Vacation’s End

As you know, the highlight of my first day of vacation was the Untamed Glen, on the second day it was Niagara Falls and on the third day it was the Corning Museum of Glass. That accounts for the 14th, 15th, and 16th of July. What happened after that?

I believe the 17th and 18th were spent mostly relaxing. One thing I remember doing is hunting for crayfish along the shore of the lake. Crayfish like to hide under rocks. When you first lift up the rock, you can’t see anything because of the swirling water, but if you’re patient and wait for the dirt to settle, more often than not there will be a crayfish sitting there. They’re not going to move right away because they think you can’t see them. Their camouflage is excellent, but once you learn to recognize the shape, they almost stand out. It’s fun to catch them and it does them no harm. That is, unless your brother plans to use them as bait (as mine did). Poor things!

Faithful Reader bought us each a set of snorkeling equipment. I used to snorkel when I was a kid, but I had lost the knack. When I tried to breathe through the new snorkel with my head under water, I panicked. It took me a while to get past that feeling of not being able to breathe. Once I did, it was a lot of fun. I am not a strong swimmer and I was pleased to find that the snorkel and fins took all the work out of swimming. I could have swum all day.

On another positive note, it was Faithful Reader’s interest in snorkeling that helped convinced the elder of my two nephew to learn how to swim. By the time we left the cottage, the younger one had started to learn, too. Good for them!

We left the cottage Saturday morning (the 19th). It was time for the rest of my family to go home. For Faithful Reader and me, it was time to begin our vacation extension. We headed for Watkins Glen.

Watkins Glen is a tamed glen, but it is worth the effort because the scale is so much more commanding than that of our own little untamed glen. There are some real waterfalls, at least one of which you can walk behind.

Watkins Glen

It is amazing how the river has cut through the layers of rock over the ages.

Watkins Glen 2

Along the way, I thoroughly exercised my soul, taking pictures of everything that caught my interest. I will share more of them later.

It’s a difficult walk to get to the top of Watkins Glen. There are many stairs, including a group of them near the top that is known as Jacob’s Ladder. My parents had led me to believe there would be roughly 150 steps in Jacob’s Ladder. It was a hard climb, but I don’t think there were quite that many! The gift shop was a disappointment. I remember being able to find interesting things there when I was a kid, but I guess I was easier to please back then. I still have a cedar box that I bought there all those years ago. The scent of cedar still wafts out when I open the box, which is currently holding a deck of Tarot cards.

We had planned to go to the wine festival, too, but it was too late so we had to fill our day with other things, such as Taughannock Falls. We saw the falls from the overlook, but did not go into the park.

Taughannock Falls

We then headed through Ithaca, with a brief stop at Ithaca College. It was for me the “road not taken,” as I had considered applying there once upon a time, and for Faithful Reader it was the location of one of his favorite movies (Road Trip). It wasn’t exactly thrilling,  but I have to say those kids get a great view as they go about their college activities. We drove over to Buttermilk Falls, but then decided to skip it, since it required money and the pictures didn’t look that appealing. On our way back, we stopped at a couple of wineries, one of which was quite good and the other of which served us a wine that we both agreed was foul.

We spent the night at a Motel 6. Faithful Reader is a big fan of Motel 6. He says they’re cheap and clean. Me, I just think they’re cheap. This particular motel may have been clean. I didn’t see any dirt, but then I barely saw the room at all. The power went out during a thunderstorm and it did not come back on. So much for “We’ll leave the light on for you!” They gave us a couple of glow sticks. Showering by glow stick is an interesting experience, but taking out one’s contact lenses by glow stick is not so much fun. In the morning, the power still had not come back on, so the manager promised us a refund. That made the room better than cheap—it was free!

The next day, we went to some more wineries. There are many of them located up and down the Finger Lakes. Two thoughts on this:

  1. If you really want to do wine tasting, don’t drink all the wine they give you. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it really sneaks up on you.
  2. Watch your wallet. It’s easy to go overboard because most of the bottles are so cheap. The next thing you know, you’ve got hundreds of dollars worth of wine and you can’t even remember which one was which.

We had planned to spend all day vacationing, but we changed our minds and headed home early. We stopped in Albany on the way back and had dinner at a restaurant called Shalimar. The food was excellent, remarkably so. It was probably the best Indian food I have ever had. If you’re ever in Albany, give it a try.

We arrived home to find the cats perfectly content and not terribly excited to see us. Typical.

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One Response to Vacation’s End

  1. Pingback: Lesson from 2008 at Blue-Footed Musings

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