Thursday, July 28, 2011

2011-21 Western New York

New York

I thought I’d write about a few insights I’ve noted about the state of New York.  Now these are my thoughts and may not reflect the total picture of an area but are items that I’ve observed.

didn't even have to carve it....

As you may be aware, many states have a fee on plastic, glass and aluminum cans.  On initial observance, one would think it would be a great way to ensure recycling.  But as a traveler, even though I have a separate garbage can for such recyclable items,  there are no recycle bins to put my cans, bottle and aluminum into.  From what I’ve observed NY doesn’t have recycle bins as in other states.  Your supposed to return you cans, bottles etc to a grocery store that has a place to turn them in and get cash back.  But what to do with a bottle or can that hasn’t been purchased in that state?  It just gets tossed in the regular garbage bin, adding to the non-cycled garbage dumps.  And what about the other things that aren’t being recycled like paper, cardboard and glass.  Oh well….

I can’t tell you how much it hurt to toss those recycle items in the regular trash.

I’m in an area where many Amish live.  Today while visiting the small town of Angelica, two horse drawn black buggies drove by.  Each with a young person and a mother with her black bonnet covering her hair.  The young boy with his straw hat on.  Standing up as he directed the horse down the quiet main street.

Just out of town, one of the Amish farms also had a lively lumber business.  Cutting lumber for building purposes, right in the local area, reducing transporting the lumber long distances and probably helping the environment.  I like to see their laundry hanging up on huge lines strung up across a pulley system from the back of the house to a tall pole out in the middle of the yard.  All whites one day, then all dark colors (black, gray and blue) the next.  Nice to see a simpler way of life being so successful.

Lots of farms and barns and silos throughout the area.  They appear to grow lots of grains and hay in the area with a smattering of corn as well as other crops.  Many farms have a pond near the main entrance as well.  Many of the small towns were built up and became prosperous around the turn of the century.  With wonderful large homes and mansions to testify to wealth in the area at one time.  And yet there’s so much land that is still forested as well.

My friend Steve was telling us how normally this part of NY never gets hot.  Well the last couple of days it has reached into the 90’s and they don’t have air-conditioning in their farmhouse.  Steve said it was 88 in their living room the other night.  He had a brilliant idea to chill his T-shirt in the fridge.  A little while later, he took the T-shirt out of the fridge expecting to feel all cool after putting the shirt on.  He barely got the t-shirt on and it was at room temperature again.  So much for great ideas.

I remember growing up in Northern Michigan and the few days it would get really hot, Mom would keep all the shades pulled upstairs and down.  After a few days the house lost all it’s coolness and would become really warm.   The basement door would be left open to let cool air rise up from the basement below.  If you stood in the open doorway it did feel cool.  Mom would let us kids sleep downstairs on the carpeted floor in the living room until the heat abated a few days later.

Over in Wellsville NY I stopped to take pictures of a wonderful pink Italianate mansion that even has a ghost story to tell.  It remains in the same family that built it in 1868.  Such amazing Victorian houses are all around this area.  One has windows in the shape of keyholes and I must go back and get pictures of it.

The following week, I took one of those excursions into the country side that I always enjoy.  I headed towards Letchworth State Park.  Just driving along hilly country roads seeing all the farms in the area and a few abandoned old barns and homes.  Thru tiny little towns like Canaseraga, Nunda, Portage Village and Dansville.  Crossing over the Genesee River on a narrow bridge that barely looked like it could hold the weight a single car crossing it, with it’s buckling asphalt road and weeds growing up through the pavement.

Letchworth is one of those gems built around a natural wonder, the Genesee Gorge.  Three waterfalls, 600 feet deep gorge, the Glenn Iris Inn where I had a wonderful lunch.  The Norfolk and Southern railroad passes overhead on the tall Portage Bridge, built to replace the tallest wooden bridge in the world after it burned down in 1875.  Thought Tim R who’s a train buff would enjoy a few shots of the train crossing the bridge.  I walked under the bridge as the Norfolk Southern passed on overhead.  Listening to the train as it slowly traveled across the bridge high above.  The smooth grinding of steel wheels against the tracks and the rhythmic clicking as the thousands of tons of train engine and cars rolled over each section of track.  Even feeling the vibrations through the solid rock foundation I stood on next to the steel girders of the bridge.

Great hiking trails, old timey rental log cabins and campground all along a 25 mile long scenic route within the state park. I thought I’d mention the lunch I had, Chicken Fricassee. What a simple elegant and taste dish.  If you haven’t had it in a while, It’s basically fresh made biscuits piled with shredded chicken, peas, shredded carrots in a white gravy sauce, sprinkled with parsley.   The folks next to me thought it looked so good, they wanted to take a picture of it.  I’ve added a link to a Cajun version you may like to try and adjust to your own taste. Other versions are over rice.  See links.

What a refreshing day spent hiking between waterfalls, along the edge of the deep gorge canyon walls.  Tall shade trees providing a cathedral type atmosphere with birds chirping in the distance.  Long moss covered rock walls and benches made by the CCC’s so many years ago.  The Genesee River bottom made of flat slabs of rock that have cracked over the years and appear to be square and rectangular slabs made by man. But nature has carved these from the river itself.

Back in the little town of Angelica, I stopped in the Sweet Shop for a cup of coffee and pastry and a chat with the owner.  Told how her and her husband have purchased two of the building in town and work 7 days a week running them along with hiring 20 part time workers as well.  Loving the work and the small town.  I wandered around town taking lots of pictures.  In their circular park they’ve built a Roque rink for an old fashioned game that is still played today by some of the locals.  Men only.  As the owner of the Sweet Shop suggested, the women probably wouldn’t be interested in playing anyway, as it’s a very slow paced game.

Stopped in the city hall and met the Court clerk.  A nice gal who said the judge is trying to convince her to study for and apply for being a judge one day.  Hope she goes through with it too.  The Post Office is in an old historic building on the corner of the circular park, (is it possible to have a corner on a circle?).  The Post Master said they’re little post office is safe at this point and pointed to the 250 one hundred year old mail boxes in use.  Neat little post office.  I had wanted to go to the Free Library but it’s only open three days a week.  Will have to back tomorrow.  It’s an impressive building.

So as you can see I’m not exactly doing much exploring as I am absorbing the feel of this area of the country.  Meeting the people and enjoying a different pace of life.  Until next time, have a super great day
Exploring your own part of the world.

More pictures on Picasa.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Just found your do I have a lot of reading to do : )