Day 50 Falcon Club

We left Erie, Pennsylvania at sunrise this morning powered by the ginormous brownies that Deb Zahler baked for us. Soon (20 miles) we entered New York State. We rode along Lake Erie and in vineyards for 60 miles. We could smell Concord grapes the entire time. Grapes have replaced cedar trees as our favorite smell.

Chad stopped and sampled the grapes. He reported that they were very sweet. You can see where the missing grapes from this cluster.

We also saw another grape harvester. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see it in action but that is why they invented YouTube.

We went through the town of Westfield, New York. In 1897 Charles E. Welch moved his company to Westfield from New Jersey to take advantage of the ideal climate for growing grapes, particularly Concord grapes. Charles was the founder of Welch’s Grape Juice. Factoid – Charles was also a dentist.

Westfield is also where the Barcelona Lighthouse is located. It was the first lighthouse in the world to be powered by natural gas, which was transported by wooden pipes from a “burning spring” about a mile away. The light house was first lit in 1829 and deactivated 30 years later. It was privately owned for over 100 years but now is owned by New York State.

In Dunkirk, New York there was another lighthouse. The first tower was built in 1826 and the current tower was lit in 1875. Its Fresnel lens was installed in 1857 and is still in use today. Only 70 of these lenses are still operational today in the U.S.

We also learned that there is a lighthouse “passport” sponsored by the United States Lighthouse Society. The passport is stamped at every lighthouse you visit. This would be a great thing to do next summer!

Here is a milk bottle buoy or bottle light. It is constructed out of boiler plate and is 30 feet tall. A 12 volt battery was used for the light. It was first lit in 1903 and was in operation at the entrance to Buffalo Harbor until 1985.

Near Irving, New York we passed through a corner of the Seneca reservation. Besides the usual casino they also had signs using the Seneca language. Their words are written with 13 letters plus the colon and accent mark. They don’t use capital letters. Here is a sign in English and in Seneca.

At the 80 mile mark we were in Pinehurst, New York and could see the city of Buffalo, New York in the distance across Lake Erie.

We then turned “inland” and ended our day at West Seneca, New York.


  • Erie, Pennsylvania to West Seneca, New York
  • Distance: 99.8 miles (161 km)
  • Climbing: 2855 feet (870 m)
  • Temperature: 63 – 74°F (17 – 23°C)


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