Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fall Foliage Tour



 Last week Fred and I joined a bus tour from our local YWCA for some leaf peeping across New York and Vermont. We chose the perfect time. The natives said it was a week early and the best color in twenty years. How lucky can you get.

Early Morning Sunrise

On Our Way

The color change is determined by less sunlight and cooler temperatures. This is a brief explanation. We had wonderful weather and only experiencing rain on our last day on the road.








Day one we visited Holden Arboretum at Kirkland. Ohio. This a great place to come face to face with nature. We were given a guided tour by a naturalist.



We had a lunch stop, then journeyed on to Buffalo, NY for our nights stay. A lovely dinner had been planned for our first night out. It was a great evening and only got better. Many of you might remember Carol Eggress. She and her husband, Regg live in Buffalo and were able to join us for dinner. I grew up on the farm owned by her father, now our family farm. We spent time together in our youth. She was a classmate of Ron Bagley who was also traveling with us. So good to catch up with each other.


On day two we visited the Yaddo Estate in Saratoga NY, a working artists' community.

   
                                                                          
We watched the movie SOUND OF MUSIC on the bus to set the mood for our arrival at the Von Trapp Family Lodge.  It was lovely, giving the feeling of being in Austria. I am sure this was why they chose this spot in Vermont. This was home for two nights. One of the Von Trapp children is still involved with the lodge. Baby Jonas is 75. The family plot is on the grounds where the family is buried. Maria, one of the children, lived to be 100.

Von Trapp Family Lodge

Dinner
Day three was a full day. We picked up a local guide for the next 3 days. Oh my, what a pick up. She was one ball of fire. She was 75 pounds of perpetual motion.

Our Ball of Fire

We visited a Maple Sugar Farm, Rock of Ages Granite Quarry, a tour of the State Capitol, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, and Cabot Cheese. There are many dairies in Vermont. We had Sugar on Snow at the Maple Sugar Farm and told the process of tapping the trees and making the syrup. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. We had lunch in the Capitol. There are no McDonalds in the capitol city. They don't allow large corporations in and by doing this there are no empty store fronts. Something to think about.




Sugar on Snow

Vermont State Capital

Art Across from the Capital
 Now for the home of Ben and Jerry's. Who doesn't love Ice Cream? We all had our favorite flavor.  We sampled cheese at the Cabot Cheese Factory and were given pieces of granite from the Rock Of Ages.




We visited the majestic Mount Mansfield in the Adirondacks where we rode a Gondola ride to the top. It was foggy at the top, but was a great view on the way down. A great picture opt.

Fog

Gondola

Day four was the gilded age of the Vanderbilt's at there Shelburne Farms. There are three thousand acres along Lake Champlain. For that time, they had the largest barn in America that housed 300 horses. The barns roof was made of all copper.

Copper Roof Barn
We toured the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. They build a quality bear that is guaranteed for life.



We had lunch at Bob Newhart's Stratford Inn. If you are old enough to remember, it was the home of "The Bob Newhart Show". From there we walked off our lunch on The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. Along the trail were some of his poems posted, like "The Road Not Taken".








The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail

We arrived at The Summit Ski Lodge for the next two nights. Two giant St Bernards met us on our arrival along with a French Bulldog. Here they had a wonderful chef, so needless to say the food was excellent.




Bales of Straw
Day five we visited the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, followed by visiting Woodstock, "coined the prettiest small town in America". Next it was a tour of Billing's Farm that displayed Vermont's history, then on to Quechee Gorge. The Grand Canyon of Vermont.



Billing's Farm

Quechee Gorge
Day six we visited "Hildene", Robert Lincolns Family Home. The home served the Lincolns for 70 years. Robert was the only surviving son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. Being a gardener I loved their well attended gardens. There were two horticulturists, young women, attending the gardens. It was here I purchased Peony seeds from their garden. For $10 I received seven seeds. I hope I live long enough to see peonies.

Hildene
Lincoln Family Home



We shopped at the renowned "Vermont Country Store". They have a little bit of everything. Our last night we stayed at a lovely Marriott in Rochester, NY and enjoyed a lovely dinner at a quaint little restaurant.


Day seven we headed home. We experienced our first rain. Being we were traveling along Lake Erie, and the grape growing, wine producing country, we stopped at The Woodbury Winery. A little Sicilian woman, owner, explained the whole process, followed by wine tasting. Then it was time to shop for wine. From here it was time for lunch. We were in the Chautauqua area of New York. It was here that we had lunch at the beautiful White Inn.









This was a week of the best color that God had to display, the food could not have been better and our accommodations were lovely. Friendships were formed and expectations of the fall foliage were more than met.









TV's Adam's Family Home
 Lastly, without our Tour Guide, Janet Mohr and our driver Pauline Averesh, this trip would not have been the wonderful trip that it was. They are a great team and took care of all of us. Thanks to both of you. Love to both of you. I guess I should mention Flippity Jibbit. Only to have her energy. Thank you Cherif.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Nature and Friends

It’s been awhile since I have blogged much of anything but pictures. My co-writer has been posting lately so I think I better start pulling my own weight and start contributing. It has been fairly busy at work and personal life lately, no I am not trying to make excuses just hope to keep your interest by offering you some insight of what’s going on, so I hope you don’t mind if I share through a few blog posts.

Every summer, for the past few years, a group of us ladies (we call ourselves Ya Ya’s) will go camping at least a couple times. We just go for a weekend to just get away and have some Ya Ya time. This summer proved to be a difficult one! We tried several times to pick weekends that would fit into everyones schedule. Finally, the last weekend in September, we came to a mutual agreement! The Ya Ya’s were off!





The weekend camping trips are taken at the nearby Ouabache State Park in Indiana. Not to far, yet far enough for a get away. Great time to relax beside a camp fire. Take in a little recreation. Best of all to enjoy the companionship and friendship of the Ya Ya’s! You can definitely count on plenty of laughter and good food consumed.



Our Colorful Campfire



We decided to take a few bicycles along with us this time. Yes, we did use them. I had a hard time keeping up with Becky while a couple other Ya Ya’s took a short ride before going to the Owl program that was held at one of the Pavilions. What would camping be without nature? Speaking of nature, you have heard of a walking stick, saw one for the first time. A very interesting insect.




Walking Stick-Phasmida Family

I wouldn’t trade these Ya Ya weekends for anything! Our next adventure hopefully we ALL will be able to make it. We were minus one.


The Ya Ya's (Minus 1)

Final Sunset Until We Visit Again

The next adventure is Tennessee, until then!

Sue