Travel – NY

October 4, 2015 – Whiteface Mountain/Lake Placid

Can you say windy? It felt almost dangerously windy on top of Whiteface Mountain.

We cheated and took the leisurely drive up Whiteface Mountain instead of hiking 10 miles, but still had to climb up the last 300 feet.

Not that the last 300 feet was a superhighway, but there were rails.

It was a different season on top of the mountain than in the valley.

Fall becomes winter.

The view looking southeast.

Obligatory selfie on summit.

With Lake Placid behind her, Linda is stunned to find out Team USA defeats the Soviet Union 4-3!

Back down, the light from the heavens shines down on Linda.

Taking her pose in a BWCA-like campsite along a lake. Scroll down to see what Linda’s looking at.

Another lake, about a 480 rod portage from the nearest road.

October 3, 2015 – Adirondacks Day 2

Another day devoted to hiking in the morning and driving in the afternoon.

Yet another “pond” along a trail.

Another view of the pond.

Another pond on a different trail.

A mountain stream showing its fall colors.

Some planty stuff for the flora lovers.

For Emma – a gazebo roof gone wild with lichens and moss.

Finally at our resting place for the night, an old fashioned 1 bedroom Adirondack cabin.

October 2, 2015 – Adirondacks Day 1

After a couple of days in Boston and fortunately missing the hurricane that was a possibility for the coast, it was off to greater New England. First day was in the SE Adirondacks in a cabin on Brant Lake near Lake George.

Linda dutifully signing in the trail log book in case we don’t come out, they know the names of the bodies.

Someone ahead of us had a sense of humor – you’ll see a presidential candidate with the final destination cut off the picture – the White House.

The forest here is spacious and open for the most part.

This was the steepest hike of the trip – about 1400 feet elevation gain – pretty much always up without any switchbacks.

A wonderful mushroom that looked edible, but since we did not have a mycologist aboard, let it be.

August 1, 2014 – Niagara!

Since we were only 90 miles from Niagara Falls, we decided we could get there on a weekday at the time it opens to beat the crowds.

Falling water always seems to put a smile on your face.

It was refreshing to see vast quantities of clear water thundering over the falls.

Of course we took at the boat tour and this was about as close as you could get a picture before the mist and water covered the camera lens. It was rather ethereal to be in the middle of this mist with falls thundering down around you in a half circle.

And we had to take the boardwalk down to the bottom of the falls.

Enroute down to the base of the falls.

Hardly ever a picture of Dad, so here ya go.

Standing in the “Cave of the Winds” at the base of the falls – feeling and looking for all practical purposes the middle of a hurricane.

More reveling in the tumbling water.

A look down from a bit up. Yeah, it’s touristy. But it’s also the highlight of the trip for a 13 year old boy!

July 31, 2014 – Roger Tory Peterson Institute

This was a day to explore out of Chautaqua a bit.

One stop was Allegany State Park, New York’s biggest state park.

Spent some time hiking through the rolling hills and fungi season was in full swing in the high-canopied forest. This critter, known as ghost plant, Indian pipe, or corpse plant, is actually a herbaceous plant and not a fungus. The park was nice, but seemed to be devoid of many vistas. I’m used to climbing/hiking up and getting rewarded with a vista, but this forest was so dense that the routes I chose did not afford any vistas. Nevertheless it was nice to get out for a long walk.

Another stop was the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Many of you, like me have the Peterson’s Field Guide to the birds. This place had many of his original drawings and memorabilia, including a half-finished plate from an upcoming publication. Even at a young age, he was attracted to nature. At age eight, he asked for and got a special permit from the chief of police to be out after curfew to collect moths! A teacher early on recognized his artistic and cataloguing talents and encouraged him.

A couple of guys!

July 30, 2014 – More from Chautaqua

Martin tried the Boys and Girls club at Chautaqua.

Here’s one of the gyms. We were disappointed with the day camp. The duration was only 5 hours a day and it was very unstructured and not programmed nearly as well as the adult programs. We abandoned the camp and attended other events inside and outside Chautaqua that were more rewarding.

Our front porch is the equivalent of the dock at a cabin.

Hanging out on the porch was a good place to chat and eat dinner.

This is the Hall of Philosophy where most of the lectures in the inter-faith studies were held for her class from Meadville-Lombard. The broad range of speakers and faith traditions made it a good place for such a class.

Lake Chautaqua is a 17 mile long lake that is along the Institute.

July 29, 2014 – Music and More

There are so many chances to see music and attend lectures.

Perhaps my favorite event was a radio show, much like Mountain Stage or World Cafe, called Rolling Hills Radio. This episode featured an alt-country band called The Farewell Drifters on the left, a stunning singer songwriter that I’d compare to Patty Griffin named Liz Longley on the right who had one of the most poignant moments of the week when she sat down in front of the piano and sang a song called “Unraveling” about her grandmother’s descent into Alzheimers. She also had a few bad boyfriend songs to lighten things up. The other musical act (center) was a local teacher who won the inaugural Grammy for best musical educator.

The big events were held in an outdoor amphitheater. It was rather nice to be covered by a roof, but be able to see outside and in the evening feel the cool air descend down into the amphitheater.

Photos were generally not allowed during performances, but I took one while the in-house symphony was warming up. This was a unique seat as we could sit behind the stage, in what was the choir loft, and actually read the notes on the score of the players ahead of us and see the conductor’s expressions and instructions during the performance.

Other performances I enjoyed included the Charlotte Ballet, in residence for the summer who delivered four pieces that showed a wide range of dance – first a performance with loud “club” music. The second was a multi-media integrating photos of the civil rights era, along with speeches from the era, and the dancers using six chairs with their dance representing the sit-ins of the 60’s. The third act was a classical piece. Finally, and experimental debut piece called “Environment” which among other things featured a dancer in a huge white piece of fabric probably 20 feet on a side that other dancers could fluff, roll in, and do a variety of other expressive actions.

Another night was Bruce Hornsby opening for jazz great Pat Metheny.

The opening night was an ambitious stage performance called Go West that interlaced historical speeches from the time of western settlement, pieces of poetry from modern poets like Langston Hughes ,and songs from Neil Young, along with classic Aaron Copland, and bits of musicals like Music man and scenes from an opera, along with a scene from the movie Paint your Wagon.

Of course, there are many lectures throughout the week with world-renowned speakers. Each week has a theme, and this week was Brazil as a Rising Superpower. But not all lectures were on that subject, here Grover Norquist founder of the anti-tax group Americans for Tax reform speaks. Grover is an interesting fellow with wide-ranging positions like opposing all tax hikes, but advocating for immigration reform to allow more immigrants into the U.S. and prison reform to reduce the number of Americans in prison, while serving on the board of the NRA and GOProud, a conservative advocacy group for gay, lesbian, and transgendered. His wife is Muslim and he also co-founded the Islamic Free Market Institute.

One of the more interesting tours was of the Massey Organ – the worlds’s largest outdoor organ. We had a tour of the bowels of the organ. This shot is of the top of the organ. We traveled below to the air handling and had a view up to the tree story tall pipes and the long snaking bass pipes as well.

July 28, 2014 – Chatauq-what?

We are set for a week at the Chatauqua Institute in Upstate NY. Linda is attending an interfaith religions class and Martin and I couldn’t say no to tagging along. It’s hard to explain exactly what the place is like. Here is what historian and author David McCullough says about it: ‘There is no place like it. No resort. No spa. Not anywhere else in the country or anywhere else in the world – it is at once a summer encampment and a small town, a college campus, an arts colony, a music festival, a religious retreat and the village square.” More later, but here’s a quick walk around.

Our lodging for the week – the second floor had two bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen for the week. Most of the streets were fairly steep on the way down to the lake.

A typical scene at Chautaqua – lots of walkable streets and Victorian homes – most with prominent porches, typically on all levels of the houses.

The square consisted of a library, places to eat, post office, bookstore and shops.

Out of our price range is the Atheneum Hotel on the grounds, overlooking the lake.

One of the four beaches on the grounds along the lake.