Wednesday, July 13, 2011

our trip to NY (2011)

We just got back from our second annual big vacation. Last year, we went to NC; this year, we went to NY. We hit most of New York, except for the City. Ten days and nine nights (all in different hotels; we thought about camping, but didn't get organized for it). About 2,100 miles, much of it on the first day and the last two evenings. NC was nice; this was better.

Day 1: from Louisville to Sandusky, including BibleWalk (a Bible wax museum) in Mansfield and some time at a beach on Sandusky Bay. I had hoped to see the Memorial Museum in Mansfield, but they have limited hours. (In 2012, my friend Bruce and his family visited the prison there-- and said it was interesting.)

Day 2: Cedar Point-- a terrific amusement park, especially if you like roller coasters. Favorites: MaxAir and Millennium Force. Most unique: Dragster (0 to 117 mph in 3.5 seconds; straight up and then straight down-- crazy, but it's all over in 17 seconds). 

Day 3: Saw the largest covered bridge in the world (near Austinburg, OH), passed up the amazing beaches at Presque Isle (near Erie, PA; we wanted to get to Niagara Falls ASAP, given the holiday weekend), visited a very cool kazoo factory (the original) in Eden, NY, and did a bunch of the things-to-do at Niagara (Maid-of-the-Mist, Aquarium, Discovery Center, Cave-of-the-Wind) and walked around on Goat Island to get our best views of Horseshoe Falls. MM and CW are a must-do; the kids (esp. Joseph) liked the aquarium; and the adults really liked the DC (a museum of sorts). 

Niagara is beautiful in an awesome way-- like the Grand Canyon. In contrast, the canyons at Bryce, Zion, and DeChelly are more-- or at least differently-- beautiful, in a more intimate sense. Likewise, we would see this sort of beauty later in the trip, at Watkins Glen.

Day 4: Niagara cont'd, including the IMAX and an excellent hike down to the river's edge at the Whirlpool State Park. Then, leaving the area, we visited Lockport and saw the Erie Canal-- in particular, Locks 34 & 35-- in action. From there, we drove to Alexandria Bay and the 1000 Islands. 

Day 5: Maze-land (very fun, especially if you have kids), the amazing Boldt Castle (start from the yacht house on Wellesley Island if you don't want to pay for the boat ride), and swimming on Wellesley Island to wrap up the day.  

Day 6: Found a really nice place to stay in Ogdenburg, Stone Fence Resort. The next morning, we saw the Remington Museum and his terrific sculptures. From there, we saw the Eisenhower Lock/Dam at Massena lift a huge ship by 42 feet in seven minutes. Next, we drove to my old hometown of Malone. (We lived there when I was 9-13 years old. Many of my dreams have parts of that town as the backdrop!) We drove through Lake Placid and saw the ski jump site. We wanted to stay at Ft. Ticonderoga and then visit that the next AM, but there were no rooms there or in the next town. So, we moved on to Lake George for the night. 

Day 7: Whitewater rafting (level 2-3 rapids) on the Sacandaga River. Plan A had been Ft. T and then rafting. Plan B started with rafting and finished with the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls (a good plan B, but probably not as good as plan A!) 

Day 8: The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. That was terrific and I was happy to find that my desire to be there only lasted a bit longer than the rest of my family! From there, we drove to Ithaca. 

Day 9: Hiking in Taughannock State Park (three sets of waterfalls)-- very nice. Brennan was stung by three bees and we had been worried that he might be allergic, but he didn't have any trouble (aside from discomfort). Then, hiking at Watkins Glen State Park-- as beautiful as anything I've ever seen. The combination of waterfalls, greenery, and rock were like something out of a movie. I thought I'd only see stuff like that in movies, this side of heaven, but it really exists-- at least there. (We also went swimming at a big pool at the south entrance to the park. Very nice!)

Finally, we only had 1.5 hours for the Museum of Glass in Corning. That needed at least another hour or so to do it right, but I'm glad we got to spend some time there. The invention and innovations within glass were spectacular. And some of the glass art was phenomenal. From there, we drove that evening to Johnstown, PA.

Day 10: We saw the flood memorial at South Fork (near Johnstown) and learned that David McCullough's first book had that as its topic. The "Inclined Plane" in Johnstown was amazing-- the steepest of its kind. We drove a few hours and saw a terrific ("unofficial") Legos museum in Bellaire, OH-- again, a must-see if you have kids and a terrific way to break up the drive back to Louisville. (Update: We didn't see this, but Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, 30 minutes SE of Wheeling looks terrific.) 

It was a great trip. I would recommend most of it to couples without kids who love the outdoors (it would be terrific for a honeymoon or anniversary celebration)-- or for families with kids who can handle some hiking. I wouldn't bother going north of Alex Bay. (We did that so I could see my old hometown.) And even that might be too far north to be worth it. A worthy (and more leisurely) alternate would be to see Niagara Falls and then spend a big chunk of time in the Finger Lakes region.

The unintentional, over-arching theme was water-- from an amusement park on a peninsula jutting out into one of the Great Lakes to a National Park commemorating a flood that killed more than 2,000 people; from the small lock/dam with the Erie Canal to the large lock/dam at Massena and the St. Lawrence River; from waterfalls to glens; from driving over the world's largest covered bridge to white-water rafting.

If you have any questions, let me know...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home