August 16, 2009

To the waterfall

Walking the streambed

Going away for a family vacation in August has gotten impossible now that our older kids have jobs and other commitments. We’ve had to content ourselves with short weekend trips. Luckily, we live in a beautiful part of the country.

Last weekend, we drove to a place famous for gorges and waterfalls. We had only 48 hours, but we tried to find something that could please each person in the family. For Shaggy Hair Boy, who loves good bread, we ate at a local bakery and bought him a loaf of bread to snack on. (That probably seems like a pretty token effort, but hey, we had six people to please.) With-a-Why wanted a hotel with vending machines, cable television and a pool. My husband wanted to go hiking. I wanted a waterfall. My daughter bought jewelry at the farmers’ market. Boy in Black always says his favorite part of a family vacation is just chilling in the back of the car, listening to music as we drive along.

The Gorgeous City farmers’ market was a disappointment. The location was wonderful, an airy wooden structure on the waterfront, but many of the stalls seem to sell expensive items marketed for tourists. We had to look hard to find farmers selling local produce. The most exciting moment was when a woman walked through with a dog who started growling at people. A kid screamed. The crowd parted. A man who had been happily eating some kind of savory meat sandwich leaped to his feet and backed up against a stall of jewelry, necklaces swaying and mirrors tilting as he knocked against the table. “He’s really very gentle,” the woman kept saying, pulling at the dog’s leash ineffectually. Yes, that’s what dog owners always say as their dogs bite savagely into strangers.

The weather was cool and sunny, which was perfect for a nice hike on a trail outside of town. We walked through a gorge, following a wide, flat streambed of limestone surrounded by shale cliffs that rose nearly 400 feet on one side. Boy in Black and Shaggy Hair Boy ran back and forth across the streambed, throwing a frisbee. We walked lazily, stopping to explore and take pictures. Shaggy Hair Boy had old sneakers on so he didn’t hesitate to walk right into the stream. The rest of us picked our way carefully across rocks in the stream, and mostly ended up getting our sneakers wet anyhow. At the end of the gorge, we stopped at a 215-foot waterfall, which we had mostly to ourselves. Then we walked back, following With-a-Why who was chanting, "Hotel! Let's go to the hotel!"

I really should change Boy in Black's pseudonym to "Boy in Pink Bandana." That's him in both photos, and the boy with the curly ponytail is Shaggy Hair Boy, of course.


Songbird said...

Next time, come here. We even have jewelry at the Farmer's Market!

Anjali said...

That sounds wonderful! If you don't stop writing about your awesome kids, you're going to make we want to have a fourth, too.

Melissa Sarno said...

Would you happen to have been in Ithaca, NY? The photos look like Taughannock state park

Looks like a great trip!

jo(e) said...

Melissa: Yep, we were walking up the streambed of Taughannock Falls.

Gorgeous City is Ithaca. (Corny, I know. Ithaca is ... Gorges.)

Melissa Sarno said...

I knew it! I went to school in Ithaca. It is a wonderful, wonderful place. And very gorges. :-)

kathy a. said...

my kids always want to go to the hotel, for the cable TV.

Anonymous said...

Sounds lovely. I like short breaks. I miss home when we're away for too long.