Archive for the ‘US20’ Category

Friends and a stormy drive

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Reaching back a bit before my last posting, the fam drove out to visit friends in Troy for their son’s 1st birthday party. It worked out nicely, as this was the weekend K had already planned to take the kids up to Maine. We drove out separately so I could return home and save precious vacation for later ventures.

It was rather fun to see more of our college friends with kids of their own. We weren’t exactly first adopters of the whole ‘start-a-family’ thing amongst the college crowd, but we’re also far from the last. To the parents at that party, and you know who you are, I have a rather nice portrait of the birthday boy and the sweet little baby girl in the strawberry hat. I feel somewhat odd about posting your kid’ pictures to my website, so instead here are some lily’s from the garden. [1]

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On the way home, I dodged thunderstorms which literally flanked me on both sides. It made for a slow drive, not because of the rain or wind but for the many stops I made to take pictures of the sky.

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And finding spots to get lightning pictures… like this pagoda in West Winfield.
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  1. I’ll send them by email instead. []

Fun with Macro

Monday, September 24th, 2007

A shout out to Mom & Dad D who bought me the nifty close-up lenses a while back. I’ve finally started to use them the way they were intended. When K, N & I went for a walk on Sunday afternoon, I was able to get this interesting close-up shot*:
Grasshopper

This one isn’t technically a macro shot, but at screen resolution it seems to be:
dragonfly

And remember that trip to the PCMoNH? Here are some of the fossils I found in their ‘dig’:
Positive Negative
Fossils

* If you’re not registered on the gallery, you won’t be able to see the higher resolution version of these shots, which are even more impressive.

Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

This is probably the grandest title for a backyard museum I’ve ever heard of. Oh, and it’s for sale if you want it.
Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History!
I knew that this had to be as cheesy as it sounded, but I had to stop. Just to say that I had. The fenced in and heavily wooded lot implied a host of secrets waiting to be discovered behind the single building. I suspected a sucker trap, but there was actually some redeeming value.
Inside the front door is (more…)

The Teepee

Friday, September 7th, 2007

It’s hard to miss The Teepee*, a souvenir shop located in Cherry Valley, NY. Made out of metal and rising some 30 feet high, The Teepee commands a panoramic view of the Mohawk valley and the Adirondacks beyond. It is your typical roadside tepee shaped shop complete with giant painted buffalo. We’ve been past this spot many times before, but now I’ve stopped (twice actually).
The TePee
The shop itself has (more…)

Sharon Springs

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Just north of US 20 on NY route 10, about 40 miles west of Albany lies the village of Sharon Springs. As the name suggests, there are various mineral springs in the area, the most famous being “white sulfur”. There is a fairly extensive article on Wikipedia, but my purpose is more impressions of a traveler than historical or geographical.
As has been previously been discussed on this blog, US20 divides New York state from east to west. In the process, it passes through many towns that have been forgotten by the modern highway rush of American drivers. Sharon Springs is no exception, but it is so much more of a loss given its previous grandeur. To the aristocracy of the late 1800s, the sulfur and mineral springs provided an opportunity for rest and relaxation at the many hotels and spas in the area. Some are still standing and fewer still contain effective businesses or restaurants. The American Hotel is one example which features a restaurant*.
What of the springs themselves? (more…)

Esperance Museum

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

So I stopped at the Esperance Museum* on the way home last weekend. Esperance is a small town about 30 miles west of Albany along US20. Esperance came into its own as one of the stopping points along the great Great Western Turnpike. With the coming of the canals and later the railroad (that also put the canals into obsolescence) the toll road was no longer profitable. The railroad depot was some distance out of town, so the hotels and inns that had been built in the town were no longer in great need. Nonetheless the town passed through the years as many north-eastern towns did, watching their young men march off to the Civil War and both World Wars, before coming into the modern era. US20 was a major thoroughfare in upstate New York in the great American driving era after WWII and many of the towns along this route prospered with road side attractions, hotels and motor cabins. US20 was eventually eclipsed by the coming of the New York Thruway (I-90) and again, Esperance, like many towns found its inns and restaurants less demanded than before. There is a more extensive (if almost unreadable) history available on the Town of Esperance website*.

Esperance Display

As for the museum itself, (more…)

Allies for my Roadside Quests!

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

In researching a future post about one of my stops along US20, I discovered the website of RoadsideAmerica.com. This site will definitely get some use by yours truly, and where possible, I will include cross references from my future postings. I will also be sending them updates on the sites I’ve visited if there’s something I can add.

US20: Another lost highway

Friday, August 10th, 2007

In lieu of the New York Thruway (I-90), we often take US20 when we are traveling from Caz to all points east. It’s a beautiful drive through the hills of central and eastern New York that lets you experience the small historic towns in the region. The Interstate system, which was originally designed for rapid transport of freight, is now the ‘fast-lane’ by which Americans cruise from city to city without experiencing the country in between. We’ve lost the fact that the journey itself is part of the experience of travel and not just the destination. This lost era, which I call the American Driving Era, was when roadside attractions were common place and hotels, roadside inns and car-cabins were needed in every small town. US20 like many US highways in this time period was not just a route to a destination, but a path along which a vacation could be formed. Our modern luxury destinations and centralized service vacations stifle the adventurer’s spirit that formed the basis of the United States for most of its existence. Now we’re lead to believe that exploration is something one does from a luxury cruise liner or a chartered helicopter.
So in an attempt to capture some of this Americana before it is lost forever, I am starting a new series of posts about a recent journey from near Albany, NY, to Caz. What could have been a simple 2 hour drive home was transformed into an all day whimsical adventure. Unfortunately, it was also often somwhat melancholy due to the disrepair and abandoned feeling one got at so many stops.
Abandoned Car Cabin Motel