This one is truly going to seem like just a travel log as I did not take any photos of the real mission type things- only the nature/touristy things. I will try and make up for it next week although there just aren't a lot of pictures I can take in meetings, etc.
We are in Western New York State for 2 weeks, touring 6 zones of the Rochester NY Mission.
We love President and Sister Francis and they have made us feel welcome and needed. They are from Orange County! Dale even knew him from the Public Affairs meetings they attended together. Always a small world. Our first conferences were held around the Buffalo area in Amherst, Orchard Park and then in Rochester. They are pretty much an all day affair. In the morning the Stake President, his wife and the AP (Assistant to the President) address us . Next follows a lovely lunch provided by the ward Relief Society sisters in whatever area we are in that day. Then there are breakaway sessions where the missionaries rotate through 3 different half hour presentations, one of which is ours. Dale talks for about 10 minutes on the exciting subject of upper respiratory problems (he chose this because it is what he gets the most phone calls about) and then I talk for 10 minutes on dehydration and de-stressing techniques. (breathe in through your nose for the count of 7, hold for 4, release through your mouth for 11 counts. If you can make a whoosing sound on your release- all the better!) Believe it or not, they actually seem to enjoy these presentations and seem riveted while we give them. I know. They must be hard up for entertainment :) We open it up for a few minutes for any questions they may have and Dale lets them know he is available to meet one on one for any private problems they may want to discuss. This is our 3rd set of zone conferences and each one is set up a little bit differently. On the other two,a sign-up sheet was passed around at the very first meeting and Dale had a separate room where he would stay for a few hours talking with anyone who needed him. So far, no one here has needed to talk with him. It may be due to their amazing mission nurse, Sister Ray. She is wonderful and we fell in love with her immediately. Some of the sister missionaries call her "Sister Mama" and they all adore her.
She and Elder Ray, also wonderful, invited us to their home for dinner one night after the conference and we enjoyed our visit with them immensely. I will take a picture of them and post it next week ! After the breakaway sessions, everyone meets together again and the President and AP's talk again, fun awards are given, and a departing missionaries bear testimonies. A full day, as I said. We do this Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
On Monday we spent the entire day driving to Buffalo- a 7-8 hour trip.
We were lucky enough to find a great deal at a brand new Marriot downtown and right next to the waterfront. It was lovely coming home every night and just being able to walk out the door and along the canal and out to Lake Erie. We didn't see much of Buffalo because this was just too pretty and too convenient, we just wanted to stay there.
|There was a storm coming in and we got caught in it! Actually, it was exhilarating !|
We did , of course, go to a Triple D and a Best Thing I Ever Ate! See photos of the BTIEA.The DDD was Grover's Bar and Grill in Amherst we had Cheeseburger Soup (Dale said one of the best he's ever had) and Garlic Parmesan Buffalo Wings (which Dale said were the best he ever had!)
|Best Thing I Ever Ate|
A Buffalo Tradition : Roast Beef on a Kummelweck Roll, which is a roll covered with Kosher Salt and Caraway Seeds
It was good, but not the best thing we've ever eaten.
|This is another Buffalo specialty so we had to try it. Pretty much just what you'd expect.|
On Friday, we went to Niagara Falls. It was an adventure! The weather forecast was for a sunny day but as soon as we boarded the Maid of the Mist for our boat tour, it started pouring complete with thunder and lightening. A little scary when you are in a metal boat in the water.
|Can you see the sheets of rain?|
Fortunately, it cleared up right after that and the rest of the day was gorgeous- humid but sunny and a little breeze. The Falls were spectacular! I saw them as a child but this was Dale's first time. We weren't expecting to be very impressed after having visited the Iguazu Falls in Brazil but they were still pretty stunning. A LOT of water power flowing ! I was fascinated by the clarity and color of the water going over the falls-so clear and so blue! I took a gazillion pics but will only share a few. (you're welcome :)
|Horseshoe Falls/ Canadian Side|
|In honor of Pam and Jim|
(out of sequence- sorry)
We drove over to the Canadian side to see the view from there. It is better. Much better, truth be told. The area around the falls is beautifully landscaped in a park-like setting with trees and incredible flowers everywhere. One section of town is like a mini Las Vegas- very gaudy and crazy- but the rest is simply dazzling.
|The 'Vegas' part of the city|
Our lovely nurse, Sister Ray, recommended we go see Niagara on the Lake on the Canadian side.
We are so glad we took her advice! We were instantly enchanted. It is advertised as "Canada's Prettiest Town". Last week we were in New England's Prettiest Little City and this week: Canada's!
|Of course, we couldn't walk by this and not try some!|
|Check it out! They know how to treat their dogs!|
|A Black Squirrel - don't remember seeing one before|
This certainly was one of the most charming, indeed prettiest, towns(outside of Europe) we've visited.
Again, flowers, flowers, everywhere. We loved it! The main street was darling but so were the side streets and homes and gardens and views of Lake Ontario. Gorgeous fields of green, forests, and vineyards or water views everywhere you looked. If we come back this way again we will do our best to stay here overnight. (maybe on our way to Toronto)
Again we are singing the praises of Sister Ray because she also directed us to take the Great Lakes Seaway Trail which goes along the coast of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, with 30 lighthouses along the way. We managed to see 4 of them before it got dark. Such a beautiful, refreshing, quaint, and delightful little drive. So much better than a highway.
|Thirty Mile Lighthouse|
|Oak Orchard Harbor Lighthouse|
|Obviously not us but we did seed the sun go down here and ate dinner in the seemingly only restaurant for miles here.|
|Oak Orchard Harbor|
We are now based in Fairport, NY for the next 4 days.
We attended the Fairport Ward in the Palmyra Stake today. It is a very strong ward with lots of leadership and great youth. The added bonus is Dale found one of his second cousins there. Cody Braithwaite.
Picture and story will be in next week's blog.
It was a great week of service and adventure and we are continuing on our way rejoicing for the blessings that are ours.