Lake Erie and West New York State

Our first real stay on our recent road trip was in West New York State. Yes, we did a lot along the way, but each night was just a place to sleep and we were on the road the majority of the day. Lake Erie State Park was the first time we really settled in for a while and also the first time I set up the new curtain for the bathroom/changing room/shower. I was very happy with the results. I think the new fabric matches the whole set up better and even with the constant wind coming off Lake Erie, it stayed in place much better. I did realize I need to make a change and put a tie at the front to tie it to the front handle, but a bungee cord worked till I can make that change.

We could not have asked for a better site at the park. I realized a couple days before we were going to arrive that I needed to make reservations. I had learned that most state’s state parks were preregistration only, no walk ups. I didn’t have a lot of choice on sites, but I picked the open one closest to the lake. Although it was on the inner loop, it had one of the best views of the Lake I think of most of the sites. The break in sites that gave me the amazing view, was also the trail down to the beach.

The “beach” in this area of Lake Erie is not a traditional beach with sand. It is actually made by shelves of slate that form a sort of cliff along the water. Once we got to the beach access and saw the rough terrain down to it, I tried to turn back and not make Bella go down it. But she wasn’t having it. She pulled to go down to the water and had the time of her life sniffing along the shoreline and tasting the water.

Most of our time in the area it was overcast, but I didn’t mind because it kept the temperature down. Along with the constant breeze off the lake during the day, it was ideal weather compared to the temperatures in the 100’s that I left in Texas. The overcast conditions also made for some amazing sunsets. Interesting fact about Lake Erie, there is a constant breeze during the day but the wind calms down at night. This made for interesting weather because I needed a jacket during the day but had to turn the fan on at night to stay cool.

When we were there the worst of Covid in New York had passed but they were still being very cautious. This did kind of limit the options of things to do. This was the first area where I learned not to go by what I found on websites or Bring Fido as far what was opened and hours. The area is beautiful so we just got in the Pathfinder and drove and found places to see and things to do. We happened to find the small town of Ellicottville that had a brewery and restaurant that offered pet friendly, outdoor seating. The beer was amazing as well as the food and I could have stayed and enjoyed the view of the water from the patio all day.

In our wanderings we also found the Barcelona area of Westfield, New York and the Barcelona Lighthouse. It is the first lighthouse on the United States to run on natural gas. Unfortunately we were there past the tourist season so it wasn’t open. I’m not sure that it ever was this year with Covid. It was still a great place to visit because they have pictures with information about the town and lighthouse in all the windows.

Next to the lighthouse was an area we ended up spending a lot of time, the Barcelona Harbor. It had more of a traditional beach and shoreline, which made it easier to walk. We visited it daily to walk along the shore to get in daily steps. They weren’t necessarily fast steps since Bella had to sniff every new thing that washed in every day, but it was enjoyable. She was also very curious about the ducks and why they made such an obnoxious noise at her.

Our last stop before heading across the state was of course Niagara Falls. It would not be a trip to upstate New York without seeing Niagara Falls. I know I have been to the US side of the falls before as a child but I don’t really remember much about it. I did visit it from the Canadian side on a business trip around 12 years ago and that I remember more. I do agree with the common opinion that the Canadian side is better, but sadly because of Covid, we could not cross over to see it from that side. We could only see Canada from the shores of the State Park.

Niagara Falls was the first time on the trip that I really saw the effect that Covid had on the state. Although I don’t remember the Falls much as a kid I do remember visiting the area with my grandparents as a kid and it being a busy, little tourist town. When we visited it was almost empty. Yes, some of that could be attributed to being past tourist season but the abundance of “Out of Business” and “For Lease” signs on businesses was clearly an effect of Covid. I saw this mainly on souvenir shops and restaurants.

Despite the sad note it ended on, I really enjoyed this portion of our trip. It was a great start to relaxing and taking time to enjoy life. I hope to be able to go back when more things are open and make that trip across the border.

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