Backroads

Since we reached Pennsylvania we’ve done a pretty good job of staying off interstates.  We travel a little more slowly, but we see things and places.  Here are few places that haven’t gotten their own posts.

Once again John Wenzel was our guide around the Ligonier Valley, showing us things that we would never have found our own.  An 18th century grist mill.DSCF0790

and the amazing California Furnace from 1850, an early iron furnace as the industrial revolution kicked into gear.  Boullee out in the woods. DSCF0820

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here John and Greta give it scale.   DSCF0822

On the way into Pittsburgh, John pointed out where strip mine sites were now being filled and built upon.  We realized that strip mines become strip malls.DSCF1004

Heading north towards Buffalo, we arrived at Punxsatawney, home of Phil the groundhog.  We caught a glimpse of Phil (or who they say is Phil, along with a bunch of other groundhogs who may or may not be Phils).DSCF1544

Among the many icons of Phil in the town, we noticed this one, which looked strangely familiar.DSCF1548 DSCF8616

The large, adorable, rodent gods seem to be taking over the country, but in Punxsatawney, unlike South Dakota, they are fighting back:DSCF1549

In upstate New York, we drove on Route 20, which hit the northern end of many of the Finger Lakes, a part of the state I (and most downstaters) had never visited.  Canandaigua had some cool houseboats DSCF2130

While Geneva fell into the recurring category of Places that Used to be Prosperous, but still had some interesting buildings.DSCF2145 DSCF2147 DSCF2148

Waterloo had some nice houses in various states of repair.DSCF2152

Skaneateles appears to be the prosperous resort town on the road, with beautifully restored houses, and a thriving main street – the first place we could find a cup of coffee, in the Land that Starbucks Forgot.DSCF2154 DSCF2155 DSCF2160

and in Sharon Springs, this highly-wrought and astoundingly maintained church.  Nice church, interesting steeple, but I’m not sure they’re getting along.DSCF2219

There we were, far away from the City and coastal civilization as know it, and Ithaca was still too far away to be worth visiting.  It really is the most isolated spot in the east.

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