Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Syracuse, NY through Madison, Wisconsin 5/27 - 5/29/2014

We left Boston and drove to Syracuse, NY for the night.  Explored the historic downtown a bit and found some masterpiece buildings.

Fourth County Courthouse, 1904.  Christopher Columbus
monument was paid for by Italian-Americans who immigrated and worked 
on the Erie Canal.  Area is known as "Columbus Circle"

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 1874

An amazing building - First Baptist Church and Mizpah Tower, 1914

This sign made me so happy. It costs a fortune to restore and maintain our beautiful historic buildings, but I am thrilled we are finally realizing the value of preserving our history.  While researching this building I learned of an attorney who recently bought this building and has plans to restore it.  Quite an endeavor and an estimated $25 M renovation.  There is something about this Mizpah Tower that is fascinating and it has quite a history.

If you are interested: http://syracusethenandnow.org/Dwntwn/Columbus/Mizpah/Mizpah.htm

Had dinner at "The Mission" an old church that is now a Mexican restaurant.

Hot lamps and holy crosses

The bar and the stained glass

 I guess if all buildings/churches can't be saved  for the original use it is wonderful to be able to save them for other uses.  Glad America is starting to value and preserve many of its historical buildings.  Once buildings and historical areas are gone they cannot be replaced.

Niagara Falls and what a sight. We saw both sides of the Falls, an interesting international divider. Lunch on the Canadian side at the Keg Restaurant on the 9th floor of the Embassy Suites. Said to have the best view of the falls and I don't doubt that. Seeing the falls was a life-long dream fulfilled.

That's Canada across the way

Just about sitting over the Falls in Canada

Left the Falls and drove to Woodstock, Ontario, Canada to our friends' house.  We ate dinner and visited.  We are now at the top point of our trip.

Got up early and Lammy and I went to the Dutch Store. What a great store full of fun and different things. I had one double salt licorice (one was enough for a life time), we bought bread, pastry, home for lunch and I had the best cheese in the world, Dutch Gouda with Cumin. John's knee was really bothering him so he rested as much as he could at their house.

Later we were given the grand tour around the area and we looked for Mennonite farms, saw horse & buggies.  Stopped for ice cream cone and then had a delicious dinner at Mennonite Restaurant.

Mennonite Restaurant, a great chicken dinner.

Walt's little red convertible

Walt & Lammy's church - mainly a Dutch congregation

Our visit went by so quick
We laughed and had so much fun

Bye guys, see you in February in FL

On Sunday we went to our friends' church that was very nice with lots Dutch accents.  So many Dutch experiences it was like a mini trip to the Netherlands.  Then out for lunch and our last visiting - our time with them was too short.  Thanks Walt and Lammy for your hospitality, you guys are so fun.

Exited Canada and drove to Lansing, MI. So many dead deer on road that it was unbelievable.  We counted something like 25.  It rained heavily quite a bit too, so we were glad to get to our hotel and to bed, still full from lunch.
Up early to see the Michigan state capitol in Lansing.  A lovely building.

The dome

These chandeliers were everywhere, so ornate

The workmanship involved

Rotunda floor is made of thick glass tile

Drove and hit rain, hard, blinding rain three separate times.  Oh how I hate driving in the rain when you can't see a thing.  We hit the Chicago freeways at rush hour, we have a knack for that in big cities.


The Windy City

We have a wonderful friend, Angela, who goes to university in Chicago.  We met her in November 2013, when Cherry (our Chinese daughter) came to visit for several days and brought her friend, Angela.  Well, of course, we fell in love with her.  We wanted to see her on our trip, but we didn't want to drive in Chicago so we stayed in the outskirts.  She kindly drove over and we had a good visit and we took her out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  A short, but nice evening together.

Angela, we've adopted her too - a sweety
She's from Harbin, China

Headed out in the morning, car problem that turned out to be a dead battery, so to Auto Zone and those nice guys put in a new battery for us.  This is the only car issues we've had with all our traveling and we're grateful.  On the road again.

Good to have roadside assistance

Long day of driving and finally arrived at Bob & Rebecca's house. Visited with Bob awhile and Rebecca got home from visiting Roxy at the hospital.

Next day John and I drove on Cranberry Highway to go see a cranberry bog. It was very interesting.  

Beautiful shrub in full bloom

Cranberry bog - season of harvest is September

Good site about cranberries:

We got back to the house and Rebecca told us there was a "bear alert" that she'd heard and the bear was about a block away.  We walked over and lo and behold there was an adorable bear up a tree in a neighbor's  backyard.  A nice police lieutenant was there waiting for animal control and he let us take pictures.  We were thrilled.

She was so cute, so calm just looking at us

I think he got tired of us looking at him
I call this "Bear Butt"

After our bear safari, we went back to the house and visited, met grandson Brody, and then a trip to hospital to pick up Roxy and then home for a BBQ. Got to see RC and his wife. We had a good visit and it felt we hadn't been apart for so many years.

Bob and Brody

Nice BBQ dinner
Great to sit down with entire family

June 5th, and up very early to drive Madison to see the state capitol.  It was one of the best we've seen.  I loved every minute exploring this beauty.  Nice historic downtown area maintained so everything just fits in right.

Aerial view (not my photo) but
neat to see how huge this is

Classic Revival
Completed 1869 

One of the most detailed capitols

Intricate details every place one looked

Back in the car for a very long afternoon drive to Lafayette, Indiana. One of our longest driving days and we got really tired and ready for early to bed.  I'll end here and will finish our trip on the next, and last trip blog.