Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sight Seeing, Good Food & a History Lesson

Travelogue by Sandy

As Edie mentioned in a previous post, I'm in New York visiting with my daughter, Callie and her husband, Scott. Callie and I had such a wonderful day today, so I'm posting pictures and commentary below.
The first stop on our agenda today was Murphy Orchards. Callie has mentioned this place to me several times in the last almost five years that she's lived in New York, so I was excited to visit.

The front of Murphy Orchards

Murphy Orchards is exactly what the name implies--orchards as well as other crops. During the harvesting season, visitors go to the orchards and pick whatever fruit or vegetables they want. The bounty is taken to the gift shop where it is weighed and paid for. When the crops are not in season, the gift shops sell bottled jams, jellies, relishes, hot sauces, homemade soaps, scone mixes, and many other wonderful items. I found several treasures, which I bought to take back to Henderson. The gift shop was so quaint--the decor was from an earlier time and a simpler life.

Inside the first gift shop

Another view of the gift shop
Passing through the first gift shop, visitors enter a tea room where lunch and, of course, tea is served. I don't think the lady who works there knew she was going to be part of a blog post.

Tea room

In the back of the main house is a building that was probably used to be a barn in earlier days. Inside the barn is another, more rustic gift shop.

Gift shop in the barn

Another view of the gift shop in the barn

We continued through this gift shop to the back of the barn area. This barn was used as a stop on the underground railroad during the slave days. A video was playing on a TV in the corner of this room explaining the history of the underground railroad. Initially, once the slaves made it to New York they were considered free. The southerners who owned the slaves weren't happy about that, so a law was passed that made it a federal offense if you knew there whereabouts of a slave and did not report it. The slaves were then forced to travel all the way to Canada to ensure their freedom and safety.

The cage on the right side of the picture is around the tunnel. It was probably put there to keep me from falling in, which I can't swear that I wouldn't have done, because I leaned over the cage to take the next picture.

Looking down the underground railroad tunnel

Being in that room and experiencing a part of history was amazing. Another treat, however, was meeting the gentleman in the next picture.

I don't know his name, but he told us a story. He's from Jamaica, and 20 years ago he was a migrant worker on the farm on the other side of the road from Murphy Orchards. Growing up in Jamaica, he had never seen snow. During his first winter in New York, he and the other migrant workers were working in the fields and it started snowing. They had no idea what was coming down from the heavens. Then it started snowing hard and heavy. He walked over to the road and started walking down the middle of it. The other workers followed. After a while, he looked behind him and the line or migrant workers, and there was a long line of cars. The migrant workers would not leave the middle of the road, because now the snow was falling so hard that they didn't know where they were, so they kept walking. A police car soon approached, and the policeman inside asked what they were doing. He told the policeman that they weren't leaving the middle of the road, because they didn't know what was falling from the sky and they didn't know where they were. The policeman left and drove to the house of the man who owned the farm. He told the farm owner that he needed to take better care of his workers, because they were lost and worried about the white flakes that were falling on them from the sky. He said after the experience, the farm owner checked on the workers more often to make sure there weren't any issues that needed explaining. If time would have permitted, it would have been fun to listen to more of his stories, but we had a busy agenda, so we headed out.
Out next stop was the town of Olcott on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Lighthouse on Lake Ontario

Another view of Lake Ontario

We then headed back toward Callie's house and on the way stopped at a couple of quilt shops (yippee!). Edie would have slit her wrists had she been with me, because looking at fabric is not her idea of a good day. Looking at yarn, however, would have made her happy. Then off we went to lunch. Last week, Callie met the owner of a Cajun restaurant. She gave Callie a card for a free appetizer at the restaurant, so that's where we decided to go. The restaurant is called Chester's, and it looked like a hole-in-the-wall, but talk about delicious food!


We only ate half of our lunch, so we could get dessert. We chose the apple pie skillet...Mmmmmm!

That's French vanilla ice cream on top of the pie and whipped cream on the sides. It was drizzled with caramel sauce. The Buffalo area is known for its good food, and so far I haven't been disappointed.

Tomorrow's another day--we'll see where it takes us.

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