2021­ – The Best Family Vacation I Can’t Remember


                          (ignore April 20, 2017 publish date – this was published on July 23, 2021)


In that previous bag of goodies, I found this small plastic bag. When I saw the contents, I had to set it aside because I realized that it was its own post:


It contained documentation from what I always considered to be the best family vacation ever (from August 1958), though a third of our family wasn’t there (the 8-month-old stayed with relatives and the other one wasn’t conceived yet).

We went to MANY places in New York state and stepped foot in Canada for a day (or maybe just overnight).

I feel bad that I don’t remember everywhere we went and everything we did, but it WAS a few years ago. And it’s not like I knew this stuff 30 years ago and have since lost my mind. I guess a lot of it was fun, but just didn’t register.

From what I can tell from this little bag’s contents, we drove north through New York state’s Catskills and western Adirondack mountains, dabbled a toe in Canada, made a sharp right to the eastern Adirondacks and another right straight back down to NJ……….at least that’s what I think I can piece together from this fairly-thorough collection Mom put together and a few photos I found from this trip – starting with………..





A great place that no longer exists……

I have to start by saying that the prices of admission on this entire trip seem incredibly low (a family of four gets in here for $3.00?):


I found two photos. In them, my 4-year-old sister Geri gets a helping hand from the men in the family:


Strangely enough (or not), the ONE lasting memory I have of this place was in the area where very large bison were kept. I noticed a lot of large piles of something on the ground that looked bright green.

Yes – they were exactly what you think they were. I just didn’t know it came in that color…………and in such volume!





How do I not recall this place? I love this stuff! I’m starting to suspect that my mother collected brochures from a travel agent – intending to go to these places, but we never got there:





Well, I’m pretty sure she didn’t get these from a travel agent, so maybe we really were there (big whoop).

Chase’s Restaurant, Waterloo, NY

These can NOT be found online, so this must be worth at LEAST a quarter.


The place doesn’t exist anymore, but I did find a small picture of it:

Not exactly memorable……..



Here’s another placemat that doesn’t seem to be from any particular eating establishment, but does seem to be an advertisement for the upcoming 350th Champlain Anniversary Festival in 1959 (sorry – we won’t be able to make it due to our own massive celebrations for the birth of sister Lorraine):






Absolutely zero memories of this place, but we have $2.80 in admission receipts, so we must have been there:


I found an online picture of one of the featured attractions within. You’d think a sight like this would leave an impression in one’s mind…………..nada:

Maybe I was way too revved-up about the next stop to give this place a chance.






What could be better………..getting to finally see the HoF……….and on my birthday, no less!


And here’s our proof: admission receipts for 2 adults and………..one child?

Did we leave Geri at the Totem Indian Village? It’s not like Mom to not have saved EVERY receipt.


Putting that aside for the moment, LOOK HOW MUCH IT COST TO GET ME IN! FIFTEEN CENTS!!


Wondering how much the same admission might cost today, I found the answer to that question (and to the one about Geri):

If I was still the same age, it would cost ONE HUNDRED times as much for me to get in today! And if it costs nothing for a child aged 6 and under today, it was nothing back in ’58, so Geri was NOT still enjoying the amenities of Totem Village’s Bear House.

Instead, she spent her time at the Hall introducing herself to old, dead players:


…….while I hung out with The Babe:



Our big expenditure of the day appears to be a postcard that describes its flip-side-picture as being “TROPHIES presented annually to members of team winning World Series”:

I didn’t know you could wear a trophy around your finger.



I’m guessing we spent the night at this swanky resort (I think I remember staying the next night on the Canadian side of the Falls):


Since Dad smoked (and there are 3 matches missing), I’m also guessing that this item is his contribution to Mom’s collection:







I don’t know why, but we did NOT go on this. Maybe it had something to do with the U.S. dock being temporarily closed (so why didn’t we board on the Canadian side when we were there?):


And I’m quite sure we didn’t go to Great Gorge (click these two images TWICE to fully-enlarge and hit back button to return):


Whatever it was we DID do that day, the ladies look tired:


Rainbow Bridge runs between the U.S. and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls. Given the date on the receipt, this might have been for when we re-entered the U.S.


Besides the Falls, I don’t know that we saw any of these things…………maybe (click ONCE to enlarge both):


This picture may have been MY contribution to the festivities (but since I was pretty short at that age, they really should have had me standing on something, so more of the Falls would have been visible:

This is probably the only picture I’ve ever taken in Canada (and don’t the parents look thrilled to be there?).

And since you asked (?), I’ve taken a few pix in Mexico and some video in England, so that’s the extent of my international photography. From Tijuana:





I don’t recall if we saw these places or if Mom just picked these up to make us think we did:





Now back in the U.S., I don’t really remember this place:


……….but I feel like I might, based on the fact that I’ve been familiar with my “stockade” shot for a few years now. I’ve posted it elsewhere on this blog because – based on my profession – it feels like it was rather prophetic:


Dad and some cowgirl leave the Widow Wilson’s Chuck Wagon:


Some saloon babe is looking for her handsome gunslinger:


And here he is! (the dope went to the wrong saloon):






From what I remember (or think I remember), this is where I had the most fun. I seem to recall riding rapids, but not any of the other stuff (click to enlarge both pix):


Two more items were in Mom’s collection, including a synopsis:


…..and something I don’t think I’ve ever seen at any other vacation stop: a guide on how to maximize your photo skills in the facility’s various attractions. Quite thoughtful (and beneficial for their Camera Counter sales):

(So why are there NO pictures from this place, Mom?)


I have ONE last item. It’s 11.5″ x 8″ and I purposely acquired it – probably on eBay – many decades after this trip. I imagine I bought it as a tribute to the most fun I had on the best family vacation that – for the most part – is a blank:



Well, I hope YOU enjoyed the trip!






  1. Laura Kaye July 23, 2021

    Okay, so this is like a time travel tour of MY childhood! We regularly visited my grandparents in Albany, NY and, with the exception of the baseball HofF and Ausable Chasm (how could they have missed THAT??), I have vivid memories (and childhood photos taken by my Dad, a hobbyist photographer) of all of these places. We took that Maid of the Mist boat ride several times and Howe Caverns was a HUGE favorite. So was Adventuretown and I even had a Marshall pin, sadly lost among the many bits of memorabilia that went missing over the course of multiple moves. I even remember Chase’s Restaurant as we spent lots of time exploring the entire Finger Lakes region. I left home at 16 and, at 17, moved to Geneva, NY with a bunch of hippie friends of mine who were 10 years older than me (your age, Bob), playing in 3 bands simultaneously and re-visiting many of the FL sights… (which I know I did but mostly don’t remember because of my consistently altered mental state). THANK YOU for posting this and for sharing…

  2. Laura Kaye July 23, 2021

    Oh, and the photo skills tips is something I KNOW my Dad would have grabbed. There are lots of handwritten notes that accompany the hundreds of slides and photos he took, with copious info about f-stops and aperture settings. THAT brought me back as well….

  3. ANNE RASO July 23, 2021

    I think that your parents should have put you in those stockades and left, LOL! Seriously, though, love the shot of you and “The Babe”!

  4. E August 25, 2021

    we visited most of these places also. Nice trip back to my childhood. thanks Bob.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *