Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

On our way to Niagara we stopped in nearby Tonawanda at the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum. When I saw this place on Roadside America, it was a no-brainer!
I loved this room full of beautiful hand carved carousel animals. I especially like how they decorated them for Halloween.
Can I get a copy of this framed for my house? I thought the gift shop would be awesome but it didn't have anything that interested me. I wish they had postcards of the vintage carousel images!
Look at the witch wig! It cracked me up!
They had huge blown up photos of the factory through the years. So cool!
In the workshop they had horses in various stages of the carving process. Apprentices would carve the bodies and legs, and they master carvers would do the heads.
They have a huge collection of Wurlitzer music rolls and machines. They were so cool! I like the ones that have horns and drums attached. Their two carousels have Wurlitzer music, magical!
And lets talk about this photo! I LOVE IT! I want it blown up to wall size for my guest room! Look at that kid in the front with the cowboy hat! They had a little display of rides other than carousels and the Little Dipper was part of that.
Of course part of the tour is riding on one of their carousels!
You get a ride included in admission. And if you want more, I think they were 50 cents a piece. What a deal!
I picked this one to ride. 
We were the only two on the carousel and it was so fun! The old ones seem to go faster.
The carousel factory museum was a great little stop on our trip. I had planned to visit a kazoo factory too, sadly we didn't get to the town in time. Next time!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beautiful Ithaca New York

Like I said, our friend's Carolyn and Rory offered us a luxurious air mattress to sleep on in their apartment in Ithaca. Not only was it fun to see them, they made us vegan pot pie for dinner! It was awesome! We listened to records and laughed and had an all around great night.
The next morning Carolyn showed us the way she walked to school at Cornell. Could this place be any more gorgeous?! I couldn't believe it!
 How lucky would you feel to walk this way to school? Or you can ride the bus if you aren't in the mood for the stairs.
 That's Rory in the red, and their beautiful Llewellin Setter. 
The whole town was adorable. Well, at least the parts we saw. We went on a walk to get coffee (chai for me!). It was a great morning.
 Look at this pretty girl! She makes me think of an extra glamourous Dalmatian. Bea is deaf, but is also a trained bird dog!
 On our way out town we had to stop by Taughannock Falls. Look at this place! It was surreal! I wish we had time to hike down to the bottom of the falls.
 Can you see the path down there? There were people standing on that little spit of land in front of the falls, but you can even see them in this photo because they were so tiny!
 One thing about Ithaca is that it isn't really near any big major roads. We had to take a scenic highway to get back on track, and I'm so grateful. We went along the Finger Lakes for a while and they were breathtaking. We kept looking for some kind of scenic overlook but never found one. Here you can kind of see how blue the water was. We saw a fox running in one of the fields! After several days of rain it was great to have such a beautiful day for the drive.
 After a few hours we were at our destination, Niagra Falls! You know I have a whole post on that coming up for you! But while in town we stopped to see this modern wonder. It is called the Second Coming House of the Prophet Isaiah. The man who lives here thinks the world is ending this year and this is his welcome center for the lord. Isn't in beautiful? It is so surreal in person.
 I couldn't get over how amazing this was. Look at all those layers and colors! When I read about it online it said that Isaiah has redone this house over and over. It is just stunning. I was hoping he would be there because it said he is very nice and likes to talk to people, but we missed him.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Salem to Ithaca, by way of Secret Caverns

When planning our road trip I wasn't sure what to do between Salem and Cleveland. I was just going to pick a random town to stop in to break up the 10 hour drive. Then our friend Carolyn offered us a place to stay for the night so our trip to Ithaca, NY was born! It cut the route right in half, perfect!
It was overcast and rainy the whole way. We stopped a few times to break up the trip. This guy used to stand outside a hotel that was "southern hospitality themed".
Travis jumping the fence to get a photo for me. True love.
Even thought it was overcast it was a beautiful drive! We missed the height of leaf season apparently, but we still loved it.
Our big stop of the day was Secret Caverns. It is listed on Roadside America because of their amazing hand painted signs. They did not disappoint!
Look at this building! It was worth the detour just for that! You can't tell here, but the bat's tongue is painted in front of the door. I wish this was my house!
We were actually their only customers that day. The guy who took us on our tour was very nice and seemed amused by the artwork all over the place. The caverns were discovered when two cows fell into the mouth in 1928. This is apparently what the artist thinks they looked like in the moment. Haha.

This place was like no other cavern we've ever been too. It kind of felt like it was in your uncle's backyard and he was giving you a tour. I loved it!
Since it was raining there was water POURING down the stairs. Our guide swept it away (kind of) with a broom. When the cave first opened to the public you had to climb down on a metal ladder that was about a foot wide. Scary! They had to stop doing that when people starting falling off of it.
The cave was really beautiful.
Another thing that was different was we were encouraged to touch all the formations! What?! Every other cave tells you that if you do they will stop growing. Maybe because of the volume of people that go through? I definitely touched this beehive formation.
And then the 100 ft waterfall! Woah!
Secret Caverns was originally explored by teenagers with flashlights! He told us a flashlight company sponsored them and had press out to interview the teens when they came back out. When the boys got to the underground waterfall the flashlights got wet and they had to make their way back in total darkness. So they really gave the reporters a piece of their minds when they made it to the surface. Our guide let us walk halfway back with just our phones illuminating our way. It was awesome! And scary! Then he left his keys to the lights back by the fall and had to walk back to get them, leaving us alone in the total darkness. Woah!
The gift shop was great! More weird signs and old souvenirs. We got two mugs!
They had a mummy too. Of the first tour guide. I wish the guy who made all the art was there! I bet he is fun.
I wanted this so bad! But Travis said we didn't need it. He is probably right, but it's so cute! And it was the only one there.
This is the only post card they sell. It is pretty perfect though. The guy looks like he is from Harry Potter! I'm very proud of myself for keeping up with postcards the whole trip. I used a whole book of postcard stamps!
Onward to Ithaca!

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