York City Wall

What location has the longest medieval town walls in England? What place has gorgeous views from those walls? If you answered York, you would be correct.

In some sections one side does not have a railing. I believe this was from the area of the train station looking towards York Minster.
One view of York Minster from the wall with also some lovely back garden views.

York has an old section of town that is surrounded by the remains of the old city walls. You can walk around most of this section of the city on top of the wall. You will have some nice views of York Minster and other parts of the old city from the wall.

History

The original walls were built by the Romans in AD 71. However, the walls you see now were the upgrade to stone built in 1226. They are the longest Medieval town walls in England at 3.4 kilometers (about 2 miles) and are very well maintained.

Another view of York Minster from the wall
A sentry on the wall
The wall is just too narrow in many spots, so dogs are not allowed.
Visiting

It is open daily 8 a.m. to dusk. It is closed on Christmas and any days that the conditions are icy or slippery. As it is an old wall, it is not handicap accessible. Also, dogs are not allowed on the wall as most of it is narrow. Some areas do not have high ledges or railing on one side, so one has to take care. Someone with a fear of heights may not enjoy this walk.

If you are visiting York, hiking on the old city walls is a must to get another perspective on this lovely city.

One of the gates through the wall into the old section of York.

Wayside Cross

Wayside (edge of road) crosses are one type of Christian Cross that could be erected in Medieval times (5th-15th century). What do you think was its purpose?

Locations

In England there are over 350 wayside crosses. They are mostly found in Southwest England in Cornwall and on Dartmor. They can also be found on the North Yorkshire Moors. Very few are found elsewhere. Other forms of Wayside crosses can be found in other European countries such as Germany and Ireland.

Function

One function of a wayside cross was to reinforce the Christian faith amongst those who traveled past the cross. It was meant to reassure the traveler. In addition, they were way markers. They helped mark the areas that were generally unmarked routes.

Boskenna Cross

This wayside cross is at the junction of B 3315 and Rectory Rd in Cornwall. It is near the Merry Maidens Stone Circle in Cornwall, England. The head of the Boskenna Cross is circular. On one side of the head is a cross. On the opposite side is a figure of Christ with his arms up stretched and his feet pointing outwards. Some other wayside markers in Cornwall are said to have rounded heads with a cross on one side and different carvings on the other side.

This side faces someone property. It has a cross clearly visible on it.
This is the side facing the road. It is said to have a carving of Jesus on it with his arms outstretched. If you able able to see it in person you can barely make it out.

Wayside crosses are unique to Europe and the type found in Cornwall seems to be unique to Cornwall. If you visit Cornwall, see if you can spot one of these ancient monuments that has stood the test of time.

Pub Signs-The Bucket of Blood

The Bucket of Blood Pub in the Hayle area of Cornwall.

Which pub in Cornwall most likely has a name that is not duplicated with any other pub in England? The Bucket of Blood is very unique. It is a pub in Hayle that is said to be haunted and there is an interesting story behind it.

It is said an inn has been on that site for hundreds of years. It had a well from which they drew water for the inn and to brew the beer, a dark ale. Cornwall has been known for its miners, sailors, fishermen and smugglers.

The story is the innkeeper went to draw water, but instead drew blood. Upon search of the well a corpse was found. It is said the identity was unknown.

They say at night footsteps can be heard on creaking floorboards. There have been reports of people seeing ghostly figures crossing the road and then disappearing.

They say during the reign of King George III the name of the Bucket of Blood was changed to the New Inn. That lasted for about 250 years. In the 1980s the owner changed the name back to its original name- the Bucket of Blood.

I asked locals where the well was. They pointed me out to a well across the street and around the corner. However, a person who worked at the pub said there is no longer access to it. It is under what is now the ladies restroom/loo.

This inn serves nice meals. They do not serve puddings/desserts. If you are in the Hayle area make a stop at the Bucket of Blood. Its worth the trip. Ghost sightings are not guaranteed.

Green Man- Washington D.C.

Where can you find Green Men grotesques in Washington, D.C.? They aren’t on a church. The building is apropos though. Can you guess where?

Once I get started on something sometimes I can not stop. I had a long weekend, so I decided to drive down to D.C. to see some things I have wanted to see for a while. One thing I searched for were some more Green Men. I found two Green Men and one Green Lady on the U.S. Botanical Gardens building in Washington D.C.

Like the ones in New York City, this one has a leaf forehead.

The one above has plants around his face as most if not all green men have. However, it has a plant mustache and beard. It also appears to have horns, unless someone has a better idea about what plant that may represent. His expression is more jovial.

The one above is more serious. Could that be cat-tails coming out of his head?

Green Lady

I think this is the first Green Lady I have seen in person. She has a human face that is surrounded by plants. It is more like she is wearing plants about her face and head. It appears she is wearing a crown on her head.

Can you find a Green Man or Green Lady near you? One may exist and you may not even be aware.

The Green Man- NYC

Who can be found on many buildings in England? Whose image adorns the face of some buildings in Germany, France and others places? It is the Green Man.

Did you know it also can be found on buildings in the United States? There are at least three locations where the Green Man can be found in New York City. Below are some grotesque-like images I found on one Manhattan building.

The man above looks like he is gasping for air. Maybe he is affected by the pollution? Or is he simply sticking his tongue out at those passing by?
This guy does not look impressed. These Green Men all have foreheads made of leaves.
This Green Man seems to be laughing at those passing by.

See if you can find any Green Men in your locale. There seem to be more of these around than people know.

Sinterklaas

What is a kid-friendly event leading up to Christmas? What event would anyone feel comfortable at? It combines traditions of multiple cultures and appeals to all age groups? It is Sinterklaas.

The original tradition of Sinterklaas was imported by Dutch settlers to the Hudson Valley over 300 years ago. Rhinebeck and Kingston, NY, which both had Dutch settlers back in the day have modern takes on the festival that are nondenominational and inclusive. All are welcome.

When

Both Kingston and Rhinebeck, NY have this festival and parade. In 2019 Kingston’s festival and parade is on Saturday, November 24th from 12 to after dark. Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas festival is on Saturday, December 7th. They close down Market Street most of the day in Rhinebeck for this event.

They sell a variety of items in tents along the street including luminaries and head wreaths.
Events

Activities abound throughout the day. There are many events for children at both locations. Some involve crafts. In Rhinebeck they had story time, The Pocket Lady, the Snow Queen and King, and other activities. I attended the event in Rhinebeck in 2018. There were events happening simultaneously at different locations around Rhinebeck so I could not catch everything. That gives you options to choose from. Check the calendar of events when it comes out.

Batala performing in front of Beekman Arms, America’s oldest operating inn.

They also had a variety of music events in churches around town and outside along Route 9 and other locations.

Performers in front of Beekman Arms on Route 9.
One of the performances held inside a church
Food
Gigi Trattoria’s food table on the street. This restaurant has great gluten-free pizza.

Rhinebeck has some nice restaurants that are open all day to stop in. Last year an Italian restaurant on Route 9, Gigi Trattoria, had some amazing hot chocolate. Another restaurant, Foster’s , had a food truck with London Broil sandwiches, clam chowder and other items. I had no issues eating a late lunch at an Indian restaurant on Market Street. There were tables available.

Parade

Everything culminates after dark with a parade. Many objects are illuminated. Different cultures and traditions are represented.

Chinelos Dancing from Mexico- This is event is multicultural and inclusive.
Dressing for the occasion

This event is worth driving to and seeing as much as you can. I was there most of the day in Rhinebeck. If you have children, its a can’t miss event. I highly recommend it for people from NYC and elsewhere looking to have a day or weekend escape from the rat race in the country.

Sinterklaas in the Dutch tradition. He wears bishop like clothing.
More Information

For more information check these websites out or search for another closer to the event. As of when I posted this only the dates were listed not the schedule of events for 2019.

For Kingston’s Sinterklaas: http://www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com/sinterklaas-kingston/

For Rhinebeck’s Sinterklaas: http://www.sinterklaashudsonvalley.com or check out their Facebook page.

The Green Man

It resembles a man, but is surrounded by leaves or other plant life. It may have branches or vines protruding from its mouth or nose. It is seen on different pub signs and as grotesques on buildings or churches. What is it? It is the Green Man.

Oxford University- More of a man.

Although it can be seen in other cultures, the Green Man can be spotted around England. There are at least three Green Man Pubs in London and more are elsewhere. Several colleges at Oxford have the symbol on a door or as a grotesque on the side of a building. Churches and cathedrals in different counties have the Green Man decorating their edifice.

More a plant- Oxford

Although the true meaning may be unknown, there are many theories about it. Some see the Green Man as a symbol of rebirth or growth in spring. Others see it as a symbol of man’s reliance on nature. Another theory is it is a reminder that death awaits us all. One Christian interpretation is that the foliage coming from the mouth represents the life giving breath of the Holy Spirit. Other ideas about the meaning exist as well.

Magdalen College Oxford

Whatever their meaning or purpose, they are interesting to find. Look them up on the web and see where some of them are located. This site lists some locations: click here. If you are planning a trip to one of these areas, stop in and find one.

Dorset Road Signs

I have seen sign posts in England at road junctions in different counties that mark the way to go as you are driving. Many consist of fingerposts to show the direction to different points of interest or villages. In the county of Dorset, they have some that are more unique to that county. They have road signs topped with finials.

This is a finial without the cross bar. It is just a circle. In this case the top of the circle represents the Dorset County Council. The signs beneath points the direction of different villages or locations. According to the fingerpost pointing left, Dorchester is seven miles away.

The final is unique in appearance. Many are shaped like a London underground sign. While others are circular in shape. On the top part of the circle (on ones shaped like an underground sign) lists the county, Dorset, in case you are not sure. The bottom of the circle lists the grid reference. If it has a rectangular shape in the middle like a London Underground sign, it tells you the specific location of the sign.

The finial on top of this road sign is one shaped similar to the London Underground signs.
This road sign’s finial states its location as Black Down.
History

According to Colin and Susy Varndell, authors of The Natural Beauty of Dorset, many of these fingerpost road signs were removed in 1940. The government decided that these signs could aid the enemy if they invaded. Many of the signs were sent for scrap with the finials. Councils are replacing these signs and adding finals back on the top with help of individuals, parishes, companies, or groups.

A fingerpost on this sign directs you to a point of interest, the Hardy Monument.

While other counties may have a few of these, they seem to be more common in Dorset. When in Dorset, England see how many finials you can find when on your travels. It is something that makes Dorset unique.

This one is at a crossroads in the village of Briantspuddle, Dorset.

Hooley on the Hudson

A hooley is a party or an evening of traditional music and dance. The word originates in Ireland and Scotland. Kingston, New York has a day and night of modern and traditional Irish music and dance. They call it the Hooley on the Hudson.

This event takes place every year on Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It starts around mid-day and ends in early evening. It takes place in the area around lower Broadway in the downtown area along the creek.

Because the Hooley is right on the creek that empties into the Hudson River, people from other states arrange to park their boats for the weekend and watch the events from their decks. Kingston has spaces for visiting boaters at their marina. Cabin cruisers from upstate, New Jersey and Long Island were parked there this weekend. If you are a boater, this is an option for next year’s Hooley, but I am sure you would have to arrange this well in advance.

The streets are blocked off near the event and some restaurants put tables on the street. You can eat from the vendors or dine in one of the restaurants. They have vendors selling items from Ireland. Kingston has a paved path next to the creek that is lovely to stroll on. There are antique shops on lower Broadway a short walk from the celebration. This event is both dog and kid-friendly.

I was not in a good spot for this shot, but I could not get where I wanted to be. It was packed around the dance floor.

Unfortunately I did not have a lot of time at this event. Too busy catching up on other things in life. Here are some of the bands and dancers that performed on two of the stages. I never saw the third stage.

Happiness is playing Irish music.

Why an Irish celebration in September? They think of it as around half-way to St. Patty’s Day. The weather in NY is usually a lot nice in September as well. Its a fun event. It mixes more modern with traditional and it is in a lovely setting. If you are looking for something to do next Labor Day weekend head up to Kingston, NY and join the fun at the Hooley.

Lone bagpiper
Irish Setter at this dog-friendly event.

Animal Adventure Park

Did you take part in the baby watch for April the giraffe online? Have you ever wondered what zoo April was in? April is in Animal Adventure Park in central New York State about 15 minutes or more from Binghamton.

Animals
This is Johari. She is part of the new couple. As the sign says you can only feed her carrots.

The main draw at the zoo due to the live webcams in their barn has been the giraffes. The zoo has become famous worldwide as people went into baby watch mode for momma giraffe, April. She gave birth to Tajiri (15 April 2017) and Azizi (16 March 2019). There is a new giraffe couple, Oliver and Johari.

April and her two babies, Tajiri and Azizi.
This is the youngest baby of April, Azizi.

Animal Adventure Park is more than just giraffes. The park has over 250 animals with over 100 species represented. Some animals you can get fairly close to such as llamas, alpacas, giraffes, and sheep. Others you can view from behind tall fencing such as monkeys, lemurs, wolves, and white lions. Different continents are represented from the American black bear to Chilean flamingoes and from the Tibetan yak to the African warthog. Mammals, birds, and cold blooded creatures, this little zoo packs in a lot of variety.

Flamingoes watching the people go by. Are humans on display or are the animals?
Alligator enjoying the sun.
The official cat of the zoo. The story I heard from one of the employees was she came with the farm when they bought it. She acts like she is the owner of the zoo.
Feed the Animals

When you visit the zoo you will have opportunities to feed many of the animals. For $3 you can buy a handful of carrots to feed the giraffes or buy a cup full of pellets you can give to many of the animals. They also sell lettuce to feed the turtles and grapes to feed some of the other animals. The animals are quite happy to see you when you have food and it leads to many good photo or selfie opportunities. On my second trip I saw zoo keepers come out and let some children bottle feed some of the baby animals.

If the animals see you come close with food they will come right over to you. This appears to be an alpaca.
Animal Encounters

If you book in advance, you can participate in an animal encounters. These afford the visitor a little closer access to some of the animals. You get to feed them yourself and take pictures in a closer proximity than when you stroll around the zoo. A zoo keeper gives you all kinds of information about the animals. I was able to do the Sloth encounter. I feed them and took photos. They currently have one male and two females in hopes one of the females will breed.

One of the three sloths at the zoo.
Sloth snack time. Look no hands!
Handicap Accessible

I would say this zoo is fairly accessible. The paths/roadways within the zoo are wide and there are no stairs. On both visits I made to the zoo I saw people navigating the exhibits in wheelchairs. They also host a low sensory night for people with sensory issues.

Concessions

The zoo has a a few concession stands. They serve fast food items such as hamburgers, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, chips, soda, and ice cream. If you have food sensitivities I would recommend bringing you own food in a cooler and leaving it in the car. You can leave the zoo and return with a hand stamp or receipt. This zoo is in a very rural area and there are no restaurants close by.

Gift Shop

Animal Adventure Park offers different animal related items in their gift shop and also through their online store. There are t-shirts, stuffed animals, etc. The t-shirts in the gift shop favor their main draw: giraffes, but there are others available online.

Location

This zoo is located at 85 Martin Hill Road in Harpursville, NY. On the route the GPS sent me there were no signs advertising Animal Adventure Park. It made me a little worried the first time I visited, but the Sat. Nav. took me to the right spot. This zoo is about 15 minutes or more northeast of Binghamton. I am told it is about a 3 hour drive from New York City and a 2 hour drive from the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge in the Hudson Valley.

Parking

I arrived before they opened both times I visited on a weekday during the summer. I was able to park in their lot at the zoo entrance. They do have overflow parking in another location nearby.

I highly recommend this little zoo. They appear to take great care of the animals and work with animals that are endangered or close to endangered. The zoo is very family-friendly and sponsors many events. If you love animals and want to see them up close make a trip to Animal Adventure Park.

For more information go to their website: https://theanimaladventurepark.com/park-info/ or https://theanimaladventurepark.com