From Sea to Shining Sea

This is going to be quick as I need to pick up my mom from the Portland (!!) airport in an hour…  The last few days were a little chaotic since I hadn’t really planned on being in upstate NY until later on in my trip.  I spoke to my dad and since he grew up in the area, he was very helpful.  He suggested I drive around the Finger Lakes and to also check out Howe Caverns.  Done and done!

No pictures of the Finger Lakes since it was too hard to capture but the drive around Seneca Lake was lovely.  There are tons of wineries in the area and I did stop at Red Tail Ridge and enjoyed a quick tasting and ended up with a bottle of their Blaufränkisch.  Delightful.  After a quick cruise over to Ithaca and a drive around the Cornell campus (there was literally no place to park), I ended up in Syracuse for the evening.  Gannon’s Ice Cream provided my dinner (milkshake) and all was well with the world.

Thursday morning, I was up early and made it to Howe Caverns for one of their guided tours.  For those keeping track, this was my fourth cave visit on this trip.  Interesting how every cave is totally different.  While I wouldn’t say this was necessarily my favorite, we did get to take a boat ride on the underground lake so that was pretty cool.  Here are a few snaps of the more interesting formations, including the dragon head and the Chinese Pagoda:

From Howe Caverns, it was off to Albany for a quick stop at the capital.  The building is friggin’ enormous.  I am also including a picture of a squirrel that was taunting Juno.

My next stop was to visit my Uncle Jerry and my cousin Susie, neither of who I had seen in over 30 years.  I got to meet my 2nd cousin Abby who gave me a wonderful hand massage. I had the most wonderful family dinner with Jerry, Renee, Susie, Mike and Abby – definitely one of the best evenings of the trip and I look forward to spending more time with them when I head back down south…

After a good night’s sleep, it was time to head north to Massachusetts!  Since I was on a tight schedule, I wasn’t able to do much but I did visit the Basketball Hall of Fame (gotta love the hand driers in the bathroom) and Old Sturbridge Village.  Doesn’t the sheep look just like Juno?!?!?!

Continuing my journey north, I crossed into New Hampshire for about 20 minutes and then I got to Maine.

I will admit, I got a little choked up when I hit Maine.  I know people drive across the country all the time – some even do it in 4 days – but I really felt a sense of accomplishment at driving across the country.  And even more exciting is the rain that had been falling non-stop since yesterday stopped once I got here.  Juno didn’t understand why I was crying so I rolled down the window and let him smell the crisp Maine air.

I immediately drove down to the water’s edge because it just didn’t seem like I had “officially” made it til I could see the Atlantic.  After that, I celebrated with a Green Tea Latte and a pumpkin cookie from Starbucks.

Time to hit the airport.  The next week, my mom and I will be cruising around New England – ME, NH, VT and MA.  We’ll be watching the leaves changing color, eating lots of lobster, celebrating the new year, and taking the tour at Ben & Jerry’s. My mom is bringing her dog Tiger so Juno will have a buddy to hang with too.  And no, we won’t be sleeping in the MoHo – staying in hotels for the next week.  You can guarantee I’ll be taking a hot bath every day.

State count: 16, 17, 18


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