Saturday, September 14, 2019

Stony Brook State Park (and Niagara Falls)

Sometimes it's refreshing to hold off on blogging about our camping trips as going over the photos now have brought back good memories from our journey almost a month ago. We started our next voyage with a full day of fun at Niagara Falls and immersed ourselves into full tourist mode.

There were many inexpensive all day parking options at the nearby run down/condemned hotels, so we took advantage of that and toured Clifton Hill first.

Then we hit the always majestic Falls which never fails to impress.

I was trying to take in the whole experience but had to cave in and join the 200+ other people on the boat with their phones out to take this video at the base of the Falls. The rumble and physical power is truly incredible.
Niagara Falls also holds special memories as it is one of the first places I took my beautiful wife before we were married. Here's a shot of us from our first trip together over 9 years ago.
After a fun filled day, we set off across the border and on to Stony Brook State Park. As usual, I picked this campground based on reviews and pictures and was very happy with our large site right by the stream.

This popular park and campground is part of the Finger Lakes area and features a beautiful gorge with several waterfalls so we took advantage of the scenic trails and views along the way.

The highlight of this park however is the stream fed natural swimming pool. The inspirational pictures I saw before arriving certainly didn't disappoint with three separate levels of wading, standing and deep level swimming in cool fresh water for everyone to enjoy.

They even allowed diving in the deep end....and of course Cannon Balls!!!
Lots of normal camping fun was also had:


We only spent 3 days here and kept busy with all the exciting things to do and see, definitely a park we would visit again in the future.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Taughannock Falls

For this camping trip I attempted to find a spot that was somewhat equal distance between us and our camping friends in Maryland. After doing some research and reading positive reviews, I decided on Taughannock Falls which is part of the New York Finger Lakes region. Here we are at the Duty Free shop before crossing the border.

It was an extremely hot day and travelling with two young girls without air-conditioning is less than ideal so we decided to break up our journey by spending the night at Golden Hill State Park. This campground turned out to be a pleasant surprise, it was right by Lake Ontario, very clean and featured a historic lighthouse. One of my favourite shots of the van before getting ready for dinner.
The main attraction of this campground is the Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse, getting it's name because of it being 30 miles east of the Niagara River. We were lucky to have a tour of the lighthouse for some amazing views.

We went to sleep while enjoying a lightning show off in the distance which eventually hit us around midnight. We quickly had to lower the roof due to the strong rain that went right through our upper canvas. After waking early, it was off to our final destination, Taughannock Falls State Park. Here is our setup for the week with our friends and their teardrop trailer.
The next day it rained with no break at all but that didn't stop us from exploring the beautiful gorge and magnificent falls.

We were also happy the van was a comfortable place to enjoy some movies while waiting out the rain.
At 215 feet, Taughannock Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall East of the Rocky Mountains and a beautiful site to see both in the rain and sun, up close or far away.

The rest of our time had some perfect sunny weather so we were able to fully enjoy Cayuga Lake.

As well as the beach and swimming area.

The gorge also offered some nice flat areas to enjoy the water.

 Back at the campsite we all made sure to eat well and have fun.

 We even managed to stay up past dark for a few of the nights.

Taughannock Falls State Park turned out to be a great place to spend the week with plenty of activities to keep us entertained. After packing up very early we decided to make our way back home and had some nice views while crossing the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls.
The van ran great the entire trip but I'm realizing I am going to have to upgrade my house battery(s) as I'm finding it harder to keep all our electronics charged along with keeping the fridge cold. It's not due to lack of sun but more the fact that there is more greenery and shady trees covering the van and solar panels when compared to camping in California. Overall a great trip and we hope to return to the Finger Lakes region again.