Tuesday, August 22, 2023 - Today we drive from the Ridge RV Campground to the Clute Memorial Park and Campground in Watkins Glen, New York. The drive took three hours and the roads were in very good condition. The access to the RV park was reasonable and we did have to drive through a portion of the town of Watkins Glen.  We are located at the very south end of Seneca Lake which is one of the New York "Finger Lakes." Seneca Lake is about two miles wide and 38 miles long. There is a small channel that leads out of the south end of Seneca Lake and the RV park is located right at the entrance of this channel. We talked to several neighbors, and they were all very nice people.

After setting up the RV and having lunch, we decided to take a drive into the town of Watkins Glen to see what the town is like. There is one main road in town and it is only about a half-mile long. It goes right past Watkins Glen State Park and the hiking trails along the steep gorge dropping down the hillside into town. We also found another waterfall called Chequaga "Shequaga" Falls. This is a falls that was sketched by Louis Philippe in 1820 who later became the King of France. This falls in very close to town and drops about 300 feet into the pool below the falls. We decided to wait until the next day to go to the Watkins Glen State Park to hike, but , today, would take a drive around the 38-mile long Seneca Lake. The lake is lined with vineyards and wineries. They are everywhere. We think that there are at least 27 wineries around the lake. Since it was late in the afternoon, we did not stop at any of the wineries to check them out. At the north end of the lake is the town of Geneva. We took a drive through the town of Geneva to check it out. It is a very nice old town with a lot of "character" in the historic downtown area. We drove through the town and then decided to drive to the town of Seneca Falls that is about 15 miles east of Geneva.

When we entered the town of Seneca Falls, we drove through a part of the town where the streets were lined with gorgeous, old historic homes and buildings. It was great fun to look at the homes as we drove past them. We then turned around and went back into the center of the town. It turns out that this town is considered the National Historic Center for Women's Rights. The first convention for Woman's Rights was held on a street corner here in 1848. These women who met created what is called the "Declaration of Sentiments" which is a list if grievances with respect to women in the culture of the United States. Some of the women who demonstrated here were Mary Ann McClintock, Jane Hunt, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martha Right, and Lucretia Mott. This all lead to the Suffrage Movement in the United States. There is a historical park and museum in Seneca Falls dedicated to the beginnings of Women's Rights and the Suffrage movement.

Also, right next to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Park, is a bridge across the Seneca River that looked very familiar to me for some reason. As it turns out, Seneca Falls is the model town around which the Christmas classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" was based. The bridge looks exactly like the bridge in the movie where "George Bailey" attempts to commit suicide as the bank looks like it might fail. There is a museum in town dedicated to this movie. There are street signs hanging on the bridge for "George Bailey Lane" and "Bedford Falls Blvd." There are also Christmas lights that are permanently mounted on the bridge and are illuminated every evening. My understanding is that the movie was not actually filmed here in Seneca Falls (Bedford Falls), but the town was the model to base all of the design of the town of Bedford Falls for Hollywood. See the photo gallery to see the bridge and other parts of the town.

After checking out the "Bedford Falls Bridge," we headed back to Watkins Glen where there was "Music in the Park" scheduled from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm. We got there at 7:10 pm and found that the band was a "big band sound" based out of Rochester, New York. They were pretty good and we enjoyed the music. We even go up to dance one cha-cha-cha and, also, one salsa. It has been a long time since we have danced, so we (meaning "I") was/were rusty. It was still fun and we managed to impress the locals. The average age at this was Music in the Park venue was about 85 years. The band took a break after at about 8:00 pm, so we decided to "skedaddle" back to the RV. It was fun, and it had been a pretty busy day.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023 - We had breakfast and then decided to head over to the Watkins Glen State Park to hike the Gorge Trail. This turned out to be a great hike and, in retrospect, we felt that it was not too hard of a hike. There are three sections of the park; first, in town on the main street, second, at a suspension bridge park about midway up the ridge, and third, the upper campground and parking area. Not knowing what we were doing, we drove up to the middle part of the park and started out hike about one-third of the way from the bottom of the gorge. We began by heading down the gorge into town. It was extremely scenic with deep gorges, waterfalls, and excellent trails made of pavers all the way. The trail also was cut into the sides of the mountains in spiral and vertical staircases. We also had several bridges to cross and waterfalls to pass under. Be sure to see the photo gallery. When we reached the main street and the park Visitors Center, we decided (mostly I decided) to walk into Watkins Glen to go to the local donut shop called, Tobey's Donut Shop.

As we walked through Watkins Glen, we noticed the historical markers for the first open street race course in the United States and what eventually became part of NASCAR. Watkins Glen is the site of the "Watkins Glen International" road race course found in the small town of Dix located near Watkins Glen. There was a big race here about a week ago and we missed it. The first races were actually held right in the town of Watkins Glen and there are monuments throughout the town about the racing history. Racing is a big deal here. We continued on to the donut shop.

We had some donuts and coffee and this actually helped us with a "sugar-boost" for the climb back up the gorge. We met four very nice people from Connecticut, who were camping nearby and riding bikes. We had a great visit with them and gave them one of our blog cards. We then walked back to the park and began our climb up the Gorge Trail. The trail is amazing! The workmanship on the trail is very good considering that it was built in the 1930s by the CCC. There are bridges and small tunnels to navigate. We easily hiked the one-third mile to our start point on the trail. We then continued to the one-mile point which is a place where you can turn around. We continued for the remaining half mile to the top of the trail. At the top of the trail, we went to the snack bar and bought a soda to drink with the extra donut that I had carried all the way to the top. After our snack, we began the hike back down the trail to where we started, but this time we used the "Indian Trail" that paralleled the Gorge Trail. It was pretty easy trail and it took us all the way back to where we started. We then went to where we had parked our truck.

After the hike, we went to Walmart to do some shopping. Then it was back to the RV to relax and plan a dinner out on the town tonight. The winery cafe' that we had planned to go to turned out to be closed, so it looks like a nice Mexican food restaurant is the new plan. The Mexican restaurant was pretty small and crowded. The staff were trying hard, but they were at least two people short of the number that they needed. So, the wait times were long. There was also a family with a small child who was yelling quite a bit and throwing things, so it was pretty noisy. The food was good and plentiful. Would we go back' I don't think so. After dinner, we drove over to the local high school to check out the Catherine Valley Bicycle Trail that heads out into the country just behind the school. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, but if it does not we plan to ride this trail. It is a short trail and will only be about eight miles out and the eight back for sixteen miles total.

Thursday, August 24 , 2023 - Lisa has been studying the town of Ithica, New York. She found that Ithica is a college town with Ithica College and Cornell University there. They have a pretty cool downtown area that they call the "Commons." There are nice stores, mini-malls, and restaurants there. We decided to go there to take a wall through the Commons and to also have lunch there. It is definitely a college oriented shopping area being quite "eclectic" and focused on LGBT issues. Very progressively liberal. The local book store is the place to go if you want some info on radicals, revolutionaries (Che Guevara), or on gender studies. We did have a nice lunch there and then decided to head over to Cornell University.

We also decided to drive over to Cornell University to check it out and to walk through the Botanic Gardens and Arboretum there. Many of the flowers were in blossom and all of them were categorized with name tags. I took lots of photos of some of the flowers and they are currently on the blog. So beautiful to see the colors and shapes. Mother Nature is a pretty creative being!! After we left Cornell University, we drove back to Watkins Glen to relax in the RV. I was pretty tired, so a nap was called for.

Friday, August 25, 2023 - Today we packed up the RV and drove north to near Watertown, New York to the Streamside RV Campground. This is a very unique campground because it only charges $35 per day for full hookups and that is about half of the going rate in this region. We are staying here for eight days, so this will save us some pretty good cash over that eight days.