Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Surprise for a Melophile and Poking Around the Poconos

 July 18 - 26, 2022
Hop Bottom - Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

After getting a new camera cable I'm able to download the pics of the falls we saw, and didn't see, on our last day in Corning. 

Taughannock Falls - the tallest in New York at 215 feet, 33 taller than Niagara (about .5% of the flow)

Shequaga Falls behind a private home - we weren't looking for it.

Looking for and not finding Eagle Cliffs Falls.

One of three failed attempts to find Aunt Sarah's Falls 

After all the nice things I said about Hwy 86, Monday's drive east erases most of them - a rutted and bumpy trip most of the way into Pennsylvania. It's only a couple hours, and when we get to the last few miles Hwy 86 is looking pretty good in hindsight! Turning off Hwy 11 onto Forest Drive we make a 2-mile 12+% climb struggling in 2nd gear. Bill asks the inevitable - "Where the hell are you taking us?" 

Shore Forest Campground is tucked behind a small pond where campers are fishing from kayaks. At the office it doesn't look like there could be anywhere in this park of permanent set-ups that we could fit, but the owner leads us around a couple tight and narrow turns into an open area with plenty of space in our pull-through shady site. We're able to get level, but our satellite is a no-go. They do offer cable boxes included in the fee. 50 AMP FHUs for our three night stay. While the residents have filled in every inch of available space in their sites, all are well-maintained, and some are lovely. The owners are especially delightful - and they've been to Tombstone :-)))

The expected rain arrives about 6:00 and continues on and off all night. The morning is bright blue with big beautiful clouds that hang around all day.

If you look at the map you might agree with Bill's skepticism about where I've brought us! Aside from really liking the name and wanting to check it out, I have a surprise day trip planned for Bill. Our original route took us much closer, but when I made changes I wasn't willing to give up this adventure. So Tuesday morning we head northeast, for about 55 miles. Bill has no clue, he's going to be so surprised!!

I actually think he might have guessed when he wears his Rock and Roll HOF t-shirt (I'm wearing mine too), but it's just a fun coincidence. 

We spend 90 minutes on small country roads with lots of steep ups and downs, north back into New York state. Except for two gas stations, a single Dollar Store, and a large flooring store, we see nothing commercial. Lots of farms and vintage properties make for interesting views - it's a beautiful drive! About ten miles from our destination he notices a sign - Woodstock Highway, and I have to ask if he's guessed yet......

Bethany Woods Center for the Arts has transformed Yasgur's Farm into a beautiful outdoor concert venue with a two-story museum of the famous 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Festival, and other meeting and research space. Upon arrival I remember that just that morning I read Alanis Morrisette is playing here tonight as closed parking and other signage make finding our way more complicated. We could have bought tickets, but we haven't brought chairs or snacks, and aren't prepared for a five hour wait. It's also hot and humid - and we're wusses.

This is a must-see place for anyone who remembers the iconic event that was Woodstock. For an obsessed-classic-rock-fan with an electronic music collection of over 6000 albums, this is the holy grail. My surprise is a success - he's stoked :-) 

I'm impressed with how beautiful the displays are, following the chronology of the historic three days on a rural New York farm in the rain. The 21 minute film of the concert is at the end, but we head there first before perusing the exhibits. Glad we did as we learned how much we didn't know, or that we didn't remember at least!


Chronological exhibits of photos, artifacts and information lead us through the three days.

Several places on the festival grounds became impromptu messaging centers. I hope Cindy and Dan found each other!

The list of performers still blows my mind!
More than one bus and mini bus made their way to Yasgur's Farm - this one was actually there :-)

While we know this bus could tell a lot of stories from that time - it now tells the story of how 400,000 attendees and performers made their way to Bethel, New York, with a film that plays on the windshield. Sit in the bus for the ride.

Bill's favorite exhibit is the wall of panels about each performer in the order they performed - from Richie Havens to Jimi Hendrix. Really interesting is how many songs each played (from 3 to 21), the times they played (The Who played at 5 AM on Sunday morning!), and how long they were on stage (the final performer, Jimi Hendrix played the longest at over 2 hours). 

In addition to the concert grounds, the festival had a myriad of booths and camps in the surrounding woods. 

A recent addition to the Bethel Woods complex is a series of trails through the sites of the booths and camps that have been identified from photos taken during the festival.

The original concert location - this field made history in 1969.

It's late afternoon and we're hungry. Bill finds a local eatery with 4.8 stars. We laugh as we pull into the walk-up location. Too hungry to worry about the sketchy outdoor eating area, we have a decent meal. Ready to return home we realize we have no cell service, have no idea which way to go, and the Jeep's GPS isn't picking up what it needs to help. Soooo, we just head back the way we came and eventually find a signal. Gotta love not having a schedule to keep!

Only the best for Bill's special day!

Back home the park is very quiet, and we enjoy another dark and peaceful night.

Temps are rising and we hang out in our shady spot the next day. Thursday we make a short and bumpy drive to Stroudsburg in the Poconos. Another new area for us.

The final 3 miles to Pocono Vacation Park is on another not-meant-for-vehicles-over-4-feet-wide road. Thankfully oncoming cars are generous and we do make it <whew>. Thankfully a park worker sees that the site we're assigned is not going to work and immediately moves us into one that does. FHU 50 amp, all grass with open sky. Good to get satellite although with rising temps some shade would have been nice too.

Friday's 90 degrees means air conditioned activities. 

I use several websites for finding different things to see throughout our travels. Some I have listed in advance, others I find after we arrive. We head into New Jersey to check out a recommendation from Weird New Jersey

None of the regular street signs remain as people keep stealing them. They even grease this one to stop theft.

More than one story makes up the lore surrounding this 6 miles. Original residents were bandits who settled their differences with murder for over a decade. Also in the 1850's recurring incidents of malaria lead to a large number of deaths. 

The kind of place you can make up your own stories.

Along the road is Ghost Lake (of course), full of water lilies and small fish.

The toads hidden from view made us laugh every time it sounded like an old man saying "Hey!"

Surprised to see a herd of beautiful long-horns.

I'm betting their horns are 3 feet long :-)))

A late afternoon rain shower is a nice surprise that cools things down a bit back home. A not-so-nice surprise is a call from the park at our next stop. Apparently our reservation wasn't updated and they were expecting our arrival today - not what I want to hear when we're looking forward to Philadelphia, and also have packages already on their way there! This late in the season there are naturally now no openings for next week at that park. I appreciate that she tries a couple options that fail, and I'm especially grateful we didn't pull in there on Tuesday to learn we had no place to stay!

Un-phased by the campground drama, Tessa enjoys the rain.

The weekend is hot, hot, hot so with the exception of seeing Top Gun - Maverick at the theater, we close the blinds, crank up the AC, do some laundry, watch TV and read. So glad we're not forced by a schedule to be out and about on days like this.

Eeesh, triple digits!

After crossing all our fingers and toes over the weekend, we hear back from a campground not far from the original that they have a space for us - woohoo! With that glitch behind us, we spend our last day exploring the Poconos. Still hot, we meander backroads and take in some long views. We enjoy lots of beautiful homes and barns and gardens although there are few places to stop and capture photos. 

Skytop Lake

Skytop Lodge - one of many resorts where folks escape NYC to come play.

View of the Catskill Mountains from Camelback Mountain in Big Pocono State Park

To the east of the Plateau is Wind Gap

Closed on weekdays, when the Cattell Cabin was built in 1908 it remained unlocked for years for use by anyone needing shelter. Many names are carved in the large wood ceiling beams in the one room cabin. 

Layers of dense foliage.

Delaware River in the Delaware Water Gap.

A gnarly burl along the Smithfield Beach Trail.

Tuesday we continue south for a week in the Philadelphia area - hoping for wider roads and cooler temps!

Excited to see Penelope and Reese in a few weeks!

Ezra and Elliott making memories in Ezra's space ship from kindergarten.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Corning, NY is Great!

 July 10 - 18, 2022
Corning, New York

In 2016 we almost made it to the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, but made a much more fun detour north to visit with John and Pam (ohtheplacestheygo) near the Thousand Islands. But it stayed on the list. 

We've been to the Finger Lakes area twice, and both times we didn't get to Watkins Glen for one reason or another. But it stayed on the list.

Sunday morning we leave Allegheny SP earlier than usual, glad we don't have to wait in line at the dump station since we'll have FHUs are our next stop. It's a pretty blue-sky day, and I-86 is one of the nicest roads we've traveled. Not only relatively truck-free and smooth, but the views are great. It's also only 120 miles to the next stop, and check-in isn't until 3:00. So we stop at a rest area where I cook breakfast and we get caught up with emails and social media. 

Morning Star RV Park in Corning is a small, rustic (their description as well) campground with just 12 sites along a railroad track, back in the forest outside of town. Level dirt pad, 50 amp FHUs, satellite connects, lots of grass for Tessa, picnic table and shade most of the day - just right for a week. I'm ready for a week in one spot. 

Into town for our usual travel day meal we find Corning to be quaint and vintage, and mostly closed on a Sunday. Mooney's is known for their unique mac and cheese offerings. The portion size should come with a warning! Both our choices are delish, and much comes home with us. 

Clean, cute, tree-lined downtown.

The Critic by artist Tom Gardner in 1997.

Lovely Victorian architecture.

Everyone welcome at Mooney's.

So. Much. Mac and Cheese! Bill's choice is made in honor of a dear friend of the owners who passed. His family receives the proceeds from every purchase. And it's very good!

While our little park is not a destination spot, and its rustic moniker borders on rough, it is wonderfully quiet and dark at night. A train comes by a couple times a day at random times. It's 20 yards from the back of our rig, but we love it like we have all the trains we've been close to over the years. 5 miles from Corning, and 20 from Watkins Glen.

After a quick grocery pickup (I've only needed to enter a grocery store once since we hit the road in April) we check out the vintage homes above town that our camp host told me about. There are several blocks of these beauties. Many remain in need of restoration if you're looking for a project!

Tuesday I make a solo visit to the Rockwell Museum and Market Street. 

It is both a blessing and a privilege to have the opportunity to enjoy so many museums throughout the country. From the Smithsonian and the Sherbourne to the tiniest local offerings, I'm grateful to those who make it their life's work to collect, preserve and present the art and artifacts that tell the story of us. The Rockwell is certainly a great example of making a big impact in a relatively small space. 

Although the facility is three stories, the pieces are spread out to provide ample space for viewing. It's very much a 'baby bear' place, being "just right" to appreciate. 

Huge landscapes from the late 1800's - early 1900's draw you in from across the room. This is Yosemite by Thomas Hill in 1908.

Cotton Picker, 1886. By William Aiker Walker.

"ArtRX is a response to the state of being human in America in 2020." All of the contributions are wonderfully poignant like this one. They add a current and inspiring layer to the experience. This one is for Cotton Picker above.

A 1924 cast of the 1894 original End of the Trail by James Fraser. One of the most recognizable sculptures in the country.

No artists say "Western Art" like Russell and Remington. The Rockwell has several, including "A Mix Up" by Charles Russell in 1910. 

Rattlesnake by Fredrick Remington - modeled in 1905, cast in 1918, after the artist's death. The Bronco Buster - modeled in 1895, also cast in 1918. 

A large rooftop deck overlooks downtown. When I get home I find out these clouds dumped a LOT of rain at our park!

Fend for Yourself by Tonya Burdick. Students painted on wood planks so that none "started with nothing". I'm so drawn to her.

I've seen many art pieces composed of "other things", most seeming like recycling projects. This one however is so powerful - Blanket Stories, 2017 by Marie Watt.

Contributed by families in Western New York to share the history, culture and individual stories of their lives. 

The Michael Naranjo exhibit invites you to Please touch! This becomes even more special when you learn that Michael is blind. Hard to pick, but this flirty horse is my favorite. Cute Bison butt too :-)

It's amazing how he has captured the movement and ritual of the hoop dancers. 

Joseph Henry Sharp captured moments with oil on canvas that look more like photographs - in 1910. Ceremonial Song for the Return of the Buffalo.

The Gift Dance Drummers, also by Sharp, in 1916. Like the previous piece, his respect for sacred ritual is clear. 

Art continues on the pretty Market Street around the corner. Wonderful shops and eateries on three tree-lined blocks. 

The museum is also sponsoring Art in the Alley - local artists' murals adding delight behind the main streets.

After looking at the information for Watkins Glen I remember why we didn't see the water falls trail in the past. 800 stairs would never have passed our comfort level a few years ago, and definitely not now that we're so out of shape. Still a beautiful area with other places to enjoy - so we head north to check some out.

Hwy 414 is a lovely drive north to Ithaca. Since leaving Colorado, all the lakes and rivers we've seen have been full. The lakes at Allegheny were full as well, but coming further east we're seeing more and more low rivers as well as muddy creek beds. So I'm sad, but not surprised, that our first waterfall is just a trickle.

Buttermilk Falls is mostly a tall wet rock, but the water falls consistently and keeps the four-foot deep swimming hole full. 

The town of Ithaca sits at the foot of Cayuga Lake and is the home of Cornell University. The old and narrow streets feel a bit claustrophobic, maybe because of the cloudy skies, so after visiting more falls we move on.

Following us south.

Fall Creek Gorge on the way to the falls.

Wonderful, loud and wide Ithaca Falls.

Layers from the top.

Lunch with a view of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen.

Tessa is a fan of low windows - and the passers-by who stop to talk to her through the glass.

We watch the storm come across the lake and soon we're sitting behind our own waterfall.

Waiting out the downpour is a perfect excuse to have dessert at Seneca Harbor Station

Before it leaves theaters we have to see the last Jurassic Park (Dominion) movie, so Thursday is the day. I find a nearby theater with comfy seating that we share with just two other people (in our theater, not our seats). It's a great movie, probably my favorite of the franchise. In 2020 I thought we'd never go to a movie theater again, and we still avoid weekends and early weeks for blockbusters, but the couple times we've been this year have felt safe. The staff are masked, and there have been very few other customers. We continue to wear our masks in public, although we are almost always the only ones now. 

Even if I hadn't routed us here to see the museum, I think it might be a requirement to stay in Corning. Dozens of signs and ads and references and people carrying bags....pretty soon you're dreaming about it!

Friday I make my solo visit. I'm pretty sure it's not Bill's thing, and after just a short time I'm glad he stayed home. We're both comfortable doing things on our own that only one of us enjoy - we have lots of enjoyable together time :-)

An impressive beginning - very big, very white, very chilly.

All in All by Beth Lipman, 2020 - focusing on the fragility of life in the day-to-day.

Individual pieces combined - amazing detail.

From spiky to smooth, the vivid colors glow. 

A truly incredible piece, Cephaloproteus Riverhead by Dustin Yellin, 2019, is a multi-layered robot with a collage of living creatures between layers of glass. 

Humans scramble and climb, envisioning the world as a complicated balance between environments.

The majority of pieces here are original glass pieces. One exception is Virtue of Blue, made from solar panels. The chandelier lights are powered from the energy collected by the butterflies. I want one!

A unique and dramatic piece, I came back to see this a couple times. Close up to see the detail, but from a distance it is quite disturbing. Carrona by Juan Perez from Marona, Spain - depicting the demise of Marona's centuries old glass industry.

I could watch glass blowers all day. Demonstrations are given in a large amphitheater throughout the day. When COVID hit they could no longer safely blow in the tube to complete the process. Corning developed machine-driven air tubing connected to the end of the metal where normally the artist's mouth would be. It works so well that although they can now return to the "old way", they find they have more control with the powered tubing.

The shape changes numerous times throughout the process, constantly altering my guess of what the final piece will be.

Applying the hand torch to keep the glass malleable. 

I get so caught up that I stop taking photos and miss the final piece that goes into the cooling box, so I used this Google pic to show what he created. Fascinating how they use only gravity and a spinning rod to get these even scallops.

Sandblasting adds unique textures - IGS IV 1997 #12

Love this Lynx designed from slivers of shattered glass.

From Chihuly's Seafoam collection. 

Witch Pot by Laura Donafer who empowers her pots with found artifacts.

Chess Set by Gianni Toso, 1981. Depicts Roman Catholics playing Hassedim Jews and is intended to depict the opening of dialogue between the two religions. It is one of the most popular items in the museum.

City Scape - When artist Jay Musler made this in 1981, a bowl this size could not be blown. He used a Pyrex bowl, carved the skyline around the top, sandblasted the whole piece, and painted the interior. He was inspired by sunsets in San Francisco.

While a wonderful medium for art, glass was originally made for industry over 500 years ago. The museum includes a wonderful area highlighting the huge variety of those industrial uses. 

The size and process of telescope mirrors blows my mind. 

Most of us have at least one piece of Corning Ware in our homes. Coming late in the development of glassware, the opaque ceramic was actually the result of an accident in 1952!

The museum shop is nearly as fabulous as the museum, highlighting the works of many individual artists you can take home. 

The only piece in the entrance lobby is this 20 foot tall Chihuly. Because what else does a lobby need?

Our final day is warmer, but we've had such beautiful weather the whole week there are no complaints. We're out mid day to find some more waterfalls with disappointing results. I also can't add the ones we did see as my camera's cable has stopped working. I'll have to wait a few days to get a new one and post the pics. 

Sometimes summer is so exhausting :-) - M&M.

Oliver hanging out with daddy Corey - too cute!

Monday we're back on the road to Hop Bottom, Pennsylvania where we'll turn south - love the name!