Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Tour to New England - Days One and Two

Some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid, include the times the family gathered around the slide projector for a travelogue presentation after my grandparents or an aunt or uncle returned from a vacation.  My father was especially great when it came to putting together a great slide presentation.  He would carefully organize the slides before the family would gather, popcorn would be popped before the lights were turned out, then we would all be in for a treat as he recounted the latest vacation adventures to those who had gathered.  He was witty, funny, and added a lot of historical information about the places that had been visited.  
Now, families no longer live nearby other family members.  We share our trip photos on facebook, or we recount our adventures on a blog.  So, in the spirit of an old fashioned slide show presentation to family, I will be sharing the vacation that my husband and I took throughout New England via my blog.  

* See source

Planning the Trip

Spontaneity is my preferred mode of attack when it comes to living life.  I think this is because planning for future events is just not an easy thing for me to do.  Once I get my mind set on making a plan, I can usually create a good one that I can follow, but when it comes to planning a trip, I really have a difficult time deciding exactly where I want to go, what I want to see, and where I want to spend the most time.  I guess if I had it my way, my husband and I would get in a car and start driving and see where we end up.

Thankfully, my husband wants a detailed itinerary in place before we take off on a trip that will span two weeks.  Also, thankfully, he does most of the legwork, research, and advanced reservations before we take off into the unknown.  He's good at that.  I'm not.  All he requires from me is a general area of where I want to visit with a few specific spots I don't want to miss.

When it came to time to get serious about the planning, we started at Triple A, my least favorite thing to do.  I generally find their trip picks hard to follow and have found them to be misleading at times, but it is a good place to start.  Then, we found a few big maps of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.  I love this part.  I love looking at maps and trying to find a route that looks interesting, but I also find it a bit overwhelming when I look at maps of areas where I have never been before.

We also skyped with my friend, Dove, who lives in Vermont about just about everything we needed to know about flying into and seeing her part of the world.  Thankfully, she and her husband gave us great advice.

As we planned for our trip, we decided there were certain goals we wanted to make sure we accomplished:

  • Visit Ithaca, New York.  My husband had been there a few years back and he loved the area and wanted to make sure I saw not only Ithaca, but also Cornell University.
  • Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
  • Spend time in Vermont with our dear friend from high school days, Dove, and her husband, David.  Dove introduced me to my husband when I was only sixteen years old.  You can read a little about Dove here.  Our friendship spans 50 years.  She is a dear, dear friend. 
  • We wanted to see autumn color.  We knew we were visiting before the peak season, but we decided the timing of our visit worked best for us.
  • We wanted to stay in some bed and breakfasts along the way.
  • We wanted to have some good quality family time with my son, his wife, and my grandson who live in the Boston area. 

All of these goals were all accomplished with the trip.

Ithaca, New York

After an exhausting initial day of travel, one where we left Denver at midnight on Sunday, September 18, we arrived in Syracuse, New York in mid-afternoon.  We had a very long layover in JFK.  I think we learned our lesson.  DO NOT, if possible, include a layover in any travel itinerary.  The redeye would not have been so bad if we had flown directly to Syracuse.

We then rented a car in Syracuse and drove to Ithaca.  We reached our bed and breakfast about 5:00 in the evening.  Our vacation had officially begun, and we were very excited.  I gushed over our first bed and breakfast when we drove up.  I loved it on first sight!  My husband had done an awesome job when he found this place on the internet.

Don't you just love this place?  The name of the inn is The Hound & Hare.  If you are ever in the Ithaca area, I recommend you plan on staying in this delightful place.  Situated in Cayuga Heights, a beautiful, wooded and secluded area of Ithaca, very near Cornell University, this B&B had great charm, class, and provided us with the perfect quiet, warm, inviting, and charming place to rest after our long day of travel.  We basically had the run of the place.  We came on the day after homecoming weekend at Cornell, so all the guests for that weekend had gone home by Sunday night.  This meant we could relax without having to visit and interact with other guests.  (We are social people, but we were very tired!)

After we stopped oohing and ahhing over the outside of the house, Jim looked at the email from the innkeeper and read that the key, room assignment, and instructions would be left in a basket on the front door.

We walked in and found this beautiful living area.  Later that evening, I found my husband dozing in one of these chairs.  He didn't take long making himself at home.

Our room, on the second floor, was called The Victoria.  I've included a photo from the website for the bed and breakfast since we forgot to take a photo.  I must say that this room was just perfect for us.  I slept like a baby in its comfy bed.  The bed, the pillows, and the comforter were just perfect.  I literally sank into bed and fell asleep.

Later, I learned that our charming innkeeper was born in this very bedroom!

In the morning, we went downstairs to have a wonderfully prepared breakfast served in great style.

I loved the Franciscan Desert Rose pattern dishes!

Since we were just a little early for breakfast, we were able to take some time to tour the backyard of The Hound & Hare.  A beautiful side patio is shown below.  I took the photo of this patio from the deck just off the dining room.  I couldn't help but think how fun it would be to have a party on that patio.

Below, is the view of the backyard as viewed from the back of deck off of the dining room.  A path next to a nice herb garden can be seen.

This photo shows the back of the house, the deck, the patio, and a part of the herb garden.  The entire property was enclosed by very tall trees.  This added to peaceful, secluded aspect of this wonderful bed and breakfast.

Meet Zeta Sprole, the charming innkeeper of The Hound & Hare.  I truly enjoyed visiting with her.  She was trained as an engineer at Cornell.  She then married a military man and raised a large family.  Eventually, she returned to her childhood home and opened it up as a bed and breakfast after her husband passed away.

Her life is never dull these days.  She has had many visiting professors, alumni of Cornell and even a U. S. Supreme Court justice stay at her inn.

We toured the rest of The Hound & Hare and found every room to be unique and special.  You can take your own tour by clicking on this link.  Each of the four bedrooms is named for one of her daughters.  Evidently, she ran out of bedrooms before she ran out of daughter's names.  She has five daughters.  This gave me another reason to respect her greatly.  I have three daughters, so I can only imagine what it must be like to have five!

Unfortunately, we only planned to spend a late afternoon, evening, one night, and a morning in Ithaca.  We hated to leave this wonderful bed and breakfast in a town I wished I could spend more time exploring.  We only had time for a quick drive through Cornell.  We also ate dinner on the night we arrived in Ithaca at a fabulous Mexican food restaurant called Viva Taqueria.  My sister said we "cracked her up" because we went to New York and picked a Mexican food restaurant for dinner.  Hey, we love Mexican food.  I would go back to this place any time I could.  It was great.

On the day we left Ithaca, we took some time to visit Buttermilk Falls.  Buttermilk Creek flows toward Cayuga Lake and becomes a waterfall as it cascades towards its destination.  The Falls are a part of a much larger park that includes hiking trails, a smaller lake, and even playing fields.

No vacation plan is perfect.  We certainly found that our plan would have been tweaked if we had it all to do over again.  We would have spent more time exploring Ithaca, Cornell, Buttermilk Falls, and we would have spent more time visiting with Zeta at The Hound & Hare.  Maybe we can go back again someday.  We had to leave this beautiful place and more on to our next stop:  Cooperstown.

*Photo from:


Linda Myers said...

I'd love to have someone besides me plan our trips. You're a lucky woman!

Reflections said...

Looks like a lovely place to spend some good quality quiet time getting in touch with nature. Beautiful waterfall.

gigihawaii said...

Lovely pictures! I especially love the fine china on the table. Classy!

Sandi said...

Loved the bed and breakfast! And Buttermilk Falls was gorgeous. I can see why you wish you had stayed! I'm looking forward to reading more about this trip! said...

I am so glad--truly glad--that you are taking all of us on this trip with you. Because of an inner-ear problem, called Meniere's Disease, I can no longer fly and my car "Hannah" is 14 1/2 years old and I don't want to exhaust her with a long trip after she's been such a faithful friend all those years!

So with you I have a virtual tour. Traveling with you is both entertaining and educational. What a wonderful slide show you gave us today. You must truly be your father's daughter!


Sightings said...

Glad you liked Ithaca, and the Hound & Hare looks like a super place to stay. But I've been to Ithaca many times, and as I suggest in the blog item I'm posting later tonite -- "Where Do You Move When You Retire?" -- Ithaca is a great place to visit, but I sure wouldn't want to retire there!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

All of these places look wonderful. Love the waterfalls. We've made that mistake, too, of not anticipating how nice an area will be and how much more time it deserves. Live and learn!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sounds wonderful, Sally... We plan our vacations ahead of time also (the longer ones). We both work on them --and our 3 week trip worked really well this past June. We are not B&B people--but choose the Holiday Inn Expresses along the way!

I do like B&B's --and my best friend and hubby are like you all. They love them...

I'd love to see Buttermilk Falls sometime. SO gorgeous!!!!!

I can't wait to see more pictures from your trip.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Well, you started your journey in great style! That B&B is gorgeous and I'll certainly save the info for a possible future trip! I love all the pictures! Can hardly wait for the next installment! This is much, much better than old-fashioned slides of my memory. (Or maybe your trip is just a lot more interesting!)

Jenn Jilks said...

What a delightful time!

KathyA said...

What a beautiful bed and breakfast! I can understand why you wouldn't have wanted to leave.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a great start to what sounds like a marvelous trip, Sally! I love your pictures and the B&B is gorgeous! I'll have to tuck away the info in case we make such a trip.
I can hardly wait for the other installments. This is way, way better than those slide presentations I remember from my childhood. It could be, too, that your trip is much more interesting to me than our former neighbors' trips to the Sequoias.

Linda Reeder said...

This looks like a great start for your trip!
We leave Wednesday for a nine day trip to New Mexico, where I'm sure we will eat Mexican food. :-)
I spent a long time planning this trip, since there is so much to see and we had a small window of time. I had to eliminate many places I really wanted to go, so I hope I planned the right amount of time for the places we are going. At any rate, I'm getting excited to be on the road again!

Deb Shucka said...

What a fun trip! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. You're making my feet itch.

John Paul McKinney said...

What a beautiful spot. It would make you want to spend a week, at least, being peaceful and spoiled.

#1Nana said...

What a great trip. I look forward to when the spouse retires and we can hit the road.

Jeanie said...

Your slide show was great...even though I didn't have any popcorn to go along with it. You do a great job of describing your experience. It was fun to see your photos and hear your thoughts about what you have seen and done.

DJan said...

That B&B is perfect, and it looks like a perfect time of year to visit as well. Quiet and secluded, and everything done for you... lovely!

Grandmother said...

My Honey's the trip planner too. I'm way too last minute for his comfort and he's come up with fab finds over the years. The B&B is charming, I can see why you'd want more time there.

Thisisme. said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip Sally. I loved the bed & breakfast place. Lovely photos, and you really are lucky that your husband will do all the research and arranging for your trips, and all you have to come up with is the actual place you would like to visit!!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Does look lovely. I have a good friend who teaches at Ithaca College. Need to visit.

I'm like you, though. I like to just get in the car and see where I end up.

Joanne said...

That bed and breakfast looks lovely!
The second picture of the water fall looks like an optical illusion... What a cool pic! New York is a very pretty state. Every time we travel upstate I fall in love with it.
Blessings, Joanne

Friko said...

What a wonderful trip. You'll remember it for a long time.

That B&B is gorgeous. So are your photos.

becca said...

beautiful pictures and what a lovely trip

Barb said...

Two of our nephews went to Cornell. I know it gets mighty cold there, but it looks like you visited at the perfect time. The Inn is charming.

Mare said...

I live 50 minutes from Ithaca!!

Jeanie said...

I love reading about your travels -- that B&B is divine and Ithaca/upstate NY is a spot I've always wanted to travel. It sounds as though you had a divine time, one to be cherished and one so needed. I'm so happy for you!