Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chapter 32 - Watkins Glen, Day 2

July 26, Day 53: Today is our 2nd full day here in Watkins Glen and we have decided to drive over to Ithaca and visit my old alma mater, Cornell University. From there we are not sure but we will probably drive up the west coast of Cayuga Lake for a few miles or so before heading back to our campsite. Fortunately today the weather is perfect for everything including taking long range photographs of our favorite lake, Seneca Lake.

As we headed down into Montour Falls located just south of Watkins Glen, Kathy spotted a house that she said that she had always loved both because of its beauty and because of its great views of Seneca Lake (similar to the view in the photo above). We were surprised to find that Kathy's I-love-that-house was for sale. I found out later that they were asking only $270,000 for this 2,588 sf house plus several large red barns all on 5.82 acres all with a spectacular view. If I were not so old . . . . Anyway, if anyone is interested let me know. My real estate commission fee is very low.

Kathy and I have driven from Watkins Glen to Ithaca in the past as we used to attend Cornell football games each fall when we lived on Seneca. We never however, noticed that along the way there was an old historic covered bridge, The Newfield Covered Bridge, that was built back in 1853.  This bridge is the oldest covered bridge in New York State that one can still drive across, and, we did. A first.

Down in Montour Falls there is, not surprisingly, a falls by the name of Montour Falls. Unfortunately due to the very dry weather they have been having in this area, there was not a lot of water falling off this 165 foot high cliff although even with the lower volume of water the view of the water and the cliff is quite spectacular. We did notice that despite the 30 Minute Parking sign out by the road, it was quite clear that the 100 plus year old car had undoubtedly been parked there more than 30 minutes. The area of Montour Falls was first settled by white-Europeans in 1788, so relatively speaking the old car is still fairly new.
Cornell University has grown enormously since I graduated back in 1964 and maybe this accounts for why the parking lots have almost disappeared on campus. We were able to take this photograph of my old fraternity house, Psi Upsilon, because the parking lot was almost empty but because of the lack of parking on the rest of the campus we decided not to tour the campus. That plus Cornell is built on the side of a hill and walking on campus was always all uphill or downhill. Hard work for us old alumni.

One of the favorite attractions on campus besides the deep gorges on both sides of the campus that fall down to Cayuga Lake, is the view of the small Beebe Lake. This lake was created by partially damming up one of the streams that runs down one of the gorges. The dam was original built to operate a small power generator. The area surrounding the lake is now a natural park with hiking trails. Such activities we largely ignored as students.

Perhaps my most interesting re-visit here in Ithaca was to the home that five of us rented during my senior year at Cornell. It was a total dump when we rented it 52 years ago, but its location between two golf courses (Ithaca Country Club and the Cornell University Golf Course) made it a choice location and it was eventually turned into a private home and renovated (considerably). We had a lot of great parties at this place as well as a dog that was not potty trained, but we never played golf.

As we left Ithaca we stopped at a park located at the end of Cayuga Lake and I took this photo of Kathy and Cabo. Here again, a lovely lake with sailboats and deep blue water and tall tree covered hills dropping to the shoreline. Great spot to spend the summer.

Just up the western side of Cayuga Lake is a state park by the name of Taughannock Falls State Park. Here again is another deep gorge that was created by the rapidly running water flowing down into Cayuga Lake. The major attraction here of course, is the waterfall itself although considering the current drought conditions, the amount of water falling was far below normal.

There was one final stop that I knew we had to make despite the fact that it might cause me great emotional stress.  The gravestone of my 3rd great grandfather Elijah Baker (1812-1876) we located in a cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church in the Village of  Burdette where he had lived most of his life.  Burdette is located above the southeastern shore of Seneca Lake not far from Watkins Glen. The smile on my face in this photo shows the great joy I felt finding the gravestone.

We returned to our campsite by around 2 o'clock. The rest of the afternoon I relaxed and wrote this blog while Kathy did the wash. Cabo just slept. Tomorrow we are headed south again with a planned stop just outside the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  

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