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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

New York Is a Surprise, Too Many Pictures Included

I was nervous as we drove toward New York. Several people assured me that it is a beautiful state, but all I could picture in my mind were wall to wall buildings, areas of high dollar business geared toward the super wealthy, and areas of poor slums with drug dealers and prostitutes on every street corner. Just picture every movie about New York ever.

Well, our first stop was Niagara Falls, and it was beautiful during the day. The stay at night was less than desirable as some of the scarier people came out. While Abe was in the casino we were parked at, I stayed in the RV. I started getting nervous so I locked the door and closed all the curtains so no one could see inside. As I listened to people walking by, talking loudly and angrily, and heard another man yelling at the top of his lungs at something, I thanked God for the two dogs. When Abe came back probably between 10:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. we took the dogs out for a minute. A man came by to ask for money, but stayed a good fifteen feet away. And when Marley started barking and lunging toward him, which is very out of character for her, he crossed the street. Who knows if she sensed something about the man or if she sensed my nervousness. Either way, I was glad she was there.

One of Abe's friends told him that we needed to go to Watkins Glen State Park while we were in New York, so that's where we went next. We stayed there two nights so we could take a day to hike the nature trail. The trail took us along a deep stone gorge with a stream running through it, behind a waterfall running off the mountainside, through thick forest, and alongside a cemetery. I had no idea. Wow! Niagara Falls had nothing on this place. Sure, Niagara was full of awesome power, but it's beauty was nothing compared to the Watkins Glen nature trail. And because I have no words to describe it, I've attached a whole lot of pictures for you to look at. Hope you enjoy (and if you haven't figured it out, if you click on the pictures you will see it whole and uncropped.)

Of course, we also had to walk through the cemetery. I wish I could take on a summer project of cleaning headstones. It's so sad to see the last reminder of people disappearing. It was pretty cool seeing two mausoleums, something I've never seen before, and several sarcophagi (or sarcophaguses - I checked and either is correct). There's no need for anything like that in Idaho because it's so dry, so they're fascinating to me. Again, pictures are below. There are a couple with legible inscriptions if you zoom in on them.

After our hike, I once agin found some mushrooms that, after carefully checking, I discovered were edible. Disclaimer just in case anyone doesn't know better: DO NOT EAT WILD MUSHROOMS UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, 100% CERTAIN THAT THEY ARE, WITHOUT A DOUBT, BOTH WHAT YOU THINK THEY ARE AND EDIBLE. I'm sure no one needed to read that. I've now eaten four different types of wild mushrooms. And before I eat them, first I identify them using a plant identification app, then I check multiple other sources, then I search for any look-alikes, and if there is the tiniest shred of doubt, I don't eat them .

Anyway, I found three on this trip. Hen Of the Woods, Stump Puffballs, and my favorite, Indigo Ink Cap. The first one I ate was the Indigo Ink Cap. I was super excited about this one because it bleeds the brightest blue you've ever seen when it is cut or broken. It blows my mind that any mushroom that looks like that is edible, but it is. Reviews are varied. Some say it's edible but not good, others say it's delicious. I wanted to really taste all three of these mushrooms, so they all got sauteed in butter and salt. Other than the Hen Of the Woods, which I added a little garlic from a jar to.

The Indigo Ink Cap was wet. Instead of sauteing it, I ended up simmering it in it's own juices, and when we ate them they were wet and slightly mealy. Abe was not impressed. He took a couple bites and was done. But we were just like the different reviewers and I thought they were fantastic. I ate mine and his! We agreed that cooked into something Abe would like them better.

The second mushrooms we tried were the Stump Puffballs. These were not wet. The little bite sized mushrooms were really dry and meaty, and would be the absolute perfect mushrooms to deep fry because you wouldn't get the scalding liquid in the center when you bit into it. Not a drop of liquid pooled in the pan from them, and they sauteed to perfect golden perfection. They were mild and delicious. I can't wait to try some other puffballs if I find them. I should have taken pictures of prep and cooking, but here they are on the Stump.

Finally, we got to try the Hen Of the Woods. I'm glad we liked them, because we have three small bags of them in the freezer. If I had a bigger freezer, I would have picked more because we saw several large mounds of them. These ones were not as good as the Stump Puffballs, but definitely better than the Indigo Ink Caps. I had to add garlic to them because by this time we were pretty much mushroomed out. I LOVE mushrooms, but I'm done with them for a few days. I only got pictures of these in a bunch and after cleaning for freezing.

I've never seen so many kinds of mushrooms in my life, and I had way too much fun taking pictures of them. In fact, there are fifty pictures of mushrooms on our Instagram page (there's a link up top if you're interested). I'm sure there are some duplicate species, but not many.

I don't know how anyone can look at creation without being in awe of the Creator. Not only is there beauty everywhere, but the variety in types of beauty is unbelievable. New York has been such a wonderful surprise. It really is a beautiful state. The rolling, tree covered hills that are turning gold are a sight to behold. And of course there's the people. Rural New York is just like everywhere else rural. People are friendly and kind,quick to offer a smile or hold a door, and a pleasure to talk to.

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2 Weeks


Kandy Thietten
Kandy Thietten
Oct 02, 2021

Thank you! We'll see what we pass on our way towards Maine, but hopefully we will be able to see some of those places.


Deborah Geist Tracey
Deborah Geist Tracey
Oct 02, 2021

I took note of your website on the back of your motorhome while waiting to dump at Watkins Glen State Park 😆! Although we are nearby residents of Parma, NY, a suburb of Rochester, it was our first stay at the park. (Years ago we stayed several times at the Seneca Lodge.)

Many people we meet in our travels, when we inform them that we are from NY, have the misconception that NY is nothing but skyscrapers. So you are not alone in thinking that! The Finger Lakes are beautiful as are the North Country (which includes the Thousand Islands and the Adirondacks), the Southern Tier, & Western NY. Google “regions of NY state map”.

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