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Friday 26 July 2013

New York state.
Houses still clapboard, but the trees have been replaced with grass and corn fields. A very large truck on the interstate tried to drive through us and anyone else in his way as he thundered along. I’d hate to think what his stopping distance is at that speed. Cayuga Lake is in the Finger Lakes region of NYC. It is lined with vineyards and we visited the one that opened first, Cobblestone House.

They were still setting up when we arrived but we browsed the many sauces, salsas, pickles, oils and wines on offer. We tasted six, from a dry red to sweet white and bought three bottles. One in particular, Country Porch, tastes very similar to sangria. The  creamery we’d picked out for an ice cream didn’t open until 11am so we visited Taughannock Falls while we waited. It was billed as an overlook so we were expecting to be above the fall. In fact we had a spectacular view of the whole waterfall, the tallest single drop in north eastern USA. There were some cool trikes visiting too, driven by women.

Back to the ice creams, cherry jubilee and maple pecan on waffle cones. There is so much choice, not just for flavours but cone or dish, cone regular or waffle, plain or sugared. Those eaten, next stop was Watkins Glen state park, Watkins Glen claiming to be the home of motor racing in the US.
Cost was $8 for the car but we ended up parking across the road as it was so busy. The kids had obviously finished school for the summer, something that had not been apparent in the other states.
It was hot and sunny so the gorge offered shade and, as we passed under the cascade, a brief shower. We climbed up innumerable steps with views of rushing water, to the top where the falls began. It was a small river, the force of the falls coming from the narrow gulley and the height the water fell.

A very unusual waterfall was found at Montaur. In the middle of a residential area, and surrounded by far more large churches than you’d think was necessary, was a large wide fall, down a sheer face of rock. Parking was limited, but of course Graeme found a spot right alongside.

We were hungry by this time, after all that walking, so we found a real life roadside diner called Chef’s Classics. It looked just the same as on TV, with an enormous menu – every eating place seems to do a menu several pages long. This one, amongst other things, offered a monster burger – 2 lb burger, which with all the trimmings weighing in at a massive 4 lbs of meat. We had roast beef hash and a Texas special (two hot dogs with meatloaf, cheese and tomato on top). With drinks, the entire bill was about $10. Bargain!

Then it was time to go to one of the places I’d been looking forward to. Corning Glass Museum. We had to park at the welcome centre and take a bus the 5 minutes ride to the museum. We could have walked, but it was hot 🙂  It cost $17 each to get in. I’d already booked paid for my ‘Make your own glass’ flower session at 4pm and as it was already 3 we sat and watched a demo making a glass bowl and started looking at some of the wonderful exhibits before we had to go. I was asked the colours I wanted for the flower – green for the stem and (naturally) purple and blue for the flower, before donning leather covers for my feet, long arm covers, a leather apron and safety goggles. These guys were taking no chances! Then it was my turn. The young guy explained what was going to happen then did a quick demo in clear glass. He got my gather, coloured it in green frit and I got to roll it whilst the glass cooled. The next colors wer added to the next gather, it was paddled flat (by me), reheated, then I pulled the petals out. It was reheated and pulled into a flower shape before curling the stem and heading for the kiln. We still had a bit of a drive to go so after looking at more exhibits, watching a talk on fibre optics and browsing the gift shop it was time to leave. We needed longer to do the museum justice, but we didn’t have it to spare.

Driving to the hotel we drove along eerily quiet roads past farms and cornfields. We had diner in a little German restaurant, Rheinblick in Canandaigua. German food, American sized portions so we were pretty full! We hadn’t found any other blicks today.
The Americans don’t seem to want to stop and look at the view. Nowhere was available to take photos of the beautiful lakes, we drove along three, over 20 miles long and the only parking areas were in heavily wooded sections where you, quite literally, couldn’t see the lake for the trees. There were few cars too and even less on foot. Baffling!