Friday, March 4, 2016

Top 10 Great Things in the Great Lakes Region

My first recollection of learning of great things was in grade school "HOMES" Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior, the Great Lakes. I met my first "Great One" this past November and it was great. If you have never met, let me introduce you to Lake Erie and all the other great things in that area.

See that mountain up above?  There she blows, Lake Erie.  It is almost like an optical illusion.  I thought it was a mountain and you have to be pretty high above sea level to actually get this view but let me tell you it is amazing and BIG.

Lake Erie is the 11th largest lake in the world.  You can click on the link to see the other bigger ones listed.  I have never seen another, she is my first great one. It does not make the Top 10 but only one off, 11 is pretty great in my list.  She is impressive. I call her a gal simply because she is great.  She is massive, gets a little turbulent and mixes things up, all the while still maintaining a presence of beauty to admire. It is a wow factor. You can read her stats here at from people who know. I can only offer what I saw. As you approach her, it is a little intimidating as all walls of water are. Is she friendly?

Getting up close and personal on a cold and windy November afternoon is a bit of a challenge but by all means, go for it. The wind and the water combo not only is striking in appearance, it has a certain powerful whip and roar to it. You know that whistling sound. I would leave behind anything that is not securely tied down, that hat, hood and hair are going to blow all over the place. What fun it is, the cold will seep down to your bones, wearing layers and gloves are essential but your hands will be close to frostbite by the time you get back in the car.  Maybe have hot tea waiting.  I became addicted to Starbucks gingerbread tea on this trip.  I make my own now. You do not want to miss the opportunity to see the lake. It's a great one.

It looks like the Jersey Shore doesn't it? The same scenario could easily be found in Jersey, minus the cliffs.  Seagulls attempting to fly against the winds, I have seen the struggle many times in New Jersey. For those not familiar to the New Jersey coastline the waves of the Atlantic Ocean come crashing in to meet the coast, this in contrast is a lake.There are familiar similarities and also great differences to the east coast of the United States and the lake front. That is not sand and there are no seashells that I could find.  I looked.

What I came back with from this trip was a rock.  Since I am not up on my rocks and minerals, I can't title it. I am sure there are specific ones in this region. I will call it slate like and polished to perfection by the lady herself, Lake Erie. I chose this one for its shape, it looks like a heart to me and I love rocks and also because of all the layers and glacier gouges on the surface.  This rock has definitely had interaction with Lake Erie, they have a connection. Is it prehistoric? Was it here when the Indians called this part of the world home? Most of all I think this piece of stone has character.

Wildlife you ask?  I saw remnants but no close encounters. Fishing and hunting are natural pastimes in the area and a one time a major means of survival.  Here we have a fish along the shoreline and a display in a local town of the goods in the neighborhood.

A Barcelona Lighthouse is a mystery and one that I will have to add to my lighthouse picture collection.  I thought it looked medieval but later reading the plague saw it was built in 1829.  What the plague did not say, I found on Wikipedia. It was the first lighthouse in the world to be powered by natural gas, which Campbell, the creator, transported from a "burning spring" about a mile distant by means of wooden pipes. Thirty years later, in 1859, the lighthouse was deactivated, but it still stands lit today after over 100 years in private ownership, it is now owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. That is up there with great.

Vineyards are not an uncommon sight, as a matter of fact, my friend almost purchased a property and this would have been her neighbor. There is more land than people in this particular place on the Pennsylvania map and New York is in kissing range.

Welch's? The oldest extant structure associated with the company is Welch Factory Building No. 1, located at Westfield, New York, not far from the lake region and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Great grapes in the region.

I did miss an opportunity to take a photograph crossing one of the bridges in New York. The
Lucy Desi Museum is in Jamestown, NY, the hometown of Lucille Ball. No one can say she is not one of the greatest comedians of all time. I like to acknowledge great when I see it. Even If I don't get the picture.

Whenever I see a historical sign post, my inner child yells STOP.  You never know what you just might be passing up. Not all drivers are accommodating to Miss Crazy, referring to myself, so I have to make due and snap a picture of opportunity only to discover it later. Abe Lincoln in Westfield, New York? I almost completely forgot taking this picture at the stop light. It is a great one. Again, let me have the people who know tell the story, the National Park Service. It is written about on the Lincoln Home website of the It is a great story of a great President that not only cared about his people, he listened to their advice.

I think I went over 10 on my list, as I sometimes do but I have a few other shares you can find in this region. Lakewood, New York is a pretty lake front community and a one time summer resort.  Here are a few examples in the historic area.

These Grand Hotels are no longer here but you can easily envision them along the lake.

This property also drew my attention especially the name, Packard Estates. Could it be Hewlett-Packard? No it was not a home to one of the founders of HP but I did find out HP was founded in a one-car garage in Palto Alto, California far across the country.  This home was the summer retreat of J. Ward Packard one of the founders of Packard Automobile, even better right? He was a regular summer visitor to the area since the late 1800's and built this home in 1912. It is an apartment complex and condos on the wings now, at least it is still in existence. It is situated on Lake Chautaugua in the Great Lakes region.

Across the street, from the Packard Place are these two huge mansions and of course they have a history and it is a great one.

Who doesn't like a love story?

It is a pretty great area.

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