Thursday, August 26, 2010

Patuxent Wildlife Reserve

Took an hour or two this afternoon to go over to the Patuxent Wildlife Reserve and walk some of the trails - we were going to go into the Visitor Centre as well, but it shut at 4.30, which was the time we finished our walk. Never mind. There were lots of water lilies in the lake.

And absolutely tonnes of fungus in the woods, including this specimen, which was so large it needed Alex in there for scale. Biggest mushroom I've ever seen!

A few interesting trees - this one was curved - and a very helpful sign...

Remarkably enough, we managed to find the trail.


My mother collects wooden birdhouses (you can see some of them on the railing of the deck - she has a lot more than that!), some of which she buys plain and paints herself. Today, we all had a birdhouse painting morning...

I chose one which was like a beach hut:

Mom painted a lighthouse:

Alex did this rocket ship with only a tiny bit of help:

Olivia painted two - a small windmill (about 6 inches tall)

and a larger airplane:

And Sarah chose this castle tower:

Some of the birdhouses may be coming home with us, some will be staying with Grandma...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Enchanted Forest

Once upon a time, there was a small amusement park in Ellicott City, MD, called the Enchanted Forest, which featured a number of large sculptures of various sorts related to fairy tales, etc. It closed in the early 1990's and the land was sold for development; a local farm called Clark's Elioak Farm acquired the sculptures and went about restoring them. That's where we went today. To be honest, my kids are slightly too old for it, but we needed a destination and had a couple of free tickets, and there is also a petting zoo, where my kids can always spend ages, plus it's only about 15 minutes away - seemed like a good bet for an afternoon out. Despite the age issue, they did really enjoy it - perhaps it's not fair to say they are too old to enjoy it, it's more that it won't hold their attention for long - though the Enchanted Maze, which is new since we went on our last US visit - did keep them (and me) occupied for quite a while.

Obviously, there was The Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe, which is a slide (most you can't go in, but just admire).

Here's the crooked man, in his crooked house (and some crooked kids?),

a random whale (actually, you can't see it, but Jonah or someone is fishing inside the whale),

Alex petting a goat,

more goat petting,

Cinderella's coach,

a rainbow slide,

trying on the glass slipper,

three kids on a swan,

and Hansel and Gretel's Gingerbread House. It was a nice afternoon out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some Daultons

These are the photos that my cousin Terri took of us together - she used the timer on her camera, wise girl! Left to right - Terri, Sarah, Aunt Peggy, Mom, Alex (in front), Uncle Tom, me, Olivia

A bunch of us at Bully Hill Vineyards

And here are 4 generations of Daultons (though we none of us are actually called Daulton, except my grandfather, who is in the photo on the board behind us) at the Steuben County Fair.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wine country

Western New York State is Wine Country. If my kids were a bit older, we could do winery tours and tastings, but it's not really what a 7YO boy is most interested in. Although we did briefly go up the hill to Bully Hill Vineyard for the view and to check out their rather fun gift shop. Bully Hill is not really your typical vineyard, though...

Instead of wine touring, we did things more interesting to children, such as - sleeping out in the screen porch (this was an activity I remember fondly from my own childhood visits, and actually, it was fine, though a little harder on my back than I remember from childhood. My cousin and I made sure we grownups got some padding underneath us...)

Here's two sleeping beauties still tucked in, in the morning. We slept out a second night as well, but unfortunately, it rained very hard in the night (which was fine, until the wind picked up and it started going sideways) so some of us moved inside.

There was also some swimming at the public beach in Hammondsport (on Keuka Lake).

Here's the view from Bully Hill (above) and some great doors on what used to be the Great Western Wine Company buildings.

They are really lovely, and sit right along the roadside, so every time you drive into Hammondsport you see them... Gorgeous.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Corning has two main attractions - the Museum of Glass, and the Rockwell Museum of Western Art - we enjoyed both of them. I took lots of pictures of pieces of glass, but will spare you most of them...

Olivia and Alex wanted to pose with some extremely large glass fruit...

And there was a glass flute...

a glass octopus

a gorgeous Tiffany window (bad photo as there was no flash photography allowed and I don't have a tripod!)

and a very large glass filagree ball. Not to mention a ton of other stuff. We did watch a demo, though we didn't make our own glass pieces (which you can do, for a price).

Corning also has a historic Market Street, which has some nice buildings and shops,

as well as the Rockwell Museum of Western Art, which we really enjoyed. It's a nice size - you can really look at everything without getting burned out and there are some lovely pieces there.

I loved this one (though the colour is somewhat off, due to the red walls in this room)

and this one, where the colour is surprisingly true!

And there was dressing up. What more could a boy (or girl) want?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big Slide

Bumper Cars

Steuben County Fair

My aunt and uncle live in Bath, New York, which is the county seat of Steuben County. Which means that every summer, the county fair rolls into town for a week. When I was a kid, it was one of my favourite things to do in Bath - and we were lucky enough to be around when it was on this year, so I took my kids (and my mother & cousin, both of whom grew up in Bath) along to check it out. It was remarkably similar, as it happens - a few different rides, but my cousin Terri says that many of the rides are even in the same locations in the fairgrounds that she remembers.

One of the things we liked to do was visit the one-room schoolhouse - here are the kids pretending to study their readers while my mom talks to one of the folks there about her dad (my grandfather), who was once the school superintendent for Steuben County (not to mention, author of the no-doubt very exciting work, Rural Education in Steuben County - that's him, pictured below on a display board in the schoolroom).

The kids were more interested in this type of thing (above) though they also had a bit of time for this type of thing (below). The most interesting chicken - who had a gorgeous, dramatic, tuft of feathers on his head - didn't want to hold still for a photo...

...but then, back to this sort of thing...

We did have a look at the exhibits, including some quilts (better displayed than the Howard County fair, I have to say, where everything was behind plastic - I know it keeps them safe, but they are so hard to see!)

And of course, people had to have their photos taken in a potato...

...even Grandma (yes, this is the reason I tend to hold the camera!)

I didn't ride the rides in general - I like them fine, just don't want to pay extra for them - but I did go on the ferris wheel, largely to be able to take an aerial photograph, but also because I love the views!

We went in the late afternoon, so that we'd be able to stay until dark, when it gets really pretty....

...and we finished the evening off with Alex trying to win a prize on the midway (he did - a stuffed toy, I'm sure you will all be shocked to hear!)