Sister Trip 10 – The Upstate New York Adventure September, 2019

30 Sep

We still love Nevada dearly but we surely did enjoy our sister trip to upstate New York. This is the NY Capitol in Albany from the Gov. Nelson Rockefeller Empire State Plaza. More about this later. Please click on an image to enlarge it.

We began our adventure in Buffalo.  We shuffled our way to the observation deck of the Buffalo City Hall for an extraordinary bird’s eye view of the city, Lake Erie, Niagara River and a small portion of Canada.  As we walked around the deck, we got a good sense of Buffalo’s layout.

Lobby of the majestic 1931 Art Deco city hall

We visited the Buffalo History Museum that is the only building from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition still standing.  It’s a beautiful, well done museum with many exhibits about the city’s past.

Our next stop was the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military park. One of the three ships we toured was the U.S.S. The Sullivans named after the five brothers killed on a ship during WWII.

Our last tour of the day was at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.  He was inaugurated at the house of Ansley Wilcox, a friend of his after President McKinley was assassinated at the Pan-American Exposition.  The tour was interactive and was fun. Jerri is at his Presidential desk.

The next day saw us heading up to Niagara Falls.  Wow!  We spent a good part of the day at this magical place…on both the U.S. and Canadian sides.  I say it’s magical because we even had our picture taken with fireworks.

This is the Maid of the Mist boat taking tourists into the awesome mist and splash of the Horseshoe Falls near where the first commercial hydroelectric plant was.

Then, you know us. We have to get into some mischief. It wouldn’t be a sister trip if we didn’t.

Built in 1829, the Biddle staircase allowed visitors access to the gorge.  Luckily it’s not there now or we might have had to try it. (P.S. In case you didn’t know, Jerri’s last name is Biddle)

Seagull on the brink

Our next stop was Lockport where we took a short cruise on the Erie Canal. We went into the space on the left, went through another lock above this one and were “locked up” (raised) 50 feet by this method.

Filling the lock. It took maybe 5 minutes to lift us up to the next lock

Lake Erie is 570’ higher than the Hudson River.  Eighty-three locks were originally used to lift the boats up and down the canal.  Today, with reconstruction, 57 are used.

Our next adventure in Lockport involved exploring a 2100+ foot water tunnel blasted out of solid rock.  The tunnel was the invention of Birdsill Holly (who also invented the fire hydrant).  His Hydraulic Race Company provided water power to three industries in Lockport. Ironically, Holly’s nearby factory burned down. Guess there weren’t enough fire hydrants yet.

Entering the tunnel. sorry about the picture quality. We had enough light to see, but it was still pretty dim.

This photo allows you to see how big the tunnel is.  At one time, water gushed through here at 45 mph.

The rock is quite porous that allows rainwater to enter the tunnel.  We actually rode a boat for a distance in the tunnel.  It was quite exciting.  One of the fun stories about tunnel is that there is quite a bit of gypsum in it.  Miners’ wives would gather up some of it and then sell it as petrified Niagara Falls mist to naïve tourists.

Our treat for walking those many steps and finishing the tour was to visit the Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream store.  We read about this place in Buffalo and determined that we had to samples its wares.  It exceeded all our expectations.  No, Jerri didn’t eat both of those cones.


The next day were drove to Palmyra, NY and passed through a lot of farm country.  Lots of silage and what looked like a type of bean plant.  I loved how the fields mesh with the surrounding woods.

We got an idea of how much work it was to clear those forests/woods when we visited the early home of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It took his family 12 years to transform their 100 acres of forest into a successful farm.  This is looking out the back door of their cabin to part of the farm and the Sacred Grove.

We stayed the night in Schenectady and ate at Johnny’s, an Italian place. You can rest assured that peach gelato cheesecake didn’t last long.

This mosaic is on the floor of the Franklin D. Roosevelt home and presidential library visitor center.

Our one rainy day made for a dim picture in front of FDR’s home.  The 1826 house remains almost exactly as it was at the time of Roosevelt’s death.

I liked FDR & ER’s wedding pictures.  The library was filled with many interactive activities as well as photos, political cartoons, and artifacts.

Jerri’s getting ready to give her inauguration speech.

Just two miles north of FDR’s home was the 1898 Vanderbilt Mansion.  It is truly a tribute to the Gilded Age with its 50 rooms, tapestries and original French and Italian furnishings.  It was used primarily as a spring and fall country estate.

Dasson annular clock in the huge entry room

Staircase railings had velvet covers that you can still see and feel.

The Hudson River Valley saw many Revolutionary War battles and Washington soon realized West Point was a very strategic place on the river.  Fortifications were constructed in 1778 and Jefferson signed legislation establishing the U.S. Military Academy on the site in 1802.  West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States.

The West Point Museum where we spent hours here after our official tour.

West Point parade ground with dorms behind it and the main chapel is on the hill in the background.  We were told approximately 4400 cadets are fed in the mess hall in about 20 minutes.  Amazing!

West Point is strategic because it sits above the narrow part of the Hudson River.  If you click on this photo, you will see a line stretching across the narrowest part.  That was a huge chain across the river to prevent the British from sailing up and down the river to transport troops and supplies

Some of the surviving links on display at West Point.  Each link weighed more than 100 pounds. The links were attached to sharpened logs that were floated down the river.  What a tough job that must have been in that day and age.

We arrived in Albany, the capital, on a Monday and found the big, primary museum and several other attractions were closed on Mondays.  Bummer. But we always make the best of a situation.  We first went to the 44 story Corning Tower to get a birds’ eye view of the city. (Erastus Corning was Albany’s longest serving mayor).

Aerial view of the Governor’s Mansion


Click on the photo and you’ll be able to read a bit of early history of Albany.

The NY capitol is huge!  Construction began in 1871 and finally ended in 1899 when T. Roosevelt declared it finished.  5 different architects with different ideas caused it to have several different architectural styles.

The Capitol is beautiful but the stairs reminded me of M.C. Escher’s stairs pictures.  We were so glad to have a tour guide as we would have been lost in the first two minutes.

More Escher-like stairs

Non-functional fireplaces in the Senate allow Senators to step into the good-sized recess for private conversations.

We decided to go to Lake George in the Adirondacks.  What a gorgeous, relaxing place!

Testing the lake water

Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain.  Vermont and its Green Mountains are in the background.

Fort Ticonderoga was originally established by the French to control the narrow shipping point on Lake Champlain.  The British took it over in 1759 and then Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys took it over in 1775.


The cannons were taken to Boston by Col. Henry Knox where they were used to persuade the British to evacuate the city in 1777.

We took a cruise from Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain and then went back to the little town of Ticonderoga where we found this little covered bridge.

We were just a couple of weeks ahead of the magnificent fall colors.  But Jerri managed to find a hint of what is to come.

We were jumping for joy that we were able to see a part of the Adirondacks and enjoy a few days there.

We visited the New York State Museum in Albany on our last day in New York.  What a treasure this museum is with its focus on the Adirondacks, the New York City metropolis, and the state’s Native Americans.  History, art, science and technology also have participatory activities.  We enjoyed each and every display.

Inside a full size Iroquois longhouse.

Hangin’ in the A Train

There is an impressive 911 display.  That part made us sad.

A free ride on an antique carousel was uplifting!  We were told it took $3 million and several years to restore it and then rebuild it on the museum’s top floor.

Our New York trip amused and enriched us and it exceeded all of our expectations.  The people were delightful and we had fun chatting with them.  We have many more stories and trivia to tell you but this saga has gone on long enough.

 

SOME OUT TAKES

 

 

Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

Scott’s signature pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Response to “Sister Trip 10 – The Upstate New York Adventure September, 2019”

  1. Schildmeier October 1, 2019 at 5:29 am #

    Dear Cora, what a delight it is, again and again, to participate in your fascinating travels via your Buzzardnote! So many beautiful US sites, so many brilliant pictures, so many interesting informations, so much humour and joy that pops up between your lines! Thank you! Love, Angel

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