A slow, relatively leisurely start today. I think mostly because neither of us wanted to leave “our” cabin on the lake. We could have stayed until 3PM, but that would have only prolonged the inevitable. When making our plans for this trip, I completely missed a day on the calendar, so we opted for a short drive today, and we will play tomorrow by ear – it may be even shorter than today with a long drive on Saturday, or we find another hotel for tomorrow that is a bit closer to our final destination. Either way, we are completely enjoying our journey.

We left the Finger Lakes and hit the NY Thruway to Buffalo. I had never seen the Erie Canal, and when you’re this close, it really is a must do. We stumbled onto the Buffalo Military Park and Museum right on the Buffalo River. The park has monuments to every war from WWII to present, and recognition of every branch of the military.  There were three former Navy boats which could be toured – the destroyer USS The Sullivans, cruiser USS Little Rock,  and a submarine, the USS Croaker.  Mom recognized the name of the submarine, and more than likely we knew or know someone who served on board. I did ask Mom if she wanted to tour the sub, but she declined. (We have both had a sufficient number of personal tours back in the day!) We had to imagine Dad was likely grinning from ear to ear that his “girls” were wandering around a Naval Museum – willingly and without him present! There is clearly a very active retired military population in the Buffalo region. (Why anyone would retire to an area that gets the winters Buffalo does is beyond me, but I’m grateful for their dedication to the park and preserving history.)

The park also had the conning tower of the USS Boston. 

 We saw only the commercial lock of the Erie Canal which has been restored. There was a beautiful reiverfront park with adirondack chairs scattered throughout. Lots of people taking advantage of a warm fall day during lunch hour. And lots of revitalization going on throughout the downtown area. 

As we were only an hour or so away from our final destination, and it was still early afternoon, we opted to set the GPS to “Avoid Highways.” We meandered along the shores of Lake Erie, through fields of concord grapes being harvested for Welch’s and through many small towns. In the town of Dunkirk we detoured and followed the signs for the lighthouse. It was closed for the day, but I was able to take a photo through the fence, and a shot of the lake.

The lake really is that blue! A few times along the drive the water near the shoreline looked very turquoise, and it was like being at the ocean. 

Tonight we are in Erie, PA, and our waiter at dinner gave us a few recommendations for places to see tomorrow as we head further south and west. We will still get quite a bit of coastline tomorrow (GPS will likely stay on its current setting to avoid highways until tomorrow afternoon), and Christmas may just come early tomorrow!