Sunday, September 25, 2022

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

The institute is named after three generations of the Munson family. Alfred  and Elizabeth Munson's daughter Helen married James Watson Williams, and their daughters married brothers Frederick and Thomas Proctor hence - Munson-Williams-Proctor. Alfred  and Elizabeth Munson accumulated a large fortune from interests in manufacturing, coalmines, canal development, and railroad and steamboat transportation which they willed to their children. Helen Munson Williams wisely invested her inheritance and was able to peruse her passion for art. Her art collection was passed to her daughters who, along with their husbands, enjoyed collecting too. The two couples didn't have children to inherit the large collection of paintings, prints and decorative furnishings so they drew up plans for an artistic, musical, and social center to open to the public after all family members had died.
Rachel and Frederick Proctor's home, Fountain Elms, was the original exhibit area but as the institute grew additional space was needed. The Johnson building, which houses the main galleries, was opened in 1960 and an education wing, built in 1995, connects the two buildings. We entered through the Johnson building and almost missed the long hallway to Fountain Elms. This is a relatively small museum with four or five galleries in the Johnson building. Fountain Elms has been renovated as a Victorian house museum. The rooms are overly decorated with clashing designs and colors. Fountain Elms also has displays of the family's collections and historic information on all of the family members.

The museum is accessible. Each building has three floor with elevators to access them. The elevator control panels are located high on the walls so some wheelchair users will have difficulty reaching the buttons.
The parking lot is large enough for RVs if parked across the spaces, The lot has a good slope so if you have a short vehicle park in the accessible parking which is level and close to the entrance. Museum  43.09793, -75.2405

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Farmers’ Museum

The museum property has been a working farm since 1813. It was originally owned by James Fenimore Cooper, author of the popular Leatherstocking Tales, then by Judge Samuel Nelson who bought it in 1829. By the 1870s it had been bought by Edward Severin Clark, an heir to the Singer Manufacturing Company fortune, who had a mansion and a showcase farm with a barn, creamery, and herdsman’s cottage constructed of local stone. Today the farm is run by a private organization as a nonprofit educational museum.
There are over two dozen historic buildings located on the grounds. Most have been relocated from other areas of New York and grouped to form a village representing rural life in the 19th century. The Clark barn has exhibits about farming and a display of the Cardiff Giant, an amusing hoax of the 1860s. Costumed interpreters are present in many of the buildings to demonstrate crafts and chores from the time period. Farm animals include pigs, goats, horses, cows, and turkeys.
A map of the farm and village layout is provided at the admissions desk. The buildings marked with a wheelchair have ramps but most are not truly accessible. Problems include rough gravel paths, high thresholds, and ramps that don't meet flush with the ground. Most wheelchair users will need assistance. The second floor of the barn which has exhibits of farm equipment is not accessible.
RVs will fit in the parking lot if parked through two spaces. RVs may also be parked at the Yellow Trolley Lot which is less than 1/4 mile to the north. Paths lead from the lot to the museum. Museum  42.71483, -74.92855


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard

The mill has a long history, starting in the mid-1860s when Hosea Williams pressed the first apples to make cider, some of which was fermented into hard cider. Williams also built a grist mill to grind corn and wheat, and a woodworking shop. The second owner, Linn Kane, continued making hard cider until the 1950s when competition from cheap beer forced him to close the mill. In 1962 Charlie and Barbara Michaels bought the mill property to convert it into their home and decided to renovate the mill too and start making cider again. Over the years they expanded to include a store and freshly prepared food. After 37 years of operation, the Michaels sold the mill to their son, Bill, and daughter-in-law, Brenda, who are the current owners.

The store is filled with all kinds of goodies - fresh apples, sweet and hard cider, fudge, aged cheddar cheese, canned goods, specialty foods, and gift items. The second floor has more gift items plus a chance to view the cider marking machinery and even watch the action if visiting in the fall. Exhibits explain the process. The restaurant is not full service. Order at the counter then take your food to one of the tables.

The grounds are accessible. The first floor of the store is accessible but the second floor where the cider tasting and the view of the cider making machinery are located is accessed by steps only. The deck overlooking the mill pond is accessible.
This is a Harvest Hosts location and the spot that is reserved for campers is great. The parking lot at the store is small so most people park in the large lot on the opposite side of Goose Street. The Harvest Hosts site is at the far south end of the large lot. It's a mowed grassy area with a picturesque red barn, picnic tables, and a wildflower meadow. We bought a container of lobster bisque and a hot pot roast sandwich meal which included a cup of sweet cider and a slice of apple pie. The sandwich and cider were delicious; the bisque was good but the pie was just okay. Mill  42.72307, -74.97828

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Fenimore Art Museum

The art museum is located in a mansion built by Edward Severin Clark, an heir to the Singer Manufacturing Company fortune. After Clark's death in the 1930s his brother, Stephen Carlton Clark, inherited Edward's estate and gave the mansion to New York state for the art museum. Clark was an avid collector and donated much of the artwork in the fine art and folk art collections. The museum is named in honor of James Fenimore Cooper, author of the popular Leatherstocking Tales, and the original owner of the land.
The museum's collection includes fine art, folk art, and Native American art. There are also changing exhibits and an exhibit on the Coopers who first came to the area in 1790. The Native American art is outstanding.
The museum is accessible. We did not notice the terrace overlooking the lake at the rear of the museum or the dirt walking trail that loops around the property and leads to a 1790s Seneca log house and a 1750s reproduction of a Mohawk bark house. I think the terrace and the trail are accessible. The houses are only open on special days.

Parking for cars and RVs is available along the curved driveway at the mansion. There's also a small lot at the north end of the driveway and a large lot a few hundred feet north. Paved paths connect the lots. Museum  42.71645, -74.92829

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

US 20 Parking Area

Pull offs are located on both sides of US 20. They're about 500' long so there's room for many vehicles but we had it to ourselves most of the night. Both sides have picnic tables and a porti-potty. The traffic dies  down at night.  42.81822, -74.71741


Monday, September 19, 2022

Glimmerglass State Park and Hyde Hill Mansion

The park is named after the fictional Glimmerglass Lake of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Cooper's family moved to upstate New York when he was a year old and he spent much his boyhood and the last fifteen years of life in Cooperstown at the south end of the lake. Glimmerglass State Park is at the north end of the lake which is actually named Ostego Lake.
Hyde Hall Mansion, built in early 1800s by George Clarke who inherited the property from his great grandfather, sits on a hill overlooking the lake. The mansion and hundreds of acre of agricultural land were passed down through many generations before the state acquired the mansion and land in 1963 to create the state park. The mansion is opened to tour. To buy tickets cross the arched bridge to the Tin Top Gatehouse which was at the entrance of the original road to the house but has been relocated. The ticket office is on left side of the gate house and a book store and exhibits is on the right side. The exhibits and the grounds can be visited without an addition charge after paying the park day use fee. 
The park has 53 campsites in two loops, one with electricity, one without. Amenities include flush toilet and showers in the electric loop, a dump station and fresh water, trails, and a swimming beach.

We did not visit the campground but several sites as listed as accessible. We did not visit the mansion either. The information on accessibility indicates that access to most of the mansion is very limited. The exhibits in the gatehouse are accessible. The trails in the beach picnic are are paved and accessible. The other trails are hilly or over rough grass. The beach has an accessible path that goes across the sand and into the water. We did not try it to see if it worked well.

Getting to the mansion from the parking lot (located at the hairpin turn) requires walking/rolling up a steep section of road. This lot is large enough for most RVs. The parking lot at the mansion is an option for smaller vehicles. There's also a loop road to drop people of at the mansion entrance. The beach parking lot is large enough for RVs if parking across the spaces. Park  Mansion  42.79405, -74.86504