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.

Long Point Camp

What a wonderful weekend the lovely Robin and I enjoyed the last few days at The Salvation Army's Long Point Camp on Seneca Lake near Penn Yan, New York.

I was honored and thrilled to give a monologue (as Samuel Logan Brengle, above and below), lead two Bible studies, and give the Sunday morning message over the weekend.

It was a joy to study and worship with such fine music, dance, timbrel, and testimony. We felt at home and no wonder, as so many old friends greeted us after long separation, and so many new friends welcomed us with magnanimity. We will long remember our 2014 Family Camp at Long Point Camp!

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Holiday Inn Express, Ashland OH

The lovely Robin and I enjoyed a very pleasant stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Ashland, Ohio.

Our room was excellent, breakfast was more than adequate, and other than the tiny inconvenience of having to park on the side due to the front parking lot being asphalted, everything about our stay was enjoyable.

This one goes on our favorite list.

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Hamilton (Ohio) Historic Farm Market

The season is clearly winding down at Hamilton (Ohio)'s historic farm market (next Saturday is the last of the summer, I think), but I made my first visit this morning. As usual, my timing is impeccable. 
The weather was perfect, the selection impressive, the entertainment--well, entertaining--and I came home with some fine-looking sweet corn, blueberries, and strawberries. Cheap, wholesome, and local. 

Pinch Me Places: Storytime

I've visited many places on earth that qualify as "pinch me places"--spots so amazing or celebrated I can hardly believe I'm really there. Such as Machu Pichu. The Western Wall. The Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem. 221B Baker Street in London. And so on.
But a recent "pinch me place" was the couch in my son's living room, where I got to read (on four successive evenings) to my oldest grandchildren, Miles and Mia, from The Hobbit. Since they moved to California in early June, I haven't had that priceless pleasure, so it was a "pinch me place" to cuddle with them and choke back tears as I read of Bilbo and Thorin and Smaug in San Jose, California.

Steinbeck Country

One of the things I love when traveling is discovering history--and especially history with a literary twist. So, of course, I was excited to travel last month (with four of my kids and grandkids!) to the Cannery Row area of Monterey, California, which figures in a couple of American author John Steinbeck's stories (one of which is titled, appropriately enough, Cannery Row). The area was named Cannery Row in honor of the author who made it famous.
Cannery Row today is filled with shops, restaurants, lodgings, and attractions, but one of the shops in the area had a photo on the wall of what Cannery Row was like in Steinbeck's day--actual canneries. Huh.
A bust of Steinbeck sits at the center of Cannery Row, in a square thriving with activity (music, food, vendors, etc.). He died in 1966 at the age of sixty-four, but by that time had written twenty-seven books, including East of Eden (1952), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath (1939). He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
That's also him sitting atop the statue above, just a few feet from the bust, along with other luminaries of Monterey (Steinbeck grew up in Monterey; his father was the city treasurer, in fact). 

My only disappointment on the trip was my inability, believe it or not, to buy a copy of Cannery Row in Cannery Row! (see here)

Matanuska Glacier

On a bright and clear July Sunday afternoon, after a blessed morning of worship and satisfying noon meal at King's Lake Camp near Wasilla, Alaska, the lovely Robin and I set out in the company of our hosts, George and Jeanne Baker, and our friends Eloisa and Jeff Martin, for the Matanuska Glacier. Along the way we stopped a time or two because the scenery was just so breathtaking, we had to take pictures. But scenes like the above were only prelude.
We drove for an hour and a half or so when the Matanuska Glacier came into view. Approximately twenty-six miles long (see the photo of the glacier's length here), and four miles wide at its terminus, it is classified as a valley glacier--a body of solid ice that flows like a river under its own weight through an existing valley.

George and Jeannie, of course, knew just where to go to enter the Matanuska Glacier Park, a privately owned park that is the glacier's only access point.  We stopped at the office to not only pay the entrance fee but also to sign waivers saying any injury while walking on the glacier would be our problem, not theirs. Then we drove a couple miles on a dirt road to the parking area and started walking. At first it was hard to believe we were walking on a glacier, because the ice was largely covered with rocks and grit. But after many steps on the darker surface, we reached the glistening white areas of the glacier, and many crevasses where the deep blue of the glacier glowed up at us!
What a unique experience, walking on the surface of a glacier with the lovely Robin and our relatives and friends. I want to do it again--and I want to take my kids and grandkids, and maybe pay to go on one of the guided tours and ice climbing options that are available!