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!


  1. We visited with a nephew while he attended Cornel in Ithaca - how'd we miss those awesome falls !??
    We did visit Watkins Glen and the climb is easier than it sounds as it gradual uphill and steps for the steeper part ... but it's still 1500' of uphill! and so worth every step.

    1. Those were the only falls we saw that had enough water to call falls. They're so pretty, and in a residential area of the city.

  2. We neither one are museum people but I certainly enjoyed your tour of the Corning Museum--beautiful art!! Gorgeous photo of Ithaca Falls! Railroads are not our thing--we will go miles out of the way to not camp by one--probably comes from living out in the middle of nowhere on both ends of the country! Great post--what a plate of macaroni and cheese!

    1. Bill can take or leave most, but I've become quite the museum nerd over the years :-) OMG that mac and cheese was stupid big!

  3. Two great museums and the area is gorgeous! We were at the Corning museum almost 30 years ago and we loved it, but I don't remember it being so spectacular!

    1. I didn't know what to expect at the glass museum so was really blown away with how extensive it is!

  4. Love the vintage homes and the enormous plates of mac & cheese. YUMMY! The
    Finger Lakes area was our favorite for an entire summer. We stayed at a state park on every lake and saw all the waterfalls at each of course. Your falls pictures are great. Looking forward to the others when you post them. The falls when we were there were "slight" in the summer. I guess spring is their time of heaviest flow. I remember buttermilk looking just like your picture. What a variety of art you saw between the two museums. Can't believe you are heading south in July. Ugggg! Go to the mountains FAST!

    1. LOL, I wish we could travel everywhere in the Fall, but getting to see family means moving south this summer. I remember your visit here and the falls being so small, but I was hoping it was a fluke :-( Still, they are incredible in the carvings the water does with its cascades.

  5. Oh, I'm so glad you made it to the Corning Museum of Glass! And I'm glad you included so many looks like they've added lots of new things since we were there several years ago. I'm happy to see the lynx is still there. It was one of my favorites. So interesting that they've developed a new technique for blowing glass. The pandemic has changed things that I never even thought about. Your post has me wanting to return to the Finger Lakes. We were there for a month and absolutely loved it!

    1. That museum/gallery is so amazing, I could have spent more than the almost three hours I was there. Glad I shared the lynx so you could see her :-) It is such a beautiful area exploring the countryside and seeing all the lakes.

  6. Our old neck of the woods. We loved the glass and the cute towns. Too bad about Watkins Glen, it’s amazing! But it is what it is. So many cool waterfalls in NY.

    1. After the trickles everywhere but Ithaca I wonder if the falls in Watkins Glen are there this year. It is a beautiful part of the country, and the people are awesome.

  7. Love that museum, I'm glad you finally got there. I don't know if I could choose a favorite piece.

    1. It would be difficult even to choose one in each gallery!

  8. Love this area. It was nice to live close by for three years. Thanks for sharing parts we didn't see. I never thought about the actually blowing necessary for glass blowing. Glad they were creative during this tough Covid time. That photo of M&M is too cute!!

    1. I was impressed when she explained the modifications they made with the glass blowing - and had to laugh that the necessity became the new norm :-)

  9. It’s Gay…pottery and waterfalls sure grabbed my attention. Love the Witch Pot! What a wonderful and beautiful week and yummy Mac and Cheese to start it off!

    1. There were some really amazing pots at the Rockwell that I didn't include - beautiful work!

  10. WOW! Corning looks like a town I could handle visiting. Especially the glass museum. So many dramatic pieces.

    1. It is such a cool town!! Even our little rough campground is a place we'd stay again.