Archive for the ‘historical sites’ Category

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High Falls

August 8, 2010

Yesterday Jeff took Erin and Kyle to an open skate. Sarah and I didn’t feel like going so we stayed home. I napped for a while, until Jeff got home, woke me up, and said we really should get some food for dinner. We dedcided to get something grillable for dinner tonight, and just grab some take-out from King and I for last night. As we were driving through the grocery store parking lot, I saw a vehicle that looked familiar, but before I could say anything, its horn was honked and my mom began waving to us. Now, this is a little odd because it’s not like my parents live that close by. They live about 45 miles away, but on more than one occasion, we have “run into” them at unplanned times and locations. Since they had just gotten home from a week long camping trip, I never expected they’d be wandering up my way. My mom’s Amish friend had a baby very prematurely and was staying nearby, so my mom wanted to go visit with her. Michelle and Ben have friends in a band that was playing nearby, so they wanted to go see them. While the kids were watching the band, my mom and Mark wanted to see the laser and fireworks show at High Falls, as they had not seen it before. Jeff and I went a few years ago, but Jeff thought it was kind of lame, so he had no interest in going again. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to drive down there alone so I asked my mom if they could pick me up after they met with her Amish friend. They agreed, so we went to the show.

These are definitely NOT my best pictures ever! I don’t take pictures at night very often, and I have neither a monopod, nor a tripod, so I am still fairly low on a steep learning curve.

After the brief show, we wandered along Brown’s Race and checked out the old mill.  We decided we really should go back during the day and check it out. There is a rich history there that is, to a large extent, being preserved.

I had a blast showing my parentals around. Mark has a great little GPS unit, but true to my CPS (Jeff’s name for my navigation skills) abilities, I had better routes! We must go exploring again sometime!

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Ganondagan Part III: Flora

August 3, 2010

If you haven’t seen the first two posts about our Ganondagan visit, you can see people here, or culture here. We took a walk on a trail through the woods and some fields and there was a ton to see.

It was a gorgeous day, if a bit warm, and the sky was ever-changing.

Jewelweed, my mom tells me, prevents the rash from poison ivy from forming.

I couldn’t resist a picture of the raspberries and Sarah couldn’t resist a taste of them.

There was so much to see and experience that we will have to go back at least a couple more times to see everything, I think. I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Ganondagan Part II: Culture

August 3, 2010

I had so many pictures from our visit to the Ganondagan that I have broken them up into 3 separate posts. The first was all pictures of people. The third will be flowers that I photographed, so this post is everything else. For lack of a better term, I chose culture because many of the pictures show just that, cultural aspects of the Native American people, both past and present.

We were visiting Ganondagan during a Native American arts and music festival so there were many vendors selling their wares. This particular table caught my attention because of all the colors and the wind making the feathers dance.

There was a silent auction going on and this was one of the items up for bid.

I wish I had been on the other side of these flags, so the words weren’t backwards, but again, bright colors, wind blown fabric, and my attention was all over it!

I was never a big fan of history in school, but when I was a little girl, I remember studying about long houses. I even remember making a model of one for a project. For some reason, the idea of a long house has always fascinated me. It’s probably just the construction I’m attracted to, but I’m not sure. Whenever I see a model of one anywhere, I have to check it out, study it, imagine life in it… Soooo, when I saw that there was one that I could walk into, I was thrilled! Here are my impressions of it.

This statue caught my attention while we were walking toward the long house. There is a plaque below it thanking people and organizations who generously donated money to make the long house possible.

Later in the day, Mom and I went around to the back of the main tent to get better pictures of the dancers. When we were finished and had turned to walk back around the tent, this is what we saw…

I’m not sure what prompted this little one to pose with the statues, but it sure was funny. He stood there for quite a while.

Throughout the day, this hawk kept flying around. Mom wondered out loud, at one point, how they got the hawk to fly around during the festival. It did almost seem as though the hawk was an intentional part of the experience.

One more Ganondagan post to follow; stay tuned for the flora…

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Ganondagan Part I: People

August 3, 2010

After taking a trip to Corning Museum of Glass on Saturday, we went to the Ganondagan on Sunday. It is a Native American historic site, about 30 minutes from Rochester. Jeff has talked about going there for about 15 years, but we kept putting it off. Last weekend (July 24-25) there was a native American music and arts festival going on there, so we decided to make time and go. I invited my Mom along, as she really wanted to see/hear the Navajo code talker that was going to be there. I am so glad we went. I took over 300 pictures and the vast majority of them turned out, so I am posting about our visit in 3 separate entries, as there are way too many pictures for one.

I don’t believe these pictures need explanation.

This is Bill Toledo, one of the Navajo Code Talkers that served in the USMC during WWII. He is 86 years old, but don’t let his age fool you, he is as sharp as a tack. He stood for over an hour and shared story after story from the war. I could have listened to him for hours.

These Marines, shown with Mr. Toledo, stood with him the entire time he talked and barely moved. It was a very hot day and inside the tent it felt oppressive. I think I would have passed out if I’d had to stand there all that time!

Being a people watcher, I was fascinated by all the colors and textures in the clothing. The whole experience was great, but listening to the stories from Mr. Toledo was amazing.

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Boilermaker 15K

August 1, 2010

I don’t think I ever recall being as busy as I have been this last month or so. I had intended to post some more stuff from June, but time has slipped away and I have so many interesting things to tell about July, that I am going to forget trying to catch up and just move forward. The next several posts will summarize the month of July. Since we returned from Florida, in late June, we have had something going on every weekend and I don’t see much relief in sight since hockey starts in a couple of weeks. In addition to hockey, Jeff is returning to school at RIT to pursue his Master’s degree in Information Technology, Kyle will be attending MCC for business administration, and Sarah’s dance classes will resume in September. I don’t even want to think about how busy we will be!

On July 11, Kyle ran the Utica Boilermaker 15k, that’s 9.33 (hilly) miles. He had heard about the race and thought it sounded like a lot of fun. Utica isn’t exactly in our backyard, so we knew we’d need to spend the night nearby in order for him to make the 8 (ish) AM start. We quickly learned that all the close, good hotels fill up as soon the hotels make them available after the race from the previous year. That left us with two choices, stay further away or stay in a hotel that may have rentals by the hour. We opted for the further away choice.

We wound up staying in Rome, about 25 minutes away from Utica, in a reasonably nice motel.  The motel happened to be situated across the street from Fort Stanwix, so we wandered over to check it out. We checked it out on Saturday, after they had closed, and found out that admission is free, so after the race on Sunday we went back to the motel so Kyle could shower, checked out, and went to the fort for a brief visit. While we were there, a gentleman who worked there allowed us to go into a couple of buildings that had been roped off. One of them was a trading post, where he let Kyle pick up a coyote pelt. We also got to feel the pelts of several other animals. It was a brief, but interesting visit to the fort.  The pictures that follow are from both the race and our visit to the fort.

It was a beautiful day for a race. It started out almost chilly, then warmed to a reasonable, pleasant temperature.

I missed Kyle as he ran past us, so I guess it was a good thing that I took a “pre-race” picture.

Incidentally, the headphones he was wearing in this picture did not come home from Utica with us. After he had left us to catch a bus for the starting line, I got an annoyed phone call from him asking me what to do because a race official told him he couldn’t wear that style of headphone. They apparently only allow earbud style phones. I told him not to stress over it, and to just leave them somewhere. Apparently they were a pair of $5 headphones he had picked up ages ago, so he just threw them out. Fortunately the race is a very well put together one and they had bands playing all along the race course so he had music even though he couldn’t use his mp3 player.

This is the line, near the finish line, of runners waiting for the bus to take them to the start line. It was about 1.5 hours before the race and the line wrapped around the corner and to the next cross street.

This race is such a part of Utica that there are permanent mile markers along the race course and the finish line is a permanent structure right near the Saranac brewery. It was incredible to be a part of such a thing, even just as a spectator. It almost makes one want to throw on the running shoes and join the festivities….almost. Kyle had a great time, despite the headphone dilemma. In fact, we already have rooms reserved, near the finish line, for next year. Oh, I guess I should mention that his time was a respectable 1:15:13.

When we visited the Fort Stanwix site on Saturday, it was that magical time of day when the sun was low in the sky and the lighting was perfect for making my pictures glow.

This tunnel was apparently designed for the vertically challenged. Kyle is only about 5’9.”

What we toured is a reconstruction, in the same location, of the original fort. All that remains of the original, are a few crumbled bricks that had once been part of a fireplace.

The coyote fur on top is the one Kyle was allowed to pick up.

We had an enjoyable, if somewhat rushed, trip. Next year we will stay two nights, so we shouldn’t feel quite so rushed.

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Buffalo, Part II

March 29, 2010

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we began our journey at the waterfront by the Irish Famine Memorial. Not only had I never seen this before, but I wasn’t even aware of its existence before this past weekend.

There is a side-walk that leads up to the memorial from one side and there are 4 plaques that describe the memorial and a brief history of the famine. I will include pictures of the plaques below, but if you don’t want to read them all, I’ll summarize. Beginning in 1845, when Ireland was under British rule, there was a famine due to a failed potato crop. A million Irish died during this famine. Two million more people left Ireland during the famine. From the mid to late 19th century, Buffalo became one of the largest inland immigration ports and thousands of Irish immigrants settled in Western New York. In 1995 several Irish cultural organizations worked together to form a famine commemorative committee. A short time later, they and several other interested parties had the memorial erected. The central piece of the memorial is a granite slab from Carraroe, Galway County. The 32 limestone rocks surrounding the outer edge of the memorial are from Penrose Quay in Cork Harbor, where many immigrants last set foot in Ireland as they left. If you only read one of the plaques, I recommend the third one. It describes the significance of each part of the memorial.

Here are a couple more pictures of the memorial.

Very near the memorial were some geese, swimming in the water.

There were about a dozen geese in all, but two of them were off a ways from the others. They seemed to be engrossed in a courting ritual or something when the other geese began swimming towards them. The goose in the front of the pack and the male, I assume, from the pair began fighting. They looked so ridiculous fighting that I was giggling and forgot to take a picture. Then they stopped and the one goose from the pack began swimming quickly away while the one from the pair put its head down and began weaving it back and forth as they do on land to intimidate would-be attackers. The whole thing looked very silly, but the only picture I got of the whole affair was of the goose from the pair “yelling” at the other goose.

The two farthest to the left are the pair, the angry one on the right, and the one being scolded is the goose that seems to be swimming out of the frame.

After we watched the geese for a bit, I began taking pictures of stuff surrounding the area where the memorial is.

Sarah loves light houses, so this one is for her.

As I looked toward the Naval park, I thought these would make cool shots.

Above is the USS Little Rock. It’s pretty cool to tour, although I don’t think my back would hold up to a tour of it at this point. Below is the USS Little Rock in the foreground and USS The Sullivans. It was named after 5 brothers who were all killed in World War II when their ship, USS Juneau, was sunk. Their deaths prompted more strict regulations about separating siblings in the service. Behind the ships, on the other side of the skyway, is the HSBC Arena, where the Buffalo Sabres play.

After looking around for a little while at the waterfront, we headed into down town. Yesterday’s post describes that in detail. Once we were finished in the down town area, we moved north a ways and stopped at one of my favorite places in Buffalo, the Forst Lawn Cemetery. I am a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs and his last design, which was constructed after his death, is the Blue Sky Mausoleum located in the Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The cemetery has a very park like feel to it. When Jeff worked in Buffalo, the kids and I would go visit the cemetery and have walked through a great deal of it. I sensed that Jeff wasn’t really into visiting the cemetery, so I took pictures of Blue Sky and continued driving, the long way, back to the exit. As we came around a bend, avoiding several geese who believe they own the road, I saw something I really didn’t expect. Walking among the headstones was a young looking deer.

I pulled over onto the far side of the road, rolled Jeff’s window down and took a couple of pictures. The deer stopped and just stared at us. I became a little concerned, wondering if it might spook and run into us, but it just stared. Eventually, it took a few steps and stopped to eat some grass near a headstone. Now I know that cemeteries are very open places and deer might find them good places to hang out, but this cemetery is in the middle of a densely populated, urban, residential area, with a rather high (5 or 6 foot) wrought iron fence surrounding the place! As far as I know all the entrances are off of decidely city streets. There is a park neaby, but it is also in the middle of the city. Weird!

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Half-Day Trip

March 28, 2010

I love day trips, but lately it hurts to sit for too long, and forget walking. I am good for about 3 or 4 short blocks, or about 1/2 the length of an average mall. I simply begin to hurt and no combination of sitting/standing/walking alleviates the pain once it begins. Lying down helps, but I imagine laying down on a bench in a mall or on a street somewhere might bring a few curious glances and maybe even a law man or two, LOL! In light of all this, we now take 1/2 day trips. It works best when I combine short jaunts with sitting in the Jeep, which has incredibly comfortable seats. It also has a large enough back seat that if I needed to, I could lay down.

Yesterday I took the very short drive to Starbucks for my morning chai, when I discovered that it was positively gorgeous outside, albeit a bit chilly. I hurried (a relative term) home to see if Jeff would be willing to go to Buffalo so I could take some pictures of the awesome buildings in down town. I have wanted to do this for some time now, but we wanted to go without the kids, as getting in and out of the Jeep repeatedly is much easier with just the two of us. The kids find it somewhat boring as well. When I woke Jeff up (at 10:30) he was okay with the idea, so after puttering around the house for a couple more hours, we set out for Buffalo. The kids had spent the previous night at my in-laws so we were off by ourselves.

Upon arriving, we headed to the waterfront to see what was there. We ususally go to the naval and servicemens’ park, but I saw a sign for an Irish Famine Memorial that raised my curiosity. We checked it out and I even took some pictures, but those will be in another post…

I love the city hall building. It is huge and angular and very cool to photograph. From the park, I took a couple pictures of it. This was my favorite.

From the park, we headed into down town to find a spot to park that would get me fairly close to Niagara Square. As we were driving around, this guy begged to be photographed.

Fortunately, we were stopped at a red light and Jeff agreed offered (he’s learning) to watch the light while I took the photo.

We eventually found a place to park on Deleware, just south of Niagara Square. As we parked, Jeff looked through the sunroof and decided this would be a cool picture.

He thought the things on top of the building looked like the feet on a transformer. I have to agree, but I probably wouldn’t have photographed it myself, lol!

We headed north on Deleware and I had to take more pictures of city hall. I hope I don’t bore you…

City Hall looks out onto the McKinley monument, which was commissioned in 1907, to honor our 25th president, who was fatally shot while visiting Buffalo in 1901.

As I looked around the square (which is actually a circle) I found many buildings with interesting architectural features.

The clock tower on the building above was awesome. I took several pictures of it from various angles. At first I assumed it was a steeple on an old church, but upon closer inspection, I realized there weren’t any of the usual religious icons that appear on church steeples. With a little research, I discovered it to be the clock tower of the building which houses the Supreme Court.

Also in Niagara Square, is this cool piece of history.

I couldn’t really find any information on it in a cursory search online, but I believe it is sealed until 2046.

After walking around the square (circle) a bit, I wanted to get a closer look at a building that caught my attention because of a Statue of Liberty replica on top of it. In an effort to get closer, we wandered down Niagara Street and this squirrel posed for me.

It was rather amusing. Jeff said something along the lines of oh, look, there’s a squirrel. Apparently the squirrel thought that was its cue to hop up on the wall and put its right forelimb across its chest and stare, as if waiting for me to snap its photo.

I then saw this.

As we turned onto Franklin Street, I found the building I was seeking. The Liberty Buidling, which is actually on Main Street, is visible, across a parking lot,  from Franklin St.

Finally, we headed up Court St. back to Niagara Square. I was not aware that Buffalo has several buildings that house various parts of the court system. I found a lot of very cool entryways as we walked along.

All in all I think I only walked about a 1/4 mile, so it was quite nice. I did manage to take about 85 pictures in the process though! There are many more pictures to share, but this post is long enough. So come back later, or maybe tomorrow, for more…