Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is Ludlowville Falls at the end of last winter and I wanted to include it here.

Majestic trees!

This path meanders along Fall Creek.

Ah, the falls! You can just see at the bottom where the creek begins to be covered in ice.


Woke up on December 12th to find everything covered with a thick cover of snow!

A perfect day to go out and shoot some pictures we got ready quickly. There is nothing more beautiful than a thick icing of snow on bare branches, but it is quite delicate. Any strong gust of wind can destroy it in a minute, so time was of the essence.

I will just post some of the photos I took for your enjoyment and save comments for another time other than to say that we visited Fall Creek near Forest Home, a small picturesque community close to where we live. It abuts Cornell Campus and there is a small lake and forested parkland crisscrossed by many trails frequented by hikers, joggers and nature lovers.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My favorite places

Due to the varied geological history of the area it has become a geologists and paleontologists paradise, there are many opportunities to study the past as it lays before you, revealing it’s secrets in countless gorges and embankments along creeks and roadways. I recently read about someone nearby actually finding prehistoric animal bones when excavating for a swimming pool!

In eon's past, this region was covered by an inland see (the source of many of the fossils found here today), at another time it was covered with a thick sheet of ice which at one point extended as far south as New York City, where you can still see the deep gouges carved by rocks (in the Bronx Botanical Garden as well as in Central Park in Manhattan) trapped beneath the ice as it expanded and receded!

There are even clubs for interested amateurs who would like to learn more about the region's geology. You can actually go on field trips with knowledgeable people and learn to interpret the geological and paleontological evidence time's passing has left for us to discover! To participate on an adventure such as this is very high on my to do list as you can imagine - I promise to file a detailed report when I go!

In the meantime I keep my eyes open to what is beneath my feet. To date I have a very interesting collection of fossil imprints on rocks, one of which actually spells out the name of my partner! How magical is that! Most of my forays have been to Hoxcie Gorge near Cortland on Route 38 just underneath the Hoxcie Gorge Bridge of Highway 81.

Hoxcie Gorge is a lovely place to visit in any season. There are a few enchanting homes along the creek as it meanders through the gorge. The road leading into it is rather narrow, barely able to accommodate two way traffic and it comes to an end rather abruptly. It is near that end that I have made most of my fossil finds, the creek bed is littered with them wherever you look!

The photo accompanying this blog entry was taken at the end of last winter, in April 2008. In fact snow had long since departed from the region, only in this gorge there were a few remnants visible much to my surprised delight! There was a delicate mist giving the gorge a very mysterious aura, smoke billowing from blazing hearth fires warming the lucky inhabitants of the enchanted nearby cottages, while the creek had swollen tremendously with the snow melted off the surrounding highlands. I hope my picture above is able to convey the flavor of that magical day to you!

Ithaca the Beautiful

Taughannock Falls on a rainy fall morning

Misty early winter sunrise above Taughannock Falls gorge

After having lived for way too long in the bustling, chaotic concrete jungles of New York City, I finally was fortunate to be able to escape to the serene, nature lover's paradise of Ithaca NY and its countless waterfalls, many natural rock gorges, verdant meadows, forests and vineyards. The past year and a half have been spent making my home cozy and comfortable, exploring some of the natural wonders of this area, meeting new people and most of all, calming down from the all too hectic pace of life of NYC.

Ithaca is home to two colleges, Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College plus the Ivy League Cornell University and they have contributed international flavor, creative and intellectual stimulation to this 'centrally isolated' (as my neighbor fondly calls it) town. In the heart of the city is a wonderful traffic free (except for foot traffic that is) zone called 'The Commons' which has become the cultural and creative hub of the city. It is dotted with islands of greenery, inviting benches for resting or reading, tables and chairs inviting you to enjoy the offerings of nearby restaurants and catch up on recent goings on with friends, elevated areas for soap boxing, musical or poetic recitals, semi-private niches for intimate conversations and easy pedestrian access to the many interesting shops which line the streets.

Ithaca proper is located at the southernmost end of Lake Cayuga, the longest of all the finger lakes. It is situated in a valley bisected by the run-off from Lake Cayuga and over time it has gradually expanded up onto the highlands which run from North to South along both shores of the lake. Near town these highlands have been named simply West Hill, South Hill or East Hill depending on their location. Cornell straddles the top of East Hill and Ithaca College nestles near the top of South Hill. Both command breathtaking views of Lake Cayuga, Ithaca and surroundings.

Ithaca was founded in 1789, chartered in 1888 and has a permanent population of about 30,000 people. It was blessed with a rugged beauty carved by long ago glaciers, which left behind awesome stream and waterfall carved gorges, fertile soils which today produce delicious wines and many healthy fruits, nuts and vegetables. Ithaca, due to it's beautiful surroundings, rich heritage, progressive atmosphere and sophisticated cultural life, has attracted more than it's share of artistic and creative individuals. Living here one can enjoy the best of all worlds, natural beauty, peaceful ambiance, creative and intellectual stimulation, all in a small town setting.

I would like to share some of my explorations and adventures in this wonderful region with you, through my art, my photographs, my words - to allow you to share in my tremendous appreciation for all it has to offer - it's people, the many feathered and furry inhabitants sharing their space with me, it's thundering waterfalls, the whisperings of softly gurgling streams, the ever changing seasons!