Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Review of the Tycoga Vineyard and Winery



During a recent visit from my brother & sister-in-law, we went out to lunch at the Tycoga Vineyard & Winery located about 18 miles from my home. My brother used to make his own wine as a hobby and enjoys trying different wines, so I knew he would enjoy visiting this winery.  We had an extremely pleasant couple of hours doing a wine tasting and having this winery's fresh handmade wood fired pizzas for lunch.


Tycoga Vineyard & Winery



Tycoga Vineyard & Winery is a family owned business that began in 2010 with only 50 plants. Their intent was to only grow grapes and sell them. Their first plants produced a small crop. 

Then one day a couple stopped by and gave the Tycoga family their phone number. They said they thought that these were wonderful grapes and that they needed to make wine instead of just selling the grapes.


Tycoga Vineyards

After many long talks with this helpful couple, and learning about grapes, the Tycoga family ended up planting many, many more grape plants. They now have over 26 acres of plants. 


TYCOGA Vineyard & Winery was then established in 2014. The Tycoga tasting room opened on December 20, 2014, and  final construction was completed in April 2015.


Handcrafted Wines


Tycoga Wines
Tycoga now has over 20 different types of wines from Dry to Sweet. This wide variety of mainly ESTATE produced wines allows the Tygoca family to showcase wines to both the novice and the experienced wine drinker. TYCOGA Vineyard & Winery has entered the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition every year since 2015 and they have won awards every year, including bronze, silver and gold metals.


The wines at Tycoga also include a dessert wine and a sparkling wine. The dessert wine pairs well with a delicious piece of chocolate cake. During a wine tasting, they offer you a piece of chocolate to eat – first tasting the dessert wine without the chocolate and again after eating the chocolate. It allows you to see how well it goes with a chocolate dessert. Yum.


Food


Wood-Fired Pizza

Tycogo Winery offers 16 varieties of their delicious wood-fired Pizzas  Click this link for the menu. 


Private Parties and Small Events


Outside Patio overlooking the Vineyard

Tycoga Winery has an event room, a Barrel room and an outside patio for booking anything from a bridal shower to a wedding, or for an office event, birthday party, retirement party, graduation or any other special occasion. An attractive venue for your special event.


Summary


If you enjoy visiting wineries and find yourself traveling in Southeastern Iowa, spend an hour or two at the Tycoga Vineyard & Winery. It has a delightful atmosphere and very friendly staff. 


The name of the winery comes from the TYCOGA Family children - Tyler, Courtney & Gabe.


Tycoga Vineyard & Winery


Location:


Tycoga Vineyard & Winery

Address: 2585 195th St, DeWitt, IA 52742

Phone: (563) 659-1443

Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Website: Tycoga.com


Related Links to More Places to Visit in Iowa:



*Tycoga Vineyard & Winery Travel Review written by Wednesday Elf






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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Review of Flags of Valor

 

2021 Display on Art Hill, St. Louis Missouri

St. Louis Missouri has a wonderfully moving display on Art Hill that commemorates those who died on 9/11 and those who have died in the war on terror in the 20 years since 2001.  

This display first was put up on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and then again on the 15th anniversary and now on the 20th anniversary.  I have been privileged to view the display each of these times and find it to be a very  emotional experience.  Here is a photo I took this year.





History of Flags of Valor

Here is a quote from the website on the history of Flags of Valor. 

The first display of Flags of Valor in St. Louis was for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  In that display 2977 flags were placed on Art Hill.  These flags represented the individuals who lost their lives in the twin towers attack, the Pentagon attack, and on Flight 93, and the first responders who gave their lives to save others.

2016 Display

On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the display on Art Hill honored those 6869 service members who lost their lives in the following operations: Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom's Sentinel.

2021 Display

In 2021the Flags of Valor organization has refined their purpose beyond remembering to educating.  With a new generation that wasn't even born when 9/11 occured it is important to educate on what has happened and what we must always remember.  This years display is three fold.

1.   Remembering the Victims of the 9/11 Attacks



To remember the 9/11 victims, there are 6 oversized informational boards.  Three are on each side of the Grand Basin.  These boards visualize 2,564 victims of the 9/11 attacks.

There is also a flag with the names of all of the victims.


2.  Remember the First Responders who Died

There are 413 flags above the Grand Basin to remember the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice.

3.  Remembering Service Members Who Died during the War on terror since 9/11/2001

There are more than 7000 3' by 5' American Flags on the hill below the St. Louis Art Museum.  Each flag represents of service member who has died since 9/11/2001 in the War on Terror.  Each flag is marked with an informational dog tag and a photo of the service member.





Information for this article was gathered from the Flags of Valor website at Flags of Valor STL  All photos were taken by Mary Beth Granger.




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Monday, August 23, 2021

Kinzua Dam a Fall Destination Reviewed

 

Kinzua Dam a Fall Destination Reviewed
A scenic view in October from Kinzua Area

Fall will be upon us. Sunny cool days and the leaves will be turning so many beautiful colors. We live in Western New York not far from the Kinzua Dam.

Every year when the leaves are at their peak, we take the drive down I86 East, from there we take some back roads into Pennsylvania, through the Allegheny National Forest to the Kinzua Area, the ride is breathtakingly scenic.

If you are in the process of planning a fall vacation, consider the Kinzua Dam. The dam is located about 6 miles east of Warren Pennsylvania, along route 59 nestled in the 500,000 acres of the Allegheny National Forest. I’m going to include a little history and all the fun activities in the Kinzua area.

So, if you like camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating, or just relaxing and taking in the views it’s all here at Kinzua. If you’re the outdoors type pack your bags and get ready for some breathtaking views and fun. First here is some history of the area.

Kinzua Dam Construction and Why:

Kinzua Dam

Construction began in 1960 by the US Army Corps of Engineers and was completed in 1965. The main purpose of the dam was for flood control on the Allegheny River. Kinzua controls drainage on a watershed of 2,180 square miles.

Several side benefits from the construction of the dam include drought control, hydroelectric power production, and recreation. The dam created Pennsylvania’s deepest lake, the Allegheny Reservoir, also known as Kinzua Lake.

The cost was approximately $108 million. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the dam paid for itself in 1972 when tropical storm Agnes’s heavy rains on the watershed brought the reservoir to within three feet of its maximum capacity.

Downstream flood damage would have been devastating at an estimated $247 million. The Kinzua Dam has saved an estimated $1 billion in flood damages since it became operational.

Recreation at Kinzua Dam:

There are many recreational activities at the Allegheny Reservoir and the surrounding area. If you’re the outdoors type, then there is something here for you. Along the reservoir, there is camping, boating, fishing, hiking, and a beach. If you’re the winter type there is snowmobiling and cross country skiing along the trails.

The US Forest Service has four reservoir campgrounds and five primitive (boat to or hike only) camping areas. Most of the recreation areas surround Allegheny Lake.

We love to go there any time of the year and soak in the beautiful scenery and walk the trails. Since we live in Western New York, which is not so far from Kinzua, it’s a nice drive, especially in the fall.

Hiking Trails and Beautiful Scenic Views

Kinzua Hiking Trails

There are many scenic overlooks at Kinzua. There are two areas that we never miss and never tire of visiting, they are Jake’s Rock and Rim Rock. The intro photo of this article was taken from Rim Rock.

The views from these overlooks are beautiful any time of the year, but we prefer to go in the fall when the views are breathtaking. We have been there many times and it’s always the same, “Beautiful”

Did You Know That Johnny Cash recorded a song about the Kinzua Dam?

As a tribute to the Seneca Nation of Indians, Johnny Cash recorded, As Long as the Grass Will Grow. The construction of the Dam forced 600 Seneca Indians to relocate because 10,000 acres of their land had to be flooded.

This land had been occupied by the Seneca Nation since the treaty of 1794. President Kennedy had been asked to halt the project but declined because of the need for flood control.

President Kennedy ordered government agencies to assist in finding land for the placement of the Seneca Nation of Indians.

If you are a fan on Johnny Cash here is the song


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Friday, August 6, 2021

Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA Reviewed

Presque Isle Lighthouse
When we helped move our daughter to Buffalo, NY, there were a few sites we wanted to take time to see along the way.  One of those sites was the Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle State Park.  

We spent the night in Erie, PA on the way to NY, but didn't have time to visit the Erie lighthouses until we were on our way back home.  Since we drove the U-haul truck to Buffalo, I'm really glad we waited to go to Presque Isle State Park in a car instead of the truck.  

The park was full of guests visiting the beaches, fishing, biking, walking the trails, and of course, visiting the lighthouses.  Even though there was a lot of traffic, most of the people seemed to be there for the beaches, swimming, or other water activity.  This allowed us easy parking and access to the Presque Isle Lighthouse.

While I love lighthouses, I tend to prefer the lighthouses that have a lighthouse keeper's residence. Perhaps, I romanticize the historical accounts of lighthouse keepers, but there is no doubt they served to save many lives.  I consider them heroes who diligently tended the lights every night, all night long, in order to keep others safe.

Today, the Presque Isle Lighthouse is a public museum and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Guests are allowed to freely walk around the grounds, visit the gift shop, or even climb the 78 steps up to the top of the lighthouse. 


A Bit of History of the Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse


As you can see on the date brick, the lighthouse building was started in 1872, but actually put into service in July of 1873.  
(You may need to click the photo to enlarge it to see the date clearly)

We were standing on these grounds and I took this picture 148 years later in July of 2021.

The lighthouse was originally lit by an oil lamp inside a Forth-order (smaller than a First-order) Fresnel lens which was removed in 1962. It currently uses an isophase light (dark & light periods of equal length).  

The four bedroom house was home to a lighthouse keeper and family until 1944.

When built, the tower was 40 ft. tall.  In 1896, an additional 17 ft was added to the tower.  By comparing the two pictures below, you can see where that 17 feet were added.  The bricks was later painted white to make the tower more visible during daylight hours.

United States Lighthouse Board, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons

Presque Isle LighthousePhoto by @Sylvestermouse (2021)


I loved visiting this historical location and I loved that it was being "appreciated" by so many guests.  If you find yourself near Erie, PA, be sure to stop by Presque Isle State Park and enjoy all of the surroundings and climbing the stairs to the top of the Presque Isle Lighthouse.

 

 

More Articles About the Presque Isle Lighthouse

  • You can read more of the real history of Presque Isle Lighthouse by clicking here.
  • Our Contributor, Mary Beth, also shared several of her gorgeous photos of the Presque Isle Lighthouse and two other Erie Lighthouses here on Review This Reviews. You can see her photos by clicking here.





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Friday, July 30, 2021

Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist Boat Ride Reviewed

Maid of the Mist photo by Sylvestermouse
Have you ever wanted to step under a waterfall and feel the fresh running water splash over you?  If so, you will love the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride!  

This fantastic boat takes your right up next to the falls, and under the "mist" of Niagara Falls.  It is totally awesome! 

Don't just stand and look at the falls.  Hop on the Maid of the Mist boat and ride right up to them to feel, smell and even taste (if desired) Niagara Falls.  It is an experience you will never forget and something I recommend to everyone who can stand on a rocking tour boat.

Riding out to the falls is an experience in itself.  Reaching the falls, where the boat stops and lingers under the Niagara Falls spray for a few minutes, is magnificent. 

I loved every moment of it and would gladly do it again in a "New York minute".

Niagara Falls photo by Sylvestermouse
View of Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist boat just before we entered the mist

 

Maid of the Mist Boat Ride - Niagara Falls

The Maid of the Mist boat ride takes approximately 20 minutes.  On the July summer day we visited Niagara Falls, it was fairly crowded in the Niagara Falls State Park, but the line for the Maid of the Mist was reasonable.  We only had to wait for the length of one boat ride before we were boarding the boat. Therefore, our wait time was approximately 20 minutes and part of that time was spent receiving and donning the head to toe rain poncho provided with the price of the ticket. The poncho makes the perfect souvenir too!

I took my small travel camera so I could take pictures from the boat.  However, I did tuck it inside my cape right before we entered the mist.  Unfortunately, there is no way to photograph from within the mist without a waterproof camera.  Next time, I will take an underwater camera!

Niagara Falls photo by Sylvestermouse
If you look closely, you can see the boat in the (back) falls mist
You can also see the walking trail on lower left side

The cost of the boat ride ticket includes admission to the observation deck.  The elevator down to the boat docking area is the center section, that looks like a support beam, under the center of the observation deck.

Niagara Falls Observation Deck photo by Sylvestermouse

Parking at Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls Rapids photo by Sylvestermouse
Bridge to Goat Island over the rapids that feed Niagara Falls
There are several parking lots for cars.  As you enter the park, there were at least two areas for parking for a picnic or just for viewing the rapids.

In our case, we went to Niagara Falls State Park while moving our daughter to New York.  Therefore, we were in a fully loaded U-Haul truck.  At first, we were concerned for where we would be allowed to park, and for good reason.  Most of the lots accommodate standard car, SUV or van size vehicles.  Fortunately for us, and our camper vehicle friends, there is a parking lot on Goat Island just for the longer, wider vehicles.  Plus, there is a reasonably priced trolley to the heart of the park from the #3 parking area for those who would prefer to ride instead of walk.

Simply pay attention to signs as you enter the park.  It is easy to miss parking directions because it is exciting to see all that is there, plus the need to watch out for pedestrians.


More to See at Niagara Falls State Park

Believe it or not, there is more to see at Niagara Falls State Park than the falls.  While Niagara Falls is clearly the main attraction, there is an aquarium, hiking trails and the "Cave of the Winds" (a man made walk along the bottom of the falls), as well as food vendors and souvenirs. There is also a Top of the Falls Restaurant that overlooks Niagara Falls.

You can view Niagara Falls at Night too thanks to the colored lights which Mary Beth photographed and previously published on Review This Reviews.







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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review of Lavender Farm

Lavender at Entrance to Long Row Lavender Farm

 If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend a late spring day, I would suggest visiting a lavender farm.  In the St. Louis area we have a farm about an hour west of the city that my friend, Barb and I spend some time exploring on a beautiful June day.  

Long Row Lavender Farm




Long Row Lavender Farms is located on 15 acres just south of Wright City Missouri.  It is a family owned farm that was started in 2007 by 6 family members as a way to bring the family closer together and work toward a common purpose.  They see the farm as a midwest destination and offer a variety of activites and services.

Cafe


One of my favorite features of the farm is the Cafe.  The cafe offers a small but delicious menu that you may eat at a variety of small areas around the farm.  There is seating both inside the remodeled barn, outside on the porch or down by the pond.



I enjoyed a delicious  sandwich of grilled cheeses, tomatoe and bacon on sourdough bread.  I also had a refreshing glass of lavender lemonade from their menu you can see below.


One of the walls in the cafe has live  wall hangings, which I found fascinating.




 Gift Shop


Inside the barn you will find a gift shop full of lots of handmade products from the farm.  There is a variety of bath and body products, seasonal clothing, and home decorations.  You can also buy plants at the shop.



Workshops


Lavender farms offers weekly workshops at their facility where local artists teach of variety of different crafts.

Enjoy  the Grounds


The  grounds of the farm are beautiful and full of flowers  and lots of little nook and grannies to sit back and relax.  There are benches on the porch, a wonderful porch spring, a pond, and lots of flowers.  Here are a few of the photos I took around the grounds.




Lavender


Of course it wouldn't be a lavender farm without lots of lavender.  In looking up  lavender online, I found that the name is Lavandule and lavender is the common name for the genus.  There are 47 known species of these flowering plants and they are members of the mint family.

At Long Row Farms they have about 1200 lavender plants and 7 different varieties.  The varieties they  have are : Provence, Phenomenal, Hidcote Blue, Twickel Purple, Edelweis, Grosso, and Ellagence Pink.  Here are some photos I took of the different plants.







In the midwest the lavender blooms in early to mid June.  The blooms are then harvested a few weeks after  they bloom and then go through the drying process which takes about 3 weeks.  The drying takes place in the loft of the barn where they are hung up in bundles to dry.

The farm also grows peonies, zinnias and sunflowers so there are lots of blooms to see throughout the summer.


Zazzle Products


I always enjoy make products from my photographs.  Here are some from my visit to Long Row Lavender.





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Friday, April 30, 2021

Tennessee Travel: Natchez Trace State Park Review

Natchez Trace State Park
There is much to explore in the Natchez Trace State Park, which is located off Interstate 40 (I-40) between Memphis and Nashville, TN. 

It is a wonderful place for a day trip for hiking or exploring jeep trails, but it would also be an awesome vacation destination.  With several lodging options, you get to choose what best suits your personal needs. Frankly, our most recent visit left me longing for a camper so we could easily spend the night.  

Not only does the park offer RV camping facilities, they have cabin rental, a lodge with hotel rooms & dining, or you can pitch a tent.  Each style has designated areas for a more enjoyable stay for all.  Plus, there are playground areas, swimming, paddle boat, boat and canoe rental, picnicking areas, an equestrian facility, a firing range, and an archery range.  

Since the park is spread out over 10,000 areas within a 48,000 acre forest, none of it seems to be sitting "on top of the other".  I do recommend stopping at the visitor's center when you enter the park to get a map.  Wandering aimlessly is fun, but if you have limited time, you might prefer to know where each facility, trail, picnic area, etc. is located.  It is also where you can view the wildlife in rehab.

Natchez Trace State Park

Day Trip in Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
We set out for the jeep trails, which we did explore, but ended up having to get out and walk some too.  It was such a beautiful spring day!  It would have been a shame to spend the entire time riding instead of walking.  Needless to say, the sunlight and fresh air "pulled" me from the jeep seat to walk around the lake and across the bridge.

That is what I love most about Natchez Trace State Park.  It is so much natural beauty in one place. Even the man-built cabins are nestled so beautifully within the trees that they don't distract from the peace and tranquility that permeates the park.

As we strolled through the beach area created for swimming, we encountered a search team with dogs in training. Of course, they all loved Merlin, but he questioned why those dogs needed training for what comes naturally to him. 

From there, we ventured to the bridge that crosses the lake and provides a spectacular view of the surroundings.

Natchez Trace Park

Back to the jeep for another fun ride through the woods. While my husband enjoyed navigating the dirt trails designed for jeeps, I thrilled at being able to take photos of lots of spring blooming trees and wildflowers.  The last time we were at Natchez Trace State Park, I concentrated on photographing birds, but this time, it was the flowers that fascinated me.

Natchez Trace State Park Flower Photos

As the sun started to set, we unwillingly sought out the highway home. Oh, how I wish we had that camper! I could only imagine the sunrise in this beautiful place.

 

Natchez Trace
A Few of the Bird Photos I Took On Our Last Visit to Natchez Trace State Park

 Points of Interest in Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
No Matter the Length of Stay or Accommodations,
We All Need the Convenience Store!

 

Natchez Trace State Park
Group Lodge has 4 or 5 cottages, a bunkhouse, and
a Group Meeting Building with Kitchen

Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park

Natchez Trace State Park
Pin Oak Lodge Offers Motel Style Rooms, a Restaurant
& Family Recreation Activities

 

Accommodations for a Special Event

If you are planning a special event, you might want to consider the  Cub Lake Recreation Lodge, a very reasonably priced venue, which will accommodate up to 200 people.  The lodge is a large, beautiful room for just the actual event. Those who wish to stay overnight could make arrangements for one of the other facilities mentioned above.

Natchez State State Park



Travel Tennessee with Me

Previously Reviewed Tennessee Travel Destinations

 Fall Hollow Waterfall on the Natchez Trace Parkway The Memphis Zoo Review Pictorial Tour of the Memphis Botanic Gardens Teton Trek at the Memphis Zoo Review





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House of Sylvestermouse





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