Relaxing evening

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Outer side of marina facing where Lake Erie and the Niagara River meet

Friday morning I had a major dental procedure done on two of my teeth.  On Saturday I spent most of the day in pain and felt bad for the kids as it was a beautiful evening and they were stuck in the house with me. The man of the house took my mother to her FIRST Buffalo Sabres game.  This was supposed to be her and I, but I was in too much pain and my face was swollen like the elephant man so he offered to take her.

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You can see she had a great time!

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Entrance to Spaulding Trail

I decided instead of sitting at home being in pain, I could just as easily take a walk and be in pain.  So the kids, our dog and I headed to a trail on the Island that leads through the woods, around a marina inlet, through Beaver Island State Park and loops back to the beginning where we parked. It’s about a 4 1/2 mile loop.

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The entrance of the marina after coming out of the wooded trail has a beautiful tree perfect for posing for pictures.

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These rocks circle the marina.  In the warmer weather there are floating docks with kayak launches built in.  Poor Wrinkles wanted to run with the kids on the rocks so badly but there is a leash law at the marina and the park.

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Across from the marina is the Huntley Power Plant.  It’s such a cool building but it is the largest polluter in all of our county.

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There are a few areas that are perfect for having a family picnic so the kids can play at the marina.  I love the area by this tree looking to the East of the marina.

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Looking to the West is the Fisherman’s Club and their docks where we had the man’s birthday party last year.

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And on the shore of the river side of the inlet there are also rocks and a nice area for the kids to collect shells and “sea” glass.

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The sun was starting to set at the marina and we still had about 2 miles to go to head back to the car so we set off through Beaver Island Park.

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When woods washes up or any of the trees fall in the State owned park, they drag it up to store back by a practice driving range for golf.  Of course the kids could not resist climbing the rock area and on the large logs.

And after our 4 1/2 mile trek we headed back home to do the evening barn chores and feed the animals.  We headed in with just enough time to catch two periods of the Buffalo Sabres final game of the season!!

And while it really didn’t help the pain and actually caused my face to swell more the next day, it was worth it to spend the time with the kids 🙂

Lake to Lake

Being on an Island surrounded by the Niagara River which is fed from Lake Erie and flows over Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario, offers us many wonderful things to do.

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Grand Island

On the second last day of the year we headed along Lake Erie to Hamburg, NY and had a fun Hibatchi style dinner.

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On New Years Eve we had an early dinner on Lake Ontario.  The streets lining Lewiston, NY were wonderfully decorated and the lights twinkled as you made your way down to Lake Ontario where we had a nice dinner overlooking a dock with a fishing boat ready to head out the next morning.

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And a few nights later we were headed to Canalside in downtown Buffalo, NY on Lake Erie for a fun night of visiting the new ice rink which opened a few weeks ago.

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It was a balmy 30 degrees but there are plenty of heat lamps along the rink and a warm room with benches.  There are little shops along the way, a few different food trucks and these really, REALLY cool ice bikes you can rent.

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Can you tell what I will be renting soon???  I can’t wait to try these.  But tonight was not the night as we were headed to watch the sad Sabres play.  The kids had fun heckling the opposing team 🙂

panthers game

And after another bad loss for the Sabres we headed back to the rink to watch the novice curlers trying to learn the game which is another feature of the new rink.

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I love the fact we have so many things to experience right in our back and front yard just over the bridges.

Historic 19th century village

post office  Read about the Brooks Grove Post Office

THIS PLACE IS AWESOME!!!  IT’S AN ACTUAL WORKING/LIVING VILLAGE!!

In June my daughters class took a field trip to the Genesee Country Village and Museum.

I have to get this out now….I should live in this village!!!  This is the way/time/era I should have been born in for sure!!

This little village is an actual working village.  Volunteers live there or close by year round and the village works as far as growing food (all sorts of food) animals, actual 19th century kitchens being cooked in every day, the only 19th century brewery still brewing beer from their homegrown hops and barley, etc.  Women dressed in clothing from a long ago time are spinning wool, sewing, cleaning, gathering eggs and making stone ground bread from wheat grown in the village.  The food is picked up a few times a day and sent to a local military base.  They also have a restaurant that serves the food grown, butchered, and prepared here.  You can enjoy that with a homemade mug of beer.

These buildings had been carefully moved here to restore and protect them.  Most of these are the original structures!!  I attached some links and you may have to scroll down to find the history but it’s worth the minute to scroll!

I was so in awe, I barely took any pictures.  But you can read about each building and see the pictures of them here

 

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punishment lol Read about the School House

The first building we entered was the school.  My daughter is tall and could barely fit in the seats.  There was an old school teacher who held a “class” for a few minutes.  The building was so neat with a wood burner right in the middle for warmth and the boys were asked to bring in a piece of wood.  He chose my daughter to give an example of how children who were unruly were disciplined.  They had to stand in the front of the class and put their nose on a dot on the chalkboard for long periods of time.

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Next up we visited the Drug Store.  This is all the girls in her class.

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We visited the mercantile store.  My heart was racing in this building.  I would gladly have this whole wall in my kitchen!!

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Next up was John MacKay’s home.  You could feel the history in this house and the housekeeper was so helpful in touring the girls around and sharing the story of this wonderful family from long ago.

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A quick stop at St. Feehans Roman Catholic Church.  Not as colorful as churches today but I liked the simplicity of the church.

cool  The Hamilton House built in 1870.

I had to force myself to leave this house.  This could/should be my home.  This house was built after the house we currently live in.  The main part of our house was built in 1838.  But I really liked, ok LOVED, everything in this house.  This building is so grand, elegant, country, and historic.  I could feel the history of this house all around me.  It was fascinating to find out this was an Italian inspired house.  Being Sicilian, maybe that is why I loved it.

This Village is an hour away from where we live.  We were only there for a few hours but I am taking the kids back in a few weeks as you need an entire day to tour this village and talk to all the volunteers (and some paid) staff.

If you are ever coming to this area,  Niagara Falls, Toronto, Syracuse, Rochester or New York City, this is a must see attraction!!

The Erie Canal

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My nephew who is in the Army and stationed 4 hours from us came home for the long weekend.  Today we took him and his girlfriend for a cruise down the Erie Canal.  Click on the Erie Canal and you can read all about how important this canal was in our history!!

We headed out in beautiful sunshine

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We passed under the Niagara Falls bridge

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We came by the Island Street Boatyard Lighthouse (click to read about it)

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We came upon the old train bridge built around 1892

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We had all our ducks in a row at this point

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We passed by the old Wardell’s Boatyard, Bait shop and Gasoline pump

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We continued on under a train bridge still in use today

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We stopped for a quick lunch at the Dockside Grill

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And back into the boat with the skies clouding up

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And we zoomed off to beat the storm home

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But the storm was not to be..it clouded over…sprinkled 100 drops of rain.. and the sun snuck back out

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And the rest of the ride home was beautiful!!

Staycation Vacation

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The sun was setting over the campsite we built on our property next to our ice skating pond.  Sitting by the fire I was reminded again of the beauty of nature with this sight. 

This area used to be fields where the trees resided surrounded by brush.  Slowly we have cleared it out to build an area away from the main house to relax and enjoy friends and family but close enough to care for the animals. We have a tenting area and a pond for “frogging” in the summer and ice skating in the winter.  Our next project will be to build a small log cabin as a place to sleep rather than our tent.  We have our first woodburner still in the garage and will incorporate that into the cabin for warmth.

There was always a “low” spot in the trees that filled with water.  As kids my siblings and I would walk back through the wintery brush and ice skate on the frozen waters in that area with double edged ice skates.  It was not smooth, big or easy to skate on, but it was fun!  We cleared that area out a few years ago and built a large ice skating pond.  We hung colored Christmas lights on either end, built an ice shanty to warm up in, and have a burn barrel with a fire going to warm yourself during the cold winter days and nights when skating. With electricity back there the kids can even brew up a hot chocolate.

The horse pastures are near the area.  The horses love to be back there when we are and we enjoy seeing and hearing them during the night.  The coyotes howl off in the distance, owls hoot, and crickets play their music.  It’s one of the most relaxing areas on our property.  I picture my kids as teenagers hanging out back there with their friends, having a bonfire, skating, listening to their music, being silly and loud and feeling independent being away from mom and dad, but not too far.

It’s a “staycation” area giving us the feeling of a true vacation without having to worry about the care of the animals, watering of the gardens, and upkeep of the farm!! 

campsite frisbee golf my loves new pasture photo 1-5 photo 2-5 photo 3-2 photo 4-1 photo 5-1 pond campsite

 

Crabbing

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Chance with bucket of crabs

Our neighbor is a charter fisherman.  He works year round taking customers all over Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the Niagara River to catch fish.  Sounds like a dream job but it is a huge load of work driving to make sure your customers from all over the country are catching fish in all types of weather including snow storms. What you catch has to be fileted and you must spend many evenings wrapping bait, crabbing, and drying the boat out for the next mornings trip.

We are surrounded by some of the worlds best fishing with Bass, Perch, Walleye, Salmon, and probably others I have no idea about.  Sadly I have never acquired a taste for seafood of any type.  We have a few fish fry picnics a year.  I am told there is no better fish than what he brings as it’s fresh!

Last night his family went “crabbing” (turning over rocks in shallow waters and on the shore) to catch some crabs for bait.  They took my son along to help.  He had a wonderful time and loved every minute of it!!  Here are some of the pictures of their trip to the shore of the Niagara River surrounding our island to crab.   Photos courtesy of Julie Cinelli (his wife).

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How lucky are these kids to have this life!! 

 

Clouds, Canada and Niagara Falls

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I have a friend in town who currently resides in Florida (he grew up on the Island) and he is visiting Niagara Falls today.  He took this stunning photo of the beautiful sky, mist and the falls from the American side.  Growing up 15 minutes away from this location, each time you visit Niagara Falls the beauty is still awe inspiring!!

 

Father’s Day Fun

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This is Niagara Falls and the white mist in the distance is actually the Falls.  Today was a day of relaxation and fun after the man of the house returned from an early morning being called in to work.  Started with the kids giving their dad their gifts and then we headed out for a ride around the Island and capped it off with a cookout and our carrot cake.

The tween decided she wanted to make their dad his gift so yesterday they spent the entire day cutting, painting and making a putting green complete with a #1 Dad flag for the hole.

Here are some pictures from our adventures of the day!!

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waiting for dad to get home

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first putt of the day

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Bridge on the other side of the Island taking you to Niagara Falls, NY

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I love the light reflection in the Niagara River

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giving Dad his gifts

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First tube ride ever for the 12 year old!!

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coming in after a fun ride

I am exhausted and ready for bed!!  Another day of blessings!!