Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hershey, Amish, Niagara Falls, Adirondacks

Sadly, Patti came down with a stomach flu so Kathy and I spent a few days just bumming around Lancaster County in Pennsylvania. We didn't want Patti to miss anything so we just scoped out the area. Drove by Hershey's Chocolate World just to see how to get there, had a long lunch at a Panera Bread (great soup!), went to the grocery store and hung out around our campground.

When Patti was feeling better we got right back into our great trip.  We had breakfast at Miller's Smorgasbord, an Amish area restaurant that has been around since 1929 and was pretty highly rated online. It was just OK for us. The ham was really good, and I had a mushroom omelet that was tasty, but a lot of the pre-cooked foods were kinda sub par. I had read up about another restaurant in the area called Dienner's. We had planned to go there for dinner, but sadly, they close at 6pm. On a Saturday night! LOL Oh well. We ended up down the road a bit at a place called Jennie's Diner. Really good, portions way too large, our waitress Sarah was great! If you're ever in this area I highly recommend you check out this diner.

Anywho...after breakfast we went to Hershey's Chocolate World. Sadly, my battery had died on my camera and I discovered this as I was walking in the door. =o(

But check out their website if you're curious. It was fun. We did a chocolate tasting adventure and learned a little about why various types of chocolates taste different. It was fun.

Then we headed back over towards Amish country. We went to Lititz and had the best soft pretzel I've ever had in my life at the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery! Beautiful town. If we had more time we could have easily spent the entire day here. Then on to Intercourse, another quaint town, Blue Ball and then back to Ronks where our campground was. After dinner we hit the sack and slept like babies.  Might have had something to do with all that chocolate! 

The next morning we headed towards Buffalo, NY. We went to the Anchor Bar & Grill for wings, and they were just as good as we expected. Off to our campground which was in the town of Niagara Falls. And yes, every time I say Niagara Falls I following in my head with the words, “Slowly I turn, step-by-step” from the Three Stooges skit.

It has been overcast and rainy for several days now, which hasn't bothered me too much, but I had hoped it would clear up a bit for my first view of the falls. Sadly, it didn't but as you can see from all the pictures I took (and this is only about ¼ of them) it didn't take away too much from this amazing sight.

We took the Maid of the Mist boat ride which brings you right into the center of where the two falls come crashing down. The power generated by the amount of water crashing down is just amazing. There really is no explaining just need to find a way to experience it for yourself. I was in total amazement.

Here are some of the images. A few from the boat, a few from the shore and the observation deck - which I thought I would be too chicken to walk out on, but after I survived the boat ride I felt a little fearless....for a few minutes anyway! I have to say I am really proud of myself that I didn't let my anxiety get the best of me and either keep me from going on the boat, or needing to take a pill which would have altered my experience. I enjoyed the exhilaration of it. But I won't lie, I also got really scared for a bit. =o)

Some beautiful flowers I spotted on the walk down to the boat.

The following are several shots I took of the falls from the boat.

You can see the air getting mistier the closer the boat gets to the falls.  The intense power of the water actually pulls the boat about a little, and of course the wind generated by the falling water can be felt as you try to stand up straight on the boat. 

This is a view of the observation deck as seen from the boat.  Looks small from this angle. 

Areas of the rock on the ramp back up to the observation deck have water seeping through.  This beautiful moss and ivy could be seen in several places.

This is a view of the American Falls in the foreground and the Horseshoe Falls in the background (they're on the Canadian side of this area) from the observation deck. 

These plants line the walkway towards the gift shop (aka the exit).

We saw several squirrels, including several black ones (my first time seeing one in person) all over the park.  This little guy barely held still long enough for this quick shot.

We drove to Syracuse, NY after Niagara Falls but had a really hard time finding a campground. We considered staying in a hotel but for some reason decided to camp out in the Walmart parking lot. BAD idea. BIG mistake in judgment on our part. First of all it wasn't in the best neighborhood, so we were a little on edge about that. Then the noise. I guess some people find it amusing to stop their cars next to RV's in the parking lot that have all their curtains drawn and just sit there...for 5 minutes or more....directly next to the window. Or the folks who rev the engines of their diesel Hummers while they drive circles around the RV's. Add to this the numerous apparent drug deals that took place until well after 2am in this same parking lot. Oh...and the trains! Let's not forget the trains. I think there were at least 3 of them. Yes, you are right...I didn't sleep that night! LOL

We needed to get the oil changed in the RV. Another difficult task in this area for several reasons, but we finally found a place that would do it at 1. So we found a laundromat, grabbed a sandwich, got the oil changed and finally headed on our way towards the Adirondacks. We stayed just outside Watertown at Bud's Campground. Great place! Super nice guy. Here is the view from our campsite.

Today we drove across the Adirondacks mostly on Highway 3. An easy and stunningly beautiful drive which took us through several small mountain towns and villages, past sparkling lakes, rivers and streams and happily also past some amazing Autumn colors. I have at least 3 seed bead mixes I'd love to make using some of these colors now.  Such stunning inspiration! 

In between these amazing colors were glorious and majestic pine trees with their deep forest green hues and well as twinkling Aspens, some that had changed to golds, oranges and reds and others that were a bright lime green. All those colors! I was on overload. It made me feel very comfortable and very happy. Since I spend the majority of my life surrounded by beads in every color imaginable, I hadn't realized how much I was missing that. This drive filled that need very well.

BTW...I have not altered these images except to resize and in a few of them I cropped them a bit.  These colors are exactly what my camera picked up.  Amazing, huh?  I know for folks who live in areas where the leaves change colors it might not seem so awe inspiring.  To me it was like magic.

Tomorrow we start making our way towards Kennebunkport, ME and a lobster roll with my name on it! I'm really looking forward to the drive through Vermont as I heard the colors are crazy amazing there right now.

See you again in a few days!


Beverly Herman said...

I've been following your adventure in the RV. I got a glimpse of the leaves changing colors in MI. Your pictures will be great source inspiration when you look back on this trip. I am looking forward to seeing more from your travels.

Jamie said...

Beki - I live in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area and the colors this tiime of the year always delight me. I live about 45 minutes south of Buffalo and we are just starting to change here. I hate the years that we have high winds and lose most of the leaves before we get to enjoy all of the different colors but this year doesn't seem to be one of them. I am headed towards and past the Syracuse area next week and really looking forward to it. Melanie Potter was teaching in Rochester, NY this past weekend. You could have visited a great bead store on your way to Syracuse and that might have made staying in that awful a little better.

KatieLiz said...

Living in Minnesota, I get to see the leaves change colors every autumn and it never fails to fill me with wonder at the beauty of it all. Another wonder is in the spring when the trees start to bud and turn various shades of green until the leaves mature. So beautiful. So glad you're having a wonderful time. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Love the pic of the leaves with the dew (or mist?). The purple flowers look like butterfly bush, but it seems late for that. And I meant to send this link: Might help with dining plans. Catherine

Sweet Fairy said...

Those places are so beautiful and amazing. I wish to visit all those places once. Thanks for sharing photos. niagara falls