Thursday August 26, 2010 – Day 8

Today we decided not to go to Lily Dale. Instead, we drove around the state of New York. First, we drove North to Lake Erie and saw the lighthouse at Dunkirk New York. We got there before the place opened, but the guide was kind enough to give us a personal tour. He went into great detail and gave us a very good tour.

Once again, we saw references to the war of 1812. It turns out that the war actually started at that lighthouse. The British forces tried to invade the United States at that location, so that's where the first shots were fired.

This is the first lighthouse where we were actually permitted to walk up into the tower and see what it's like.

Surprisingly, the light is powered by one plain old ordinary-looking halogen bulb. Actually, there are four bulbs and a mechanism such that if one bulb burns out, another automatically flips into place. What makes the light visible from the lake is that it is surrounded by a huge fresnel lens.

We saw groundhogs on the premises, which is an usual sight for Minnesotans.

The guy who gave us the tour was a volunteer and he said that some people have seen ghosts in the lighthouse. We didn't see any.

From there, we drove along the coast to a small place called the Sugar Shack. They sold handmade maple syrup, jams and jellies. Yum!

From there we drove East to the town of Randolph where we ate lunch at a little diner. From there we drove to Allegany State Park and went hiking in the woods for a couple of hours. It was fun.

Next, we drove into Amish country and visited several shops from Amish people. We bought a few small things. I bought a belt and Kathy bought a rug.

After that, we drove through the park to see the wildlife. We were in Kathy's prius so when we drove down the side of the big hill / small mountain we got 100 miles to the gallon for 15 straight minutes.

We drove to the town of Salamanca New York where the Seneca Indians have a community and a casino. The casino had absurdly bad payback rates so we left there disgusted. They had machines specially marked as “98% payback.” It was. For them. The Indians took 98% of the cash and paid back 2%. The other slot machines were worse. I was completely disgusted. Don't go there. It wasn't even remotely fun.

We drove back to the town of Jamestown and tried to eat dinner. Unfortunately, we arrived at the restaurant we picked at 9:05pm and they had closed the kitchen at 9:00, so they turned us out. Kathy's mood was not good. We ended up eating dinner in a foul mood at the Taco Shack. Dinner was surprisingly good and cheered us up.