Yes, Betty, the answer is below — but the answer has prompted another question. Sadly I departed the program at the Roycroft Inn at 1PM on Friday, 10 October. At the “graduation lunch” I was asked to read Elbert Hubbard’s CREDO. Kitty asked me the night before, so I had practiced, and she said afterwards that my reading had been the best ever – of course.
This afternoon my destination was the the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, NY and then Niagara Falls — but I got to experience even more. Audrey at the Sassafras B&B in Lancaster said I could drop my things early and get the keys. Have you ever wondered why I stay at B&Bs? Should be no question from here on.
By 1:45 I was off on new adventures arriving shortly at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. I have been fascinated by late 19th and early 20th century Amusement Parks for ages (collecting postcards of them) and in awe of the rides and carousels.
There are other carrousel museums, BUT, this is the only one still in the original factory. Lots to see, and I decided to share many images (remember you can click on one to open the slide show) and a video with you.
Finishing up this small but exceptional place in about an hour I found that I had time still to rush up to Old Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario at the end of the Niagara River. I had decided the day before that I could just not accomplish all, but I did. My fascination continues with learning more about the War of 1812, and this fort was taken by the British and not returned to the US until May, 1815. I made images of much of the information in the museum, but decided not to replicate these here, but I encourage you to check their very good website for great details on the area.
But next, RAY VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDS you follow this shunpike from Lake Ontario along the Niagara River to Niagara Falls. I bet 99% of people do not even know what is north of the falls. Leaving Fort Niagara State Park (a wonderful large park converted from the original army post) follow NY 18F south along the river. Great homes and views, and Lewiston, NY is amazing. From Lewiston you climb up the escarpment heading south to the Lewiston Queenston Bridge to Canada ($3.50 US toll or $3.75 CA). And from there I looped back to follow Niagara River Parkway south to the falls. It is a fabulous Canadian park all the way to the Falls – just beautiful. Here are some (I bet seldom seen by US tourists) views along the way.
And then I got to the falls, and here are some obligatory images along with a video so you may also experience my evening.
And a video for you to enjoy the full experience.
I will be honest (always am). I was not impressed with the falls on this trip (last visit was 49 years ago). It was not crowded, but the “honky tonk” was there in Canada, and when I crossed back to the US I could not escape Niagara Falls, NY, fast enough. Having been studying fantastic sites around the world for potential adventures, the falls are nice, but not great. Sorry if I have offended anyone. Mentioned it to my B&B hostess and she was a tad offended.
Saturday, 11 October I had no plans at all other than heading across NY state on US 20. But while reading some of my accumulated literature before breakfast, I had noted in my booklet on Syracuse the Erie Canal Museum & Syracuse Heritage Area Visitor Center – are you starting to notice a pattern here?
On this trip I have been able to experience Buffalo, Rochester, and now Syracuse – all of which I was unfamiliar with. Did you know that adjoining Syracuse is Lake Onondaga where salt was produced for generations from brine pumped from below the surface and not mined? And that the south stated once that it was the salt from Lake Onondaga that enabled the north to win the Civil War? I even had time to get to the Salt Museum (the WAZE app on my Iphone is great – thank you David).
But heading to Syracuse took me away from US 20, and it was getting dark. What to do? Quick look at map – head to NY 5 towards Utica – still unexplored territory. Well, I first stumbled into Chittenango (say that fast) which is the birthplace of L. Frank Baum – author of the OZ books.
And then I started coming upon more Erie Canal signs (hey, the “Wedding of the Waters” is flowing in my blood). On a side street I found Chittenango Landing and its new museum at the site of an original Erie Canal repair facility.
And, then I found another original canal town, Canastota.
Before it got dark I even got to see Oneida (home of Noyes social experiment and Oneida Silver). If you know me (and you should) you also know that I have always been fascinated with roadside Americana, and early diners. Could not figure out if this was abandoned or still functioning.
Well, I hit Utica at 7PM and it was now dark. Acceptable then to hop on the (curses) thruway and head to Albany, jog up to Troy, and then cross VT on Route 9 to I-91 and home.
Another great time – what can I say. Alright, at least Betty has gotten this far. Originally in the Town of Aurora there was a West and East Aurora. At some point in time West Aurora became another village (now forget the name) but East Aurora remained as part of the Town of Aurora. BUT, that now leaves the question – why is there a Town of Aurora in Erie County, and also Aurora, NY, in Cayuga County. The Betty Challenge – Find Out!
And, I was going to post this upon my return Saturday night, then postponed to Sunday, but about noon on Sunday I heard BLUE BELLE crying. Off we went for four hours. An absolutely perfect cruising day. Up Rt 12 we headed and crossed the Connecticut River at Charlestown. At the intersection with US 5 (I love this road along the river) we made our first stop. I had not stopped at this “new” antique shop before. BLUE BELLE saw a treasure and wanted to get it for me (I wanted it too). What a sweet dear (but I loaned her the cash). Fits, yes? A cup of Mead anyone?
I turned left on VT 143 never having been on it before, and headed back towards Springfield. Great views, and now part of my local “get out and drive routes.” In Springfield I headed up VT 106 and turned onto VT 10 back to VT 103 where I turned south back to Chester Depot and Chester.
At Chester Depot (was first there in 1963 getting provisions at Lisais while camping in Belzebuth – my 1929 Model A Ford Roadster) I stumbled into the Green Mountain Railway excursion train, and got into the station for the first time.
A stop at The Stone House Antique Center (ask me sometime about its significance to me), and then back down VT 103 where I picked up I-91 for one exit. BLUE BELLE was excited and wanted to “blow out some carbon.” We will not confess that she topped out (well could do more) at around eighty, and feels real good now.
So, back home. A CHRISTMAS CAROL time is approaching, and I have so much to accomplish it is hard to believe. But thanks for traveling with me and reading along. As always, Love, RAY
PS – did you know that I am approaching 34,000 page views on my “silly travel blog?”