In the last week or so, we've gotten emails from readers in the Finger Lakes area that wanted to meet us if we could work it out. With Linda gone until yesterday, today turned out to be the best opportunity to meet everyone.
I thought we might go visit a state park in the morning, but we slept in too late. That meant we didn't have to leave until noon, so we had a nice relaxing morning.
At noon we made the drive over to Ithaca where we were meeting Diane at the Ithaca Bakery for lunch.
We pulled up right on time and Diane was waiting by the door.
We went inside and were overwhelmed by the choices. Ithaca Bakery is certainly more than just a bakery, and one review I saw started with "Induces instant paralysis in newbies". I would agree with that. :)
All the sandwiches on the board looked great and, eventually, we just had to pick something. Linda went with a "T-Burg With A Twist" which was a tuna salad sandwich with avocado on pumpernickel, and I went with "Ryan's Favorite" which was a breakfast sandwich (Scrambled eggs, local Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, arugula & melted provolone cheese, on our buttered, toasted focaccia). Diane ordered her standard Pizza Bagel.
We grabbed a table out on the sidewalk ....
and started getting to know Diane. She recently purchased a small travel trailer and her target date for full-timing as a solo is October of this year. She had a few questions, but was new enough that she didn't really know what to ask. It was clear she had done her homework, so we just provided some extra tips and suggestions as she thought of potential concerns. Hopefully we alleviated some "what if" fears, but she'll be fine. :)
Our food was delivered to our table and it was delicious. We continued to chat and learn more about our hostess until she ran out of questions, and we had to get to our next meeting place. She took a photo and we departed with hugs.
At 3:00, we were meeting Pamela & David at the Allan H. Treman State Marine Park. They have a sailboat and offered to take us on an afternoon sail on Cayuga Lake, one of the larger Finger Lakes. Ithaca is at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, and the marine park is five minutes north of downtown Ithaca on the west side of the lake.
It was a beautiful day as we parked and walked the few steps to the marina.
We found the slip and met Captain Pamela at her Alberg 35 sloop built in the 1960s. There were just over 250 of them built according to one source I found.
The Ostara is a fiberglass, 35-foot boat designed for ocean sailing.
Pamela was very safety conscious and we went through a safety talk before boarding. Once on board with our gear stowed, Pamela assigned us each some duties - we were part of the crew. Here's Linda listening to instructions, while David was checking me out.
She was ready to release the bow line when told. My job was to release the stern line and bring the bumpers on board. Unfortunately, the wind was too light today for sailing, so we were going to motor up the lake and hope to get a better breeze later.
We were all set and Pamela slowly backed us out of the slip. We released the lines, and just then the shift cable broke. Pamela couldn't shift into forward or reverse and, without wind, today's trip was done.
We drifted until the boat got close enough to a pylon to tie up. Pamela, who remained very calm, got off the boat and took a line while the other three of us pushed off and "walked" the Ostara back into its slip.
It could have been worse. You know what we say: "It's always an adventure with Howard & Linda". :)
So, we weren't going sailing, but Pamela & Dave decided to give us a guided tour of the area. We drove north to Taughannock Falls State Park, which is where I was planning to go this morning. Oh, since I've been butchering the name, Taughannock is pronounced "tah-GAH-nick" which rhymes with mechanic according to a local website. I never would have come up with that pronunciation. :)
Before going to the falls overlook, we went to a popular winter sledding hill.
We then parked at the nearby falls overlook for a fantastic view of Taughannock Falls.
With the dryness here, there wasn't much water flowing over, but it is still magnificent.
With a 215-foot drop, it's considered the highest free falling waterfall in the eastern U.S. Other eastern waterfalls are higher, but they include cascades in their total vertical drop.
Did you see the tiny people at the viewpoint in the lower right corner of the photo?
We might have to return here for some hiking and different views.
Then we went back to Ithaca for a tour around town. Ithaca thrives largely because it is the home of Cornell University and Ithaca College. Both campuses are high on surrounding hills overlooking the lake.
We drove through downtown and past the Ithaca Commons before parking and taking a walk on the Cascadilla Gorge Trail which connects Cornell with downtown.
We later drove through campus, and it's clear the Cornell students pretty much have to climb everywhere, so they should stay in pretty good shape.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is world famous for the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds, so we'll have to plan a visit there one day before we leave the area.
Eventually, we ended up at Buttermilk Falls State Park just south of town. The waterfall was just a trickle .....
but there were few people there and the picnic tables near the falls were a great place to eat the dinner Pamela & David had brought for the abandoned boat trip. We had picked up a couple of bottles of local wine (Sheldrake Point).
The backpacker I met the other day said the Finger Lakes is known for white grapes and particularly Riesling. So we got a bottle of Riesling and a bottle of Cabernet Franc. I don't drink wine, but the other three really liked the Cabernet Franc.
We had salad and chicken and ribs, and we really enjoyed further getting to know Pamela & David. They have done a lot in their lives and lived a lot of places. A couple years ago, they bought a Bounder motorhome with plans to full-time for a year or two while she continued her work. However, after the motorhome purchase and the sale of their house, she lost her job in a corporate change.
So, they bought a house in Binghamton and turned it into a bed and breakfast - Park House Bed & Breakfast. They do some traveling in "Betsy" the motorhome and love it. They've even done some workamping and really enjoyed that as well. Although they live in a room in the B&B, they consider "Betsy" to be home.
After dinner and conversation, they took us to Purity Ice Cream just past the Ithaca Bakery. Delicious. We continued to chat outside the ice cream place until it was getting close to dark.
They took us back to the Jeep, we departed with hugs and handshakes, and we made the journey back to our rig keeping our eyes peeled for deer.
It was certainly a fun, interesting day, and it was great meeting our new friends. :)