Travelogue: Second Day - Across New York State
Rosie, Beeotch, Dancing Queen, Peeps
Day One had been a long one, but it was broken up by our several hour visit to Niagara Falls. Another hour or so from the Falls to our hotel in Batavia, dinner at Bohn's, back to the Holiday Inn and we were out cold within minutes.
After a good night's rest and breaking fast at the hotel's standard, but hearty breakfast buffet: rubber eggs (not to say that's bad, this type of buffet scrambled eggs are always vulcanized), biscuits and gravy, sausage and bacon, fruit salad (which one of us claimed had "too much citrus" whatever that means), hash browns, made-to-order omelettes, a selection of muffins and pastries, french toast sticks, coffee, milk, etc. The cost of the meal was mostly included with the hotel tarrif, and we ended up spending a mere $1.50 cash for breakfast. What a deal! (When on holiday, one should ALWAYS take advantage of the included deals.)
We'd intended to have a light breakfast after a big beef dinner the night before, but we were pleasantly filled and ready to hit the road again. On this day, we needed to get from one side of upper New York State to the other and the fastest way to do that is using the New York State Thruway. New York is a beautiful but large state, so getting from one side to the other took some time, passing through the Finger Lakes region as well as farmland and lovely wooded and forested land -- eye candy from the safety and comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle!
To pass the time on the road, we had armed ourselves with plenty of things like books, pads of paper for drawing, music CD's, and Gameboys and game cartridges. But on a long drive, any one activity will lose its appeal sooner or later. Did we succumb to boredom and start the mind-numbing chant of "Are we there yet?" No! We played Trivia. Tons of fun and educational too!
Answer: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt.
Answer: Lie backwards and kiss it!
And then there's the license plate spotting game. We looked for different states and for different versions of the same state's license plates. The first one to spot a new state plate got a point. We even saw plates from some of the Canadian provinces. One of the travelers was banned from playing -- everyone else had glasses! His darned eyes were too good! What the outcast was allowed to do, however, was to announce when a new license plate was coming, and could give clues to where it was from. Everyone still had lots of fun.
The NYS Thruway is a toll road and the tolls are used to maintain the road, which for a northern state are remarkably maintained and pothole free. The service plazas along the route are actually run by Marriott, but the buildings fit their environment, were kept clean and were free to use for all travellers. We stopped at one just north of Schenectady (just north of Albany) to refuel ourselves and the car. It was pleasantly clean and odor-free, unlike others we'd experienced around the country. Who says that toll roads are evil? The Thruway is proof that the very reasonable tolls are well worth their cost.
It took us about four hours to go from Batavia to Albany. At Albany we turned north, and although we were still on an interstate, the road cut through more hilly terrain. The road wove through mountainous country as we headed into the Adirondack Mountains. Our ears popped to adjust to the changing air pressures. What a contrast to the flat midwest!
We found a secondary road that would take us around the northern edge of Lake George to our destination. Once off the interstate, the road wound through the mountains past gorgeous green forests, small lakes and through tiny towns nestled in almost hidden valleys. The whole Adirondack Mountains area had been heavily glaciated and the resulting numerous lakes in the area are long, narrow, and deep. In one tiny lake we spotted a beaver's stick den and stopped to take some pictures. Along a larger lake we saw lovely summer cottages and boats of all types and sizes enjoying the summer day. The summer green was beautiful, hopefully we will have the opportunity to see the spectacular colors of fall some day.
There were many small roadside souvenir shops and fruit stands selling the produce of the region. We thought it would be nice to present our hostess at Glenburnie with dessert for our evening meal so we stopped at a likely looking stand and chose a delicious looking cherry pie. (It was really good, wonderful flaky crust, too!) Then we continued on our way. We passed through the town of Ticonderoga, a historically significant place in spite of its small size, but more of that in tomorrow's entry.
We were so enraptured by the scenery that we drove past the tiny road that led to Glenburnie and had to turn around again to find it, we drove two miles down a tiny two-lane road toward the lake and the cottage of our hostess. It was nestled up on the hillside overlooking Lake George. Our hostess greeted us warmly and helped us settle in, urging us to change into swim attire so she could take us down to the lake and show us her boat and the tiny swimming beach. As we were hot and stircrazy from sitting in the car all day, she didn't have to tell us twice!
The cottage where we stayed for the next two nights was not quite a cottage. It was more like a modern log cabin -- on the outside, anyway. Inside was more like a really nice home without the rules that define what a "nice house" is. All the trimmings and decorations in the house just spoke of the woods, outdoors, and relaxing times.
The house itself is a three-level building with two bedrooms, a bathroom and balcony on the upper level; a kitchen and living room on the middle level; and a basement, a bathroom, and extra bedroom on the lower level. Access from the outdoors is on the two lower levels. Off the middle level, there is a wonderful, roomy deck is largely shaded by a huge maple tree. Very cozy!
In no time flat, we were changed and ready for a dip in the lake. We carried her kayak around to the beach and took turns paddling around, but watch out, you sissies! Lake George is COLD even at the end of June; crystal clear and quite deep not far from shore, and thus COLD! After our swim, we took our hostess's small speedboat out for a short spin on the lake and a look at Glenburnie from the water.
After securing the boat, we returned to the cottage and spent a very enjoyable evening chatting with our hostess and another dinner guest, a former professional tennis player and one-time basketball coach at Columbia University. As evening settled over us, the insects drove us inside, but the air temperature was quite pleasant despite the humidity, so all of the screened windows were open.
Our hostess told us that the whippoorwill starts its call as soon as it gets dark, and indeed we did hear it for a few minutes, but all of a sudden it stopped. At first we couldn't figure out why, but then we heard thunder rumbling toward us from across the lake. Only the youngest of us was frightened of the storm that engulfed us moments later. The rest of us reveled in it, sitting out on the porch and watching the lightning flash. The storm was very intense and as a precaution, our hostess had us rooting around for flashlights just in case the power went out -- a frequent happening during big summer storms.
After about 2 hours, all that was there as a reminder, was a wonderful fresh cool air, and a faint sound of distant thunder. What a great way to be lulled to sleep!
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