Niagara Falls!

Though yesterday was my Rob’s birthday, I am a little slow getting the pictures edited! I’m also a little late sharing the rest of my Valentine’s Day…but better late than never right?!

Rob and I made an impulse decision and drove up to Niagara Falls, NY for the evening for Valentine’s Day. It was beautiful, of course! We had been years before, but in August, and we couldn’t wait to see the Falls in their winter glory. They didn’t disappoint! I know I keep saying it, but every time I see an undisturbed blanket of snow beneath a canopy of trees, I think Narnia. The spray from the falls made everything that much more beautiful! It was magical, even though we got there a little late and only had about thirty minutes of daylight left.

The funny part of our trip was dinner. We didn’t really make plans, so we decided to look up places on our GPS. We settled on The Cheesecake Factory. My logic was that everyone else would be going to Italian or steak house type restaurants, so we wouldn’t have to wait too long. Boy was I wrong! We parked and headed into the huge Galleria Mall in Buffalo, NY and saw literally hundreds of people milling around outside the restaurant. They told Rob it was a three hour wait! No wonder there were people sitting on the floor…even in their dress clothes! After we had a good laugh that all those people were actually OK with waiting three hours, we headed to P.F. Chang, because there wasn’t a line. Again, three hours. Across the street at Olive Garden? Three hours. We were amazed. In the car outside of the third restaurant that told us we wouldn’t even be seated until 11 pm, we were about to give up and go home for sandwiches! We noticed there was also a Smokey Bones in the same parking lot, so Rob called them. Their wait was only 40 minutes! So, of course we headed for Smokey Bones and waited for a table. It turned out to be one of the best meals we have had lately! Our night was saved!

The best part? We waited 40 minutes, ordered, ate our meal, and drove the hour home in the snow before we ever would have been seated at any of the other restaurants! We felt pretty darn good about that! In fact, the entire ride home, we kept talking about how we’d still be waiting to eat! We turned in around 11:30 that night…we wouldn’t have even ordered by that point if we had decided to wait at the Galleria restaurants! So, thank goodness for Smokey Bones!

(On a side note, I am making a very late resolution to do better about being late with posting events!!!)


Our Ice Castle Adventure!

I had quite an eventful Valentine’s Day weekend! So eventful, I’m going to break it up into two posts!
Saturday, Rob and I drove up to Mayville, NY for the Ice Fest on Lake Chautaqua. Rob has fond childhood memories of seeing their annual Ice Castle, and he couldn’t wait to take me for the first time. We had a lot of fun, even though the high was twenty-two degrees, and it was snowing and windy. I always dream really big, so the ice castle was a bit smaller than I though it’d be…but it was still really neat! Just think…they carve all that ice out of the lake and build with it. It was really something. I’m going to call it a fort though, because that’s more what it looked like to me!

The ice fort wasn’t the only thing to see…I was amazed at the number of people out on the lake. It was completely frozen, and there must have been at least fifty, probably more like one hundred people on the water at once. Not only were they ice fishing, they were snow mobiling! We walked about 5 or 6 yards out on the ice, and I couldn’t believe I was on ice. It felt like concrete! It was a little unnerving to think there wasn’t a support system underneath us though, so we only stayed out for a minute or two. Further down the way, we made it to what is usually the beach. Looking out, it just looked like a huge field, but the signs were so ironic, I had to catch it! I think that was one of my favorite sightings at the festival!

Of course, the best part of any festival is the food! I had saved all of my calories for having a funnel cake, but Rob was looking forward to other goodies. There was a plethera of choices and we would have liked to try each one, but I stuck with my old favorite, and Rob landed at the German Food vendor. He loves spicy things, so his spicy sausage dog hit the spot! I enjoyed the customer ahead of us immensely. Bless his heart, he asked the German woman, serving German food, if she had any Italian sausage. She just looked at him for a second, then said,”No! I’m German!”

After eating, we browsed the retail vendors and found loads of fun stuff. We really enjoyed the handmand clothing. The hats alone were worth the trip! I wasn’t brave enough to buy a quirky one, but I wish I had gone for my favorite now. I LOVE the beach, and the crab hat was calling my name. I thought it’d be a good hat to wear when feeling crabby too, that way everyone would know not to mess with me!

All in all, my first Ice Fest was great! I lasted about three hours before telling Rob I thought I needed to head for a building to warm up…that’s pretty good for a Southern girl! We took the long way back, for more snow pictures, and made a huge pot of coffe to warm up when we made it home. Maybe next year I won’t be too chicken to try to snow mobile rides!

My First Real Snowman!

I was quite upset last week when I learned that all snow wasn’t fit for making snowmen. That’s why today was awesome…I made my very first real snowman!
The lesson I learned today? Snowballs are heavy!Ok, not the small ones, but I totally worked up a sweat rolling the bottom of my snowman. At least I got a workout!

It was worth it! I think Charlie…yes, I named him…turned out great! I was particularly happy about the fact that I made everything except his scarf. That was a gift from my sister a while ago! I had no top hat or coal, so I improvised. It was nothing a couple of tea-lite tuns and a Sharpie couldn’t handle! I salvaged a few branches from the neighbors’ brush pile and voila! Charlie was complete!

I had a load of fun, and I can’t wait for my next ‘first’ sometime soon…sledding!

Snow Shots Around Our New Hometown

When we moved here last week, I was hoping to drive into a winter wonderland. Well, while it was cold, the snow had melted. I spent a few days wishing and hoping for more snow, and Mother Nature answered Wednesday with about six inches of beautiful snow!

Rob told me I would be the only person in town happy about the white stuff, but that didn’t stop me from having him drive me around all day for a photo shoot! Believe me, I got plenty of looks from passers by for being out taking pictures of the cursed stuff. I had a blast and wanted to share some of my favorites here. So, for those you craving snow but have none, I hope these help. Grab a latte and come explore with me!

Our first stop was Smith Road in North East Township, an area Rob refers to as “The Hill”. It was just so peaceful there at the edge of a random farm, I had to stop. The view in the other direction was breathtaking as well, but the snow fall made it difficult to catch with my camera. Looking down toward town, you can see out over Lake Erie all the way to Canada!

We mostly drove around the countryside on our little adventure. I couldn’t believe how many beautiful pines dot the landscape. If you have ever been to South Carolina, you know what I mean when I say “pine” and “beautiful” are two words that usually aren’t used together. Unless of course it is said of Christmas trees, and then they almost always were brought in from some other state! I truly felt as though I was having my white Christmas a little late because of all the majestic pines we passed!

When Rob was growing up here, he attended a church in the village of Little Hope. We visited last October in the fall and found a beautiful old cemetery there, so I knew I wanted to return to see it in the snow. I wasn’t disappointed! Some of the stones there are so old, they are completely smooth. I’ll have to post the fall pictures side by side soon…

We headed through Little Hope on into New York State. I shot this near Clymer, NY on the way to the Peek’n Peak Ski Resort. Some of the cows closer to us had tiny icicles on their noses and eye lashes, but didn’t want to cooperate for pictures!

One of my favorite scenic drives is Findley Lake, NY. The lake was completely frozen and covered in snow, but this little creek feeding it wasn’t. I suppose that is why there were dozens of mallards and Canadian geese in the area.

The entire day I kept telling Rob everything looked magical and enchanted under it’s blanket of white. At times, I felt as though I had wandered through the wardrobe into Narnia! My only disappointment came today, when I learned all snow isn’t worthy of snowmen. Our snow isn’t wet enough to pack, so I have to wait a little longer to make my first real snowman. But hey, that just gives me something to write about later, right?

People keep telling me I will get the Snow Bug out of my system soon; that the shoveling and snow blowing will get old, and I’ll get really tired of trudging through the sludge build up in parking lots and digging my way to the mailbox. All I can say is, the magic hasn’t worn off for me yet, and I hope it never does!

Finally Up and Running!

Well, the dust of moving has yet to settle, but my computer is up and running, and I can blog again! We had a pretty good time of it while we moved…even though there was a freak winter storm in the south! That delayed us from leaving Saturday and pushed us to Monday. Our little caravan stopped over in West Virginia, where we awoke to snow, snow, and snow! I can’t tell you how proud of myself I am. I drove the entire way, in the snow! Who says a southern girl can’t handle northern weather? Ha!

Thanks to the family and friends that helped us move (you know who you are!) we are now officially at home here in Pennsylvania. I have always loved it here when we visited for vacations, though I had never been in the winter. I must say, I still love it! I have been very disappointed that the snow melted when we arrived and I have been waiting a full week to see more! Well, Tuesday night the flakes began to fall! I am posting this EARLY in the morning because, well, I haven’t really gone to bed yet. I just had to get my computer put back together and the new layout up and running…

I can’t wait to get some pictures of the snow fall later today, and to keep sharing my every day adventures as an SC girl living in PA!