Tag: winter (Page 1 of 5)
After our morning exploring Watkins Glen, we headed for Ithaca. We didn’t venture to Ithaca on our last trip to the Finger Lakes so this was something new for us. Our first stop in Ithaca was Ithaca Falls (top). This huge cascade was at the side of the road, across from an elementary school. We parked at the school and walked across the road to get a better look. We were able to get pretty close to the falls and being that it was winter, there weren’t very many other people around. I imagine this is a hot spot in the summer.
After admiring the falls, we decided to head to Cornell. There’s not a ton on the campus that we found that was opened to the public, but we did stop at the botanical gardens. Not much is blooming at the end of December. The visitor’s center (left) was even closed, but it was nice to get out and walk around. There was a “winter garden” which was basically a bunch of conifer trees. I can only imagine the gardens bursting with color in the spring and summer. I really wanted to see the arboretum, but it is closed in the winter.
From the Botanical Garden, we headed to the Cornell Ornithology Lab. This was a little way from the campus, but I guess it is a well-known place for birders and scientists. Once again, the Visitor Center closed between Christmas and New Years, but the hiking paths were open. We took a walk on this boardwalk through a swamp. We had to stop where the boardwalk ended because it was too muddy to continue. It was a beautiful day, though and it was nice to be outdoors listening to the birds. I am in no way a bird person, but I could enjoy spending some time on the trails and trying my hand at photographing birds.
All in all, it is always nice to explore new places, but not much was open during our visit to Ithaca. I would definitely enjoy returning when it is warmer, with proper footwear. From Ithaca, we headed back to Corning for our glass making appointments at the Corning Museum of Glass. Be sure to come back next week to hear about that!
Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
While planning our winter Finger Lakes adventure, we knew we wanted to go back to Watkins Glen State Park. We had read that the Gorge Trail is closed for the winter, but it was hard to find out much else. First off, I assumed that the gorge trail closed for the winter because the icy conditions make it a fall hazard, but after visiting, I think the bigger concern is falling ice. It was in the 40s and 50s when we visited and there wasn’t much ice on the ground, but there was still quite a bit hanging from the rock faces.
In winter (November -April), the Gorge Trail and parts of the Indian Trail are closed to visitors for safety reasons, but from my understanding, the South Rim Trail and Finger Lakes Trail remain open through the winter. We parked at the south entrance and walked the short, muddy walk towards the gorge trail where a bridge (below) to some of the other trails was open. From the bridge, we got a breathtaking view of the gorge and the gorge trail (above). From there, we were able to walk part of the Indian Trail that took us a little into the gorge. The steps were a little slippery, but view of the rushing water and the ice was totally worth it. Not to mention, we saw two other families while we were down there. It felt like we had the place to ourselves! Compared to when we visited in the summer with hoards of tourists, I much preferred the cold and ice!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back next week as we head to Ithaca! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Our day at the Grand Canyon started early. I think we got to the Visitor’s Center around 8 o’clock, about an hour before they open. Because of that, we were one of the first cars in the parking lot and we were able to get some photos of the canyon while the lighting was still good.
If you’re not staying at one of the hotels in the park, there is not a lot of nearby lodging. We ended up at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Tusyan, which is right outside the boundaries of the park. Its one of two hotels you drive by to get to the South Rim. The hotel was rated highly online and the price was right so we booked it. Overall, I was very impressed with the hotel. The room was large and the bathroom was HUGE. It was a great surprise. Especially in an area where you will get people to stay at your hotel no matter what it looks like, I was impressed. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon, I highly recommend you check out the Best Western. The only way to get closer to the canyon is to stay in the park, which is pretty pricey and the rooms book up fast, even in the winter.
Besides a few hotels, there’s not much in Tusyan beside the National Park. There are a few fast food restaurants and there are some more formal restaurants located in the lodges in Grand Canyon Village, but nothing was very highly rated so we decided to skip it and just eat on the road. There is a grocery store in Grand Canyon Village where you can get the staples. It would be very handy if you were camping in the park or staying in one of the lodges that has a kitchen. You don’t have to worry about stocking up outside the park, although the prices in the park are more expensive than at a grocery store in Flagstaff.
Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Best Western Premier, check out TripAdvisor. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the desert, I think of snow. No? You don’t? Well, my first experience in the desert was 2 days of rain then driving north to discover several feet of snow. I was excited to experience dry heat on this trip and it felt exactly the same as the air feels in Michigan. For an area called Desert View, this, while still beautiful, was not the landscape I was expecting, even in February.
The Desert View Watchtower (below) is the man made landmark of this part of the park. Built in 1932 by architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, it is meant to replicate towers in other southwestern cities. The tower was built to blend in with its surroundings. Colter herself described it as “One that would create no discordant note against the time-eroded walls of this promontory…The color and texture of this weathered surface rock naturally matched our terrain as none other could, but we were at the necessity of using it in just the shape it was found, as any tool mark became a conspicuous scar on the face of our walls. So we were obliged to select carefully for size and shape every unit of stone built into our masonry.” (NPS)
Climbing the watchtower affords great views of the canyon and the surrounding landscape. The interior of the tower on the first floor is decorated with paintings by a Hopi artist. Paintings on higher floors are replicas of those found in other southwestern sites. The paintings help get you in the mind set up the people who lived in the places many years ago. I imagine if you visit in the summer months, the watchtower gets very crowded, but it was relatively empty on this cold, snowy February day.
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.