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August 2014

End of The Trail

by Richie
End of The Trail

Delaware, Ohio
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We’ve made the big turn South and are at last heading for home. It’s been a wonderful couple of weeks in the mountains and at the lakes. The weather was perfection, we found many new places to love, and visiting with family was a bonus. 

Tonight we’re camped at Cross Creek Resort, a few clicks from Columbus. It will be an easy ride home from here, where it may take us a week to unpack the coach. 

Thanks for following along with us. We’ll be heading out again in a few weeks on some shorter trips, so stay tuned!

 

 

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Lily Dale Assembly

by Richie
Lily Dale Assembly

Lily Dale, NY
On Cassadaga Lakes
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 Lily Dale Assembly In 1848, the Fox sisters of Hyde Park, NY successfully made contact with a spirit on The Other Side who described the circumstances of his murder and the name of the man who killed him. And thus was launched the Spiritualist movement.

Within a few years of the sisters’ startling discovery, conventions and camps sprang up where the methods of spiritualism were discussed and taught. These were popular retreats, especially since women featured prominently in the movement, which coincided with Women’s Suffrage.

By the 1880’s, Lily Dale became the largest and last of the Spiritualist retreats, and remains so today. This gated community of about 200 homes is open only for the short summer season, and is home to renowned mediums and instructors. To live here or to own property here, you must be a sanctioned and registered spirit medium.

SIGNS

Each home has a sign announcing the medium who lives there, and an appointment book for personal readings is usually laid open on the porch. The town was bustling with visitors this Saturday, and many practitioners had notices posted on their doors saying their appointments were full for the day. 

We did not opt for a consultation, but we did attend a couple of free workshops and walked the dozen or so little streets. The town is lovely, everyone is friendly, and all are like-minded. You won’t find any skeptics here.

 HOUSES

Lily Dale offers many types of lectures and instruction series, usually conducted over a long weekend. There are a couple of hotels (circa 1890), and several guest houses where you can stay. I’m tempted to try some classes next summer!

 STREET

 

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I Love Lucy

by Richie
I Love Lucy

Jamestown, NY
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 LUCY

We spent the day in Jamestown, the hometown of Lucille Ball. This is also her birthday weekend (August 6, 1911) and the crowds turned out for the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. Serious Lucy aficionados have come from far and wide to attend numerous events, including tomorrow night’s big production with Jay Leno and daughter Lucie Arnez (sold out show!)

By chance, we lucked into the festivities this weekend and spent the afternoon poking around town. Jamestown is a good-sized town with a long history, and the older neighborhoods are paved with red bricks, oddly enough.

  TOWN

We toured through the extensive Lucy & Desi Museum where the film sets from the I Love Lucy show are recreated. Many of her costumes and effects are on exhibit, along with the personal histories of her and Desi. When she started to make it in show business, she sent for her Jamestown relatives, one by one, until all were relocated to California. SETS

The museum had several sitting areas where her TV episodes were playing on continuous loop, and I knew we were encountering some serious fans when the audience could recite every line. One gal gave a running commentary on the wardrobes, “She wore that same dress in the episode with Harpo Marx!”

My favorite exhibit was a Vitameatavegamin display, where you could recite the commercial and it was broadcast through a 1950’s television! “Are you popped at parties? Are you unpoopular?” DESILU

Early evening was spent at the Lucy & Ethel Comedy Dinner Show at the Willow Bay Theater. Two talented impersonators recreated famous scenes and interacted with the enthusiastic fans.

 SHOW

Tonight we will watch Lucy & Desi’s movie The Long Long Trailer – a DVD we just had to buy!

 LONG LONG

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lake Lounging

by Richie
Lake Lounging

Dewittville, NY
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Tim has recovered from our crappy shared cold and went on a reconnaissance mission today while I lounged on the couch and watched a Jimmy Stewart marathon. Jimmy as a playwright (with Rosalind Russell), Jimmy as a novelist (Hedy Lamarr), Jimmy as a journalist (Spencer Tracey). Good thing this campground has cable TV! sp

Late afternoon I finally rallied and Tim took me to all the swell places he found. Long Point State Park offered an expansive view of Chautauqua Lake, and would be a great spot for a picnic beneath the towering hemlock trees.

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Guppy’s Tavern was a lively local joint with an overwhelming menu of beers and BBQ, not to mention a huge selection of Italian dinners featuring stromboli the size of a soccer ball. What is the difference between a stromboli and a calzone anyway?

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This KOA is a large property, well maintained, and prettily landscaped. As we’ve seen with other lake campgrounds in New York, there are many seasonal renters here with permanent porches and groomed gardens. Swell place to spend the summer! sunset

Sunset over the lake was watched from a lovely viewing area replete with comfy Adirondack chairs. We even horsed around the playground a bit, and it felt good to be out and about after a day of lounging. 

 

 

 

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Whine Country

by Richie
Whine Country

Chautauqua County
New York
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KOA

 

We have relocated a couple hundred miles west to Chautauqua County. This area is on the western border of New York State and is known for its many wineries and miles of vineyards. 

The trip from Lake Ontario was pretty easy compared to some of our previous travel days, and we enjoyed the New York Thruway for its flat, smooth, and speedy route. 

But this nasty summer cold has really got the better of us. It started with Tim, he gave it to me, and I’ve given it right back to him. We are a mess of soggy tissues, moans and groans, and some whimpering on the side. Usually we take two-hour turns at driving. Today the best that could be summoned was about an hour each.

 We’ll be staying at this spot for a while. Whining and dining.

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Lake Ontario

by Richie
Lake Ontario

Fair Haven Beach State Park, New York
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It was a cool-ish and cloudy day at Lake Ontario. Perfect in fact for doing nothing campside. Had it been sunnier I would have felt obliged to exert myself and swim at the beach – the primary feature of this park. But being a bit still under the weather, the day was better spent resting. Which nobody else complained about.

lake ontario

We did manage a short ride around the park. And strolled on the causeway that separates Lake Ontario from a busy bay dotted with homes and boats. Saw a kid catch a strange little fish. “That’s a gobi,” his mother said. “It’s an invasive species in the lake, so we have to kill it.” And the boy promptly slammed the hapless fish on the concrete pier.

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Early evening we grilled our supper and dined picnic style. The remains of the night will be spent watching movies. A fine day of rest!

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Finger Lakes

by Richie
Finger Lakes

Fair Haven, New York
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Mohawk River

Mohawk River

We packed up all our loot from Vermont and headed out again. Every cranny and most nooks in the RV are stuffed with goodies from generous family. There’s armloads of beautiful clothes from my mom and Aunt Bon, fresh from the outlet stores in Manchester. Grandma’s paintings are in the closet wrapped in her handmade aprons. Vintage dishes and Aunt Lou’s afghan are hidden in the cupboard. Noni’s wine glass and Uncle Slam’s garden notes are tucked in a corner. Plus a box of Dad’s things he couldn’t carry on the plane. As a topper, we crammed in everything we bought – maple syrup, Vermont bourbon!, a case of Moxie, army pants Tim had to have, and new hiking boots I couldn’t live without.

I had to double-check the coach GCWR (gross combined weight rating) to make sure it wouldn’t explode. If a motorhome could bulge, we’d look like a ripe watermelon.

Loaded to the gills, we lumbered in a northwesterly direction to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Our RV planning guide reckoned it would be a 3-1/2 hour ride. In fact, it took almost twice as long to get here. Poor Tim did ALL the driving, as I’ve been fighting a cold all day (achoo!) plus I needed to navigate a complicated route – map in lap, along with two pages of hand-written directions. As we’ve discovered many times before, when we are in the mountains the GPS sets itself on Sherpa Mode and can’t be trusted to route the motorhome along safe, flat highways. It always wants to send us down some graveled logging road because it would shave .02 miles off the trip. So paper map it is.

Outside of Schenectady we traveled alongside the Mohawk River for a while. It was a pretty waterway, winding and bending through a fetching countryside, and at one point a section of the old Erie Canal ran happily in tandem with the river.

Off the interstate for much of the day, we passed through many little country towns most of which looked prosperous and idyllic. A small gale blew up around Fonda, and I was not fonda that twisting, pothole-filled little burgh.

Tonight we have camped at Fair Haven Beach State Park, located on the shores of Lake Ontario. There was a bit of a fuss checking in, as I did not have a current copy of the dog’s rabies vaccination – a strict rule which they really should have posted better on their reservation system. So there I was, coughing and sneezing all over the ranger’s prissy desk and making frantic phone calls to the vets back home. Dammit, which vet was that? Eventually all was resolved with a timely fax and we were at last permitted to proceed to our campsite, where we both collapsed in a heap.

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Mountain Garden & Stream

by Richie
Mountain Garden & Stream

North Clarendon, Vermont
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BRIDGE

My Uncle Slam is a master gardener. Well.. he’s not really my uncle, he’s my dad’s best friend since kindergarten. They have their 65th high school reunion this weekend – Class of 1949! MSJ

Uncle Slam’s house is within walking distance of where we are camped in North Clarendon, and we took a long tour of his magnificent garden this morning. He’s got 34 kinds of blueberry bushes, even more raspberry varieties, gooseberries, currants, rows and rows of different grapes. There’s the orchard with exotic plums, peaches, apples and pears. Not to mention the vegetable garden with A to Z produce – from to artichoke to zucchini. Everything is pruned and trimmed to within arm’s reach, no ladders needed to pluck the fruit. Peg spends all summer canning and preserving the harvest. And Uncle Slam generously gave us a crash course in his gardening methods and experiments, plus a written inventory of plants. I’m deeply inspired to duplicate his garden at our own farm! GARDEN

 

 

Early afternoon we had planned to rent a car in Rutland, but we dawdled a little too long and Enterprise was closed by the time we got there at 1:00. So we scrounged around town and found a U-Haul van to rent, or as my Aunt Bon called it – the Vermont Limo. We cruised the Farmers Market downtown and loaded up on maple syrup, fresh and delicious, and much cheaper than we can get at home. MARKET

Late afternoon found me and Shadow down by the stream at Cold River. Dad used to trout fish here, but the dog and I just splashed around a bit and enjoyed the crisp mountain air and cool rushing water.

 COLD RIVER

We joined my cousin Janice and her family in the evening for a great grilled steak dinner, lots of laughs, and catching up on all the family gossip. Janice has part of our big Italian family archives, including our grandparent’s immigration papers and picture albums of all 12 kids growing up, my dad being the baby of the bunch. You couldn’t find a happier family – everyone is smiling and the six sisters were quite the beauties. We should all be so lucky!

 CUZ

 

 

 

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Green Mountains

by Richie
Green Mountains

Rutland, Vermont
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The Old Mill at Weston

 Our mountain adventure has continued up north to the verdant hills of central Vermont. This is home for me – where I was born, where my parents are from, and where I still have lots of family.

I think we each have a little bit of dog in us. You know how dogs seem to recognize their own territory – they can tell when they are getting close to home after a long drive, and will even travel hundreds of miles to find their way back. Well this is how I feel about Vermont. I cross the state line and all the Kentucky and New Jersey seems to fall off me. I know this place. My internal homing device is set to Northeast, and my feet feel firmly grounded in the Green Mountains.

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The day was spent celebrating my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary and my dad’s upcoming birthday. We all trooped a few miles down the road to the charming little hamlet of Weston, home to the famous Vermont Country Store. Supper was enjoyed and then we were treated to a production of Chorus Line at the Weston Playhouse. Great to be with family again!

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The Camps of Lake George

by Richie
The Camps of Lake George

Lake George, New York
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Lake George Camps

Our last day at Lake George was spent touring about and enjoying the scenery of this beautiful area. We motored down shady lanes and hidden roads to peek at the homes which dot the shoreline. There are a few new and fancy homes, but the ones I like the best are the old small camps that look like they were built about 100 years ago. You just can’t buy character, it has to be earned.

Climbing up to “the top of the world” we found a hilltop golf course with a stunning view of the lake. Almost a reason to take up golfing!

The signature low-slung Adirondack chairs are everywhere and prove to be very comfy. After sitting in a dozen or so at various locations, I decided we needed a pair at home. They’ll be shipped right from the “factory” in upstate New York, which is really a small workshop with a couple of dedicated guys who hand craft each chair.

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