When I was planning out my itinerary for my first year of full-time RVing, I was a little concerned that spending four weeks in one place might be too long. Well, after having spent four weeks each in two consecutive locations, I can now report that it is NOT too long. The old saying of “time flies when you are having fun” has never been more true. With all that there is to see and do in these areas, having four weeks to explore seems about right. Not hurried, I can take my time and work my way around, dodging the occasional rainy day that may limit what you can see or do. Now that I’m ready to depart for my next stop, I do so knowing that the time spent here in the Finger Lakes has been most rewarding.
Watkins Glen Gorge and Corning Museum of Glass
My dear friend Joanne stopped by for a couple days on her way from SC to Niagara Falls. It was great catching up with her, and having a sight seeing companion to visit some of the areas most treasured venues. 2,000 years in the making and mostly formed from glaciers during the ice age, the gorge at Watkins Glen is a spectacularly scenic beauty. About a mile and a half long, the gorge trail takes you through the 400 foot gorge, walking past 19 breathtaking water falls. There are over 800 stone steps and several stone bridges to traverse as you make your way along the trail. The pictures that I share here don’t even begin to represent the spectacular scenery and sheer beauty of this NY state park treasure. Just amazing!
We also spent some time at the Corning Museum of Glass. Having started in 1851 in Summerville, MA as the Bay State Glass Company, it would later relocated to its namesake Corning, NY in 1868. 150 years later, the world headquarters of Corning Glass Works remains here in Corning, along with several research and development facilities. Corning has a tremendous history in the glass world having developed many items such as various glass products for science, fiber optics for technology, and a number of consumer products such as CorningWare and Corelle dishes, and Pyrex cookware. They are also credited with the development and production of Gorilla Glass – used in many mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and even television screens. In addition to all the Corning specific glass items, the museum also features an amazing historical collection of glass from all over the world spanning 35 centuries of glass art and history. There were plenty of demonstrations of glass-blowing, glass-fusing, and glass cutting/engraving, all performed by skilled glass artisans with many, many years of practice. Truly an amazing place to spend an afternoon.
The Finger Lakes Wine Trail
Ah, one of the most wonderful things about the Finger Lakes is their recognition as one of the finest wine making areas in the eastern US. Wine making in the area has grown tremendously in the last couple of decades, and NY is the nations third largest wine producer behind CA and WA . The Finger Lakes is home to more than 130 wineries, and significantly contributes to the $3 billion NY State wine industry. The minerals in the soil along with terrific drainage allow the grapes to thrive in the hills along the lakes, while the cool climate contributes to their crisp sweet flavors producing exceptional Rieslings and Ice Wines for which the region is known. I spent a day driving up the shores of Seneca and Keuka lakes, visiting many of the wineries along the way. In doing so, I assembled a nice collection of various red varieties that will be enjoyed in the future (yes Debbie, I’ll keep these set aside until I land in FL).
I have an app on my phone called “Roadside America – Your Guide to Offbeat Tourist Attractions”. This app features collections of must see (and might want to see) places and things along the road. While some of the featured items are somewhat silly and inconsequential, they often point you to some of the nations strangest and interesting attractions (e.g. largest ball of twine). There were a half dozen featured items to see in the area, so I spent a day chasing around to see them. The town of Elmira NY held many of these roadside attractions. One in particular was the National Soaring Museum – dedicated to gliding air planes. The city of Elmira is self proclaimed as the Glider Capital of America. The museum, located on the grounds of the Harris Hill Soaring Center, houses an impressive collection of 19th and 20th century glider aircraft, and offers an excellent glimpse into the world of motorless flight. I also got to watch several tow-behind launches and eventual noiseless landings of these really cool aircraft. Also present in Elmira is the resting place of Samuel Langhorne Clemens – aka Mark Twain. He, his wife, and his entire family are buried in a dedicated family area in Woodlawn Cemetery. It was interesting to see all the writing instruments, cigars, and other paraphernalia visitors left behind. Lastly, I also saw a large plug at an electrical store, a giant polar bear holding an ice cream cone at an ice cream shop (great ice cream by the way), and a statue of the now extinct Labrador duck dedicated in the spot where it was last seen in the 1800’s. Kinda quirky things to see, but alas I have plenty of free time to devote to these wacky attractions.
Cleanup and Projects
It wasn’t all fun and games here in NY – there were things that needed to be done too. To that end, I can now cross off the task of cleaning the RV from my to-do list. I spent the better part of an entire day hosing, scrubbing, then rinsing off the entire outside of the RV. It really needed a bath, and the result was great – nice and clean and shiny once again! I’m very appreciative of this campground and their RV wash-friendly rules. Now, I only hope it lasts until the next spot that allows it. I also completed the installation of the antenna mounts, and did a test fitting of the WiFi and Cellular booster antennas. I think they are going to work out well in the chosen location. I did come up short on the cable length for the cell booster, so I’ll have to order a longer cable before that can be installed. So, that project is at a standstill until later.
So I leave NY in two days for my next stop in Brattleboro, VT. I’m looking forward to seeing and spending time with my brother Paul who resides there, along with my other brother Dick who has decided to drive from NH with his RV in tow and book some time at the KOA campground with me. I’m sure the three of us will have a great time catching up. Till then, safe travels!