Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fairview Scenic Drive

We started the Fairview tour in Caneadea where the Coffee Plus Cafe offers coffee with at attitude. Had it been summer we might have found ice cream at the outdoor stand but since it was well into fall, hours there are shorter, only 7-11 am Tuesday through Friday - a little later on the weekend.

            We continued north on 19 then detoured to the Houghton campus. Houghton has some wonderful stone buildings but the only one we went into was the Stevens Art Center. Normally they have a show but we happened along between shows. When up, shows are open to the public with details listed on the Houghton website.

            Some people aren’t aware that the colleges in Houghton and Alfred open many of their performances and shows to the general public for free. Some concerts or plays might require a ticket but fees are low and quality is high. Check online events calendars to see what’s going on.

            At Houghton, we found Kaylan Butgen, a post grad art student, using a letter press patented in 1882. This wonderful machine, The Pearl, flowed silently to move color over paper as Kaylan made personalized stationary with rubber ink.

            We wandered through classrooms and work areas at the Stevens Center and then moved from Houghton to Fillmore turning left on County Route 27 to see Wiscoy Falls. Seeing the falls requires a short detour from the driving route to cross the creek to park your car near the old saw mill, a large, wooden, creek-side structure that must have been impressive when it gathered up logs and made them into planks.

            Both our brochure and the man we found on the road at his mail box said that there is a trail from the sawmill to the dam. We hiked far enough to get mud up to our knees but only made it to the 4th of the 5 falls which is a fair distance from the dam. Sometimes it seemed as if we were on a trail but we didn’t find markers. We took a short cut through someone’s yard to make it down stream without having to go through the water again. It’s a pretty place alive with the sound of rushing water.

            We made our way back to 27 and, at the time, we found a considerable enthusiasm for Halloween decorations. We also sighted a house ready for Christmas. At least they won’t freeze their fingers getting out the decorations.

            We turned right at the end of Wiscoy and Mills Mills Road and found the Roger Mills Memorial Bridge and the dam and came back to the tour to head out County Route 3.

          Three things were very common on throughout this tour – laundry hung to dry, firewood for sale and small produce stands. These may all relate to the fact that many of the people living along this route are Amish or Mennonite.

It was Monday when we drove and apparently a lot of families hold that as laundry day. I remember that my Grandmother and Mother did. Since modern machines aren’t on these farms, the families presumably do considerably more to clean clothes than to toss them in the washer and push a button so they may commonly set aside a day to do that.

In keeping with the neighborhood was the Pine Grove Country Store on County Route 3. They had things for sale that we hadn’t thought about shopping for. There were 50 pound sacks of flour or oats (rolled or cut). They had a few different sugars, several flours and 3 kinds of popcorn. There were bulk spices at prices worth the drive, grains, crayons, dinnerware and calf blankets.

The hardware section had parts and pieces to build or repair a buggy and the children’s section offered boy’s straw hats in various sizes and styles. There were buttons, boot laces and bolts of fabric in somber blue, black, brown and white. One shelf had the largest stainless steel bowl I’ve ever seen – a bowl for canning huge amounts of fruits or vegetables for large families.

One shelf sported a butane clothes iron. It seemed awkward and heavy but maybe easier than other irons might be.

We bought gingersnaps (spicy and crisp), sesame sticks (salty and crisp), spelt flour and rolled oats– but not 50 pounds of anything. The Pine Grove Country Store was as far as our schedule allowed us to drive that day. We had to scoot back to Wellsville for a meeting. Our total drive was just over 100 miles.

My favorite part was the scenery. The sheets blowing in the wind on porches or across yards really gave a sense of country as did the women in their long dresses raking leaves while men in straw hats worked in fields. All of them would have made wonderful photos but none made it into my camera. Better to just remember.