Friday, October 31, 2008

Favorite Places

We saw so many beautiful places on our trip that it is almost impossible to pick a favorite. For me, Letchworth State Park is probably at the top of the list, but a close second would be Poet's Walk along the Hudson River. We sort of stumbled on that park without knowing much about it, and it turned out to be a highlight of the trip.   Kaaterskill Falls was a neat place and had the distinction of being the only place where we ran into crowds. It was Columbus Day weekend and is also not too far from the NY City area, so that probably accounts for it. Dan decided to climb to the top of the falls, crossed over it and had trouble finding a way down, so Tim and I visited with people while we waited for him. Easterners sometimes get the reputation of being uppity, but we didn't find that true at all.  A couple of other hikes that I particularly enjoyed were Watkins Glen State Park (western NY) where you hike through a gorge and see several beautiful waterfalls.  I also enjoyed a hike we did to an overlook of Lake George. Some of my Dad's relatives had a summer home there so we went to Lake George a lot when I was growing up. But seeing it in the fall was a treat.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Digital photography is the greatest! You can shoot all the pictures you want, get instant feedback, keep the good ones and delete the rest. But more than that, it has helped me learn what makes a good photo. Something I started doing on my recent New England trip was shoot closeups of a single tree .... sometimes pointing my lens straight up into the leaves. I loved the results. The colors in New England were so brilliant, and these photos will give you a sense of that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I woke up this morning to the news that Vermont and upstate New York were buried under two feet of snow yesterday! To think that a mere two weeks ago we were there basking in sunshine, 60+ degree temperatures and glorious colors makes me realize, once again, how incredibly blessed we were.

After we saw Niagra Falls, we traveled straight through to Vermont, and then slowly worked our way back. Vermont lived up to it's reputation as an absolutely beautiful state, and also as a very liberal one, politically. Obama signs were everywhere. And there were many other signs of it's leftward leaning as well. We had several unique experiences there. This picture of Daniel was taken in the Brattleboro, VT home of Nobel prize winning author Rudyard Kipling (author of The Jungle Book, among other notable works). A family friend had rented the home for the week, and we spent two nights there. It was really fun! There is a delicatessen in Brattleboro that is to die for (albeit expensive).

We spent a couple of days touring the quaint covered bridges in the area. (They are all pretty much alike and clustered together.) We did have a very "Vermont" kind of experience at one of them that is better told in person than in print. (Hint: public nudity is legal in Vermont.) We were fascinated by the old, old cemetaries; grave stones that date back to the early 1800's, men who gave their lives in some of our nation's early wars, and stones listing the names of numerous family members (many of them children) who died over a short period of time from various epidemics that swept through New England. The Green Mountains of Vermont are not green in October, but multiple shades of yellow, red and brilliant orange.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Niagra Falls

I've had a few people ask when I'm going to post some more vacation photos so I'll upload a few each day this week. I flew in and out of Buffalo, so we went to Niagra Falls the first day. We often stopped there when I was growing up, on our way to Schenectady to see grandparents, but I had forgotten just how majestic it is! You can see the foam and spray from at least a mile away. These pictures are from Niagra State Park on the US side - which is lovely. However, the views of the falls are even nicer from the Canadian side.
I didn't get over there this year, but my brothers went there after they dropped me off at the airport on the last day. Tim and Elvis had done their 'Do Dogs Know Calculus' presentation at a highschool in Buffalo that morning and they had another talk lined up in Flint, MI late in the afternoon. They thought they had time to stop at the falls after they passed through customs - and so they did. Time got away from them, (i.e. I wasn't there to keep them on schedule) and when they got back to their car and checked the mileage, they realized they weren't going to make it to Flint by 4:00. However, the school in Flint had already done some rearranging of their day to fit Tim and Elvis in, and he didn't think he could just call them up and say, "Uh ... we went to Niagra Falls and lost track of the time ... and now we aren't coming". So they got in the car, asked Elvis to calculate the shortest time to get from Buffalo to Flint, and (from what I've heard) set a new world record. I'm so glad I wasn't a part of that drama; after such an enjoyable, stress-free vacation, it would have been a pity to end it with such a tension-filled day. A few extra minutes getting through US Customs, or getting pulled over for speeding (which they were definitely doing) could have cooked their goose, but they made it - with 10 minutes to spare!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A New England Vacation without the Girls

I just returned from a lovely and very relaxing New England vacation with my 2 brothers.  Tim, a college professor, is on sabbatical this semester and Daniel, who lives in Asia, has returned to the US for the next year. So we decided to take advantage of the flexibility in their schedules and do a trip together. It has been over 5 years since I've taken a trip without my girls, and I missed them terribly. I hired in-home care for them while I gone (fearing that Dee Dee would never survive in a kennel) and I knew it would be especially hard on her. Princess is much more resilient about things like that.    I really thought that Dee Dee would eventually warm up to the young man who came over to feed and walk them every day, but I under-estimated either her stubborness, or her devotion to me; probably both! She refused to even go out of the house for the better part of the first week and even after two full weeks, Logan only succeeded in getting her to go out in the yard to go potty. When he tried to coax her into a walk, she'd pull out of her collar and run right back to our front door. Endearing; but frustrating.

When I got home, both of the girls were very happy to see me, but none the worse for wear. I did think that Princess was going to dislocate her hip, though, from all the wiggling! Corgis don't have tails ... but that doesn't keep them from showing their glee. It's almost like there is a hinge in the middle of their body and they wag the whole back side! I will share more about our trip in a future post. (including some Elvis stories .... yes, he got to go along since the guys picked me up in Buffalo). For today, I just want to share a few of the incredible photos from the trip. We had clear blue skies for 12-1/2 out of the 13 days we were gone and hit the fall colors right at their peak. It was amazing.

The pictures I'm sharing here were taken at Chimney Bluffs (on Lake Ontario) and Letchworth State Park (the Grand Canyon of the East) - in western New York. The scenery was breathtaking and rivaled anything I've seen out West.