Birthday Outing 2016

This year my birthday happened to fall on a Saturday. So to celebrate Luke,  his parents, and I took a very long day trip.

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We picked up the ornaments made earlier in the week from the glass studio in Corning. For more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2013/12/28/a-corning-christmas-present/

Then we headed to Watkins Glen State Park to hike the George Trail.

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Being a very warm Saturday, the trail was crowded but as always worth it. We have had a very dry summer so far, and light winter, so the falls were not as full as normal, but still it is a beautiful place.

 

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After our morning hike we drove up to Ithaca to the farmer’s market for a late lunch. Diana was happy to find more than 6 stalls selling organic produce and was surprised to find a pre-made completely organic lunch of samosas and salad. For more on the Farmer’s Market see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2014/06/12/playing-tourists-with-the-grandparents/

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We picked up a few groceries, then roamed to see what options were available for lunch. At the table was a variety of food from a Sri Lankan curry to Momos all with local organic strawberries for dessert. We went back through one last time after lunch to pick up some goodies. Diana and John picked up some local maple syrup, cheese, and wine.

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With full stomaches we got back in the car and headed to Cornell university. There we stopped at the botanical gardens welcome center and explored the gardens. After a nice walk through the rohdi’s and sitting in the shade we decided we were ready for dessert. We climbed up the hill from the garden parking lot and over to Cornell’s dairy bar. We discovered all of this on our camping trip in Ithaca a few years ago for more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2014/07/06/our-first-camping-trip-part-two/

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The ice cream was just as good as ever, creamy, and just enough flavor and sugar. After enjoying our afternoon treat, we got back in the car and drove the Corning Plantations Arboretum drive passing ponds, orchards, and the student farm. Taking a break to look out over the plantations, we decided to take a short walk to a suspension bridge over looking some of the falls on campus. When we did we discovered even in the low water many people were out swimming in the heat.

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Getting back in the car we headed down to greenstar a local natural and organic food store to get Diana dinner and a few groceries for their trip ahead. We then went to get Chinese food for the rest of us to go.

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With our to-go meals in hand we drove to Buttermilk falls on the outskirts of town. We found a picnic bench to sit and enjoy our dinner at while watching the falls. With how dry the year has been there was little to  water flowing over the rock but it was still a pleasant view. For more on buttermilk falls see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2013/06/27/an-ithaca-birthday-adventure/

A long last outing of our touring behind us, we drove back toward home. It was great day and I was happy to be able to spend it with family.

Winter Walk: Stonybrook Park

I know I have written about Stonybrook before, since it is our closest gorge park. For more see posts: Here Comes the Sun!: Stony Brook Park and Kira’s first outing.

This winter we were able to share this wonderful place with my parents. While my parents were here we had settled in, caught up,  eaten many yummy cookies and great meals, and we were ready to walk some of it off. So we took my parents to Stonybrook.

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Because of our mild December, we were able to enjoy a winter walk without any rain or snow and mild weather walking down the gorge trail.

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We also had the chance to try out one of Kira’s Christmas presents: a fleece camo vest my mom made her for the winter and hunting months.

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Again we did not make it through the whole trail (still a goal of mine) but we made it further down the path then we had before and boy was it worth it!

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In spite of the dry day we had enough rain and snow recently to still have beautiful falls to discover.

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It was the perfect winter walk and picture spot. Afterwards we came home and enjoyed hot coco by the lit fireplace.

What type of outdoor winter activities do you enjoy?

Lessons Learned: Round 2

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Last weekend we reserved a campsite at a state park down the road from us in Dansville: stony brook park. We had been watching the weather reports closely and were not sure how much rain we would get but decided to go anyways. After, all we both have lived in the northwest.

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Thursday and most of Friday I spent buying supplies, prepping, and packing.  We left and got set up Friday night. We enjoyed our beautiful view of the brook from our campsite, set up the tent, and table, and got a fire and hot dogs going. Everything was going well.

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We had a good night sleep and next morning made a large camp stove breakfast with strong coffee. After a few hours enjoying the campsite, reading and relaxing, we decided to walk the gorge and rim trail. I got my sunscreen and bug spray on and was ready to go.

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We got less then a quarter mile in when we heard claps of thunder. I thought we had brought our thin rain coats with us to the trail head; but we  ended up driving back to the campsite. When we got back we decided to wait out the weather. Luke took a nap while I read. I stayed sunny the whole time.

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When Luke woke up the rain hit, and it hit hard. Luke had some work to do so we decided to go home for a few hours while it rained then go out to dinner. When we came back to our campsite it was still wet and raining.

We decided to get a fire going anyways and to make ourselves some berry cobbler over the fire in foil (which turned out very yummy). But when we got ready to go to the tent for the evening we discovered our sleeping bags were wet. There was water dripping in at the center of the tent.

Lesson Learned: If you are going to be adventurous and go camping in the rain make sure your tent has recently been waterproofed.

We  cleaned it up, put a towel down where it was dripping, and moved our sleeping bags and clothes away from walls and the center. We tried to settle into our sleeping bags for the night, but it was humid and the water that came into the tent caused everything to be a little damp. I knew I would get damp and as the temperature dropped after the storm passed, if it passed, I would get cold. We tried to stick it out.

Lesson Learned: If you want to be adventurous when camping, no matter the weather, do not go camping near your home. It is too much of a temptation to know you are 10 minutes from a warm dry bed.

By midnight we were back at home. When we returned to our campsite the next day we decided we needed to tear down camp. The rain was not letting up and we found our tent site was turning into a puddle. Because it was pouring we had to pack the dry items, then put towels down, then the wet items. When we got home we hung all wet items including sleeping bags, tents, picnic tablecloths etc. in the laundry room to dry.

It was still an enjoyable day and a half outdoor, we had a lot of laughs, and spent the rest of the weekend together, as we had planned, (mostly) away from technology. On the plus side also items on the house to-do list left on the list for months finally got accomplished.

Our First Camping Trip: Part two

For the first part of our camping trip please see: our first camping trip: part one

Sunday was had set aside to be my birthday outing day. The campsite became quiet as the local campers packed up for check out at 11am. We both took the morning slowly and took quiet showers. I had the bathroom all to myself, which on top of the fact that the shower was decently clean and had hot running water is a luxury in the camping world.

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We prepped for a day in-town then drove back into Ithaca. Starting our outdoors in-town visit we parked at the Mulholland Wildflower preserve aka Six Mile Creek gorge then walked across the street and down a small hill to the base of a beautiful waterfall known as Businessman’s Lunch. Here many people had already set up blankets on the large smooth rocks in the middle of the creek for sunbathing, picnic lunches, or for reading.

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College students and local couples alike enjoyed dipping their feet in the water and taking in the sun. Luke and I picked a large rock to share and joined them laying back and taking a mini nap in the sun to the sound of the waterfall. By lunch time the spot was getting busy with college students bringing their lunches and books so we decided it was time to move on.

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We walked back to the car where we had a snack lunch then took off on the Mulholland/Six Mile Creek trail along the water way that flows down the falls down the street. It was a beautiful walk through wooded trees and along rolling waters, we passed many people exercising, walking their dogs, and more college students hiking up from the bottom of the trail towards the waterfall with coolers in hand.

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After this we drove up to the Cornell campus. All this time we have lived an hour away from an Ivy-leauge school and have not even by car toured the campus. When I discovered they had Cornell Plantations: a botanical garden, and arboretum open to the public I decided we had a good excuse to check out the campus.

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We arrived at their botanical garden welcome center and were surprised to discover that the Cornell campus actually was placed right in-between two gorges/river that ran through campus. These gorges parallel each other; one Fall Creek Gorge flows through the top of campus to a Tripplehammer falls before flowing into Bebe Lake at North Campus to past the Arboretum and Garden. The other Cascadilla Gorge runs on the South end of Campus closest to the City of Ithaca and was closed for reconstruction being done this summer by Cornell students.

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The botanical gardens were beautiful; although not as expansive as I am used to in SoCal they had well-labled areas for herbs, ground coverings, winter plants, etc. After wandering the gardens at the hottest and most humid part of  the day we decided to climb up the hill past their vegetable garden to their food sciences center. Why did we go to a science building? It is well know for Cornell’s Dairy Bar. A modern sculpture of a glass milk jar marks the entrance to the campsus’ dairy/creamery.

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We entered the lowest level and turned the corner to find the dairy bar, here locals and students alike can by pudding, yogurt, cheese and ice cream made by Cornell students as part of their food sciences and creamery. I got a scoop of Bavarian Raspberry: Bavarian cream ice cream with dark chocolate chunks and raspberry swirl. Luke got a waffle cone with mint chip and kahlua. We sat enjoying our sweet (early b-day) treat in a air conditioned room decorated in red, black, and white with cow spots.

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We then got back to our car and drove up to the Arboretum. From the car we enjoyed a tour of the grounds including their crabtrees, wildflower garden, past their ponds with lily pads and geese and back out onto the main road. We drove back down past campus and got a car view of  Triphamer Falls on our way back into town.

Ready for an early dinner, we drove to a  Thai restaurant called Tamarind.  For my early bday dinner we enjoyed red curry with chicken and spicy beef with crispy noodles. To top off the best Thai food we’ve had here in New York we got amazing (non-powerederd) Thai teas! The perfect end to my second in a row b-day outing in Ithaca.

 

Our First Camping Trip: part one

Although Luke and I have been together for more than 3 years we have never been camping just the two of us. So this summer we are staying local and enjoying some of the amazing sites here in upstate New York.

Luke took off work June 20th-June 24th and we reserved a camping spot at Tauhannock Falls State Park outside of Ithaca. After several trips to Walmart for supplies, we packed up and left after Luke got off work on June 19th. We found our site, ate dinner and set up camp just before it got dark then enjoyed some hot cocoa and looking at the stars.

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Saturday we enjoyed coffee from the percolator and decided what our day of  exploring would look like. With more coffee in to-go cups, we started the morning with a drive up the West side of Cayuga lake, it was a beautiful day as we passed by small towns wineries, cideries, and farms. We picked up some free firewood along the roadside then made a plan to head back down towards Ithaca to explore Alan Tremen State Park.

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By having a campsite at one of the state parks entrance into the other parks for the duration of camping was free. I’d looked into the local waterfalls and gorges we had yet to explore in the area and found Alan Tremen State Park. When we arrived we parked the car and explored the welcome center and historic Old Mill.  Because of the waterways in the 1800’s a large Mill was made here using the water to power to mill’s grinders for production of flour and buckwheat. Luke and I enjoyed exploring the three story workings of this old mill with a back porch view to a beautiful waterfall. We set up a snack lunch along the water in prep for our hike along the gorge trail.

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We got a small way down the gorge trail path before realizing that it was going to dead-end because of repairs and construction. We decided instead to take the North rim trail to where we could see an outlook over Lucifer Falls; although it was not a clear shot it gave us a better ideas of the gorge trail. We walked back to the car deciding this was definitely a place to return to once repairs were done.

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our glimpse of Lucifer Falls

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We then drove back up to Tauhannock State Park and up the hill to a outlook for the Tauhannock Falls. This gave us a almost bird-eye view of the tremendous thundering falls. It is here the the north rim trail of the fall gorge area ends.

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Afterwards we drove back to our campsite to regroup then walked down to the trail for the Tauhannock Falls gorge. Unlike most of the gorge trails in the area this one stays open year round; the pathway is wide and flat so people were bringing strollers and wheelchairs down the path easily. Many people wore swimsuits stopped somewhere along the trail to dip their feet (or more) into the river as we headed upstream towards the falls.

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At the end of the path you turn a corner and there is Tauhannock Falls; crossing a bridge over the roaring river you come to a picture/spot and standing area. The falls are so large that you don’t have to get too close to the edge of the viewing area to get covered in a rain like mist. Fortunately we came near the end of the day so taking picture without mass amounts of people was easy.

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After the walk back to the campsite we were ready to settle in for the night. We finished off our first full day of camping with some pre-made shrimp pasta, games of cribbage, and a campfire with s’mores for dessert.

Stayed tuned for Part Two of our Camping trip

Playing tourist with the Grandparents

It’s always fun when family come in from out of town; we love to play tourists and being hosts.  The season they come during and their personal interests determine which types of activities and locations we get to share with them.

This past week my grandparents (dad’s parents) came into town for a visit on their month long travels. They started from their home in California in their camper-van and are on their way up to Maine and back again. The last time I’d seen them was at my brother’s wedding last August (see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/snapshots-halvorson-wedding-behind-the-scenes/)

So I was thrilled to get some time with them.

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My husband took off work on Friday so we were ready for them when they rolled into town that afternoon. We took them downtown Market street on a walk after some much needed catching up. While downtown, we stopped in the Crystal City olive oil store. My grandpa took samples of everything and enjoyed talking to the store workers since we had the place to ourselves. Luke and I bought a bottle of lemon basil white vinaigrette we thought would go well on both salads and for marinades and my grandmother picked up some very early christmas gifts for a few friends.

For more on Corning’s Market Street see:https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/my-new-hometown/

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We came back to our little rented house and made them our traditional Greene pizza with a twist. Instead of the usual ingredients we used artichoke hearts, olives, crushed fresh garlic, grape tomatoes, onions, and spinach with an Alfredo base instead of tomato. And for meat? Chicken breast pan fried in olive oil and oregano. It was extremely delicious and a great experimental sucess.

For more on our homemade pizza see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/pizza-a-la-greene/

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The next day we took the grandparents on a hiking/nature tour. We stopped by their beautiful campsite with my homemade quiche and fruit for a picnic lunch (see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/a-good-spring-quiche/)

Then we took off in our car to Walkins Glen to hike the Gorge Trail. Although the parking lot was crowded the trail was not too busy and my grandparents had not problems keeping up on the incline of stairs (which is pretty great since my grandfather turned 80 this year!) It is just as beautiful as last year when we first discovered this amazingly breathtaking view.

For more on Walkins Glen state park see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/walkins-glen-state-parkgorge-ous/

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Next we drove up to Ithaca passing by one of the finger lakes (Seneca) on our way to the base of the other (Cayuga) through beautiful country. We stopped by the Ithaca Farmer’s Market where we split off: grandpa and Luke sampling cheese and other foods and Grandma and I tasting local ciders and wines.

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We left with some local maple syrup and hard cider and headed to another state park: Buttermilk Falls. We chose not to conquer two gorge trails in one day but instead enjoyed the view from the picnic tables at the base of the falls.

For more on the Farmer’s Market and Buttermilk falls see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/an-ithaca-birthday-adventure/

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We drove back towards Corning a different route to show more of the country-side then ended up in Horseheads for dinner and dessert. We took my grandparents to our favorite little mom-and-pop sushi place where we enjoyed our delicious sashimi, miso soup, and traditional rolls while my grandparents enjoyed yakisoba  (although they did try a shrimp, avocado, and egg roll). And for dessert? We went to sweetfrog; the local frozen yogurt joint where we could all get a variety of topping and flavors for our unique personalities.

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On Sunday after church we went to lunch at one of my favorite spots: Walker Cake Co.: Barn Owl Cafe where we got breakfast for lunch: breakfast burritos, gluten-free breakfast sandwiches, and traditional two egg breakfasts all with coffee.

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After a hearty brunch we took our grandparents to the Corning glass museum (how could we not?). They were concerned that we would be bored since this was our fourth or fifth time in the museum. We assured them that we weren’t; the contemporary art exhibit had completely been changed out; the demos were being done by new people which always means different information, each live glassblowing creates new and unique items, and the main art display always has a changing/rotating exhibit.

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So although we had taken my parents  at christmas we were far from bored. We also did a very early christmas gift ; the grandparents made a sculpture at the art-glass studio. Much like what we did from my parents; grandma chose the colors and grandpa made the sculpture. Since they are traveling they chose to have it shipped to my parents place where they will end their travels.

For more on the glass museum see:https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/a-corning-christmas-present/

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After a long tour day at the museum we headed back to our house for another Greene dinner: fish tacos. My grandfather tries every fish taco place in California when he has the chance and gave ours a thumbs up for approval

For more on our fish tacos see: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/greenes-tilapia-fish-tacos/

We finished our last night together enjoying the thundering rain storm on our porch while eating some of my homemade popsicles.

See some of them at: https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/tropical-banana-creamsicles/

As a parting gift as we took my grandparents back to their campsite I gave grandma one of my swedish rye loafs (will be my bread of the month post) and little horseradish cheese from our trip to Ellicottville.

For more on Cuba cheese see:https://agreenesadventures.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/wine-tasting-in-ellicottville/

It was a great weekend playing tourists and hosts. It was also a fun overview for us of what we have explored, learned, and discovered in the past year living in the Corning area. Can’t wait to see what we will explore and discover the rest of this summer and into next year as we transition into a new location (but more on that later).

Do you enjoy hosting friends and family?

What are some of your favorite meals to cook for them?

What local restaurants/tourist spots do insist showing them?