July 4, 2019

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July! How did it get to be July already? This year is flying by!

I'm sure I've shared Mr. and Ms. Patriotic Bunny in the past, but this time I decided to have them flank my blue and white Chinese porcelain pitcher at the center of my mantel. I filled the pitcher with red roses and white carnations, so I didn't have to look for blue flowers. I think this is much nicer as it's hard to find really lovely blue flowers that are attractive and hold up well.

I "adopted" Mr. and Ms. Bunny about 20 years ago when I attended a July 4th celebration along the Erie Canal, due east of Syracuse in central New York. There was a craft fair that accompanied the celebration in Chittenango, New York (where renowned author L. Frank Baum lived and wrote that amazing tale of Dorothy from Kansas and the Wizard of Oz), which is where I found this delightful pair and I still enjoy them every year when July rolls around.

Chittenango Landing is home to a wonderful canal boat museum at the site of a historic boat yard and dry docks to service the travelers on the canal. Among the special features I recall was a historic canal boat that was being carefully preserved underwater and was visible from the surface. Any effort to lift it from the waters threatened to damage the boat and potentially hasten its deterioration if exposed to air, so it was decided to leave the boat where it rested to protect it where it remained submerged.

It was a time when I didn't mind "working" on July 4th as it was a lovely day and I experienced a wonderful local canal attraction that I hadn't previously visited. If you haven't seen this region of upstate New York, it's well worth a visit to drive on local routes along the Erie Canal between Waterford, just north of Albany, and Tonawanda, just west of Buffalo where the Erie still flows. It's not the original Erie, as it has been enlarged twice since its original 1825 route, the last time 100+ years ago in 1917, and the eastern segment now incorporates river sections that have been "canalized" with locks and dams to make them navigable for boats and paddle craft up to a maximum of about 40 feet wide by 300 feet long. Yes, you can still navigate the entire length of the Erie Canal "from Albany to Buffalo", as the old folk song describes, and many do. You can even rent a real "narrow boat" that you can captain yourself for a multi-day excursion of your own design along the canal.
To be honest, it's as fascinating and rewarding as any European cruise and it's right here in the USA - if you live here, you don't need a passport to get there and enjoy it!

Here are some photos I took a few weeks ago at Erie Canal Lock 2 Park, at the eastern terminus of the Erie Canal in Waterford. The lock is on the right with the view east to the Hudson River where it meets the Erie and just north of the Hudson's intersection with the Mohawk River. 

Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday and celebrate the many freedoms we are privileged to have living in these great United States of America, thanks to the founding fathers of our country and the many men and women who have continued to protect and defend the rights that were so hard won back in 1776. 

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