Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Road Trip: Upstate New York

Okay everyone set your time machine back two months to August 9th when we road tripped to upstate New York! Chris has a lot of family that live in the state and I have always wanted to go. Ruthie (Chris's mom) and Elcio (Chris's stepdad) organized the trip and invited us along. Well on Friday I took the day off and we headed straight for Ithaca that morning!

There had been some serious rain the previous night and a lot of the area was flooded. We noticed the flooded areas as we were getting closer to the city but it didn't occur to me that it would mess up our plans for a hike at Robert H. Treman State Park. Well we headed there anyway and found that unfortunately all the trails were closed due to the flooding. What bad timing mother nature! We checked out the swimming area anyway and got some crazy photos of the falls and surrounding water that was quite the juxtaposition from the tranquil photo on their website! After that we ventured into the college town and stopped for a snack before heading to Opa (Grandpa) and Ma B's place for dinner.

Not so tranquil huh?

Aunt Tina and Uncle John as well as cousin Lucia joined too. We had a wonderful dinner there that Ma B prepared and Opa gave us a private tour of their beautiful garden. Afterwards we sat around the living room and chatted. The Aunts were discussing the ages of all of the cousins and Chris took that opportunity to make our exciting announcement "yea and we have one that's about 12 weeks." Nobody really got it at first and someone asked if we got a puppy! Then they figured it out and many congratulations were had. It was totally perfect.

Opa's backyard garden
On Saturday morning we met Opa for breakfast and great conversation. He brought us some beautiful books from his collection. One was filled with gorgeous photos of the state of New York, and the other was National Geographic. We love them and they proudly sit on our coffee table. After our bellies were full, Opa suggested a car show in Cortland or a visit to Lime Hollow Nature Center. Obviously a nature center was more our thing than a car show, so off we went! Lime Hollow is one of Opa's favorite places and I can see why. It was gorgeous. He pointed out several different species of birds and plants on our hike and Christopher clicked away on his camera the entire time. We even spotted some wild blackberries and sampled a few! Something I quite enjoyed were the random alcoves where you'd find a sculpture or two. The nature preserve houses a youth camp and these are some of their projects. 

A morning at Lime Hollow

Opa and grandson
Well the long walk had reset our appetites again and it's a good thing too because we were headed back to meet the others for lunch at Opa and Ma B's. Here is where I had my first cup of coffee in months, and it tasted better than I ever remembered! For dessert Ma B made this wonderful dish and I can't remember what it was called! It sort of looked like jello with whip cream but she called it a tart I think? I will need to ask her about that. What a great afternoon we had sitting out in the garden enjoying everyone's company! We had clearly exhausted Opa because he headed in for a nap. It occurred to us that maybe we should go rest at our hotel as well since we had dinner plans in our future!

Exhibit A (There is no exhibit B or C)
I am so mad at myself for not taking any photos at Kurt and Wendy's house. They live in an old one room school house that has been converted into a beautiful home. We drove towards Hannibel; after the gps connection goes out of range, you drive through a few cornfields and then turn left at the cemetery. They had set the table in the backyard and we dined inside of a Pinterest board. We feasted on pulled pork, salad, and the most delicious "salt potatoes" I have ever had. It was the most idyllic setting with the view of farmland in the background. Still kicking myself for not taking a picture… We loved visiting with them and hearing about what all of the kids were up to. Mica had just returned from a week at camp and Maya and Katja were talking about an upcoming trip to New York City! Gabriel and Christopher were lost in conversation the entire time discussing the merits of this or that video card (just kidding i'm not going to pretend I have any understanding of what they were talking about!). On the long drive back to our hotel I opened the moon roofs and stared up at the stars as we drove down the highway. What a beautiful night.

the night sky above Syracuse
Sunday morning we wanted to hike so we decided to venture out to Fillmore Glen State Park. It turned out to be further away than I had realized so we only had an hour to explore the beautiful trail and falls. What a great park! There was a sprawling lawn with tons of picnic tables. Nearby was a swimming area with ice cold water supplied from the falls. Not sure why it was closed that day but boy do I wish we had something like that where we live! It looked very fun. We walked along the stream path for awhile, Chris took lots of photos, checked out the falls and then it was time to head back. We wish we had planned for more time. I guess we will just have to return. 

badly photoshopped pic of us together at the falls
Next was a huge birthday celebration in honor of Opa at Briggs Hall in Homer. Ma B, Tina, and Ruthie planned a catered lunch at this historic building and what a great job they did. There was plenty of delicious food, lovely speeches, and some wonderful musical entertainment by the talented Lucia, Johannes, and their dad John. 

Birthday celebration
That evening was spent at Tina and John's home overlooking Skaneateles Lake (!). We spent the time telling stories and laughing and I daydreamed about returning some day for a longer trip. I loved upstate New York so much, what a beautiful place.

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