Monday, July 20, 2009

Lions and tigers? No, just bears...oh my!

As those of you could tell from my last two posts, I was not in the best of health for the last two weeks or so, but fortunately the right antibiotic came along and I am back in good shape. I still have a slight cough, but this is not unusual to have something like this linger around for a while. I have talked with several other friends that seemed to have been battling the same thing over the past month or so, and they all commented to me that their cough hung around for several weeks after all their other symptoms went away. At least I'm not hacking up a lung like I was earlier.

There was a small hitch though: The antibiotic that my doctor prescribed, Avelox, caused an allergic reaction consisting of hives and itching so bad that I wanted to take a razor blade and peel the outer layer of my skin off just so it would stop. I stopped after one dose, and he gave me azithromycin (commonly referred to as a "Z-pack") instead. I was on this once before back in 2001 for bronchitis, and did very well on it. I just finished it last night, and it worked its magic again.

The really weird thing is that I have never, ever been allergic to any antibiotic in my life, so this was definitely a first for me.

I did get well enough for Mrs. Nighttime and I to go away to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. This was something we had planned for a while, and we chose to go to a cottage near Canandaigua Lake. It is part of a grouping of cottages called "The Quiet Place," which you can check out here. It is in the area of the Finger Lakes known as South Bristol, and has some of the most gorgeous scenery in the state. It is also very secluded, and smack in the middle of the woods.

We got there Thursday afternoon after having lunch at an orchard we like to go to normally for apple picking in the fall. They were having a luncheon with an all cherries theme. This is a family owned orchard that had been in the same family for about 150 years, and you can check them out here.

We got to the cottage at around 6, and basically just relaxed for the rest of the night. Friday, we went to two places in particular, The Wizard Of Clay Pottery, and the New York Wine And Culinary Center. The pottery shop was incredible, with all handmade objects of various sizes and designs. We picked up a round mirror with a glazed frame as a housewarming gift for my niece. It was pricey, but as all the selections there are handcrafted in their pottery shop, (for which wew got a tour of) it was well worth the investment. I can't show it to you, as it already has been gift wrapped.

For dinner, the owner of the cottage recommended The Brown Hound Bistro, which was in nearby Bristol Springs, and I (both of us, actually) had the best restaurant meal in a very long time. From the grilled seafood bisque, to my steak, (which was as good as anything I have ever eaten at some of the best steakhouses in NYC) and all the side dishes that came with both our entrees. The chef is French, trained in France, and the care that goes into his dishes is evident. We got to meet him, and complimented him copiously.

Driving back to the cottage, we pulled into the driveway, and as you can see here, there is a stone pathway that leads to the entrance above and ot the rear of it. As we pulled up, we saw a large adult black bear standing on the steps, his rump facing us. Now, as I grew up in the Bronx, the only bears I ever saw were either the Yogi Bear cartoon, or those kept at the Bronx Zoo. This was a close encounter I wanted no part of, and I told Mrs. Nighttime (whose car we were in) to, quite bluntly, GET US THE FUCK OUT OF HERE NOW!!!!


She turned the car around, and we headed to the main house, where the cottage owner lived. Making sure the bear was staying where he was, (he seemed entranced by the bird feeder on the tree adjacent to the steps) I hopped out and ran to the house. Taking some deep breaths, I knocked on door, and calmly (with my pulse racing) told the owner of our unwanted guest. She calmly called her 19 year-old son over, explained what was going on to him, and then he grabbed a baseball bat and started over towards the beast.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Mogul, the owner's 12 year-old white Great Pyrenees dog had run over to the bear, and got promptly booted down the steps. He didn't appear the worse for wear, and I'm sure that it could have been worse. He earned the treats we gave him from the treat jar that was located in the cottage.

The bear got spooked by something however, and ran off into the woods. I was told that the bears in this neck of the woods (pun intended) were still afraid of humans, unlike in other areas of the state, particularly in the Adirondacks. We were instructed to keep the porch light on just for good measure, but more than likely, it wouldn't come back, especially since she took down the bird feeder.

We settled in for the night, and got up early Saturday to go to Letchworth State Park, to see the Lower Falls. Mrs. N. started taking painting classes a few years ago, and recently completed a painting of the Lower Falls from a photograph. This is a photo I took while there:

and this is Mrs. N.'s painting.
(The original photo that she used to paint this view from was shot with a telephoto lens, hence this view.)

These are some more pics from the park, including the Upper and Middle Falls.

(Lower Falls, closer view.)

(Upper and Middle Falls)

Prior to going to the park, we had breakfast in Naples, one of the major wine producing towns in the Finger Lakes. A lovely local diner, Bob and Ruth's served up a great breakfast with enormous pancakes that we delicious.

After going through the park, we headed back north for home, and crashed with a good movie for the rest of the day. Oh, I would be remiss however to recommend yet another good Malbec. Luigi Bosca Reserva, 2006.

All in all, a nice way to spend our 20th anniversary.


willow said...

I did a double take on the painting! I thought at first that it was the photo! wow..very impressive.

Happy 20th to the Nighttimes!!! I raise my mug of tea to many more. :^)

Mr. Nighttime said...

Thanks Willow. I'm getting back into the swing of things and will visit your blog soon.

Bina said...

Sounds like wonderful trip, even with the Bear sighting! Such beautiful scenery. There is nothing prettier than nature. And I still can't believe your wife can paint that good!!!! WOW!!!!

Mr. Nighttime said...

Bina - Her painting teacher wants her to make a print of it.

Sistertex said...

I am glad to hear they figured you out and that you are doing better. Great news. I have a few allergies to different types of antibiotics. Very unpleasant to be sure.

Congratulations on your anniversary. Sounds like you had a very relaxing (except for the bear) and fun time. Got to watch those bears. No shortage of them in Minnesota but basically if you make a bunch of noise they usually run away. Horn honking, trash can lid banging, car alarms.... Still best bet is to just give them all the room they want and then some. ;)
Really glad their hound came out of it okay.

Mrs. Nighttime's painting is awesome. Seeing it first look from the photo I thought it was another photo. When I took a look at the enlarged photo I could see the strokes. She does marvelous work! Wow.... I wish I could do that. How long has she been taking classes? Great job.

jay said...

Wow, an adventure-packed time for sure! I'd have freaked out at the bear, too! A baseball bat? That was brave!

I love Mrs N's painting - she is seriously talented. The way she's done the water is wonderful, especially in the foreground where it's green. What a lovely thing to have. I hope you're hanging it somewhere it will be easily seen and admired!

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Sounds amazing...minus the bear. Glad you had a fantastic time!!

Hallie :)

Mr. Nighttime said...

Sistertex - Thanks, and yeah, that was the idea. My reaction was a Monty Python one - RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!!! She's been taking lessons for about 4 years now.

Jay - She actually painted it as a gift for a friend, but she is going to have prints made of it at the insistence of her art teacher.

Peter said...

A real live bear, a stunning cottage and a wife who paints like a pro:
you keep on surprising me :-)

Happy 20th to the both of you from Belgium!

VioletSky said...

Great painting. You guys should head out on other inspiring excursions. I love trips to waterfalls, they rarely disappoint.

Glad you were well enough to enjoy all that great food and drink.

Guyana-Gyal said...

America is beautiful. So's Mrs. N's painting.

As for bears...I used to think, based on cartoons, that bears were friendly, bumbling beasts. Then I read the truth about them. RUN!

20 years! Happy anniversary. Enjoy every minute of your life together.