Sunday, August 28, 2016

Solo Adventure in Buffalo, New York

Wednesday, August 24 - Thursday, August 25, 2016
Westfield, New York

A few final shots from Tarentum, Pennsylvania, before we continue east.

I love the views from our mountain top
All of these sites (25-30) have amazing views from the back.
Fire rings with big views
When you live your whole life in California, New York is the other side of the world. Wednesday we arrive in this other-worldly place - our 17th state!

We take a few back roads to reach Highway 422 and then we're back on I-90 east into New York. The forest is thinner here - we can actually see trees past those along the interstate. Cat tails and tall-brownish-purple-topped-grasses line the road. 

Just before our exit we see the ocean in the distance. Dark blue water as far as we can see - dropping over the horizon. So beautiful. Oh wait, it's Lake Erie!

Again, we've heard how big it is, but seeing it in person makes big seem like too small a word. 

We get set up at Blue Water Beach Campground, my home for the next five days. My solo home. 

Thursday morning the rain starts at 4:30 AM as we head for the airport. It is pitch dark on the interstate! No street lights, no reflectors on the lanes, no lights on the overhead signs. It's nuts. I suppose if you always drive these roads you would get used to it, but for someone who has driven on lighted highways for decades, it's disconcerting in the rain!

There's no traffic and I drop Bill off at the terminal just after 5:40. I'm surprised, and happy, that the airport is so small.

I have plans for Buffalo so after a cup of tea from a local coffee house, I sleep in the car for a couple hours until places are open. The warm rain makes this very easy :-)

Tessa is already pouting.

My first stop is a local creperie, Break 'n Eggs. Small place, delicious food. My apple, ham and brie crepe is divine.

There are several museums and art galleries so I choose two. But first I stop at the Martin House Complex, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I'm a big fan, and can't pass up a chance to see his only multi-building site. There is also a single FLW home in Buffalo, but it is a private home with a fence, so I don't make that stop.

I arrive before the tours begin and take in the beauty of the exterior and the conservatory.

It is still drizzling making the photos dull
I love the windows
and the doors!

Replica of the Winged Victory (Nike) in the conservatory
Constructed between 1903 and 1905
The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is across the street from Buffalo State College. I rarely ever check out modern art so choose some exhibits to include examples this time.

This whole room messes with my eyes
Bent wire hanging in front of acrylic stripes on canvas
Most of it I still 'struggle' with
The Joan Linder exhibit "Operation Sunshine" is very unique. A study of toxic sites in New York, it includes pen and ink drawings in small notebooks on linear paper - very hard to photograph, but fascinating to see. 

Each notebook depicts a toxic site and it's surrounding area.
Ending one, beginning another
Stories told in pen and ink
with minute detail
The gallery also has a nice variety of masters to enjoy. Displayed side by side, the difference in styles is amazing.

Convergence by Jackson Pollack, 1952
La Musique by Henri Matisse, 1939
I missed the title on this Georgia O'Keefe piece
La toilette, by Pablo Picasso, 1906
Fragment 2, by Vincent Kandinsky, 1913. I had never heard of him until his work was featured in the movie "Double Jeopardy" with Ashley Judd
Towpath at Argenteuil in Winter, by Claude Monet, 1875
It's a gift getting to see this amazing collection, and my two favorites are by artists I'm unfamiliar with.

Dancer in a Cafe' by Jean Metzinger, 1912
Springtime, by Ridgway Knight, 1890
Tessa and I go in the courtyard where the sun has come out and steam is literally coming off the bricks. It's a sauna!

Tessa as art
Tessa and Jodee as art - very "fun house"
Didn't realize this was canoes until I got close - hmmmm.
As we're leaving, a soft-spoken woman asks if I could do "them" a favor. They are filming a new video for the gallery and want Tessa and I to walk out of the front door for the camera. 

I don't know. Walk out a door? I've had no formal training......Tessa either. Are we dressed appropriately for door-walking-out-of? 

What the heck, let's go for it!

We get it right on the first take, and head to the parking lot. Stars are born......

Our final stop, on this 100th anniversary of our National Parks, is the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site

I continue to be amazed at the history we can walk through in each state. I don't remember this part of my American History education, so it is truly learning something new.  

The tour is designed to "transport us back to 1901", the docent leading us from the Pan American Exposition, through the Wilcox home as though President McKinley has just been assassinated, Theodore Roosevelt is in the next room, and the Chief Justice is preparing to administer the presidential oath of office to the Vice President.

1901 Exposition in Buffalo, New York

Several artifacts from the location where the president was killed
There was no room for reporters, so no photos were taken of the historic event. They recorded the transcripts and standing here it is easy to imagine the inauguration is happening right in front of us. It's awesome!
The library where the ceremony took place is beautifully restored
In the room next door is the small desk where President Roosevelt penned his first address to the American people. It was short and focused on the greatness of President McKinley and called for a day of mourning.
Going upstairs, we "transport" to President Roosevelt's office. The oval office was not built until 1909. Here you can sit at the desk, draft a presidential decree, and have a photo of you doing it sent to your email. 

The final room compares the issues of today's presidency with those of Teddy's. The point that many are the same is made with documents and news stories.
Incredible that a president took the oath of office behind this small window.
The Wilcoxes were long time friends of Theodore Roosevelt so he was staying here when he returned to Buffalo after McKinley passed away. 
It's mid-afternoon, 95 degrees with 80% humidity, so both Tessa and I are ready for home. This area of Buffalo is filled with lovely old buildings - Delaware Baptist Church, New York Red Cross, and the Temple Beth Synagogue. No place to park to get photos, but they are all beautiful.

I catch a few others on our way back to Westfield.

Rockwell Hall
Mansion on Delaware Street
Un-named church on the west side of Buffalo
Catholic church near Seneca, NY - this place is huge.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, Pop Pop is getting to know his new grandson. 


  1. You certainly have made tracks across the country. There's so much to see. It's good you have the time to see it.

    1. We've seen a lot more big cities this route which has been interesting and very different.

  2. The FLW house would definitely be on my list. Not so keen on the modern art. Great tour and perfect place to be for NPS100. With those long legs this now little guy could be as tall as Pop Pop.

    1. Finding a small site with very few people was great for the anniversary :-) There was a large private group in the parlor upstairs celebrating - maybe the 100th - but nothing for the public other than the signs. Yes, Max is definitely all legs right now!!

  3. Boy I'd be sad to leave that hilltop campsite too!

    Lovely photos of the art, I like your faves too. The canoe sculpture is very much like one in La Jolla, CA, at the Museum of Contemporary Art...I wonder if it is the same artist?

    1. I lucked out with another big, green site in NY - just no big views. I'll have to check who the artist is here, I didn't see a sign in the area of the canoes. You wouldn't think of them as a common medium for art :-)))))

  4. Looks like you are handling solo life just fine for a few days, but not too many. The trees in the east are so much bigger than the west (except the Redwoods).

    1. Bigger and very plentiful!! Solo has been fine, but definitely ready for him to come home :-)

  5. Your hilltop views were gorgeous. I'm not too keen on contemporary art either. What's with those eye popping murals anyway?! You did give the movie people your name so that you can be in the credits, right? LOL Glad Pop Pop is able to visit with Max :-) Congrats again!

    1. :-))) she did take my name, and Tessa's of course. Thanks Rene, fun to have babies in the family.

  6. My contribution to your views count. I'm enjoying the greenery in that part of the country.

    1. Thanks :-)))) I'm loving it too, especially today with the reduced humidity.

  7. Awe the new Grandbaby is adorable!! Oh I hear ya on the no reflectors on the road.. It's the same here in Utah. Scares me. Even scarier if Michael can't see them. Great pictures.. Love the Jodee and Tessa Art.. Can I have your autograph now that your starts?? Hugs and love. 💕

    1. I'll save you an autograph, they're bound to be valuable once that door walking through is aired!!

  8. OK, showed this American history freak a new one! Totally missed knowing about the Wilcox house, and it is now on our radar, thanks to you! Fabulous! Oh, and love the new grand baby, but I'm sending my props to Tessa, as the fluffy dog is as adorable as ever. ;)

    1. You will love this small site - it is packed with great history!! She gets petted more than any dog I've ever seen. The cute just grabs people :-)))))

  9. We once went on a large group canoe trip that looked a lot like that last sculpture.

    1. Bwahahaha! That must have been quite exciting :-))

  10. Did you miss the Anchor Bar? the original hot wings! It's all in the timing but last year the veggie stands were loaded, we could have ate our way across thru NY. Great post on the art, totally missed it!

    1. Did miss the Anchor Bar! Next time :-) I've had great stone fruit and tomatoes from the small stands which are delicious!

  11. I'm surprised we didn't get over to Buffalo when we spent the month at Sue and Dave's lot on the lake. John would have enjoyed the Inaugural Site. He did just tell me the whole story of what happened:)

    Interesting variety of artwork in your tour. I loved the ink and pencil drawings in the notebooks! The maze works must have been crazy to see all together. Please let us know when the movie comes out. We don't want to miss your big scene:)

    Happy grandpa:) Beautiful new grandson!

    1. I thought of you two when I was at the Inaugural Site - and of course he would know the story (which is a fascinating one). Oh yes, I'll be sure you know when my small screen debut is aired :-))))

  12. Very interesting post. I didn't know of the inaugural site either and am a HUGE National Parks fan and a huge TR fan especially after two weeks at TRNP in ND. So thanks for putting it on my list. Love the mastets, modern not so much but my fave us Tessa as WoA. That and you in the fun house and that delicious looking crepe. Safe travels to Bill. Those babies are going to gang up on his beard one day soon. HA!

    1. It was really fun to find this gem of a history site. You will love the area where he speaks to all the issues facing the country at the time, with photos lit up as the subject is discussed - it's so well done. Yes, his own boys used to grab his beard when it was much shorter!

  13. I love a "City Trip" mixed in with all the hiking, biking, outdoor stuff! Museums are fun to do, especially when it's rainy outside. Movie stars now, huh? I'd better get my autograph soon so years from now I can say, "I knew her back when..." Love, love old churches too. What a gorgeous new grandson!! Congrats!

    1. The old churches and barns here are amazing - some streets have five old stone or brick churches, just beautiful. Hehe, free autographs for all my friends!!!

  14. You had such a rich, interesting day in Buffalo! I'd enjoy all of the places you visited. I'm always struck by how anything built by Frank Lloyd Wright still seems just perfect today—beautiful and tasteful. I'm always up for an art museum, even if I don't like all of the art. (That "op" art messes with my eyes, too!) You and Tessa definitely have star quality—got it right on the first take! :-)))

    1. I do love his architecture and decor equally - it was very difficult to leave the gift shop with just a t-shirt, so many beautiful things. I love that he built so much of the furniture in his houses as well. We're amazing :-)))