talked to their friends, and they asked Michelle and Ben to come on over and they would go swimming instead.  That sounded like a far better plan in my book.  Everyone hopped out of the pool..well, we helped lift Mark out,  and we were off again.  When we left home, the temperature was right at 96 degrees.

When we got to Penn Yan, the temperature was 100 degrees.  I thought I was seeing wrong…nope, the temperature really was 100 degrees.  It was a scorcher!  Now, this heatwave might not be so bad, except for the fact that we have had little rainfall in weeks.   We wandered on over to the Red Jccket Park and I thought I would take a few pictures.

The first shows how the grass has dried to the point that it looks like straw! The photo is dark…I was shooting into the sun and it is greatly shaded in this (grassy) area.

I (thought!) that as I moved down the hill a bit toward the lake, surely the grass might actually be “green”?,  but no.

Wow. The brown dried up grass really made it feel even hotter.  I didn’t want to linger too long. I went on over to the Red Jacket statue….the plaque below explains a bit.

I especially like the detailing on the back side of the statue’s jacket.  The intricate details depicting items from nature found in the region always fascinates me.  It is so beautifully done.

I decided to defy the heat around me, walking all the way down to the lake.  Phew!  The view is beautiful with the autumnal golds, but no!  It is summer!  It should be bright and vivid greens!

On my way back to the truck, I came upon this ginormous oak tree!  It was at least six feet across at the bottom!

No wonder the Bible speaks of the mighty oak!

Mark and I drove around a little, taking in sights and watching people.  People were warned to stay indoors because of the heat, but the lake draws folks.  Many swimming areas all around the state have issued comments that they will remain open for an extra hour to allow people to be refreshed in the water!

The heat is on for a few more days.  I cannot wait until this hot weather leaves…for GOOD!  I really, really like cool weather much better.

Still recovering…

I am still trying to recouperate from our little vacation.  We weren’t gone that long, but it was a bit of a touch and go trip home on Sunday. 

We had a wheel bearing go on the front right wheel on Saturday. Mark thought about going to a Chevy garage that was open until 6pm on Saturday, but decided he would like to try to do the job himself.  Ben was willing to help out and Mark thought it would be doable.

We hitched up on Sunday morning and went to the Sabres Development Camp. We really enjoyed watching the young prospects drill and then scrimmage on Saturday and Sunday.  We have been attending these camps for a few years now and have seen several players become Buffalo Sabres. 

After the camp, we began our very slow way home.  We would drive about 30 miles or so, then stop to allow the wheel to cool off.  It took hours to get home, but we were so thankful to arrive safely. 

Yesterday, the temperatures soared into the 90’s, making me totally miserable. Mark’s mother had a doctor’s appointment in Rochester at 9:30am, so Mark and I were off early in the morning, once again praying the wheel wouldn’t let loose. We took my mother-in-law to her appointment, then picked up the parts and tools we needed to fix the wheel bearing.  Thankfully, our faithful truck brought us safely home once again.

At this point, I must add that the Explorer is at the Ford garage, getting nearly $1500. in repairs.  I am of the mindset that we should put it up for sale right away and get something with good gas efficiency.  We will see.  The Explorer is a 2002 model and although it has low milage, it is getting old.  We will be doing some driving when Michelle begins RIT, so it would be good to have a sipping versus guzzling vehicle.

Today was another blazing hot day, although tonight, it is beginning to cool to the point that it is getting comfortable. Mark and Ben began working on the hub today, but parts seem quite fused together.  Mark cannot work for long periods of time, so they worked for just a few hours and quit.  Mark is searching for info on how to remove the hub and I just pray he finds a good answer.  With all this vehicle mess,  it would be quite pricey to have two vehicles getting repaired!

Well, enough of that.  I am not going to stress over things that I cannot control!

So, let me tell you about Lewiston!

As we were leaving our campground on Sunday, we realized we were really early, so Mark took the Lewiston exit.  I was happy to poke around, as the last time we were there, it was raining. A lot! 

Lewiston is referred to as “Historic Lewiston”.  It is a beautiful little community with beautiful little shops lining the main street.  Flowers adorn the lamp posts and there is a sense of a very old community. The buildings have a look of antiquity and were it not an early Sunday morning,  I would have gladly slipped inside the shops to have a look….they are quite inviting! Why I didn’t take a photo is beyond me, except for the fact that we were pulling the trailer behind us and together, the truck and trailer are about 50 feet long…makes for some interesting parking!

Mark drove around and stopped in a large parking area….right near one of my favorite statues…the Freedom Crossing Memorial. I blogged about this previously.

Just beyond this memorial was a set of stairs.  Well, curiosity got the better of me, and I hopped off in that direction.  I went down….and down….and down some more!  When I arrived at the bottom,  I was on a driveway/walkway just above the level of the lower Niagara River.  Oh, this was beautiful!

I walked along, meeting up with the Harbor Manager (I know that is the wrong name…I just cannot remember what the title was that was embroidered on his shirt.) What drew me was this…

This is The Black Pearl and cruises are available! I would love to go there and spend the day….the price of a one hour cruise is $35 per person…three hours is $75 per person.  The boat has diesel engines to get it moving up and down the river, but I was told that once it hits the lake,  it becomes full sails, a beautiful replica of a 1600’s ship. Wow, the directions my mind could go with that!!!

I spent considerable time looking around and talking to the Harbor man and another man.  They told me the fishing for Muskies is excellent there.  They said folks who fish there never divulge how big their fish caught were nor where they were fishing.  Hmm….They also said hardly anyone fishes there as they just don’t even know about this.

I suddenly became aware that I had many, many stairs to climb to get back to my family who might just be wondering where I was!  There was no way I was going to race up those stairs and I did notice a little addition off to one side with a bench…I thought perhaps they kindly put it there for folks who felt like they were going to drop from all that stair-climbing!

Since the family didn’t seem to be paying any attention to my winded self, I walked on over to see a restaurant that overlooks the water below.  It is an interesting shape and I just wanted a closer look.

As I snapped a photo of the restaurant menu, (wow! Who ever would have mounted their menu on a story board in front!!! What an awesome idea!) the man who founded the restaurant came over and talked my ear off!

I learned the history of the restaurant as well as how it came into being!  The restaurant was actually a coal silo that held coal for the steamships that used to travel the river.  After steam engines were replaced, the silo sat vacant for years and years.  While relatives from Minnesota were visiting with the man I spoke to,  they observed the silo from the Canadian side of the river.  They commented what a perfect day it was and the man said the only way it could be better was with an ice cream.  The relative pointed to the silo and told the man he should consider turning it into an ice cream parlor. And that is the condensed version.

The silo is leased from the town of Lewiston and the man’s son now operates the business.  He added a patio and outdoor picnic tables along with flowers and pretty landscaping.  ( I was told the view here in the autumn is absolutlely breathtaking…umm….one would NOT have to sway me…I believe it!)

The ice cream parlor (proper) was moved from the silo to an 1860’s Canadian Railway caboose.  The man explained that it took years to convince the town to approve the addition of the caboose.

Oh, by the way…that white house across the river?  It was owned by Tom Selleck at one time.

Wow, I learned so much from listening to this fellow! He was like a walking encyclopedia!  Oh, and by the way…the shape of the restaurant resembles a minaret mosque…the man lived in Istanbul, Turkey, for some 15 years!

I can’t believe I remembered so much of the conversation, but I do want to visit this restaurant.  It was given a high rating by a Buffalo food critic (the fellow chuckled, saying she critiqued the atmosphere, the owner and his wife, the setting…everything, but never once mentioned the FOOD!).  It also was featured on the show Man vs Food.

When Mark looked at the pricing, he was impressed.  He said too bad we were leaving town….this would have been an awesome place to take the kids for lunch!

Okay, so that’s it for Lewiston. (I think I oughta get paid for this! Or, at least get ONE of the vehicles fixed for free!!!)

A Peek at Woodville and More…

I really need to dump my photos off my cards!  Yikes! I keep saying Iwill keep up from now on, but it seems like photos add up FAST!

Here are a couple of photos I took a few days ago in Woodville.

I love that RED boat! Since the lake flooded the parking lot at the boat launch for a couple of weeks in April, Iwas surprised to see the wild Irises growing!  I thought they might have been messed up or that they might bloom much later!

For Memorial Day, we had placed a new bouquet of flowers on my father-in-law’s grave.  I also snapped a couple photos of an eagle memorial that wasat the cemeteryto honor those who served in the US armed forces. My father-in-law loved eagles!

Here is what is gracing our dinner table.

I love Carnations.  I love their spicy scent and their appearance.  I think the pink ones are especially pretty with the white Baby’s Breath. These were the combination I chose for flowers for our wedding!

Okay,then.  Are you sitting down?  This next photo is of “someone” who lives not too far away. I only had the little Canon camera with meon the dayItook this photo and I was bummed I had left the Nikon with its telephoto at home….

I aim to get a BETTER photo, but in the meantime….If you travel down Route 64,  just south of the Town of Bristol (maybe 2 or 3 miles?) look at the small blue house on the west side of the road.  You will see the recliner sitting there and perhaps….well…

Alexandria Bay

While we were n our little vacation in Lewis County,  Mark suggested that we make a day trip up to the Thousand Islands, located along the Saint Lawrence Seaway.  Mark has great memories of camping and boating there when he was a young man. 

We traveled northward and ended up exploring Alexandria Bay….what an awesome destination this would be to explore for a few days!  There is so much to see and do in a fairly compact area!  We thought about taking a boat tour, but arrived too late in the day for the one we wanted. Of course, that’s okay because one day, we’ll go back for a good look around!

This is such a terrific place to visit and I only wish we would have started out earlier in the day.

I have never seen a place with more rock!  It was incredible to see rock poking up everywhere.  Many homes had very tiny amounts of grass growing in their lawns, which were mostly rock!

As you can see, we had a most awesome day when we went to Alexandria Bay.  I wish I ould have taken photos in the tiny town…it definitely is a tourist trap with all things themed nautical.  As we meandered along in the truck,  we spotted a young Amish couple with a small table set up outside of a store.  In all honesty, that really surprised me!  The horse and buggy were parked off the side of the road.  I cannot even begin to imagine how these folks drove into town!  I did buy some chocolate chip cookies from them, which my family gobbled up quickly!

Random Photos from the Lewis County Trip

Before I upload all my photos from the SD card into the computer,  I thought I would have a little looksee. Wow. In looking back at everywhere we went,  I miss these places.  Even though we are “rural”,  we have neighbors nearby. In Lewis County, it seems one can travel a great deal before running into civilization.  There is so much pristine beauty and people seem sometimes few and far between.  Considering the harsh nature of winters there,  I guess this area just isn’t that much of an attraction.

Having noted the winter conditions at Lewis County, we were advised that winter weekends can be horrific, as people travel from far and wide to the Tug Hill Plateau with their snowmobiles in tow.  We were told if we ever think about snowmobiling there,  it is best done during the week after all the “city hillbillies” have returned home.

The photos I took might not all be at Lewis County, as we did some traveling elsewhere during our visit. These are some of my favorites and believe me, they probably will make no sense at all!

An odd assortment of photos, I know, but some that I rather liked. Funny thing is, while looking over my photos, I found a series of a day trip we took I had forgotten about!  More on that tomorrow!

Terrific Saturday Adventure

On Saturday, we decided to take a breather to do something relaxing.  I am always up for such times of respite!

We all gathered together to think of what we might like to do.  Michelle said we definitely needed some groceries, so how about going on a picnic first?  YES!  We all agreed a picnic would be so much fun and as you know,  we don’t lack in New York State for beautiful parks to spend some time in!  Now the next question was, where?

Michelle, being college educated and all, now,  thought perhaps making Mom happy might be a great perk to add to the package.  She suggested stopping in Geneseo at Kentucky Fried Chicken,  then heading on over to Letchworth State Park.  Well, who could argue with such a splendid suggestion?  Not I.  Not Mark.  Not Ben.

We set off at about 10:30 in the morning on our (very) grand adventure!  We drove to Geneseo and stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The kids decided they didn’t *want* chicken, however, so we all switched gears and wound up with $2 meals from Taco Bell!  (the store we went to is both a Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell)

Mark plotted Letchworth State Park as our destination on the GPS and we were off again for the park.  Upon entering the park, we were a bit surprised that there were many, many picnic tables open.  We had thought since it was the 4th of July weekend, the park would be packed out.  We sat down and enjoyed our little meals and afterward had some grape pie for dessert.  I had baked the pie the night before and we packed it in a cooler…that was a nice cool treat!

After eating, the kids headed on over towards a playground area that was aso strangely vacant.  Yes, our kids are big, but they still love to swing!  Suddenly, acting almost as one,  Ben and Michelle went to the truck to grab the Scottie boys!  The fun then followed!

Okay, so the swings were a lot of fun, but Angus thought he would like a bit more adventure, via the slide!

And Baby Murphy could not be outdone.  He also went down the slide, but asked for a bit of assistance!

Murphy thought that was a piece of cake, so he decided to go down once again. This time, alone!   He did a fantastic job!  Until…

Oops..Murphy! You were supposed to land on your paws, not do a face plant!

Michelle and the Scotties retreated to the truck while Mark, Ben, and I strolled along one of the paths running alongside the deep gorge.  It really is breathtaking and beautiful.  We found a picnic table with a view…..

Oh how nice it would be to sit there and just enjoy looking out over the gorge! Interesting that the sign on the fence so politely asks that visitors remain behind the fence.  With drops of 600  feet,  it would seem more fitting to place warning signs or even run electric fencing to keep folks back.  Instead, that fence stands only about 3 feet tall! Hardly a deterrent!  Sadly, we read on Sunday that a young man fell to his death over a wall near the falls on Saturday night.  This park is certainly spectacular, but one must be careful and cautious at all times.

The next photo shows how the fencing must be moved forward over  time due to erosion.  You can see the posts that held the fence at an earlier time. In some areas, the fencing has been moved several feet.  I would imagine the pathways must be inspected regularly to keep them safe for visitors.


From Letchworth Park, we decided to head on down to the small Christian college town of  Houghton. Neither Mark nor I have ever been to Houghton, so this was a new adventure and we would pass through some new places.

One of the tiny communtities we passed was Castile.  I mentioned earlier about the fact that Saturday was part of the July 4th weekend,  so many towns proudly displayed American flags.  Castile was one of these.

Right next to the area I stood at to photograph the flags was a beautful monument remembering soldiers who fought in World War I.

The monument stood right near a church.  I really liked the little message posted on the sign out front…

We continued our travels and arrived at the college late in the afternoon.  We were shocked to find that basically, the town of  Houghton *is* the college!  There is very little else located in this town.  The college,  a Wesleyan school, was absolutely beautiful!  It is small, nestled on a hill.  All of the residences look like they are very nice!  The college looks like it would have a nice feel to it for anyone wanting to attend a not-too-large college.  I think the word “cozy” comes to my mind! Because it was getting late in the day,  I didn’t take any photos.

We left and began driving once again,  stopping at another state park called Stony Brook.  This park is small and very beautiful.  It has a rugged feel to it and once again, we were surprised to see few people enjoying the grounds.  The gate keeper told us that the governor’s cuts caused the beautiful natural swimming area to be closed.  What a shame.  A dam formed a perfect little basin where people could swim. Not anymore.

We decided to stop at WalMart to pick up groceries and things we needed.  We looped around again to Geneseo and along the way, we encounterd a young woman pulled off a small road, signalling that she needed a cell phone.  The vehicle ahead of us pulled over and Mark stopped in front of it.  Mark hollered out the window, asking if everything was okay. 

We discovered the young woman had hit a fawn on the road.  She said both rear legs appeared to be broken and it needed to be put down.  She called 911 for assistance and had to await someone to come.  As we were about to pull away,  Michelle pointed to a tiny fawn running about in the woods next to the road.  I wondered if there were twins and the one got hit.  This whole thing put a damper on our fun and it was some time before we began to talk and laugh again.

We shopped first at Aldi, then at WalMart.  I sat waiting in the truck with the Scotties as it was pretty warm and I didn’t think it would be wise to leave them alone.  As  I was sitting there,  I was so surprised to see our friends Jon and Cindy from Naples!  Naples is quite a haul from Geneseo and Mark and I always giggle that we must be the only people crazy enough to travel 40 miles to go shopping.  Hmmm….I guess not!

It was getting late as we pulled out of the parking lot and began our travels homeward.  Not too far up the road from WalMart’s  we encountered tons of traffic!  There were endless Sheriff cars parked alongside the road.  As we slowly made our way eastward,  a display of fireworks began in Lakeville, a tiny community located on Conesus Lake.  Well, Mark and Ben could never pass up a good display, so we pulled over into a big parking lot and watched a display unlike any I have seen before.

Conesus Lake is a small lake and we watched in amazement as fireworks were displayed not only at the park at the north end of the lake, but around the entire lake! Awesome isn’t even close enough a word to describe what we saw!

We sat and watched for about 45 minutes, then decided we needed to head on home.   We didn’t get back until about 11pm!  What fun we had on this adventure and the kids even said they had a great day!