Day 2 of the trip started with something very special. President Millard Fillmore's home in East Aurora was not open at a time I was able to visit so the caretakers arranged a special private tour for me in the early morning. I was grateful to them and had a nice tour. Apparently President Fillmore built the house himself as well as the tables in the house and it was orignally located on the main street of East Aurora across from his law office. One child was born there and he moved away from the house after living in it for four years. Fillmore's first wife died from an illness she picked up during the inauguration of his sucsessor and a few years later he married a rich widow. He spent much of the rest of his life living as first citizen of Buffalo, helping start the city''s university, its art museum, and its civic improvement programs. Fillmore most resembled Gerald Ford, another accidental president . I thoroughly enjoyed my tour and very gracious guide.
My lunch was at Grover's Bar and Grill in East Amherst, New York(reviewed on this site). It is renowned for its Friday fish fries and its ginormouis 14 ounce cheeseburger. I had the cheeseburger and was impressed. Cooked to order, dressed with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, it was a great burger. Tasty, charred perfectly, with the bun simmering in burger juices, it was as good a burger as I've had in quite. a while. As a bonus,I discovered the place was located on the site of Buffalo president Grover Cleveland's hunting lodge so I added to my Presidential visit sites without even knowing it.
I then drove to Lockport where I spent the afternoon on a cruise along the Erie Canal. I was taken by our trip to Canal locks 34 and 35 where we were slowly lifted through both locks about 50 feet to the upper canal. We cruised under the widest bridge in North America and through a rock cut of about 3 miles that had to be cut with pick axes so the canal could be built. We listened to folk songs about the canal. We returned, cruised under a pair of lift bridges served by one operator who had to to raise and lower one bridge, drive a short distance to the next bridge, and then raise and lower that bridge. It was impressive and I don't envy his job on busy days where he might have toraise and lower the bridge 40 to 50 times.
It was a good expeience. I have read about the Erie Canal all my life and it was marvelous to ride on it and get a feel for the experince.
I had a few hours to kill and decided to go to Buffalo's Art museum, the Albright-Knox galleries which are open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and are free after 3 p.m. I saw lots of students, parents with young children, and seniors taking advantage of this. And the collection is one of the best I've seen ouside of the largest American cities. American abstract expressionist were well represented by Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell.De Kooning, Warhol soup cans, a Lichtenstein and a great painting by Jasper Johns. There was an exhibit about psychedelic art of the sixties, including art from several albums I owned by Hedrix, Cream and Uriah Heep. i wished son Sam had been there to see the art of my youth.
The European collection was even more amazing. Every major impressionist, Cubist, surrealist, simply any major European artist was represented by good work(Magritte, De Chirico, Giacometti, Picasso, Vas Gogh, Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, Gaugain, Renoir). It was wonderful and totally unexpected. This gallery is a strong recommendation if you are in Buffalo.There was lot of more recent stuff but museum fatigue had set in and I was just too tired to view the art. This place was one of the unexpected pleasures of travel, where beauty pops up in an unexpected way and surprises and delights you.
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