New York State Fair

Last Tuesday evening the lovely Robin and I enjoyed a visit to the New York State Fair with my brother Don and sister-in-law Arvilla.
We shared a fried onion. Ate a sausage. Had fresh squeezed lemonade. Browsed the arts and crafts exhibit. Saw some chickens and rabbits and peacocks, oh my! Watched the horse jumping competition for a while. And people-watched, too. 
My favorite part was the blues stylings of Stevie Wolf and the Blues Express. It was so fun watching the dancing (I even tapped a toe once or twice myself).

It was a great time with great people. 

Willis Monie Books

I would never have known the Willis Monie Bookstore was there if it weren't for the lovely Robin. While my brother Don and I spent hours in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, she and Arvilla, my sister-in-law, did some shopping and walking around the town, and discovered this gem. 
I love bookstores like this, with books stacked and crammed in every nook and cranny. I just know there is buried treasure somewhere waiting for me. This store has been in business for more than twenty-five years. As you might expect, they carry a wide selection of baseball books (many of them signed). But they also offer Americana, theology, art, history, fiction (including thousands of titles in Mystery and Science Fiction) and many, many others. They have over eighty thousand books listed in store and online. 
As we were in Cooperstown, home of James Fenimore Cooper, I bought hardcover copies of The Pathfinder and The Pioneers, two of his classic Leatherstocking Tales.

I could have stayed much longer than we did. In fact, I offered myself for hire, but they suggested I should pay them to work there. Good point. 

WIllis Monie Books is located at 139 Main Street in Cooperstown. It is easy to miss, tucked into the back corner of a building housing other businesses, but if you're ever in Cooperstown, look for it. 

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Last Monday my brother and sister-in-law Don and Arvilla took me and the lovely Robin to Cooperstown, New York, for a tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The phrase "kid in a candy store" doesn't come close to expressing my excitement and enjoyment as I finally got to visit this place. Wow. I was thrilled to see things such as the actual jersey worn by pitching legend Cy Young (above), a whole room devoted to Babe Ruth, as well as countless other items (such as the seven caps worn by Nolan Ryan as he pitched each of his seven no-hitters).
A highlight for me (though it was all highlight) was the "In the Books" area, displaying the various records ballplayers have broken and set over the years, including the hit king Pete Rose (above) and the pitching marvel Aroldis Chapman (below).
Arvilla and Robin came and went, doing a little shopping and so on while Don and I went from one display to another, including a set of championship rings (below).
Don and I even got to play a round of "So You Think You Know Baseball," a "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"-type game, in an effort to win a free one-year membership to the Hall. I tried to help Don as much as I could, but we only lasted six or seven rounds. I think we could've won if we had toured all the exhibits before playing the game. Drat.

Still, it was a dream fulfilled for me, and a joy I will remember for a very long time.

Cooperstown, New York

It's Cooperstown, baby! That's right. Last Monday, my brother Don and his wife Arvilla hosted the lovely Robin and me on a trip to historic, fabled Cooperstown, New York. I was (more or less) excited enough to jump out of my skin. Cooperstown, a tiny (population 1,852--salute!) village in New York's Otsego County. Interestingly, most of the village lies within the town of Otsego, according to Wikipedia. How's that work?
The village is named for Judge William Cooper, father of James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans (among many others), both of whom once lived there (as did Samuel F. B. Morse and Erastus Flavel Beadlecreator of the dime novel).
Of course, Cooperstown is best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which is why we were there. The Hall of Fame is there because of the claim that Cooperstown resident Abner Doubleday invented baseball in a cow pasture within the village--which today is the site of Doubleday Field (above).

Cooperstown is also home to the Farmers' Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum. But we never made it to either of those...because we were headed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, baby!

The Crooked Rooster

After a memorable hike down the gorge at Watkins Glen last Sunday, the lovely Robin and I joined Don and Arvilla for dinner at The Wildflower Cafe and Crooked Rooster Brewpub on North Franklin Street in Watkins Glen. It's two--two!--two restaurants in one.
We were seated right away, and though it took a little while for our service to get to us, there was a very large party being served as we took our seats, so it seemed understandable.
Though I usually avoid the "specials" when eating out, Robin and I both ordered the apple cider sirloin with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. It was cooked as we ordered, delicious, and satisfying without being too much (of course, we didn't order appetizers and also declined desserts). A fine meal in fine surroundings.

Watkins Glen State Park

Last Sunday my brother Don and his wife Arvilla took the lovely Robin and me to Watkins Glen State Park for the mile-and-a-half descending gorge trail from the top to the bottom of the famous gorge.
Within two miles, the glen's stream descends four hundred feet, generating nineteen waterfalls along its course. We wound down a 180-step stone staircase at the start (so glad we started at the top instead of the bottom!), strode past, over, and under waterfalls, across bridges, down winding passages, and along dripping cliff faces.
There were just so many breathtakingly beautiful sights. I took dozens of photos, and could have taken many more.
Not only were our surroundings beautiful, but the company, too, as you can see below.
Almost at the end of the walk, Minnehaha Falls pours into a heart-shaped pool at its base (below).
I love hikes like this. So beautiful. So memorable. So fun. I can't wait to do it again.

Seneca Lake

While enjoying a speaking engagement this past weekend at Long Point Camp near Penn Yan, New York, I got to enjoy several prayer and reading sessions on the shore of beautiful Seneca Lake.
Seneca Lake is the largest of New York's eleven Finger Lakes, and the deepest lake located entirely within the state. It is named, of course, for the Seneca nation which once surrounded the thirty-eight-mile-long lake. Folks call it the lake trout capital of the world, although I didn't see any. It is also renowned (due to its macroclimate) for its vineyards, although I didn't partake.
We traveled the length of the lake on the western side, from the city of Geneva (which we drove through to and from Long Point Camp, where I spoke) to the village of Watkins Glen on the south.

It was obviously a beautiful place to stay and pray and sit and read.