Posts tagged New York

May 10-19, 2013: Overview-East Bound and Down

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Back home again in Indiana! Wow, what a great trip that was. It was loads of fun as Pat and I explored many two lane roads throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont (just a hint), New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Here’s the overview of our trip, and posts for each day will follow (and will be hyperlinked below as they are added).

  • May 10-11, 2013: Not much to report, as these were “get from point A to B as quickly as possible” travel days.  Slabbed from Indianapolis to Dubois, Pennsylvania on Day 1, and DuBois to Connecticut on Day 2.
  • May 12, 2013: Spent the morning in Waterbury visiting a friend, then my cousin. In the afternoon, it was onto the PEZ Candy Museum in Orange, then to Mystic, Connecticut.
  • May 13, 2013: Visited Mystic, Connecticut – downtown and Old Mystick Village. Meandered our way to New Haven. Spent the next two nights in downtown New Haven.
  • May 14, 2013: Rode the Metro North to New York City. Spent the day mostly hoofing it around midtown Manhattan, but also went downtown to visit the 9/11 Memorial. Took the Metro North back to New Haven.
  • May 15, 2013: Left New Haven, visited another friend in central Connecticut, then continued meandering northwest on some state roads, then on US 7 into Massachusetts. Took NY 23 to the Hudson River, then followed US 9 and NY 9J. Spent the night in Schenectady.
  • May 16, 2013: Today’s destination was Lake George, New York, a favorite tourist destination of mine from my teen years. Before heading north, we took a detour back east to Bennington, Vermont to have breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner. Traversed northwest and spent the afternoon and evening in Lake George on a cute motel on the lake.
  • May 17, 2013: Spent the morning in Lake George. There was not much open yet, since we were still in the off season (just a week away), so we checked out the site of the former amusement park Gaslight Village (now demolished) and figured out which motel my parents and I stayed in when I was a teen. Played a round of mini golf at Goony Golf, and then headed southwest / west on US 20, visiting an iconic tourist stop, the Tepee.
  • May 18, 2013: Continuing west on US 20 through New York state, through the Finger Lakes area, visited the town that inspired Frank Capra’s vision of Bedford Falls in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, continued on US 20 into Pennsylvania along Lake Erie on PA 5 (Circle Lake Tour).
  • May 19, 2013: Continued along PA 5 (Circle Lake Tour) by Lake Erie, visited a memorial to those lost in a bad train wreck in 1876, saw the longest covered bridge in the US, and the world’s two largest loaves of bread.

What a ride! Stay tuned.

Pat & Jennifer

RTM_CartoonGreen

May 18, 2013: Day 9 – East Bound and Down

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Above is today’s trip map created using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app.
Click the link above for a bigger map.

We checked out of the motel and decided to have breakfast in town at the local establishment, the Chef Diner.

The Chef Diner - US 20, Richfield Springs, New York

The food was very good and very plentiful here, as was the local conversation. :)
The Chef Diner - US 20, Richfield Springs, New York

We continued west on US 20 throughout New York, and we quickly approached the Finger Lakes area, but not before passing through some nice country, with rolling hills.
US 20 West, New York

Seneca Falls was recommended by a friend to be a good place to spend a little time, a nice town with shops and restaurants, etc. But it turns out that there’s more to Seneca Falls! I remembered reading about this, but didn’t remember the name of the town or where it was, but once we got there, I found through my new Roadside America iOS app, that there was a bridge in town that was called the George Bailey Bridge. Filming location for “It’s a Wonderful Life” perhaps? No…not quite. Turns out that the town of Seneca Falls was visited by Frank Capra in the mid-40’s as the screenplay was being developed. There are many similarities between the fictional Bedford Falls and Seneca Falls, which they have noted at their website, the Real Bedford Falls. We didn’t have too much time to spend in town, but we did enjoy some gelato at a local Italian shop, and then a walk over to the George Bailey Bridge (the Bridge Street Bridge). The bridge in the film certainly did bear a strong resemblance to this bridge.
Bridge Street/George Bailey Bridge - Seneca Falls, New York

Bridge Street/George Bailey Bridge - Seneca Falls, New York

After leaving Seneca Falls, we continued on US 20 through Buffalo and along Lake Erie. We knew that Erie, Pennsylvania was difficult to get a good, reasonably priced hotel room. The better hotels are expensive and lesser hotels and motels with sketchy reviews still had pricey rates. We stumbled upon a little mom & pop east of Erie, but no one was to be found in the lobby! We followed the instructions to ring the phone (basically the base of a cordless phone that you press to ring the phone). Despite many rings, no one came. A guest who “sort of” checked in was just as confused. He was able to find a check in card and key, but no owner. They weren’t sure if they followed the right process, but at least they did have a key and room. The husband went over to the local bar / restaurant across the street, but no one knew where the owner was. The clock on the desk indicated they would return at 9, but it was a long time away, so we decided to move on. Just down the road, we found another mom & pop called the Colonial Motel in North East, Pennsylvania, and it looked very clean, so we decided to stay. It was reasonably priced and had good wifi. Winner! :)

We had dinner at a nearby restaurant called the Freeport Restaurant, highly recommended by the motel owner. Before we did, we stopped at a park right down the road on Lake Erie to watch the sun set:

Sunset along Lake Erie

After a good dinner, it was back to the motel. Tomorrow was our last day and we’d be heading home.

Pat & Jennifer

 

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos.
Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633529592554″ width=”600″]

May 17, 2013: Day 8 – East Bound and Down

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Above is today’s trip map created using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app.
Click the link above for a bigger map.

We were initially thinking of spending an additional day in Lake George, but considering the peak tourist season didn’t start for another week and very little was open, we decided to plan on coming back another time in season. After checking out of the motel, we did a little exploration of the site of the former Gaslight Village Amusement park, comparing some areas of the site to old photos we found on the Internet. I don’t remember much about the place, except the Cavalcade of Cars was a very cool exhibit featuring one of my favorite custom cars, the Munster Koach.  The site seemed fairly small to house an amusement park, I’m used to the very sprawling grounds of Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

Afterward, we decided to play a round of miniature golf, and Goony Golf happened to be open. Pat did very well beating me this time! :)
Goony Golf - Lake George, New York

We then headed southwest out of Lake George on State Road 9, and in Lake Luzerne, picked up a local road that followed along first the Sacandaga River, then the shore of the Great Sacandaga Lake. Very nice ride on twisty roads, and such great views.
View of Great Sacandaga Lake

We continued southwesterly on a couple of other state roads until we picked up US 20 near Cherry Valley. At this point, I knew we would be near another must stop recommended by my coworker Tina, that would be the TePee, a souvenir shop overlooking Cherry Valley on US 20.
TePee Souvenirs - Tepee Pete's Chow Wagon, US 20, Cherry Valley, New York

We noticed there was a small travel trailer off to the side of the TePee that served as a restaurant. We talked to the owner of the TePee inside, and she explained that her brother ran the restaurant, TePee Pete’s Chow Wagon. We bought a few souvenirs and decided to check out the fare at the restaurant. We had a nice talk with Pete, who explained that his parents, who had owned the TePee prior to his sisters’ purchasing it, were interested in him running a restaurant at the TePee. They even found an old trailer for sale in Connecticut that was being used as a hot dog cart, but Pete was quite happy as a chef downstate. They bought it anyway, in case he ever changed his mind, but didn’t tell him. Some time later, while recuperating from a back injury, Pete’s employer basically insisted he return to his job or lose it; not being cleared yet for return to work, Pete asked his parents if they still wanted him to run a restaurant at the TePee. They surprised him with the trailer, and TePee Pete’s Chow Wagon was born. Pete is quite the character, and his food is awesome. I had a grilled veggie wrap that was just delicious and Pat went for the “double barreled shotgun,” which was two chili dogs wrapped in a tortilla. Here are a few photos:
Tepee Pete's Chow Wagon, US 20, Cherry Valley, New York
Tepee Pete's Chow Wagon, US 20, Cherry Valley, New York
Pete’s view from the kitchen is beautiful!
View from TePee Souvenirs - Tepee Pete's Chow Wagon, US 20, Cherry Valley, New York

We continued on US 20 west for a bit, then decided to spend the night in Richfield Springs. There were a few mom & pop motels in town, which all had reasonable reviews from Trip Advisor. We opted for the Fountain View Motel. We pretty much stepped out of 2013 and back into the 50’s & 60’s again, but the place was very clean.

Fountain View Motel - Richfield Springs, New York
Humorously, after having recently watched the movie “Vacancy,” Pat was compelled to look in the vents and other places to see if there were any video cameras. LOL

It wasn’t too late, and we had passed a place called Tunnicliff Creamery that was still open just a short distance back, so after we settled in, we decided to go get some ice cream. I think we may have had ice cream almost every day on this trip so far! Here’s the black raspberry.
Tunnicliff Creamery - US 20, Richfield Springs, New York
We checked out the town a little (pretty small, so it didn’t take long), then went back to the motel to get some sleep.
Until tomorrow,

Pat & Jennifer

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos.
Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633529653312″ width=”600″]

May 16, 2013: Day 7 – East Bound and Down

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Above is today’s trip map created using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app.
Click the link above for a bigger map.

We left Schenectady and after getting my Dunkin Donuts fix (153 feet from the hotel!), we were off on a side trip to Bennington, Vermont for a side trip to the Blue Benn Diner, highly recommended by one of my coworkers.

Blue Benn Diner - Bennington, VT

We briefly took the Interstate until we reached State Road 7, which we took northeast, then SR 279 into Bennington. After discovering the Blue Benn is cash only, we quickly found a nearby ATM, and headed back with our wallet full and our stomachs empty!

I’d been hearing about how wonderful the crunchberry pancakes were, so I already knew that was what I would order. I added a little bacon so I could have some protein to offset the carbs! The pancakes were as good as they look, if not better!

Breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner
Pat opted for a slightly more protein-heavy meal of eggs, corned beef hash, and home fries with toast.
Breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner

After filling our stomachs and emptying our wallet, we headed out of Bennington on SR 9, and took it until SR7. On the way in to Bennington, we had seen a cool country store and would pass it on the way back, so we decided to stop. It was called the Big Moose Deli & Country Store in Hoosick, New York. We stopped to pick up some snacks and small souvenirs.

Big Moose Deli & Country Store - Hoosick, New York

We headed north on a local road into Hoosick Falls, and onto a few state roads until we picked up US 4. In Hudson Falls, we saw this neat old Rexall sign at the local pharmacy.
McCann's Rexall Pharmacy, Hudson Falls, New YorkPat was in need of some ibuprofen, so we decided to stop and provide them some business. I also happened to find they had some homeopathic ear drops which provided some very much needed relief from the discomfort of my scratchy eardrums.

We continued west on SR 254 until we intersected with US 9, and took that north into tonight’s destination, Lake George, New York. Lake George is a very popular tourist destination in the Adirondacks with loads to do for all ages. I’d been there as a child (don’t really remember) and again as a teenager with my parents and friend Joann. That trip was loads of fun, as we went to the now-defunct amusement parks Gaslight Village and Frontier Town and hung out in the bustling Village of Lake George. I was curious where we stayed on that trip, and had some vague recollections of where our motel was. I know it was in the actual Village, on the main drag, and recalled it being on a slight hill. Sure enough, I found two locations side by side, one of which was likely our motel. One was currently a motel, and the other was a nightclub with an area on the side that looks like it was at one time a motel. A little searching on the internet revealed that it was in fact, a former motel. This is the geeky stuff Pat and I really enjoy. :)

This trip, we stayed on the north side of the village, at the Sundowner Motel, right on Lake George. We were a week away from the start of peak season, so as we walked around town, though some businesses were open, more were not. We still got a feel for the place, and from what I described to Pat, he thought it would make a good place to add to our list of vacation destinations. It was actually about the same distance as his favorite childhood vacation destination of Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Here’s the view of Lake George from our motel:
View of Lake George from the Sundowner Motel

We had dinner at a neat little restaurant south of Lake George called The Loft:
The Loft Drive-in, Lake George, New York
This restaurant was directly across from our motel and just looked like it was straight out of the late 50’s:
Mario's Restaurant - Lake George, New York
This motel was directly next to ours. Nice sign!
Surfside on the Lake - Lake George, New York

Despite coming down with some bad traditional allergy symptoms to something in the area (that I never usually have!), we went for a late evening walk, with only locals around, at the few bars open on a Thursday night. This would look quite different in about a week, when the area would be teeming with tourists.

We settled back in at the motel and had a peaceful sleep by the lake.

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633529679406″ width=”600″]

May 15, 2013: Day 6 – East Bound and Down

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Above is today’s trip map created using my Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app.
Click the link above for a bigger map.

We left New Haven this morning and met up with another friend for coffee. We couldn’t resist stopping off at the Big Dipper in Prospect for some ice cream!

The Big Dipper - Prospect, Connecticut

then we started northwest through Connecticut, meandering on a mix of state and US routes into Massachusetts on US 7. We picked up 23, which crossed into New York. In Craryville, we found the Chief Martindale Diner. Cool spot and great food; but the owner is very touchy about photos. I asked the waitress if it was Ok to take a few shots, she said no problem, but then came back out, saying the chef/owner didn’t want any photos being taken. Hmmm…

Chief Martindale Diner, SR 23, Craryville, New York

Chief Martindale Diner, SR 23, Craryville, New York

We continued on 23/23B until we reached Hudson, New York. Along the way, I’d post things to friends and family on Facebook and at this point, my cousin Leigh suggested that we visit Olana, which was the Persian style home of artist Frederic Edwin Church. Glad we stopped! Even though the building was closed, the site was open and had beautiful views of the Hudson.

Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, New York

Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, New YorkWe continued north along US 9/ SR 9J along the Hudson River as the sun set.

Hudson River - train tracks along SR 9J

View of the Hudson River from Schodack State Park at Sunset

We booked a Priceline hotel, and ended up with the west side of Schenectady.

As we crossed into Albany, I saw a neat theatre called the Palace that I had to test out the HDR camera on!

Palace Theatre - Albany, New York

We made our way to the hotel and got some sleep. Tomorrow, on to Lake George!

Pat & Jennifer

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633513798365″ width=”600″]

May 14, 2013: Day 5 – East Bound and Down

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We woke up early today so we could catch an early train to New York. We walked the short distance from the hotel to Union Station and caught the 7:31 AM train, which would arrive at Grand Central at 9:07.

Main Concourse, Grand Central Terminal, New York

We really didn’t have any plans, just stroll around midtown really. I didn’t want to take the time to go into any of the boroughs, and while a slice of Lenny’s Pizza in Bensonhurst would have been awesome, I didn’t want to spend 50 minutes each way. Our farthest destination from midtown would be the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade center site. After leaving Grand Central, we walked east on 42nd Street to the United Nations Building. I’d never been there, and I thought I’d snap a few shots to use as filming locations for the Alfred Hitchcock suspense film, North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant.

United Nations - New York

We worked our way back west to 5th Avenue and walked north to FAO Schwarz. Another place I took my daughter to alot when she was a little girl, I was feeling nostalgic when I saw the clock face on the wall, that used to be a clock tower in the entry, and was featured in the 1988 films, “Big” and “Big Business.” I have screen shots from the movie and from a time I was there in 1991 in my Movie Filming Locations post. The clock face now sits above an escalator leading to the lower level of the store, and plays the signature song “Welcome to Our World of Toys” every 15 minutes.

Clock face at FAO Schwarz

A few moments of feeling verklempt over hearing the song, I recovered since I have a wonderful grandson now and get to enjoy this sort of thing all over again with him – and watch my daughter enjoy being a mom!

We picked up some sweet treats at the candy shop FAO Schweetz, and continued along our midtown romp. I wanted to take Pat by the Solow Building on 57th Street. I knew he would recognize it from one of our favorite movies, “Lost in America” where Albert Brooks’ character begs for his job back after quitting in a hilarious scene, reeling from the news that he was being transferred from LA to New York, rather than getting the promotion to Vice President that he was expecting.

The Solow Building - New York, New York

We headed over to Broadway and walked down Broadway to Times Square. I wanted to go to a Disney Store to see if they might have a replica Piston Cup from the Disney/Pixar film “Cars” for Jameson, but none were to be found. Bummer. We did pick up a “Lots-‘o-Huggin'” bear from Toy Story 3, though.

With as nice of a day as it was, mid 60’s and dry, lots of people were hanging out in the new (well, about 4 years old) pedestrian plazas in Times Square.

We walked west through Times Square and over toward 44th Street, giving our regards to George M. Cohan along the way.

George M. Cohan Statue in Duffy Square - New York

I wanted to take Pat over toward 44th Street to see the Shubert Theatre and Sardi’s. Not technically a filming location, but nonetheless, I will be adding it to my blog for “The Producers,” the 2005 version of Mel Brooks musical, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. A set was created that looked just like the area containing the Shubert Theatre, Shubert Alley, and Sardi’s.

Shubert Theatre, New York
We walked back toward Broadway & 7th, heading south to about 39th Street until I decided we ought to get down to the 9/11 Memorial. Pat was hoping to meet up with another Pat back in Connecticut, so we took the subway from Times Square to Chambers Street and made the walk of a couple blocks over to the World Trade Center site. We found the Memorial Preview site, where there were displays and information, and we picked up tickets/passes to the memorial.

We walked a couple of blocks over to the memorial, and visited the site. It was solemn and sad to be there, though it was a very nice and tasteful memorial to those everyday people whose ordinary workday turned anything but, as the horror unfolded around them. It shouldn’t ever become something we become desensitized to or forget, not just for the sake of those lost in the tragedy or their families and friends, but for all of us as Americans, whose world also changed forever on that day. Whether it’s extra IDs to open a checking account, to removing shoes, body scans, etc. to new government agencies and terminology, or PC arguments, our daily lives have been affected by the events of 9/11, and we should also mourn the loss of many of our fundamental freedoms. We should go on of course, and enjoy life, but sadly things have changed and not for the better. I hope that everyone who visits is solemn and respectful. They were for the most part, but there we’re a few people there getting their photo taken, smiling away, and I admit, it annoyed me.

One World Trade Center - New York

9/11 Memorial

Here is a very brief video I took at the 9/11 Memorial:

We headed back up to midtown so we could get going. I suggested to Pat that we cross from Times Square to Grand Central, but Pat was OK sticking around a little longer and walking. So we went over to the Cake Boss Cafe there to check out the hype. We’d tried to visit Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken two years ago, but the lines were too long (we had my then-two month old grandson with us). So now we’re at the Cake Boss Cafe, not “Carlo’s” so I wondered if the stuff was made by Carlo’s or is this a product of the television network. It seemed to have a full lined of baked goods. I bought a red velvet cupcake that wasn’t any more expensive than any other specialty cupcake place. It was good but not particularly great.

Cake Boss Cafe - Port Auority

Red Velvet Cupcakes - Cake Boss Cafe, New York

We started walking back to Grand Central and before boarding, we picked some Magnolia Cupcakes for my daughter, and a few for ourselves. Yummmm…

Magnolia Cupcakes

After leaving Grand Central on a New Haven bound Metro North train, I promptly fell asleep. Seriously. I’d been sleep deprived since a week before vacation, which continued right through the night before. I didn’t wake up until a few minutes before we arrived in Milford.

We went to the Milford station to meet up with someone Pat met last year, another Pat with the same name. I guess they Googled their name and found each other through Facebook. I was unable to meet the other Pat last year, since I was watching my grandson, so I was able to meet Pat and his fiancee Karen this year. We went to a place in Milford called SBC Brewery. Very good! We had a nice visit and Pat brought us back to the hotel.

Untitled

Still tired from my extended bout of insomnia, it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep! We were going to meet a friend tomorrow morning for coffee, then start following the route I planned that we were going to take before we changed plans. We were still going to take part of it, but in upstate New York, we’d continue west for home rather than loop back to Connecticut.

Pat & Jennifer

Today’s Photographs

Below is a slideshow of all of today’s photos. Click any photo to stop the slideshow and view the photos on my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157633538910462″ width=”600″]

May 2013: East Bound and Down – Prelude

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Above is the track for our trip, which I have planned using the Trimble Outdoors website

Next month, we’ll be hitting the road for the East Coast. This will be mine & Pat’s final trip east for a while. For the past few years while my daughter’s been in school, I’ve been taking her and my grandson east to visit family, but with this being her final year of school, next year, she can venture out on her own if she likes. Pat and I will thereafter be focusing our attention on pretty much every other direction of the country. We’ve talked about places we wanted to visit, like South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore), some National Parks, like Bryce Canyon, Zion, etc. Another 66 trip would be great, and in a couple of years, we’d like to do 66 with our grandson and go to Disneyland (most specifically, Cars Land).

But back to the current trip. We’ll be pretty much slabbing on the Evil I to Connecticut on Friday and Saturday, likely from I-70 to Columbus, then I-71 to I-80 and 81 to 84. could do that in my sleep, which isn’t hard to do, given how awfully boring that route is. I prefer the southern route, but not feeling like paying tolls with two cars!

From Sunday through Tuesday or Wednesday, Pat and I will be venturing from Connecticut for a drive through western Connecticut on US 7, north into Massachusetts and Vermont. I’d like to visit a diner a coworker recommended called the Blue Benn Diner, which is said to have really good “crunchberry pancakes.” That sounds good to me! We might take a bit of a route called the Molly Stark Trail, then after Bennington, head to a favorite vacation spot from my teen years, Lake George, NY. I haven’t been there since the early 80’s, when Gaslight Village was open. I remember the Cavalcade of Cars exhibit was pretty cool, featuring the Munster Koach, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bob Hope’s golf cart, and loads of other famous cars (I think it had some of custom George Barris cars too). I always enjoyed the area, so it’ll be fun to head back there for a day or so.

After that, we’ll meander west toward Cooperstown, NY and take in some of the baseball history there. Then probably cruise US 20 to US 9, and probably a bit on 9J along the Hudson, before going back east to Connecticut. As a side note, I don’t know what kind of bird creature it really looks like, but to Pat and me, the 3 day loop resembles some sort of bird. Even though a buzzard doesn’t have a pointy head, in lieu of anything else, we have dubbed our trip “The Buzzard Route.” LOL

Wednesday I’ll be catching up with friends, and Thursday – Saturday, we’ll venture to southeast Connecticut/Mystic/Rhode Island, then start heading back to Indiana on Saturday.

Other than having a basic route to follow, nothing is planned. Timing, lodging, dining, nothing! I have some notes on things that we might enjoy doing, but otherwise, I’ll simply have my iPhone handy and search for what we want to do on the fly without strict plans in place. I definitely like having a general plan, a little information handy and definitely having Internet access available to help find things when we arrive someplace. But overall, I much prefer to “wing it” rather than be strict and methodical on most of our trips. The irony of that is that I am very organized and methodical in my life and job. If we’re going to do filming locations or really want to see specific things or are in a place where we feel more comfortable with a plan, we will – but just letting things unfold is far more fun and exciting!

For this trip and future ones, I’m planning on posting trip logs and photos faster, hopefully nightly. With my new Sony NEX-6 and iPad Mini, I have a workflow in place that I will be “road testing,” as well as recording the trip using the Trimble Outdoors Navigator iPhone app. As I said earlier, I used the Trimble website plus their My Topo app to plan the route, and the iPhone app will track where we travel, helping me to geotag my photos on my iPad Mini.

So stay tuned!

Jennifer and Pat
East Bound and Down

Movie Filming Locations

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Here’s a random collection of movie filming locations, of which I don’t have enough photos to warrant a separate page.

Big

FAO Schwarz, 5th Avenue & 58th Street, New York, New York

12-year old Josh Baskin, frustrated at his slight stature, turns into a grownup after making a wish with a fortune telling machine called Zoltar. After frantically searching for the Zoltar machine to turn back into a kid, Josh has some time on his hands, while waiting for information from the Department of Consumer affairs as to the location of a Zoltar machine, and gets a job in the data processing department at MacMillan Toys. One Saturday, Josh spends a little time browsing at New York’s famous toy store, FAO Schwarz. Many locations of the store were used here, and I visited the store many times with my then 4-year old daughter. (She was very much into “Hello Kitty” stuff and FAO Schwarz had a huge area dedicated to this cute kitty). At that time (around 1991-1992), the store had changed very little since the movie was filmed.

In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Josh runs into his boss, the owner of MacMillan Toys, who spends his Saturdays at FAQ Schwarz observing what toys kids are into. He and Josh spend a little time bonding as Josh explains his likes and dislikes of various toys (much to the bemusement of Mr. MacMillan). They stumble about a large floor model “piano,” where Josh starts to play “Heart and Soul.” Mr. MacMillan joins in, and together they do a well-coordinated routine consisting of Heart and Soul and Chopsticks. Having not had so much fun in a while, MacMillan taps into Josh’s knowledge of toys and makes him vice president….one of them, anyway – they have a hundred of them!

From the movie:

Big - Tom Hanks

Big - Tom Hanks - 1988

FAO Schwarz, approximately 1991 – 1992:

FAO Schwarz - 5th Avenue, New York, NY

The clock is no longer in this location, as the store was completely remodeled/renovated. Now, the clock face is hung on a wall above an escalator leading to the lower level. It still plays “Welcome to Our World of Toys” every 15 minutes.

Clock face at FAO Schwarz

Rye Playland, Rye, New York

Two scenes in Big were filmed at the location below, which is Rye Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York. It was depicted in the movie to be “Seapoint Park” New York. In one scene, Josh goes to Seapoint Park on a date with his co-worker, Susan.

Big - Tom Hanks - 1988

At the end of the movie, Josh returns to Seapoint Park after discovering that a Zoltar machine is here, so that he could make a wish to turn back to a kid again.

Big - Tom Hanks - 1988

Rye Playland Boardwalk, taken approximately 1991:

Boardwalk - Rye Playland - Rye, New York

Jingle All the Way

Mickey’s Dining Car – St. Paul, Minnesota

36 7th St W, St Paul, MN

Mickey's Dining Car - St. Paul, MN

The Producers

Bethesda Fountain in Central Park – New York, New York

This is from a scene from “The Producers,” in which down-and-out Broadway producer, Max Bialystock (Lane) is trying to convince his mousy accountant, Leo Bloom (Broderick) to participate in a get-rich scheme. They will oversell shares in a Broadway show, keep the additional money and go to Rio. But in order for the scheme to work, the show must be a “surefire flop.” Leo is too scared to do it, and runs away as Max desperately convinces him that it will work (“We Can Do It”).

The Producers - Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, New York

August 2008

Bethesda Terrace - Central Park, New York, NY

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The Sun Motel – Braidwood, Illinois

Del Griffith (John Candy) and Neal Page (Steve Martin) are two very different businessmen who met by chance in New York City when Del “steals” Neal’s cab to the airport. Unfortunately, the simple, short flight from New York to Chicago just before Thanksgiving turns into a two-day ordeal, bringing Del and Neal together as they make their way from New York to Chicago by way of Wichita, Kansas.

In this scene, they are waiting for a ride to the “people” train station, 40 miles away, which they will make sitting in the back of a pickup truck. They just spent the night sharing the last motel room in town, at the fictional “Braidwood Inn.” This motel is actually in Braidwood, Illinois along I-55.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - "Braidwood Inn"

June 2006

The Sun Motel - Braidwood, Illinois

From the movie

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - "Braidwood Inn"

June 2006

The Sun Motel - Braidwood, Illinois

A Christmas Story

The house in the movie “A Christmas Story” is located in Cleveland, Ohio. For more information, click the link for the official site. You can visit it and go on a tour! The house was being restored when we passed through Cleveland in July 2007, we just took a couple of exterior photos.

House from "A Christmas Story" - Cleveland, Ohio

House from "A Christmas Story" - complete with leg lamp - Cleveland, Ohio

May 12, 2008: New York, New York (Day 3)

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There isn’t too much to say about this day! After two days of clear weather, we were bound to have a rainy day, and this was it. Many museums were closed Mondays, but one of our favorites, the American Museum of Natural History, was open. We’ve been there countless times before, but we didn’t mind going again. Evidently, everyone else in New York had the same idea, because it was very crowded! We waited to enter by the lower level subway entrance but they called out that it would be faster to head to the main entrance instead. So a bunch of people did that…I figured, why do that because everyone else is, so we’ll have just as long of a wait, but Amber suggested we do it.  I don’t know that it was any faster, the lines were longer, but there were more ticket windows, so whatever…

We did the usual rounds (links open to the corresponding page at the museum’s website):

  • North American Mammals
  • Small Mammals
  • Hall of New York State Environment – not as many people seem to visit this exhibit, but it’s very cool. It shows “the development of New York’s natural landscape over time,” its “geological history,” and also features exhibits on New York State agriculture and ecology, including “the water cycle, the relationship of plants to geology, the cycle of nutrition and decay, photosynthesis and respiration, life in a pond as a closed system, and changes to the environment through the seasons.” There’s also a large “slice” of a Great Sequoia tree, cut down in 1891. When I was little, I always worried that this slice was going to fall over and crush me! LOL
  • African Mammals
  • Hall of Ocean Life
  • North American Birds

Since it was raining and chilly, we didn’t feel like venturing out to get something to eat, so we ate there. The Museum offers a variety of dining choices – not too bad, really. The food wasn’t bad, though slightly overpriced, as expected.

Alot has changed over the years, of course, but alot has remained the same. I’ll add photos soon!

Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157605180457846″ width=”500″]

May 11, 2008: New York, New York (Day 2)

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On day 2, we went up to Central Park. We went to Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle (among others). Afterward, we exited to Central Park West, by the Museum of Natural History. We took the C from 81st to Columbus Circle, where we transferred to the D to Coney Island. We ate at Nathan’s, but it was fairly chilly, so we ate quickly!

Nathan's Famous - Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

We hopped back onto the D and took it to 20th Ave & 86th Street in Bensonhurst. We were originally going to walk around their Italian neighborhood and have a slice of pizza at Lenny’s, but having just ate at Nathan’s, we weren’t hungry. So next time…

86th St. & Bay 23rd St. Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Lenny's Pizza - Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Though the movie is set in Bay Ridge, as I said, this street is actually in Bensonhurst. It is featured in the film’s opening scene where Tony Manero, played by John Travolta, walked with the iconic paint can. To the right is Lenny’s Pizza, where Tony bought two slices of pizza and ate them double-decker style.

We next ventured to Bay Ridge, where many additional scenes in the film were shot. All my photos and screen captures for Saturday Night Fever are located here: Saturday Night Fever – Filming Locations

After Bay Ridge, we took the R, transferred to the F to Carroll Street. We walked up to Sackett and Henry Streets in Carroll Gardens to another filming location: the Cammareri Bakery from Moonstruck.

Sackett & Henry Streets, Brooklyn, NY

Moonstruck - Sackett & Henry Streets, Brooklyn, NY

At one time, this location was the site of the Cammareri Bros. Bakery (as it was in the film), but they closed and the location is now occupied by Naidre’s. In 2006, Cammareri paired with Monteleone to form F. Monteleone & Cammareri Brothers. That bakery is located on Court Street, between Union & President Streets. We stopped there and we each had some gelato and cupcakes.

We then walked up to Brooklyn Heights to the location which served as the Castorini residence on Cranberry Street:
East on Cranberry Street, Brooklyn, NY

For more Moonstruck filming locations, click here to visit my Flickr site: Moonstruck – Filming Locations

Along the way, we went past the Hotel St. George, where my parents stayed after they got married. My father was in the Navy and stationed at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, so they stayed at the Hotel St. George until they got an apartment on N. Elliott Place.
Hotel St. George (closed) - Clark & Henry Streets, Brooklyn, NY

Next it was over to Junior’s for some cheesecake (chocolate mousse cheesecake of course!)!
Junior's Restaurant - Brooklyn, NY

Junior's Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake - Brooklyn, NY

We then went back to our hotel and called it a night.

Slideshow of All Photos

For more details about a particular photo, click on it in the slideshow and it will open in my Flickr site.

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”roadtripmemories” id=”72157605180457846″ width=”500″]

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