NOVEMBER 7, 2016

So it’s Day 1 of our Western New York/Vermont Extravaganza. We got up EARLY so we could leave by 4.30 am, scoot across the border at Buffalo before anyone was awake and head for our first scheduled site. We decided that we wouldn’t stop in Buffalo – that can easily be a day trip – and we would drive passed Rochester – I see a trip that includes the Erie Canal as another day trip. Buckle up! Next stop –


Victor, a suburb of Rochester, is home to a large LL Bean outlet, and luckily also home to a big boot! We were pretty disappointed when we visited the store in  Massachusetts only to discover the boot was out for a polish! So were were pretty happy to find this one.


LOCATION:  60 Eastview Mall Dr, Victor



Palmyra is the birthplace of the Latter Day Saint movement. In 1830 the Book of Mormon was first published in the village of Palmyra, and this big book at the Hill Cumorah visitor center celebrates the event. (Founder Joseph Smith’s family lived on a farm that straddled the line between Palmyra and Manchester. In 2000 the church built the Palmyra New York Temple on a portion of the former Joseph Smith farm.)


LOCATION: 603 State Rt. 21, Palmyra



From Palmyra we drove south down NY 21 to the Finger Lakes district and Canadaigua. There is a lovely sculpture of an Iroquois hunter arriving home from a trip, to be greeted by his family. Unfortunately it isn’t BIGGER THAN LIFE, so no picture goes in here! (it was pretty nice though – click here to cheat peek!)

We got lucky with an IS (incidental sighting – ie not researched or planned – the best kind!) just east of town on NY 20 (or NY 5 – I find it confusing when it is both! This knight stands outside Armor Building Supply (there is a similar knight outside their Batavia NY store)


LOCATION: 4034 NY-5, Canandaigua




We headed further south to Penn Yan, site of the WORLD’S LARGEST pancake griddle. In 1987, the WORLD’S LARGEST PANCAKE was made in this thing. The batter was mixed in a (clean!) cement mixer, poured into the griddle and heated over a large fire pit. When it was time for flipping, a matching-sized griddle was placed and secured on top and the thing was flipped with a crane. The ‘pancake’, which was 28 feet wide and  4 inches thick, was served with syrup. The griddle is now mounted on the wall of the loading dock of Birkett Mills – the world’s largest manufacturer of buckwheat products, established and in continual operation since 1797. It’s on Main Street and easy to find, as there are only two blocks to the downtown!


Location: 1 East Main St., Penn Yan



We continued south to the southern extreme of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes, ending up in Watkin’s Glen (think car races!) I expected to find all sorts of large race car related kitsch – I’m forever being disappointed! Instead, I found this – I think it is a giant mandolin – at any rate I couldn’t coax any music out of it!


LOCATION: 209 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen

Outside to Colonial Inn and Motel, I discovered this bear eating a large ice cream. He doesn’t look to happy with the idea of sharing it with me, does he!?


LOCATION: 609 N Franklin ST., Watkin’s Glen



OK there was nothing big here, but the She-Qua-Ga or Chequaga Falls are worth a stop anyway. She-Qua-Ga means Tumbling Water, and these falls were something to behold even late in a very dry year. According to a 1932 plaque, back about 1820 a gentleman called Louis Philippe (who later became the King of France), supposedly sketched the falls. The plaque says the sketch is in the Louvre, but no such sketch seems to exist. Nice story though. And the falls are definitely sketch worthy.


LOCATION: S Genesee St, Montour Falls



Elmira is so far south, it’s practically in Pennsylvania! To get there we had to drive through the town of Horseheads. I mean, come on! Why were there no giant three-dimensional horse heads in this town?

We drove around the nightmare that is Elmira 2016 – several bridges are out/under construction and for some reason our GPS doesn’t know about this. Anyway, we found our way to Booth Electrical Supply, which is home to this BIG plug.


LOCATION: 101 E 2nd St, Elmira

Apparently bears in New York State really like ice cream. Here was a polar bear – probably only life size – but he has a big ice cream in his paws. He’s up on the roof because he doesn’t want to share.


LOCATION: 3162 Lower Maple Ave, Elmira



From Elmira we headed east cross country to the town of Candor. We drove around town for a bit looking for Power and Paddle. I mean, how hard can it be – Candor is basically one street. Eventually I stopped and asked. Seems it’s a fair way south of town, even though the address says Candor. And I didn’t find it in my research, because this is so far out in the boonies that the roads don’t have Google Street views!  So back in the car and another 5 miles on NY-96. Well worth the hunt for this huge chain saw.


LOCATION: 1035 Owego Rd, Candor



We are still in the boonies, as far as Google is concerned, but this pink elephant is pretty eye catching. It’s at Tioga Mini Challenger, a mini golf that also has a big skull and a giant parrot. Unfortunately it was locked up tight, with no legal way to get pictures. Apparently the wife thinks this hobby is not sufficient means for breaking and entering. Spoil sport! I could have climbed the fence with only minor injuries.


LOCATION: NY-96 just north of Metros Rd



One hour east of Owego we arrived in Binghampton. We were hunting for Blossom the Black Angus bull – a fiberglass statue painted with dozens of pastel coloured blooms. Blossom lives outside the Children’s Discovery Center – just one of a number of charming figures in an amazing children’s play area.20161107_14041720161107_142032  20161107_142748

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From the top: Blossom the Bull, large metal leaves, Peter Rabbit in the garden, a big, colourful chair, a gorilla looking over my shoulder and a giant fairy tale book.

LOCATION: 60 Morgan Rd., Binghampton



The big disappointment of the day was the giant soccer ball embedded in the wall of the former National Soccer Hall of Fame. The word FORMER should have been a give-away. After driving around for half an hour (and Oneonta isn’t that large) we got directions back to where we had begun. Another fruitless half hour and we noticed, in the setting sun, the circle on a side of a building where the ball used to reside (the building is now a factory) Subsequent research gleaned this information “In February of 2010, the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum announced its plan to change its current operating model to address its financial challenges.” That, my friends, is a flowery way of saying went out of business. Apparently some stuff was relocated, and the rest is in a storage locker in North Carolina! I’m pretty resentful about the wasted hour of daylight, but I don’t know who the anger is directed at!


Back on the road, and driving through the Catskills. It was beautiful until the sun set, and even then it was quite charming. And there was no sound of dueling banjos! It actually looked fairly prosperous. Just before we got to Phoenecia, we went through the town of Big Indian. We were joking that when we rule the world, the town of Big Indian would have a statue of a big Indian, when low and behold, one magically appeared at the side of the road! This is a sculpture of Winnisook, the legendary seven foot Indian who lived here way, way back in the 18th Century (click here for the Legend of Winnisook – the language made me cringe, but keep in mind the story was written in 1896). So apparently this is only life-sized! Ha!


LOCATION: Big Indian Park, 8280 NY-28, Big Indian


Phoencia, NY

A couple of hours after the sun set, we arrived in Phoenecia. Outside the Sportsman’s Alamo Cantina is a statue of Davy Crockett (who, as David Crockett lived most of his life in Tennesee, was a congressman who later moved to Texas and inexplicably died at the Alamo, and probably never set foot in New York State! But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good frontier story!) Luckily there was enough ambient light to get this picture.20161107_174816_lls

LOCATION: 87 Main St., Phoenecia


Another IS (Incidental Sighting) caught when we stopped for gas in Tannersville.


LOCATION: 6067 Main St, Tannersville



One last stop in Catskill, to see if any of their current public art projects are on display. If you lived in Catskill, what object/animal would you choose for a public display? did I hear Mountain Lions or Cougars? Posh! They chose the friendly house cat! For the last 10 years they have had local artists paint up various cats, displayed them in public places, then auctioned them off in September (Proceeds from the event benefit a local not-for-profit, as well as the Barry Hopkins Art Scholarship Fund) Other towns in the area have similar displays – Saugerties  has its decorated horse statues on display, while Greenville has its ducks for a second year. Other communities that have hosted such displays include the city of Kingston, which featured peacock statues, Woodstock, which had its guitars, and the city of Hudson, which had its dogs. The town of Cairo also had a display of bears and the village of Tannersville had Rip Van Winkle statues. Annese said Coxsackie may join in and have a display of its own next year.

We didn’t find any cats downtown, and think this fellow might be responsible. He looks like a cat chaser to me.


These three were spotted out near the Walmart – at the Suds’n Duds on Bridge St. I like that they are all different shapes and types of cats. It looks like a fun thing to check out in the summer when there are 50 or so scattered around town.

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So that was it for Day 1. A quick run up to Albany to our hotel, for a total of 908 km in 16 hours!




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