Saturday, November 7, 2015

Gering / Johnson 2015 Road Trip - Days 8, 9, 10 - Cooperstown, NY to Niagara Falls

After touring the MLB Hall of Fame museum we took our Danny's Market sandwiches on the road and headed to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.  Charlie navigated another scenic route and we saw beautiful autumn trees and old barns along the way.  Also, not too far outside of Cooperstown we saw one of the locks for the Erie Canal.  They say life is all about the journey and not the destination, well on this trip we certainly enjoyed the journeys from each destination to the next, time to visit, nap, and see lots of beautiful scenery!

Charlie found us another great hotel!  These shots were taken from our hotel room windows!  The hotel had positioned a comfortable chair so that it faced looking out the window, I spent a lot of time in that chair!  Bobby even joked that the second morning he woke up early so he could sit in the chair and I was already in it watching the sun come up!  We slept with the curtains open just like in Philadelphia, loved being able to glance out and see the Falls!

We had a really good dinner and breakfast the next morning in the hotel restaurant.  After breakfast we booked a tour for the afternoon, the tour was a great investment, a knowledgeable guide and a bus to take us to each attraction! The tour guide told us lots of information as we drove from stop to stop and even showed us pictures of the Falls from long ago.  Our first stop on the tour was Skylon Tower, next was Journey Behind the Falls, and the final stop was the infamous boat ride that takes you up close and personal to the Horseshoe Falls.  Guaranteed  to get you wet!  

View of the Horseshoe Falls from Skylon Tower:
 View of the American and Bridal Veil Falls from Skylon Tower.

Journey Behind the Falls

This was one of two tunnels that looked out from behind the Horseshoe Falls. 
Pretty dang cool!

A picture taken from the observation deck at Journey Behind the Falls of the boat we would soon be boarding!

Gotta love those rain ponchos!
A view of the American Falls from the boat.  Getting close...
 Horseshoe Falls.  Getting closer.....

Closer yet.....right before we were slammed with mist from the Horseshoe Falls and all the cameras got put away. This boat ride was probably my most favorite thing of the entire trip, exhilarating!

Apparently rainbows are a relatively common sight due to all of the mist.  We witnessed a full rainbow when we first pulled into town and then this smaller one on the second day.

Dinner that evening was at Tony Roma's, another great dinner and a bizarre encounter with two traveling nurses who were extremely friendly and wanted to take Teresa's picture because they thought she was Jean Stapleton the actress who played Edith Bunker!  The whole thing was kind of odd especially when they also took a picture of Bobby and me. 

The next day we headed to Niagara on the Lake, a town 45 minutes or so north of the Falls on Lake Ontario. There are many wineries in this region and we passed several of them on the way.  When we first got into town we drove around some of the residential areas (something we had done at almost every destination), it was interesting to see the political signs in the yards as Canada was conducting a Federal election that very day. There were lots of fun shops and eateries in this town and we had a good time shopping.  We picked up a couple of bottles of local ice wine in the liquor store.

The Falls and Niagara on the Lake were two more destinations where we could have spent several more days.  I kept referring to this trip as a 'vacation sampler' because we sampled so many places but could have really made an entire vacation out of each destination!

Gering / Johnson 2015 Road Trip - Days 7 & 8 - Philadelphia, PA to Cooperstown, NY

Philly departure day; we decided to get on the road first and then find a place for breakfast later on down the road. Once the valet had brought the truck around we headed out towards Montreal. As we drove north, Teresa studied the map and we made the decision because of time to skip Montreal and head directly to Cooperstown, NY and then Niagara Falls.  Bob turned around and off we went again!

Charlie navigated us a very scenic drive into Cooperstown.  As we pulled into Cooperstown it was beginning to drizzle a bit and the temperature was dropping.  It was a Friday evening and the hotel was filling up with wedding guests.

That evening we enjoyed another great meal; this time at Council Rock Brewery.  We had to wait for a table so we ordered a sampler flight made up of five of their house brews. All of the samples tasted good and made for a pretty picture!  And I admit to really liking how the bartender put them in order of color from dark to light (yes, as a kid I used to organize my box of 64 Crayolas by color and shade too!) 
For dinner, I had the Bacon and Brie Panini which had sweet figs on it, so delicious! Bobby had the Brie Burger and is still talking about how good it tasted!  

Here is their website for anyone who wants to check out the beer or food menus:

After dinner it was time to head back to the hotel and watch the Royals beat the Blue Jays! 

The next morning we headed into a very picturesque downtown Cooperstown, the birthplace of baseball, to tour the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Having a little fun in front of the Hall of Fame!

Waiting on the movie to start:

A couple pictures from the Satchel Paige display.  Bobby saw him pitch in his last game with the Kansas City Athletics in September of 1965.  Satchel was 59 years old at the time!

The MLB standings are posted in front of the building and we thought it was kind of cool since the Royals had moved into the Championship and their score from the night before was posted on the board.

Kansas City's own Hall of Famer!

We finished up around lunch time and used the 'Food Network On The Road' app to find a lunch spot.  Danny's Market is a small old fashioned market with a deli that makes some really awesome sandwiches!  The wait was long but it was worth it.

Cooperstown was one of my favorite stops on the trip and we could have found plenty more to do if there had been time. Including spending time at beautiful Lake Otsego just a few blocks from the Hall of Fame and touring a couple of more breweries!  It would also be fun to stay in one of the bed and breakfast's that are located in the older historical homes. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gering / Johnson 2015 Road Trip - Day 6 - Philadelphia, PA

The view outside our hotel window was of Independence Hall.  
This was taken early in the morning when only the work commuters were out and about, later in the day this scene would be full of tourists. 

We grabbed a quick breakfast at the food court in the building next door to the hotel and bought tickets for the double decker tour bus.  It was a chilly ride on top of the bus but it took us by all of the highlights of Philadelphia.  So much to see, we could have spent several days touring everything.

Our tour bus guide was quite entertaining as well as knowledgeable and we learned that the inventor of Monopoly was from Philadelphia.  He pointed out the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroad buildings as well as Water Works.

The Pope, on his historic first trip to the US, had visited Philadelphia just a few weeks prior to our trip and had given mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
This old prison where Al Capone was imprisoned had central heat, running water, and flush toilets before the White House had them!
The famous stairs from the first Rocky movie.

After we finished the bus tour we toured the Liberty Bell museum and Independence Hall.

The room where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Congress Hall.

Once the day was done we stopped into the hotel bar next door and had pre-dinner drinks.  The night before we had post-dinner drinks in the same bar and watched the end of the Royals game.  It was a small quiet bar with couches, coffee tables, and comfy side chairs, a nice play to spend some time relaxing.  
After our drinks we walked a few doors down for what ended up being one of the best meals of the trip at Buddakan an upscale Asian fusion establishment. We started the meal with dumplings and spring rolls.  Next, the entrees were served family style so we shared all of our choices which included cashew chicken, pork tenderloin, black pepper beef, edamame, curried cauliflower.  The desserts were spectacular and the birthday celebration continued when they served my dessert with a sparkler!

Check out the menu:

Bobby and I thought having a hotel room directly across the street from Independence Hall was pretty cool so the second night we slept with the window shades and curtains open.  Quite a view, day or night!

Gering / Johnson 2015 Road Trip - Day 5 continued - Gettysburg, PA to Philadelphia, PA

Day 5 continued - Gettysburg, PA to Philadelphia, PA 
The Beverly Hillbillies Arrive in Philadelphia!

After a full day in Gettysburg we made the 2.5 hour drive to Philadelphia.  Charlie found an awesome hotel that is directly across the street from Independence Hall.  It was pretty entertaining when we pulled up to the valet parking stand in the truck and rearranged/unloaded clothes from the back of the truck! We were quite a sight, I don't think the group of business men in suits and ties who were waiting for a taxi had ever seen anything quite like us.  Apparently they don't have many pickup trucks in Philly!
Once we got everything out of the truck that we would need for the next two nights we checked in and headed up to our rooms.  The decor in this hotel was very modern and trendy.  I about died laughing when Teresa & Charlie knocked on our door wearing the leopard print bathrobes that were in the closets!

After checking in and enjoying the robes we walked a few blocks to Jim's Steaks for an authentic Philadelphia cheese steak with cheese 'whiz'.  
Awesome sandwiches and loved the atmosphere of the restaurant and neighborhood!

We thought this gentleman might be the diner's namesake 'Jim' but Teresa found out that he was not the Jim even though he had been there for many years.

After dinner we strolled back towards the hotel enjoying looking at the old row houses, cemeteries, and churches.  We passed a cemetery tour group led by a guide in full American Revolutionary style garb.  That would be a fun tour to take!

We settled into the bar at the hotel next to our hotel and enjoyed watching the final innings of the Royals beating the Astros to win the American League Central Division title. 
 A perfect ending to a great birthday!