Tag Archives: Finger Lakes

Late Summer Road Trip

Our road trip to New York and Canada seemed like a long time ago now. The leaves were still green and the weather was still warm. Our trip started with a weekend to Ithaca, NY in the Finger Lakes where I knew we could photograph a few of the waterfalls in that area without having to hike a long distance. Then we would head to Canada where we would spend time in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls.

We had three goals with this trip. The first was some serious rest and relaxation. Work has been very stressful for me this summer and I couldn’t wait to just get away. The same for Tom and we hadn’t yet had a vacation this summer. The second was to make a trip to the Small Talk Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I had decided to create a basket using their “dinner party themed” wines (just gorgeous, creative concept and labels) for the Quigley Catholic Gala. And lastly, we had wanted to photograph some landscapes and waterfalls, as we had been working so hard on getting the silky water effect with our new camera.

Finger Lakes, NY
We spent the day just outside of Ithaca and photographed the following waterfall in the Robert Treman State Park, just off Enfield Falls Road (Rt. 327) at the west end of the park.

Using NDx8 filter

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F22 using our new Hoya NDx8 Filter (click to enlarge).

From there we traveled west on Rt. 327 to Seneca Lake and Watkins Glen. We had stopped at many waterfalls along the way, but this was my other favorite photograph, taken at the SHE-QUA-GA Falls in Watkins Glen. I was so surprised, because the last time we had visited this waterfall in the winter, it was gushing with water. But I loved that it was so wispy and dainty with rich patches of green moss.

SHE-QUA-GA Falls

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F22 using our new Hoya NDx8 Filter (click to enlarge).

Niagara Falls, ONT, Canada
We headed to Canada from there. I dropped my camera on the first day at the White Water Rapids exhibit. I had gotten a couple of photographs using our ND filters, but when I dropped the camera, the strap had luckily caught on the tripod and it wasn’t impacted. But I was still holding the remote release and it ripped apart, partially broken inside the camera and the rest of it was in my hand. Nice. We were done using filters. We tried, but every one of them that required the long exposure came back blurry — we just couldn’t hold the camera still enough, even propped on a hard surface. Here are a few photos that I did like:

Silky Rapids

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F8 using our new Hoya NDx8 Filter (click to enlarge).

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F8 using our new Hoya ND x400 Filter (click to enlarge). This one had a little movement.

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F8 using our new Hoya ND x400 Filter (click to enlarge). This one had a little movement.

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F10 without filters (click to enlarge).

This shot was taken with our Nikon D7100 with ISO 100, F10 without filters (click to enlarge).

Tom taking some photos after I broke the remote release.

Tom taking some photos after I broke the remote release. This shot was taken with my iPhone 4s.

Overall, the trip didn’t turn out quite like we had planned. We wished we had stayed in the Finger Lakes a couple more days and less in Canada.

We changed hotels the first night in Canada, because our Hampton Inn was so outdated that neither of us could deal. When Tom couldn’t stay, you know it’s bad. Nothing like a tiny shower stall, while having a giant heart-shaped jacuzzi tub in a retro 1970’s pink plastic. It was like a bad movie. So we moved further away from Niagara-on-the-Lake and to the Sheraton overlooking the Canadian Falls. It wasn’t the greatest either, but much better than the Hampton.  We had also seen and done everything in Niagara Falls, so after five days, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. By the end of the week, I didn’t have much energy and wasn’t feeling so great — little did I know that I would be in the hospital the following week!

So, we have no more road trips planned for the rest of 2014. But we do have a Caribbean trip coming up in November to Aruba. And we’re taking the camera!!! And I’m feeling fantastic!!! Let the countdown begin!

Always B E L I E V E !

Threads

Tom and I are going to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada this coming Sunday. We are planning a wine tour for one of our days there and have gone through every winery in the region the past two nights to determine our route. Last night we had so much fun — jumping from one website to the next. The wineries in this region are well known for their award-winning ice dessert wines — my obsession in Finger Lakes! Each winery has at least two or three different ice wines and many of them offer more than 10!

And then it hit me last night, while we were researching our trip — Tom on his iPad, me on my laptop — almost dueling to find the best wineries — if we hadn’t gone on that trip between Christmas in New Years with my brother Bob, we would never be planning this fantastic adventure this coming week. Maybe we would still be going to Niagara, but we would probably have been spending more time in the casinos.

It’s amazing how three days, two years ago would influence our lives today. And it was destined to be a horrible trip back in 2011…

Bob had asked me if we wanted to join him on a short excursion to the Finger Lakes. He asked me to bring the SUV, because we needed the room to bring some “juice” back from one of the wineries, so he could make some more wine. I talked Tom into going, but he didn’t really want to go — and I knew that, but planned it anyways. Tom was annoyed at me that entire Christmas. We argued for at least five days over it — and I prayed so hard to God that he somehow help me get through it, promising that I would never knowingly do this to Tom again.

God heard me. We started out on the trip, fully packed, dressed in our winter gear. I was excited — a holiday road trip — and cautiously optimistic that Tom would have fun. And I had that nostalgic feeling you get those few days after Christmas that lasts until you have to go back to work. The SUV was almost full with my Mom, Father Louie, Tom and myself. We were picking up Father Bob at Holiday Valley ski resort in Endicottville, NY. And it was during those first few hours that God started working his magic between us. Sure, the freezing rain had me beyond stressed, along with Father Louie and his constant chatter about the temperature — but Tom started to relax. And when we reached Endicottville — the magic was all around us.

We ended up having such an adventure over those three days! Tom and I both stepped completely out of our comfort zone and took the time to enjoy something new and different. I know that God worked his magic through my brother, as even I never imagined how much I would love the Finger Lakes. Even in the winter — no leaves on the trees and as cold as you can imagine — it was amazing. I gave thanks to God for answering my prayers.

So back to our Niagara-on-the-Lake wine tour — I had a major magic moment — Tom saying, “are their wine labels designed well enough for us to stop here?” — joking with me that I was selecting the wineries based on whether or not I liked the label designs! And then it hit me — a feeling came over me — suddenly it was clear how God was working in our lives…

Those three days, two years ago are influencing our lives at this very moment! God blessed us not only then, but as the result of that trip, is now enabling us to enjoy so much more.

We’ve taken several trips to the Finger Lakes. And now we’re reaching out to Canadian wine country to try something new. That one moment and feeling, clearly seeing those threads that are weaved by God’s hand is a true testament to God’s work in our lives.

If we only believe.

Always B E L I E V E.

PS: Do you not agree that we have to visit this winery, simply because their labels are so adorable?

Mom — Our Blessing

Bone Dancer Dessert Wine — Bagg Dare Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

Bone Dancer Dessert Wine (super sweet and fantastic wine) — Bagg Dare Winery, Finger Lakes, NY

Well, today is Mother’s Day and I’m posting a bit late as I spent most of the day at my Mom’s house. I can’t believe it barely hit 50°, and I know there was sleet mixed in with the rain at times. It was bone chilling cold too. So, in honor of the bone chilling day, I took a bottle of Bone Dancer for dinner — a dessert wine from the Bagg Dare Winery in New York. We had it with my Mom’s peach and banana cream pies. Excellent. And just the ticket to warm us up a bit!

Today we told a few stories about Dad. They came up in conversation, because Tommy ate half of a slimy turkey sandwich that Mom packed in his lunch last week. The meat went bad and Mom didn’t realize it. It reminded us of Dad, because he often ate things that were bad. While he was going to Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, he worked for Reda’s, a small corner market-type store. It was a hot summer night and Dad just got off work and and his buddy, Tim met up with him, and they each ate a Bit O’ Honey bar outside on the steps. It was nighttime and dark outside. They inhaled their candy bars and a few minutes later, the owner came out to tell the candy bars were wormy. I guess they got their protein for the day! Another time he went home to his Mother’s house after going to college classes and then working all night — and opened the refrigerator to find a plate of spam — which he spread all over some bread and ate. Delicious! The next day, my Grandma Miller wanted to know what happened to her dog food on the plate. My Grandma Knowlson bought a birthday cake at the A&P Grocery store in Chippewa, PA when I was a kid — I was probably only six or seven — for my Aunt Mary’s birthday. She cut the cake and sent a piece into the living room for my Dad and my Grandpap. Meanwhile, all the women and kids were at the kitchen table. We all got our piece of cake and it was so old — it crumbled and the icing was hard as rock (at least it wasn’t full of bugs). Meanwhile, Dad and Grandpap ate every last bite in the living room — thinking Grandma had made it. Dad used to laugh and laugh at those memories. There’s nothing like spending Mother’s Day with Mom, remembering Dad — because he was with us in spirit.

Last night, I was sitting in church and Fr. George said that our Mothers are the ones who teach us how to forgive and get along — this can then spread to our community and make society better. As I was sitting there, my mind wandered to those two guys at my office building who continue to park in my Reserved Parking space — they definitely didn’t learn that. And I realized, that unfortunately not everyone grew up in a family with faith and love. I don’t think it matters how much money you have or where you grew up, if you had faith and love in your home, there was a great Mom behind it.

Of course every Mom is special to their children and each one of them has stories of unconditional love. My Mom, not only raised me in faith and love, but she showed me how those two things could give me strength and help me find my way through the challenges of the past 12 years. It was her prayers and her candles that she sent on my behalf — over and over again — never ceasing — is there any gift greater than that? To send prayers on behalf of someone you love? She never gave up on my Dad when he was sick either. She gave of herself to be sure he had everything he needed — all the time — every day — never ceasing. She is the greatest example of faith and love, and she has passed that along to all of us kids by her example — just what Fr. George was saying. She is the blessing to all of us.

I appreciate my Mom everyday, not just today. But I’m glad there’s a Mother’s Day, because it gives us all a reason to set the day aside and spent it together. I love you, Mom today and every single day. Happy Mother’s Day!

Always B E L I E V E !

A Special Prayer for Mom
Loving God, A mother gives life and nourishment to her children. Bless these women, that they may be strengthened as Christian mothers. Let the example of their faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, their sons and daughters, may honor them always with a spirit of profound respect. Bless all spiritual mothers, those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others. Grand this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

One Sweet Weekend


As I sip on my favorite sweet white wine from Bagg Dare Winery, I’ll begin my story. You know how sometimes you have something planned and look forward to it for so long that when it actually gets here, it’s slightly disappointing? Yea, I’ve been there. But not this trip! This trip was so relaxing that we were able to truly unwind in only a few days. We had more fun than we had in quite a while — and Tom and I were able to get away — just the two of us.

Although, I felt connected to all my friends and family. My brother, Bob was texting us and emailing me as to where to go and what to see. And, If you’re connected with me on Facebook, you may have followed our trip through my Instagram posts! I had so much fun relaxing on a bench by a waterfall in the sun — or in a winery tasting wine — or in a restaurant, getting hot dogs at a place known for chicken — while documenting everything on Instagram. And we laughed — we laughed at stupid things — we laughed when we ended up where we weren’t supposed to be — and, Tom made me laugh with his “bathroom” stops — me finding the absolute closest winery — him driving as fast as he could to get there. I think I spent $150 on wine just because I felt like I had to buy something while he was using their bathrooms. And, my favorite quote of the weekend from Tom, “I just drive — (and drink)” — very ho-hum as I flipped through the map, directing him where to go. We had a blast wine tasting.

Sheldrake Point Winery.

Sheldrake Point Winery.

Oh, the Sheldrake Point Winery. That was the best laugh of all. So, I directed Tom down a back road that was supposed to end on the Cayuga Lake at some “beach.” Well, it turned out to be private property. I got the giggles while he was trying to turn around, completely annoyed at me for taking him on private property — yet again! I still laugh at that 12-point turn around. Shortly after that, he asked me to find the closest winery. Thank goodness we got a map from AAA and all of the wineries were indicated on this map. The Sheldrake Point Winery was the closest vineyard to us — and not one of our scheduled stops.

View of the Cayuga Lake from the Sheldrake Point Winery.

View of the Cayuga Lake from the Sheldrake.

We get there, we notice that they have an event tent set up. Tom’s going as fast as he can, asking me where I thought the entrance was. A woman steps out from the tent and asks us if we’re there for the herb and wine tour. I nod “no, we’re just here for the regular wine tasting,” and she points me to another entrance. Tom is about 10 feet ahead of me and is practically running past the taste bar, as the guy asks him if he wants a wine tasting. He says, “no, where’s your bathroom?” And the guy points toward the back. I’m still laughing now as I sip my wine. The moment was priceless.

Vineyards at Sheldrake Point — still looks like winter.

Vineyards at Sheldrake Point — still looks like winter.

So, I’m standing there with this guy, and I tell him that I’ll do the wine tasting. It’s $5, and I gladly hand that over to him. And then, we realize he doesn’t have any sweet wines — only dry. So, this is going splendidly awkward. But, he does have a dessert wine — Ice Wine. For my $5, I can only get a sip of that. But, it was fantastic — the best wine I have ever had — and $70 a bottle. And, while I waited for Tom for what seemed to be 15 long minutes, I learned that they harvested those grapes at the end of January while they’re still frozen on the wines. This condition can only exist in certain climates — like the NY Finger Lakes. I also learned that if a bottle of dessert wine is called “Iced” instead of “Ice”, then it’s fake. It’s still a dessert wine, but it’s made from grapes harvested in early Fall and then the juice is frozen. Those wines are cheaper — like $25 a bottle.

The grounds at the Sheldrake Point Winery are amazing. The grass is so green — and I find Daffodils blooming everywhere. We walk up a hill and find a bench that has an amazing view of the Cayuga Lake. The weather is perfect. Behind me are fields and fields of vineyards. I wish they had their leaves, because they still look barren. We take some time to soak it all in. We’re in no rush and our agenda is completely flexible!

Main street in Seneca Falls, NY.

Main street in Seneca Falls, NY (photo taken on Sunday morning when everything was closed).

So, I jumped ahead a bit. Our first night, we spent in Seneca Falls, NY and went downtown to eat at Parker’s Pub and Eatery, while exploring the town a bit. It was a very cool pub with awesome food — it reminded me very much of the pub we went to in downtown Ellicottville, NY near Holiday Valley Ski Resort back in 2011. There just aren’t places like that in Pittsburgh.

Back in the winter, I bought this fantastic reference book on the Finger Lakes. We had decided before going that we wanted to do more than just stop at wineries along the two lakes. So this book was invaluable to us as it helped us plan our trip. It included all kinds of tips and recommendations. We learned from this book that Seneca Falls was the inspiration for the town featured in the 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This movie is definitely my top Christmas movie and makes my top five of all time movie favorites.

We also drove across the bridge that in the movie George Bailey jumped off of to save the Angel, Clarence. The town has named it’s cornerstone hotel, Hotel Clarence. We drove to a small gazebo area along the water, where I took a photograph of a tree that it’s leaves were just beginning to sprout. Spring was definitely a few weeks behind Pittsburgh. As we sat on a bench there, a couple of teenagers came to get Prom pictures in the gazebo. I really enjoyed just sitting on the bench in the 75° temperature with the warm sun — it was so nice to have no where to be and we weren’t in any kind of rush.

Close up of Taughannock Falls.

Close up of Taughannock Falls.

Sunday we drove along Rt. 89S, along the Cayuga Lake, headed toward Ithaca. Absolutely beautiful — and Tom and I talked about how wonderful it would be to own a home there. The weather was gorgeous on Sunday, and we decided to visit all of the waterfalls that we could get to without having to hike a long distance.

The Taughannock Falls from the overlook at the state park.

The Taughannock Falls from the overlook in the park.

The first was the Taughannock Falls State Park, located along Rt. 89 and the Cayuga Lake and featured the Taughannock Falls, the tallest falls east of the Mississippi. Bob had told me that little fact — and that when he was there last August, this waterfall was completely dried up with not even a trickle of water. I found that hard to believe as it was gushing and just amazing — these gorges were formed millions of years ago by glaciers. You’re allowed to swim at many of these waterfalls. I couldn’t believe this is right in our back yard — who knew!

Aunt Sarah's Falls — magical!

Aunt Sarah’s Falls — magical!

We stopped at another five or six falls, all located on the southern end of the Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. But the most amazing site was at Aunt Sarah’s Falls, south of Watkins Glen, NY. The day had become overcast, but as I was taking Tom’s photo, a glow from the sun was breaking over just those falls, but you couldn’t see the sun itself or the glow anywhere else — it was truly magical — truly amazing — and I believed God was showing us his presence among us, reminding us how beautiful he made this earth.

We had a wonderful adventure on Monday! We started at our favorite winery — Three Brothers Wineries & Estates. This winery is made up of three separate wineries and one brewery. Bagg Dare is my favorite winery and this year they introduced a dessert wine — we bought two of that without tasting it. We also stocked up on our favorites, “Well Hung,” and “Poor Limp Richards.”

Selecting the 2013 dessert wine for Stony Lonesome.

Selecting the 2013 dessert wine for Stony Lonesome.

Then we headed over to Stony Lonesome, another winery on the estates. We were invited to do a wine tasting to help them choose their 2013 dessert wine! What an honor that was!!! They only had a few bottles of their current dessert wine from 2012 on the shelves. The wine maker was there, as well as one of the brothers and some other members of their family or maybe some were employees. And they had marked three bottles of wine — in clear glass bottles — with masking tape. One was marked 6%, another 8% and the last was marked 10%. The wine maker explained how he made the wine, why he needed us to test it — and told us the higher the percent on the bottle, the more sugar that was added to the batch. We met two other couples — one from Massachusetts and the other from New Jersey  — and we each selected a different bottle as our preferred choice. We preferred #2, or the bottle marked with 8%.

Our 8% dessert wine — the new 2013 Dolce wine for Stony Lonesome. We had with dessert at the Belhurst Castle.

Our 8% dessert wine — the new 2013 Dolce wine for Stony Lonesome. We had with dessert at the Belhurst Castle.

The owner gave us what was left of that bottle to finish in our room that evening. We finished it with awesome dessert from our hotel at the Belhurst Castle (the hotel we stayed at for Sunday and Monday evenings).

I could go on and on about the people we met at the wineries, the sites we saw and the adventures we had. It was a very special weekend for us, celebrating the good news we had received in February. We look forward to going back in July for the Musselman Triathlon that Bob is participating in. So, I raise my glass to all those who showed us a good time this past weekend.

To clean glasses and old corks! Cheers.

Are We There Yet?

I think movies like Christmas Vacation or Vegas Vacation are so popular, not because they are some of the greatest comedies of all time, but because they are relatable to so many people on so many levels. It was a time in history when taking the family road trip was the only way to travel. As a kid, none of us ever got on an airplane — I was 18 when I got on my first flight to see my brother at college when he was going to the Catholic University in DC. But taking that two- or four- hour road trip was part of the family vacation experience.

I was reminiscing about this just this week as people are getting their vacations onto the schedule at work. Their vacations are much different than the family vacations I remember. We didn’t travel to the Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach, because the thought of an eight- or nine- or more- hour road trip with us kids would have been a nightmare for my parents. There were no CD players to pop in a two-hour movie and keep the kids quiet or asleep. I remember playing checkers on magnetic boards so you wouldn’t lose the checker pieces or playing “padiddle” for hours, looking for those cars or trucks with only one headlight. We used to count the number of “piggy-backs” or trailer trucks with an extra trailer. We even kept track of what states other cars were traveling from by their license plates. Or how about “punch-buggy” — looking for a Volkswagon Beetle bug and wacking your brother or sister in the arm — whoever saw one first. Anything to keep us busy. Oh, and bathroom breaks — they didn’t exist. My Dad would tell us, “I’m stopping now, you’d better pee, because we’re not stopping again until we get there!” — that’s where I get my strong bladder from. And you always traveled with a cooler containing pre-made cold-cut sandwiches and cans of pop. There was no bottled water or drink juice boxes back then. Do you ever wonder who eats at those picnic tables at the rest areas on the turnpike? Yea, the Miller family did that.

I think today’s family road trip probably looks a lot different. Besides the CD player or total entertainment system available in many vehicles, and various car seats jammed in based on the age of your kids, I think you’d probably find the kids with earphones and their iPods, or maybe even playing games on their iPads — maybe someone reading a book on their Kindle (if that didn’t make them car sick). What would we do without technology? Times have surely changed — in only a matter of 20 years. But that’s another story for another time.

My Mom used to tell me that she never used car seats for us kids. We didn’t like them — so there you have it — she didn’t put us in them! She said it was easier to hold the baby in the front seat. Well, I guess there was less road-rage, cars didn’t go 100 miles per hour, people weren’t distracted by technology or in a major rush — they actually went the speed limit and took their time, enjoying the ride — that was part of the vacation — not to mention those 1970-something vehicles were steel tanks!!! So maybe safety wasn’t the issue it is today in our “beam me up, I wish I was already there yesterday” world of today.

And, think back to the days when nobody had a major credit card and certainly not a debit card. You had an old-fashioned checkbook and you traveled with cash in your wallet. Or maybe you got traveler’s cheques if you were worried that your cash could be stolen. Seriously, do traveler’s cheques even exist today?

Lake Erie 1971. The water was always a bit chilly, even in August — but we loved it anyways.

Lake Erie 1971. The water was always a bit chilly, even in August — but we loved it anyways.

We took a family vacation every year. It was usually in August, because we went to Lake Erie, PA in the early years and the water didn’t get so warm until then. And even then, it was pretty cold for swimming. And Mom and Dad, they loved packing us all up — each of us had our own hard-case suitcase with these flippy kind of buttons that were spring-loaded. I can still hear the sound they would make as you pushed the button to open your suitcase! Dad would literally be whistling while he loaded the car, laughing and joking — leaving all the stress of his work behind him, and Mom would be loading up the cooler. When we hit the road — everything was behind us for an entire week! Can you imagine that today? No cell phones, no gps, no computers, no way to contact anyone until you stopped at a pay phone somewhere along your route. There was no email, no checking voicemail or calling in to see if everything was okay. You were on vacation! Ah… we need to find that peace in our lives again!

As kids, there was no better place on this earth than Lake Erie. I still love it to this day. Tom and I go at least once a year to Presque Isle and hang out on the beach. Lake Erie was the beach for me. I didn’t see the ocean until we started going to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation — and I was in high school then. Those road trips were even longer — at least nine hours, but we rode in style in the back of the truck camper. So, our whining wasn’t heard by Mom or Dad in the cab of the truck — and they didn’t really care what was happening. Dad even welded a custom bike rack and had five bikes bouncing along with us. We were the epitome of the American family, living the American dream.

And if you think back to those “Vacation” movies with Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid, you laugh, because you had similar situations on your own family vacations. And, I love how they bring in the extended family with cousin Eddie — we all have extended family who only add to the memories of these days. And the crazy things that happened, yes, they happened to the best of us.

Gosh, I remember the year we went to Lake Erie in August 1977. We used to rent these little cottages where six or eight of them had their own private beach front. The cottages usually had two bedrooms and a small kitchen. You never ate out at a restaurant in those days! Mom would cook in this tiny kitchen or we’d cook on the outdoor grills. Maybe we’d go out for ice cream. But, I seriously cannot recall ever eating at a restaurant when I was little. I remember one morning, Mom had on the radio — one of those old-fashioned kinds with the big dial on the front — and it came across the radio that Elvis Presley had died. I would have been nine, almost 10 years old on that vacation — and I can remember asking my Mom who that was and she told me a singer. I don’t know why that stuck in my brain.

That was the same year that Dad took the boat to Lake Erie and on his way back to the cottage, caught the trailer hitch on some railroad tracks — ripping the underneath of the car or something bad. That’s how I know there weren’t major credits cards back then or the garages didn’t accept them. I don’t know, but they used all their cash to fix it. Another Griswold family vacation. And if you can imagine this scenario — back then, we had the station wagon, yeah, right out of the Brady Bunch, complete with the wood grain siding! Oh, and I can verify, it did have a third row seat — called a rumble seat, except when you rode there, you faced the traffic behind you. Oh, and AC — what was that?

Vacations today are more extravagant. Tom and I look for what Caribbean island we’re hitting this year, but we still love that road trip. So we plan a couple of those — less than five hours to our destination. Besides our trip to St. Lucia, we have several road trips planned. A couple to the Finger Lakes, NY, an Erie trip and a long weekend planned to Niagara Falls, NY. And, we’ll probably go to the cabin at least once. And this year to our trip to Lake Erie, I think I’ll pack a cooler for the day and plan a picnic on Presque Isle. I’m sure I’ll check my email while I’m sitting at that table — after all, I can’t live without it. But, I’ll fondly think back to all those Miller family vacations, remembering a simpler time.

I wonder if my nieces can read an old-fashioned map. Those were the days.