Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Leisure at the Lake Adventure: Skaneateles

Try saying that name three times in succession, without knowing how it's pronounced, and see what you come up with.

Scan-ee-atlas is my best approximation.

On Sunday evening, we had determined that the bulk of our company was going to leave between9-10 am to go to Skaneateles, a village a bit farther than Seneca Falls, to wander the picturesque streets, perhaps shop a bit, and Script made us a 1pm reservation for lunch at a beautiful little restaurant right on the lake.

The beauty of this, announcing it the evening before, keeping to a strict departure time, and telling everyone where we were going, meet up with us when you can or if you want if you miss the first leaving time, is that those of us who get up at the crack of dawn every day and love an early start don't end up ready to go, waiting for the night owls to finish waking and getting ready.  No one gets hurt feelings, and we can all do what suits us best.

Skaneateles calls itself a village, not a town, and i learned why while there.  It's small enough that i walked to the post office just a block away from the restaurant, and we walked the majority of what we wanted to see something like 5 times in the few hours we were there, to feed the parking meter more than once and take in everything.

Script, Grace, Westie and i went in the first wave, with Script driving using an old fashioned map and relying on the fact that she has come to the Finger Lakes region with her husband at least once a year for many years and has been to all of these places more than once to get us there.  She did a superb job, as usual.  We once again drove through Seneca Falls, right past the Women's Rights Historic District, and past farmland and other small towns.

The architecture, the homey feel of places, the beautiful trees turning colors, all combine to make it feel like you have stepped back in time and gone into a new universe, at least to these Southern eyes used to going from green for nine months of the year to drab brown and gray for the other three, and having the oldest stuff i see regularly being from no earlier than the 1920's, with the exception of a few buildings downtown that are scattered and interspersed with much more recent architecture.

Script parked in front of a lakefront park, next to a beautiful Episcopal edifice.  Then we wandered into one of those Christmas stores that make you want one of each, and make huge, grandiose plans for your own holiday decorating that you know you cannot possibly pull off, especially if you have kids and cats.  In fact, i don't decorate much at all, beyond a tiny tabletop tree, if even that, because of not wanting to have to keep picking up what the little people, both two and four legged, in my house will do to it. (Although i must add that none of the two legged ones in my house currently are that small any more, although still hard on the furnishings.)

We wandered in and out of shops that have beautiful clothing, lovely tchotchkes, and i even bought two note cards i want to mail to someone, which is why i wandered over to the post office and got two stamps.  (Back home, when i want to mail something out, Sweetie takes it and mails it from work, and we give them cash for it to put in the petty cash box.  They don't care, as long as we pay for it.)

Dawn and i wandered into the Episcopal church building that still has the original style divided pews that look like you are sitting in a box, the kind you paid for and had your assigned pew and visitors better be careful not to sit in your pew.  Wandering up toward the altar area, you can see where the minister used to stand, so far toward the back removed from the people, and smaller tables in front where they now stand.  It was lovely and quiet and i love wandering in old churches, as well as attending them.

For lunch at the Bluewater Grill, which i can highly recommend if you are ever in the Village of Skaneateles, we were joined by Ninja and Farmer Pickles.  They were vegetarian friendly, and even turned one of their dishes that is normally served with meat over it into a vegan version for me.  it had mango and avocado in it, so i couldn't help but ask (my favorite salad is mango and avocado, with just a bit of salt and some sunflower seeds).  The dessert eaters shared two desserts, including what Westie said was the best Key Lime Pie she had ever eaten in her life).

After lunch, there was time to wander in the park, watching children play and older people sit and rest and younger people jog or walk.  We saw the war memorial, which lists the names of every person from the village who answered their country's call to serve during WWI and WWII.  Standing on the edge of a lake, looking out at the beautiful houses,, rolling hills, color tinged trees, and feeling the cool breeze, i had that other worldly feeling again.

Speaking of breeze, this whole time we couldn't have had been weather if we could have ordered it from a catalog.  The nights were not so cold that i was in pain, the days dawning with that crisp, autumn cool that i can stand well with a light jacket, the days positively balmy.  Sunrises were gorgeous, and only one was obscured by fog on the lake.  Even that foggy sunrise had a subtle beauty all its own.

Walking up and down the streets in Skaneateles, we kept passing a place where there was sidewalk work being done, and a nice man whose job was to help people safely navigate past it stood lifting prams over the curb and making sure everyone watched their step saw us over and over.  One time, helping another person, he almost backed into me, and apologized, and said, "I'm going to run into you yet, and if I do, I'll buy you a glass of wine!"  We laughed, and no, he never actually bumped into me.  It was a friendly village.

We gathered to head back to the house and on the way, drove through the Montezuma Nature Reserve.  While there are hiking trails, the area we went through is for driving through, with only a couple of places where you are allowed to park.  There is even one blind for the serious birders.

There were waterfowl, and even though i'm not a birder, i could tell it wasn't just all Canadian geese and Mallards.  As Westie noted, those of us who aren't serious birders can tell a wren from a wild turkey or a sandpiper from a flamingo, but the finer distinctions between different varieties can escape us.  Still, i noted at least 3 varieties of duck, none of which i could name besides the Mallards, and we watched the geese land.  They were a talkative bunch on the way down to the pond they had chosen, and i could almost catch the conversation:  Does this look like a good place to you?  How about here?  Is this one okay?  Sure, it looks great to me!  How about you?  Yes, that one is just right!

The road back leads there eventually, no matter how beautiful it is and no matter how much you want it to last.  So when we got back to the lake house and Grace said she was heading into town to walk in the park there, and did anyone want to join her, i jumped at the chance.  Eagle also took her up on the offer, so Grace penned a quick note saying where we were going and that we would be back in time for dinner, and we were out and moving again.

The area wasn't really a park, but we walked along the lakefront where there were homes, and walked right through the grounds of the university.   It was a great walk, we went about two miles round trip, and saw a garden i thought was so cute.  It had at the front a little sign that said, "Garden tours, five cents" and it had a can nailed to the wooden post!  The only reason i didn't snap a picture is the owner of the home was there, and many people don't want their homes or gardens photographed by strangers.

For dinner that night, Peppermint, Hairy, Sr., and Hairy, Jr., joined us once again.  We emptied the fridges and pantry and at until we were all happy.  Then, everyone who was staying at the house set aside what we wanted either for breakfast or for travel food, and every other item went home with Peppermint and company.

Hairy, Jr., was his usual entertaining 4-year-old self.  Like Grace, i'm at the point where i'm nostalgic around small children but not ready for grandchildren.

We talked and visited until we just couldn't any more, because morning comes early, and the next day would be a big travel day for everyone except Peppermint and even her husband had to get up and go to work the next day.

Today is:

Balloons Around the World -- balloon artists around the world are encouraged to donate an hour or more to a charity of their choice in their community, entertaining children everywhere with balloon sculpture

Batik Day -- Indonesia (UNESCO designated Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage)

Buttering-Up Quarter Finals -- Fairy Calendar (I have no idea what this means, but anything to do with butter sounds good.)

Change a Light Day -- US, sponsored by EntergyStar, promoting energy saving light bulbs

Day of Appearance of the Primordial/Eight Great Netjers -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Gandhi Jayanti -- India

Go for a Stroll After Dinner Night -- because it's healthy

Guardian Angels Day -- recognize and thank your own Guardian Angel
     Feast of Guardian Angels -- Spain (patrons of the police force)

Independence Day -- Guinea(1958)

International Day of Non-Violence -- UN, in honor of Gandhi's birth anniversary

Mehregan -- Iran (pre-Muslim Zoroastrian festival of Persia to honor Mehr, which means friendship, affection, and love; also called Persian Festival of Autumn)

Name Your Car Day (and i hope you don't have to name it "Old Unreliable")

National Custodial Workers Day -- US

National Fried Scallops Day

Nottingham Goose Fair -- Nottingham, England (dating back to at least 1284, what began as a fair market so people could stock up on food supplies for winter is now a fun festival with rides and games; through Sunday)

Old Man's Day -- Braughing, Herts, England (in honor of a 16th-Century man's escape from premature interment; he left money for a street sweeping and celebration on this day which is still observed)

Phileas Fogg's Wager Day -- he made his famous wager, according to Jules Verne, this day in 1872

St. Leger's Day (a/k/a Leodegar; Patron of blind people, millers; against blindness and sore eyes)

World Farm Animals Day

Anniversaries Today:

Redwood National Park established, 1968

Birthdays Today:

Lorraine Bracco, 1955
Sting, 1951
Annie Leibovitz, 1949
Donna Karan, 1948
Don McLean, 1945
Rex Reed, 1938
George "Spanky" McFarland, 1928
"Sheriff John" Rovick, 1919
Bud Abbot, 1895
Groucho Marx, 1890
Mahatma Gandhi, 1869
King Richard III of England, 1452

Debuting/Premiering Today:

Twilight Zone, 1959
Peanuts by Charles Schultz, 1950

Today in History:

Saladin takes Jerusalem from the Crusaders, 1187
Jacques Cartier discovers Mount Royal (Montreal), 1535
Kazan is conquered by Ivan the Terrible, 1552
Jan Lippershey completes a prototype of the modern reflecting telescope, 1608
George Washington transmits the Bill of Rights to the States for ratification, 1789
The Texas Revolution begins with the Battle of Gonzales against Mexican troops attempting to disarm the people of Gonzales, Texas, and meeting with stiff resistance, 1835
J Osterhoudt patents the tin can with key opener, 1866
John Logie Baird performs the first test of a working television system, 1925
The "Prelature of the Holy Cross and the Work of God", commonly known as Opus Dei, is founded by Saint Josemaría Escrivá, 1928
Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz is first published, 1950
The anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS television, 1959
Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first African-American justice of United States Supreme Court, 1967
NATO backs US military strikes following 9/11, 2001
American Samoa joins the North American Numbering Plan, 2004
NFL plays first regular season game outside United States when the Arizona Cardinals defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 in Mexico City, Mexico, 2005


  1. What a lovely day you had and what a lovely time you've had. I've enjoyed going along with you.

    Have a safe trip home. ☺

  2. Too bad you missed out on that free glass of wine.

  3. Boy- you had a wonderful time! And as busy as your life is I am glad that you took time to give to yourself those days of fun with friends in a new place. Have a wonderful day!