Skaneateles NY

The last leg of our trip found us in our beloved Finger Lakes visiting family and friends. Despite her busy schedule, Russ’ cousin Janet, who’s running for Town Supervisor, arranged a mini family reunion while we were there. Thank you Janet!

Signs

Russ’ mother grew up at Pine Grove Dairy, and the current owners (Karen and Greg) meticulously care for the property, as do the owners of the tenant house (Judy and Dan) where we used to live. We’re friends with both, and it’s such a joy to visit!

Pine Grove

Judy and Dan's

Pine Grove sign

Beautiful Lakeview Cemetery, where many of Russ and Janet’s relatives are buried.

Lakeview Cemetery

I love the old spigot still providing water for those who’ve placed planters on the graves, and the hornet’s nest that’s so perfectly camouflaged on this mausoleum.

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Hornet's Nest

Sunday was a perfect day for walking down the lane behind the farm that leads to Guppy Falls.

The Lane

With rain and cold in the forecast, we headed home on Monday, giving Ollie a much-needed bath before tucking him away for a couple of months.

Washing Ollie

This has been a wonderful trip, taking us to places we didn’t even know we wanted to go. We’re so grateful for the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling this beautiful country of ours. Until next time…

“Oh east is east, and west is west, but north lies full and fair. And blest is he who follows free the road to anywhere.”        – Burt Leston Taylor

Quebec City

On a whim we decided to visit Quebec City, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The architecture, the cobblestone streets, and the surrounding ramparts give this city on the hill a distinctive European charm, even on a very rainy day.

A boat ride on the St. Lawrence River, narrated perfectly in both French and English, provided wonderful perspectives about the people, their history, and this place they call home. Dominating the skyline is the Chateau Frontenac, a hotel that has been in operation since 1883.

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The turnaround point for the boat was near Montmorency Falls. At 272 feet, this waterfall is 99 feet taller than Niagara Falls.

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We spent the next day at The Plains of Abraham outside the city walls, where gardens, museums, and historical sites are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Our visit to the Joan of Arc Garden found artists and children sharing this space that’s flanked by rows of beautiful Elm trees.

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The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec offered a contemporary face, as well as a traditional one, both inside and out.

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This rooftop sculpture blended perfectly with the neighboring spires.

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In case all this may entice you to consider moving here, just remember that the average winter temperature is 0ºF, and snowfall is around 150 inches.  It’s so cold that the river freezes all the way to Montreal, and icebreakers like the one below are used to keep the passage open.

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The Ancient Adirondacks

About 25 years ago, Russ started climbing the 46 highest peaks of the ancient Adirondacks. Yesterday he knocked off two more, bringing his total to 38. It was a short but sweet visit to a place we frequented during the 25 years we lived in the Finger Lakes. Here’s some tidbits about this amazing park.

  • The largest park in the nation outside of Alaska
  • Comprised of 6 million acres (9,375 square miles – the size of Vermont) nearly half of which is protected by state constitution to remain “forever wild” forest preserve
  • Contains 85% of all wilderness in the eastern United States
  • Contains 3,000 ponds and lakes and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams
  • Contains the largest trail system in the nation with 2,000 miles of hiking trails

While Russ was climbing mountains, I poked around Lake Placid (population 2,500) and walked around Mirror Lake that borders it. It’s hard to imagine this tiny village hosting the winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980!

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When Russ was climbing mountains in the winter, I used to ski Whiteface.  Today it was shrouded most of the day.  The Olympic ski jump is in the foreground.

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The lovely Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid

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Russ gets the gold medal for patience as he waits for me to take photos.

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Augustus Saint-Guadens

Every once in a while an exceptional artist comes along, and one who burst on the scene in the late 1800’s was Augustus Saint-Guadens. We crossed the covered bridge from Windsor VT to Cornish NH to visit the Augustus Saint-Guadens National Historic Site.

Covered Bridge

Known for his tributes to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War soldiers who fought to save the Union, he was instrumental in shaping the ideals of the American Renaissance.

Standing Lincoln

His attention to detail and his ability to capture the subject’s personality in intimate detail gave him early and resounding success as a sculptor. This bust of General Sherman demonstrates his mastery of the art form.

Sherman closeup

He was just as adept at creating classical images, and often integrated them into historical memorials, as seen below in the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. This most famous bronze bas relief (also on Boston Common) took 14 years to complete.

Shaw leading the assault on Ft. Wagner

His iconic “Diana” was first designed as a weathervane for Madison Square Park in NYC. She now resides in various venues, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. This casting is in what is known as his “Little Studio.”

Diana

His “Little Studio” is in itself a work of art.

Studio Exterior

View from the studio

We carefully planned our trip to be in Vermont during peak leaf season, when the Green Mountains are ablaze with color. It’s been unseasonably warm, and without a frost to date, the Green Mountains are, well, green.

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In Memorium

We dedicate today’s visit to the Path of Life Sculpture Garden in Windsor, VT to all those who have suffered the loss of a loved one in recent days, especially our dear friends Annie, Sue, and Lisa.

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Rangeley ME

For anyone willing to endure the slog along the worse-than-a-dirt-road Route 17 from Rumford to Rangeley, a spot called The Height of Land offers a visual feast that replaces teeth rattling with jaw dropping.

Height of Land

We’ve been in Maine for most of a month, and have yet to lay eyes on a moose. Despite countless moose crossing signs and assurances that this is the right time of year/right time of day/right kind of weather for a sighting, the giant beast has yet to make a personal appearance. . Could moose actually be extinct, with locals perpetuating the moose myth just to keep the tourist trade healthy?

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About the closest we’ve come to a moose (other than the huge head we saw mounted in the local grocery store) were these draft horses on hand for Rangeley’s Octoberfest.

Draft horses

As we hear of heartbreaking news both globally and from friends, we hope the photos we share offer some measure of comfort and connection to the beauty of wild places we all call home.

Flagstaff Lake

From Saddleback

Clouds over Rangeley Lake