A Travellerspoint blog

Nostalgia returns

Sunday June 15, 2008 – Father’s Day

I called the people who have lived in my boyhood home to thank them for taking their time and being so gracious during our visit. John said, “I mentioned yesterday that there were some handprints hidden in a storage area, you have got to come look”

So Kathy and I went and found the most amazing thing. We found handprints in a concrete slab off to the side of the stairs leading to the cellar (basement).

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The handprints were in the area to the left behind the small storage doors. The stairway is the stairway to the basement, which is behind John.

There, with the help of John clearing out the space and providing some light, we found handprints from Sept. 4, 1944. Remember from yesterday’s blog that my Dad built this house in the late 30’s and finished in the early 40’s. I was born in 1946 and we moved to Florida in 1956. This is my first visit back to the old house.

Wow, what a find and what a surprise! So nice of John to invite us back to see and take photos. I stiched the photos together, so that's why there are some white areas.

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Here are the prints from left to right of my grandmother, my brother Doug, at about one year of age, my brother Francis at about 15 years of age, my Dad and my Mom.

Not much can top this. Tomorrow we hope to visit my 93-year-old Uncle.

Happy Trails

PS Kathy got tired of me taking short cuts and getting lost so today for Father’s Day we bought a GPS to keep me out of trouble.

Posted by popding 18:13 Comments (0)

Nostalgic Visit –

New Hartford, NY - June 13 and June 14, 20

Well, we made it to a location outside of Utica, NY. Many of you know that I was born in Utica and my family moved to Florida when I was 10. We left behind family and memories. I had lost touch with my Uncle and cousins and had not seen some of them for 30 to 45 years.

Last year I located them on the Internet and the result was this visit. My aunt and uncle had four children, 3 girls and a boy. The oldest is a year younger than me.
We arrived on Friday the 13th (no special meaning intended), and I got reacquainted with two of my cousins, Judy and Dianne, and met Judy’s husband, Fetch. We had a pizza and some reminiscing conversation at a pizza restaurant. This pizza restaurant was a few hundred feet from my boyhood home. The building was actually built by my Dad. He sold it a couple of years after we moved to Florida. It was just a shell of a building to be finished by the buyer for a store or restaurant.

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This is the pizza restaurant.

Saturday, during the morning, Kathy and I went back to the area and drove to my boyhood home. We knocked on the door and explained who we were. The people who currently own the house were so friendly and cordial. They are our age and John is a history buff and wanted to know some of the past history of the house. We visited for about 2 hours, talking about the history of the house and touring the house. They are the 4th owners and have lived in the house for 32 years. They knew many of the old neighbors that I knew as a child.

The old coal furnace has long been removed and John said there was an oil furnace that he replaced with a gas furnace. I reached around the back side of the old brick flue and found a metal cover over where the coal furnace stack attached. John was amazed and didn’t know that there was a plate there.

I forgot to mention that my Dad built this house in the late 30’s. Last year I found some old 8mm film and had it transferred to a DVD. The DVD contained footage of the house under construction. John wanted to see the DVD and asked for a copy. Although some of the house has changed it was all too familiar to me and was a very moving visit.

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This is a view of the house from the entrance to the drive. They added the front porch.

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Back side of house. The large window was my bedroom window.

We left the house with renewed memories. Then we toured the old school that I attended in New Hartford. It was called the Point School, since it was on a triangular point between 2 roads.

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This was the building, built in 1901. It has been converted to apartments for senior citizens. Guess I could move back into my old classroom!

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The lower windows are the basement area of the building where I attended pre-kindergarten. I also attended 3rd and 4th grade in this building.

We then went back to my cousins Judy and Dianne’s house for an afternoon cookout. There, sister Bonnie and her husband, George, had driven down from the Rochester area and their brother, Jim, who lives close by joined us. Jim is building a house on the 10 acres where Judy, her husband, and Dianne live. They picked up their mother, my Aunt Dawn (86), from a local senior citizen home and we had a great reunion catching up on 50 years. My Uncle Newman wasn’t feeling well and we hope to have brunch with him tomorrow.

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My Aunt Dawn in front, behind her my cousin Bonnie and her husband George, Judy, me, Dianne and Judy’s husband Fetch.

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Same group of characters except Aunt Dawn is absent and my cousin, Jim, is added.

That was our day. A very enjoyable and nostalgic day.

Happy Trails!

Posted by popding 06:08 Comments (0)

Drop dead gorge-ous, Letchworth State Park, NY -

Tuesday through Thursday, June 10 – June 12, 2008

We have not had any access to the Internet so here is a catch up blog for our days at Letchworth State Park in NY

Arrived here Tuesday, late afternoon. We left Uncle Richie (Rich Bryer) at Guilford Lake. The drive, about 285 miles, was an uneventful but pretty drive through farming country in Ohio, Pa., and NY. We also left behind the high 90-degree temperatures. A cold front and rainstorm cleared out the high temperatures. Tonight should be in the mid 50’s and tomorrow the mid 70’s.

Letchworth is a beautiful 14,350-acre park on the Genesee River about 35 miles south of Rochester, NY. The Genesee Gorge with walls approaching 600 feet renders some dramatic water falls, the tallest being 107 feet. The park has been nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the east. Over the next couple of days we will explore the park and do some hiking on the many trails. There are approximately 34 miles of trail. We will also visit the Glen Iris Inn, which is the centerpiece of the park. Mr. Letchworth purchased the building and surrounding 1000 acres in 1859 and deeded the estate to the state in 1907. The Inn interior has been restored and the exterior repainted in the colors of the 1890’s. Today overnight accommodations are available as well as fine dining in Caroline’s Dining Room.

Wednesday we hiked several areas, including the lower falls and the middle falls.
This park is really gorgeous and we have taken advantage of it. The temperature today was mid 80’s and should drop to the mid 60’s tonight.

Our first hike was along the rim and then out to the Wolf Creek Falls and a view of the gorge.

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Kathy on Trail to Wolf Creek Falls. If you look to her left you can see the falls.

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The Wolf Creek enters the Genesee River with a small fall.

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River Gorge and the Gennesse River. The river flows to Rochester and into Lake Ontario.

This is a canyon or as they call it a gorge, but believe me it is no Grand Canyon. The precipitous walls with the river winding below, and the plunge and spray of dramatic waterfalls and the surrounding lush forest all contribute to make the park one of the most notable examples of waterfall and gorge scenery in the eastern US. It is truly gorge-ous.

Next, we hiked to the lower falls. There is a footbridge across the Genesee River and the lower falls can be viewed from this point. It is 127 steps down and the same 127 steps back up. The views were worth every step.

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This is a view of the Lower Falls.

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Lower Falls as viewed from the footbridge across the Genesee River.

We visited some other sites in the park including a museum and the Glen Iris Inn and Restaurant. From the Glen Iris Inn you can view the Middle Falls. It is the most dramatic of the falls in the park with a 107-foot drop. One thing to note is that tomorrow we will return to the Glen Iris Inn for lunch. They have pot roast on the menu and I will sample it to see if it will take place of the one I missed at the Spread Eagle Tavern.

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Middle Falls with its 107-foot drop. This fall is a very dramatic waterfall.

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A rainbow can be seen in the mist of Middle Falls at Letchworth State Park.

The last stop for the day was Inspiration Point an awe-inspiring view. Inspiration Point is a very short walk from the parking area and offers a view of the Upper and Middle Falls.

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The view from Inspiration Point. These are the Middle and Upper Falls.

Thursday was another great day. No rain, low about 60 in the am, and it warmed up to high 70’s and no humidity! We decided to locate the Upper Falls and then return to the Middle Falls area.

The hike was short and easy and we found out that the Upper Falls is only about ½ mile from the Middle Falls.

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This is a view of the Upper Falls from the trail leading to the falls.

Along the path a small side stream entered the falls area with a footbridge over the side stream.

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This is the footbridge over the side stream.

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This is a close up of the Upper Falls. It is very impressive but the drop is not as far as the Middle Falls.

We then drove to the area of the Middle Falls and the Glen Iris Inn, which is located on a bluff above the Middle Falls. The area was so quiet except for the sound of the falls with a gentle breeze blowing. So we decided to set up our chairs on a grassy knoll overlooking the upstream side of the Middle Falls.

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This is the view from our chairs as we sat and read our books and listened to the roar of the Middle Falls.

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Here Kathy is reading and relaxing on the grassy knoll above the Middle Falls.

At lunchtime we hiked to the top of the bluff and the Glen Iris Inn for “the pot roast”. As I mentioned yesterday we discovered that they served pot roast and I have wanted some since my disappointment at the Spread Eagle Tavern.

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This is the Glen Iris Inn. This is the front porch, which overlooks the Middle Falls.

The Inn is a fine dining restaurant and we were seated in the garden room. Large plate glass windows overlooked beds of summer flowers. The service was excellent and the food was very good. However, I still think the pot roast at the Spread Eagle is better.

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This is a view of the Middle Falls from the front yard of the Glen Iris Inn.

It is hard to believe that in the late 1800’s one man owned this inn and 1,000 acres, which included all three major waterfalls. Mr. Letchworth was quite an individual with a long history of community involvement. We are so lucky that he donated this property to the state to be preserved as a park for generations to come.

Tomorrow we travel to the vicinity of Utica, NY, to get reacquainted with 4 of my cousins and my Uncle. I have not seen them for over 35 years. We had lost touch and last year through the Internet I was able to locate them. This is one of the main reasons for the trip into NY. The drive tomorrow is only 160 miles.

Happy Trails

Posted by popding 10:57 Comments (1)

Guilford Lake, Sunday June 8 and Monday June 9, 2008

Yesterday I noted that we were disappointed that we could not explore the Inventor’s Museum. Well, we found the next best thing, Menches Brothers in Akron, Ohio.

You may not know this and neither did we. According to their brochure:

“History recorded that at the 1885 Erie County fair, Frank and Charles Menches ran out of pork for their sausage patty sandwiches. Their supplier was reluctant to butcher more hogs in the summer’s heat and suggested they use beef instead. The brothers fried some up, but both found it bland. They added coffee, brown sugar and other ingredients to create a taste that doesn’t need be hidden with condiments. They christened this sandwich the “hamburger” after Hamburg, NY, the name of the town where the fair was being held. “

The burgers were good but had a different flavor with the coffee added. The brothers went on to also create the waffle cone for ice cream and a mix of caramel coated peanuts and popcorn with a prize in the pack. They called it “Gee-Whiz”, we know it today as Cracker Jacks.

As Forrest Gump once said “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

We had a full day with the ladies visiting the National First Ladies’ Library while the guys went to the Canton Classic Car museum. I can’t speak for the ladies, but the car museum was neat! It had cars from 1903 with many from the 1930’s including a police riot car with armor plating and gun ports.

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We wrapped the day up with a visit to Canal Fulton, Ohio. Prior to the building of the railroad, Ohio, like other states built canals to move their goods to market. This particular part of the canal has a replica canal boat that you can ride a mile down the canal and a mile back. Horses walk along a towpath pull it. The canal, originally built between 1825 and 1847, connected lake Erie to the Ohio River. The main corridors of trade were the major rivers that carried goods and people to New Orleans. Thus, the 1000-mile network of navigable canals within Ohio transformed the state into a vibrant place to live.

Today it’s on to lunch at the Spread Eagle Tavern and Inn. The pot roast is the best I have ever eaten and one of the reasons to return to this area of Ohio.

Update just returned from the Spread Eagle and NO POT ROAST! Had a great lunch anyway and the tavern is just a neat place.

Well tomorrow it is on to Letchworth State Park in NY state just south of Rochester.

Once again this year the same as last Rich has been a great host.

Happy Trails

Posted by popding 12:07 Comments (0)

Guilford Lake - Sunday June 8, 2008

We have been busy since we arrived here on serene Guilford Lake. Guilford Lake is located just outside Lisbon, Ohio about 30 miles due east of Canton. This is the lake where Rich Bryer has his summer lake house.

Rich is the consummate host. Our first day here he took us on a tour of the Amish communities in south central Ohio. Our first stop was Lehman’s Hardware. Here it is rare to find anything that depends on electricity. It originally and still does today cater to the Amish. We saw many Amish shopping. It is really a different life, maybe a better life than what we think of as the good life. It is for sure simpler.

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Typical Amish buggy. We saw many of these around town and travelling along the road.

Ray and Linda Blush arrived the next day. We all gathered at Rich’s and then went over to Mark’s Landing for drinks and dinner on the deck overlooking the lake.

Saturday Ray, Linda, Kathy and I drove to Cleveland to the Rock’N Roll Hall of Fame. It was an enjoyable experience, very nostalgic.

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The Hall of Fame is on the shore of Lake Erie. Next to it is the Cleveland Indians ball field and the Cleveland Browns stadium.

Returned to Rich’s late in the day to catch the Belmont Stakes and watch Big Brown come in last. You never know what life will deal you. So off we went for a sunset cruise on Guilford Lake. The lake is limited to 10Hp motors. Of course along the way we stopped at Mark’s landing to refresh our drinks.

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Rich, our Captain and some of the crew.

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The rest of the crew enjoying the ride.

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Sunset over the lake.

Tomorrow we planed to visit the Inventors Hall of Fame but discovered that it is only open Wednesday through Saturday. So maybe we need another trip here next year.

That’s it for now.
Happy Trails!

Posted by popding 16:33 Comments (1)

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