More Museums

We continue to work our way south in New York State. We stopped two nights in Eaton Lake Campsite, just north of Long Lake NY. From there we traveled down to Blue Mountain where we spent much of the day at the Adirondack Museum. We haven;t been there in probably 20 or 30 years. Last time we were there Water Witch was housed in a plexi dome in the entry. Now it is inside next to the ticket desk (this is a sailboat with at 30 foot (?) mast). It w as well worth the visit and it brought back a lot of memories. There are a lot of boats of all sorts and a private railcar and an old ADK hotel and . . .  well you get the idea. Speaking of stopping in a State Park in the Adirondacks, this is what you call shoehorned in.

This was one of the largest spots in the park. Clearly they are much more friendly to smaller trailers and tents.
From Long Lake we drove through some more back roads and to Saratoga Springs where we stayed in the Elks Lodge for the night. We decided not to go to a museum and instead walked through the town and did some shopping – looking only – and then had dinner at Boca Bistro on Broadway. It was very nice – no foodie pictures were taken. 
The next day we drove to Rhinebeck NY to Interlake Campground. This is a very nice campground if a bit hilly, but the sites are level. We came here in particular to see FDR’s home and see it we did today. There are four sites on the property, the House, the Presidential Library, Top Cottage which served as a private place for FDR and Val-Kill which served as Eleanor’s personal space and home after Franklin died. He had left the main house to the National Park SErvice in his will. We toured three of the four and visited and wandered about in Val-Kill after the tours were over for the day. 
Tomorrow we plan to spend time at Storm King Art Museum and whatever other trouble we can get ourselves into. The only other plan we have is dinner at CIA on Thursday night (That’s Culinary Institute of America). We will be dining in the Italian Restaurant. More on that anon.

New York North Country – Off Grid

We set out for Alexandria Bay based on the desire to visit the Frederick Remington Museum in Ogdensburg, NY. This city sits on the St Lawrence River midway between Alexandria Bay and Massena NY. It has a major bridge to Canada over the river and once upon a time served as a major river port for goods moving to and from the interior of the continent from overseas. Having determined that there was something worth seeing in the area we looked for more to do. We had heard the story of Boldt Castle across from Alexandria Bay among the 1000 Islands and decided that it was time we actually took the tour to see what the 127 room castle was all about. With this thought in mind we we decided to stay at 1000 Islands Campground just a few miles from Alexandria Bay for two – no three – nights (that indecision was to cost us some energy as the site they put us on was only available for two nights and when we decided to stay for three they had to ask us to move to a different site for the third night).
Just a quick refresher for those who haven’t a clue who George Boldt was, he developed the original Waldorf Astoria on the site of what was to be Penn Station and several other grand hotels. He made fabulous amounts of money and fell in love with the 1000 Islands where he bought and developed Wellesley Island and ultimately acquired Hart Island, later renamed Heart Island. Eventually he decided to build a grand castle to give to his wife who he loved very much. The tragedy was that she died of Tuberculosis one month before he was to give it to her on Valentine’s Day. He telegraphed the construction foreman with instructions to cease work and leave the Island and Castle unfinished. Although he continued to come to the islands every summer, it is reported that he never again set foot on Heart Island. The island was eventually left to the elements and vandals for 73 years. Ultimately it came into the possession of the Thousand Island Bridge Authority (TIBA) which has been working on restoring it section by section to the condition it was when construction stopped. This has been going on for over 30 years. Much has been restored and many artifacts have been recovered and other similar artifacts have been added for display.

We arrived on an early shuttle direct from Alexandria Bay by about 11 AM and went directly to the Yacht House just across the river, it had never been abandoned so is in the condition it was when the family used it. We then returned to the Castle and spent a couple of hours in the main building before taking a lunch break in the food
concession, call it fuel. To continue on to the main gate, the Children’s Playhouse (It contains bowling alleys and a theater) and the Power House. All in all we spent $19.50 per person for admission fees and shuttle service on Uncle Sam Tour Boats.

Upon our return to Alexandria Bay we walked around the town to find typical tourist venue with typical tourist stuff for sale. We returned to the coach and had dinner on board. The next morning, after relocating the coach from site 23 to site 26 we drove off to Ogdensburg, about an hour, to see what the Frederick Remington Museum was about. This museum was established in 1926 in a house not far from where he had lived until his premature death with his wife and family. The mansion belonged to a wealthy real estate magnate who had not lived in it for some time and after Frederick’s death he let his wife and sister live there for several years. She wanted to create a museum and eventually the house with Frederick’s remaining art and artifacts was converted into the museum. We spent the better part of two hours in the first floor of the house and the museum. It is wonderful to see two or three versions of his bronzes side by side and to see the variations that the lost wax process permitted him to achieve as he refined each piece from one casting to the next. There are also many of his paintings done as originals for publication on the cover of Collier’s Magazine. These are not at all about horses and the West. After lunch at a nearby sandwich Shop (Busy Corner), we returned to wander through the second floor of the house with its many original pieces and the stories about the owners before it became a museum. He had arrived with some expectations given the source of our referral, primarily my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Josh and found that as usual there suggestion that it was worth a visit was understated.
If you find yourself even thinking about crossing the roof of NY, plan to make stops for a day each in Alexandria Bay and Ogdensburg.
We moved on Friday to Long Lake NY. It would have been easy to pick up 3 out of Watertown to 30 to Long Lake, but a bit out of the way and we’ve driven those routes many times. I put the Eaton Lake Campsite – a New York State Park in the onboard GPS and chose to follow its routing. Even after all our years driving this region we would ourselves on road and passing though hamlets that we had never heard of

. Using a paper map I would not have attempted to do this because it required route changes and turns every 3 to 9 miles until we eventually got to route 3 well beyond Watertown, actually in Theresa, and then 40 miles on NY 30. We did not have a reservation and the ranger was doubtful we could fit on any of the sites that were open for more than one night. We found a site, #117 if you are interested, onto which it was just possible to shoehorn our 36 foot coach. Do not even consider it in anything bigger. Good Sam says the sites are 30×50, that may be but they are dirt and far from level. From my tenting days, they are beautiful, in the coach, not so much.

Tomorrow we will move on maybe to Saratoga where there is an Elks Lodge with space for us and maybe a performance at SPAC. This will not be posted until we move on as there is no phone service in the campsite and very little in town.

A Family weekend and Preparing to Roll Out

We spent Friday and Saturday in Hamilton ON visiting Aunt Dodo who just turned 91. We stayed with Marilyn and Albert in Dundas as taking the coach for this jaunt seemed to be overkill. Marilyn put out a lovely luncheon for the five of us and then in the evening just the four of us went to dinner at their club. Saturday noon we gathered at the Mandarin Chinese Buffet in Burlington with Mitchell, Melaney and Haley; Harvey and Leslie; Michael and Stacey; Arnie and Peggy and of course Marilyn, Al and Dodo. It was quite a gang put together in the last week and a half. It was a fun reunion and we all said we need to do it more often.

Now I’m sitting in the living room of our apartment waiting for Josh and his friend to arrive for lunch. Boxes are starting to collect in the corridors and fill with the few things we need to load out to the coach. After lunch we will take them (the boxes)  out to the coach, now that we have a functional elevator in the building, and start up the refrigerator. Tomorrow the food will make the trip and we will hook up the Jeep and head north.

Our first destination is along the St Lawrence River in Northern NY. Depending on how the day goes we could make it to Ogdensburg or we could stop a bit short in Alexandria Bay where there are several campgrounds. Our reason for going this way, as I mentioned in a prior blog, is to visit the birthplace of Frederick Remington and to see the museum there. This also puts us north of the Adirondacks State Park and will give us a chance to drive through the park and maybe even spend a night or two. Eventually we want to get to Hyde Park area, it looks like we will camp in Rhinebeck NY, not too far away. There are several homes and mansions in addition to FDRs home and museum worth touring in the area and dinner at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) would be on the agenda. Also on the program is a visit to Storm King Art Center. Timing is still up in the air as our plans include arriving at Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Park on August 29 and staying through September 2. Plans beyond that are vague. We had hoped to visit friends in Philadelphia, but they are on their way to France as we might be arriving.

We will wend our way to Covesville VA where we will be for Rosh HaShanah and Dan’s birthday. Following that we will return to Rochester September 29 where we will stay until October 13 or so. We are not sure how long we will stay there, but our route from there probably will include Charlotte, NC to say Hi to Leigh and Patrick who just moved there from Austin. We need to visit Hazel who has been providing a running journal of the transition and move from her feline perspective.

We also are planning a stop in Red Bay Alabama, northwest corner of the state, where Gee Whiz was built. The shower door has never been quite right and I hope that someone there can actually resolve the problem. Also the sleep number bed is leaking on Carol’s side so it goes from soft to uninflated in the course of a week or so.  Ultimately we need to make it to Rainbow’s End in Livingston TX by December 15. We leave for Israel from Houston on December 22, leaving the coach on site for the two week we will be gone. Travel plans beyond that are even more vague only knowing we will get to LA at some point and probably the Bay Area as well to see a new grand nephew due in September.

Discoveries Near our Apartment

On Sunday, July 27, Carol and I took a walk that in our style took a strange turn, west on Main St actually. That brought us eventually to Madison St where Susan B. Anthony House Museum stands today at #17. This is where she lived and worked to devote herself to suffrage for women. She was single minded, she worked for temperance and as an abolitionist as well, but always for woman’s right to vote. She dedicated her entire life to that goal and although she herself never saw it, it did come to be in large measure as a result of her enduring self sacrifice. The house tour is worth making a stop in Rochester for, especially if you get a docent who is as into the history as the one we had who took an hour and a quarter to give the 45 minute tour. Think of single-mindedness of purpose, a life devoted to one goal “failure is impossible” votes for women.
It was pleasant to walk along and see the signs commemorating the history of Susan B, and Frederick Douglas who lived nearby and the railroads and the canal that passed through the area in those days. Thoughts of the Race Riots of 1964, just 50 years ago, that resulted in the construction of Fight Square right there on Main Street, now torn down and replaced with newer, finer housing, pass through the mind as it is so much in the news. The area is rebuilt and appears to be a substantial urban neighborhood.
In Susan B Anthony’s era Rochester was a confluence of canals and a river. The Erie Canal passed through the center of the city and crossed the Genesee River on an aqueduct which to this day carries the Broad Street Bridge across the river as an added upper deck. Just west of the river, which is not navigable, isthe Genesee Valley Canal which was opened in 1840 only be abandoned with the coming of the railroad in 1877. Today it forms a Greenway stretching from the former Erie Canal to Mt Morris and beyond. There are also remnants of the Buffalo,Bradford andPittsburgh Railroad to be seen, not the least the railroad station that today houses Nick Tahou’s Hots, the home of the Garbage plate, featured on “Diners Drive-ins and Dives”.
Just past #17 Madison St is Madison Square. It is a lovely park with a sculpture of Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglas having Tea.

Let’s have some Tea

Since that walk we have taken many more walks, but with less exciting discoveries. For now we are entertaining or being entertained for almost every meal as we prepare to get back in the coach. A brief idea of our near term schedule follows: on Friday the 15th we drive in the Jeep to Hamilton ON to visit Carol’s aunt who just turned 91 – we should all be as spry and active at 85 as she is at 91. Then we will stay over with cousins before traveling to Niagara Falls for dinner with more cousins. A day (or two) in Rochester to prepare ourselves and the coach and we set off to see some of New York that we have driven through without stopping. First destination is Ogdensburg along the St Lawrence River where Frederick Remington, the sculptor, was born and there is a museum. Then to Hyde Park where among other things we will tour FDR’s home and museum. Eventually we will get to Jersey City NJ where we will stay over Labor Day Weekend to see Carol’s family and attend her brother’s birthday party. Since we will be a short ferry ride from Manhattan I cannot imagine that we won’t get into the city.

The looking glass gets a bit foggy after that. We will be in Covesville, VA with Dan, Malena and family over Rosh HaShanah and Dan’s birthday which coincide this year, and back in Rochester from September 29, or so, through October 13ish. Then back to C’ville before heading out either west or south or?