Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Skaneateles New York wedding and more

We arrived at Fillmore Glen State Park near Moravia, New York on Tuesday for our stay during the wedding of my daughter Stacy and her partner Ruth Ann. Ruth Ann's family is from the area around Skaneateles Lake. They have a complex right on the lake that can accommodate 20 or more people. On Thursday ten of us got together for a ride on the Judge Ben Wiles, the local tour boat.   

The boat takes you on a cruise down the lake for a mile or so then crosses the lake for the return trip. 
 This shot is moving away from the dock looking back at the town. There is a thriving lake front with a lot of shops and eating places. This lake is 16 miles long and 300 feet deep. These so called finger lakes were formed during the ice age. When the glacier receded it left the lakes behind.
 Then we started to pass lake front homes of the rich and famous.

 The tour guide told  us the names of a lot of the owners of which I can't remember. There were a lot of CEO's of large companies mentioned as owners. One of the homes under construction was owned by  Derek Jeter. 

The country club on the lake

 This is the boat house. for the house in the pic below.

Friday began the set-up for the wedding. The girls had rented the barn used by the locals for large gatherings. It is a very large that can accomadate 100 plus guest. 

 Ruth Ann on the left my niece Kristy on right. 

 The wedding party gathering for our instuctions

The barn all ready for the big event.

The day of the wedding it started to rain. Ruth Ann with her brother Chip in the lead with Stacy and me following. I will post more pics of the wedding when I get them. We were ask not to take pictures during the ceremony by the photographer.

Monday Louise and I headed up to Auburn to play pickleball in the morning. We had played there Wednesday morning and had a great time so we returned for another round of games. Tuesday we were off with Stacy, Ruth Ann and some of her family to Rochester, New York to visit the Eastman 
Estate. This was the home of George Eastman the founder of the  Eastman Kodak company.

"In 1902, George Eastman purchased the last 8.5 acres of the Marvin Culver Farm on East Avenue in Rochester for his new Georgian Revival style mansion. Assisted by landscape architect Alling Stephen DeForest and architects J. Foster Warner and William Rutherford Mead, Eastman transformed the farmland into a unique urban estate that functioned both as a working farm and as an elegant floral setting for entertaining. In 1916, Eastman purchased four additional acres and hired DeForest to draw another plan of the property in 1921. The resulting landscape provided the finishing touches, tailored to Eastman’s needs as well as his character. In addition to spacious lawns, eight flower gardens, and five greenhouses, the estate also featured an orchard, a poultry yard, stables, pastures, a rolling east vista, and a magnificent house. In this way, Eastman was able to enjoy the benefits of life in the country without even leaving the city."
Anyone that knows me knows that iron work is my passion. These grills were made by Samuel Yellen, the most prominent blacksmith of the era. They were magnificent works of art. 

The west side of the house

We took the tour of the gardens

The east side 

More ironwork. I am not sure if this is a Yellen piece or not, but I think it is. I ask the guide but she could not verify it for me

After leaving the mansion, we headed to the Costco for a few things. It poured rain off and on during the ride back to the campground. Tomorrow is our last day at this campground.  We are suppose to go on a hike with the girls in the morning if the rain will stop long enough.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Genesee County Village and Museum

The weather remained clear so we took off on the bike for the Genesee County Village and Museum.  After a pleasant hour of scenic riding, we arrived at this extensive living history village.  The village consists of historic buildings moved from all over the area.  What makes this village different is that it is divided into three different time periods spanning a century and a half in time.  The self guided tour starts with three exhibition buildings outside the village with exhibits spanning the same time period. The first is the John L. Wehle Gallery.  Mr. Wehle is the reason that the village exists.  Inside is a collection of vehicles, paintings and sculptures depicting popular outdoor sporting events over the last century, including carriage driving for gentlemen, big game hunting, trophy fishing. 

This carriage is called a four in hand because the four reigns controlling the four horses are all held in one hand.  Gentlemen could prove their prowess by driving at a trot through the park or "drag" racing on the street.  I guess it could be compared to the difference between a chauffeur driven car and a gentleman driving his sports car. 

Scattered around the lawn in front of the gallery are several life-sized and life-like sculptures--mountain lion


a flock of turkeys presided over by this beautiful male

The Exhibition Barn featured a collection of fabrics and clothing, some hand made, some manufactured.  This particular exhibit displayed clothing described in popular literature such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sherlock Holmes, Tom Sawyer, etc.  A fan of vintage fabric and clothing, I spent a lot of time in here.

The third building was the carriage museum, but the floor was empty.  The smaller gigs and sleds were suspended from the ceiling and difficult to photograph.  We suspected that more work was in the offing.  
After these three buildings, we actually entered the first part of the village, the Pioneer Settlement dating from the 1780's through the 1830's.  The buildings here were smaller, more primitively finished, and the business providing the necessities such as farm school, blacksmith, brewery.

This is a sparsely furnished blacksmith shop with only 20 or so pairs of tongs, and 5 or 6 hammers. 

Next was the Antebellum Village with a time period of 1830's-1860's.  With the completion of the Erie Canal, trade goods are more easily accessible so that houses are nicer and more comfortably furnished.

This dining room features a hearth with a beehive oven--the front is the little square on the right.

This kitchen is very large and modern with a built in laundry tub on the right, an ironing board and the back of the beehive oven in addition to the kitchen hearth, and sink.

This general store is able to provide a wide variety of dishes, spices, hardware etc. in very nice displays.

Any guesses?  
This is a horse or carriage mount.  Also note the sidewalk.

Other business included this gunsmith's shop, pottery shop, drug store, dressmaker's shop, printing office, and boot/shoemaker.  Personal services included offices for a physician, lawyer, insurance salesman, and a couple of churches.

Most building were not painted on the outside during this time period but log houses were covered with some kind of siding.  The village also featured an orchard, and a village square.

The Turn of the Century Village was small but accurately demonstrated the 1870's through 1920's.  This was an age of enlightenment with printed books bringing in new ideas and innovations in.  

The Hyde's were very modern in their thinking.  They believed in spiritualism and made their house in an octagonal so that evil spirits could not hide in the corners.  The houses of this time period were as large as incomes allowed with modern conveniences/innovations such as running water and an ice box in the kitchen, wall-to-wall padded carpet, flocked wallpaper, paintings, sculptures, gas chandeliers, modern appliances etc. all shipped by railroads and carted over improved roads. 

The grounds around this house also held a carriage house, ice house and a windmill.

Reproduction quilt and crocheted coverlet in traditional designs.
Notice the wallpaper and window shades.

We quite enjoyed our day long ramble through history.  We would rate this as a must-see if you are in the area.  Some of the buildings were not open for view for various reasons, but all in all the village was very enjoyable.  A few of the buildings were "repurposed".  A couple held info-board displays.  A couple provided food and drinks.  We very much appreciated these as we didn't bring any and the day was rather warm.  This village was our last scheduled place to visit.  Hopefully we will get in a bike ride or two. 

Stay tuned! 
 Louise and Duane 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Niagara Falls and Fort Niagara

Welcome to Niagara Falls on the American side!  We visited the Canadian side a few years ago and decided to complete the visit today.  This is a nice view of all three falls--Horseshoe  in the veil of mist continues around to the left and is hidden by Bridal Veil with American in the front.

View of the Maid Of The Mist boat ride.  The American side of the business dresses its passengers in blue plastic serapes, the Canadian side in red.  There are tons of family and adult oriented activities in both areas, with package tours keeping the prices within tourist budgets.  We opted for a walk around the free observation areas.

Rainbows in the mist

A view upriver of the falls with the pedestrian/bike bridge to Goat Island.  There is a car bridge beyond that.

View from Goat Island of where we were standing across the river.  Now the American Falls are in front.  The people at the bottom are looking over Bridal Veil.  We were there too.  The city of Niagara Falls  is in the distance.

Each fall makes its own mist rainbows depending on the sun's position.  We were done enjoying this tremendous river--its beautiful clear green waters and its tremendous roaring--so we walked back to the bike for a short ride to our next stop.

Just outside the town of Youngstown (Ohio people remember we are in New York), is the old Fort Niagara.  The history of the fort spans more than 300 years.  During the colonial wars in North America a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River was vital, controlling access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent.  During its history the fort was held by three nations--France, Great Britain, and the fledgling rebel colonial America.  Each country added to the fort.  This entrance to the fort was built by the French and named the Gate of Five Nations in honor of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy whose favor they were courting.

The French Castles the first building of the fort and  the oldest building in North America's Great Lakes region.  It was called the House of Peace to fool the Iroquois.  It was actually a fully equipped fort.

View from the wall.  The British built Fort George across the river somewhere in the vicinity of the trees.

No explanation necessary.

My blacksmith couldn't resist a photo of the hand-forged hardware.  I liked this because of the long skinny curly piece.  Click to enlarge it.  Its a rattlesnake!

This blacksmith shop is new (2010)  There is no information about a forge in the fort, but the ironwork came from somewhere.  Duane had a nice chat with the apprentice.  Another "new" building (not pictured) is a log cabin intended to represent  one originally built by the French in 1757.  It is used as a food concession (thank goodness for that--we were hungry!) with the proceeds going toward keeping the fort open.

View of Toronto (Canada)  Click to enlarge.  This was taken from the Rush-Bagot Memorial which was built in 1934.  It is named for the chief negotiators of an early armaments agreement signed by the United States and Great Britain in 1817 to limit naval forces on the Great Lakes.  Because of it today we enjoy a 4000 mile unfortified United States-Canadian border.

The flags of the three nations.

There was not much info about this lighthouse, one of the original gas lit ones.  The lite was originally at the top of the French Castle and moved here much later.  We love old lighthouses, but unfortunately this one was closed to the public.  

We had a wonderful day learning about our country's rough beginnings and viewing some of her most stunning scenery, but we were tired and turned out bike toward home.

We have one more site we want to visit in this area and some scenery-seeing bike rides, but those plans will depend on the weather.  Keep checking for further adventures!

Louise and Duane